White Cheddar Pimiento Cheese Sandwich


written for Verge Magazine for the June edition

   At the age of thirteen, I moved to the south. This was culture shock in its utmost for me. Having a hispanic mother, living most of my life on foreign soil, and having the most beautifully multi-ethnic friends growing up, the product of military marriages; Needless to say I was eating things like arroz con pollo and kimchi before I had ever even heard of grits. So moving to the states and to the southern most, not in geography, but in tradition, style, and everything else, was the most frightening thing you can do to a thirteen year old. This isn’t a commentary on Augusta, which I have grown to love and am raising a family here, but a story of worlds colliding. Augusta has been a growing process for me, learning to open my eyes to all the beautiful things around me here. We may not live at the foot at the Frankenstein Castle like we did in Germany but our family is growing bigger here in the states and what a greater joy. Life is a mixed bag, just like I am, You look at me and don’t think I am hispanic, I am the only sibling in my family that doesn’t resemble my mother, but I suppose what I lack in appearance in regards to heritage I make up for in personality. I get asked at least once a day if I am Irish and I assume I owe that to my Dad’s hodgepodge white man’s heritage. I still can’t understand why I have freckles and no one as far as we can remember did, and why I have reddish hair, when all my family are anywhere between raven to brown. Either way, I definitely caught the fiery disposition that some may say is stereotypical of hispanics, but I say is my all to common life story.

So this dish is like me a little spicy, seasoned, mostly white and a little cheesy (like my Dad and I, love you Poppy), ha, just kidding, but mostly true, and it took a while, but southern, as well. Enjoy, because it is delicious and super easy to make

White Cheddar Pimiento Sandwiches
6 oz. White Cheddar, shredded
4 oz. Monterrey Jack, shredded
bunch of Green Onion, chopped
6-8 oz. of pimiento, chopped and drained (I lean towards 8, but you may not like so many pimientos)
¼ of a large red onion, diced
¼ cup mayo
½ cup poppyseed dressing
1 block of cream cheese
Slices of White Bread
salt to taste

-Mix your White Cheddar and your Monterrey Jack, Dressing, Mayo, and Pimientos in your mixer on highest settest or food processor.
– Add in your Onions
-Lastly, mix in your cream cheese until even mix and fluffy. Season appropriately.
-Spread on bread for sandwiches, I like to toast my bread, makes for very delicious lunches.

What do you guys think, does this look yummy to you?

5 lovely things

 

1. So Legit, Very excited to see Emma’s bday feature (above) on apartment therapy, only one of my favorite blogs ever.

2. This shop: Of A Kind, that I can’t possibly afford anything from, but love nonetheless.

3.Black houses, I want a house, one that we own, this will be a serious color option when that day comes.

http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com

4. This recipe for Creamed Spinach is on my to do list. I made creamed spinach three times in a span of two weeks, a little obsessed with this yummy dish. Also, it is cheap and filling and Emma loves it. If you arent a fan, let me host an interevention, seriously though, try it. This is a gateway dish to Spinach. I need to try a recipe I can trust for some variation, hence smitten kitchen who provide me with endless ideas and food desires.

Smitten Kitchen

5. The illustrations and design work Kenny (My husband) has been working on lately. He is making us illustrated cards for the memory verses we are working on in Emma’s Bible Lessons.

and this awesome hand drawn poster for their last Mazes and Monsters show this Friday

 

Share with me what you’ve been liking/loving this week and tell me what you think of mine.

 

Reminders of Joy

 

Sometimes you need reminders of the joys in your life. I like instagram for that, it is like a visual diary of the things that bring joy, mostly. In the month of July we experienced a blackout, a fun fourth celebration, a start to homeschooling, reminiscing on childhood (mine and my child’s), and beautiful time spent together as a family. We can take joy in God through the storms and blackouts of life if we can look at the gifts we have. Thank God for reminders of the little and big joys along the way. I am thankful for this family and our circumstances.

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t read 1,000 gifts to read it, It is a beautiful journey into recognizing the everyday gifts we have and acknowledging the One who gave them to us. I think I am going to begin to reread this book this month, anyone out there who would like to join me? We could have a book club of sorts.

