Cooking · Family · Food · Shopping

A Spice in Life

By now, you all know that I love to cook. For me, cooking is like art. I am always amazed by the flavors, aroma and beauty that is created. It doesn’t matter how simple or how complicated a recipe may be, it is the end product that entices me. I love shopping local farmers markets, butcher’s shop or fish market when I get a chance. I have been known to drive hours to shop at a specialty grocery store. Nothing gets my creativity going like finding something new to try.

 
One of my standard gift requests is for my daughter to send me spices from Central Market. I just love Central Market. That trip to the specialty store I mentioned, that was to Central Market in Austin when I lived in Houston. HEB had not graced Houston with one yet. That was a very long time ago. This past year, once again I asked for spices for Christmas. But to my surprise, she gifted me a year of spices from a company called Piquant Post.

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During one of our conversations, I let her know that I had received her gift. I didn’t know how to respond because I knew nothing about Piquant Post. I looked at the little packages of spices and the recipe cards included. They came in this plain brown envelope, nothing exciting. The spices are finely ground so I couldn’t really tell much about it. It lacked the visual interest of spices not ground so finely. The first recipes were things I already make or had made before. I felt bad because all I could say is that it was interesting. I am a little bit of a snob when it comes to food. So, when the next shipment arrived, I took the time to really look at the recipes. These had more spice and creativity of food combinations. Ok, I thought I can work with that.

 
Living here in Florida, we have amazing Caribbean food. So, I decided the first recipe I would try was going to be the Jerk Chicken. I followed the recipe exactly as the card instructed using chicken breast. I decided to serve mine with yellow rice and fresh tomato slices. I was so surprised that I really like it! I mean, I could have made it hotter, but it was a great combination. I cooked mine in the oven and used the broiler to give a little char. My husband agreed with me that it was very good. I made a note of the recipe card of our rating. This is one I will want to make again.

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Now, Piquant Post does not have an online store for gift subscription receivers to order more spices from yet. But you can email them your request according to their website. My daughter can order since she sent it to me. I will investigate the reorder process and see what happens. You can’t remake the recipe if you don’t have the spice combination they provided.

 
Lacey did a good job surprising me with this one! Tonight, is Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork.

Family · Fishing · Food · Hunting · Shopping · Wedding

Amber & Chris Part 1

 

Let’s talk about the wedding! We arrived a couple days before the wedding so we could spend time exploring and to help where needed. We volunteered to pick up the cake and cupcakes which meant a trip over to League City area. Pick up wasn’t until late afternoon which meant we had a lot of time to kill. After a little breakfast we grabbed our coats and off we went.

 

 
I took my husband over to Carter’s Country there in Spring. I had not been to this location, so it was going to be something new for both of us. If you like to shoot or hunt, this is a must stop in the Houston area. The Spring location has a shooting range! Absolutely gorgeous location and as always Carter’s Country doesn’t disappoint. Luckily, we only left there with a new pair of boots for my husband. But I know he had his eye on a few new things. Christmas present ideas already for him. Next, we headed towards Kemah. We stopped at Marburger’s Sporting Goods in Seabrook. They have been around for a very long time and have a great selection for hunting and fishing. My husband enjoyed reminiscing about fishing in Texas.

 
Next it was to Kemah Boardwalk for lunch at Landry’s Seafood. Love the view of the water, even if it is a dreary winter day. Lunch was great as usual at Landry’s. A nice cup of gumbo helped to warm me up before exploring the boardwalk.

 

We walked around and finally stopped at Bayside Grille for dessert. Now this is a must for me. I don’t care how full I am, I will always have room for beignets! We sat down with coffee and an order of beignets. While my husband caught up on work, I worked on devouring a couple of these warm pillows of heavenly goodness. Bayside Grille makes them fresh right there where you can see them. Some people add honey, but I just love the powdered sugar. A good cup of coffee and a beignet and I am set folks! We walked off my beignet high as we continued to explore the boardwalk. We watch a few people ride some rides, but the dreary cold weather kept most people away. After a few more shopping stops we headed over the Cavendar’s.

