Caribbean Rum Punch

Sunday, June 5, 2016

This is such a tasty treat.  We made up a batch of this Caribbean Rum Punch recently for our Memorial Day Weekend, and we liked it so much we made it again!  It's such an easy recipe to make, and it makes an entire pitcher so there's plenty to enjoy (or share, if you are feeling generous). 


Caribbean Rum Punch

1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups grenadine syrup
2 cups rum
2 cups coconut rum
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
10-15 drops Angostura bitters

  1. Slice and squeeze limes.  You will need at least 8 limes to reach the cup of lime juice that you need. This is the only real work involved in making this drink.  :)

2.  Pour all ingredients into a large pitcher, and stir well.


3. Refrigerate before serving.  

Notes:

You may substitute a simple syrup for the grenadine, but it won't have the pretty red color.  I have seen rum punch prepared both ways, but my personal preference is to use grenadine.

The bitters are the secret (and key) ingredient here.  And despite what the name might suggest, it isn't bitter at all.  It is spicy and delicious, and you can tell a huge difference if you mistakenly leave it out.  We like to add a little extra.  Prepare to your taste. 

Memorial Day Weekend in Pictures

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I just realized that I did a "My Week(end) In Pictures" post last year for Memorial Day too.  This must be the start of a little tradition.  :)  In any case, it sure was a nice long holiday weekend.  We didn't have any grand plans, but we sure did enjoy the pretty weather and each other.  Come on, and take a look.  I'll show you just how we spent our time...

We started our long weekend with a trip to the 12 South area of Nashville on Friday night.  It's such a neat neighborhood- one of our favorites in all of Nashville, really.  Lots of great shops, restaurants and bars, pretty places to walk and take pictures, and always lively crowds of fun folks.  There's a park nearby too, and several good dessert spots.  

We chose our favorite pizza place, Mafiaoza's, for dinner.  They have a really good patio, which is always a draw.  They also let the kiddos play with pizza dough, and here's Lexi giving it a try for the first time. 


She was a little unsure about this to begin with.  But Daddy is smart and made the dough into a Mickey Mouse shape.  That's all it took for her to start playing in it. 


Then she really got into it, and the next thing we knew, she was tasting it too!


She was so proud of herself! 



After dinner, we decided to take a stroll and take in the pretty neighborhood.  I found this pretty blue bench right outside of another restaurant, and without even asking, Lexi climbed right up.  She looked perfect with her red, white, and blue, and that bench. 


So time to snap a couple candid pics...







Then, our next stop was Las Paletas.  They make homemade popsicles, and they are the best ever. My favorite is the cantaloupe pop.  It's exactly like eating a really cold cantaloupe. 


 Lexi liked it too!  And when you are wearing a popsicle dress, you MUST enjoy a popsicle. 


After our pop, we decided to stroll a bit more and saw this beauty parked right outside of White's Mercantile, which is a general store owned by singer/ songwriter Holly Williams, who is also daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. 


The bus says "Amelia's Flower Truck", and it was meant to have it's picture taken, I think.


We also stopped for another picture on the old Coke cooler right outside Holly's shop.  I sure wish it had been open, but sadly the doors were already closed up for the day. 


So window shopping it was... 


Speaking of famous shopowners in this area, Reese Witherspoon just opened her new store, Draper James, right down the street.  Lexi and I stopped for another picture outside her shop window too. 


So that rounded out our Friday night.  Saturday brought lots more fun in the form of our annual Memorial Day weekend block party.  Here I am with the ladies of our cul-de-sac before the activities started hopping.  That's my neighbors Cheryl and Natalie. 


As the day turned to evening, things really started to heat up.  We had close to 100 people on our street.  And they were all there for the crawfish in the cul-de-sac.  Here's our neighbor Mike getting it all ready to go. 


While dinner was cooking away, my hubbie was starting up our popcorn machine.  We set it up out in the street, and popped no telling how many batches of popcorn Saturday night. 


 It was a hit and a half, especially with the kiddos. 


They kept lining up and we kept popping more.  Here's just one shot of some of the kids enjoying the goods. 


And then we cranked up the bubble machine too.  It put out so many bubbles, those kids could have taken a bath in the middle of the street. 


Another neighbor brought out this oversized swing, and we kept testing the limits to see how many kids you could get on it all at once. 


Pretty soon it was time to eat.  There were crawfish, of course, but also shrimp, ribs, wings, hotdogs, and loads of sides and desserts. 




But it was the popcorn that Lexi was most interested in.  Here she is with her buddy Jackson from next door.


And when she finally slowed down long enough to sit, we pulled up a section of grass and just rested and took it all in for a little while.  What fun!


Sunday brought our first visit to the pool this season.  And it was Lexi's first time using her puddle jumper  in the pool.  We weren't sure how she would react to it, but clearly we had nothing to worry about.  


Lexi has always loved the water.  She's fearless!  She was asking for the puddle jumper so she could move more freely and not be stuck in a floaty.  Those are for babies, you see. 


Lexi, I see swim lessons in your very near future, darling. 


And this is how I thought Sunday would go.  Daddy and Lexi in the pool.  Mama sunning herself on the sidelines.  The water was still pretty cold and I didn't really want to go in.  But as soon as Lexi batted those big blue eyes and asked me to come in with her, she had me.  I did get in and eventually lots of others joined us too. 


Sunday night brought another trip to the big city of Nashville.  We tried a new restaurant with another great patio- Bar Taco.   Great food and drinks and another lively holiday crowd!  Check, check, check!


 After dinner, it was time for another stroll, so we visited the flower market for a while. 



Then it was time for dessert, so it was off to Jeni's Ice Cream.  Lexi was in heaven.  I think John was too!


