Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Tradition

Many years ago, while traveling through the night on our way to a ski lodge on New Year's Eve, my future mother-in-law lit a candle in the car and placed it in a bucket. I was perplexed. She explained, that on New Year's Eve, "A Bayberry candle burned to the socket, brings health to the home and wealth to the pocket." I was an instant believer and have never let another new year begin without burning a Bayberry candle.

Tonight, as I lit the candle, I explained the tradition to my Knuckleheads. For a little added fun, I told them that once the candle was lit they could each make a wish for the new year. My 6 year old wished for a big cake and my little 4 year old punkette wished for a clock.

Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Easing back into the blog

Because I know you're sick of looking at Santa's Favorite Cookies.....

Christmas Lights and Fireworks in Natchitoches, LA

The Gridiron Gang has been on the go for most of December. We had a wonderful Christmas in Louisiana and have finally returned home to Texas to ring in a Happy New Year.
I promise get back to blogging as soon as I recoup from all the holiday fun.

~Gridiron Girl

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Santa's Favorite Cookies

Cane Syrup Cookies

1 cup sugar
2 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/3 cup cane syrup or molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients and cut in shortening*. Add egg and cane syrup (molasses can be used if cane syrup is not available in your area). Once combined, roll dough into small (1 inch) balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, leaving room for cookies to expand. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will develop a more crackled look and expand a bit more after you remove them from the oven. Yield: 3 dozen

* I use my Kitchenaid mixer because this is a very thick dough.

Happy Holidays!!!
Gridiron Girl

Serena over at The Farm Chicks is having a fun vitual cookie exchange.
Check it out for more great cookie recipes!

Quick photos to make grandparents happy :-)

I promise I'm working on some new stuff, but until I have time to get it posted, you can enjoy looking at a couple of new pics of my adorable little Sugarplums. :-)

My new camera is here and I'm having a blast trying to figure it all out. It is one serious piece of equipment, with more bells and whistles than I ever imagined!

Hot Chocolate on a COLD parade night.

Snuggled up waiting for the Christmas parade.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snow in East Texas!!!

It didn't last long, but it sure was pretty coming down.

Snowflakes on my coat.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turkey and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

A few of you have requested my Turkey Gumbo recipe, and I'm happy to share, the only problem is that I really don't have a real recipe. Gumbo is one of those a little of this and a handful of that kind of things. I firmly believe that if you ask 100 different people how they make their gumbo, you'll get a 100 different answers. But since y'all asked so nicely, I'm going to give it a shot.

A few notes before we get started:

~ Chicken and Sausage Gumbo is actually my favorite, so if you don't have any turkey available, by all means use chicken. I like to boil and debone my chicken, reserving the stock, before I get started. To make my Turkey Gumbo, I just used a few handfuls of leftover turkey and some canned stock.

~ The most important part of making a gumbo is the roux. You can find plenty of instructions online on how to make a roux, or you can just buy some of this fabulous stuff....

Premade roux is one of the world's best inventions if ya ask me. Don't think you're being less authentic if you use this stuff, every Louisiana cook I know keeps a jar of roux within their reach. It's the real deal, you just don't have to spend an hour making it yourself!

~ You need a large heavy bottom stock pot. If you use a thin pot, your roux will stick and scorch, and that would be bad.

Okay let's get started....


turkey or chicken, cooked and shredded
1 lb smoked sausage, cut up
chicken stock
bacon grease
onion, chopped
bell pepper, chopped
celery, chopped
greeen onions, chopped
parsley, chopped
garlic, chopped
salt, pepper and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning* to taste


Add about 2 tablespoons of bacon grease to stock pot, throw in all the chopped vegetables and saute until tender. Add smoked sausage and allow to cook a few minutes to get a nice color on the sausage. You may have to add a little water to keep from scorching the bottom of the pot. Next, add about 3 or 4 tablespoons of roux and mix well. Add stock while stirring to incorporate the roux. More stock, water or roux can be added as gumbo cooks to achieve desired consistancy. Add turkey, salt, pepper and Tony's and allow to cook for about 45 minutes. Be sure to stir often, add more liquid as needed and add more seasoning if desired. Serve over rice with Saltine crackers. DEELISH!

The longer a gumbo sits, the better it tastes. In my opinion, it'a always better the next day! It also freezes very well.

* If you haven't discovered Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning yet, please order you a case right this very minute! I promise you won't be sorry.

The kind folks at Tony Chacher's and Savoie's have no idea who I am and have not paid me a single cent for giving them some pub. I just love their products and think they're worth sharing.

I know my gumbo instructions are kind of confusing, so if you have any questions just ask! :-)

~The Gridiron Girl

Monday, November 30, 2009

Trying to catch up....

Finally, I have a little time to sit down and catch my breath. I hope you all had a Happy Turkey Day! Our Thanksgiving was wonderful, full of family, fun and way too much fabulous food. I am actually tired of eating. I may not cook for a week! Coach is on the road recruiting and I think the kids can survive on cereal and pudding cups.