 
Woo hoo, it was finally time to pickup the cupcakes and cake. Craved Creations Bakery in League City is a tiny little shop. But oh, what an incredible place! We laid down the seats in my Explorer and loaded over 200 cupcakes in it. I decided I better carry the cake on my lap. My husband carefully drove us back to the hotel so we could unload our bounty and grab some dinner. How exciting! One more day y’all and wedding time!

Boho · country life · Decorating · Family · flowers · Food · Party · Wedding

Wedding Day!!

Wedding day!!! Are you ready to see more pictures of Ashley and Joshua’s big day? Where do I start?!

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Wedding Party

We had hay bales to put out for seating, florist delivering flowers, furniture arriving, tents to arrange, miscellaneous sewing and ironing. Jewelry repair and last-minute details before we could even dress ourselves.

 


Prayers said for over the bride for their big day. Groom hung out with his wedding party waiting for it all to start.

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Ashley was a beautiful bride and there were so many special moments.

Here we go people! Getting seated.


Incredible music and the groom took his vows to a whole new level. He wrote her a song and read his vows to her. We were all in tears!

They are hitched y’all!! It’s done! They are married.

Great reception! Food was amazing and so was the music. Father’s speech had us all in tears and wishing we had a videographer.

Dancing and celebrating.

 

 

Family sing the Perkin’s family song.


Off they go! What a wonderful ride and a great send-off to start their marriage.

Congratulations Ashley and Joshua Siegel!

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Bye!

A very special thank you to all those he helped make this day so special:

Weatherford Gardens

Grape Vine Vineyards

Borrowed Treasures

Rachel Henry Photo

Cloud Creative Events

Venus and Co

BA Beauty

La Tovola Fine Linen

Blue Mesa Grill

DJ Cale

 

country life · Family · Food · History · Hunting · Vacation

Hunting We Will Go

 

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Howling Game

It’s hunting season here. That means my wonderful husband will be off for a 3-week elk hunting trip with his friends. Once upon a time I was more into the hunting but not anymore. I thoroughly enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement hunting brings to Jimmy. He is the best!
Many, many years ago (warning, memory lane and ex-husband Dale story happening) we were on a lease at Travis Marks ranch in Fannin/Goliad Texas. He was an incredible man and the most fun to hunt with. Hunting on a working ranch is always fascinating to me. I love watching the ranch being worked and this family, including his wife was out working the cattle. I remember the 1st time I saw her in full face makeup and beautiful clothes on her horse working the cows. She sparkled and shined as she made it look like child’s play wrangling the cattle to be worked. The sight of her big convertible Cadillac with horns on the grill coming at you down the dark country road would bring a smile to my face, after it scared the daylights out of me. That woman could drive!

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Doe for Deer 1993 Travis Marks Ranch. Three layers of clothes in the morning!

On the ranch was a little museum that memorialized his family’s history. His father was one of the founding members of the Salt Grass Trail Ride. What an honor to have been able to see this memorial he had. He raised long horn that were used in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the beginning of each rodeo performance. I learned a great deal about Texas history from Travis and his wife Linda. Dinner at the Empresario with them was exciting. Listening to the stories of not just Travis but his friends and neighbors made for an entertaining experience.

 
When Travis got a chance to hunt with us it was always entertaining. We once stalked geese on a pond, crawling on our bellies with our guns in hand as we came over the little hill trying not to spook them. He made sure my hunting partners always put me in the blind of the front pasture (Linda’s pasture). It backs up to the river behind the trees. Guaranteed to get a deer and since I hunted only for meat, I went for the does when it was the season. I would sit in the blind, wearing vanilla perfume, reading a book by a little light waiting for the sun to come up. Some days I just sat and watch the deer as they came out to eat in the early light. The smell of musk was incredibly strong on the ranch as the bucks marked their territory. And nothing made me crazier than being able to track deer for the guys, so they knew where the deer were crossing. Many memories were made on his ranches in the area. I shot my first turkey on his ranch. Dove season and quail was always incredible. Rabbits were not my thing, but the guys killed a lot. Those things can take over a field so quickly and eat the young sprouts. Once a little rabbit was just stunned and not shot. I took it and set it free while the guys were cleaning the dead ones.

