Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tasty Tuesday--Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle

I made this yummy patriotic trifle for the 4th of July, and it was a hit. It's as tasty as it is pretty, and like all trifles, it is easy to prepare.

1 prepared angel food cake
2 boxes cheesecake flavored pudding (or any white colored pudding)
4 cups milk
2 pints strawberries, sliced
blueberry sauce (see below)
whipped cream (see below)

Blueberry Sauce
1 1/2 pints blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Blueberry Sauce
Combine the blueberries and sugar in a large saucepan. Add 1 cup water and the lemon juice and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the mixture begins to thicken. Cool to room temp.

Whipped Cream
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks are about to form. Then, beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.
(make sure your cream is cold before you start. I even put my metal bowl of my stand-mixer in the freezer for a few minutes before.)

1. Prepare the pudding by mixing the powder of both boxes and the 4 cups of milk in a large bowl. Whisk the mixture for about 2 minutes, then let sit to thicken.
3. Tear the angel food cake into bite-sized pieces.
4. On the bottom of the trifle bowl, place a layer of the angel food cake pieces. Top with a layer of the pudding (enough to cover), followed by a layer of the blueberry sauce, again, just enough to cover. Also, make sure the sauce goes to the edges to make it pretty! Top the blueberry sauce with a layer of whipped cream, and finish with a layer of fresh sliced strawberries.
5. Repeat.
6. You should have enough of each element for two full layers of each, with a little whipped cream to spare. Top the trifle with the remaining whipped cream, and arrange the remaining fresh blueberries and strawberries on top.

*If you want to make this even easier, you can purchase prepared blueberry pie filling instead of making your own sauce.

Speaking of the 4th of July, we spent our's hanging out with friends and family at my brother and sister-in-law's house. Good food, good company, and, of course, good fireworks.

Lucy who marches to the beat of her own drum. No red, white, and blue for this little girl. Pink and ruffles, please.

boys being boys

Friday, July 18, 2014

While I Was Gone: Part 2

Picking up where we left off…

Fall 2013
1. Had this painting made of Birdie for Andy's birthday. A sorority sister of mine has an Etsy store, Linnyfish Creations, and she specializes in everything from pet portraits, child portraits, or houses. Her prices are fantastic for an amazing original piece of artwork! And I love her use of bright colors.
this is the picture we sent her

2. Watched a lot of USC football, both in my living room and in Williams-Brice Stadium.

3. Had surgery on my eye for a detached retina. This was no joke. I had a gas bubble inserted in my eye and had to keep my head down for 5 days. 5 days. It was the worst ever. 
this was actually towards the end of the 5 days, so my eye was looking better!

4. Found at that Emily was having a baby BOY!

5. Celebrated "Friendsgiving" with our supper club crew.

Winter 2013-2014
1. Decked the halls.

2. Hosted a fun Tacky Christmas party with our fun friends.
we're kind of obsessed with christmas vacation :)

3. Enjoyed a relaxing Christmas break.

4. Spent Christmas in Atlanta.

5. Baby Lane was born! Emily is one of my best friends, and I love seeing her as a mommy!

7. Celebrated Lucy's 4th birthday.

8.  Went beach camping by boat on a remote area of Kiawah Island on the coldest night of our winter in Charleston. I was a little scared of freezing to death, but with the fire and the red wine, I was warm all night! It was so much fun, and I would definitely do it again!

9.  Showered one of my oldest and best friends, Kelsey, and her baby boy, Jack. She and her husband are big Bob Marley fans (their first dance was to "Is This Love"), so I had my friend Kathryn design this print for Jack's nursery. Kathryn also has an Etsy store, Love Raleigh Creative. 

Whew…that was long. Almost done catching you up! 
Part 3 coming soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

While I Was Gone: Part 1

A lot can happen in over a year's time. Some interesting things, some not so interesting things. Let's see, before this week's posts, the last time I talked to you was February 2013. Let's keep this interesting and stick to the big events.

Here goes…

Spring 2013
1.  Andy and I became an aunt and uncle, again, to another beautiful niece, Molly. 
This little girl has brought so much joy to our family! She has the best little personality, and the biggest brown eyes.

Molly and big sister, Lucy
And this collage was from just a few days ago. As you can see, they are FULL of personality!

2.  Megan and Cameron got married! 
Megan and I have been friends since middle school. I love this girl and her hubby. They are one of our favorite couples to be around. Their wedding was perfect (Megan planned it all by herself!), and I was so happy to be a part of it.

with the beautiful bride before the ceremony
my handsome date and me

Summer 2013
1. Braves game to see Chipper Jones' jersey retired and his induction into the Braves Hall of Fame

2. Went to this concert

3. Celebrated the 4th of July on the lake with Katie

4. I picked up a new hobby: golf!

5. Andy and I took a mini-vacay to Edisto

6. And my classroom went from this…

to this!
meet the teacher night

Stay tuned for part 2!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekend Fun

Our weekend was busy, but the good kind of busy. We spent time with good friends, celebrated a birthday, welcomed back old friends that recently moved back to Charleston, and celebrated a baby girl on the way.  Here it is in a nutshell.

Andy and I played a little tennis when he got home from work. I hadn't played tennis in so long, and had forgotten how much fun it is! 

