Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pillsbury BBQ Chicken Pizza "Sponsored Video"

Life gets crazy when you're a parent. I swear the older I am the more I have to do and less time there is to do it. And, though I love homemade recipes and make many of them (like homemade pizza crust) myself, sometimes you just gotta have something quick and easy. That's why I'm excited to hear about Pillsbury's new Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain! I've used their regular pizza crust many times to make my own different types of pizza so I can't wait to try this new Artisan crust. If it's gotta be quick at least it should taste good and any Pillsbury products I've tried have always been delicious.


Go ahead and Please Click play...it's 20 seconds to show you a delicious BBQ Chicken Pizza..







Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Pillsbury, but all thoughts are my own.

Happy Birthday Princess3!

Happy Birthday to the most precious three year old I know. Here we are at round 2 of the birthday celebrations...the actual party. It was a lot of work, but so nice to spend time with friends and family. I cooked up some Carolina BBQ, cole slaw, potato salad, cornbread, baked beans, and sweet tea. I was going for a Carolina pig pickin' without the pig and barrel roaster. We had a couple kiddie pools set up with slides in them, our swingset, and the slip n slide was on the hill making it extra fun. Spending time relaxing my friends and family celebrating my princess made for a great day. I was exhausted but enjoyed every minute!

our kiddie pools and Simple Set pool. We had lawn chairs at the top of the hill.
This is so much fun! I went down it a couple times the week before. (Feet First..not head first...I'm not crazy..anymore)

Princess8 being silly







The Redneck Strikes Again!


Looky, looky what I picked up on the side of the road!! Pallets! C'mon, Pinterest...I need some ideas...lol....I totally would have grabbed two more, but I couldn't fit any more in my minivan since the three princesses were with me...maybe they'll still be there tomorrow..lol :)

Carolina Barbecue Sauce



This sauce is amazing on Carolina pulled pork! It's got a little kick but it's not overpowering...and definitely has that tang that Carolina BBQ is famous for. Hope y'all enjoy!

Ingredients

3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 T. red pepper flakes
2 T. brown sugar
3 T. hot sauce (preferably Texas Pete)
1 tsp. black pepper
2 T. liquid hickory smoke
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder


All you have to do is mix it all together and store it. Be sure and make it at least 24 hours ahead of time to let the flavors blend. I poured it in these mustard and ketchup containers from Walmart for under two dollars to make it easier for people to squirt the sauce on the barbecue.
Enjoy!



Click Here to get the recipe for Carolina Pulled Pork


Saturday, July 28, 2012

My New Blog Button!

Hey Y'all! I have a new blog button. My friend Joe made the banner for me..isn't it great?! Then he made me a button to match:) So if you happen to be one of the lovely people who have put this on your blog...here's the updated code.

Thanks so much!! Jess

The Redheaded Princess
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.theredheadedprincess.com" title="The Redheaded Princess" target="_blank"><img src="http://i292.photobucket.com/albums/mm21/jessambrose00/small-jess-31.png" alt="The Redheaded Princess" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Friday, July 27, 2012

Calm My Crazy:{2} Hide and Go Seek

Linking up with Denise from According to Denise again....


Life gets crazy for everyone, especially around birthday parties. My sweet littlest princess turned 3 last week and we are having her party this weekend. My mom is visiting this week from sunny Florida which is great and been helpful. So life gets hectic between trying to clean my house, be mom, get stuff ready for the party, cook for us AND for the party, spend time with the kids and my mom, oh and did I mention I am a college student again? So yeah, papers and tons of reading every week, AND I work outside the home (part time, but 25 hours is nothing to sneeze at when you have all that on your plate too). I'm not looking for a pat on the back. It's my life, and I wouldn't change anything, well, maybe except magically already having obtained my bachelor's degree. But other than that, I am blessed. So needless to say I needed to Calm My Crazy today. Mom, the girls and myself piled in the minivan, ran one errand and headed to the park in a heat advisory. ha ha...It really wasn't too bad at first because the clouds were out. So the princesses and I had the park to ourselves and decided to play a little hide and seek. I love watching them play! All three are at such different stages in life and I am amazed, STILL, by them every day. Princess8 is the oldest and tries so hard to find a 'good' spot. Princess5 always gives herself away, and Princess3's run is so stinkin' cute. Sometimes life needs to hold on for a sec so we can stop and smell the roses and play hide and seek and maybe swing on the swing set a bit. You're never to old to have fun with your kids.
According To Denise

