Christmas in Warm Springs

For our annual Christmas gathering we went to Warm Springs, Georgia.  Our VRBO  even came with a beautiful snow.  It made travel difficult but also made for a fairy tale setting for the Cardinals.

Kim, however, up in Blue Ridge had an epic tale of adventure trying to get out of her driveway to come.  She prevailed and made it to the house after many hours of digging.

We ate at the Bulloch House Restaurant in Warm Springs, GA.  It is a southern buffet with fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, squash casserole, green beans, macaroni and cheese…you get the idea.  Our charm for the weekend was a fried chicken leg.

Nancy Squared.

After lunch and shopping, we went back to our rental.  We enjoyed an afternoon playing games, blowing fuses, and being scolded by the hot grandpa…”Y’all,  don’t touch nothing!”

Nancy P was our hostess and she planned a wonderful weekend.

Kim made a plastic wrapped ball for an exciting game with prizes. You get to keep unwrapping the ball until the person next to you rolls doubles. It was vicious and hilarious.

I (Julie) won the grand prize of an amazing cardinal bird feeder.

The next morning the snow was gone and the chickens bid us farewell until next time.

Biltmore House

Biltmore House Rental

We went on a trip this spring weekend to Asheville, North Carolina.  We toured the Biltmore House and also enjoyed hanging out in our rental house. Although our rental wasn’t quite as big as the Biltmore it was more than adequate for the 7 of us.

We were perched on the side of a mountain with a barfy two mile winding road to get there.  We slowed to a snail’s pace and everyone arrived intact.   Four bedrooms, fire pit outside, stone fireplace inside, open floorplan, hot tub, gourmet kitchen….the list goes on and on.  And don’t forget the view!  Fabulous house!!!!

We spent one day in the city of Asheville.  It has changed a bit since my last visit.  It is a lot more bustling and touristy. Also since my last visit, it appears to be okay to turn your children into panhandlers or should I say street performers.  We saw quite a few. Although they were entertaining, I think Saturdays are best left for childhood fun and frolic not for funding your college or paying the cable bill for your parents.  You will have plenty of time to work as an adult, believe me.

However with that said, the rule in Asheville is plainly posted and we will adhere to the laws of the town.

One restaurant we went to was The Tupelo Honey Cafe. There is also one in Atlanta if we need another delicious fix.

Gina ordered a chicken biscuit with gravy and ham on top.

We went for dessert to the nearby chocolate shop – The Chocolate Fetish.  We arrived on  April Fool’s Day and the trick of the day for them was serving what looked like chocolate covered cherries (see in the case bottom left) but actually they were dipped cocktail onions.  It was a funny prank and the innocent victim received a regular chocolate medallion for being a good sport.

We hit a few other stores and then back to the house for games and an in-house dinner.

One game we played was Yahtzee.

Now, wouldn’t you think that if you rolled TWO Yahtzees in a game you would be assured to be the winner.  Terri did that and was sitting pretty for a while. But not today! Gina the Golden Girl rolled an unprecedented THREE Yahtzees in one game.  She also won twice at LCR .  If it hadn’t been such a long barfy ride down the mountain, we would have made her go buy some lottery tickets and rub some of her luck onto them.

The Biltmore dazzled as always, even in the rain.

We took a group photo before the docent ushered us off the steps.  Smile pretty.  You only have one chance to make it look good.

It was hot and crowded but we enjoyed the sights of a life vastly different from our own.

One of my favorite spots at the Biltmore is the view from the balcony.  We couldn’t go out there today but you could still enjoy it from the doorway.

We loved the indoor garden/sunroom, too.

After the tour we ate at Cedric’s Tavern near the Winery.  This restaurant is named after the Vanderbilt’s pet Saint Bernard, Cedric, so you can imagine how shocked I was to see a photo of Chupa on their wall.

Their delicious meals were served with their namesake sweet dill pickles.  This one is about to leap out of the jar and land on my plate. The man behind Terri looks like he wants to join the group with his red shirt.

