Friday, December 30, 2011

To the Weekend!



Happy Weekend!! I can't believe Sunday will be January 1st! Wow- this year has gone by so quickly. And today's my wonderful mom's birthday as well. Happy Birthday Mom! Happy New Year everyone!! See you back here next year!

Source: flickr.com via Cindy on Pinterest

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Snow, Snow, Snow!

These next few days it's going to be snowing nonstop here in Jackson- so I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what it looks like around here right now. The hubs took my camera out the other day and took these shots...

A wolf off in in the distance (this is super zoomed in- he wasn't that close)... so jealous I wasn't with him though

And the elk, back enjoying their refuge near town

As the sun started to set, he headed over to Mormon Row (an old line of homesteads)...


Ahhhh... sunsets and snow

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grace


A story is told about Fiorello LaGuardia, who, when he was mayor of New York City during the worst days of the Great Depression and all of World War II, was called by adoring New Yorkers 'The Little Flower' because he was only five foot four and always wore a carnation in his lapel. He was a colorful character who used to ride the New York City fire trucks, raid speakeasies with the police department, take entire orphanages to baseball games, and whenever the New York newspapers were on strike, he would go on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.

One bitterly cold night in January of 1935, the mayor turned up at a night court that served the poorest ward of the city. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself. Within a few minutes, a tattered old woman was brought before him, charged with stealing a loaf of bread. She told LaGuardia that her daughter's husband had deserted her, her daughter was sick, and her two grandchildren were starving. But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, refused to drop the charges. "It's a bad neighborhood, your Honor," the man told the mayor. "She's got to be punished to teach other people around here a lesson."

LaGuardia sighed. He turned to the woman and said, "I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions- ten dollars or ten days in jail." But even as he pronounced sentence, the mayor was already reaching into his pocket. He extracted a bill and tossed it into his famous sombrero saying: "Here is the ten dollar fine which I now remit; and furthermore I am going to fine everyone in this courtroom fifty cents for living in a town where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant."

So the following day the New York City newspapers reported that $47.50 was turned over to a bewildered old lady who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed her starving grandchildren, fifty cents of that amount being contributed by the red- faced grocery store owner, while some seventy petty criminals, people with traffic violations, and New York City policeman, each of whom had just payed fifty cents for the privilege of doing so, gave the mayor a standing ovation.

What an extraordinary moment of grace for anyone present in that courtroom.


True story via Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffin Gospel
Image via A Well Traveled Woman

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Super Cheesy and Delicious Parmesan Dip

This weekend I made Michael Chiarello's Salsa di Parmigiano and it was delicious! Everything you could want in a dip- super cheesy- and very garlicy... it was wonderful. Plus it's easy and quick to make... my favorite. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb. Parmesan
  • 1/2 lb. Asiago
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1 cup and a half of extra virgin olive oil (I recommend maybe just using a tad bit less)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remove any rinds from the cheese and chop the cheeses into rough 1 inch chunks. (I did this with the Asiago but the Parmesan I purchased shredded... because it was cheaper). Place the cheese in a food processor...

Add the oregano and red pepper flakes

Then add the garlic and pepper. Pulse until reduced to a fine pea size gravel.

Stir in the green onion and olive oil (Since I was out of green onion (may be the 1st time my fridge has ever not had green onion!- I skipped this ingredient and just added in the olive oil). Pulse again.

Cover and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours. And eat up! We served ours with bread points, but you can also use crackers (what we tested the recipe with). This mixture is also great over pasta, chicken, etc...



Recipe from here

Monday, December 26, 2011

Trash the Dress: Meet Jennifer

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas weekend! This Monday, I thought I'd start us off with a first for Silver Pencils: a Trash the Dress shoot! And after seeing how much fun Jennifer and her new husband had splashing around in the waves of Fort Lauderdale, I wish I would have done one as well.

Enjoy all her fun and sunny photos on the beaches in front of the Lago Mar Resort. Jennifer is wearing the Champagne Brunch hair flower in white. All photography shot by the talented 13:13 Boutique Wedding Photography.











Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us Jennifer!!


