Sunday, October 25

*coming home...

The bed linens are washed, pillows are fluffed cause our boy is coming home (for a visit)!

Our oldest, Robby, has been overseas for three months and recently arrived back in the states.  He will be arriving here at our house sometime in the next day or so for a weeks visit.

We are ready for a bit of down time with him for sure!  Henry and I put our hands to work and made his favorite cake - German Chocolate. We are praying for a quick arrival so we aren't tempted lest we succumb.

I had never used parchment paper in my cake pans before. I learned as momma had taught me; butter the pan and then sift flour in the pan, shake it around and tap out the excess. This always worked for her. I have used this method in the past and have been a bit frustrated with some small portion of the bottom of the cake sticking to the pan. So.. I decided to purchase the parchment paper from Walmart for my upcoming baking.  I don't know why I have never used it before!  Works beautifully.

Here is the recipe for the cake pictured above:

German Chocolate Cake (food network)

Cake Layers:
  • 4 ounces baker's chocolate (recommend: Baker's German Sweet Chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Frosting, recipe follows or whatever you prefer
In a micro-safe bowl, melt chocolate and water together in a microwave or over a double boiler.  Stir until smooth and set aside.  In a spearate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla extract, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating, until everything is combined.  Using an electric mixer beat egg whites, in a small bowl, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter.  Pour batter into 3 (9-inch) cake pans or 2 (12 capacity) cupcake tins. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before filling and frosting.

To Assemble the German Chocolate Cake:
Start with a layer of cake, top with a generous layer of the caramel/pecan frosting, place the other layer of cake on top of the frosting, frost that layer with caramel/pecan frosting

Around the outside of the entire cake, spread dark chocolate frosting or caramel/pecan frosting.

Coconut Pecan Frosting/Filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
  • 5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 2 cups toasted pecans
Combine evaporated milk, slightly beaten egg yolks, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and butter in a large saucepan or heavy pot over low heat. When butter melts raise the heat to medium, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken after 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add coconut and pecans and cool before frosting cakes.

Can't wait to slice into it!  I haven't eaten the cake yet (obviously), but the coconut/pecan topping is DELISH!

Saturday, October 24

*regal feline timon

Have you ever seen a cat more majestic?

Neither have I!  Timon (Timothy, Timbo, Timberly, Ti-monster and various other similar names) is one of our 5 beloved  Russian Blues.  Yes, we are a little nutty and we realize that five of anything is a lot. 

Monday, October 19


Me , Momma, Bridgette & Lori ( my sisters)

Momma and some of the grand kids

Sixty-five. A number. Just a number. My mother will celebrate her 65th birthday but that number will not hold her down.  Our mother has more energy than all three of us put together on many a day.  She is a lady who works hard, rest hard ( her resting is laboring in her yards), and would really do anything for you.   

Our first cousins recently had a surprise birthday for their mother and so the idea began for just such a celebration for our mother, Mary!  All of the behind the scenes plans took place over the course of one short month. All of the pieces fell into pleasant places!  Most who were invited were able to attend although we did have a few regrets, sixty-some family and friends came out to honor our mother on her birthday.  My sisters and I were blessed beyond words really for everyone's sacrifice of their Saturday in which they spent with our mother.

Firstly, I love both of my parents very much, but what I am going to share with you may seem like I am painting a "poor ole me" picture of my mom - I AM NOT.  My father is a good man.  My father had some issues in his life that I think he allowed to push him towards alcohol early in his life and he was never able to tear away from it.  He is a good man. My mother and father were married for 22 years, not always in total bliss as one can imagine - living with an alcoholic. Painfully my mother and father went their separate ways about 23 years ago.   She loved my father deeply and lived through many an alcoholic episode because of her love. Love covers a multitude of sin.    They still live in the same county and are cordial with each other most of the time.  My father is a good man.  Since that time my mother has become a VERY independent woman. She can do anything pretty much.. or break a foot trying!

To see her really enjoying her "older years", brings total joy and greatfulness to my heart. She has some really sweet friends that is starting to weave a beautiful tapestry in her life.  To have seen this, first hand was really very special for me.

