Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thirteen again

Finally got my student teaching placement! I will be starting tomorrow morning at Simpson Middle School.
I'm so pumped to get right there in the hormonal, body odored, confused, and cognitively developing action. Say a prayer that I can really be used in these kids lives, and that I stay on top of my nightly grad work while waking up early for life as a thirteen year old again--- I wouldn't go back to 7th grade for anything!

Also, as your true Coffee CubBuster, I threw together the best little Frappe beverage the other day. There was some left over coffee in the pot which was obviously cold. Soooo, I decided to invent a quick frothy treat. Since this was a quick invention, I didn't have time to actually measure stuff out. Here's what I think it amounted to:

4 cups of cold coffee
2 cups of ice
2 cups of milk
1/4 a cup of chocolate syrup
1 cup of cool whip*  (this makes it frothy on the top-a must!)

The best creations are those spontaneous ones! From my cup to yours~ Enjoy!

Yeah.... I wish this is where I was when I made it.

Coffee CubBuster

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 days and counting

We are only 30 days away from the most monumental day of the entire calendar year. This day is one that may not necessarily signify its purpose, but it gives us a general time frame of which we can expect the start, pumpkin lattes-drinking, colorful mountain-viewing, crisp coolness-feeling, air-changing, mood-altering, hay-riding, gourde-carving, football-watching, turkey-eating, beauty-reveling, spices-smelling, bonfire-dancing, campground-making, leaf pile-jumping, amazing gift of Fall!

Mark your calendars folks. It may creep in weeks before, tease for a day or two before it return, or truly last, but September 23rd is the first day of Autumn, and I CAN'T WAIT!!!  I really think we should take a vote.... who thinks it should be a national holiday? I do!

This video is cute, but kind of creepy how the guy with the rake seems to be trying to really bury his children!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bread or Biscotti? Sweet or Sketchy?

So there has been a hold up in the placement office, and thus I still haven't begun student teaching. I do have the first day of fall semester this evening, and hopefully will get more info on where I'll be placed then. In the meantime, why not make some lemonade out of those lemons!
After church yesterday, I began to mull over the fact that I have had the same next door neighbors (here at my rents place) for the past 16 years, and I have NEVER met them. Never introduced myself, never borrowed an egg, never even apologized for all the days I blasted N'Sync on my awesome boom box for all to enjoy. I mean there shouldn't be any apology needed for that one. Who doesn't rock out to Tearin up my Heart?
I digress.... I really felt bad about not saying hello to the sweet old couple I have come to see from time to time in their yard. So I decided some baking was in order. I found a recipe for a banana coffee chocolate chip bread. However, I didn't have ripe bananas so I took those out of the equation. I also didn't have vegetable oil so I substituted half EVOO and half Canola oil. And I used the rest of the dark chocolate chips I had instead of the milk ones called for by the recipe author. Okay..... wait a sec. I think with all the changes I figured out why it turned out like biscotti rather than bread. Plus I put it in the bigger oven, in the wrong size pan! Okay.... it all makes sense now. I love when I make changes and come up with my own creation. It really was tasty. So much so, that I thought about saying who cares about stupid neighbors, this is my delectable desert! A side of cold milk and hot coffee with a book is all ya need. Who needs neighborly anyway!
No... even though I love me somethin sweet,  I decided to stick with my gut and walk over this new invention.
I met Gail. A sweet elderly woman who had the look of- Wow you are way to old to be selling girl scout cookies honey when she came to the door. After friendly chatter for a few minutes, she was so excited about the desert, and thanked me profusely. If she hadn't been on the phone, she would have loved to visit more. Or so she says..... maybe she was still thinking sketch ball, I wouldn't even feed this to my yelping terriers, who are you, and who the heck makes biscotti. It's probably laced and your trippin if you think I'm falling for it.  Wait.... she didn't look like that kind of grandma. She was really sweet, and her joy was totally worth giving away my biscotti. 

Do you know your neighbors? 

Hello dry ingredients
Welcome the wet ones
Mmm... with the chocolate chips they just all come together so well
Yes... this is the step where you can lick the spoon!
Fold um into that too big loaf pan

Now you can cut into small slices for perfect biscotti dipping!


Coffee Chocolate Chip Banana Breads
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 packet Starbucks Via, or 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 medium bananas, mashed (approx 1 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two two 5×3-inch loaf pans (or use disposable foil pans).
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, Via or instant espresso, sugar and brown sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, vegetable oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract until smooth and well-combined. Pour into dry ingredients and stir only until no streaks of flour remain. Add in chocolate chips and stir to evenly distribute.
Divide evenly into prepared pans. Place pans in a baking sheet.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pans on a wire rack.
Makes 2 mini loaves
Note: This bread can be baked in a 9×5-inch loaf pan, increasing the baking time to about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Archie comics

There's nothing like getting together with old friends to reminisce on your bad hair cuts, "mean girls" lunch room incidences, freezing out your college roommate stories (in your two by four of a room), and taking modeling pictures amongst your BFF's Archie Comic collection. Yes, that last one is absolutely true. It is with such reminiscence that accompanies a grand zip code alteration as with my dear long-time friend Alyssa. Alyssa and I met in the trenches of elementary school. No matter where life has created separate routes in our paths, we have always been able to come back together as if nothing has changed. She is a true blessing.
I am so excited to see Alyssa venture out to the Big Apple for her next big chapter in life. She will take with her a Masters degree in social work, an enthusiastic and compassionate personality, and many many good memories and best wishes from all who know and love her. Can't wait to visit Lyss! Love you girl!