Monday, July 23, 2012

Trash to Treasure: Picnic table



I don't know if anyone remembers my recent post You Might Be a Redneck If.... but in it I talk about how I trash picked a picnic table. Well, I finally got around to that DIY project. What happened was, I happened to be jogging at a snail's pace running in my neighborhood and saw this disgusting looking table out for the trash. Anyone else might have turned their nose up at it and said 'forget it', but I'm not just anyone else I guess. A couple days later it was still there, so me and my stubborn self decided I had to get it before anyone else did and couldn't wait for DH to get home to pick it up in his pickup truck. Nooo...I had to cart my three princesses over, take the backseat out of my minivan (all by myself which was no easy feat) and pick it up...THEN put the half ton seat BACK IN my minivan. DH teases me that if I want to do something, nothin'll stop me. But if I don't want to do something nothin can make me. I guess this is true...




So anyway, here are the tools I used: 

A chisel (I'll tell you why later)
A HUSKY 14 in One paint tool (LOVE this thing!) 
The Mouse power sander
Bondo scraper (this is for later also)




First thing I did was to scrape all of the old paint off. I didn't want anything loose otherwise it would probably peel once the new coat was on. However, I ran into a glitch along the way. Rot. Apparently whoever owned this gem previously didn't care for it...hence it was out to the trash. I mean look at it! Well, there was one section that I came across which was rotted. I was going to just paint over it and deal with it later. Not the smartest idea, I know, but I wasn't sure what to do at that moment.




With the next step, though, which was to sand the entire table down, the rotted wood came off. Ugh. So, here's what I did. I finished sanding the table and then wiped it down with a damp old rag. 









Next, I took the chisel and carefully removed the rotted wood. Then, I remembered I had this Bondo body filler which my dad used in our old house because our half-bath door was hung the wrong way when we moved in so he fixed it for us but had to fill in the old holes from the hinges. (Thanks goodness for my Dad!)





Here's the product I used. It comes with a filler and a tube of hardener. Next is the tricky part. It takes about a minute after mixing to harden so you must be ready and work quickly. Using a disposable spoon I scooped it into the hole and used the Bondo scraper (you can use a putty knife) to smooth it out and fill in the hole.




It took about 4 different batches to fill in the hole completely. Be sure and use the scraper to remove any excess around the hole. 







Here's what it looked like after the hole was filled. 





After it cured for about 30 minutes I used my sander to sand it down smooth. I wasn't looking for 'perfect' because it is an old table and has many imperfections. Then, I wiped it down with a damp cloth.

Next I used an outdoor SOLID stain and painted the entire thing in two coats. Voila! 

Another man's  trash is another's treasure, right?





Here's me after a full day of painting...I'm NOT a clean painter. If you're not either, be sure and wear old clothes or a painters' suit. (I had other outdoor furniture I painted to match.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Well, I finally made it back home for a visit over the weekend. It's been LOOOONGG overdue! My cousin got married so we were only there for a little more than a day. Our visit began on my uncle's boat the Crystal Dawn for the rehearsal dinner. We were an hour late, due to I left 20 minutes late plus we hit traffic a few times but they held the boat at the dock for us...so sweet. My girls and hubby enjoyed their first ride aboard a boat that was so familiar to me growing up. We had spent many a time on that boat. Notice picture of my cousin and sister fishing on the Crystal Dawn (they're all grown up now). Isn't it sweet? Though it was a short visit, we made it a good one. The best part was seeing family. I don't realize how much I miss it, being away for so long, until I go back. We have so many memories and even though I seem to fit in with my husband's family, nothing replaces your own or makes you feel at home the way your real family does. We will get to go for a week again soon, so I am glad to get to see more of them. Here's me with my first cousins and sister..she's in the teal dress with the long brown hair (we were missing 5 though, there are 13 in all). Good lookin bunch, huh?


