Thursday, April 28, 2011

Put Your Pinkies in the Air...

The Big Day is finally here.

Jonathan and I had planned to get up early to watch the Royal Wedding and enjoy tea, but then it suddenly hit me Thursday — I have to serve something English for breakfast! So, I rushed to the grocery store to try my hand at baking scones. I'll be honest, they taste delicious, but they're not the prettiest (even though my photography will lie and tell you otherwise!). It really turned out to be more of a scone pizza, but Jonathan has forbidden me to share the picture showing how the entire pizza scone took up 2/3rds of my stovetop.

Chocolate Scones (Southern Living)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup whipping cream
2 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whipping cream or milk
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients; cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly. Gradually add 1 cup whipping cream, melted chocolate and vanilla, stirring with fork just until dry ingredients are moistened. Knead dough in bowl 3 or 4 times to incorporate any flour or cocoa in bottom of bowl.
Pat dough into an 8-inch circle on a parchment paper lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Cut into 8 wedges, using a sharp knife (Do not separate wedges). Brush with 1 tablespoon whipping cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake at 425° for 19-20 minutes (Center will be soft; do not overbake). Serve warm. Yields: 8 scones.

Cooking in progress:

(He was eager to try a scone!)

(Yes, we're enjoying them on our fine china!)

God save the Queen!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

T-2 Days

I'm getting SOOO excited about the royal wedding!! I will definitely be getting up early with my Emperor's Bride tea.

That's all. I don't have time to blog, peeps, I have a yard sale to get ready for!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Recipe for the Perfect Day

There are three things that I could probably live without, but I wouldn't want to. They enrich my life and make each and every day a little more enjoyable.

My morning cup of coffee:

(J's made me a coffee snob. Now, only fresh ground, medium roast, Dunkin Donuts coffee will do.)

Afternoon tea:

(It's only fitting that I took this image from my friend/coworker Angela's blog, Tea With Friends, because she and my friend, Holly, are the people responsible for getting me hooked on Emperor's Bride Tea. It's Finnish and can only be purchased from The Savannah Tea Room!!! If you love tea and haven't tried it, rush order it from their website. Just beware the caffeine content!)

Evening glass of wine:

(I have fallen in love with Red Diamond cabernet sauvignon. It's tasty and cheap!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Day, New Diet

About once a year I decide to give up all food that tastes good. I decided that the time was right on Sunday to begin my latest diet — er, lifestyle change.

Yes, I'm going to the beach for a whole week in May, but that's not why I'm choosing to eat like a health nut again. Okay, well, it's only about 35% of the reason. The other 65% is that I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I have weird medical maladies that I'm not going to discuss in the blogosphere. You wouldn't believe me anyway. Suffice it to say that I've been through a LOT in the last year and a half — and it's time to take matters back into my own hands.

That's why I decided in a bout of frustration this weekend that I'm resuming some semblance of the Candida detoxification diet. If you'll recall, that's the diet I went on last year. In 10 days I lost around 7 pounds and went down an entire pants size. I'd never felt better...that is, until I added back food and found out that I'm sensitive to everything but water.

This go-round I'm going to drastically cut my carbs and sugar, not eliminate them. I'm going to dramatically limit my alcohol intake. I'm going to focus on eating organic foods — mainly meats and veggies. I will drink chamomile tea and eat probiotics and try to coax my GI tract into submission. Oh, and I'm going to drink water until I float away.

Here was my last good meal. Thanks, mom:

Here are the only foods I'm allowed to eat from now on:

I'm excited about my grocery store finds, actually! I've never tried these Naked fruit smoothies or carrot juice or greek yogurt.

Tonight's dinner wasn't bad at all, either. Jonathan and I had butternut squash soup and a chicken salad with dry roasted edamame. We tossed it in our favorite dressing — oil and vinegar with a little salt and pepper. That's another one of those tips straight from our Italian grandmother.

See, not so bad:

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Richardson Roots Tour

Jonathan has been calling this weekend the "Richardson Roots Tour," and the term kinda stuck. This weekend, me and my rents took Jonathan — who, may I remind you, is an only child from a small family — to meet the Richardsons. When I say "the Richardsons," I mean all 1 million of us. The full gaggle.

My father's mother, Julia Bell Richardson, lives in Britton's Neck, SC. Don't worry, you've never heard of it. And, by the way, it's not even on Wikipedia — we checked! It's in low country South Carolina about an hour from Myrtle Beach, and the population has got to be less than 150. There's no downtown. There's not even a school. The population is probably 75% Richardsons — which is why, during our tour this Easter weekend, we visited destinations like the Richardson family cemetery and Richardson Hill.

All that aside, it was so great to have the opportunity to introduce Jonathan to my aunts and uncles and cousins who couldn't make it all the way to Georgia for our wedding. He instantly fit into our crazy family!! And, it's hard to believe my sweet grandmother is about to turn 89! I'm so grateful for the time we got to spend with her.

