November 29, 2010

...all these embers burn in November skies...

Mike & I really enjoyed our Thanksgiving break. We slept late (every day) and ate way too much. We also took a mini-trip up to Brevard, Cashiers & Highlands. You probably know that Highlands is one of my favorite places on earth, even more so when it's decorated for Christmas! After sleeping late & a morning workout we packed up the car for the weekend at the lake (and the Clemson game) & headed two old people. We bundled up in the car and drove and drove and drove. The mountains were breathtaking. It'd been a while since either of us had driven up that way -- so we both enjoyed the longness of the trip, the view(s) & of course the company. We actually spent most of the break (after quality time with family on Thanksgiving of course) just the two of us -- and it was wonderful! I am so blessed to be married to my best friend.

the view from Bald Rock

me & Mike on Bald Rock
i LOVED the reds! so beautiful (:

it's Christmas in Highlands!!!!

the HUGE Christmas tree outside one of the churches in Highlands!

Mike & I have made Christmas cards for each other since we were dating...the good old fashioned homemade kind. We ended up at the lake house after our day of travels and spent the evening working on our cards! Last year we started kind of late, so we were rushed! This year I made sure we were gonna have plenty-o-time to get 'em done!

Sweet Mike workin' on my card

the idea for my card!

makin' progress!

Mikey still workin' hard (that's the heavenly host in his hands)

Merry Christmas Mikey!
(you can't see it, but there is a sign off behind the girl that says 2010)

We ended our fun, adventurous weekend at the Clemson / Carolina game! It was the first game we'd been back to since we graduated (and only the 2nd time I've been back to campus!--I still don't miss it! haha)

Me & Mike at the Clemson game!

thanksgiving pie recipes

Cranberry & Wild Blueberry Pie
 2 store bought crusts

 (fixing the holes because I didn't let it "thaw" enough..who knew refrigerated [not frozen, mind you] stuff needed to thaw?)
oh well - it turned out just fine!

12 oz. fresh cranberries
12 oz. frozen blueberries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
lemon zest from 1/2 lemon

grating lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon into the berry mix 

Filling: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens & begins to boil, stirring occasionally (12-14 minutes). Continue to boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer berry mixture to glass or ceramic dish; cool completely [I put it in the fridge to speed up the process] - mixture should thicken.
*Can be made up to 3 days ahead.

Pour the berry mixture into the pie bottom crust

make your weave with the 2nd dough 
(i used a cookie cutter to make a turkey with a little left over dough!)

Crust: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400F. Roll out dough disk on floured surface 12 in. round. Transfer crust to 9 in diameter pie dish. Let excess dough hang over the edge until you add the weave. Remove cinnamon sticks from filling and pour / spoon into crust. Roll out 2nd dough disk & cut strips about 3/4 in wide (11-12 strips). Arrange the lattice on top. Press the excess dough (around the edge) to create a boundary so the filling doesn't seep out! (Fold it over & pinch to seal) Brush edges & lattice with egg mixture (mix: 1 egg yolk / a little half & half or whipping cream -- it makes it turn a nice golden color). Sprinkle the top with nutmeg. Bake until crust is golden & filling is bubbling thickly. (abt 1 hour & 10 minutes is the recommended time..but ours was ready in about 45 min!) 
*can be made up to 8 hours ahead (let sit at room temp)

The finished product!
Cranberry & Wild Blueberry Pie - complete with turkey on top! 

1 store bought crust

the YUMMY mixture

The finished pie!

November 28, 2010

all things thanksgiving

Let me just say that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays...period. I love the quality family time mixed with good food and no stress of gifts. (Don't misjudge me, I LOVE Christmas, but I think too often we forget what Christmas is really about.)  

Thanksgiving is a holiday that has worked out wonderfully for me and Mike -- even before we got married. We spend lunch with Mike's family & dinner with mine. It's always too much food and always a great time of fellowship, catching up, napping / resting and just enjoying each others company! 

my Thanksgiving countdown

Wild Berry Pie -- we took this one to lunch with the Martin clan
[recipe to follow]

Southern Living Sweet Potato Pie
we took this one to dinner with the McCraws
[recipe to follow]

sleepy sleepy!
an afternoon nap post lunch / pre dinner always helps!

this would be all of the kids that attended dinner with my side of the family. i think there were 21 in all (once the last stragglers arrived) and we were even missing a couple!
PS - I'm the oldest. (I felt dreadful once I figured this out)

chaos..yes please (: 

This year I tried to note something that I was thankful for everyday that I journaled. If you have never done this, try it. 