Homeschooling a Kindergartner

We started school in July this year, everyone in the closest counties starts in early to mid August. So, it’s an untraditional schedule to public schoolers but one that I really think we will enjoy. We will be doing several weeks on and then one week off. I got the idea here , and hope to share more about how well it is going later in the year. We just really felt that it would work with the schedule of our family, how my husband works and would give us nice respite occasionally to recharge for the next set of weeks. Emma seems to be doing well and the homeschool day seems to be stress free enough for both of us, it is not a rigid schedule and there are plenty of breaks if needed.

I wanted to share what we are doing this year. We follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy, if you are interested in learning about what that may look like, check out this explanation: Who was Charlotte Mason? or read the Charlotte Mason’s education series. All this means for us is that we have shorter lessons, read living books, encourage a knowledge of God (a primary goal), work on Habit Training/Character Building, learn history, do nature studies, and start memorizing scripture and poetry and learn to narrate stories that we hear and eventually read, and a little more. This may sound like a lot but this takes no more than two hours at the most, and much less (an hour – hour and a half total) most days. I tend to like doing the lessons all before lunch but there is a freedom to spread them out over the day if the day necessitates.

These are the specifics for the year:

Bible- Long Story Short and the companion Gospel Story Bible

We do one devotional from Long Story Short a weekday that consists of reading the bible and answering simple questions. We sum it up at the end of the week with reading the corresponding story in the Gospel Story Bible. We also choose one verse from the reading selections of the week to memorize. So far we have three memory verses, and one more this week.

Character Building/Habit TrainingA Child’s book of Character Building and implementing chores

We do one Character word a week, so far we have done Attentive, Faith, and Creative. The book talks about each of these character words in the setting of the bible, home, school, and play. I really enjoy the definitions they give for the character words, like Attentive was “listening with your ears, eyes, and heart”. Emma was able to memorize that and I can ask her what does attentive mean and are you doing that now? She responds with the definition and lets me know if she is embodying that word at the moment, she is very honest so she will tell me straight away most times. I make copies of the images in the book for coloring and then we discuss the story we read. Emma also is responsible for feeding the dog in the morning and evening and making sure we take him out everyday. So far she has enjoyed this, some days she resists a little but does do it.

Letter Recognition/Phonics- Kumon Uppercase and Lowercase Letters and Brainquest Kindergarten and Eeboo Phonics Cards

I realized after the summer she needed a review of her letters because even though she knew the alphabet and how to write her own name and a handful of words she was struggling with letter recognition. So we are moving through the letters one at a time, sounding them out and taking our time. We want to make sure we have a good foundation before we try to start learning to read.

Numbers- Kumon Uppercase and Lowercase Letters and Brainquest Kindergarten and Melissa and Doug Abacus

We are doing much the same as the Letters, reviewing and going one at a time, making sure we can count 1 to 100 and we can start simple addition and subtraction in the next few months

Nature Study- Nature Journal and the internet, also Christian Liberty Nature Reader

Drawing what we see in nature and attempting to identify it (see the first image above). The Reader is in alphabetical order so we read about the animal that starts with the letter we are reviewing at that time.

History- Beautiful Feet Early America Primary

We love this curriculum so far, we purchased the download version of the study guide and are checking books out from the library. We are studying about Leif Eriksson, Erik the Red and the Vikings and I am very happy so far with the accuracy of the instruction and the books on the list in living books style.

Art Study and Poetry Study- A Child’s Garden of Verses and Come Look With Me series (right now we are doing Art in Early America)

We are keeping this simple this year, just trying to introduce a love of art and poetry we read poems and discuss them and look at pieces of art and talk about them answer questions in the Come Look With Me book.

Spanish- Speekee

These are spanish immersion lessons for children with cute, easy to watch videos. Takes some effort outside of just watching the videos, but Emma really enjoys them.

Handicrafts- Sewing

This month we are learning simple stitches and she is sewing her first pillow.

Piano- My First Piano Adventures

We just started this book and we have enjoyed it thoroughly so far. She listens to the accompanying CD and follows along in the book, currently she is learning basic posture and hand technique. The illustrations and songs are really sweet, there is a cast of characters that help to instruct along the way.

Extracurricular Activities- Ballet and Soccer

Soccer season starts this month and we are very excited. We are also continuing in Pre Ballet for the year. Emma is a little tomboy that likes to play dress up, I can identify with that.

Pray for us as we work through the year. I’d love to hear any feedback at all.

