Thanksgiving 2016

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We celebrated Thanksgiving a little bit after the fact last Sunday.  My brother and sister-in-law and niece came for the afternoon as did one of Olivia’s friends.  We had a grand time eating and playing games before all the college kids headed back to school.

I didn’t get a picture of our table setting although it was quite pretty.  I did get a photo of the food counter.  Here is the grand list: turkey, ham, tofurkey, dressing, gravy, rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, mashed turnips, cranberry sauce, cranberry salad, strawberry salad, green bean casserole, corn in butter sauce, Brussels Sprouts with a mustard glaze, beets in an orange glaze, carrots with dill, and Waldorf salad.  It was a delicious variety planned with the intent of pleasing every picky palate!



We also had a pie table – apple, pumpkin, and pecan.  Three of my favorites.dsc_1022

Chupa guarded the pies until it was time to eat.  Helpful little guy!


One fun note to share is that we bought a stem of Brussels sprouts this year.  We kept it in a glass of water until time to cook and then I sliced off the sprouts and started my recipe.


After eating we played our usual round of games.  We keep score and then distribute “fabulous” prizes all the way around with the winner getting the option to steal other gifts.  They’re all pretty “fabulous” so unfortunately there isn’t much stealing.  And when I say “fabulous”, I mean bagel slicers, cat statues, beef jerky, etc, etc.  Madison won an ear wax vacuum.  She was beyond thrilled.

Diane is seen here clutching her bagel slicer and Steve is opening his lottery scratch-offs.


The games included a blindfolded turkey draw.  I won with this fabulous depiction.


While we played we munched on Olivia’s cheese tray.  This year’s was pretty amazing with her artful arrangement and her slateboard descriptions.dsc_1099

We enjoyed guessing games and trivia games.



We also played Left, Right, Center.  It’s a dice game of chance.  Instead of money, we play with candy.


Here is Olivia and her friend Madison. Someone (that would be me) forgot to pick up Olivia’s contacts at the optician’s.  Sorry about that, Olivia.  She had to stay an extra night so she could get them to take back for finals.


One of the favorite games of the day was Pumpkin Rolling.  We took the 8 pumpkins I had on the steps and in the house and rolled them down the hill from my mom’s house.  The pumpkin that went the farthest won that game.  The winner was Davis!

If you look closely you can see the pumpkins at the bottom of the hill, however Davis’ soon passed all of them and stopped at the base of my steps.z2

We tallied the scores and Elyse was the big winner of the day.


Hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine!

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Deflated by Stem Statistics

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My title would have you believe that I am seriously into some type of upper level mathematics or logic.  This cannot be further from the truth.  I am not a math person and I can’t really say that I’m an English person either.  My children are definitely one or the other.  Davis thinks mathematically and Olivia thinks poetically.  I fall somewhere outside of both of those lines because I hate math equally as much as I hate grammar, probably because I stink at both.  (For example, as I write my second sentence I am frantically thinking is it further or farther?? I don’t know!!!!) (My favorite subject has always been social studies – specifically ancient cultures. I am not totally devoid of academic interests.)  So, what am I talking about in my title?  I am personally deflated because I tried to statistically identify the name of my future beau by the apple stem twisting method.  Did you ever do that as a kid?  Twist out the stem of an apple while you recite the ABC’s for each twist and when the stem finally pulls out, whatever letter you are on is the name of your future beau?


I tried many-a-stem to get them to land on G for Gerard Butler but ironically the most most popular stems were H and F –  probably for Hugh Hefner or Harrison Ford since he has both H and F starting his names.  No thanks.


Sorry Gerard.  Go back to your girlfriend.  It wasn’t meant to be for us.


You may be thinking that’s a lot of apples just to find out a future beau and your are probably also thinking did she seriously count every apple stem and does she seriously believe that twisting apples stems provides the name of a future beau?  To answer these questions: yes, it’s a lot of apples, yes I counted every stem, and NO I do not really believe that twisting stems reveals anything but the state of my boredom  as I cooked a giant vat of apples.