So, anyway do y'all remember in my No More Mayberry post when I said that I always run into someone I know in the grocery store whenever I go back home? Well, I sure did this time too! The minute I walked into the store some tall man with a couple kids smiled at me and said "Hey" like I knew him. Come to find out, it was my sister's best friend for awhile when we were kids. The last time I saw him he was barely a teenager. Now he was towering over me. I love that small town. I've lived in Philly for 12 years and I can count on my two hands the times I've run into someone I knew. 
Down there, though, nothing changes too much. The McDonalds is still slow as molasses. The old men still sit there and drink coffee and shoot the breeze. The locals are super busy with tourists. It's all the same. But, there was something so refreshing about being there yet at the same time a little sad too. The town moved on without me. I moved on without it. It's funny though how when I go back, it still feels like home. A sort of shadow in my past, yet something I almost long for. It held all my first memories, all the joys & sorrows. It's where my grandmother is buried. Where I accepted Christ as my Savior. Where I first learned to drive a stick shift. Where I had my first kiss, first sleepover, first job. I sure miss that place. It's made me who I am; a stubborn, but polite southern girl who can do things for herself but loves to be taken care of by my husband. I'll give you the shirt off my back, but you better not cross me cuz Watch out! It's who I am and it's because of the little island on the coast of North Carolina (and my family of course).  To me, that little town will always be my home... crazy drama and all (like I said, nothing changes). It's like a cozy blanket on a cold night. So comforting you want to curl up and watch the time go by. 
Well, enough gettin all sappy! Maybe one day we'll make it back. For now, at least I have family there so I can have an excuse to visit. And despite what you may think, I love my family and life up here.....Just wouldn't life be grand if you could have both.
Here's me and my family sitting on the dock behind my aunt's house. 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Step Garden Update...My First Harvest


Okay, so I am super excited to have my first harvest from the garden! (Not including herbs) Just picked these two ripe zucchini and they look delicious! If you aren't familiar with my wonderful step garden built into the hill in my back yard then feel free to GET familiar over at My New Step Garden. Here's an update on the produce growing in it...

My Princess2 kept picking the dill and smelling it. I also have basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley and mint...and some petunias for fun!


My green peppers


My zucchini seems pretty happy in this space don't ya think?


A little bigger and I can have some fried green tomatoes! 


 And last but not least, the upper deck...tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus and pole beans.


Love my garden!! And what's great is that since it's only 4 feet wide, I rarely have tons of weeds!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Perfect Cornbread


Okay, so does anyone out there love cornbread as much as I do? It took me forever to figure out a recipe that did what I wanted. I wanted the crunchy bottom, with an almost cake-like texture but still a crumbly cornbread texture, not to dry, not too moist, a little sweet but also savory....nooo...I'm not picky...ha ha. Do I sound hard to please? Try living with me.... :) Anyway, after much research and tweaking here's what I ended up with. The perfect Cornbread. (Well, to my standards anyway)


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Yellow Cornmeal
1 cup flour
2/3 cup Sugar
3 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 cup + 3 T. vegetable oil
1 T. bacon drippings
2 T. butter
Honey butter:
1 T. butter
1 T. honey
a cast-iron skillet

 

1. Alright, first thing's first. Preheat that oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the 2 T. butter and 1 T. bacon drippings in the cast-iron skillet and place in the oven while prepping the batter. I usually save my bacon drippings in a mason jar and keep it in the fridge. It adds such a subtle, but special, flavor to many dishes like soups, dumplins, cornbread...and it takes out that extra step of cooking bacon when the recipe calls for it like in sausage gravy and biscuits.



2. Next add all of the dry ingredients to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix together.


3. Add the wet ingredients next. (If you don't have buttermilk, just pour milk in a measuring cup and add a tablespoon of white vinegar and let sit 5 minutes)


4. Carefully remove skillet from hot oven. Pour in batter and spread it with a spoon if necessary.


5. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The butter/bacon drippings add such a wonderful flavor and crispiness to the bottom!


Mmm...mmm...mmmm...Next melt the butter and honey in a dish and whisk together (sorry, no pic here, but you can use your imaginations)


Brush the honey butter over the top.


Cut the cornbread and enjoy! (You can omit the honey butter if you prefer, but why would anyone ever 'prefer'? lol)


Friday, July 6, 2012

To See or Not to See? That was the question. {Magic Mike}

So this past week I was having a battle with myself. It was the cartoonish Devil and Angel on my shoulders. On Tuesday, a bunch of ladies from my family were going to go to the movies to watch Magic Mike, a movie that is all the rage with the ladies right now. I mean, for days it was all I saw on the Facebook newsfeed. I'll be honest, I don't live under a rock and I am not a stone. I wanted to see it. Seriously. I can appreciate the attraction to a bunch of really hot men with no shirts on dancing it up on a stage...and the desire to watch...I'm only human. However I had a dilemma because on the other shoulder was my 'angel'. The part of me that said "Isn't this a double-standard to my husband?" Crap. Why do I have a conscience? So the angel continued her lecture "You KNOW if it were reversed and he was going with some buddies to watch a female stripper movie, would you let him? Umm...let me think...Absolutely NOT! So why would it be okay for me to go ogle men? Uh oh...In comes the little red devil..pitch fork and all..."BUT Channing Tatem is soo HOT and such a great dancer! Oh, and Matthew McConaughey isn't bad to look at either. It's not like I'm thinking about sleeping with them. Girls just appreciate a show, right? AND it isn't bad as 50 Shades of Grey...." Then comes the tap from my little white angel..."Listen Honey,You know your thoughts aren't going to be 100% pure and won't be about your husband. Isn't that right?" Uggh! Sometimes I hate being a Christian..lol (not really). {Now, I'm not going to get all spiritual on you, but if you want to see the spiritual perspective on the argument head on over to see what Melissa from MelissaJenna.com has to say, very insightful.} I'm no saint, don't get me wrong. Mad Men is my one guilty pleasure, and I have been known to have a glass of wine or sangria 3 or 4 times...per year. Maybe you'd call me a prude or extremely uncool because I don't like rated R movies or hearing the "F" word a million times, or nudity. I would much rather watch the TV version of a movie with all the dirty scenes and language bleeped out or blurred. Some people disagree and say I shouldn't even bother, but to each his own, right? Right.     
    
