Thursday, June 29, 2017

Decorative Fruity Ice Cubes for Summer

It's hard to believe that June is already coming to a close! For those who live in the United States or Canada, what are your plans for 4th of July/Canada Day?

If you live in the U.S. and are planning or attending a party, you're probably looking for some patriotic red, white, and blue desserts and refreshments. If you're in Canada, you're searching for red and white.

I have the perfect recipe! In fact, it's so easy, you can't really call it a recipe. These fruity ice cubes will add a festive flair to even the most plain-looking drinks. To make the ice cubes, feel free to use any clear drink. Perrier/sparkling water, Sprite, Ginger Ale, and 7Up are some of my favorites.


Red Ice Cubes:

Strawberry Ice Cubes
1. Place a small strawberry or strawberry slice, frozen or fresh, into each space in an ice cube tray.
2. Fill the spaces the rest of the way with one of the clear drinks mentioned above.
3. Freeze several hours or overnight.

Red Juice Ice Cubes
1. Fill each space in an ice cube tray with red juice. I use pomegranate juice, but any red drink will work, including Gatorade or Powerade.
2. Freeze several hours or overnight.

Blue Ice Cubes:

Blueberry Ice Cubes
1. Drop 3-4 small blueberries, frozen or fresh, into each space in an ice cube tray.
2. Fill the spaces the rest of the way with one of the clear drinks mentioned above.
3. Freeze several hours or overnight.

Blue Juice Ice Cubes
1. Fill each space in an ice cube tray with blue juice. I use blueberry juice, but you can use any blue drink, including Gatorade or Powerade.
2. Freeze several hours or overnight.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

4th of July BBQ on a Budget


With 4th of July only one week away, it's time to start planning the menu. If you're in Canada gearing up for Canada day or in any other country in the world just looking for a tasty meal suggestion, this post applies to you, as well. Let's be honest, who doesn't love a good BBQ?

Whether you're cooking for the masses or just looking to make a delicious, patriotic meal for yourself, this BBQ on a budget is sure to make your mouth water.

Let's start with homemade burgers. Thumb through your local grocery store fliers for sales on ground beef, or head to a big box store like Costco or Sam's Club to take advantage of their regular bulk deals. To learn how to grill the perfect burger, click here to watch Mr. Handsome's grilling tutorial. Make sure to buy buns, or just pick up a loaf of bread and toast and season the pieces individually.

While you're at the store, pick up some corn on the cob. This time of year, delicious sweet corn is easy to come buy, and you'll usually find great prices. Who doesn't love a good 8 for $2.00 deal?

After you grab the corn, pick up some on-sale fruit (preferably types that can add a little red, white, and blue to your spread, like watermelon, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries).

For a side dish, throw together my healthy pasta salad

When it comes to dessert and drinks, the sky is the limit. Whip up my easy blueberry pie or my even easier blueberry cobbler. If you want your guests to love you forever, make a batch of homemade mocha smoothies. On Thursday, I'm going to share an easy way to add a festive flair to even the most plain looking drinks.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bird Paintings for Mother's Day

Having a hobbyist painter for a husband sure does come in handy when you need a gift for a friend or relative but have absolutely no idea what to give them. We planned ahead for Mother's Day this year, and Mr. Handsome made paintings for both our mothers.

For my mother, he painted two lovebirds. When I was a child, we had two pet birds that we all grew to love, so all four of us sort of became "bird people."


For his mother, Mr. Handsome painted two yellow finches, a type of bird that she sees outside her kitchen window all the time.


If either of these paintings interest you, shoot us an email at NashvilleWife@gmail.com, and Mr. Handsome would be happy to make one for you!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Let Love Grow Bridal Shower

Mr. Handsome's second oldest sister, Catherine, is married! Mr. Handsome is the oldest of seven, and in the past four years, four of them have tied the knot. I'm looking forward to sharing wedding pictures, but first, I have one batch of bridal shower snapshots to share.

Catherine had four showers--our family, her family-friends, her college friends, and his family. (In the words of my father-in-law, she must have been very messy to require that many!)

The first two photos are from the shower with our side of the family, put on by my father-in-law's sister-in-law and niece.

Everything was decorated in blue and yellow, as those are the bride's absolute favorite colors. The event took place at a community center because Mr. Handsome has a ton of female relatives, and about half of them are children. It was a fun-filled day! My mom and my brother's wife also came.



