Sunday, July 25, 2010

Crawfish (or shrimp) Monica

This has become one of our favorite meals. It is super easy to make and is one of those dishes that is even better the next day.

the goods....

1 lb crawfish tails or peeled shrimp

1/2 cup butter

1 pint half-and-half

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 bunch parsley

2 tablespoons creole seasoning (I use Tony's chachere's creole seasoning)

cayenne pepper (to taste)

1 lb rotini pasta

lots French bread
here we go.....
Cook pasta according the the directions on the package. Drain, then rinse under cool water and drain again thoroughly.
Melt butter in a large pot and saute onions and garlic and parsley for about 3 minutes.
Add the crawfish or shrimp and saute for about 2 minutes.
Add the half-and half and creole seasoning.
Add a dash of cayenne pepper and taste before adding more until you have the right amount for you. If you have boiled your own crawfish save the fat and add it in as well. 
Cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat until the sauce thickens.
Add the pasta and toss well. Let sit for 10 minutes or so over very low heat stirring often.
Serve immediately with lots of french bread.

Happy Cooking!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Want Ads!

I'm sitting on my back porch enjoying a frosty bottle of goodness and my house is eerily quite. Hannah's at a friends, Jakob is playing video games, Alex and my brother Patrick are watching a baseball game inside and Brian and I are side by side on our computers. He is looking up insurance quotes for our soon to be eligible to drive son (insert frosty bottle here) and I'm bitching to you; life's almost back to normal.

Our house guests packed up their lives and headed back to the real world today....BOO!
Shortly after their departure I stripped all the beds, wiped down the bathroom and swept up the last little bits of memories we made over our short trip together.
And then I cried. Not an ugly cry. But a cry none the less.

Tear of happiness......
Tears of joy......
Tears of not enough time together.....

And then I made my coffee and sat outside in this very same spot and thanked the lord for 4 glorious filled days together.

Of happiness.....
And not enough time together.....

We all can be whoever it is we want to be in life, but when you're with your family, you just are who you are. Battle scars, roots, unplucked eye brows and all.
No one cares.
As long as you cleaned your plate and didn't let all the air condition out, the world is good. And let me tell you my friends, the world is ALL GOOD here.

Oh my!  Hubby just got the insurance quote for the boy. Alex is going to need the classifieds and I'm going to need another frosty bottle beverage!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the house that built me

The house that I spent ages 8 to 18 in was the house that helped build me.
When my parents sold that house I was married, a parent and a homeowner already.
None of that mattered.
My old bedroom had long been taken over by one of my younger brothers, complete with little boy stains and smells.
None of that mattered.
If those walls could talk they would say that that house was the place I had some of my best and not so best times.
It was the house that I ever so defiantly laid down my house key declaring I was 18 and to cool for a curfew, oh how later on I wished I could of folded those words back into my mouth.

As my parents packed up that house and prepared to move on with their lives, I mourned.
I grieved for that house. Only later on realizing that I was grieving for my childhood again. As crazy and exhausting as it was, I still had the taste in my mouth and I was craving it. After the papers were signed and new owners boxes were unpacked I drove by that house often. My parents put a lot of work into that house. Work that other people wouldn't appreciate or even know was done for that matter. Blood, sweat and tears. And I wanted to make sure the new occupants were keeping it up to par.

My husband and I are deep into the bones of our present home. Much like we did with our very first house, we have scratched off all most all of the scabs (pink and blue pastels and flowering wall paper) and have begun the healing process (dark browns, reds and oh so scrumptious greens :). Room by room, board by board it is becoming the house that rebuilds me. If we have no surprises with my husbands job, this will be the house that we retire in. After almost 5 years in it, I know every squeak, every hum and every drafty window. What I don't know is how under my sofa in the basement I keep on finding multiple pairs of socks that surprisingly don't belong to anyone with the last name Johnson. Gotta love boys and basements.

I am happy to think that one day my children will look back on this being the house that built them. Their bedrooms being the places they mapped out their dreams. The cul de sac holding more afternoon secrets than a teenagers diary. And the back porch being the place that rejuvenated our family. And if and when they lose sight of where they're going, they can come back and see where they've been. Hopefully remembering their best and not so best times in life. And maybe one day the walls will divulge the secrets to life's mysteries; including the mystery of the lost socks.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Yummy and easy lasagna

Alex is my lasange kid. He wants lasagne for all his special occasions. Last year for his birthday I found myself awakening an hour early than my normal o dark thirty to prepare noodles and meat mixture so that I could pop it in the oven  that evening in between the kids activities. I've since tried to find an easier way of making lasagne. And lucky for my boy who has red sauce and ricotta cheese running through his veins, I have. This can still be prepared early in the day but it doesn't need to be. I love making dishes that I can pop in the oven and leave while I run the kids around all evening.

the goods....

