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Posted by on Sep 13, 2011 in BettyBecca Reviews, Come Together, Mr. J, Try Something New | 2 comments

Amazing Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. J planned a weekend away for us. It was so lovely, and I’m still smiling looking back on it. I was given Friday night in Chattanooga to plan a surprise. Mr. J had Saturday after the Cirque show in Atlanta to plan as his surprise. He really outdid himself (as always). We really enjoyed planning the surprises and spending time together. I hope we can plan some get-aways like this on a regular basis. They’re so relaxing and fun!
I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but here are the highlights:
  • I scheduled dinner for us at Porter’s Steakhouse in Chattanooga on Friday night. He had 12 oz. Pepperloin and Mashers. I don’t eat steak, and I probably would have traded plates with him. I had salmon, rice, and asparagus for my entree and crab cakes with fresh corn remoulade for appetizer. VERY good meal!
  • We had a terrible night at the Hampton Inn. The air was blowing but didn’t cool, and it was 90 outside. Boo!
  • After a quick breakfast, we struck out for Atlanta. We had lunch at Lenox Square Grill and shopped a little at Lenox Square Mall. Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters were my main stops. Cornbread at the Grill was to die for! I’ll be trying to replicate that soon. My Chef Salad left much to be desired.
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  • Cirque du Soleil – Dralion was wonderful. Loved the silks, juggler, acrobats, trampolines, flippers, and and and. It was a beautiful and amazing show! The comedians were quite good, too.
  • After the show, we checked into our relaxing B&B, Stonehurst Place. It’s very green and very comfy. It was a great surprise to be staying somewhere so nice and cozy!
  • The house has been impeccably renovated. It’s a 19th century Southern mansion, and the decor is neutral and modern and traditional and lovely. There were orchids everywhere, and a beautiful art collection graced the walls. It was an attraction in itself.

For you, Mom Ary

  • We had a newly updated bathroom with beautiful tile work and a neat shower. The bathroom might have been my favorite part. There were cozy bath robes, and the all-natural shampoos and soaps smelled wonderful. The bed was out of this world – 1200 thread count sheets and a custom mattress. We were very pampered.

This is a photo from our room's twin. I wanted to show how beautiful the neutral but glam bedding was.

  • Dinner at Pasta da Pulcinella…I had scallops and risotto with tomatoes, capers, and fresh mozzarella with caprese for appetizer. Mr. J had chicken gnocchi with garlic cream sauce. We both loved our meals, and I would highly recommend this restaurant!
  • We enjoyed wine and chocolate cake from the restaurant on the front porch of the B&B. How divine!
  • Breakfast was delicious…to drink – water with lemon, juice of choice, coffee…to start – blueberry scone and grapes sprinkled with sugar…the main attraction – lightly sweetened souffle with fresh berries and whipped cream. I wish I could make this at home. Rebecca (our innkeeper), can I have the recipe please?
  • After checkout, we went to the World of Coke. It was very fun and happy. It was a great experience. We received complimentary bottles of Coke at the museum.
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  • We had lunch at The Varsity. We’ve seen it on Food Network. They’re celebrating their 80th anniversary this year. I had a chili dog with mustard and onion rings, and Mr. J had a chili burger and fries. He didn’t like it as much as me. I LOVED it!
  • On the way home, we hit the Smoke House in Monteagle. We had fried pies with homemade vanilla ice cream on top. Mr. J had chocolate, and I had peach. I don’t think I need to tell you how delicious that was. We both had a bottle of Dr. Pepper. They had a fun little General Store to look around in, too!
  • It was a wonderful weekend! We made tons of great memories! 😀
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Posted by on Sep 10, 2011 in Store-bought Remix, Try Something New | 0 comments

Carrots Carrots Carrots

Take 5 lbs of carrots.

Wash well, peel, cut off ends, cut in half length-wise, cut top half in half cross-wise.

Steam for 20 minutes.
Remove steamer basket and set aside to cool.
Once cool, process in batches in a food processor to achieve a puree. Add water if necessary to thin. Don’t use the cooking water because it can contain higher levels of nitrates.
Spray ice cube trays with cooking spray, Using a spatula, fill each “cube” with the carrot puree. Scrape along the top to reveal the sections between the cubes. This will make it easier to pop them out. Very GENTLY, tap the tray on the counter to settle any air bubbles. Don’t go crazy or you’ll get carrot everywhere (I speak from experience). Place in the freezer overnight.
 To store, pop out the frozen cubes and keep in a plastic storage bag or container. I still had a little remaining puree that wouldn’t fit, so I got nearly a third tray full with this batch. Label and date the contents of the bag.

A few notes: Yes, this is the same process used to make homemade baby food, but I want it handy to drop into recipes to get a little more undetected veg in our meals. The puree is incredibly tasty, and I think it could go head to head with those little jars any day! I’ll be experimenting with uses. I know that it will pair well with tomato based dishes, and I have a friend that uses purees in her tacos (either carrot, sweet potato, or butternut squash). I’ll pop a few cubes in every now and then and report back to you when I’ve found our favorite uses

Also, the orange color is incredibly concentrated so make sure to clean all of your utensils and work surfaces immediately. My ice cube trays are white, and they are stained a little. I don’t really care about this. The cooking spray helps to minimize the discoloration.

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Posted by on Sep 9, 2011 in Try Something New | 0 comments

Cooking with Wine

This is a new concept for me…cooking with wine. I must say that I really like the depth of flavor it lends to dishes.

Wine + mushrooms = lovers forever

I like red wine in spaghetti sauce. I add 1/3 cup to my recipe.

I like white wine in cream based sauces.

Of course, I like to drink wine, too.

I get this wine for cooking at the grocery store. Can you believe it? (For those of you outside of Tennessee, a.k.a. normal places, we can’t buy wine at the grocery store…only the liquor store. No Two Buck Chuck for us.) I can hardly choose which wine to drink so I’m glad to know I can just get the basics at the store. Is that bad? It’s kind of screw-up proof. You have to show your ID to purchase just like any other alcohol. In my store, it’s on the oil/vinegar/salad dressing aisle.

Do you cook with wine? What are your favorite recipes?




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Posted by on Sep 8, 2011 in Mr. J | 0 comments

Itty Bitty Burgers

I make hamburger steaks for Mr. J quite often, and one day, I decided to play a little prank on him…I made them TINY. Honey, I shrunk your burgers.

I form the patties, making an indentation in the middle of the burger to allow for it to shrink. Add a little Worcestershire sauce and some hamburger seasoning, and cook until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees.




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