Edit: we ended up holding off on History for another year, we felt she would get more out of it in a year and she is now in First Grade and I think it was a good decision. We are still doing Beautiful Feet because we love it.

I have a five year old.

 

as seen on apartment therapy

I may not seem like it most days but I am nearly three decades old, and I have a five year old. It is surreal and very sweet. We laugh together and watch Hayao Miyazaki movies, sing in the car and have spontaneous dance parties. I am very blessed by a daughter like my little Emma that has a such a joy for loving others and is just excited about life.

We celebrated her 5th Bday at the Riverwalk Park, it was a Hello Kitty picnic. What little girl doesn’t love Hello Kitty? Here some of the images from that day.

I made this cake from scratch, and because it was so hot outside, it started to melt and the top layer slide off, I had to refrost it at the park. It was very hilarious. The cake topper is a little keychain I found at Target and filed off the little piece in the top that the clasp went on. The name banner and birthday banners were made from extra kraft paper I had at home.

We made little hello kitty bows with felt and little alligator clips and added to favor bags for take-homes. The little girls seem to love them.

Being Hispanic, pinatas are essential for any successful fiesta, usually from scratch. My sister made this one for Emma’s party.

All in all, it felt like a successful day and was happy to see little one so excited about everything. I am thankful for her and her five years of life.

 

Primero Mil


You know that first post on a new blog? The dreaded empty topic box with the impatient cursor anticipating your every thoughtful word. That fresh entry, the one where you try to put finely tuned and articulate sentences together to say all the things that everyone, everywhere will identify with, as you become the Oprah of blogging, or Sally Jesse Raphael may be more appropriate. Yes, that one. This isn’t that post because I’ve thrown all that out the proverbial window, not that I am sure you wouldn’t just love my sophomoric attempts at wisdom with a zest of wit. This is all me, sans anything fake. I will talk about my life, faith, my family, my friends, tough times, happy times, things I love, things I don’t understand, good food, homeschooling a kindergartner and anything else that catches my whimsy with no expectation that any of this may interest you. But, on the small chance that it does, I send my love.

So here is where I am in life right now:
I turn 30 this month

A lot of changes happening that I am excited about, some are what they are.

Emma turned 5 last month

We started Home school for the year

I’ve been married for seven years, I love him

We simplified significantly

Living more intentionally

Learning to rely on God big time

Creating more

Experimenting with food (see Recipes)

I have some blog posts lined up for the future that I am excited about, maybe we can see where that takes us. Thank you for reading my obscure thoughts. Let me know what you think of the new blog, design, etc. My friend Sunshine Monica pretty much did all the awesome.

Ellie

Fall Eggplant, Squash, and Goat Cheese Quiche

archived from my old blog, boyandbride.com
I made this for my chow bella article in the Verge that is out now, check it out! It was delicious, simply delicious. Emma loved it so much she ate three slices in one sitting, and for a child who usally eats like a bird, that is very good. I tested it oiut at allies shower and it seemed to be a big hit as well. The eggplant and the squash just become so tender and beautifully soak up the flavor of the eggs that it feels as if they are meat.

We used the cutest eggplants from Sundrees, we loved these little asian eggplants.

and the finished product, It makes me hungry just looking at it.

Here is the link to Verge. One piece of advice, if you don’t want to do the extra work a store bought crust is just as yummy. Enjoy!

I would love to hear from you, I am able to see that we have very loyal readers in our stats, but we want to hear your thoughts and if you are bloggers as well, would love to visit your blogs, and we can spread comment love. Much love.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


archived from my old blog, boyandbride.com

Let me just tell you it is as yummy as it looks. I made this for the Verge and it has easily become one of my favorite things I’ve made. I really love baking. I hate washing dishes after though, so I sometimes don’t even bother, but it is so worth it when I do.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (my own)
1 1/3 cup sugar
16 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
Zest from 3-4 lemons
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
2/3 cup poppy seeds plus a pinch for garnish (See if you can find the Large Containers of this, if not you will need 3 smaller ones)Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F and butter and flour three 8 inch pans (I only had one 8 inch pan so I baked the layers separately, evenly separate your batter into three first if you do it this way)Butter the dull side of a 10-inch piece of foil for each pan.
In your mixer bowl, whisk together the sugar with the egg yolks and whole egg at medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and very fluffy, approximately 8 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest. Sift your flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and fold in along with the pinch of salt with a rubber spatula. At medium speed, beat in the butter, then beat in the poppyseeds.

