After a trip to Mercier Orchards a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try to make a couple of types of apple pie. What I have determined is that I have become quite the inadvertent caramel creator. I am so good at it that my husband has to go get a crown replaced tomorrow. If only I had been trying to make caramel...and destroy dental work. I will say that the Iron Skillet Apple Pie was excellent. The bottom was total caramel. I don't know if that is correct. I have never had one of these before, so I have no idea. I just know that it adheres to fake teeth really well. Then I attempted fried apple pies. I have been burned on this one many times before. The last time, I had perfected the filling and failed at the pie crust. This time, I made some sort of caramel in the filling, but the pie crust was very close to what I wanted. I am working to perfect these so that I may put together a little booklet of the successful pie recipes. Cross your fingers that I have something soon, and maybe I will actually try to make a caramel pie.
Today is Halloween. We have photographed our proper southern baby girl every 15 seconds since birth. I already have photos of her in 3 different costumes just this week. Once as Elsa, of course, and once as a cowgirl and finally as Belle (the greatest and most literate princess who wants to grow up to be an engineer like her daddy . Not sure how you tell it at your house, but that's how it goes here). This got me thinking about all those photos of me in my Halloween costumes. You know, that time I was a Stormtrooper. That time I was Darth Vader. That time I was....oh yes, there are no photos of me in any of my geeky Halloween costume. I do have one photo of me on Halloween in overalls and a cowboy hat. I am not certain that was so much a costume as a questionable fashion choice. As I reflect, I am fairly glad that my entire childhood wasn't documented in photographs.
Many, many years ago, my sister and I were staying with my grandmother. Usually, our meals with her consisted of hot dogs and Moon Pies chased by Yoo Hoo. On this particular day, she served saltines topped with mayonnaise. I remember being skeptical. I also remember being hungry, which explains why I even dared try mayonnaise. I am not a mayo on my sandwich girl. I am a "this sandwich has a disgusting goop on it" girl. That's what makes it so funny that I remember the saltine with mayo tasting so good. It was such a clear memory that I had to try it again. I told my husband, and he was skeptical as well. We gave it a try. Saltines with mayo are dangerously addictive. If you are going to try it, I warn you and will not be responsible for any weight gain or health conditions. I am also going to label this a Southern snack, simply because it seems like something only we would do.
View my newest addition to the Pilgrimages page.
We have been in the middle of blackberry winter over the past few days. My husband had not heard the term before now. Being from Buffalo, his seasons are Winter (I'm buried to the top of my ear muffs in snow), Spring (why is that squirrel in a life vest in the yard?), Summer (why do I own a bathing suit?), and Fall (do you smell snow?). We have had fairly nice weather since February. I have to remind myself of that in August. Boy, August is brutal. Have someone you need to punish? Try sending them New Orleans in the middle of August. The humidity combined with the smell around Bourbon Street will rehabilitate them. We like to say that we are accustomed to the humidity. As Southerners, we try to act like being in any Southern state in the summer makes sense. Let's face it, just like our family and friends in Buffalo, we know the extremes don't make a lot of sense to suffer through. In the midst of it all, we all want to move. Then, Southerners remember that their SEC football team will not be on television up north, and Northerners remember that they will have very few people willing to discuss hockey. I do enjoy the cooler weather that we usually see in May, as the blackberries blosom. My jackets and jeans are still within reach, and it prepares me for the heat that usually hits us around Memorial Day. Around then, I just look forward to our visit to Buffalo and to packing a sweatshirt in hopes of being chilly while watching fireworks.
1. I didn't know my showers would come with news updates and commercials - Yes, the shower door flies open and my little one says " I spilled the yogurt." Ten seconds later, "I cleaned up the yogurt." Twenty seconds later, "Do you want a kitty towel to dry off with?" Finally, "Do you want to build a snowman?"
2. I didn't realize I would become a connoisseur of chicken nuggets.
3. I didn't know how many rocks, pine cones, and sticks we would collect. We may start a museum.
4. I didn't know that daily decisions would be made based on princess stories and movies.
5. I didn't know I would have a child who would ask to take ballet lessons. I was always more of a football kind of girl.
6. I didn't know that white socks and white underwear are completely unacceptable. Give us some bright pinks and purples and some cartoon folks on all that...on our shirts too.
7. I didn't know that anyone could listen to a book being read a thousand times in a row.
8. I didn't realize how much fairy wings add to an outfit.
9. I did realize that my husband would have tea parties and dance with his baby when she asked. I didn't realize how much it would melt my heart.
10. We've just celebrated Mother's Day, and I was so excited to get little handprints. That is one of the things I didn't know about motherhood. Whether they are made at preschool and with the help of her Daddy, my baby girl's handprints are the best gift. I remember seeing her footprints from the hospital. When I wasn't staring at her, I would stare at the footprints. You see, the biggest thing I didn't know about motherhood was whether or not I would be a momma. We went through miscarriage and multiple IUI and IVF treatments. I have been meaning to ask Dr. Nancy Snyderman about the existence of PTSD following years of fertility battles. I think it is a thing. We know that we are blessed to have come out of it all with a precious daughter. We aren't the only people to struggle with fertility in the world. We aren't even the only people in our family. I won't give you any advice, and I can't provide words that will comfort if you are in the midst of this. We can only offer prayers for those seeking to have children and going through difficulties.
So, on a rainy day, I set out for midtown ATL to attend Carla Hall's book signing for "Carla's Comfort Foods" at Empire State South. I don't normally put my own photo on the website, but the fella behind me in line did such a nice job getting a photo that I felt I owed it to him. I think his name was P.J. or he was getting a book signed for a P.J.. Whatever the case, he was kind, and I failed to thank him or to offer to take his picture. Terribly bad manners on my part. Whatever his name was, he was full of energy and positivity.
As I waited for Carla to arrive, I had a Mocha Latte from the Empire State South coffee bar (photo below). It was gorgeous and wonderful on such a rainy and chilly day. I loved the environment in the restaurant, and I am already planning a trip back there for a bologna sandwich or catfish po'boy. I was also impressed by a lady experimenting with some very complex drinks. She was like a mad scientist of some sort and was very interesting to watch.
Carla arrived and everyone had a turn to speak with her. She was so kind and took time to converse with everyone. It was truly like speaking with a friend. Carla had just gotten an order of rice grits as I approached. She asked if I had ever heard of them. I hadn't, and I told her that I had not even tried regular grits. She was rightfully appalled and threatened to take away my Southern card. I will try them...one day. I am now referring to Carla as my new best friend. I have a friend who met Jack Welch once and refers to him as her boyfriend, so I don't think I'm stretching it as far as she is. I will review Carla's Comfort Foods soon. In the meantime, if there is a book signing in your area, go out and meet her. I think you will be pleased and will enjoy the experience.
I think it is exciting that so many movies have been filmed in Georgia. I remember growing up and wanting to be involved in the movie industry. It seemed so impossible to work in that field, because I was scared of moving so far away. Now that I have visited California, I can see why people go. The weather is spectacular most of the time. Now, however, young filmmakers do not have to move to the left coast. I can't believe how many actual movie stars are walking around in the state. Not to mention, Bradley Cooper and Matther McConaughey were in my hometown for "Failure to Launch" filming a rock climbing scene. I did not see them, nor have I seen any of the other bona fide stars. I thought it might be fun to try to be an extra in the Hunger Games movies being filmed over the next couple of months. I read through the description of the extras needed. As could be expected, they really need people who look hungry. My movie career has been cut short. I don't look hungry. I must wait. Hopefully, there will be "No Failure to Lunch" or maybe "Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Bacon" filming soon. Catniss must lead the revolution without me. Probably best, because those movies make me a nervous wreck. I will stay on the lookout for a casting description looking for the slightly round, tired-looking, momma type. Let me know if you see that, and my rise in Hollywood will begin!
So, my sister has been in search of what she refers to as "The Pie." It's a fried apple pie made like back home, if that clarifies anything for you. As I had explained in a previous post, it is more like a biscuit dough that is pan fried in an iron skillet. Someone told her that she could find this pie at Johnny's BBQ in Powder Springs, GA. Well, my husband and I are always open to trying a new BBQ restaurant, and the Proper Southern Baby Girl has very little say in the matter. She appreciates barbeque and the train that was going around the top of the restaurant there. We both ordered the pork plate, and we were not disappointed. It was good, as were the sweet potatoe fries (which appeared to be homemade). The hot sauce sitting on the table has flames on the bottle for a reason. I'm not a hot sauce person and this one burned like the devil. The apple pie was excellent. It brought back memories for me. I should have gotten ice cream with it, but I thought a big ball of fried dough was probably enough for the evening.
What I found most interesting at Johnny's were the ammo and firearms for sale. Right by the Burt's Bees and Yankee Candle was a little .38 special ammo and some Glock's. I don't think I've ever seen that in a restaurant. I've eaten amongst fishing poles, bait, and various and asundry deer heads. I have never been able to get a little supper and stock up for the zombie apocolypse in the same place. The South never ceases to amaze. I will go back to Johnny's to try the ribs and chocolate pie...maybe buy a pocket knife. We'll see.
I wish I had written this a little earlier, instead of after this event had ended. I apologize for the delay. We had a few extra things go on beyond the holidays, but I will not make anymore excuses.
This year was our first trip to the Stone Mountain Park Christmas event. I will note that it is not a holiday celebration or winter festival; it is a Christmas event featuring the story of the birth of Jesus. Santa, Rudolf, and a Snow Angel are there as well, but they do include the Christian basis for the holiday as well.
We did not get there early enough. I had in my mind that it was an evening event with some lights and such. I really didn't realize all there was to do. We took the skylift to the top of Stone Mountain. The Proper Southern Baby Girl absolutely loved it. She is outdoorsy like her daddy. I stayed in a state of panic. The appearance is that your small child could just slide right over the edge at any moment. They can't, but my severe mommmy anxiety kicked in up there. It was gorgeous and an amazing sight otherwise. The baby girl was enthralled with the Snow Angel. You couldn't tell when she went up to get her picture. It was a whole lot like the Santa picture; you know, screaming and gnashing of teeth. The fairy angel lady offered her a chance to hold her wand. She wouldn't take it from her. I knew what that meant. Two seconds after leaving the fairy angel lady, we heard "I wanna hold that waaaaannnnnddddd!" She still brings it up on occasion. Thanks fairy angel lady. We all had a great time playing mini-golf...if you enjoy a two year old running after every ball saying, "I get it!" We all scored two on every hole. It was the toddler scoring system. We ate some pizza while watching the parade and then caught a very very loud muscial performance. The performers were great and very talented, but the sound system was a bit too good. We could hear it inside our car as we were leaving. The highlight of the night for us was the train ride. It's a real train, not a zoo train or the train at the mall. All onboard participated in singing Christmas songs as they popped up on the monitors. During the ride, we stopped and a man told a story called "The Gift." He was a great storyteller and made the event worth the trip. I heard most of the story, although the great majority of what I heard was "What's that man doin'? What's that man doin'?" We have decided that we will make a full day of it next year and throw in some time at Snow Mountain as well. I highly recommend the Christmas event and wish I had gotten to this a little earlier so that you could run out to Stone Mountain. I wish you all the Happiest New Year!