Jennifer is wearing the Champagne Brunch hair flower

All photography shot by: 13:13 Boutique Wedding Photography

Friday, December 23, 2011

To the Christmas Weekend!



I can't believe Christmas is this weekend! Yay! I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful weekend- surrounded by those you love. Merry Christmas!

Source: us.gant.com via Cindy on Pinterest

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

I'm sure most of you are already done with your holiday baking... so I'm sorry for being a little late with this- but you could honeslty make these Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies all year long. They're so easy to make. Plus- if you turn the chocolate kiss upside down like below- they're much easier to pack if you're shipping them off to family and friends.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 regular Hershey Kisses- or 72 mini ones

In a large bowl, cream peanut butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until ingredients are blended.

Roll into 1.25 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10- 12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked.

Immediately press chocolate Kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Visiting with Danny's Parents

On the first day of winter, I'm going to go back in time to fall- one of my absolute favorite times in Jackson. The leaves are changing color, the air is crisp, and you can still go out hiking... well- as long as it's early fall.

Danny's parents came and visited with us this fall and we had such a wonderful time taking them around to all our favorite spots. We of course ventured over to Cascade Canyon (one of our favorite hikes).

I jumped below this bridge to grab a shot of the 3 of them
We also took them rafting down the Snake in Teton National Park. My husband the raft guide

This section of the Snake is beautiful. Gorgeous pine and cottonwood trees line one side while on the other are the beautiful Tetons

Danny's parents striking a pose for me... they're so cute together

The hubs and I...

On a different day, we went over the pass to Idaho for some yummy breakfast. And on our way back we stopped at the white water section of the Snake (we did a scenic- no rapids section before).

The rest of their trip we filled with some more of our favorite spots

And of course some fishing. I love this picture of Jeannie helping Gary with his line. I then got "the look" for taking a photo of him with his glasses on :)

Danny finishing the day flyfishing in the freezing cold riverAnd our final sunset.
We had such a wonderful time visiting with Gary & Jeannie. It just reinstates how incredibly blessed we are that so many people have used their vacation time to visit with us.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tom Colicchio's Herb- Butter Turkey

For those of you making a turkey for Christmas, I thought I'd post this recipe I made from Tom Colicchio for Thanksgiving. It's his Herb- Butter Turkey- and it is SO AMAZING! This is the one and only time I've ever made a turkey... and it turned out perfect... so I'm thinking this recipe's a keeper. Enjoy!



Gravy base

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds turkey necks and/or wings (I only had about a pound and it still worked out great)
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced peeled carrots
1 cup diced celery
6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth

Turkey

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme plus 15 fresh thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon plus 5 large fresh tarragon sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary plus 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage plus 5 fresh sage sprigs

1 14- to 16-pound turkey (mine was just under 14)

4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided

1/4 cup all purpose flour


For gravy base:

Melt butter in heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add turkey necks and/or wings and sauté until deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until vegetables are deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour gravy base through strainer set over 4-cup measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract liquid. If necessary, add enough chicken broth to gravy base to measure 4 cups. (Gravy base can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before using.)

For turkey:

Mix 1/2 cup butter and all minced herbs in small bowl; season herb butter with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 generous tablespoons to another small bowl and reserve for gravy; let stand at room temperature.

Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 425°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 4 tablespoons herb butter over breast meat under skin. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Sprinkle main cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place 4 tablespoons plain butter and all fresh herb sprigs in main cavity. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely. Rub remaining herb butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey generously with salt and pepper.

Place turkey in oven and roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast turkey 30 minutes; pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon plain butter to roasting pan. Roast turkey 30 minutes; baste with pan juices, then pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting with pan juices and adding 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon butter to pan every 45 minutes, about 1 hour 45 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).

Strain pan juices into bowl; whisk in gravy base. Melt reserved 2 tablespoons herb butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat; add flour and whisk constantly until roux is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Gradually add pan juice-gravy base mixture; increase heat and whisk constantly until gravy thickens, boils, and is smooth. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until gravy is reduced to 4 1/2 cups, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper.