Search This Blog


Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Hollars and My Claim to Fame

So what happens after you live in a beloved neighborhood and home for four years, bring both your babies home from the hospital to this home, and make a thousand great memories there?  I'll tell you what happened to me.  John Krasinski (yes, Jim from The Office), decided to direct a movie in my neighborhood....and wait for it....some scenes in my beloved house!  You may have heard of The Hollars.  It premiered at Sundance last Spring and is now coming out for the masses.  Take a look at the preview!


The house with the red front door was mine.

It was probably a week after we had moved out and headed to Birmingham, AL for my husband's medical fellowships.  My former neighbor called and, knowing what a celebrity-stalker I am, said "Lauren, you're not going to believe this!  A guy with the movie (because by that time, we knew that a movie was to be filmed in Fondren) was just in your driveway asking to speak to the owner of the house."  Well, as you can imagine, I had very mixed feelings.  I was so excited!...But also a little sick because we had JUST left.  We wouldn't be there to experience all the hoopla.  However, I made up my mind right then that I would go back for filming.

The "redecorated for the movie" inside of my ex-house.

What was the master bedroom had been transformed into two little girls' room.  It was so strange to walk in and see my bedroom painted pink.  I sat in my old next-door neighbors' front yard all night long watching them film a scene where Sharlto Copley crawled through the window of this room.  I guess we'll have to see the movie to understand why.  But I watched him do it over and over and over.  I hadn't realized how long it takes to film one scene for a movie.  It took almost all night to perfect the window sneak-in.  He also climbed over our ex-fence and on top of our ex-recycling bins.  Very interesting.

When I went back to Jackson to ogle the moviemakers, I stayed with my next-door neighbor.  The night before filming at my house, this letter was taped to her front door.  I was so excited to see it!!

with Emily Blunt, Sharlto Copley and Ashley Dyke.  Emily Blunt is not in the movie.  She was there because she is married to John Krasinski.  Charlie Day actually took this picture.  But I didn't know who he was because I haven't seen Horrible Bosses.  Apparently he's a big deal too.  Oh well!  

And a few more shots of my old house with a movie being filmed inside of it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Homemade Green Tea Ice Cream

Welcome to the first blog post since our big move!  We moved from Birmingham, AL to Tupelo, MS for my husband's job.  We are originally from this area of the world, so we came to a very familiar place.  

As you know well, this time of year is brutal, as in HOT!  Especially in North Mississippi!  Especially for a pregnant lady!!  So what do you do?  You make lots of homemade ice cream. We have been doing a recipe for chocolate ice cream that I found on Pinterest.  Tonight, I got creative with Matcha and tweaked the recipe to make Green Tea Ice Cream.  It turned out delicious!

An old school ice cream freezer that came from my husband's grandmother's house, and our new dog, Lucy in the window.

All done!  And here's the recipe:

Homemade Green Tea
Ice Cream

8 cups 2% White Milk
1 container Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 heaping tablespoons Jade Leaf Matcha
(Rock Salt and Ice for the sides of the ice cream freezer)
Mix all ingredients in the ice cream holder and set to spin for about 30-35 minutes, or until done.

This recipe is so simple!  I mean only 4 ingredients!  I served it in ice cream bowls, topped with honey drizzle.  You could also top ripe fresh peach halves with it and finish it off with a drizzle of honey.  Do whatever suits your fancy!  Just try this recipe soon, when you need refreshment on a hot day!

To order your own bag of Matcha, go check out my friends at Jade Leaf Matcha!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The 1cookingchick Signature Salad!

So I threw together this salad the other night for some friends.  The flavor combo turned out rather delicious!  I always feel that a salad should be the perfect blend of savory/garlicky/sweet.  That is what I was going for when I tossed these ingredients together.  The garlic is in the dressing, there is perfect saltiness from the bacon, and fresh grapes add the perfect amount of sweetness.  Buttery, toasted almonds and creamy goat cheese bring a richness to the flavor that blends nicely with the fresh elements.  My friends literally cleaned the bowl!  Right there and then, I decided to make this my signature salad.  

The 1cookingchick
Signature Salad

A large bowlful of Fresh Kale 
about 1 cup halved Red Grapes
4 strips Cooked Bacon (crumbled)
4 oz. crumbled Goat Cheese
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
1 Tbsp Butter
Garlic Vinaigrette (recipe below)
1.  Go ahead and mix up the dressing.  Thoroughly wash the kale and tear into bite-sized pieces.  Place kale in the salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.  (Do this early because it allows the flavors to blend and the kale, which can be tough, to soften and soak up the vinaigrette).
2.  Melt the butter in a pan over Medium-Low heat.  Toast the almonds just until warmed and starting to brown (maybe about 10-15 minutes).  Watch it and don't let it burn!
3.  Add the grapes, bacon, goat cheese and toasted almonds to the kale in the bowl and toss together.  
4.  Serve and enjoy!

Garlic Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 and 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
the juice of 1/2 a Lemon
1 clove minced Garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
-Blend all ingredients in a measuring cup.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Bifteki Meatballs with Dill Tzatziki

Greek-themed food is my favorite thing right now!  It is the pregnancy craving of the moment.  If it has feta cheese in it, I'm there!  Tzatziki sauce, kalamatas...even better!!  Bifteki is a Greek food I have made several times before.  It is, by definition, simply a Greek stuffed hamburger.  You really can't go wrong with that type of dish!  It would be hard not to please anyone with cheese-stuffed beef.  

Tonight, I decided to change up the recipe a bit.  Instead of doing the larger Biftekis as usual, I cooked a more fun, bite-sized version of this Greek favorite.  Here is what I came up with:

Bifteki Meatballs

1 lb.Ground Beef
1 container Feta Cheese
1 Egg
1/2 cup Plain Bread Crumbs
1 clove minced Garlic
1 Tbsp chopped Fresh Dill
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Mix all ingredients with your hand in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Line a sided roasting pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
4.  Form meatballs (about golf ball size) out of the mixture and place onto the pan.
5.  Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes and serve hot.

Dill Tzatziki Recipe
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cucumber (peeled)
1 clove Garlic
about 1 Tbsp Fresh Dill
1.  In a food processor, blend the cucumber, garlic and dill until just ground up.  
2.  Blot mixture with a paper towel to soak in excess moisture.
3.  In a decorative bowl, combine the yogurt with the cucumber mixture and serve.

I served mine with toasted naan and very ripe tomato slices.  Not pictured: sautéed whole okra from the farmer's market.  This meal was the essence of summer!  

I know what its like to have just no ideas for what to cook for dinner on a weeknight.  It still happens to me frequently, and I write a food blog! Ha! This whole meal was pretty simple to throw together.  Try it out soon on your family and see if you can't please even the pickiest palates!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

ATTENTION: Matcha Giveaway!!!

I always enjoy drinking and/or baking with Matcha Green Tea Powder.  There are so many things you can do with it.  The next project I plan to do is Green Tea Ice Cream!  Yum!
Jade Leaf Matcha and I have decided to give two of my readers a chance to get adventurous too.  Starting June 23 and ending June 29, I will be running a giveaway.  Two lucky readers will get a free 30g bag of the Premium Culinary Grade Matcha from Jade Leaf Matcha!!  Can't complain about that, huh?  

Here are just a few great Matcha recipes I have done on the blog before:

Matcha Muffins

Matcha Breakfast Loaf

 Frozen Matcha Smoothies

So if you've been reading about my adventures with the Green Stuff and have been interested, but haven't taken the plunge....Now is your chance!   How about having your own adventure?  You have seven days to enter, so don't miss out!  Click on the "Giveaway" tab on my Facebook page to enter the contest!

or here:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Greek Beet Salad

If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I'm a big fan of Beets.  I feel confident that I'm doing something good for my body when I eat any deep-colored vegetable.  I don't mind the flavor, but I do admit it can be a bit earthy.  And I know some people may not prefer it.  Therefore, I enjoy thinking of recipe ideas that add flavor and excitement to this super healthy, cancer-fighting food.

My latest pregnancy craving is all things Greek.  I had some beets, cucumbers and feta cheese in the fridge that I wanted to use.  One small note about that...any time you mix beets with a pale-colored food, there will be pink staining.  This might seem odd to some people.  But as it turns out, pink food can be delicious!  Ha!

Greek Beet Salad

2 large Beets (boiled until soft and chopped)
1 large Cucumber (peeled, seeded and chopped)
1 handful fresh Basil (chopped)
1 container Feta Cheese
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 clove minced Garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1.  Peel and then boil the beets until soft and tender.  
2.  Once the beets have been cooled and chopped into bite-size pieces, mix with the cucumber (also chopped), basil and feta cheese.
3.  In a measuring cup, blend the oils, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper and pour over the salad.
4.  Toss all ingredients together and serve immediately, or after refrigerating.  

Introducing Cotopaxi!

Cotopaxi is a company founded on making a difference, moving people to do good, and inspiring new adventures.  They help to spread the word of the World Health Organization's awareness and prevention tactics for various health concerns around the world.  They have asked me to contribute my "Health Hacks" to inspire my readers to pursue healthy living.  This beet salad is my latest health hack, because it is a way to make an ultra-nutritious food ultra tasty!  If you're interesting in learning more about Cotopaxi, check out the video below.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Emotional Green Beans

So as you know, I am with child these days. Ha!  For unknown reasons, probably hormones, I do some crazy things while in this condition.  Many of these crazy things involve tears.  I was a bridesmaid in an amazing wedding over the weekend.  More details on that in a coming blog post!  The rehearsal dinner was catered by a great company that serves up country cooking.  All the dishes were delicious, but I got really hung up on the Sweet and Sour Green in, they were so good to me, I cried...seriously.  I cried over green beans.

If you live in the South, you know that the perfect green bean dish has to have savory, sweet and sour elements to the flavor.  This recipe has the perfect balance of all those elements.  I asked the caterers to tell me how they made them so I could try to duplicate the emotional experience at home.  Here is my version of the recipe.

Emotional Green Beans

1 lb. fresh Green Beans (You can use canned...I used fresh to make the recipe a little fancier!)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 small jar diced Pimentos (drained)
1 clove minced Garlic
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and wash the green beans (if fresh).
2.  In a measuring cup, blend the oil, sugar, vinegar and garlic.  I microwaved mine for a few seconds to dissolve the sugar.
3.  Put the green beans in a casserole dish and pour over the oil mixture.  Add the pimentos.
4.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and if fresh, bake for 45 minutes.  If you're using canned, bake for 30 minutes.

So after my little crying episode and getting sufficiently laughed at and made fun of by everyone at my table, I went back for seconds of my soulmate green beans.  I just got another plate and filled it with green beans...really.

Crazy-eyed pregnant lady, with a plate full of green beans!

By this point you may be thinking "this chick is insane and I don't think I'll be reading her blog again".  But at least try this recipe and grab a box of tissues just in case...especially if you're like me at all (extra hormonal and prone to get really excited about food).