The shower for family-friends was hosted by myself, my mother-in-law, and my other sisters-in-law. The theme was Let Love Grow, and the party was supposed to be outdoors under a tent, but the rain forced us to move the festivities inside.






This chalkboard sign is my masterpiece. Writing neatly with chalk is harder than it looks, y'all!



With all the wedding showers we have done, we have learned to always have guests address an envelop to themselves, as it makes writing thank you notes so much easier.



This sign has gotten a lot of mileage since Mr. Handsome made it for our wedding. (The letters are individually nailed onto the plywood with tiny nails, and the nail heads stick out to give it a more rustic look.)


Guests were encouraged to write a memory and a personal note (advice and wishes for the new Mr. and Mrs.) on pieces of paper.


We had fun choosing garden themed prizes.



 We also bought plants to give out as party favors.


My creative mother-in-law was responsible for the clever food table. She made homemade veggie pizza and called it a "vegetable garden." She also baked shortbread in silicone cupcake holders for guests to cover with fruit ("build your own fruit garden").



For games, we did a crossword puzzle competition that featured questions about the bride and groom, and we broke up into teams to decorate ribbon and tissue paper bouquets for the rehearsal dinner. Catherine chose her favorite (bottom left). Guess everyone knew her pretty well because they all used blue and yellow items!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Time with Family

Earlier this month, my brother and his wife came to visit us in Nashville. (Remember the photos I posted of their Oregon Cost wedding last fall?)

Neither of them had ever been here, so we had fun showing them the area. On the first night, we walked around downtown and treated ourselves to malts at Mike's Ice Cream. My brother-in-law was able to get us access to one of the skyscrapers, so we gave them a birds-eye view of the city from a balcony.

My brother and his wife are more outdoorsy folks, as are we, so the rest of the weekend was spent hiking and exploring various state parks. Our first stop was Burgess Falls State Park in Sparta, Tennessee, which we visited a couple years ago. We hiked about half a mile and then came to this lookout point.


A short while later, we found the main waterfall. If you look closely, you'll see a few people standing on the rocks at the base. It's a long way down!


We were able to hike down a short trail to the top of the falls. (I almost passed out when Mr. Handsome approached the edge and got down on his belly to look over, but it made for a good photo-op.)

There were a number of other people there, all trying to figure out how the few individuals had made it down to the base. There are stairs, but they have been closed since the last time we were here, due to damage by extreme flooding. We never did figure it out...


Our last stop was Cummins Falls State Park in Cookeville, one of my favorite places in Middle Tennessee. We have visited several times since we moved to the area. (Remember my Waterfalls and Exterminators post from last summer?)

The first time we came, there were very few people at the falls, but word has gotten out, and now it's always crowded. (It's a very unique attraction, so I'm not surprised why it has become so popular.) The best way to describe it is a free, natural water park, and although the hike down to the falls is steep, folks of all ages make the trek because it's such a neat place. Someday soon, I would love for Mr. Handsome to make a painting of the falls!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nashville Wife's Stuffed Peppers

Have you ever tried stuffed peppers? I hadn't until I made them for the first time a couple years ago, and now they are one of my favorite meals. They're decently healthy and easy to make, and the ingredients are fairly cheap. Here's my recipe:

Nashville Wife's Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients:
1/2 lb ground turkey
Seasoned salt
3 green bell peppers
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1-1/4 cups cooked whole grain rice
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded

Directions:
Brown ground turkey, adding as much seasoned salt as desired. (I use 1/2 teaspoon.)


Wash and clean out peppers, and place on a baking sheet.


Combine ground turkey, 1/2 of tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and cooked rice in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add cottage cheese and shredded cheese.


Spoon rice mixture into peppers. (Average-sized peppers should have room for about 1 cup each.)


Spoon some of remaining tomato sauce over tops of peppers. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes, or until tender, basting with remaining sauce every 15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese, if desired.



