Archive for the ‘My Thoughts’ Category

Hello, again!

Ok. here goes…as many of you know, Picture Perfect Cooking was my first blog that I began about five years ago.  It is still active and full of the recipes, photos, and book reviews from that time. 

For some reason, about a year ago, I just stopped blogging.  The space just didn’t feel right anymore and it seemed like there was always some kind of post deadline that I needed to meet.  The link parties I participated in got to be a burden instead of fun.  When that happened, I knew I needed to step back.  Suddenly, the blog was not just a creative outlet anymore, but had turned into a job and an unpaid job at that. 

So here we are almost a year later and the blogging bug bit me again, but this time I am going at it a little differently.  This new space will still have photos, book reviews, inspirations, and, yes, a few recipes, too, but I am not going to have a set post schedule or participate in link parties at least for a while.  Hopefully, that means no blogging pressure or stress. 

Welcome to my world part 2!

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Non-Menu Plan Monday

Well, how is everybody?  Me?  I am just fine and finally feeling like blogging again.  For some reason, this summer just took its toll on me and my inspiration well had run completely dry.  Thankfully, the urge to cook, take photos, and (most importantly for this space) write about it is finally coming back. 

I guess I can blame it on the hot weather, but that’s not really it.  There have been a few family health issues going on which thankfully are resolving themselves nicely.  Praise God!!  C & I also have a big personal project we are diving into and, hopefully, I can fill you in on that a little more in the near future.  It’s a wonderful opportunity but a BIGGIE!!!  In fact, if you want to say a little prayer for us, please and thank you, that would be just great.

Do you ever have the feeling that your brain is evolving into something a little different?  I guess that sounds weird, but I have been toying with the idea of changing my blog name to something that seems more “me”.  For some reason, PPC just doesn’t seem to perfectly match what I want this space to be.  I am far from perfect and even though (as my tag line says) cooking and photography are my perfect hobbies, I have never been really comfortable with the word “perfect” in the title.

Maybe I am being too sensitive, but I really don’t want to try to be perfect because I know I can’t be.  Only God and Jesus are perfect and I can only strive to be even just a tiny smidgen like them.  There may be a few changes in this little space, but maybe not.  Can you say, “Indecisive”? 

Thanks for sticking with me through my dry spell until I felt the proverbial rain filling my well again.  Stay tuned for some fun things to come!

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Nashville, Tennessee is one of our favorite places to visit for a day or weekend trip.  C & I were having a little cabin fever a couple of weeks ago so we took off for parts south one Saturday.  The original reason for our trip was to go to the Apple Store at the Mall at Green Hills and I tacked on a few other destinations in the same mall.  You got to make your trips count, don’t you know?

We also visited the Green Hills branch of the Nashville Public Library because we such huge NERDS!  There is a very good reason we did that, but that’s for another post.  The library was very pretty inside and out.  They have a pretty fountain at the entrance and a walking path with a statue.




I have to admit we found the statue a little creepy.  It is a little freaky to sit there and have the “old man” staring at you.  Anywho, since we were out to have a little fun, I decided to search for a new restaurant to try in the area and kept coming back to Table 3 which is a French bistro right next to the mall.  What a success! 

The ambience was great and the food was even better.  One of the specials that day was pork chili and I really hesitated because I thought my mind was made up to try the French dip.  I decided to forgo the chili and go with my first instinct.  Of course, C had the cheeseburger and "pommes frites”.  (C’s statement to me: I just want fries with my burger.  My statement to him:  Pommes frites is fancy French for fries.  You’ll be just fine.)

I went with the baby green salad with my sandwich and I was so glad I did.  It was all so tasty.  Enough with all the words.  Here are the pics:

I think C’s look says it all:  Can we just eat already?





After this, we hit the mall and there were so many stores that I wanted to check out.  There are some stores that just don’t exist in Kentucky.  Restoration Hardware was my first stop and the look is amazing, but the prices are ridiculous!!!  One bathroom cabinet (that wasn’t even solid wood) was $2100.00!  Um, no thank you and I promise not to break anything while I am here.  It was neat to see the set-up, but, in my opinion, their wares are way overpriced

C & I finally made it to the Apple Store and it was a madhouse.  The service was prompt and friendly and C’s errand didn’t take long at all.  After the mall experience, I braved the traffic and made it to Anthropologie.  This was another store that I had heard so much about and wanted badly to be impressed.  They do have some neat things and I can see how food bloggers would go crazy over their selection, but, again, the prices were just a little too high to justify my purchasing things there.  They also some kind of weird air freshener or candle burning which didn’t set well with C or my allergies.

