friday afternoon at-home puppy fix

Lapview of the lapdog.


i will eat this on my deathbed grits casserole

I remember one Christmas morning at the house I grew up in, we were getting ready for our usual breakfast after opening presents. My mother is a wonderful cook, she cooked dinner for us virtually every night of my childhood, and she makes some amazing meals. But, like any cook, she is not without her faults.

Like me (and the entire rest of our family), she tends to get distracted. So on big occasions especially, she has been known to leave a dish or two in the oven for a bit too long. This year, it was the grits casserole.

Now let me tell you something about my family and grits casserole. We have been eating grits casserole since before I could say casserole, and ever since I can remember it has been a staple at Christmas breakfast. So when the crushed corn flakes on top of the casserole were burned on this fateful December morning, something had to be done.

My mom put me in charge of remedying the situation, so I took the casserole dish over to the trash can and started to scrape off the burnt flakes.

Well. Apparently the grits weren’t quite as congealed as I had guessed, and after a couple of scrapes, the entire casserole followed my spoon into the trash.

So when I made grits casserole for my prayer group girls a few days before I left Nashville, I watched my oven closely and stayed away from trash cans.

I had my mom take a picture of the recipe so I could copy it into this post, but when she sent me the picture I knew I had to post it as is.

What do I love most about this picture? Is it the written in TRIPLING of the recipe? Is it the obvious butter stains that could be decades old? Is it the fact that Mrs. Erle E. Wilkinson wrote this recipe? No, I think it has to be the snippet of yet another grits casserole recipe above it. If I remember correctly, there is one below it as well. I love the south.

The only thing sadder than the trash can story is the death of the garlic cheese roll. A few years back, while I was in college, Kraft discontinued the cheese. I wish I could find some of the forums I read on the internet that year filled by southern women lamenting its demise, wondering what on earth they would use for their beloved garlic cheese grits recipes, would their families stop loving them, should they even go on living.

I felt their pain. Luckily I am a survivor, so I got some regular cheddar cheese (I would have boycotted Kraft but they have the best cheese so I caved) and added garlic powder to my liking. It’s still no garlic cheese roll, but it will have to do until Kraft returns from its waywardness.

As you can see, we have tripled this recipe in our household, despite the fact that it serves 8 and we are a family of 5. We have to make two big dishes of it every Christmas so my brother can have half of the first and we all still get leftovers for lunch and the next breakfast. We don’t butter the cornflakes (there’s enough butter in it) but you are welcome to.

Don’t forget the cayenne pepper. It makes the recipe.

Please do yourself and your family a favor and make this grits casserole recipe.

It will change your life.



here comes the bride

I’m sitting in my parents’ kitchen with my dad before he leaves for work. The time change between Boston and Nashville works in our favor this morning, 6:30 am felt like 7:30 am when I woke up “late.”

Marshall is back in Hamilton, and I fly back this afternoon, after what couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend.

We were in town for the wedding of one of Marshall’s lifelong best friends, Sam. He married his high school sweetheart of more than ten years in one of the most beautiful and most fun weddings I’ve ever attended.

There’s something about a girl on her wedding day that is undeniably beautiful. I was telling one of my friends on Saturday night that I don’t believe I’ve been to a wedding where the bride didn’t look absolutely stunning. I know brides spend all day getting ready for their big day, and many spend months making sure they will look their best, but there’s something more to the radiance that glows from a bride on her big day.

For me, my wedding day was far and away one of the happiest and best days of my life. I was marrying the man of my dreams, I was surrounded by the people I loved most, and I was wearing the prettiest dress I’ll ever wear, ever. It was hanging in my old closet this weekend and I have to admit I went in to stare at it twice. I told my mom I wanted to put it on. I resisted.

That’s me, almost ten months ago! It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for almost a year.

It was so refreshing to see all of our old friends from home, and we even got to spend some time with our families (including Itty. He was so excited).

But I’m also glad to be headed back up to Massachusetts. We’ve made a good little home for ourselves up there, and it’s definitely where we are meant to be right now.

See you on the flip side.


p.s. I wrote most of this post yesterday, we are back in Mass now. I know you were wondering.

the best, and easiest, recipe, ever. you’re welcome.

Okay so this isn’t really a recipe but it’s so good that it’s worth posting on here as one. Technically, it calls for more than one ingredient and you cook it, so I’d say that makes for a recipe.

This is a dessert my family (and everyone else who ever goes there) gets at Bricktop’s in Nashville, and we fight to the finish. I’m lucky to get two bites.

Cast Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

What you will need:

Chocolate chip cookie dough (store bought, homemade, whatever is closest to you)

Vanilla ice cream (Breyers, duh.)

A tiny cast iron skillet

An oven

What you will do:

Grab a hunk of cookie dough and throw it in the little skillet (mine is about 4×4 inches), and push the dough out to the edges of the skillet.

Put the skillet in the oven and bake it at whatever temperature the cookie dough says, for however long the cookie dough says (perhaps not quite as long, if you like it a little doughy, which is the way I like it).

Remove the skillet from the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes.

Grab your ice cream, and scoop out an inordinate amount of ice cream. Throw that on top of the cookie in the skillet.

Die of happiness. Try to share.

The end.