Jonathan and I probably had the most fun hiding the eggs for the big Easter egg hunt that all the little ones took part in. Here's the family photo we took at the conclusion of the Easter egg hunt. I LOVE that our numbers are steadily growing (yes, we're already feeling the pressure, Dad)!

The Gaggle

Here are a few more pictures from this weekend that capture the essence of the Deep South:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Going Out of Town...

Well, blog friends, Jonathan and I are headed out of town this afternoon to celebrate Easter — or, more to the point, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — with family in South Carolina.

We will likely not be near phone service or Internet, so I will bid you adieu until next week and wish you all a very happy Easter.

The Melvilles

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Speaking of gardens...

I wanted to plant another vegetable garden this spring, but I haven't found just the right location yet at our home. I decided to plant some green bell peppers in a pot (less weeds, and I can be noncommittal on a location).

As my coworker has pointed out, I need to transplant a few of these or they're going to choke each other out. I said I'd stop at bell peppers, but now I want to plant zucchini, too. Next year I hope to do a bigger garden and possibly begin composting.

A garden is just one way Jonathan and I are hoping to save money. We are by no means rich, but we live pretty comfortably. I'm happy with that. Lately, though, we've been challenging ourselves to live on less so we can do more for those who are in real need (this is probably partly influenced by reading Radical...)

I'm going to check out SouthernSavers and try my hand at couponing (I've admittedly never committed to doing this and I hear it can really save you moolah).

We're also open to finding ways to make extra money. A co-worker told me about a site where you can take online surveys in exchange for Amazon gift cards. Usually I'm skeptical of these, but she says she's already received her first gift card, so I'm going to give it a try.

It's particularly challenging to restrain your spending when you're not in a tough financial spot!! Pray that we would commit to this way of living and be content with what we have!!

Any other helpful suggestions? How do you make/save money?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recipes & Kidney Stones...

They are both made to be passed. Or, so said my husband over our dinner of Hawaiian Chicken tonight — which is another recipe taken from Megan (the birthday girl!!)

So, taking the wise advice from my intelligent and witty husband, here is the recipe:

Hawaiian Chicken

(Seriously wish you could smell this picture!)

This is the PERFECT summer recipe when you get the urge to grill a healthy, flavorful meal!!

chicken strips
Zesty Italian marinade
zucchini (quartered)
(squash is optional-quartered)
can of pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice

Marinade chicken strips in Zesty Italian for a couple of hours. Fire up the grill. Make aluminum foil pouches of zucchini (squash), pineapple, pineapple juice and some Zesty Italian.

Enclose aluminum foil pouch. Add pouches to grill along with chicken. Cook 10-15 minutes depending on chicken thickness/grill heat.

Empty contents of pouch over chicken and serve hot!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Garden Tour

Yes, I dream in ferns now. Jonathan tamed this tiger. I'm a domestic diva, and I am not ashamed.

Let me introduce you to my new life:

(English Ivy)

(Eugenia Topiary)


(Japanese Maple)

(Roses - not sure what variety??)

(Hostas - inexplicably my favorite!)

(Ostrich Ferns—we have BIG plans for these puppies in our shady backyard...stay tuned!)

(Boston Ferns)

(Miniature Gardenia)

The new & improved front yard (notice there's something new every time I post this photo; this time it's the FIVE new Knockout Rose bushes):

Here is the centerpiece of our yard, and one of the main reasons we bought this house:

(We estimate this to be around a 200-year-old oak?)

And, here is the newest addition to my yard, which I plan to use as a bird feeder (thanks, Christine!)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken Puffs

This is a simple and delicious recipe. I imagine kids would have fun helping prepare this one. Verdicts out on whether it's the healthiest... just be sure to serve it with veggies!

Anyway, my thanks to Megan for sharing this recipe with me a while back. Now, I'm going to pay it forward!

Chicken Puffs

about a pound of chicken, boiled and shredded
cream cheese (about 8 ounces-I eyeball it!)
salt to taste
crescent rolls (2 cans)

Preheat oven as directed on crescent roll package. Mix chicken with cream cheese until it's creamy to your liking. Mix in salt. Sprinkle with paprika.

Roll crescent rolls flat and separate from each other. Press dough thin using fingers and spoon in chicken filling.

Enclose mixture with dough. Pull off the extra dough (you'll have enough leftover to make a few extra chicken puffs).

Bake as directed on crescent roll package.

And here's what pops out of the oven...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Half-iversary!

Six months ago today, Jonathan and I were wed before family, friends and God! Can you believe it? Since I haven't had the opportunity to show many of you our wonderful wedding album done by our spectacular photographer, Jeremy Harwell, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a few of my favorite pictures from our wedding...