A place to share a little about my crazy life filled with food, friends, faith and freedom.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello 2013.

I am going out of 2012 with a glass of chocolate milk and a great night with my family. I can't think of a better way. So...Heres to a year another year of life. A life of grace, thanks to my Father above. I wish you a very happy new year! May God do the craziest things in your life. I know he wants to oh so bad. I hope you open your heart and let him this year. He will be waiting with a hug. God bless and don't be too crazy tonight. :) 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Make up and Meades.

A stop by show off Leslie's interview outfit turned into a night of intense Heart of Darkness discussion, make up lessons (including eyeliner expeditions and mascara mayhem) with Halle, and finally a delicious dinner prepared my Momma and Momma Meade. It was Amaaaaazing. We had soup. Good soup. So you should try some of this good soup. Here it is :)

Southwestern Turkey Soup 

 (Perfect for Leftover Christmas Turkey!)
 Prep: 20 min.
 Cook: 30 min.
 Yield: 7 servings

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons diced jalapeƱo pepper
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chillies, undrained
  • 1-1/2 cup frozen corn

1.) In a large saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in the broth, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne. Add turkey, beans, tomatoes, and corn.

2.) Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Garnish with sour cream and cheese. Eat with tortilla chips.

creds to Taste of Home: Best Loved Recipes 


Printable Recipe Here!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Chinese Chopsticks.

So yesterday, after a long day working at the antique shop, my friend Dora invited a few of us girls over to her house for a real Chinese dinner. Yeah, thats right. None of that Chao Chicken American stuff. We're talking the real deal. Dora's mom (officially our Chinese teacher!) made us an incredible array of Chinese Dumplings, Tofu and Veggies with a magnificent soy sauce, and Chinese butter crackers for dessert. It was truly incredible. Special thanks to the Tan family who invited us into their home and not only cooked for us but made one of the most special traditional Chinese meals. They are a true blessing.

The Tan home. Look at those chopsticks!

Cocoa on a snowy day.

My girls :) 
Today my friends came over for some homemade Hot Cocoa. I know it is crazy but before today I had never made homemade Hot Cocoa. That had to change. So here it is (My first recipe posted. Woot!). I really liked it. More like semi-sweet hot chocolate- a very satisfying semi-sweet!

Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa

 Prep/total time: 15 min
 Yield: 10 servings

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2/3 cup Baking cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 8 cups 2 % Milk
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. Almond Extract
  • Marshmallows (Not Optional!)
 1.) In a large sauce pan combine the sugar, cocoa, and salt.
 2.) Stir in milk and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through.
 3.)Remove from heat and stir in extracts.
 Serve in mugs with marshmallows.

Printable Recipe Here!

Trada Joes.

Momma and I had a girls day out on Thursday. Well I actually crashed her lunch date with her dad and then my Dad joined us as well. But before lunch we made a quick stop by Trader Joe's. Ahh. 6 types of peanut butter? Heck yah. Creamy tomato soup? Yes please. After a few more oooos and ahhhs over the delicious items we headed to the checkout line with  solely nonperishable items. (Darn long trips with no refrigeration!) And then to Ramseys for some good Southern cooking.  After lunch Gramps took my Dad on home and Momma and I were free to shop. Ok so I normally hate the mall. But Christmas Gift Cards=Totally different story. With my  Forever 21 card (Thanks Aunt Andrea!) I bought some high waisted jeans and a jean button up shirt. Sweet. Then headed over to Franchescas (my new obsession. 3 times in two weeks.) and found the perfect gift for my best friend Emily. A cute little cross car charm to spice up her 15 year old pick up truck. We finished the day with a Strawberry and Banana smoothie with all natural ingredients to boot. Sweet. It was quite a nice day with Momma :) 