We had a great time and I told C that we just experienced how the “other half” live since this is a swanky and well-off area of Nashville.  I mean, I got behind a Maserati in traffic, for Pete’s sake!  I think I’ll keep my Chevy.

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Friday Brain Dump

How’s that for a title?  I think this winter weather is seriously affecting my mental capabilities, because I have had tons of post ideas swirling in my head this week but I can’t seem to put pen to paper so to speak.  So here goes nothing…please forgive the randomness.  I blame it on this:


That’s right, we had another winter storm last Sunday night with about a quarter inch of ice with 4 inches of snow on top of it.  Oh, joy.  As you can tell, the wind blew and piled the snow up to our back door so it has been pretty much useless up to today.  Sure, it’s pretty, but one can only take so much of this.  We actually got a “snow day” from work on Monday and that is RARE!  Here are a few shots from Monday:



At least the dogs enjoyed it.




C & I slipped and slid our way to work on Tuesday, but the roads were still messy.  I felt so sorry for the road crew workers, because they were doing their best. I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on these photos.  I was riding shotgun and taking these the whole way to town.




Thankfully the temperatures are getting warmer every day so hopefully this won’t last much longer.  On another note, I had my first root canal yesterday and it actually wasn’t bad at all.  In the last 4 or 5 months, I have had a filling replaced, a crown, and now a root canal with a crown coming up for this tooth.  I think my teeth started falling apart the minute I turned forty. 

I can’t complain though since my “problem” was easily fixed and I have been very blessed with good health. There are so many people that aren’t so fortunate.  On that note,  I want to send out a special request to all of my readers.  A little 5 year old boy, whose parents are originally from my area, has been diagnosed this week with Stage 4 Birkett’s Lymphoma.  I ask you to please pray for him and his family.  The doctors say that this is a treatable disease, but he will probably have chemo treatments for at least a year.  He is a precious looking little boy who doesn’t deserve this.  Check out his Facebook page here.

Speaking of prayer, this week was the beginning of the Lent season leading up to Easter.  As a Christian, I find the Easter holiday just as inspiring and important as the Christmas season, maybe more so.  Since the protestant faith doesn’t do quite as much for Lent as the Catholic faith does, I am not really “giving up” anything except a little more of my time every day to Bible study and prayer.  The Bible app on my phone and iPad has 3 different Lent reading plans and I am going to try to study through all three.  Why don’t you join me?

Shew, I think my mind feels a little clearer now.  Oh, no, wait…there is one more story to tell about our trip to Nashville last weekend, but that might have to wait for another post.  Have a great weekend, everyone and thanks for plowing through my untamed thoughts!

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For this Thoughtful Thursday post, I would like to take you on a virtual Christmas home tour.  I love to put up Christmas decorations so C & I decided to try some new things this year.  Let’s start with the outside décor…

I have used a plain green, lighted wreath and small trees for the front door for a few years, but this year I decided to add some decorations to the wreath/trees combo and also add a lighted garland.  I love the way it turned out!  C & I decided we need to beef up the garland a little next year, but it is a great start.


We also added LED net lights to the shrubs by the front porch.




This is on the opposite end of the house and we love this little vignette.  When the tree gets bigger, we plan to put the packages around it but it is just a little too small for it right now.


When you come through the front door, this is the first view:

I love using the stacked baskets with fresh greenery to hide extension cords.


Here is the dining room:


My dad found these place mats and napkins while he was packing.  I remember cross-stitching those napkins myself about 20 years ago.


I love the way the tree looks at night.


My mom’s nativity scene is also in the dining room.


On to the kitchen, where I finally gave in to the burlap/chevron craze.  I have had the tree for a few years and have used cookie cutters on it the whole time, but this was the perfect place to add the trendy burlap and chevron. 



The centerpiece on our breakfast table is a simple trifle dish filled with fresh greenery and glass “food” ornaments.


The “big” tree is in the living room and it is full of our special ornaments.  Some of these we have had since we were children, some are collectible and some we have bought on trips and special occasions.  We can’t forget to hang our stockings too!  We even have one for Ellie.