Recently we went to Penland Apples and I bought  two bushels of apples. They have been in my refrigerator ever since minus the ones I have eaten every day.


Now that I am starting to plan a Thanksgiving menu I realized I need that space in my refrigerator for other goodies.  Time to cook the apples.


The people at all the apple barns say to get the best tasting pies you need a variety of apples. I have never done that before.  Typically I buy six or seven apples for a pie and hope they don’t turn out too mushy or stay too crisp in the pie.  This new method gives you the creaminess of the soft apples while still giving you a more firm piece now and then from the crunchier apples.  Love it!


So I put in Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap, Mutsu, and Cameo for my vat of apples.  I used my apple corer, peeler, and slicer to help with the task.


Soon I had a pot full and the initials of my future beau.


My pot is a Le Creuset doufeu pot and it has an indented lid that you can put ice in to help the inside create moisture to keep the apples or other food from drying out.  This is my favorite pot.  It comes in a size smaller which might be nice to have but for now I like the giant size and versatility of this one.


Some people put lemon in the pot to keep the apples from turning brown.  I don’t really care about the color and I don’t like the taste of the added lemon juice so I leave it plain.  It does come out a delicate brown shade but I don’t mind. If you add cinnamon or other spices, it goes brown anyway.


What did I do with a jumbo pot of apples?  I made apple pies to freeze for Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to bake them and eat them later this week.


Earlier I showed you a picture of my kitchen as I was about to pare the apples.  Now I would like to leave you with the kitchen when I am finally done peeling, cooking, and preparing pies.


Time to clean and move on to the next items on the menu for Thanksgiving that I can get ready ahead of time.  Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie. I’m looking forward to our meal already!

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Creamy Chicken Soup with Dill and My Artistic Contribution to the Neighborhood

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After seeing all of my talented neighbors, I decided I wanted to get in on the creative action.  My talents, however, have always been in the performing arts – playing flute, dancing, twirling baton.  Whenever I make something with my hands, it is usually a craft and I am following someone else’s pattern or idea. I decided that I need to have a visual art, too, just like my neighbors.  But what should I do?  Pottery has been taken by Andrea and weaving is taken by Denise, and glass fusion is taken by Gail.  I needed to find an original art form of my own.  I went out to do some yard work while I pondered what my contribution to the world of art would be.

First, I blew the leaves off the driveway.


Still thinking….


Then, I relocated some pumpkins.  Still thinking…


And finally, I started mowing the lawn in the back yard to get rid of more leaves.  The monotony of mowing really gave me time to think about what new artistic endeavor I could undertake.  Then as I began to cut my backyard I knew I had a contribution for the art world – Julie ‘s Yard Art!     I zigged and zagged and before you knew it, I had a masterpiece.  What do you think?  A turkey just in time for Thanksgiving.


After all that hard work, I came for some delicious soup.  Talent like that can really exhaust you.

This soup is guaranteed to get your creative thoughts flowing, too!


Creamy Chicken Soup with Dill

2 + 2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 carrots, 2 sliced and one shredded

2 stalks celery, chopped fine

1 cup corn

1 tablespoon dried dillweed

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

6 cups chicken broth

8 ounces cooked chicken, chopped

2 cups dry pasta, (6 ounces) cooked according to package directions

1/2 cup half and half

salt and pepper to taste

Place 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy stock pot.  Cook onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the corn, and dill weed, and mix together. Add 2 more tablespoons butter, stir gently to melt so as not to break apart the carrot slices.  Stir in the flour.  Slowly pour in the chicken broth and stir until smooth.  Add the chicken and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add the pasta and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Reduce heat and stir in the half and half.  Do not return to a boil.  Makes 8 1-1/4 cup servings.  Approximately 250 calories per serving.

Caution:  Some of the canned corn nowadays is featured as “crisp.”  It was a little disconcerting to have this nice creamy soup with crunchy corn.  Choose your corn wisely or leave it out altogether.