Anyway, I'm not trying to offend anyone in this day of political correctness. I'm talking from the perspective of my relationship with my husband. Ever since the first year of our marriage, we made a pact that we would not disclose which celebrities we were attracted to. What purpose would it serve but to let the Comparing Games begin? and it can't be good for a self-image. So for ELEVEN years other than the first two crushes we revealed before we thought better of it (for me it was Ricky Martin...I know.."Bless my heart for being so silly" lol and for him it was J.Lo) we had a clean record. We both lived in naive marital bliss. Until last year, when DH accidentally discovered two celebrities I think are hot: the guy on The Doctors (sorry I don't know his name) and Bradley Cooper. Well, let me just say he has used it against me (in a teasing way) ever since. Trust me, I have other crushes...um...Bruno Mars...lol.. So to make it a little more even, he had to tell me one too and his was Jennifer Love Hewitt. Okay, well I'm getting off on a tangent here. Let's get it together. 
     
So anyway, DH and I do two things (or at least try): we tell each other everything, especially when someone flirts with us, and we do NOT discuss who we think is hot, real or celebrity. Two rules that have helped us be very successful as a couple thus far. SO...when I mentioned that I wanted to see Magic Mike, let's just say...he was none too pleasedIt's kind of deflating to a man's ego don't you think? Knowing your wife is watching these guys that have bodies that you don't? Get nearly naked? He wanted to know 'Why?' Well, without sounding terrible, I couldn't really tell him. Why DID I want to see it?     There is one thing I always remembered from my childhood: I remember always seeing romance novels in the grocery store and maybe some of my moms friends must've been reading them too. I can't remember exactly. But I do remember that I asked my mom once why she didn't read them. Her response? "Well, because my love life is a lot better than those fantasies" or something to that effect. That stuck with me for some reason. Is MY love life better than those types of books? Why Yes. Yes it is. So needless to say, the same goes for 50 Shades of Grey. Adding "Mommy" to the word "Porn" does not make it okay. I don't watch porn ever, so WHY would I want to READ it?  So after the battle within myself, I came to the conclusion that it IS a double standard and does nothing positive for my marriage. I LOVE my husband and am very attracted to him the way he is. We have a great marriage and love life so what do I need to watch it for?

I like what Melissa Jenna said in her post 50 Shades of Magic Mike. " What if we invested our time and energy into spicing things up in our bedrooms? Rather than spending $12 on that movie, or the book, why not save the money, and instead, wear something sexy to bed, just because? And what if all the time that you would have spent reading 50 Shades, you instead spent making love to your husband?" (Melissajenna.com)

How true is that? Giving time to my marriage instead of fantasizing about it would be a better choice. So what's the conclusion? I am saying NO to the temptation. Yes the temptation is still there, because like I said, I'm only human. But for now, the angel on my shoulder won because I love my husband and the life I have. By the way...it made him feel good that I chose him over Mike. :) Sooo...what will you do? Do you and your spouse have any pacts like us? Or do neither of you have problems sharing your crushes or watching movies like Magic Mike?

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and maybe some decisions compared to others don't make sense. All I can say is I take it 1 day at a time and each decision I make I try to do my best to do what I feel is right. Some days are better than others and some days I live better than I did the day before. Whatever you do is between you, your spouse and God. :) Thanks for listening! 

You Might Be a Redneck If...