Birthday Bash Menu:
Veggie Platter with dip
Crackers with Spinach dip
Sweet Tea

Main Course:
Low Country Boil
Pulled Pork

Side Dishes:
Potato Salad
Pasta Salad
Lori's Famous Baked Beans
Hot Dogs & Buns

Cupcakes (Pumpkin, Strawberry, Lemon)
 Carrot Cake

Thanks to each and everyone who came out to celebrate with us! You made it great!

While my mother is usually very timely.. she delayed in her we waited...



Momma hugging her mother

 I think she was a bit overwhelmed!

Teresa (my cuz) and I prayed for cooler weather...we got it! Here Granny is all snuggled in.

Shelly (mom's adopted daughter)  & Uncle Vernon (my mothers brother)

Granny & Momma

My mom's dear friends - Joann & her hubby

 Low Country Boil.. YUMMY!

 A low country boil is a perennial favorite here on the coast of Georgia.  Easy to make in large quantities, it is a great main dish for a party.  Though we find that not everyone likes all of the ingredients and so we pair a low country boil with a traditional covered dish to make sure everyone can  find something to eat.

While we make our low country boil in the exact same setup (in terms of burner pot and strainer) as one could use for a deep fried turkey, it can also be made on a stove with a large pot.

The amount of each of the following will vary depending on the size of the crowd you want to feed, but you will want roughly equal proportions of the following.

1 or more packs of smoked neck bones
1 or more dozen eggs
5 or more pounds-whole new potatoes (cut into quarters)
3 or more pounds-corn on the cob (cut in half or thirds to make pieces about
3-4 inches long)
3 or more pounds-sausage (polska kielbasa style cut in pieces 2-3 inches
long) I used Georgia Boy....
1/2 lb per person-shrimp (with shells on)I left the heads on. I was told
that the shrimp would taste better.
Optional crab legs.

Cooking the Low Country Boil
Start by filling the container (we use a 30-quart pot for this recipe) half  full of water and adding Old Bay Seasoning to taste. Add the crab boil seasoning (your favorite to your taste.I used a whole can but I wonder if the bag is better)1 orange & lemon cut in half and squeezed into water & 1 artichoke (don't ask me why)

Bring water to a boil and add potatoes. I added the neckbones here so they would season the recipe. I also added the eggs pretty quick since they take 15:00 themselves. Cook for 15 minutes and add sausage. Cook for an additional five minutes and add corn on the cob. Cook for an additional three minutes and add shrimp. Cook roughly two final minutes or until shrimp is pink all over and begin to float. But be quick with the shrimp once they begin to float or they will get rubbery.

Saturday, October 17

*a few of my favorite things

How do you feel when you travel back "home?" You know, that place where you grew up? I realize some of you reading may not have a place to call home due to your sacrifice and commitment to the military life which meant a move every so many years.  But just think back to the place that really captured your heart the most.  These are a few of the things I miss about my hometown in Georgia which we recently visited...

spanish moss hanging from the live oaks...

dirt roads with a stray dog or two...

both of my parents gardens, and them in it...

salt marshes and the smell that lies within..

family, family, family...

Before we know it, we will be packing up all of our 'stuff' and moving away from NC.  The place we have called home for 20+ years. I already know a few things I will miss from here as well.
What are a few of your favorite things from your home town that you miss?

Thursday, October 15

*quality time with my boy

Quality time and touch are Henry's "love languages". (read more about your love languages here) Henry and I are having more opportunities for one on one time while Eric travels these days.  Eric's newest job has called for a lot of travel as of late.  Some of it he enjoys and some, not so much - mostly, not so much.  He, like all of us, would rather be in his own home at night, in his own bed sleeping and waking up with his beloved (that would be me).   But while he is away, Henry and I do more one on one stuff.   If you know me, you know that I do love to take pictures. My camera is always in my handbag ready to capture a moment or help create one to capture.   These are the silly pictures I took of Henry while at Lone Star last night. I just can't understand why he doesn't want to smile "purty" for me each time I want to flash the camera; that is - until he ask to hold the camera, then I understand. 



Oh yeh. I totally understand.

Sunday, October 11

*reality blog post...