November 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Mere (:

Happy Happy Birthday Mere (:
(we celebrated with lunch at Soby's & the musical "White Christmas" on Sunday, a few days before Mere left to head back to Washington to scoop up DP!)

OD, Cat & Mere outside of Soby's

Me & Mike after lunch 

 OD & Cat with their grand-kiddos

Soby's for lunch! 

Mimi, Mere, Mike, Me, Mel & Papa
(lots of "Ms"!) 

Happy birthday to my big sister, Mere (:
I love you & I am SO thankful for you!
I can't wait for many, many more celebrations over the years!

November 13, 2010

keeping up with the martins

[i follow several blogs (don't judge me...i have a LOT of free time) - and found this on Molly's sweet blog. i thought it was a fun way to get to know a little more about us & i really enjoyed reading about Molly & Joe up in NY!]

1What are your middle names? mine is Megan, his is Alan 

2. How long have you been together? we are in our 7th! [God bless him (: ] 

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating? we knew each other for 3 years before we started dating. we met a couple of days before our freshman year (at orientation) and started dating our senior year in high school! so yes, we definitely consider ourselves "high school sweethearts" 

4. Who asked who out?  mike asked me out

5. How old are each of you?  both 23 (but i am older) 

6. Did you go to the same school? yep! we started high school together and finished up at Clemson together 

7. Are you from the same home town?  my answer is no, Mike's would be yes. I grew up in Ft. Inn & he grew up (for the most part) in Simpsonville. They are NOT the same place. Do NOT confuse them. 
8. Who is the smartest?  can we be smart in different things?! (: haha 

9. Who majored in what?  Me: food science with a concentration in human nutrition and dietetics; Mike: business management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship 

10. Who is the most sensitive?  I guess me, but I'm not very sensitive

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?  Bremerton, WA where Mere & DP lived for 3 years. We've been to Costa Rica too, but geographically I think Bremerton is further. 

12. Who has the worst temper? neither of us really have a bad temper (unless it's dealing with sports - then Mike definitely wins)

13. How many children do you want? 5 or 6 

14. Who does the cooking? Me usually, but some nights it's a team effort! Mike is a great helper in the kitchen. 
15. Who is more social?  Definitely Mike. I have learned to be a extroverted introvert (resume words for ya), but Mike is our social butterfly. 

16. Who is the neat freak?  neither of us, which is probably a bad thing! I do try to keep the house picked up though 

17. Who is the most stubborn? Me 

18. Who wakes up earlier? me - i am the morning person & mike is the night owl...i don't see how people do it!

19. Where was your first date?  The Exorcist - we went with Bryan & CP. How romantic, I know...but we were seniors in HS (cut us a break!) haha 

20. Who has the bigger family? we both have 2 sibblings (i tell people i have 3 sisters & 2 brothers now) and both of our extended families are large 

the kids on my moms side at Christmas (2010)
the kids on my dad's side at Thanksgiving (2006)

21. Do you get flowers often?  not often, but it makes it more special when i do! 

These were for our One Year Anniversary! And I LOVED them. 

22. How do you spend the holidays?  Our families live about 10 minutes apart which has really been a blessing for us! We'll spend Thanksgiving lunch with his family, dinner with mine. I'm not sure about Christmas this year -- we're planning on jilly-jagging some of our plans around. 

23. Who is more jealous? me (humbly admitted)

24. How long did it take to get serious?  hmmm...define serious! (: again, we were 17 when we started a year of high school and a couple years of college will do it for ya

25. Who eats more?  mike, but i'm good competition

26. What do you do for a living?  i work at for my uncle right now at his doctors office

27. Who does the laundry? mostly me - but again, Mike is a great helper. i don't iron (anything) so Mike does all of that, but bc I have more free time i usually can throw in a load if i need to before work / on my day of

28. Who's better with the computer?  me, but mike's gotten much better since we're out of college (believe it or not)

29. Who drives when you are together?  Mike does..most of the time (like 95%) we're in his car going somewhere

30. What is your song? we don't have one! ... our first dance was "With This Ring" (a good ole shag song!) but i tell him all that time that it's "Free" [ZBB] 

November 11, 2010

fruit cake, anyone?