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Southern Hands Artist Studio Tour

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I really enjoyed going to the Southern Hands Artist Studio Tour.  My across the street neighbor, Andrea, was one of the artists and she sent out a neighborhood notification for people to attend.  I’m sure glad I went.  I had no idea we had this many talented artisans living in our community.  The great thing about this event is that you get to tour the artists’ studios rather than just buying their artwork at a show.

Andrea Faye is a clay artist.  Some of her most stunning pieces are made by using the Raku firing method.  The colors are vibrant and unique.


Andrea has pottery for everyone. Her prices range from $3.00 to over $300.  You are sure to find something you can’t leave without.  Andrea also teaches classes so you can make your own one-of-a-kind masterpiece under her expert guidance.


Another stop we made was with Denise Prince and her weaving studio.  She has an impressive wall of thread as you come in the door.


The fun of this tour was that you got to try out some of the artwork yourself.  Within minutes of arriving, I was sitting at a loom weaving.


Denise also teaches classes in addition to selling her products.


Mikaela traveled from Boca Raton to be at this show and to weave with Denise.  Mikaela goes by Spirit Soul Dancer on Facebook.


Denise has 7 looms and can accommodate quite a few weavers at a time. Additionally, she hosts spinning groups and they spin their own thread, too.  Her husband, Hanley Lewis, also has a studio in the garage for wood turning.  He has gorgeous bowls, pens, hats, and much more.  This is a wooden cowboy hat!

Image result for hanley lewis wood turner

Our next stop was at a studio for fused glass.  Gail Jensen is an artist and teacher just down the road from me.


She has a giant kiln and can make glass art both large and small. I can’t really show everyone all the goodies I bought at the stops because they may be seeing them at Christmas, that is, if I can part with them.

Gail’s backyard was interesting, too.  This giant, I mean really giant, Coke bottle adorned the back of their house.


In front of that was a Koi pond.  What a great way to have a small pond without digging up your backyard.


I would love to try this although my cat would probably enjoy scooping them out and eating them. Aaagh!


She had art all around her backyard, some for purchase and some for her own personal enjoyment.


Each stop served refreshments and had extra people on hand to explain the processes and help you with your purchases.


Next, we went to a quilting artist, Kathy Schultz.  I did not take pictures in there but she specializes in fiber arts and free form quilting.  I got this photo from the internet. I don’t know who to give credit for the photo.  Maybe Kathy herself.

Image result for kathy schultz quilting peachtree city

Kathy demonstrated her quilting technique while we watched.

Image result for kathy schultz quilting peachtree city

Our last stop was at Cathy Spitz’s home and her stained glass and fiber mosaic art.  She said she learned how to do the fiber mosaic art on a trip to Mexico.  You take a piece of wood and put wax on the top.  Then you press glossy threads such as embroidery thread into the wax to make an image.  We got to try our hand at that, too.


Cathy also makes beautiful stained glass pieces.  She offers classes, too.


My favorite was this one in her sunroom.  If I took classes, this is what I would want to make.


We had a great day visiting these studios.  Please let me know if you would like contact information for any of these artists. Most are on the internet and a few are on my street!

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I have been to Greece and I have been to two Greek festivals.  I’m thinking this makes me pretty much an expert on all thing Greek.  Go ahead and ask me a question about Greece.  For example, who was the Oracle?  I know the answer.  Where did the Apostle Paul travel on his second missionary journey?  I know that, too.  So, seeing that I am practically Greek you can trust me that this recipe is good.

There was a real Greek lady teaching at my school a couple of years ago.  Each October her church had a festival and sold Greek goodies such as Baklava, Tiropetes, and Spanokopita. We willingly handed over giant sums of money to get these rare and delicious treats thinking that only a person of Greek heritage and special Greek know-how could ever possibly make such delicacies.  I have since learned that this is not the case.  Even I, of lowly peasant birth can create amazing Greek foods with the secret culinary weapon known as phyllo dough.