Actually, as good as not cooking for a week sounds, it's too late. I have a big pot of bean soup on the stove right now. I couldn't help it! We had a big beautiful ham bone left over from Thanksgiving and it's really cold outside today. You just can't ignore some things, it had to be done!

Speaking of leftovers, I have to rave about my fried turkey gumbo! On Thanksgiving day, Coach fried up a turkey to perfection and we ate it until we had our fill. Then, Big Daddy pulled all the remaining meat off the bone for me, on Saturday I made a fried turkey and smoked sausage gumbo that was out of this world! We normally serve gumbo over rice, but I tried it over some leftover cornbread dressing and it was yummy. I think we just started a new tradition. Fried turkey gumbo and day full of football is a winner in our book!

We started decorating for Christmas on Saturday and we're still not finished. I started out strong, but I still have several boxes of stuff left to unpack and I'm kinda over it. I was hoping Santa's elves would have finished while I slept last night, but no dice. I guess I better get off the computer and get it finished.

Before I go, I have some wonderful news to share. My third child will be delivered later this week. (I know, I was shocked too!) I can't wait for you all to meet her...I think she's going to weight about 3 lbs, she's black and shiny, sharp and fast! I haven't decided on a name just yet.

Okay...Okay.... it's a camera, but I just know I'm going to love it almost as much as my children. It's the Nikon D700, the camera of my dreams. It's the camera I've considered selling an internal organ to acquire. And now, thanks to the generosity of my loving and super supportive parents, that baby will be mine in just a few days! "Thank you" just doesn't seem good enough to express my graditude to my Mom and Dad for giving me such a wonderful gift.


P.S. My daddy did try to bribe with a $1500 lens if I would actually give them one more grandbaby. I flatout told him no, but the longer I think about that sweet lens..............maybe.............just maybe................
My answer still stands! Nice try, Daddy-O!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Mama's Southern Sweet Potato Pie

I couldn't wait another 2 days to start feasting, so I broke down and baked
 Big Mama's Southern Sweet Potato Pie
 tonight. My Mom is the master pie maker in our family, but since she's doing the Pecan pies (among many other things) for Thanksgiving, I told her I would try making the Sweet Potato pies this year. She handed over her tried and true recipe and promised me I couldn't mess it up.
She was right.
It was as easy as...well...pie!

If you're looking for a simple, yet amazingly delicious pie to serve for Thanksgiving (or any random day of the week), give this recipe a try!
I promise you won't be disappointed.

Big Mama's Southern Sweet Potato Pie

3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup mashed sweet potaoes, drained
2 eggs
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter (do not melt!)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 pie crust (9 inch)

Combine flour and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Don't overbeat, it is normal for little pieces of butter to remain throughout the mixture. Pour sweet potato mixture into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Cover edges of crust halfway through baking to prevent burning. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!!!

~Gridiron Girl

Let It Snow...or not

Nevermind that we live in Texas and it's been in the 70s lately, my little Knucklehead needed a snowman for school. So like any Super Mom would do, I made it happen and quick! With a sheet of styrofoam, some scraps of felt, a few buttons, a little pumpkin carving saw and my trusty glue gun, we whipped out a pretty rockin' snowman in no time flat.

Who needs the cold, wet stuff? You can build this super cute little guy while wearing shorts and flipflops...and he'll never melt!

~Gridiron Girl

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

She's ALIVE!

I'm not dead, just extremely busy. All of the sudden I'm swamped with photo sessions. That's a good thing for my business, a bad thing for my blog. I promise to be back soon with some fun new stuff. Until then, check out these cute little nuggets I've been spending my time with....

<----This is Mush, he is one cool kid!

This is Mush's big sister. Isn't she beautiful?!

She's super sweet and smart too. Her Daddy is going to need a big stick!

I also got to hang out with these adorable little cousins. They played in the creek, got mud between their toes, rolled down the hill and slowed down just long enough for me to get a few fun photos.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Miracle Lemon Pie

I finally got around to making a pie with my

I'm happy to report that it was DELICIOUS and did not taste the least bit like chlorine.

I used this recipe for the filling and meringue.

Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Mix well and press into 9 inch pie plate, fill and bake as directed in pie recipe.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Look, Mom, I finally did it!

Thanks to my dear friend, Katy, I finally learned how to make those big, super cute hairbows that my little punkette loves to wear. I've tried to make them in the past, but I could never get it quite right. A few days ago, Katy sent me this tutorial and there's no stopping me now!

I've already made a few bows to match some Christmas outfits and I have so many other fun ideas. I used some of my Nanny's (grandmother) antique buttons to adorn some of the bows and I just love how they've turned out. Now I'm off to the store to load up on more ribbon!

Thanks you so much, Katy, for helping me learn a fun new craft that's going to save me a ton of money!!!

~Gridiron Girl

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who Dat?!

