Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Beef Vegetable Soup

Every fall and winter my mom makes all kinds of soup and chili. Now that I'm married it's my turn to try and learn all of my mom's amazing recipes my self. If I had been smart I would have learned from her last year. Alas, I am learning on my own in my kitchen. At least mom is only a phone call away, right?

One of my favorites has always been her Beef Vegetable Soup. She used to make big batches of it when I was home during college and then deep freeze it so I could take some back with me. Let's just say I became pretty popular whenever I would return to school with my loot. Well, it was really cold here last week so I got into full on "soup mode." I bugged my mom for her recipe all week and tackled it my self on Sunday.

Here we go!

Vegetable Beef Soup

2 tablespoons of butter
3 pounds chuck roast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
2 large sprigs each fresh parsley, thyme and oregano (chopped), when available (dried, otherwise)
10 cups water
2 cups canned tomato puree
3 large celery stalks, peeled and diced
3 to 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium turnips, peeled and diced**
3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced**
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
½ small green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced into 1-inch-long strips (about 3 cups)

Melt butter in a large, heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add beef. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter onion evenly over top. Add bay leaves and chopped herbs. Cover tightly. Reduce heat to low; simmer about 2 hours.

Add water and tomato puree; increase heat to medium and return to a simmer, skimming off any scum that rises. Add celery, carrots, turnips, parsnips and cabbage. Return to a simmer and cook, over medium-low heat, until meat and vegetables are very tender, about 2 hours.

Remove meat and cool slightly. Cut into bite-size pieces. Add back to soup. Skim off any excess fat from top of broth.

** I don’t use these two vegetables. I usually add lima beans, green beans and black-eyed peas (frozen). Add whichever vegetables you like. You MUST, however, use the cabbage. It disappears as it thickens the soup.

Enjoy with a grilled cheese! :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Pickin'

Ever since my brothers were little (and we lived in GA) we have gone to Burt's Pumpkin Patch in Dawsonville, GA. Well, my brothers are officially teenagers and have outgrown the days of going to the pumpkin patch. Lucky me, I married a big kid :) We took our best couple friends and went to town and probably spent too much. Oh well! You only live once, right?

We got some pretty maize for our front door :)

Me and Kristi

Husband and his pumpkin he spent 15 min picking

Pat is serious about his pumpkins. Very serious. He spent about 5 minutes arranging our wheelbarrow so the pumpkins would look nice but all fit perfectly at the same time. People walked by his wheelbarrow and took pictures of it. For instagram. Seriously. Here he is with his wheelbarrow

I hope you all had a great weekend and this week ends up being a great one!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gold Rush and Oktoberfest

Fall in Georgia is a blast. There is some new event every weekend that seems to take away from the fact that I can't attend Mississippi State home football games like I used to. I love college football. I love tailgating. Needless to say my falls feel less fall like without it. Thankfully Georgia has found ways to make it not seem so terrible without some good ole SEC football ;)

This past weekend we decided it would be a great idea to pack as many of those activities into one weekend as possible. Saturday we drove up to Dahlonega, GA for Gold Rush, their yearly homecoming weekend for the college there. It's basically a big festival with local artists showcasing their work and A LOT of fried food. We stopped at some booths and ate lunch before walking around. We then just had to stop for some fried Oreos. Dahlonega is a small town that is known for it's gold mining. I think just about every kid who went to summer camp in north Georgia has been taken to Dahlonega to "mine for gold" at least once. I hadn't been to that precious town in almost 15 years. It was so great to see it again!
Kristi and I. It was her first time to enjoy the amazingness that is fried Oreos.

After indulging in some fried foods we decided to hightail out of there and head to Helen, GA for Oktoberfest. Helen is one the coolest small towns in the US. It is an exact replica of a small German town in the middle of the north Georgia mountains. Every year they have Oktoberfest from the end of September to the end of October. This is Pat's favorite thing to do every year. He was born in Germany, speaks German and l-o-v-e-s German food. Let's just say the terrible fake German accent comes out every time we go to Helen :)

Das boot, bratwurst, sauerkraut. Told ya he loves all things German ;)

Pat and I at the town square by the beer garden
Now with Kristi to get our annual picture
Our group picture in the beer garden
We all had a blast on our annual excursion to Helen. It was great to go to Gold Rush for the first time and experience Dahlonega during the fall. Next I'll catch y'all up on our Sunday adventure to Burt's Pumpkin Patch in Dawsonville, GA.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday's Letters