I don’t do much in our master bed and bath, but I did decorate our guest bathroom this year with a few little touches. My mom had a few Santa items, including the cross stitched Santa that I made back in 1992, that she loved so I incorporated them all together in this room and they fit perfectly.  I added the little tree and canister this year. 





I have an announcement to make…the upstairs is finally finished!!!  Can I get a woo-hoo!?!?!?  My refinished yard sale hutch is in the hallway and all of the bedrooms have furniture as well.  There are not a lot of Christmas decorations, but I did put a little in the hallway.  The small tree has collectible miniature ornaments and I filled the basket with fresh cut greenery.  The hutch has some of my mom’s gardening books along with a few of my favorite cookbooks.




I hope you have enjoyed the virtual Christmas home tour!

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Let me warn you right now that this is going to be a long and photo heavy post, but it is full of awesome Kentucky made products so it is so worth reading until the end. Last Saturday, C & I travelled to Lexington, Kentucky for the 5th annual Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show.  This is the first time that we have gotten to attend, but hopefully it will not be the last.  I really had no idea that so many food products were produced right here in the Commonwealth and we couldn’t taste test and buy every one of them, but I wanted to let you know about a few of our favorites.




We started out the day by watching a demonstration by the headliners of the show, Jamie and Bobby Deen.  They were so funny and entertaining and the time flew right by while we were watching them.  Jamie was throwing candy out to the audience during the show while they were cooking. 




The Marketplace was almost overwhelming. There were so many booths and so many people that I really had to focus in and get my bearings to navigate.  C & I looked at most of the booths and tried a few samples. 






There were some beautiful handmade wooden kitchen items for sale as well.



Of course, with my sweet tooth, I was loving the bakery and candy store displays! The first photo is the Midway College Bakery booth.






Can you believe all of this is produced right here in little ol’ Kentucky?  It really took my breath away and these photos don’t show half of what was there.  Now, let’s get to the goodies we actually got to try and purchase.  Yum! 

One of the first items we tried was flavored popcorn from A-maize-ing Caramel Corn, which is produced in Georgetown, Kentucky. We tried (and bought) the caramel and cheddar versions and they were so good!

Macarons have been the hot sweet in the blogging world for a little while now, but I haven’t taken the time to try them because they are hard to make.  Actually, I had never gotten the chance to even taste one until Saturday. 

La Petite Sucre out of Winchester, KY, had the prettiest display of macarons in many flavors for sale.  I decided to try a salted caramel one and it was tasty, but it was not what I expected at all.  The cookie part is very crunchy and it has a delicious creamy filling.  My first macaron experience was a positive one, but I probably won’t be trying them at home any time soon.


Another Kentucky product that I have heard a lot about but had never tried was beer cheese.  The first beer cheese booth we came to was Larry Mac’s Beer Cheese.  C & I both tried a little on a cracker and thought the same thing: YUM!  Needless to say, a little package of that came home with us.  Larry Mac’s booth was really cute as well.  Loved the pepper lights!


Speaking of peppers (how’d you like that segue way), we also found some tasty salsa as well.  Me Salsa is based in Louisville, Kentucky and is made with a special kind of pepper.  They are in the running for a small business grant, so please click over to their Facebook page and give them a like. On the same condiment note, we also purchased a bottle of homemade ketchup called Grandma Carolyn’s Ketchup which is also made in Georgetown.  I can’t wait to try this in a meatloaf or just on a big ol’ juicy hamburger.

 Blue Bell Creameries was giving away a full scoop of their ice cream so, of course, we had to partake of that as well.  C & I both got Dutch Chocolate and it was so creamy and tasty. 


Last, but definitely not least in my book, was Cellar Door Chocolates.  Oh my goodness!!!!  It would be worth the trip to downtown Louisville just to go to their store and get more chocolate.  Mercy!  I bought the Brown Sugar Pecan Bark and the Sea Salt Almond Bark and it was almost gone by Sunday afternoon.  It is divine!


So, this was my haul for the day.  I could have bought so much more and just had to control myself not to over do it.  I may not be able to wait until next year for some of these products.  Hmmm, I wonder if they ship?


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C & I took in the Kentucky State Fair on its last day Sunday before last and had a lot of fun.  The last day is really not the best time to go to see the animals and exhibits, but we had tickets to see comedian Jeff Dunham so that is when we went.  The show was great, but I did miss seeing the animals.