In the South, they pronounce it like File-O Dough but being the Greek expert I am (since I went there once and have been to two Greek festivals), I can tell you it is pronounced Feel-O.   My personal history with phyllo dough had a rocky start.  If you don’t place a dampened towel over the dough as you are working with it, it immediately dries out and turns to a spiderweb-like consistency.  Think about cooking with something as ethereal as spider webs and you can imagine why I haven’t made many dishes calling for phyllo. HOWEVER if you read the box and follow the directions thereon, phyllo is surprisingly easy to work with and very elegant and professional looking when you are done.

I made a few alterations in the cheese that the recipe called for just because I was using what was on hand.  I will include both variations so you can choose for yourself. The original recipe came from a Betty Crocker International Cookbook but I made a few changes since I am such a Greek expert having been to Greece and to two Greek festivals!


10 ounce package frozen spinach, or about 6 cups fresh spinach

1 cup feta cheese (I used shredded Monterey Jack cheese)

1 cup cottage cheese (I used ricotta cheese)

1 small onion, chopped

2 teaspoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons dried dillweed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, beaten

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1/3 cup butter, melted

8 ounces phyllo leaves, thawed

Cook spinach in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes; drain.  Mix spinach, cheeses, onion, parsley, dillweed, and salt; stir into eggs.  Brush bottom of an 9 X 13-inch casserole dish with the softened butter.  Unfold the phyllo leaves and cover with a damp towel to prevent drying.  Separate 1 leaf and place in baking dish.  Brush lightly with the melted butter.  Repeat with 9 more leaves.  Place filling on top of phyllo leaves.  Cover filling with a phyllo leaf, brush with butter and repeat with remaining 9 leaves.  Cut pastry through top layer of phyllo leaves with a sharp knife into 8 squares.  Cook uncovered in oven until golden, about 35 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes.  Cut through scored lines to serve. Each serving is approximately 310 calories.

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Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

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If my friend Gina were here right now she would be rolling her eyes because she gave me this recipe and the original recipe most definitely does not contain these little green wedges known in these parts as zucchini.  Gina lives in a no-zucchini zone in addition to a no-corn or no-bean-zone.  Oh, they grow where she lives, but she just won’t eat them.


Gina uses Italian sausage in place of the zucchini.  While the soup is tasty that way, I am trying to eat more vegetables and less Wilburs (Charlotte’s Web reference in case you haven’t read children’s literature in a while) so I made the swap tonight.


In the soup at serving time goes the “Cheesy Yum” – a combination of mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, and Parmesan cheese.  Do NOT omit the Cheesy Yum!  In fact, I was at school the other day and had taken a bowl of soup to eat at lunch.  With horror I realized that I had forgotten my little blob of Cheesy Yum!  Can you believe that the school office didn’t think that my Cheesy Yum Emergency was reason enough to let me go home? What kind of society are we living in?  Cheese Barbarians!


Give this soup a try!  I have also made 1/2 the recipe and it was a great size for a family rather than a crowd.  It freezes well, too.  I freeze the Cheesy Yum in separate patties and then put one on top as I reheat the soup.  Delicious!


I would take a photo with the soup all garnished up and pretty but it is late and I am actually making this batch for my lunches and in about 5 minutes after I finish writing this post, the soup will go into individual containers and then go in the freezer.  This is as pretty as it’s getting tonight!

Lasagna Soup

for the soup:

  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. Italian sausage (or 3 cups chopped zucchini) (or do a combination)
  • 3 c. chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. dried basil
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1 28-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 c. chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
  • 8 oz.  pasta (any kind of small pasta works)
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for the cheesy yum:

  • 8 oz. ricotta
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking up into bite sized pieces, and brown for about 5 minutes. (Without the meat, I used one tablespoon olive oil to cook the onions and zucchini in although if you have a nonstick pan and are watching calories, you could possibly omit the oil.).  Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and basil. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cook the noodles separately, and then add to the soup mixture.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheesy yum. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, and mozzarella.  To serve, place a dollop of the cheesy yum in each soup bowl and ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Garnish with additional mozzarella and fresh basil, if desired.

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Fall Apples

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On thing I love about living in Atlanta is that you can be in the mountains in two hours and the beach in four.  Georgia has a range of regions and they all have their season.  Right now is mountain season and apples!