Next it was wine tasting and souvenir shopping. Then we headed back to the cabin for our last night of fun.

So long from Asheville!  Until we meet again!

Recipes from the Trip:

 

Blueberry Pound Cake

2 tablespoons butter

sugar for coating bundt pan

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

additional 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Use the two tablespoons butter to grease a Bundt pan.  Sprinkle with sugar.  In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.   In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time.  Add the vanilla.  Slowly blend in the flour mixture.  Use the remaining 1/4 cup flour to coat the blueberries.  Fold blueberries into the batter.  Spoon batter into greased Bundt pan.  Bake for 70-80 minutes or until cake tests done.  Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then turn out cake from pan.  Allow to cool before slicing.

 

Best Chicken Stew

Cheesecake Factory December 2016

We had our annual ornament exchange and dinner this year at The Cheesecake Factory at Cumberland Mall.  Nancy S. got to try out her new van.  Our reservation at the Cheesecake factory allowed us to get seated right away and begin our much needed and enjoyed conversation around the table catching up with everyone. (December 2016)

The best part of the Cheesecake Factory is…well…the cheesecake.  I ordered the Christmas Red Velvet Cheesecake.  It never disappoints.

That afternoon we went to the Escape Room and tried to break out of our locked room with the clues provided within.  We were not successful within the hour time limit.  It was a challenge!

Later that evening we went to J. Alexanders for another delicious meal.

Finally, we went back to our hotel suite and enjoyed opening gifts.

We departed the next morning eagerly anticipating our upcoming trip to Asheville in April.

Disney World 2016

The Birds were Florida bound in February, 2016.  Destination — Disney!

On the road in the FloMobile bedecked with lighted birdies.

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Terri takes her driving responsibilities seriously. Don’t mess with her tunes.

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Anyone for some pre-Florida souvenirs? Gotta love truck stops.

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We eventually found our way here.

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With only one detour here.  Did you say this was a sanctioned stop?  Where’s the charm?

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Meanwhile, Kim and Cindy already got the party started.

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One down.  A few more to follow.

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Our condo was spacious and had a great location.

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Time for Magic Bags before hitting the park in the morning.

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We got two shirts, a charm, a Minnie cup, a bird ornament, and some other goodies.

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We enjoyed gorgeous weather for the entire stay.

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We have talked about this trip for quite a few years so it was exciting to finally be here.

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There was an extra crane on the castle.  Disney is always doing a little work.

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We had a great time in Buzz Lightyear.

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Janet was the big winner in spite of our competitive efforts.

Selfies give me a giant head.  My arms are too short. Next time someone else can hold the camera.

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Cindy is pretty much in every photo.

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This one, too.

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We enjoyed It’s a Small World.  Anyone still humming that song?

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And we had a fast pass for Pirates of the Caribbean.

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We took a leisurely train ride.

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And the wimpy birds went to see a show while the wild birds rode Space Mountain.

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We left Magic Kingdom and went to dinner at Friday’s.  Looking forward to another day in the parks tomorrow.

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Spiffy new shirts for today as we head to Epcot.    Put your leg down Janet!

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Get ready, Epcot!  The birds are flying in!

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Here’s another one because we just don’t all fit in one frame.

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Terri found a fast pass entrance lane and beat us all inside.

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Cheers!  Time to sample the lagoon water and by that I don’t mean lagoon water!

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The annual garden show was beginning the following week but we got to see many beautiful displays.Epcot13

Epcot17This was not the only troll in Norway…

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Some other bird-trolls decided to play a trick on poor innocent laryngitis-stricken Julie (that would be me) and asked “Ron” to come and tell me to stop waving my arms so much.  I had been gesturing because I couldn’t talk.  I, of course, fell for it completely and then I slowly caught on that it was a joke… to the amusement of pretty much everyone.  But the joke didn’t stop there.  The troll-birds would jump ahead of me and alert other workers to my plight and several others asked me to stop waving.  All in all, a great prank!

