Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Meet Zora!

After much weeping and gnashing of teeth (that is not an exaggeration), we finally found Gladys's replacement. This is Zora.

She hasn't had a bath yet, but that's okay. 
I named her after Zora Neale Hurston the author of my favorite book Their Eyes Were Watching God. If you've never read it, you need to get it FAST. All of the dialogue is written in a very heavy dialect, but the prose is so beautiful it reads more like poetry. I love this book so much that I would name a child Zora, but Jared would never agree to it, so I decided a funky purple car needed an exotic name like Zora.


God's fingerprints are all over this situation. It's so funny how we don't see that when we're in the midst of our troubles. Jared wanted something reliable and good on gas. I wanted something that wasn't boring to look at and something I could find in the midst the sea of silver sedans that make up every parking lot. We found several cars we were interested in, but for one reason or the other, they all fell through. Meanwhile, it was going on over 3 weeks without a car for me. I didn't realize how spoiled I was!



But God is good. He's good when we've complained and whined and acted like a petulant child. He is faithful to provide for those who trust him. Trust. Trust. Trust. That word has been in the forefront of my mind these days. I cannot forget how important that is.

Jared and I have big plans for Zora. Well, I guess just one big plan. We're going to rip the carpet out and put bed liner in its place, so that it is easy to clean, and we don't have to worry about mold or mildew if we leave the top off and it gets wet inside. Did I mention it's a brand new top?

And come summertime, you will find me with the wind in my hair. and it will be magical.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Inspiration Files: Wood Floors

When Jared and I bought our house as a foreclosure, the bank that owned it replaced all the gross flooring with a very light beige carpet. It looked good for approximately two seconds before everything in the world had attached itself to our carpet. No matter how often I vacuum, spot clean, or shampoo the carpets, it doesn't matter. Each time I vacuum is like a science experiment. I. Hate. Our. Carpet.

Jared and I are planning are tearing out the carpet (HALLELUJAH!) in the living room and upstairs common area and replacing the flooring in the kitchen, living room, stairway and the landing at the top of the stairs. We originally planned on buying the new floors sometime this month, but with my surgery and having to buy a new car, our plans have been pushed back a bit. In the meantime, I figured I'd scour pinterest for floor inspiration.

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I absolutely love everything about this last photo. Everything.

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Jared and I want a medium-dark stain on the floors and a rustic and mismatched quality to it. We'll see if the budget allows for it! I'm so excited to get the carpet out of the house!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Photo Friday 1.25.2013

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

This week has been spent scouring craiglist to find me a new car to drive...y'all be praying things go better next week. We're still searching! Aside from that, we went skeet shooting...


I forced Puck to take a picture with me while I sat by the fire. 


And then Puck hid under the ottoman because she hates when we have fires in the fireplace. She likes to pout under there when she doesn't get her way.


I cooked a delicious meal from Southern Living. It is shrimp and pasta in a creamy creole sauce. I kind of want to make it again today. and tomorrow. and possibly the next day.


 This little kitty cat kept interrupting my lessons.


 Puck enjoyed some "puckcicles" this week.


And I drank over a quart of sweet tea in one day.


And lastly, my sister posted this picture that really spoke to me.



 Next week will (hopefully!) bring a new car for our family and my 26th birthday! I hope y'all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ode to Cast Iron

Cast iron is virtually indestructible, which is just one reason why I love it so much. I am a master of destruction; just ask Jared. You can't scratch it, you can't break it, it's non-stick if seasoned correctly, and if need be, it can be used as a weapon.

It's multi-purpose.

After I use my skillets (I have 8), I rinse them with hot water. If one needs scrubbing, I use kosher salt instead of soap so that the "seasoning" doesn't get scrubbed off. I always wipe them completely dry. Right now, I don't have a way to display them or even store them in an accessible way, so I keep them flipped upside down in the stove for now. But I have a storage idea in the works!

This skillet once belonged to Jared's Me-Maw. I don't know how old it is, but it's at least older than me.


Cast iron skillets remind me of home. Mama and Daddy have a wall of cast iron skillets hanging on screws over the stove. Something about the rustic mix of wood and iron just makes me happy.  I had Mama send me this picture last night.