We went to Ellijay to load up on my favorites – apples, cider, fried pies, and a pumpkin or two.


One of my favorite stops is Penland’s Orchard and Apple Barn. They are smaller than some of the other Apple Houses but their fried pies are the best and their apples seem to be a little better for some reason.


Don’t buy the last corn shock on the right.  Chupa may or may not have left a little present on it.  Twice.


Across the road is Panorama Apple House.  Their cider is the best and they even have frozen slushie cider.  It goes great with their apple cider doughnuts. They also have lots and lots of pumpkins each year.


This time I walked Chupa out back so he wouldn’t decide to leave another little gift on the pumpkins.  Behind the store is their stack of apple crates.  I thought they were pretty with their faded gray wood.


Our last stop before heading home was Col. Poole’s BBQ.


They have great Brunswick stew and charming pig signs on the hillside.You can buy them to personalize and I have done that for Davis and Olivia but I have yet to locate them.  There are hundreds on the hill, out front, by the store, and everywhere!


Now here is where I should include a recipe but so far all I’ve done is make one batch of applesauce and the rest have been eaten right out of the bag.  I guess soon I’ll get creative but for now I’m enjoying them every day in my lunch.

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Craft Day #4

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I’m back.  I take a break but I always come back.  I miss my blog and my readers, so here I am.  You are probably wondering why I take breaks.  That’s a hard question to answer since I do enjoy it so much but it mostly is a time issue.  It takes me a long time to create the posts especially when I have to Photoshop all of my wrinkles and messy house out of my pictures (ha!) but even beyond that it does take a while to gather the pictures and get them ready for the blog.  It’s really no other reason than that.  Things have slowed down a little bit since school started in August and I will soon have Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations to blog to my heart’s content, so….I’m back.

I do love a good Crafty Weekend with some girl pals.  In this most recent one we decided to bring only one craft each and everyone outdid themselves.  I will present them in the order that we made them along with a recipe craft at the end.  Here we go.

We met at my friend Terri’s house on Lake Jackson.  The view from the porch is always beautiful. I was up first (big surprise) and captured this image as a bit of fog was misting over the water.


Terri got up next and fixed us a big breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits, and fresh fruit.  I love a good breakfast.  That fondness started years ago when I lived in a sorority at the University of Georgia and we had a breakfast buffet every single morning!  I first learned to love grits at the Chi Omega house at UGA.


Before we got into the regular crafts, Gina started us off with a food craft and made her Jack Daniels BBQ sauce.


The onions were pungent and Terri saved the day with her Grillin’ Goggles.


The BBQ sauce aroma was amazing as it simmered all afternoon.  Even better was the fact that each person got to take home a jar. We ate it that evening with Steve T’s famous smoked pork.  We had some good meals, for sure!


Recipe for the sauce is at the end of this post.


For the first craft I brought materials to make a faux Mercury Glass Pumpkin.  We used clear glass pumpkins and we spritzed the inside with water and then sprayed the inside with mirror silver spray paint. After the paint dried we put fairy lights in for a soft glow.


It was super easy but very stinky.  We ended up using masks and gloves. I highly recommend them for everyone trying this craft.


I called this craft the Harvest Cheese Vignette. (I do love to name things!)  The cheese ball was easy to make into the pumpkin shape.  You make a cheeseball (this was 2 blocks of cream cheese and a Knorr dry vegetable soup package) and then roll it into freshly shredded cheddar cheese.  Wrap the cheese ball in plastic wrap and tie twine around it in four places.  Refrigerate for one hour.  Remove from the plastic wrap and place the stem of a green pepper on the top.

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We had to sample the cheese and then decided to bust out the other snacks.  It was quite a spread.


Moving on to craft number two from Terri.  We made nature prints on canvas.  First, spray paint a small painting canvas.  Next, spray flowers or greenery with adhesive spray.  Arrange the flowers on the canvas and then spray the canvas again with a contrasting color.  The results were very pretty and each was different.


