Food for Thought VI (Fourth of July edition)

My favorite part of holidays is always just the family get-togethers, and part of that is because I love cooking for everyone!  I’m still trying to convince my family that you do NOT have to have meat and dairy in a dish to make it tasty!  I proved my point x 4 last Saturday at our Fourth of July cookout.

Corn and Black Bean Burger from Food52 (full recipe in link) – These burgers had the PERFECT texture to them.  I added cayenne pepper and hot sauce to mine when I was mixing it up too.  And I think they would have been even better if I’d used chipotle too.

Coleslaw – Nothing special about this one.  Just used a regular ol’ recipe for coleslaw but used eggless mayo instead and WHAT A SHOCK… no one knew.  haha

Boozy Baked Beans by Cookin’ CrunkIf I’m being completely honest this is the first time I’ve ever made baked beans.  My mother-in-law’s are kind of famous, so she always makes those, but she’s not exactly feeling up to cooking these days.  And they have animal product in them.  While these were REALLY good (yes, everyone said so!) they weren’t that thick, sweet baked bean that I’ve been missing since going veg.  I really want to ask my MIL for her recipe so I can adapt that, but like I said, that’s always been her thing and I don’t want to make it sound like we don’t think she’ll ever make them again or anything, so I’m leaving that one alone.

Black Bean Brownies by Chocolate Covered Katie (full recipe in link) – These are f’ing amazing, y’all.  No other description is needed.  EFFING.  AMAZING.  They were half gone before I could even take a picture!

A Fourth to Celebrate (And a Mother-in-Law Update)

Happy Belated Fourth, y’all!  I hope everyone had a safe and fun-filled holiday.  We had the best one that I can ever remember having.  For starters, it’s been a solid 10-15 degrees cooler this year than what we’re accustomed to.  We were all actually chilly sitting outside lighting fireworks Friday night.  The truck on the way home said it was 59 degrees out!  That’s just nuts for Tennessee in July!

We didn’t know till fairly last minute that we were going to be doing anything on the 4th, so we didn’t even hit the fireworks stand until about 10:00 that night.  By then they had everything marked waaaaay down, so we all pitched in and got $100 worth of stuff, which actually turned out to be quite a bit considering how cheap we got it all.  That was all we did that night.  Well that and we threw together plans for a big cookout the next day.  That was when we truly celebrated the holiday.  Family, food, alcohol, and cornhole–that’s how we party up in here!  We do that a few times a year for various occasions on D’s side of the family, but this time was extra special for a couple of reasons.  First, my parents came too!

D and his niece grilling


My Dad and D’s niece’s dogs

Can I just say how much I HATE that high-waisted shorts are back in style?  According to my 14-year-old niece anyway.  If those are in style, I will just have to be out of style.

And the second reason this holiday was special… well, that brings me to the mother-in-law update part.  She finished her chemo and radiation back in May.  She’s been going back for checkups periodically but wasn’t scheduled to have any more scans until August.  They said she would have too much dead tissue and scarring from the radiation for them to even really tell how effective her treatment was.  Well last Monday, while they were on vacation in Colorado visiting their oldest grandson, she went to the hospital with severe stomach pain with violent vomiting and diarrhea.  They thought it was her gallbladder, so they did an ultrasound, and on that ultrasound they saw something suspicious.  They did a CT scan to check it out further, and they found masses on her liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and the main artery running from the heart to the leg.  They kept her one night to get her rehydrated then they released her to come back to her oncologists in Nashville.  They admitted her on Thursday, and they were under the impression that the team would be in to consult with her on Friday, but then on Friday afternoon they found out that since it was a holiday weekend they wouldn’t be in until Monday.  So she pretty much said, “It’s a holiday for me too!  I’m going to the house!”  It was about 9:00 Friday night when they got back home, thus explaining the last-minute fireworks and BBQ plans.  I don’t want to sound negative, but ,guys, it doesn’t sound good.  We don’t know how many holidays we may have left with her, so we wanted to at least make this one fun before she goes back into the hospital tomorrow.  But no matter what they say, we ARE NOT GIVING UP.  We know of too many people that have had successes using unconventional treatment methods, and she’s ready to start trying some of those if western medicine says they have nothing else to offer her.  I ask for all of your prayers and good thoughts.  We should know more in the next few days.