Most of the exhibits were still on display so we walked around for a couple of hours looking at those. I will warn you…this is going to be a photo heavy post. The balloon art was the first thing we saw upon entering and it had a UK/UofL basketball theme.  When we left that night, they were popping all of the balloons.





We headed to the culinary section first and I found all of my entries in the cases.  There was also some gorgeous decorated cakes as well.





We both loved the Angry Birds cupcakes.  The modeling work was spot-on!


There are always beautiful award winning quilts and woodworking on display as well.





Finally…the photography.  This was the winner in the category that I entered which was color nature photography.


Here I am with my entry of a wild Tom turkey in front of an old house in a field.


C found a new toy, but he didn’t get to bring it home.


The midway was still in full swing as we were leaving the Jeff Dunham show so I pulled over to get a few shots of the lit rides.  The lights were so pretty!





C & I had a fun time at the Kentucky State Fair and will hopefully be back next year!

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A few weeks ago, C & I had the opportunity to visit the Yew Dell Botanical Garden in Crestwood, Kentucky and had a wonderful time.  They have a neat history and I invite you to visit their site for the history and a list of the many events they hold there. I won’t take up much room on my post for that because I have many photos to share with you, and, yes, that is a warning!! Caution: extreme amount of photos ahead!

Crestwood is a suburb community of Louisville, KY and the trip from downtown to the garden takes about 30 minutes depending on the amount of traffic.  We turned in and spotted their unique entry gate and sign:


We parked and began looking for the entrance so we could purchase tickets and it is located in this barn.  Looks are deceiving in this instance because there is a nice air-conditioned gift shop in there. 


There was a sculpture exhibition going on at the garden and most of the artwork was for sale, but it was a little pricey for our checkbook.



Yeah, you are reading that correctly.  We made sure not to break anything!  Here comes the photo deluge.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Doesn’t everyone have a castle in their backyard?  I loved this!




Beautiful views from the lookout above:



This space was an edible garden.




The tree lined allees were gorgeous.












You eyes aren’t deceiving you.  That IS a giant ball made of tires.




We really enjoyed our trip to Yew Dell and highly recommend it for any garden lovers out there. 

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1. I had the honor of guest posting over at HerKentucky this week and made this delicious Strawberry Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze.  I HIGHLY recommend this sweet treat!


2. The 2nd generation of cucumbers are just starting to having baby cukes on them and the 3rd generation has sprouted.  Hopefully there is enough time and warm weather left for the new ones to prosper.



3. I got a late birthday present from C this week and I can’t wait to try it out.  My old blender was having trouble with my smoothie making so I wanted one that had more power but didn’t want to drop $400 for a Blendtec or Vitamix.  I about hit the floor when I saw the prices of those. RIDICULOUS!  This Kitchenaid beauty will be perfect!


4. Is this actually August in Kentucky?  The weather has been cool and damp so it really doesn’t feel normal, but the clear evenings have been gorgeous.  Get outside and enjoy!


5. Last but definitely not least, I had lunch with a wonderful friend of mine that I hadn’t got to talk to in about a year and we had such a great time.  I am not sure if we came up for air during my entire lunch hour.  We had so much to catch up on.

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C has been a comic book fan for years so we decided to check out a comic convention in our area.  We went to one in Lexington, KY, a couple of months ago and enjoyed it, but it was so crowded that it was almost overwhelming.

Louisville, KY hosted its own Derby City Comicon on June 29th, so we went to check it out.  It didn’t seem to be nearly as big or well attended as the one in Lexington, but it was still fun.  I am not that knowledgeable about the characters that were popular.  I was always an Archie comics fan myself and you just don’t see much of that anymore.  Hmmm, I am getting old!

It was a beautiful day to get out and do something so we were both glad that we took the time to go.  It is fun to people watch and see the different costumes that people come up with.  Here are a few of my favorite from that day:
Girlified Iron Man, Loki & Captain America from The Avengers:


A Steampunk Wonder Woman costume: (I loved this one!  If you are wondering what “steampunk” is…it is a style combination of Victorian and industrial items.  Kinda weird, but way cool!  Go here for more steampunk inspiration.)


A mini Darth Vader:


One of the Mario Brothers:


A mini (& injured) Green Lantern with his Bat Girl mom:


Joker & Harley Quinn from Batman:


The Riddler from Batman:


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