(L-R) Lauren, Christie, Tionya, me and Alyssa reuniting to send our friend off with love.

Don't you love iPhone pics. Yes, there will be pedestrians crossing our lives Lyss, but no one will cross my path quite like you have!  CubBuster original quote thank you very much!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mount Pleasant

Matthew and I went to visit my friend Anna and his friend Colin this weekend in Charleston. We've both been to the downtown area, but I couldn't wait to hang out with Anna and Chris (her bf) and see where they're living in Mount Pleasant, SC. Although it was a really short trip, it was great to see my old roomie, lay on the beach, and just catch up with friends. Chris, I want a re-match in golf when I come back-- I was just off my game that night! 
Thanks for a great time guys and thanks for all the yummy food! Miss you already! Good luck starting school Anna! Love you!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mrs. Steven Shanks

So before I have even sipped on any type of glorious black single cup of joe this morning, I see my lovely sister calling me cell. Now at 8:00 in the morning this is a bit unusual for Nicole (who strolls into work at like 10 am everyday if she doesn't work from home), but I wasn't yet awake enough to handle any long stories that involved my input. Therefore, I had decided to call her back when my eyelids weren't half open. However, as I proceeded to open my gmail, I saw a message from her with an attached picture. Simultaneously I opened the email and darted for my cell. Thankfully she was still on the other end yawning impatiently. The timing was perfect! CONGRATS! I exclaimed. "Oh did you see the email?" She asked. Yep, it's a beautiful ring! When you described what you wanted before, I thought it was going to be kind of ugly, but that's actually really pretty. (I need to spend some time with the Lord in the morning before I speak to humans, or else I just say whatever comes into my mind!) Thankfully Nicole laughed and proceeded to tell me the whole story. She also made sure to mention her terrible nightmare the night before where I too got engaged and stole all her thunder. I assured her that she is both a wife and mommy before me-- it's her time to shine--just like that ring!
What I've learned so far today--
1. Always answer the phone if Nicole is calling before 10:00 because it's probably a big deal.
2. Make sure you take time with God every single morning!

Congrats Nicole and Stephen!

Just what she wanted-- a diamond shaped like a diamond.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Casablanca Burgers

Such a great name for these unique and delicious burgers. My friend B (Brooke) invited me over to try out a new Moroccan patty! It's quite an easy recipe, and in honor of The Pioneer Woman, I tried to take (not-so-great) pictures with my (not-so-great) camera for your viewing. I mean who has time to worry about the lighting, aperture and shutter speed when you're drooling! 
Meet B.-- Grill-Myster extraordinaire.
Meet the leading man--Ground Chuck--
any version you like will do.

Spices that will soon be introduced to Chuck...
And they instantly fall in love!

It's like they've always known each other.

Don't be fooled-- its not just ketchup,
and its essential to the meal.

We must get our veggies kids--
choose anything you want to grill.

Squash and mushrooms another beautiful pairing.

I've never seen anyone so excited to stand over the scorching grill before!
She does look like a natural though.

The secret ingredient in the burgers.
Don't bash it until you've tried it!

Gotta end on a sweet note, but I don't have the recipe
for this amazing Banana Fudge Cake.
Let's just say I'm still drooling...

Here's the recipe--Enjoy!

Casablanca Burgers

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup finely cut dried apricots
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg

In a large bowl, combine beef, apricots, cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, egg, and pepper. Shape mixture into patties.
Grill until done; top burgers with sauce*.

*Moroccan Sauce
1/3-cup ketchup
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp black pepper

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Graduate

Matt B. gettin a degree!

The youngest of the Blair's has finally received his college degree! Matt Blair after transferring to UGA (because of his amazing older sister who found a loop hole while working at the admissions office-- no I must take my secret to the grave.... wait I've told like everyone.... wait.... um.... okay this isn't me I'm talking about, he has another older sister I swear!!) I digress- Matt graduated with two bachelor's degrees in consumer economics and housing this past weekend, and my grandmother, sister, soon to be brother-in-law, dad, mom, step-mom, step-dad, step-sister, second and third cousins, neighbors, and Chloe all celebrated his accomplishment with a little wake boarding, eating, skiing, and eating some more. Matt certainly deserves the whole crew's appreciation and admiration. I am so proud of Matt, and I know he is SO excited that he now has to be self-sufficient since momma D reminded him of his rent check which will be due in 30 days. The real world is awesome isn't it Matt!
It's no dirt off Matt's shoulders though because he has decided to engage the perks of family connections. Matt will join as a third generation mover working for a branch of my mom's company Graebel. Look out movers, Matt Blair has jumped on the scene. Can't wait to see where the Lord takes him!  Congrats Matt! I'm SO proud of you! Hope you love commuting and waking up before the sun. Don't worry, you'll learn that joys of going to bed before 10:00.

Proud Parents

More Proud Parents

Soon to be Proud Parents in practice with little cousin Jackson

--Tired but Proud CubBuster