Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Back Yard Update! feels good to sit down with a nice glass of white wine and just chill.

We spent the day in the back yard...pea gravel, boulders, mulch, blood, sweat, tears , Mickey D's sweet tea...

I guess I should let the pictures speak for themselves~

Bed filled with hydrangea (back corner-hard to see), flox, peonies, and daylilies.  Will most likely have to divide next spring, and move to another bed.  Product of all the rain last summer!

Bar area.  We built the bar a few years back after seeing something similar in Better Homes and Garden magazine.  It is made from cinderblocks and 2x4s.  Top is stained with deck stain, and the columns were painted with Rustoleum Renew.

A closer look...

Our knock out roses are blooming like crazy, especially now that they get more sun.  Our neighbors had to take out their leland cypress trees due to disease that were along the fence, so the roses are now in full sun.  My hydrangeas close by are NOT happy however!! They plan to replant trees, so for now I will leave them and see what happens.

Our pond.  My brother contracted someone he knew to build the pond (bare bones), and he landscaped it for us.  We finished up the project literally the day before our oldest's graduation party in 2008!  I think I still had some dirt under my fingernails.

The waterfall...

Hostas underneath our deck steps.  Cannot wait for them to fill out.  That is if the darn squirrels would quit digging around them!!!

We have a stepping stone pathway close to the pond.  The boulders in the bottom left corner will be a part of a rock garden I am building to help with a drainage issue next to the steps.

Hostas and ferns near the pond.  Again, cannot wait til they are all this big!!

New pea gravel patio area. The boulders were added for a border as well as to allow rain water to drain.  We plan to put a fire pit in the middle and surround it with some chairs.

Our veggie and herb garden is taking off nicely, after it was toast due to a late frost crazy Atlanta weather.  Even our rosemary is coming back (bottom left).

The hydrangeas on the hill are just starting to bloom.  I love these, petite blue blooms.

Our blueberry bushes.  This is after we cut them way back last fall!  We can't eat them fast enough.  Lucky for us, #2s beau LOVES them and will waste no time eating his share!

Looking back from our new pea gravel patio toward the pond.  A little better look at our pathway.

Arial views are always fun!  Here is the bar area...


View from the side of our deck.  We hope to replant several trees soon.  We lost 20 leland cypress last year to disease.  Just beyond the tree line you see is still a lot of property, currently covered in just pine straw.

New porch pillows.  This is where I plan to park my rear for the rest of the summer once all these yard/house projects are done.  Windows go in tomorrow and then paint is next!

We could not have done this without childlabor our sweet girls, and #1s "the keeper".  They worked their tails, arms, legs, whatever moves off!!!  We did feed them lunch afterward ;-)

Hope you enjoyed the back yard tour!  

I am linking back to  the Best of the Nest

Monday, May 19, 2014

What's for Dinner Sunday addition~

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but we are enjoying having our youngest at home for a few weeks before she heads back to the university for a summer session.

Prior to her coming home, she emailed me this recipe and said we should give it a try.  Well, I waited until she was home to enjoy it with us.

We all agreed...YUMMO, and definite keeper.

Firecracker Chicken

Yields 4 servings, original recipe found here.


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 C vegetable oil

For the sauce:

3/4 C Imperial Sugar, Light Brown Sugar (we used our usual organic from Whole Foods)
1/3 C buffalo sauce, or more, to taste
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more, to taste


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish or coat with non-stick spray.
To make sauce, whisk together sugar, buffalo sauce, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes and 1 TBS of water in a large bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl, season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in cornstarch and gently toss to combine. Working one at a time, dip the chicken into the eggs.
Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan.  Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; discard excess oil.
Add chicken to prepared baking dish. Top with buffalo sauce mixture.  Place into oven and bake until the sauce has thickened, about 45 minutes, turning over every 15 minutes to evenly coat the chicken.
Serve Immediately.

We served with Jasmine rice.  While this dish has a nice sweet heat to it, my spicy-hot loving family would have wanted to kick it up a notch (so next time I will add a bit more buffalo sauce and peppers to taste).


Hoping to get some projects out of the way this week, if this rain will ever end!!!  Praying this is not a repeat of last summer (30 days + straight of rain).

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What's for Dinner? ~Monday Addition

Last night we fixed the most delicious trout dinner.  The recipe came from one of my newer Paleo cookbooks, Paleo Comfort Foods, and could not have been easier to make.

Georgian Pecan-Crusted Trout


1/2 C Almond flour
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large eggs
1 C toasted pecans, roughly chopped
4 6-8 oz pieces of trout
2 TBS clarified butter, divided
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C white wine
1/4 C capers, rinsed
2 TBS fresh Italian parsley, chopped


1. Place the almond flour along with some salt and pepper on a large plate or shallow dish.
2. Whisk the egg whites slightly, and place in separate dish and put the pecans into a third dish.
3. Working one piece at a time, dredge the trout flesh side down first into the flour mixture, then into the eggs, then into the pecans, pressing down to get nuts to adhere.  Set aside and repeat process with other pieces of fish.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter of medium-high heat. Add the fish (in batches if necessary) skin side up (nuts side down) and cook until golden, about 5 minutes Carefully flip over and cook another 4-5 minutes until the fish is just cooked through and skin is golden.
5. Remove fish to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
6. Add the butter, lemon juice, and wine to the pan, scraping to bring up any of the browned bits from the fish.
7. Add the capers, and whisk to combine all, until heated through. Stir in parsley, and pour sauce over the fish to serve.

We served our with roasted asparagus, it was the perfect compliment.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Super Simple Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest, and knew instantly my hubby would love it.  So, last night we gave them a try.  All I can say is SUPER SIMPLE and SO YUMMY!

Stuffed Jalapenos (originally recipe found on debbiedoo's)


1 lb of Jalapeno peppers
1 lb of ground sausage
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 green onion finely chopped


1. Rinse jalapenos, slice in half and take seeds out.
2. Cook sausage and drain.
3. In a bowl, mix sausage, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and green onion.
4. Spoon mixture into jalapeno halves.
5. Bake at 450* for 20 minutes.

It is that simple.  They were quite yummy and would be a perfect appetizer for a party.