Diane led us in making beaded Christmas ornaments.  I made an ‘M’, an icicle, and then I made Terri a keychain which I know she will treasure forever.


We worked into the early evening with our last craft of the day – a kissing ball.  Gina brought foam balls, wired ribbon, thin ribbon, and bags of potpourri with pinecones, cinnamon sticks, and orange slices.  We used hot glue to attach the dried plants and cones to the foam ball.



This was serious business! Terri is eyeing me to make sure I don’t steal her pinecones or perhaps she is plotting to steal mine.

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Here is my finished product in the shadows of the evening.


We then ate dinner, watched a little TV and gained an extra hour of sleep from the time change. My sleep was also enhanced by Terri’s blackout curtains.  I do not have those on my windows at home and I really think I sleep better in a dark room.  Something to consider when I get the next coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond.

The next morning we were up pretty dang early because of the aforementioned time change.  Well, almost all of us were up pretty early….


Ya gotta love a breakfast omelet bar with M&M’s on it!  Hmmm…do I want M&M’s or fungus, I mean mushrooms????


We left after breakfast and I brought my goodies home.  I plopped my kissing ball on my dining room table on one of my pedestal cake stands.  Love it!  It will stay there for a while until I find the optimal kissing doorway or a frame to fit over my head so that I will be an obvious target for some handsome fella other than Chupa!



Love the kissing ball, and in fact, I love all the crafts.  I can’t wait for the next Crafting Weekend. Hope it comes along soon!  Join me sometime!  I am always up for snacks, crafts, and of course, the friendship that comes along with the shared experience.

Finally, I leave you with the BBQ sauce recipe.  Now, everyone knows I am not a drinker but as you make this sauce with the Jack Daniels the alcohol is completely burned off in the cooking or in the lighting stage, so it is safe for the kiddies to eat and tasty for the teatotalers like me who never drink anything stronger than Ginger Ale.


Jack Daniels Barbeque Sauce

1/2 large onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c Jack Daniel's Whiskey
2 c catsup
1/3 c vinegar
1/4 c Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c molasses
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c tomato paste
2 tbsp liquid smoke
1/3 tsp hot sauce

Combine onion, garlic, and Jack Daniel's in a sauce pan. Sauté until onion and garlic are translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and light mixture, let it flame for about 20 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a medium simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.


Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce X 6 (uses the whole bottle)

3 large onions, minced

24 cloves garlic, minced
A fifth of Jack Daniels Whiskey
12 c catsup
2 c vinegar
1 1/2 c Worcestershire sauce
3 c packed brown sugar
4 1/2 c molasses
3 tsp black pepper
3 tsp salt
1 1/2 c tomato paste
12 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tsp hot sauce

Combine onion, garlic, and Jack Daniel’s in a sauce pan. Sauté until onion and garlic are translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and light mixture, let it flame for about 20 seconds. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a medium simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.

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Celery Seed Salad Dressing

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Celery Seed Dressing is my favorite homemade dressing.  It’s not a southern staple but I have found many variations of the recipe from cookbooks where my grandma lived in Ohio.  She actually lived somewhat near a celery swamp in Hartville Ohio.  They call them muck farms and the soil is black and moist.  Celery is 90% water so it makes sense that it requires a lot of water to grow.

I have a celery vase that is a bit glamorous. Celery vases were all the rage in Victorian times. Celery has gone in and out of culinary fashion over the years.  I can’t imagine buying something so fancy for my celery now.


If you like a sweet dressing, this is a good one.  I’m sure you could alter the amount of sugar in it, but I like it just as it is written.

Celery Seed Dressing

1/2 medium onion, chopped (I used Vidalia)

1/4 cup vinegar (I used rice vinegar)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon celery seed

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard

1 cup vegetable oil

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend on  high until smooth and sugar is dissolved.  Store in refrigerator.


Super easy and delicious!


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Weekends are Better Than Week Days

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Last weekend I made soup.  That’s it.  Just soup. Last weekend I was a little under the weather so it was a lazy weekend.  This weekend I was back to my usual “packing it in.”  I will give you the quick countdown of a Julie Weekend.