Reality TV is very popular right now, so I thought you might want a dose of Reality Blog here at Lame In Both Feet.  This is my sewing room while in the midst of a project.  I have been working diligently on preparing for the Gillis Hill Fall Festival.  My Janome and I have been very tight these past few weeks!  I have been working to finish a lot of pot grabbers. I finally finished them and now the reality of the mess on the floor, in the chair, on the cutting board (which I can no longer see), ironing board and any and every other surface in my sewing room has set in.   I usually clean up at the end of each project, it is nice to start each project with a clean palette.

ah.. the end is in sight (for this particular project) 

Clean! It is clean and now ready for me to start afresh with the next sewing project.

Wednesday, October 7

*gps... will travel..(and not get lost)

Recently I indulged a bit and purchased something that wasn't really necessary but necessary, if that makes any sense.  I will let you be the judge... A number of years ago I was planning a trip to visit some friends in Tennessee.  Car gassed up, map in hand, a navigator (Fallon, a young friend of mine) and the open road laid ahead of us.   The drive would be long, well a lot longer than we foreknew!  I think Kara, Henry and Fallon were just enjoying the drive and oblivious to all the wrong roads I had taken which took us to the top of some mountain... far away for our destination!  Poor Fallon had to console this, then thirty-something who was falling apart at the seams.  In my own defense... it was now dark and I had managed to get us up the mountain and the only way down was to DRIVE IN THE DARK back down the curvy unknow roads.  I did however give thought to staying over in a hotel until morning, but our fearless navigator rescued us!  Fallon was really a life saver on this trip, she took the  phone, got directions and literally led me out of that place we were in.  We did finally make it to the Nix family home and had a fantastic time while visiting.

On another occasion Robyn (Fallon's mother) and I were headed to the beach - this is when I found out I was in a situation of the blind leading the blind. It is also when I realized how Fallon had become so good at taking charge and directing like a pro.  I am happy to report that my friend Robyn now has a GPS as well (in fact it was her that spurred  me to buying mine) and now we can intrepidly travel til our heart is content

I am now looking forward to driving Henry to all of his swim meets across the state without fear that he will miss his first heat of each match.

Saturday, October 3

*better than olive garden.. for real

Yesterday I spent a few hours on Tasty Kitchen site selecting some recipes to put in my recipe box. I came across this delicious recipe that mocks the Zuppa Toscanna Soup that Olive Garden has on their menu. Zuppa Toscanna is one of our favorites when we do eat at Olive Garden. For me, it is a real winter delight. The rich creamy broth, paired with the smokey flavor of the bacon as well as the spicey Italian sausage is just mmmm mmmm good! I especially like the kale in this soup and added a bit extra for our soup pot. I am sometimes a bit hesitant to cook a recipe that states, "taste just like ......", but I did cook this recipe and it is JUST LIKE if not better than OG's. Actually, it is better because you are spending the amount on a pot of soup that you would pay for a bowl of this soup at the restaurant. Go ahead, make it this week!

Recipe for Zuppa Toscana
1 pound of Italian Sausage (crumbled)
1/2 pound of smoked bacon
2 cups of water
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 cans (14.5 oz) Chicken Broth
2 whole large Russet Potatoes, I used about 5 med red potatoes, sliced about 1/3 inch
1 whole medium onion, chopped
2 cups of Kale or Swiss Chard chopped
1 cup of heavy whipping cream

On medium high heat brown the sausage, drain and set aside. On med-high heat brown bacon; drain and set aside. Place water, broth, potatoes, garlic, onion in a pot and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add cooked sausage and bacon, simmer 10 minutes. Add kale and cream, season with salt and pepper, and heat through.

If you would prefer a low carb version substitute the potatoes with cauliflower for potatoes.

Fresh from the Farm Recipe Swap with Farmchick

Friday, October 2


The beautiful girls. (in front Sarah, Franziska, Mary in rear)


The Linn Cove Viaduct around Grandfather Mountain on the Blue Ridge Parkway


We had just crossed over the Grandfather Mountain Mile High Swinging Bridge - 5278 feet above sea level - windy and perfectly delightfully cold! (in October)

Definition of serenity (noun) -the absence of mental stress or anxiety; peace of mind; repose; heartsease;

Yes, this is the state we were in, serenity.