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First turkey and pregnant in 1994.

And nothing like driving the jeep into town and forgetting about the rack on top as we drove through Dairy Queen for lunch one day. I don’t the think guys liked when the wives got together and headed to town. Always mischief to be had. I learned that rattle snaked jump straight up! First time I ever heard Dale yell. We chased turkey all over the Fannin property in the jeep. They are fast! Every year we had to take back the blinds from the owls who nested in them. Nothing like 6 inches of dead mice, rabbits and owl manure having to be cleaned out. Yuck! If you hunted you worked to maintain it just like the guys so we helped clear the blinds, fill feeders and mow the trails.

 

I hunted on Travis’s properties until I was too big and pregnant to get up and down the blinds. Then the vertigo set in and there is nothing worse than trying to get a big pregnant hot angry woman with vertigo out of a blind. I was so fortunate that we had a lot of game and fresh fish. We ate what we caught and killed. Dale would make venison sausage that was to die for. My family always wanted some when he had a chance to make it. I love fresh turkey cooked on the grill and loved waterfowl until I got pregnant. Made him cook duck gumbo outside that year. He is still a great cook. I learned a lot from him.

 

The first time I went duck hunting was not a great day. We were to hunt down in the Anahuac area there in east Texas. Dale of course had the proper gear and knew what he was doing. I did not! After an air boat ride we hopped out with the dog (named Trouble)and I was to follow him to where we were going to hunt. Yeah, well I stepped into a coypu (nutria rat) hole and sank clean up to hips. As I struggled to get myself out of the hole (he was putting out the decoys and Trouble ran around) the light was coming up and I heard him yell ‘duck’. So I ducked my head down thinking he was shooting. No, the ducks were coming in to the decoys around me and as I looked up all I could see was duck feet in my face. Scared the living daylights out of me. And Dale laughed. Yeah, I haven’t hunted ducks since except with Travis.

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Unhappy 1st duck hunt

And a little side note here, I was always told you shouldn’t wear make-up or hair products to hunt let alone scented anything. Honey, I wore make-up when I wanted. Vanilla perfume attracts the deer. I would hunt in high heel wedge boots too! Oh yes, when I wasn’t roughing it with the guys I dressed to the top for my deer. And I always got a deer when I wanted to shoot one. So, take that y’all!!

 
After my little walk down memory lane, I watch as my husband Jimmy packs his gear and prepares the trailer for his trip. This year they are heading to Colorado. I will miss the dickens out of him. But he deserves this trip and the break from work. Jimmy checks on me regularly and shares his adventures when he has cell service, so I get to enjoy in his escapades.

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Dead and gone

Jimmy brings home the bacon, the venison, the fish and anything else he kills or catches. Yep, still a lucky lady here. Jimmy and my step-son Nick fill our freezer with fresh fish and lobster each year.

 

And it is that time of year where I am down to just barely any meat left so Jimmy better get to work on filling it. Hopefully it will be some elk but if not, he always gets the deer and venison is our main meat around here. Jimmy is better at the hunting than I am as you can see and enjoys his time with the Texas boys, Jeff, Robert and Josh. Once he is back, I get to share his latest adventure with you. Then we will be off to Texas for the wedding and bow season. I love hearing Jimmy’s stories and the mounts on the wall of the Mancave. But for now, my heart aches that he is going to be gone.

 

 

Good luck to you, Donny and Mike! Love you, be safe and have a great time!

West Tx Buck Jimmy
West Texas Buck Baby
Cooking · Decorating · Family · Food · Shopping

Heading Home

On my way home, I stopped in Houston to see my daughter. Nothing puts a smile on my face like Lacey. We had dinner at one of our spots called James Coney Island. The memories we have made eating hotdogs there will always stick out in my mind. Thanks for another memory Kiddo!