After tennis, we had dinner with Megan and Cameron and friends at Fat Hen. Fat Hen is definitely in my top 5 favorite Charleston-area restaurants. Lyndsey's little girl, Katie, was the cutest (Lyndsey is the cute girl on the left). She was so well-behaved and had such good manners. I just loved her!
I ordered the seared grouper that was served over a local succotash of butter beans, corn, shallots, fennel, bacon, tomato, and beurre blanc sauce. Oh. My. Gosh. I highly recommend this dish!
I forgot to take a picture (probably because it was 9:00 and I was starving because we eat like old people at 6:00), but I found this one on urbanspoon.

After dinner, we went to a little Irish pub on John's Island called Seanachai's with Megan and Cameron.  It's a private club, but they welcome non-members. After a few visits, they ask you to join. We just may need to, because the few times that we've gone, we've had a blast! They have great live music, and THE BEST mojito I have ever had. We could smell the bartender muddling the mint from across the bar. So fresh and minty :)

We had a lazy morning, and then celebrated our friend's, Alicia and Dallas, little boy's 2nd birthday. It was a Curious George party, and everything was perfect. Alicia knows how to plan a party!
Yummy peach sangria for the big kids.
me, Emily & Lane, and Megan

face plant into the cupcake! no hands required

After Dallas' birthday party, we headed to Summerville to a "welcome back" cookout to welcome back my friend Wendy, her husband, Carlos, and their sweet baby boy, Joaquin. Wendy and I have been friends since middle school, and she's been living in Austin for the last few years. Her parents and my parents go to church together, so the party was thrown by the Summerville Presbyterian crew.
That's Wendy with her eyes closed next to me, and Carlos and Joaquin are next to Andy.

Sunday was Lauren's baby shower on Isle of Palms. Lauren was a sorority sister of mine, and one of my best friends from college. She went to Bishop England (one of my high school's biggest volleyball rivals), and we spent most of high school playing against each other in volleyball, but never knew each other until college. 
How cute is she? You can't even tell she's pregnant until you see the side view!
i'm looking large and in charge.

And we wrapped up the weekend with a yummy dinner at Hometeam BBQ. I got the same thing I always get: smoked brisket, mac-n-cheese, and collards.
Freaking amazing.

Like I said, it was a busy, but super fun, weekend! And now I'm ready to get to work in my classroom this week! I'll post some pics of my progress along the way.

Have a great Monday!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hi, my name is Caroline. (books and mexican quinoa cakes)

Just in case you had forgotten whose blog this is.  I've taken somewhat of a hiatus from the blog, obviously. But here I am! Bear with me…it's been a while and I'm a wee bit rusty at the whole writing thing.

What have I been up to? Really, not much! It's summer and this teacher has been enjoying waking up early (but not 4:45 early), drinking coffee on the back porch, taking Birdie on morning walks before the sweltering heat sets in, hitting the pool or beach as much as I can, trying new recipes, and reading lots of good books. Isn't that what all teachers do in the summer? Confession: I have been pinning like crazy for my classroom and am kind of itching to get in there and get started with set-up. However, I am making myself wait until next week! But I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head, I think I may go crazy! I'm sure you teachers can relate: there is a sort of love/hate relationship with the end of July/beginning of August.

I could make this a really long catch-up post, or wrap it up by sharing with you a few good books that I have read this summer, and a recipe I came up with that was a huge hit with me and the hubs (and it's healthy and meatless!). So, I think I'll go with the latter.


The Time Between
Karen White

Karen White has quickly become my favorite author. This is partly because many of her books take place in Charleston. However, that is not the only reason. Her use of details and characterization keep me reading and reading…and reading. Just ask my husband…when I start, I can't stop! This book takes place on Edisto Island, which just happens to be my favorite place in the world, not to mention where Andy and I were married.

Redeeming Love
Francine Rivers

I have to admit, I was skeptical of reading this book. It is in the Christian Fiction genre, and I was skeptical that it would be a little on the cheesy side. But, thankfully, my friend Emily kept insisting that I read it, ensuring me that I would love it. She was absolutely right! This has been my favorite book of the summer…and maybe ever. I cannot say enough about this book, and how it portrays God's amazing love for His children.
Read it!

These are just two of the 6 books that I've read this summer. If you have any recommendations for me, I appreciate it! I need a new book to read!

On to the recipe. 

This was one of those "I don't feel like going to the grocery store. Let's see what I can whip up with what I already have" recipes. And, it turned out great! I would definitely add black beans next time, and  fresh avocado. Wholly guacamole is the next best thing, though!

Mexican Quinoa Cakes
makes 12-14 cakes

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water

Bring the quinoa to a boil. Turn to low, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed (12-14 minutes).

Allow the cooked quinoa to cool to room temp.

2 canned chipotle peppers, minced
1 cup cooked corn
1 cup Mexican shredded cheese
1 teaspoon house seasoning, or to taste (see recipe below)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 (10 oz.) can red enchilada sauce 
3/4 cup panko crumbs

Once the cooked quinoa has cooled, add chipotle peppers, corn, cheese, and house seasoning. Mix well. Add the bread crimps and stir to combine. Stir in the enchilada sauce, a little at a time. I didn't use the entire can. You just need enough to give it a good consistency for making cakes (if you add too much, just add a little more bread crumbs). Taste to check for seasoning. Add more salt & pepper if needed. Form into cakes (tip: wet your hands with water and it makes this much easier). Keep the cakes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. While oil is heating, place the panko crumbs in a shallow dish, and coat each quinoa cake in the panko crumbs. Cook the cakes until browned and heated through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

I served mine with a salad with honey-lime cilantro dressing.

House seasoning: 1 cup salt, 1/4 garlic powder, 1/4 black pepper

Hope you enjoy!