Friday, December 28, 2012


Yaoxing in his new hat. 
Dad and his Turkey. 
 Here we go. Christmas in full detail. The best day i've had in a long time. It was...simply wonderful.  We started the day at 8:15, an improvement from our usual 7:30 (teenager probs). This year we got quite the loot from Santa. Hair bands, Fuzzy Socks, Mary Kay products (Shout out to my favorite Mary Kay Director/Cousin/Extraordinaire in Kelly!) and, of course, lots of candy filled our stockings. Autry's asian friend/newest addition to the Graham clan, Yaoxing Li, joined us this year. His stocking consisted of a plastic bag, but Hey! he was pretty happy with those Reese Cups! As we nibbled on our candy, okay I did more than nibble, Mom peaked through her stocking. In it she found an assortment of her favorites- Chocolate Covered Raisins (Affectionately called "Bugs" by the Fam), antiquey purple earrings (Her favorite color!), and, of course, a new watch. (Christmas isn't Christmas without a watch in Mom's stocking!). After the stocking excitement wore off we headed to the Christmas Tree. Yaoxing started us off this year. He really likes presents. :) His first gift was an Under Armour beanie hat. I don't think he quite realizes how cold it gets here in America. He will find out pretty soon! I unwrapped second, then Autry, Momma, and Dad. So many gifts! Too many to list. But i'll start with our favorites! Autry- A complete tie between her FOSSIL WATCH! Woot. And edgy military Aldo Boots. She is in 7th Heaven.  Momma- Her burnt orange Lands End pea coat was definitely a hit. A 50% catch on Christmas Eve to boot. Wassup. Dad- Golf tees. Of all things to say, how lame. Oh wait, they are "Long tees, 3 1/2 inches. Hard to find." Men and golf. For me- Hands down my Turquoise Blue Cuinistart Ice Cream Freezer. AH. I am sooo in love. If Kroger wasn't closed on Christmas you better believe I woulda been right there in the dairy section buying some extra fatty heavy cream for my freezer! Oh there are so many more gifts to list because I am so truly blessed. I have an incredibly generous, kind-hearted family that I am forever thankful for. They are what truly made Christmas so simply wonderful this year. Not just the 27 of them that piled into our home, but also those in spirit in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and even Germany! I love you all! :)...After we skinned the Christmas tree to the bone (thats not actually a metaphor but I like it) we continued our Christmas traditions with the annual waffle, bacon, and fruit salad breakfast at my Aunt and Uncle's house. Leaving with a few more gifts (Charly-I love my teddy bear sweatshirt!), and a few more pounds, we headed back to our house to finish up the final cleaning (yay) for our party at 5! I skipped out on the cleaning and escaped to my neighbors home to search for their cat, Tibby. She was gone for 4 days on my watch. Thats enough to make a cat-sitter a little nervous. But she finally came back. Shew. At About 4ish Mom summoned me home to join the pre-party make up party! Kelly (the Mary Kay Extraordinaire) helped me out with my makeup while Autry did her curls with her new HerStyler Wand (truly a magical wand). We all looked beauutiifull for our partayyy. The rest of the fam, and a few extras, including two opera singing men and Momma's longtime friend Mrs. Patricia, arrived about 5 ish. At 5:30 Gramps blessed the food and the mad dash began. I was about 5th in line. Yes. Our Christmas dinner potluck was a success. Baked carrots, broccoli casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, roasted turkey and the like. It was heaven. To say I ate a lot would be a ridiculous understatement. The crazy game of 5.00 gifts in which I came away with "Cooking for Your Cat" (featured in my earlier post), a few more hours of cousin bonding and, finally, hesitant, but content, goodbyes ended the truly wonderful Christmas day. Oh! And I can't end this post with out a shout out to Jesus- "The Reason for the Season!" Annoyingly cheesy but so right. Thank you Jesus. For your incredible grace and truth that made this such a wonderful day. We are so honored to celebrate your birthday! I apologize for the length of this post, but there is just so much wonderfulness to say about Christmas and I know I left out so much!  I really hope that everyone had a wonderful day as well. God Bless. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sisterly Love (She made me do this).

My sister made me put this on here. She wants to feel special. This is Autry (yes, like Gene Autry). She says hi. We're all dressed up for Christmas! It has been a great day. Merry Christmas one last time! 

Cooking for Your Cat.

5.00 white elephant gift exchange. Thats all. Oh, and thats Yao Xing from China. He spent Christmas with us this year!

The Face.

So the fam is here. And we are listening to these entertaining men sing Opera. That was quite a surprise. Oh! And shout out to my Aunt Andrea who is turning 43 today! Woot. My crazy cousins are here. I think this picture pretty much covers it (Credit to Jenna Marbles for The Face).

Oh my, what have I got my self into.

It has happened. I have created my first blog. I'm a little scared. Ahh (that is me screaming right now). I want to preface this by saying that my sole intention in this blog is to create a place for me to record all of my crazy cooking and, really, life experiences. I hope that in 20 years I can pull up this little website (will we even have computers then? If so they will probably be the equivalent of the classic Razor Flip phone right now...) and remember all the recipes I tried and experiences I embraced when I was 17. I really just recently became interested in cooking and have no idea where it will take me. But for now, here goes nothing!  

Soooo, to the important stuff. It's CHRISTMAS. Woot. The best day in the world. Happy Birthday Jesus, my dear friend. For my family, today is a day of early mornings, delicious waffles (thanks Uncle Si!), warm embraces, (insert kind adjective here) christmas socks (thanks Gramps!), an overload of the Graham Family, and lots of delicous food. Especially Mamaw's rolls. Mmmhm. A little piece of heaven. For many years my Granny was the goto baker of these little masterpieces, but a few years ago she passed the sacred duty on to my mom. And this year my mom actually asked me for help. Woah. So, sticky fingers, a few angry words, and lots of butter later. Here they are (almost- curses to two never ending hours of rising). I cannot wait for the dough to finish and the family to arrive. Only twoooo moooreee hours. So, for now, I better get to reading Heart of Darkness (curses to high school english teachers). I hope your family is having an incredible Christmas filled with many blessings.