 


I stayed a couple nights so that I could also get a chance to see Amber and Chris. I am so excited…they get married in January!! So proud of these two and the amazing future they have together.

 


I headed to downtown Houston so that I could go to James Avery and do some shopping. I love their jewelry and always find something for a gift or myself when I go. I picked a few things and headed over to Central Market.

 
HEB is a Texas chain grocery store and their specialty stores are Central Market. I wish Florida had an HEB, let alone a Central Market. The fresh squeezed orange juice puts all others to shame. You will find five or six different kinds of potatoes to exotic fruits in their produce. My mind just goes crazy with ideas when I am there. I want to take it all home. They have a butcher shop on sight as well as fresh seafood. A bakery and freshly made foods to take home, all kinds of spices, coffee and teas are just the tip of the iceberg of what you can find. I fill my basket with all my favorites that I can’t get anywhere else and spices galore. I think I picked up at least 4 lbs. of Texas Pecan Coffee. If you ever get a chance to shop at HEB, you will love it. And if you get a chance to shop at Central Market, bring a cooler!

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After my little shopping spree and lunch, I headed over to Half Price Books in Pearland. I love the book store and lose time when I am in there. Then I made a stop at my favorite antique store there in town, Brows’ Aroun’ Antiques. They have been there since 2001 and I have been going there since they opened. I love finding new little treasures when I shop, and they never disappoint.

 
I had to make this visit short, but I will be back again soon. I made a stop in Port Allen LA on my way home to stock up on my Cajun favorites for cooking. Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun Meats is where I pick up my tasso and andouille. Wait until you see what I cook with them!

Baking · Cooking · Crafts · Decorating · Family · flowers · Food · Party · Wedding

Ashley’s Shower

Shower 8 Front Sign

We were home late on Sunday from Massachusetts and I was back on the road by Tuesday heading to Texas. It’s shower time y’all!

I arrived Wednesday at the little house and unpacked before heading up to my sister’s. My car was loaded with wedding decorations including the bouquet. Talk about a nervous drive trying to make sure nothing got screwed up. But I was glad I was able to bring it out and now we can focus on the shower.

 

We hit the ground running when I arrived. Reviewing through the menu and getting our lists together of what we still needed to buy. Decorations have been accumulated and it was time to start getting them up. Marie’s house is looking amazing and all the work being done for the wedding is really paying off. I can’t wait to show you all the work when it is done.

 

Thursday is a day of decorating, getting our nails done (mine look horrid after all the crafting), grocery shopping and of course the liquor store. I have things to do! Ashley comes in to try on her dress so that I can get an idea of what needs to be adjusted. Oh my, her dress is beautiful and all lace! And it needs to be taken in quite a bit. Holy cow!!!

 

 

Friday I am deep into my cooking mode so all worries about alternations will have to wait. I make my Sangria using a Llano red wine and a berry brandy. Llano is one of my favorite Texas wine companies. They also have an amazing port I highly recommend. So here was the menu for the shower. I had to make up the chocolate bread pudding for the dessert tamales and prep the rest of the menu. Luckily the beans, rice and tortillas came from Rosa’s and would be picked up before the shower along with a few other things. We had a few last-minute decorations to make and were so glad Beth and Carla came over to help. Chairs are delivered from Borrowed Treasures. I love the assortment they brought and can’t wait to see what they do for the wedding. Our brother Chip and his wife Noemi arrive with our niece Anita. Woo hoo!

 

Saturday as Marie is rushing around running last minute errands (our brother too) I have Anita working those arm muscles helping me with the two sauces for the tamales. The cookies as gifts were so adorable from Back Home Bakery. Long story short, it was great! Everything went well for the shower. We had over 50 people show up and Ashley was happy. We took care of the food and venue so that Havalah and the rest of the bridal party could concentrate on the bride. Noemi and Beth worked hard helping me with the food and clean up. My brother cooked the meats and jalapenos and Clarinda was the photographer. Michelle made the red sauce, yummy! I am so grateful and thankful for everyone’s help!