2 pound lean ground beef

3 cups KRAFT Part Skim Mozzarella Shredded Cheese, divided

2 cups light ricotta cheese

1 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 jar pasta sauce

1 1/2 cups water

12 lasagna noodles, uncooked
here we go.....

1.Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, mix 1-1/4 cups of the mozzarella cheese, the ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley and egg until well blended; set aside.

2.Drain meat; return to skillet. Stir in pasta sauce. Pour water into empty sauce jar; cover and shake well. Add to skillet; stir until well blended.

3.Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; top with layers of 3 lasagna noodles, one-third of the ricotta cheese mixture and 1 cup of the meat sauce. Repeat layers two more times. Top with remaining 3 noodles and remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1-1/4 cups mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with greased foil.

4.Bake 1 hour. Remove foil; continue baking 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting to serve.

sharing the love......
Serving Suggestion: I serve this with a Caesar salad.
Shortcut: Adding water to the sauce helps cook traditional noodles during baking, so you don't have to cook them beforehand. This saves you 15 to 20 minutes of prep time.
Easy Cleanup: Placing a layer of sauce under the first layer of noodles will help prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the baking dish.
Happy Cooking!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

not even a tropical storm

We're patiently awaiting Tuesday to come at our house. You're probably saying Tuesday, why Tuesday? Why not Friday or 2 for 1 Wednesday? Well Tuesday is the day that our house of 5 and 2 dogs turns into a house of 13 and 3 dogs. The Louisiana peeps are heading into town and get this, there's no hurricane in the gulf or a mandatory evacuation (love you momma :). They are here from Tuesday to Saturday and we are so excited! It consists of my momma, daddy, 3 brothers, 1 sister in law, 1 nephew that might just be buttered and devoured before he even makes it into the house, 1 girlfriend who is my sister from another mother and father but who's keeping track and 1 large German Shepard, Bella. They're my family. Some are family by blood, some by marriage and some by the sheer amount of memories and blackmail material we have on each other :)
Family is family and that's what it's all about.
We have a few things planned; mostly meals and what drinks we will serve with the meals but we will also venture out for some exploring time and make some new memories together.

In the crazy cleaning, painting, dusting, organizing midst of trying to prepare I have been also counting my thankful blessings........

I'm thankful to have everyone together (which almost NEVER happens).
I'm thankful to be able to have my parents relax for a few days and let me take care of them.
I'm thankful to have the space that we do to allow everyone to have their own nook in our house.
I'm also thankful to have a fully stocked beer fridge in the garage. Hey I said I love them and I'm very excited about the visit but I didn't say I wasn't getting by without any help from my friends!

Just in case you need to be reminded about where me and "my momma and dem" come from..........
We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much & laugh too loud & live too large, and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't."

— Chris Rose

Bring on the family!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Things I know....

  • My thighs look better when they have been shaked and baked in the glorious sun for a few days.
  • I love the smell and sound of rain as it falls.
  • Garlic and onions cooking on my stove is an aphrodisiac for me.
  • I thrive on stability.
  • My faults and hiccups make me strive each day to better myself.
  • I crave noise, whether it's the outside critters serenading me sleep or my coffee pot singing me a rise and shine tune.
  • The very first time I soothed my crying baby by just my voice and a touch of my hand, I knew what career opportunities lied ahead of me.
  • I am very proud of WHO and WHERE I come from. As different and crazy as we all are, it just makes us the family that we are today.
  • Taking someones hurt away doesn't always relieve their pain.
  • Potato chips and sweet tea IMMEDIATELY bring me to my happy place.
  • The difference between being 20 something and being 30 something is, wrinkles, patience, cellulite and KY.
  • Keeping your mind open to new ideas but still holding true to yourself and your beliefs is something that I hope each of my children digest and never let go of.
  • Once you have your first hit of living life to it's fullest each day, laughing so hard that it hurts and loving unconditionally without strings or untruths, you will continue to chase that high the rest of your life. Sorry Mrs. Reagan but some addictions really are good.
  • Taking flight happens for each person at different times; it can't be super glued on (I've tried :). But when it happens and it's genuine, it is one of the most beautiful things to watch.
  • I have so much more to learn and except the task whole heartedly. I'm ready coach!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

and he's off!

the roomies
the boy

Operation drop off little grasshopper went off without a hitch. Well without a hitch probably aren't the best words to use (if you know US then you know the Johnson's ALWAYS have a hitch). But none the less it went very well. Jakob and Hannah got to spend the day and night with their maw maw and paw paw and Brian and I got to focus on the task at hand. Alex and his room mate unpacked immediately and made themselves at home. We made our way out pretty quickly; Alex giving me the secret hand shake of "I'm needing you to go before this gets ugly". And so Brian and I made our way out, joking with each other about the day we have the real drop off for college. I reminded him that I needed one milestone at a time please, and that I also needed an Outback fix. Steak, bread and beer makes it all better :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

the countdown

In t minus 20 hours and counting Brian and I will be driving to drop our oldest boy off for his very first camp experience. He is attending a running camp with a group of his high school cross country team mates. We've made our list and checked it twice.

