November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving (A Quick Recap)

This year for Thanksgiving Peter and I committed to staying in Memphis; after years of traveling and battling holiday traffic, we wanted a break. In turn, we offered to host. Last Tuesday Peter's parents, his sister Lisa, and her pup Bailey joined us in Memphis for Thanksgiving.

Here are the highlights: Wednesday we did some prep work for the meal. Thursday morning we participated in the Turkey Trot and Turkey Leg Relay (during which we got to run/walk with an actual turkey leg that was handed off as the baton). Later in the day we hung out and finished preparations before a few more of our friends joined our group for dinner. {Black} Friday we were sure to run by a few stores before heading to the local movie theater. Saturday, after breakfast at Panera, the Slatons headed back to GA and Peter and I watched the Clemson vs. Carolina game. Below are a few pictures from the holiday.

Our guests eagerly awaiting dinner.
A delicious warm brie, spicy mango, and bacon appetizer.

Thrifty & Festive Tablescape #1

Thrifty & Festive Tablescape #2

One of the delicious homemade pies Lisa created.

Evidence of a great meal.

November 23, 2009

I Love Uniforms

I loved wearing a uniform during middle and upper school. Each morning I'd wake up and grab a white polo and green skirt and run out the door. I loved the mindlessness and ease of a uniform. While I was teaching at Southside, I opted to dress in a uniform as well. I bought 5 collared shirts embroidered with the school emblem and my name which I paired with chinos. This was not only a simple outfit but I didn't care if I got marker, pencil, pen, or chocolate milk on me. {One unfortunate morning last year a full carton of chocolate milk was "accidentally" thrown at me. Of course this was before I'd adopted a basic uniform and the milk got all over a lovely wool coat that I was wearing for the first time}.


A few weeks ago I began working for Mission Graduation within Streets Ministries. Let me first say I love my new job! It is fabulous in ways that I had a forgotten a job could be. My coworkers are great, the students are wonderful, and it is the perfect combination of Christ-centered, education-focused ministry. But, like so many jobs there is no uniform but rather, a dress code. The rules of the dress code are very simple: closed toed shoes and a collared shirt. In true Parker fashion, I have taken to the dress code by adopting a simple uniform: skinny pants, button down shirt, black or white tank, accessorized with a scarf, vest, belt, jewelry and/or purse.

November 22, 2009

Quinoa and Black Beans

After last Sunday's unfortunate food incident, I was hesitant to get back on schedule for Slow Cooker Sunday. Thus, in the form of a true pantry scavenger I opened the pantry doors this evening and thought, "What to make?" The pantry is currently packed full with items I've been stocking up for Thanksgiving and unfortunately nothing was really jumping out at me. When I spotted our 4 lb. bag of quinoa I could hear Minx whisper "Use it!"- she's been on a quinoa kick recently. I opted for a meatless main {from All Recipes} which I altered ever so slightly. Peter and I dressed up our dinner with sour cream, salsa, and cheese. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 shakes cayenne pepper
1-2 shakes Hot Shot
1-2 shakes Mixed-Up Salt
1 can sweet corn kernels
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. { While that is simmering, send your husband to the grocery store to pick up some shredded Cheddar cheese.}
3. Stir in corn and black beans and let it simmer for 5 minutes {or until your husband returns, which ever comes first}.

10 servings.

Home Tour: Matt & Erin


Our dear friends Matt and Erin were featured in today's Commercial Appeal in an article titled My New Home: House near Poplar, Highland is city-suburbia compromise for newlyweds. They bought a house in Highland earlier this year and have spent a good amount of time making it adorable without making any major cosmetic changes. We're frequently over at their house since we all cheer for Clemson, enjoy watching glee and love eating Erin's food {don't let the clean kitchen picture fool you, Erin is a whiz in the kitchen}. The pictures below are from the paper.

November 20, 2009

Gnocchi

Last night's dinner was extremely simple and even more flavorful. The sauce would make a wonderful topping on any pasta. With the temperature starting to drop, I've been in the mood for a hearty meal. Gnocchi is hearty enough to fill you up but not so heavy you feel stuffed. Peter had the leftovers for lunch and said they were great (and I'm pretty sure made a few of his coworkers jealous).

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 ounces) whole plum tomatoes with juice, crushed by hand
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) tomato sauce
2 sprigs basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Gnocchi
Thinly shaved parmesan cheese, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine; cook until most liquid has evaporated. Add tomatoes and juice, tomato sauce, basil, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until slightly thick, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
  2. Bring a large pot water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt. Add half of the gnocchi; when they rise to the top (after about 2 minutes), continue to cook until tender, about 15 seconds more. Transfer gnocchi with a slotted spoon to pan with sauce. Repeat process with remaining gnocchi.
  3. Reheat gnocchi over low heat; gently toss. Serve with cheese shavings. (Serves 6)

November 13, 2009

Pantry Scavenger Or Not...

According to our meal schedule, I was supposed to make pizza last night. I have all the ingredients in the fridge but for some reason was not in the mood to make a pizza. Sometimes I just want take out. Every once in awhile I will get a taste for a specific meal from a specific restaurant. Last night, that meal was the California Pita and fries from Young Avenue Deli. Not only did I want the fries but I wanted them covered with with lots of apple cider vinegar and ketchup. I hope that you have tried this combo because it is fabulous. If you live in the Memphis area and have not been to Young Ave Deli you are certainly missing out.

November 10, 2009

Salvage Yard #2 (aka A Needle in a Haystack)

A few weeks ago, my car failed to start. After much discussion and investigation we realized the problem was the starter. We are very blessed to have not one, but two neighbors, that are very handy and generous with their time and skills. We went to AutoZone and bought a rebuilt starter for $125 which our neighbor installed free of charge. This saved us at least a few hundred dollars.

Of course, this is not where the story ends. A week later, as Peter was driving my car home- in the rain- the wipers stopped working. After a bit of investigation the problem was easily identified. The wiper arm linkage had snapped and unfortunately was beyond repair. Our local autoparts stores do not carry the item and the dealer will charge us $220 for the part alone. We turned to Ebay and found one for $50. But were still hoping to find a better deal. After a few phone calls we learned that the salvage yards only charge $6 for the part- if you can find one.

Peter ventured to one salvage yard alone but to no avail. On Saturday we headed to yard number two. Entering the premises we realized the admissions fee was $2 so we fumbled through our wallets to find $4. To our surprise, when we approached the ticket lady she informed that only Peter would be charged admission. I suppose my lack of tools and outfit let her know that I would not be salvaging any parts. I did help to identify Acura's and Honda's which I seem to have an eye for. Unfortunately, after tearing apart 6 cars we were still left searching for a matching part. We found wiper arm linkages that were too short, too long, and oddly shaped. We did not find what we were looking for. So, if you have a spare wiper arm linkage that you'd like to sell for a '99-'02 Acura TL we'll take it. But, since we're already $2 invested in this project, our best offer is $4.


Also, on an unrelated note: Last weekend we attended a party at the Molly Fontaine Lounge for a dear friend who was celebrating her birthday. Molly Fontaine's is probably the coolest place in Memphis- and they know it. But, who cares? If you haven't been you really should visit.

November 3, 2009

The Dogs

November 1st our dogs' celebrated their birthdays. Gunther turned two and Lily turned one. Isn't it fun they have the same birthday? As mentioned on Minx, the pups had their friend Gizmeaux over to celebrate. In honor of their birthday, here are some pictures.

Typical Gunther.

Typical Lily.

Favorite Positions on the Couch.


6:30am
(Peter took this picture while the dogs and I were sleeping. The light was off)