Here's another cute example of a cast iron kitchen. Doesn't this just make you happy?
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Here are some links to help you care for and enjoy your cast iron kitchen goods!


Do y'all have a favorite piece of cast iron?  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

The weather lately has been nuts. Last week it was so warm and wonderful, but it became cold and wet pretty fast. That's just Georgia weather for you. I had already meal planned green and healthy stuff for this week, but with the weather being cold and gross, I couldn't handle it. I went to the store and bought some potatoes for this soup! It's super easy and wonderful.

So here's the skinny on what you need for the soup. (Just a heads up, you might not be skinny after you eat this soup. But it is super tasty!)
  • 3 lb bag of potatoes
  • 6 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (See? It's a healthy soup now.)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of half and half 
  • 2 cups of cheese
  • Tony Chacheres seasoning
  • bacon
Optional ingredients: sour cream and chives

This soup will serve at least 8 people, so it's perfect for a get-together or if you'd like to freeze some for later. Note: it does not freeze "pretty" because of the half and half, but it still tastes delicious!

First, peel your potatoes.


Getting artsy with the potato peels...


Chop the taters up into cubes.

Just in case you've never seen cubed potatoes before...

Chop up your onion into small pieces and add it to your crock pot along with the garlic.


Add your chicken broth and butter.


Now, put the lid on your crock pot and cook on high for 6 hours. This really just depends on how fast your crock pot cooks and how done you prefer your taters.

Once the 6 hours are up, smush--yes, smush--the potatoes so they are less chunky. As you can see in the photo below, I have a fancy smushing method.
 
 
After the potatoes are smushed, put the crock pot on low and add the half and half as well as the cheese.



Fry up the bacon and crumble it into the soup. For this much soup, I fry a whole package of bacon. I also sprinkle a liberal amount of Tony Chacheres on top because that stuff makes everything taste better.

And this is the only photo I managed to snap before my friend Melissa and I sat down to eat the soup and watch The Bachelor.  For presentation's sake, I normally add more bacon and cheese to the top, but I couldn't wait to catch up on what Sean was up to with that house full of ladies!


I hope y'all enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Photo Friday 1.18.2012

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

In my last post, I talked about how rough things have been with me lately both physically and emotionally. Jared thought a fire in the fire pit would cheer me up. It worked!


I donated my hair to Locks of Love this week! (Coincidentally, I lost 2 lbs...)


Even though Monday's post mentions warm weather, it quickly turned chilly. Puck thought it was too cold to be productive.


I just really love this window I made in the kitchen.


We also got ready for some target and skeet shooting this weekend! 


Puck's face... I can't get over how silly she looks sometimes. 


Next week's posts will include a delicious recipe I'm making today. I hope y'all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tears.

I have cried more than I care to admit in the past week. I burst into tears in several public places...not just a small single tear down my cheek...no. ugly, gross, uncontrollable crying. The poor woman I spoke to at the insurance company got an ear full of ugly crying as well. Poor Pat at Aetna.

Over the past week, I've had surgery to scrape endometriosis out of my abdominal cavity, a subsequent infection, and a painful recovery. Before the surgery, my car broke down and we thought it was fixed, but now it seems as if I might have to replace my dear friend Gladys...my emotions are on a razor's edge.


Thank Jesus for Jared. He has been more than wonderful through this entire process. He's taken so much time to protect me and comfort me and truly minister to my spirit through his own giving spirit. He's more than I deserve.

While I was crying in my car this morning at McDonald's, I was reminded that God has my best interest in mind. I was reminded that no matter how much I feel like life is falling apart, it is part of HIS wonderful plan for me and for Jared and our future.

This week has been evidence of God's love for me, but I didn't see it at the time. I didn't see that the reason I'm so upset and hurt is because it is so different from how I normally feel. I'm normally healthy. When I compare this week to how I normally feel and act, I see that God has blessed me so much in my life. I need to remember this. I need to remember.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. (Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV)


Be in prayer for us. I know in my heart that Jared and I will be more than fine, but sometimes my head gets the best of me.