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Laryngitis wannabees…

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Sorry girls.  You don’t have my technique and flair!

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Interestingly, many people asked us what Eating Cardinals meant.  Hard to explain but we did assure them that we didn’t eat cardinals (yes, someone asked that.)

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Moving on to Canada.  We have some spare parts in this photo.

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We enjoyed the Pixar 3D Short Film Festival. Some birds got reprimanded for lolling about on the floor.  Since I had already been scolded by Ron, I wasn’t taking any chances.  We made it off the floor and into the theater.

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Our evening meal was in Akershus Castle in Norway. It was a princess dinner.

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8 Princesses!

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We dashed out to the sunset leaving our glass slippers behind just in case Prince Charming has caught on that there are many princesses inside these fairy tale walls.

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And we ended the day with the traditional Disney fireworks display.

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Another great trip with the Eating Cardinals.

 

Cheesecake Factory 2015

We enjoyed our Christmas Brunch at the Cheesecake Factory at Cumberland Mall.DSCF4676 DSCF4678 DSCF4680 DSCF4681 DSCF4684 DSCF4685 DSCF4686 DSCF4688 DSCF4689

Terri’s ornament was first out of the box.

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But it was soon stolen by Cindy. So Janet opened again.

 

 

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Bird Thief.

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Both Julie and Terri opened new gifts.

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Kim stole from Cindy.  No more steals for that ornament.

 

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Cindy opened gift number 2.  But then Janet stole that after Nancy S. Stole her bird house ornament.

 

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Gina closed us out by keeping a wonderful pair of birds from Nancy P.

 

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Fried Green Tomatoes – Huller House Part 6

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FRIED GREEN TOMATO INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (or substitute regular milk)
  • 3-4 green tomatoes sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
  • Vegetable oil or bacon grease for frying (I used peanut oil)

SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • Pinch of cayenne, or more to taste

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and buttermilk. Use a fork to mix the ingredients into a pancake-like batter. Use more buttermilk to thin the batter, if needed.  Heat 2 inches of oil in a skillet until hot enough to fry. Dip tomato slices in batter, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Put the dipped slices immediately into the frying pan. The oil should sizzle strongly but not pop when the tomatoes hit the oil– if the oil pops or splatters, it’s too hot. Let it cool down a bit before proceeding.Fry the tomato slices in batches of 4 or 5 at a time (don’t crowd the pan) for 2-3 minutes per side, turning carefully with tongs when the coating turns golden brown. Transfer to a colander or wire cooling rack to drain. To keep the tomatoes from getting soggy before they’re served, Fannie suggest standing them up like wheels in the serving dish instead of stacking them.To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, and cayenne in a bowl. Taste and season more, if needed. Serve sauce over the fresh fried green tomatoes.Fried green tomatoes are best eaten fresh out of the frying pan, they will become soggy fast if you don’t enjoy them within a few minutes of frying.

Recipe from Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook as written by Tori Avey

Juliette, GA was bustling today with the onslaught of about 100 motorcyclists and of course, with the addition of the Eating Cardinals, too.

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Julie Cam…DSCF2302

Leftover Box Cam…DSCF2303

When All Else Fails, Ask a Bystander Cam…DSCF2305

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“The secret’s in the sauce.”  (Quote from Fried Green Tomatoes movie.)DSCF2312 The church used in the movie… and the sun burning a hole in my camera lens.DSCF2315

Carol McGahee’s Cream of Broccoli Soup

 

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Carol McGahee’s Cream of Broccoli Soup

 

2 10-oz packages of frozen chopped broccoli

1 pound Velveeta cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 quart half and half milk

Boil the broccoli in a large pot of water; about 10 minutes or until tender.  In another large pan, pur ½ and ½ in and then slowly add cheese. Keep heat low.  Add the mushroom soup.  Drain broccoli and add to the ½ and ½ pan.  Stir constantly until cheese melts.

Nancy Steadman and Carol McGahee

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