Burt's Pumpkin Patch 2012

Dear Pat, Thanks for letting Kristi and I enjoy a Ladies Night at Big Peach Running Company last night. I know it was really difficult for you to play video games the whole night ;) Dear New Running Clothes, That statistic that says whenever you purchase new workout clothes you are motivated to workout is SO right. Can't wait to try y'all out tonight! Dear Kristi, We should ditch the boys more often :) Dear North Georgia, We are coming for you this weekend! Oktoberfest, Gold Rush and Burt's Pumpkin Patch here we come! Dear Love, Thankful to call you mine and that we can be grown up kids together!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Husband, It's been 5 months since the day you became mine forever! 5 MONTHS! Dear Em & Patches, Your wedding was beautiful and fabulous. Everyone loved being able to witness you two entering into the most precious thing this side of heaven, marriage. Enjoy that honeymoon! Dear Laundry, I will dominate you this weekend. Dear Weather, Can you please stay this way forever? Dear Phillips Family, As you all transition into your new normal you are in the prayers of many. Never hesitate to call and ask for help. We are all here for you. Dear Pat, When I got home on Monday you had cleaned our entire kitchen from top to bottom. You know just the way to this girl's heart (and sanity).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Walkin' in Memphis

This past weekend Pat and I made our way to Memphis for the wedding of two of my good college friends.We decided to break up the trip and drive just to Birmingham on Thursday. I love when we get to do this because that means we get to stay with my grandmother. It's always great to see her even if it is only for a short visit. We also got to see one of my best friends/sorority sister/ roommate from college. Even if it was only for an hour that Starbucks coffee trip brought back so many great memories from college.

Kelli and I

We woke up really early so I could make it to the Bridesmaid Luncheon on time. I only got one picture there. Of course it was of me and the bride :)

Emily and I 

The Rehearsal was a blast. I feel like that is weird to say, but we really all did have fun. I'm pretty sure we were all laughing the entire time. I've missed my college friends!
Blurry Bridesmaids + Bride

Despise this picture of me but Hubs is looking good!

Rehearsal Dinner with the Bride
After the Rehearsal Dinner we all went out on Beale Street for a little bit to a place called Alfreds. We had a blast just hanging out and listening to the band.

Alfred's with Emily
One last picture together before the big day!

The day of the wedding was actually pretty relaxing despite a mini disaster that morning. We all got ready at Emily's parent's house and of course their downstairs decided that would be a great day to get flooded. Yikes! It was all cleaned up super fast and there was nothing to worry about the rest of the day! Lucky Em- she got her "Wedding Day Disaster" out of the way early ;) 

Bride getting ready :)
Sweet Heather did all of our makeup. Quite the undertaking! ;)

All the girls before the ceremony

Reunion with Ky-Ky on the party bus :)
First Dance
Best wedding date around

All-in-all, the weekend was a blast! It was like a flashback to college and all of the band parties we went to together. Pat officially wishes he went to college in the south after realizing this was how college was for us. I wish we could do it once a month. Too bad we're all spread out from coast-to-coast! Now someone else just needs to get hitched :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Will your life be an impact on this earth for generations after you leave it?

That question has been one that has been weighing heavily on me for almost a week now. Mr. Randy, a spiritual father to many on the campus of MSU, passed away last Tuesday at 9:30 at night. You can't help but feel joy knowing what joy Mr. Randy must be feeling sitting in the presence of Jesus. He is home. He is missed. In the midst of the joy is a deep sadness and ache for all of us here. It's been a few years since I had the opportunity to sit and listen to Mr. Randy but that deep voice is one I can still hear in my mind today. It is one of the most soothing voices I have ever heard. My heart aches for his sweet wife Mrs. Maureen and his 13 children. They were all so deeply loved by their husband and their father. He loved them as everyone should be loved. His life deeply impacted many people at my college. He didn't work there, but he discipled there. I would argue that he had the most important "job" on campus. I am leaving you all with a video. It is a brief sermon about the life of Mr. Randy and how his life will have an impact on this earth for years to come. I hope it inspires and convicts you. It was just the thing I needed to hear in a time of sorrow.