But this is what got me excited.  I found a cupcake ATM!  WHAT?!?!?!  You bet I tried it.  You make your selections at a touch screen, pay with your credit/ debit card, and you can see the machine find your selection and dispense it through the little window there.  Awesome!


Monday brought another visit to the pool.  At this point, Lexi is an expert with her puddle jumper. Just look at her go!



And yes, the water was still cold, and yes, I got back in again.  Because that's what you do for your babies. But the pool was super busy on Monday and we all had lots of fun!


We stayed home and cooked ribs and baked beans on the smoker later in the day on Monday.  We also made homemade cole slaw and homemade ice cream, and I'm just realizing now that I didn't get a picture of any of it.  Oh well, we must have been hungry.  No time for pics!  

But once we got home, we did set up a wading pool for Lexi.  That's a better picture than one of a plate of food, anyway. 



It was a hit, of course.  This girl does love the water!  She wanted Izzie to come in the pool with her. Thankfully, Izzie knew better and soon ran the other way. 


So there you have it!  Another super fun Memorial Day weekend in the books!  Lots of special and fun moments.  And so begins the Summer of 2016! 

Southwest Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

Saturday, May 28, 2016

If you're looking for a quick and easy potato salad recipe that isn't your run of the mill recipe, then this recipe for you. There are two tricks to this recipe. First, it features sweet potatoes. So, every other potato salad at the summer cookout will be oh so jealous! Second, you roast the sweet sweet potatoes, so you don't spend a lot of time on the recipe and you also don't heat up your kitchen quite as much as standing over a pot of boiling potatoes! Easy peasy!

Perfect recipe to take to all your upcoming cookouts!



Southwest Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 c quinoa, prepared as per package instructions
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 c chopped cilantro
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 c lime juice
2 tsp honey


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place prepared sweet potatoes on cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes.
  3. While sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare quinoa according to package directions.
  4. In a large bowl, combine corn, black beans, green onions, and cilantro. Add quinoa and sweet  potatoes once they are finished cooking. Add salt, cumin, garlic, and mix to combine.
  5. In a measuring cup, whisk together lime juice and honey. Pour dressing over mixture. Toss to combine.
  6. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Notes:

To make the prep work for this salad even quicker, you can purchase pre-cut sweet potatoes in the produce section of your grocery store. 

This salad also makes a great filling for vegetarian burritos and can also be served with tortilla chips!

Lexi's Latest Jam: Rocky Top

Friday, May 27, 2016

We just returned from a long weekend in the hills and hollers of Tennessee, and it was there that I was reminded that our little one, Lexi, sure does enjoy herself some pickin' and grinnin'.  Of course, she gets it honestly.  I love it too!  And you cannot- CANNOT- get away from any such jam session in the great state of Tennessee without hearing good ole Rocky Top somewhere on the set list.  It is one of the official state songs of TN, and has become a fan favorite at all of the University of Tennessee games too.  


In any case, Rocky Top has become Lexi's latest jam.  Although she's heard it many times before, something just clicked this time, and now she's asking for it by name.  So I play it for her over and over.  And we dance, dance, dance all around the house.  What fun!

Incidentally, another thing we cannot seem to get away from every time we visit the mountains of TN are the old time photos.  Here we all are this most recent trip.  That's the Harris Sisters' Daddy and his wife Nancy, along with my hubby John, sweet Lexi, and me.  Daddy looks like he just walked out of one of his favorite westerns!


And there's little Lexi just being precious.  She's so good at it.  I loved her little dress, and she did a great job holding those flowers too!


And it was actually just this time last year we were in the same part of the country with John's parents for a long weekend, and we took similar pics then too.  That's John's dad, Larry, his mom, Jan, and of course me and our little family.  Lexi was only a year old and we were all shocked that she sat still for this picture.  Larry also looks like he just walked straight out of a Western. :)


And of course, long time followers of the blog will remember these fun photos.  That's all the Harris Sisters: Misty, me, and Donna, along with Misty's daughter, Charlotte.  These pictures were taken a few years ago on one of our famous Girls' Weekends. 



So what do all these photos have to do with Rocky Top?  Well, they were all taken on trips to Gatlinburg, Tennessee over the years. And Gatlinburg is actually the birth place of the song Rocky Top!  If you listen to the lyrics, you will pick up on references to the country life- "Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top.  Ain't no telephone bills."  And for your reference, I'm including the full lyrics below.  You will need them when you start singing and tapping along to this classic.

So here's one of my favorite videos of the Osborne Brothers performing their hit.  They do a great job giving a little history of the song right before they dive into it, so listen up.  It's so much fun!





And here are those lyrics for you.... 

Wish that I was on ol' Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee hills
Ain't no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top
Ain't no telephone bills
Once I had a girl on Rocky Top
Half bear, the other half cat
Wild as a mink, sweet as soda pop
I still dream about that

Once two strangers climbed ol' Rocky Top
Lookin' for a moonshine still
Strangers ain't come down from Rocky Top
Reckon they never will
Corn won't grow at all on Rocky Top
Dirt's too rocky by far
That's why all the folks on Rocky Top
Get their corn from a jar

I've had years of cramped up city life
Trapped like a duck in a pen
Now all I know is it's a pity life
Can't be simple again.

Rocky Top you'll always be
Home sweet home to me
Good ol' Rocky Top
Rocky Top Tennessee, Rocky Top Tennessee

And to leave you with another fun video, here's our Lexi (and me) jamming to Rocky Top from our most recent trip to the mountains. 


And here she is dancing with another sweet little girl who saw Lexi dancing and decided to join in. 


We had front row seats at this concert, so Lexi just made herself at home.  But that's what you do in the mountains, right?   


So that's a little look into what we've been up to lately, and definitely what we've been listening to lately.  Never a dull moment around here!