"Who Dat?!" 

Needless to say, I am beyond thrilled that my beloved New Orleans Saints are undefeated! It's not always easy being a Saints fan in Cowboy Land. I actually got a few "boos" while wearing my Saints shirt in the grocery store today. I've always loved the Saints, win or lose, but it sure is a lot more fun when they're 8 and 0!

I've been trying and trying to get Coach to take me home to New Orleans for a few days and he has been coming up with all kinds of excuses not to go. I was beginning to get annoyed, but then I found out he's been secretly planning to take me to the Saints vs Cowgirls game on December 19th! OH, HOW I LOVE THAT BOY!!!
I'm so excited I can't stand it!
Geaux Saints!!!
~Gridiron Girl

When Life Hands You Lemons

My little lemon tree is a miracle in a pot. Shortly after I brought it home, the stupid dog chewed it down to the roots. I left it sitting on the patio and the kids kept watering it, even though I thought it was a goner. I was so surprised when it started to come back. We nursed it back to health and by the end of last Summer, it was shiny and green, but never produced any lemons.

 I forgot it on the patio during last year's first frost and shortly after that, it lost all it's leaves and began to shrivel and die. For months it was nothing more than a brown stick that I kept meaning to throw out. Last Spring, as I was finally about to get rid of it, I noticed a few green leaves starting to sprout. Again we repotted it, watered it, fertalized it, and nursed it back to health. A few weeks later, I noticed some little lemons starting to appear. We were thrilled! Of course the kids wanted to pick them right away, but I quickly told them if they even thought about touching those lemons, there would be big trouble! They knew I was serious.

We babied our little lemon tree all Spring and Summer and our lemons kept growing and growing. When Fall arrived, so did the rain, and the little lemon tree loved it! It was finally starting to really thrive. I checked the tree everyday waiting for the perfect time to pick the lemons. One morning after a pretty bad storm, I went out to check the tree and it was gone...vanished! I looked and looked and couldn't find it anywhere. I was perplexed and so upset about my little tree. Then I saw it. It was at the bottom of the swimming pool, sitting upright, with most of it's soil still intact and every lemon still attached, even though it had blown across the yard! It was the strangest thing. I fished it out with the big pool rake and quickly rinsed it with some fresh water. I knew the pool chemicals would kill it, but I just had to try to save it one more time. The branches started to droop, the leaves started to curl and I started to cry.

But wait, my little lemon tree had yet another miracle rebirth! It survived the dog, the kids, the freeze, a major storm and even a night a the bottom of a cold swimming pool. After a few days of recovery from the pool incident, it bounced back and continued to grow. Now my little lemons are finally ready to be picked! I can't wait to make a big beautiful lemon pie...I just hope it doesn't taste like chlorine!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taking Time To Stop And Smell The Flowers

I can't believe it's November already! It seems like this year has absolutely flown by. We closed out the football season with a big win last Saturday and Coach is already on the road recruiting. We were disappointed that we didn't make the playoffs this year, but we had a young team that was plagued with injuries, illness and some bad decisions. It's frustrating that these young players don't yet understand that their actions not only affect them, but greatly impact my family as well. Sometimes I just want to shake them and tell them to grow up, but I guess that's what they're in the process of doing. It's just hard to stand by and watch sometimes.

On a completely unrelated note, the weather has been FABULOUS lately! After school yesterday, the kids and I decided to go out to the beautiful East Texas Arboretum. It's such a great place to spend a few hours. The kids really enjoy walking the trails, "accidentally" getting their feet wet in the creek and playing around the old red schoolhouse and in the Three Bears playhouse. I love looking at all the beautiful flowers and plants, and taking pics of the kids having fun.

While we were exploring some trails yesterday, we came across all kinds of scarecrows in the woods. Different schools and businesses had decorated them and placed them along the trail. It was neat until the sun started to go down, then we realized we were the only ones still at the Arboretum and we had walked a long way from the car. The Scarecrow Trail started to seem kind of dark and eerie! We decided it was time to get out of there and we all took off running! Once out of the woods,  we discoved the sun setting on all the beautiful flowers and there were butterflies everywhere! It was so cool.

The Arboretum is such a treasure in our little town. It's very well kept by a handful of volunteers and there's always something new to discover. It's a peaceful place for a relaxing afternoon with the family and a beautiful setting for weddings and festivals. They also host a fabulous Eco Camp for kids every Summer and it's one of my favorite places to take clients for photo sessions. It's one of the things I really love about our little town.

~Gridiron Girl

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

After a wonderful evening of Trick or Treating, we came home to hand out candy to all the many ghosts and goblins that had invaded our neighborhood. I thought I had bought more than enough goodies, but we were completely out by 8:15. The Trick or Treaters were out in full force tonight! We had big fun!

To make a great day even better, our team got a big (41 to 14) victory!

The Knuckleheads are happy, Coach is happy...Gridiron Girl will rest easy tonight.

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