Oh, how He loves us!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jungle House

Even though it's January, we've been having some 70 degree days lately. I love it. All the warmth makes me want to move all my house plants outside so they can enjoy the heatwave too, but I know that's a bad idea. I've accumulated quite a few houseplants, and I'd like to keep them all alive, so I can have a jungle house one day. and by "jungle house" I mean a house covered in plants inside and out. 

Here's my list of houseplants so far:
  •  2 peace lilies
  • 1 Christmas cactus
  • 2 ferns
  • 3 pothos plants
  • 1 Mother-in-law's Tongue
  • 1 Jade plant
  • 1 mystery cactus
  • 1 ZZ plant
  • 2 pineapple plants
  • 2 Spanish Bayonet plants
I also habitually look at the gardening section of Pinterest, and I've collected quite a few beautiful photos of houseplants. I've done my best to link to the original source when I could find it.

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What about y'all? Do y'all have any special houseplants you love?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Photo Friday 1.11.13

Welcome to Photo Friday where I show my week in pictures! Follow me on Instagram @tristantuttle ! These posts are a mix of my instagram photos, pictures taken with my Canon, and photos taken by my friends and family.  For more Photo Friday, click here.

This week has been a slow one. I had surgery on Wednesday, and I've been pretty lazy. So have my girls.


 I did manage to get a little work done. I worked on these pillows...


 ...and these magnetic pin holders.


I also decided to get ahead on our spring time planting!


and lastly, here's a sweet face from a sweet girl.



I'm hoping next week is productive and I'm in less pain!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Smoking is Good for Your (Pork) Butt!

Growing up, Daddy always had a smoker of some kind to smoke meats. He'd smoke hams over turkeys so that the fat from the ham would drip on top of the turkey for hours...the turkey was always tender and moist.

I'm drooling just thinking about it.
 
When Jared and I got married, I really wanted something similar because I wanted to continue to eat tasty food. Mama and Daddy surprised us with a water smoker for Christmas!

I figured the pork needed to marinate, so I put the pork butt in a large ziploc bag and added enough italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce, Frank's Red Hot sauce, and some minced garlic to cover the entire butt. It turns out Daddy told me afterward that I could have just slathered that mixture over the butt immediately before we put in the smoker. Oh well. 

We set up our smoker outside in the driveway. Please do not use our method of stabilizing...


Our property has approximately 6 inches of flat area, so the wood triangle was necessary but probably unsafe.

The smoker has several layers. On the bottom is a pan you fill with charcoal and build a fire in it. Abve that is another pan you fill with water that makes the smoke. There are two more racks above it to place the meat.

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Jared filled the bottom pan with charcoal and lighter fluid. We didn't fill it high enough at first, so next time we'll pile it on pretty high. Once the briquets quit absorbing the fluid, he stopped pouring it on and started the fire.


Did I mention we were up at 7 in the morning getting this thing started? Yeah. Smoking food takes hours.

While Jared was outside getting the fire going, I was inside getting the water pan ready. I filled it with water, some spices, some of the sauces I used in the marinade and an onion I cut up to add a little bit of flavor to the smoke.



Meanwhile, outside...


Maybe too much lighter fluid...

Once the flames subsided and the charcoal briquets turned white, it was ready to go. We put the water pan in and placed the pork on the rack closest to the water. By now the sun was coming up.


All that was left to do was wait. Every couple of hours, we opened the little silver door on the side to check the water level in the pan. When it got low, we added more water. Every time we opened it, the smell was so good, we were tempted to leave it open a while longer, but each time we opened it, it added more cook time, so it was best we didn't.

Fast forward to 6 pm. The pork had been in the smoker and cooking since 8 am, so we figured it was done. We figured 10 hours was plenty. It certainly looked done! And it smelled so good!!



We didn't have a meat thermometer, so we just cut it open to see if it was done. It wasn't. (I think the fire wasn't kept hot enough in the beginning.) We put the pork butt in the oven at 250 for about another hour to finish it off. I also bought a meat thermometer the next day.


We paired it with french fries and dove in!

Next time, I think we will either get it started earlier so it can cook 12 hours or start it the night before around midnight so we could eat it for lunch.We will also have the meat thermometer handy and keep the fire hot over the course of the day.

I think we're going to try and smoke a chicken next!

::On a different note, I am having surgery today, so please keep me and my husband in your prayers. We appreciate it!::