Tuesday Tidbits

  • We were under a heat advisory all weekend long with temps of 100+ and heat indices of 110+.  I knew if I was gonna get a long run in it was gonna have to be super early.  I got up at 4:45 Sunday morning and was out the door at first light to get in 8 miles while it was still bearable.  Tell me I ain’t dedicated.
  • I took a couple of vacation days for yesterday and today to go with the holiday tomorrow.  We weren’t going anywhere, and I had no plans, but I just really wanted a couple of days off to do my own thing.
  • One of those things yesterday involved buying the dogs a kiddie pool.  They weren’t very interested in it.  Bella drank out of it, and Harley barked at it.  Oh well… can’t let it go to waste!
  • I cleaned out my truck today.  That’s pretty monumental.
  • Is there anything in the world sweeter than a sleeping pup?
  • Don’t forget to enter my Glass Dharma giveaway here!


    Last night the local country club hosted an event (that I shall not name because I don’t want local folks to find this blog by googling the event) for the Fourth of July.  I REALLY wanted to go, but I just wasn’t willing to pay the $50 per couple.  Yeah, it included fireworks (which I know are NOT cheap–especially on this level) and food, but it was all typical cookout-style foods–hamburgers, hot dogs… nothing I would eat anyway.

    Hmmmmm…. so what’s a girl to do?

    You load up the lawn chairs in the back of the truck and go park in a field behind the country club, that’s what!!!

    That’s the thing about fireworks.  Until they figure out a way to do them in a dome, cheapskates like me will always find a way to mooch.  🙂  And from the looks of the field we were parked in, there are lots of moochers in this town!

    Thanks for the free show, country club!  It was awesome!

    Let Freedom Ring

    I absolutely love the Fourth of July. It is becoming my most favorite holiday. You still have the friend and family togetherness of Thanksgiving and Christmas without all the stress and expense of presents.

    It’s been a super busy weekend but a super fun one, too.

    Thursday night I was sitting on the couch in my lounge pants about 8:30 (I’m usually in bed through the week by 9 or a little after.) when I got a text message from my neice asking me if I wanted to go see Eclipse. Ummmmmm….HELL YEAH I WANNA GO SEE ECLIPSE! (Because, seriously, what self-respecting 30-year-old woman would give up the opportunity to go ogle Taylor Lautner?)

    (It should be illegal.)

    So I got redressed and went to see Eclipse. LOVED it. But it resulted in me not getting in bed until 1 AM. My alarm clock went off at 4:45 the next morning.

    I worked all day Friday and went to the grocery afterwards to pick up everything I would need for the get-togethers this weekend. (Little did I know that would be the first of THREE grocery runs I would end up making because I kept forgetting stuff.) That evening I made this:

    (Image and receipe both swiped from Erica. It was a hit at the cookout Saturday!)

    and did this:

    (Disclaimer: Those are not my hands. This was just one of the first images that showed up on a google search.)

    I was up again Friday night until after 11:00 and had the ol’ alarm set for 5:00 Saturday morning so I could run before it got hot. Mission accomplished. Sort of. I WAS out on the road by 6:00 or so, but it was already super humid. I got in my six miles but at a pretty slow pace. I was really, really hating this summer running, but I saw something on someone’s blog a couple of weeks ago that I really liked. It said, “Persevere through summer for a fruitful fall.” I wish I could remember whose blog I saw that on so I could give them props here! And Runners World has an article this month saying that for every 5 degrees above 60F you can expect a 20- to 30-second-per-mile slowdown. So I’m not hating on myself quite as much these days.

    I came home and took a quick shower and then we were LAKEWARD BOUND! Remember the couple that I told you about us bumping into in Cabo? Well, we’ve been hanging out with them quite a bit lately, and they invited us to go out on their boat with them Saturday and grill at their place Saturday night. So Saturday was a great day–out on the water with good friends, good music, and plenty of beer followed by lots of good food and laughs back at their place.

    Not the greatest picture. The shadow across my face makes my front teeth look crooked, but they are NOT.)

    Then yesterday was a great church service (we live in a lake resort town, so it was PACKED with visitors in for the holiday), and then my parents came up to visit. We ate burgers and dogs and just visited and played Skip-Bo all afternoon. I don’t think anyone else in the world can make Skip-Bo as competitive as we do.

    And since the 4th was on a Sunday, the Post Office is closed today in observance. Woohoo! Bonus day! 🙂 Think I’m gonna head to the gym and come home and lay out. What about you guys? Are you off work today, too?