Friday, November 9, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 8

(I'm still behind a day. Maybe I can post two today and get caught up.

Today I am thankful for teachers. Not just mine, but all teachers everywhere. I guess in some ways, that would include all of us, but for today's purposes, I am focusing on those who have worked and are presently working in educational institutions around this world.

Teachers help to mold and shape the minds of this world. They love and nurture their students. They spend countless hours preparing for their students and insane amounts of their own money on supplies. And let's not forget that a teacher's education does not stop at a Bachelor's Degree. Many teachers spend a good portion of their career, and again their own money, to continue to further their own education to higher levels of achievement because that is what is required.

More specifically though, I am most thankful this morning for the four teachers who must brave 27 degree (and colder) temps, rain, sleet, and snow to work the car lane at my five-year-old's elementary school. One teacher ensures that all children get across the crosswalk safely which connects the gymnasium to the main building while the other three open car doors and usher the children on into the building.

I am certain that at no point in getting a teaching degree did you take a course that taught you how to direct traffic and open car doors.

Thank you teachers for all that you do for all of us. You are truly the backbone of our society.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving

Day 6: Today I am thankful for the Democratic process and the honor and privilege to vote.

Day 7: I'm so thankful for my children. Everyday I am amazed with the things that they say and do. My children are such a blessing to my wife and I and I cannot imagine life without them.

Daddy's Girl

Lauryn and I at EKU's Homecoming 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cast-Iron Blueberry Cobbler


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon minced dried lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk

1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 scraped vanilla bean
2 cups blueberries
Vanilla bean ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the butter in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet and transfer to the preheated oven to melt.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, baking powder, lavender and salt in a bowl. Stir in the milk, 1 cup sugar, the lemon juice, zest and vanilla to combine. Mix together the remaining tablespoon sugar and the blueberries in another bowl. Remove the hot skillet with the melted butter from the oven and pour in the batter. Top with the sugared blueberries. Bake until brown and the batter has risen up and around the fruit, about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 5

Today I am thankful for my Momma. For the woman who gave me life (and then threatened countless times to take it away if I didn't get my shit together). I am thankful for her love, guidance, and support. But most of all, I am thankful for the relationship that we have and the fact that I know that my Momma is ALWAYS there for me, my wife, and our children.

I cherish our daily talks. The fact that I know that all I have to do is pick up the phone and she will be on the other end and always says what I NEED to hear. Not necessarilly what I WANT to hear.

I adore the type of Granny she is to my children and I pray that I can hang around this Earth long enough to have that type of relationship with my future grandchildren.

Thank you Mom for being such an amazingly strong woman. I love you!

P.S. Happy 63rd Birthday. I hope you had a great day!

Cast-Iron Ground Beef Pie


2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 head cauliflower, quartered and core removed
1 cup chopped celery plus 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
2 large onions, chopped
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 generous tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic
Zest of 1/2 orange (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Pour the olive oil into a preheated 8-inch cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Allow the oil to heat up, and then add the ground beef and some salt. Press the meat into the pan and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes, and then flip and caramelize the other side.

While the beef cooks, begin the mashed potato topping. Fill a large pot with cold water and add the potatoes, cauliflower and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

When the beef is dark brown and caramelized, remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the celery, celery leaves and onions and let sweat for 1 minute. Add the pine nuts and tomato paste and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the cinnamon, garlic and orange zest to combine. Return the caramelized beef to the pan and stir in the parsley. Add a splash of water, if needed. Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the potatoes and cauliflower are done cooking, drain and pass through a food mill or potato ricer. Stir in the Parmesan and butter until smooth and uniform.

Spread the potato mixture over the beef mixture in the pan, and smooth the top to seal in the beef.

Bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 4

Today I am thankful for Joker Phillips and his many contributions to the University of Kentucky and it's football program, first as a student-athlete and then in several capacities on it's football coaching staff.

Phillips released a statement earlier this evening after the news broke that he would not be returning as head coach next season. It read in part: ''I am very appreciative of Mitch Barnhart and Rich Brooks for providing the opportunity to have been the head coach here. I appreciate the Big Blue Nation and encourage the fans to stay behind their team going forward.''

Joker, you are a true class act and will always be a part of Big Blue Nation and UK Football lore. Thanks for the memories!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 3

My wife. No amount of praise could adequately express how much I love, respect, treasure, and adore her.

We have been through so many life-changing events together. The births of our two amazing children. My (seemingly unending) sicknesses. Financial struggles. The loss of loved ones. Some amazing highs and devastating lows. Through it all she has been amazing.

Next June, we celebrate 10 years of marriage and are in the process of planning a Vow Renewal ceremony to celebrate.

I look forward to spending every year that I have left in this life with my wife. I know sounds cliché, but she really is my better half.

To steal Simon Greene's line from 'Guess Who' (because my wife LOVES that movie):

"That's just it, she's everything I'm not. You know, she's my other half. Without her I'm not whole. You know the thing about meeting your other half is you're walking around, you think you're happy, you think you're whole, then you realize you ain't shit without her. Then you can't go back to being just a half 'cause you know what it's like to be whole."

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 2

Today, I am thankful for our DVR (even though my wife has around 20 episodes of 'The Bold and the Beautiful' on it. She has gotten a little behind.).

The DVR is a wonderful piece of technology that allows my wife and I to watch shows together that come on while she is at work in the evenings. Because of our DVR, we are able to set shows to record while we are out of the house or are watching something on another channel. Another one of my favorite things about having a DVR is the fact that I can pause, rewind, or fast forward when watching a recorded episode. Which means, NO MORE COMMERCIALS. Finally, when watching live television, you can pause and rewind. So, should you miss that big play at the end of the fourth quarter, you can rewind. Need to tend to a screaming child? Hit pause.

So, to advancements in technology, three cheers! HIP HIP HOORAY!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1

Today, like everyday, I am so thankful for a loving, faithful, and patient GOD. It was HIS hand who I have held onto for the past two years as I have battled Congested Heart Failure.

It was very hard to find out at 27 years old, with a wife whom I adore and two very, very young children that I was as sick as I am. It has not been easy and there have been many very dark days where I have prayed for the will to go on. 

It was early on in my sickness that someone said to me, "If God brought you to it, HE'll bring you through it." And HE has shown me that many, many times.

And so, on this first day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for GOD's grace, mercy, and wisdom. Without it, I could not and would not have made it these past two years. I don't deserve it, but I'm so blessed by it.

Test Run

This is my first attempt at blogging from the Blogger app on my wife's phone, an LG Optimus Elite. I wish Blogger made an app for Blackberry. That's the kind of phone I have.

I hope this was a succesful attempt.