Nashville Wife's Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients:
1/2 lb ground turkey
Seasoned salt
3 green bell peppers
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1-1/4 cups cooked wholewheat rice
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup shredded

Directions:
  • Brown ground turkey, adding as much seasoned salt as desired. (I use 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Wash and clean out peppers, and place on a baking sheet.
  • Combine ground turkey, 1/2 of tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, and cooked rice in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add cottage cheese and shredded cheese.
  • Spoon rice mixture into peppers. (Average-sized peppers should have room for about 1 cup each.)
  • Spoon some of remaining tomato sauce over tops of peppers.
  • Bake at 375F for 45 minutes, or until tender, basting with remaining sauce every 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with additional shredded cheese, if desired.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Our Trip to Story, Indiana

Gotta love a good road trip! We recently spent a short weekend in Brown County, Indiana, with Mr. Handsome's extended family, in celebration of his grandfather's 80th birthday. Apparently, some of Mr. Handsome's ancestors, including his great-great-great grandfather, lived there once upon a time. Several elderly family members who remember visiting grandparents and great-grandparents in Brown County as kids came along and gave us an unofficial tour.

Our first stop was the quaint town of Story, Indiana, founded in 1851. Story was hit hard by the Great Depression, and in 1960, the United State Army Corps of Engineers constructed lake Monroe by flooding the nearby area, blocking the direct route to Bloomington and negatively impacting Story's economy. As a result, Story became a town frozen in history and still has a number of buildings from the mid-1800s. We ate lunch at the Story Inn.



Isn't it just adorable? Entering the town felt like we were stepping into a fairy tale storybook. (I initially guessed that's how the town came to be called Story, but it turns out it was named after a medical doctor who practiced there.) The inside of the Story Inn is decorated with historical artifacts, giving it a homey, rustic feel.



After lunch at the inn, we took a walk down the beautiful country road, passing fields, old barns, and cute homes and business that date back to the early days of the town.






Mr. Handsome's grandmother had been put in contact with a couple that lives in a nearby house that was built in 1850 and believed to be part of the underground railroad. They were nice enough to give us a tour. There were original cherry wood cabinets throughout the house. In a small hideout behind this cabinet, contractors found artifacts that led them to believe that that was where the original owners allowed men, women, and children who were escaping slavery to hide safely.

The town where I grew up had a house that was part of the Underground Railroad, and I always wanted to tour it but never had the chance, so I really enjoyed this experience. How wonderful that there were folks in our nation who were willing to risk their lives to help people escape the horrors of slavery!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

'Priceless' Giveaway


Earlier this year, I reviewed the movie Priceless, and now I'm raffling off two copies! Follow the prompts on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Poster is property of Roadside Attractions

Monday, June 12, 2017

Santa Rosa Beach, Part 2

A couple weeks ago, I shared pictures from our trip to Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Although we only stayed for three days, it was a wonderful chance to relax and reconnect as a couple (plus soak up the Florida sunshine, which, as you may recall from my previous post, Mr. Handsome enjoyed a little too much). I have just a few more photos to show you all.

During the day, the weather was lovely (85F and sunny), but at night, we needed sweatshirts to be comfortable. Even when it's a little chilly, there's just something about being on the beach that makes a person smile. Do any of you live near the shore? Are you just always in a good mood, or does the beauty of the beach get old after a while?


On one of the days, we explored the little town of Seaside and ate from the food trucks permanently parked along the main sidewalk. Mr. Handsome ordered from the BBQ truck, while I went to the sandwich truck next door.


My meal was a delicious tomato-mozzarella-basil panini (one of my weaknesses). There's just something about those three flavors that makes my taste buds sing. Can anyone else relate?


As per usual, Mr. Handsome ordered BBQ ribs. I really wonder how many times that guy would have to eat ribs before growing tired of them. He's an adventurous eater and enjoys fruit and veggies, but when ribs are an option, it's as if they're the only thing on the menu. I sampled his meal, and it was very tasty, but I'm still glad I went with the panini.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Our Visit to Belle Meade


Just came across some photos from earlier this spring that I never shared. In April, one of Mr. Handsome's closest friends came to Nashville for a visit, and he requested a trip to the famous Belle Meade farm, established in 1807. I absolutely love visiting historical sites and had wanted to tour Belle Meade since before we moved to Nashville.


We walked through the main house and then stopped by all the outbuildings, including a circa 1870 dollhouse, where several generations of Harding-Jackson children played. How I would have loved a life-sized dollhouse as a child!



The folks who build Belle Meade did so through thoroughbred horse breeding. In fact, most of the winners of the Kentucky Derby can trace their lineage back to Belle Meade.



As part of the tour, we saw more than a dozen old carriages used by the folks who lived in the mansion.



Walking through the stables where the horses once lived was very neat. There were even some old-fashioned feeding troughs.



On our way home, we made a quick trip to Greece to view the Parthenon...


...Or maybe it was just the full-scale replica at Centennial Park.