Yesterday I spent the day with Mimi & Gram (Mike's mom & grandmother) making fruitcake. Since we've done it two years in a row now I think we can call it a tradition. 

The day started with a trip to Geralds Holiday Baking Center in Greenville. If I had known about this little jewel before yesterday I would probably be broke. It is the cutest little store (although it is in a pretty sketchy little shopping center). There are buckets and buckets of nuts, dried fruits of all kinds, sticky fruits (for fruit cakes of course), cheese straws, chex mix-ish stuff, pretzels, chocolate and so much more. It was heaven! They also sell jams, spiced things (like peaches), and holiday tins. You can even pick out what assortment of stuff you want in the tins. Sorry, I have no pictures of Geralds to insert here.

Me & Gram gettin' started.
for this fruitcake we use "Gram's Never Fail Pound Cake"
(i'll add the recipe when I get home)

 workin' hard

 *the Never Fail Poundcake recipe makes 2x the batter you'll need
(either cut it in half, or save the rest for a small pound cake which is what i did! it is delicious)
*also, for the paper in the bottom of the loaf pans - simply cut a brown paper bag to fit the bottom...and grease it with Crisco

 the "sticky" fruit all mixed together.
1.5lb red & green cherries
0.5lb pineapple rings
0.5 box white raisins
2.5 cups chopped pecans
(soak over night in 1/2 tsp lemon, 1/2 tsp orange, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1/8 tsp almond flavoring)

 Mimi, Gram & Me

 Mere, Gram & Me
we've mixed the batter and the fruit and are pouring it into the loaf pans
bake at 325 for an hour for the babies, 1.5 hrs for the big loaf! (or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean)

 Baby Fruit Cakes!
(the baby ones came from mini loaf pans that Mimi got at Garden Ridge...the recipe makes enough for 5 baby fruit cakes & one regular sized loaf)

My dad's birthday is coming up & his favorite is fruitcake..happy early birthday dad! (:

November 4, 2010

Costa Rica [one year anniversary trip]

Around April Mike & I decided that we wanted to go somewhere for our *Big One Year Anniversary* in October. I started doing some research -- I looked at Belize, Puerto Rico, Ecuador...and Costa Rica. Belize was beautiful, but super expensive. Puerto Rico looks awesome, but I hear it's very Americanized. Ecuador also looked awesome - so we thought we'd give it a try. We were in the process of booking a trip to Ecuador when I contacted the man (we use VRBO &  love it) about his house to make sure it was still open and he had rented it out to someone else! So, bummed as we were we started looking around again - and kept coming back to Costa Rica. We decided that since we loved it so much last year that we would go back! And, the Lord blessed me with a 2nd job over the summer which allowed us to take the trip without dipping into our savings! [God is GOOD]

So, I searched houses all over Tamarindo, Costa Rica. I ended up with a great deal -- we stayed in Villa Andalucia (if you ever get a chance to visit - I highly recommend staying there!) Gary & Jolene were amazing - they took such good care of us! We had beach cruisers (that we used daily since we opted out of renting a car), breakfast cooked by Maria - a local, a clean pool, TV (a huge plus since we don't have it at home!), A/C, and anything else we needed.

This year we knew we wanted to do something (other than surfing) so we went snorkeling with Brooks & Kyle. It was amazing - they took us to the Bay of the Pirates which was stunning. I've never seen anything like it. We also got to experience the Panodoria (Bakery) Truck..this little gem drove up after we'd snorkeled for about 3 hours - with a trunk full of German baked goods. We were hooked from the smells alone! We told them they could've charged us $100 for our pasteries & we would've payed! It was delicious!

We really didn't do much. We read, a lot. We layed out. We ate a ton of great Costa Rican food (you would be surprised at how much pizza we ate though). We enjoyed watching TV since we don't do it at home. But mostly, we enjoyed each other. Time away was such a blessing - we've gone on some mini-vacations since we've been married (skiing in the spring, a few days at the beach with our families, weekend lake trips) but nothing just the two of us. Much needed, much recommended if you're newly married...or if you're oldly married (:

 My beach cruiser

 Mikey soakin' up the sun

Goin' out for dinner one night! 


 Goin' to dinner...another night!

 the beaches are very LOST-esk

AT Nabbana's. Great local food (not so great pizza)

[there are conservation laws that will prevent you from bring the 4 pound bag of shells that you picked up all week home. just know this in advance so you don't wast your time.]

in the Houston airport
laughing at the gallo