  1.  Always start your day with good hygiene preferably with a Brushing Buddy.z3                 Davis and Olivia like to hide charming little photos like these around my house so I thought I would put it to good use for the sparkliest teeth ever. Thank you, Dwayne the Rock Johnson for being my Bristle Pal today.

2.  After school my mother and I went to see the Magnificent Seven.  Chris Pratt stole the show with his witty quips.  Good movie.  I found the original On-Demand so I will go back and watch that soon.


3.  When I got home from the movie I found a giant surprise!  My basement was full of the gang once again.  This summer I enjoyed having Davis and Olivia’s friends hang out in the basement so when they all went to college it was VERY quiet around here.  I told Davis I missed his “Basement O’ Fun” so he sent out a text to his friends and they all met for a night in the basement so it wouldn’t be so quiet around here.  Amazing kids!!!


They came from UGA, Emory at Oxford, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State and of course, Berry College.


Evan has a “Hugh Grant” look about him here.


4.  The next morning I walked this little precious pup only to have him roll in a dead turtle.   Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyy?

He does not look even a little bit sorry. I gave him a quick bath and then I was ready to head out for the afternoon.


5.  I went with my friend Terri to the East Atlanta Strut.  It is a fun neighborhood festival. Very lively.


Terri’s daughter Abbey makes and sells pottery so we got to see some of her wares. I bought this piece at a previous show. Wonderful detail and style! She has a teeny brush and paints all the designs by hand. I love the colors.  They remind me of a sunset.


For lunch I had a vegan taco.  The pink chunks are pickled radishes.  I didn’t care for that combo so I picked off the pink and enjoyed the rest.


6.  After the festival we went to Kudzu Home Store and Flea Market.  We found our friend Joanna in there. Ha!   She really does look a lot like this painting.  Ask her to put on one of her many crowns and you’ll see what I mean.


As much as I wanted the painting, I bought this gorgeous cake stand instead.  For me, this is cake stand #7 so I guess I officially have a collection. They are a little hard to store, but I don’t care.  It’s for cake!!!z4

7.  After Kudzu we went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.  They don’t allow photos in there so I will leave you with the recipe I made from the butternut squash I bought in addition to my honeydew melons, freshly squeezed lime juice, lemons,  papaya, mango, chocolate croissants, and Granny Smith Apples.  Somewhat of an eclectic list.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 cups chopped, cooked, butternut squash

1  14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup half-and-half or milk

1/2 cup salted cashews, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor, puree squash and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth.  Set aside.  Melt butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour, ginger, and garlic.  Stir thoroughly.  Slowly pour in rest of broth.  Cook until slightly thickened and garlic is softened, stirring constantly.  Add squash puree, milk, cashews, salt, and pepper.  Cook until heated through.  Garnish with additional cashews.  Serves 4.  From The Cat Who Cookbook.

8.  On Sunday my mom and I went to Bulloch Hall in Warm Springs to eat lunch and to shop in the stores in their tiny little town.


I found my Christmas ornament exchange gift for the Cardinals.  All I’ll say is that it’s a good one and very stealable when we play our Christmas games.


I also got a few other Christmas presents since I was in the mind of Christmas. Don’t go looking for them because I’m a good shopper but not a good hider. You’ll find them pretty fast and then Christmas will be RUINED. Specifically, stay out of my closet.


9.  I came home and made my sample craft for our November craft weekend.  Here is a sneak peek.



Ha!  There is no sneak peek!!!!! You have to come and craft if you want a look!

10.  Finally, we went to Stein Mart and bought Davis a shirt for Mountain Day next week at Berry.  They have to dress in certain colors for parts of the weekend.  I bought Chupa a dog bed which I will probably end up using because it’s so so soft.  He won’t mind because he’s always on my bed!  We’ll trade.

So that’s my “not sick” weekend.  It is much busier than when I have a cold.  Next weekend looks promising already.  I love to squeeze in as much as possible!

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