 

Sunday was a day spent finishing the headdress for the flower girls, taking in the wedding dress and chatting with my sister. Ashley will be a beautiful bride and I know that when I go back before the wedding, more alterations may be needed. The wedding is just a month away…

 

Bridal Shower Menu

Family · Food · History · Shopping · Vacation

Salem MA

Salem MA Hawthorne Hotel
Hawthorne Hotel

After our Marblehead adventure we dropped Jamie off and headed back to the hotel. I love the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. When we got back that evening it was bustling with wedding guests and people arriving to have dinner in the restaurants at the hotel. From the beautiful flowers in the lobby to the friendly staff, it was a welcoming sight. Bewitched Salem episode was filmed here and that is just a speck in its long history. I love the brass mail shoots that remain between the elevators. I wish we there was time to sit and people watch. But we needed to rest and grab a snack before going to see Jamie perform.

We had a lovely room. I love the simplicity of the décor and the bed was so comfy. The large windows lend an awesome view of Salem Common from our room. We ordered room service and shared a meal while we rested before the show. The food was incredible and the staff so friendly. But what made me smile was seeing on the room service menu food for your dog. Oh, my goodness! They will actually prepare food for you dog. I love it!! I love hotels that understand our pets are family too. Actually, everywhere we went while in Massachusetts pretty much dog friendly. But I digress. This beautiful historic hotel has so much to offer including adjacent homes they owe for staying. Gave me ideas for visits with my sister in the future (a girl can dream).

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Salem Witch Museum

After seeing Mamma Mia the night before we spent the day exploring Salem. We did a self-guided tour of the city starting with the Salem Witch Museum. With a brief history of the witch trials and the history of witchcraft we set off about town. There is much to see and one day will not be enough to get it all in. Right outside of the museum is a statue of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem.

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Roger Conant – Founder of Salem MA

We missed the tours of the New England’s Pirate Museum, but I did get my husband’s picture with a couple locals.

 

The Old Burying Point Cemetery didn’t get much activity on my ghost tracking apps, but this tree sure had people interested. We watched as locals (in costumes) took photos in front of it, so I had to take some of it. Do you see what I see?

 


After walking through the Witch Trials Memorial and visiting the Salem Witch Village, Witch History Museum and the Salem Wax Museum I had enough of witches and we headed down towards the waterfront.

 


I poked my head in a few shops like the New England Dog Biscuit Co. before sitting down for a drink and snack at the Sea Level Oyster Bar and Kitchen.

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Sea Level Oyster Bar & Restaurant Salem MA

 

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Sail Loft weathered beauty

Right next to the restaurant was the Salem Maritime National Historical Site. I loved the look of the Sail Loft replica. I could just imagine the wharf busy with boats and ships as goods were delivered and checked at the Custom House across the street. I love the National Parks Service website and apps. It gives you so much of our history at your fingertips. I always check it when I am exploring new places or on one of our adventures. When we went to Gettysburg, I was overwhelmed and in awe of this hallowed ground. I strongly suggest checking out our National Parks Services.

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Sail Loft Replica at the Salem Maritime National Historical Site

Not far from there is The House of Seven Gables. As we continued to explore Salem while dodging rain, I made a little stop at Ye Olde Pepper Company. It is America’s oldest candy company since 1806. I indulged a little, ok a lot on their chocolate covered orange and lemon peels. Love, love it!! After getting an assortment of chocolates we headed back to the hotel before picking up Jamie for dinner. I made a little stop at the Old Naumkeag Antiques and Gallery next to the hotel. Extremely tiny place but incredible antiques. I picked a few things of course. If I had a truck, corbels and antiques would have filled it up!

It was a short visit and dinner at Finz with Jamie between her shows. But the next day, now that adventure was for my hubby…