You trash pick an entire picnic table from the side of the road....ha ha ha! Well, I guess I'm a redneck...lol. I am SUPER excited for my new find! Now, I just have to scrape it up, sand it and repaint it...oh and find some chairs or benches to use with it. Can't beat free!! Especially in THIS economy! :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

No More Mayberry

Andy in front of our little Pioneer Theater
in downtown Manteo
     So as everyone may know, at least I hope they do, the legendary Andy Griffith passed away on Tuesday. He was 86 and went peacefully in his sleep. Okay..."Why do I even care?", you ask? Well, because he was my neighbor...sort of. He lived on my tiny southern island about a quarter mile from my home in Manteo, North Carolina. I drove past his driveway every day of my life when I lived there. What was he like? Well, I am not sure exactly, you see I never actually met him. (Although my Aunt worked for him and said he was a super nice guy) Andy was a private man, he kept to himself when he was home. Can you blame him? I guess after being in the spotlight for so many years he probably came to a point where when he was in his home town he just wanted to be a normal nobody. I actually did see him a few times, whether pulling out of his driveway, in a store parking lot or out to a restaurant, but most locals knew to just let him be. When I was a teenager, I worked at a the Weeping Radish, a german restaurant on Roanoke Island, and there was a booth that was tucked in a corner in which nobody wanted to sit in, unless they were a lovey dovey couple. Well, according to some of the older wait staff, it was where Andy liked to sit, so that he would not be noticeable. Although in the seven years I worked there he never came in once...we still told the tourists that it was "Andy Griffith's booth" in order to get them to stay put...ha ha..I know, it's not nice to tell fibs, but c'mon, you gotta do what you gotta do to get butts in the seat right? 
     Well anyway, one thing about the town I call home, it definitely IS Mayberry. Coming from a family where my dad was one of eight siblings we had a pretty big family when you count all the cousins. It's a place where when I went back to visit and was in town 15 minutes I ran into three people I knew in the tiny grocery store..one of them being my uncle! My husband always teases me that I'm from Mayberry because in the town limits (before I left) there were only about 4 stop lights on the one main road...OH, and of course, Andy Griffith lived down the street...ha ha. My little town was a great place to grow up. It was quiet and definitely moved at a southern pace...something I miss terribly. When I got married I was so ready to get away from the small town drama, but what I didn't know is that there is always 'small town drama' no matter where you live...Only, here in Philly, it's easier to get lost from the drama if you want to. 
    So anyway, just thinking about our dear Andy Griffith I am reminded of a sweet small town way of life. Where people say hello and lend a helping hand with a smile on their face. Maybe I'm remembering an idealistic small town, maybe it still exists, but either way it is going to move on without Andy. He will be remembered, though. And maybe we would all do well to think about Mayberry and let it continue in our hearts and actions. Treat others with respect and kindness and follow the golden rule "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you". This picture I found on Facebook says it all..."The world needs more 'Mayberry' and a little less 'Jersey Shore'. Amen! Thanks for listening!






Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Southern Sweet Tea



Photobucket

Okay, so I have been blogging for almost a year now and I have yet to post my sweet tea recipe. Actually, I just really didn't like the pitcher I owned so I finally got a decent one so I figured it was picture worthy. ha ha. Anyway...growing up down south, sweet tea is a staple in every home and restaurant. No powdered crapola here! There's nothing more refreshing than an ice cold glass of freshly brewed southern sweet tea! If you want to know a great recipe, here ya go...super easy and delicious! We make a pitcher of this every single day...like I said, it's a staple in every southern home. Enjoy!

For 2 quart pitcher (1/2 gallon):

2 Lipton Family size tea bags
1 qt water
ice cubes (or 1 qt water)
2 cups sugar (or Splenda for diet)

For 1 gallon pitcher (4 quarts)
4 Lipton Family size tea bags
2 quarts water
ice cubes (or 2 quarts water)
4 cups sugar (or Splenda for diet)


First you'll want to fill your teapot or a sauce pan with water. I use a teapot and don't really measure. If I am making a gallon pitcher, though, I fill the teapot all the way. Bring the water to a boil.


Next, pour the water in the pitcher. I usually fill it half, to a little more than halfway.



Add the teabags and let steep for about 7-8 minutes. Set the timer so you don't forget!


Using a spoon squeeze the teabags gently and discard. 


Add sugar and stir. It is important to add the sugar at this stage because the hot tea helps the sugar dissolve. Otherwise, the sugar will just sink to the bottom. Stir until dissolved. We use splenda, trying to watch our figures...ha ha. Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar, but remember...it isn't "sweet tea" if it ain't sweet!


Next, add ice cubes to the pitcher to fill it the rest of the way up. Once you have added the ice stir it with a spoon until most of the ice cubes have melted.
 

Voila! Southern Sweet Tea! Pour it over a glass of ice and enjoy! Use a mason jar and close your eyes and you'll feel like your under the southern sun. 



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