Pour batter evenly into the prepared pans and cover tightly with the buttered foil. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan or a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the foil and let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack and let cool completely before serving, for at least minutes.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (my own concoction)
Zest of one lemon
5 tbsp. lemon juice
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 & 1/2 confectioners sugar.

In the mixer bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese. On low speed, add the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth and creamy.

Frost between the layers of your cake and then the outside, garnish with poppy seeds.

For the love of Onions and Julia Child


archived from my old blog, boyandbride.com

The new Verge is out, pick one up or read here http://vergelive.com where you can see this and much more

For the love of onions and Julia Child I endured searing pain to my eyes from lovingly cutting onions for this recipe. Why do onions have to hurt so bad, but taste so good? I have sensitive eyes that water at the slightest irritation so I cried more than Johnny Depp’s character Cry-Baby in the movie of the same name. Sometimes you do these things as a labor of love for a good dish, and I do love onions, caramelized onions in soup, even better. I decided on a soup for this month because of a suggestion from my husband who exclaimed “Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, so six more weeks of winter, you should make soup!”, so that is what I did. We can all feel it regardless of what the groundhog says, the premature blooms that thought it was springtime are in for trouble as the air has cooled significantly. Either way chilly winds for the past few days and incoming weeks have made it perfect soup weather.
French Onion is one of my favorite soups and I wanted to do it right, The Julia Child way in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the quintessential guide for the non French to wrap their heads around the delicacies of what is truly an art form, French food. I would love to study more recipes from her beloved book, I believe many a good cook was made that way. I will say this French Onion Soup is a fairly simple recipe if you follow the instructions carefully, a little work gets you a big reward and the oohs and awws of your family and friends for a beautiful and tasty dish. If you love all things French, Onions, and Julia Child this is the ticket. Eat with friends and don’t skimp on the soup, bread, and cheese; there are only so few wonderful things you can experience each day, make this one.

Adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
6-8 servings
Ingredients:
5 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts beef stock
1/2 cup of a dry white wine dry white wine
salt and pepper for seasoning
3 tablespoons brandy
Round of Croutes, sliced french bread, toasted
8 oz. of Sliced Swiss Cheese

First add the yellow onions and the butter and oil to a saucepan and slow cook on low for 15 minutes, covered.

Uncover after 15 mins. and add the salt and sugar, also raise heat to medium. The point here is to get a lovely brown caramelization, this is the most important part, we are baking the flavor base for the entire soup. Stirring frequently cook onions for 30 to 40 minutes, until the caramel brown onions have been achieved.

Preheat your oven to 350. Next add your flour and stir together for three minutes, they will turn a deeper brown. Add your wine and then your stock stirring the whole time. Make sure you use your spoon to pull off any bits on the bottom of the pan, all that will add to the flavoring of the soup. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper. Now simmer, partially covered, for another 30-40 minutes. You may need to skim the soup which you can do during this time. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste, Don’t forget whichever cheese you use may have significant salt in it, be wary of adding too much salt to your soup.

While your soup simmers cut your french bread and drizzle with olive oil and toast in oven for 15 min or longer, until the edges have started to brown. Leave your oven on for cheesy good meltiness later.

Stir the brandy into the soup as soon as you are ready to serve. Pour into oven safe soup bowls, leave enough room for the displacement made by your little Croutes. Place two Croutes in your bowl, if the Croutes are large you may need only one. They will float on top very nicely and then cover the top of your bowl with your cheese slices. Place in the oven until you see the cheese melt to your liking. I like it when it starts to brown a little, like on a pizza. Cool slightly and Eat.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte


archived from my old blog, boyandbride.com

Did you ever want a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte?

Here is a a simple Yummy recipe I wrote about for the Verge.
The original article here, print it out and keep.

Pumpkin Spice Latte (original found via thekitchn.com)
makes 1-2 servings
Ingredients:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin OR 1 teaspoon of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute – you can halve this amount
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or a ½ tsp. of a homemade mixture of 3 parts equal nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice this is what I did and can’t imagine pumpkin pie spice could taste much better, leave extra for the sprinkling on top of your whipped cream)
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine.)
Directions:
In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.
Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.
Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.
I loved it and made it for some friends and family and they all sang praises, so I think it was a success. Let me know what you think.

-ellie