10 pairs of running shorts
9 shirts
8 pairs of socks and underwear
7 dollars worth of quarters
6 hours of driving time (there and back)
5 days away from home
4 bags of Chex mix (for after hours snacks)
3 bundles ready to be loaded (suitcase, snacks to donate, sleeping bag with pillow and sheets rolled inside)
2 lessons on how to use a coin operated laundry machine, dispense detergent and separate clothes
1 very excited teenage boy leaving home (and his momma) for the first time and he is ready to fly

We've made some wonderful summer memories so far together but I know that Alex will have lasting memories of this experience. If for no other reason than because they're his and his only. And I can't wait to hear all about them when we pick him up in t minus 144 hours......but really who's counting :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

so what's it gonna be?

I'm in the midst of gearing up for another semester of college. Tuition's being paid, checking out book prices on Amazon and checking out my new classes positions on campus. There's a running joke when it comes to me and college; I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Now I know a lot of people are in on this joke as well, but truly honest to god, I don't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars just to have a piece of paper to frame and dust once every month. I've read over all the majors in my book. I've looked and re looked at every topic that I every felt a flurry in my belly for. And still I sit here on my back porch watching the fire flies dance over my night sky,while sipping my Amstel light and listening to my children argue over who is eating the last Skinny Cow ice cream, and I am  peacefully and perfectly content to do just this on this same porch until my last breath.

My husband thinks I should go into psychology or sociology, apparently I'm good at talking (to people) and they listen to me (no I don't know why, maybe because my heart speaks before my brain thinks most of the time). My boys want me to be a chef, so culinary school is always an option. I mean really how many 11 and 14 year old boys would NOT like an all you can eat buffet (homework assignment) going on at their house. Hannah thinks I should be a rock star, not because she thinks I can sing or anything, but just so that she, Chloe and Gracie MIGHT have the chance to meet Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez one day. And me, I'm just wondering how do I do all of those things and get to watch my homies the fire flies each night? When I figure it all out you all will be the first fifth to know........

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peachtree Road Race 2010

This was our fourth year running in the Peachtree Road Race.
Each year we add more family and friends to the fun.
And each year as I'm running through the city streets I'm reminded again of the beauty this state has to offer. Happy Independence Day!!

Our past races.....2007, 2008, 2009

Sunday, July 4, 2010

another sweet treat

We have perfected the Shirley Temple in our house. 1 mason jar,1 can of ice cold Sprite, 4 cherries, and a shot of cherry juice. Little cute blondie sitting on front porch is not needed BUT highly recommended!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

maybe knitting??

I love being a blogger! What I thought was going to be just a place for me to show my family and friends back home in Louisiana what's going on in our lives, has turned into four years of keepsakes through pictures and emotions that I'm so glad I was able to share. I love being able to write about my kids, bitch about my kids and brag about my kids all in the same place. I scream with pleasurable joy when I can actually capture a moment in words that's happened in my life. Sharing the joys, the tears and the drinks is what blogging is all about to me.

In the last few weeks I've noticed a few of the blogs that I enjoy reading defending their selves in post. Explaining why something was written the way it was or why they posted a picture of themselves the way they did. Apparently some cowards "people" enjoy leaving nasty comments to woman who they don't know.
Get a hobby!! Like what are you missing in life that you need to spread your morsels of negativity around?
All 3 is my guess.

None of us on this round planet are perfect; no matter how hard we try and convince people that we are.
Constantly judging people negatively only enlightens everyone else to YOUR insecurities.
We all have weakness and we all have talents.
We also all have opinions just like we all have assholes and if their nasty you need to keep them to yourselves :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

the hangover

No I'm sorry there's no Bradley Cooper or Mike Tyson tigers running around a penthouse. It was just me, two girlfriends, a 5th of black cherry Smirnoff and V8 lite peach and mango splash.
What started off as an experiment, quickly turned into "oh my word PLEASE make the earth decide which way it wants to spin". It has been many years since I have needed to sleep with one foot on the floor and honestly there is no part of it that I miss. My girlfriend and I have had a good laugh at each other since and I think we both just needed an evening of silliness. We both learned that our new oh so yummy concoctions should not be consumed on an empty stomach and also that summer time is always sweeter when consumed with good friends.