Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunny Summer Days

What images come to mind when you think of summer?

If you are like me, probably the pool, the beach, flip flops, the grill, a cute little fruity drink...maybe with a tiny umbrella!?

But I also imagine family get togethers...the kind my father's people in Dublin, Georgia always have in the summer...

What could be better than a family reunion with ALL kinds of Southern goodness???

This past Saturday afternoon, we did indeed have a wonderful time at our family reuinon...seeing family members, laughing, talking, catching up, and eating outragous amounts of food that was just too good to describe here....

Ok, well, I'll give it a try...fresh creamed corn, down home butter beans, newly picked field peas...those were just the vegetables piled on my plate! I never get those kinds of fresh vegetables at home, so I just could not resist! I did not eat any fried chicken- I know you are positively shocked, but I was saving room for dessert! Oh my not get me started on the pound cake! With one bite alone, I was completely taken back to the days when my sweet precious grandmother made THE most delicious pound cake; she never even needed to look at that recipe she made it so often...the crumbly top, the sour creamy moist cake...oh my. I have not had a decent pound cake since my beloved grandmother passed away almost 18 years ago! Needless to say, I got the recipe from my relative who generously emailed it to me. (I will post later about my first attempt one day when I am feeling capable enough to give pound cake a try!) All in all, the day was quite special and I left wishing I was wearing stretchy pants!

Well, much to our surprise, as we were driving home...what did we see in the distance?

A FIELD of sunflowers as far at the eye could was off the road a good bit, but my adorable father drove over this dirt road to get us closer to it...I kept imagining that I was going to hear gunshots any minute...thankfully, we didn't. (I fully comprehend that we were technically trasspassing...but we were only taking pictures, and a great photo is worth it, right? My father said he was afraid I was going to come back to the car with an armful of the flowers; don't think I didn't at least consider it, but I was not going to push my luck with possible shotgun sounds looming! Besides the stalks were as thick as a human forearm!)

I literally could not believe my eyes...I have never before been standing among so many beautiful HUGE sunflowers. Years ago, when I studied abroad in France, that was one of my favorite things- on the train from Paris to Strasbourg, I saw nothing but fields and fields and fields of sunflowers...I wanted so desperately to beg someone to stop the train so I could get out and look more that was going to happen! The train was going by so fast, I never even got any photos out the window. That is one of those times that the picture in your mind is so perfect...much more so than I could have done with any camera.

Well, this was our chance to mingle among the sunflowers and gaze upon their glorious faces! It was just as I imagined it would standing inside one of Van Gogh's lovley paintings...

Hope your summer days are just as sunny and filled with the goodness of food, family, and fun surprises along the way! Have a great week.

(P.S. to my very best friend in the whole wide world, Sally: I wished so whole heartedly that you had been with would have completely understood the Vincent moment...and I could not help but think of you every step of the way! I love you and miss you, my friend.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

They're Home!

Yesterday was such a great day! The daughter, my parents, and other relatives made it back from the beach safe and sound and much earlier than usual! I had a father's day dinner all planned out and prepared to cook when I met them over at my parent's house.

I made carne asada with flank steak (and chicken for the daughter who does not eat red meat) except I turned it into shish ka bobs with vegetables like green and red bell peppers, baby portobella mushrooms, and onions. We also had corn on the cob and a lovley green salad. The marinade on the meat made it so tender and delicious! This is the epitome of a summer meal to me...also something my father had never grilled.

I adore this man. He is the best father in the world...I could not have chosen better parents if I'd been given the ability to do so. It felt like it was 9,000 degrees outside, and he was totally willing to be the designated grill master! I decided to accompany him, despite my hatred for the high humidity. (Literally the heat index was 110 while the temperature gauge read 99). It was funny because seconds later, everyone joined us outside despite the heat. We were enjoying the precious deck that my brother built for them, my mother's potted plants, and each others' company! This is our first summer since my parents moved away from the house we all grew up more pool, no more lush beautiful gardens around the pool, no more acres of grass for him to cut! No matter where they live, my parents will always have a lovely yard with beautiful flowers...and a grill and a deck!

Everyone enjoyed dinner, and then we had such a fun dessert! The daughter and I (though we were apart for the week) planned (through text messages and phone calls) to make a specatacular surprise that we found on Bakerella's site...Happy meals for all of the fathers we know and love! These were delicious and certainly impressive. You should check out her blog if you ever need something to wow someone. The daughter and I love to try new treats from her site. We had some difficulty with the sugar cookie fries and we are always a tab bit messy compared to her perfection, but we had such a good time putting these together...and everyone seemed to enjoy eating them!

Hope everyone had a wonderful father's day and a superb weekend. Now, I am going to go look at my girl again and tell her how very glad I am that she's home!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


My baby girl has been out of town with my parents for a week.

A WEEK I tell you. Seven straight a row...

I am missing her so much right now.

Ok. So she's clearly not a "baby" girl; she's twenty for goodness sakes.
But still I miss her. Her smile. The shrug of her shoulders. Her scent. Laughing with her....talking with with her....Oh, my. This is bad.

Thank goodness, she is coming home tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Delightful Dishes

I am SO exhausted...the good kind of exhausted...the kind that comes from doing what you love!
I have been SO busy lately. I kind of thought things would slow down a bit since it is summer, but it hasn't really. So much so that I never even got around to posting more details about the daughter's birthday! She had a GREAT one, and now I am the mother of a twenty year old. How can that be???

Today was not much different....such a busy whirlwind of activity and excitement.

First, I am teaching a class for teachers called "The Teaching of Reading." What could be better than sharing ideas and activities with teachers concerning a subject about which I am completely passionate?! Although it IS summer here, and I am REALLY ready for a break, I get out each afternoon at 1:30, so it's not that bad at all. Ok, that has been fun so far...but....

Are you ready for the REAL fun from today? Brace yourself.

My friend, Natalie, the daughter, and I cooked up a STORM this evening...all sorts of deliciousness...I can not even begin to say how many ingredients we used, how many pots, pans, spoons, and dishes we used...the husband has just finished doing ALL of them for me. Life does not get much better. Nat had her amazing camera there, so I know some day soon she will post evidence of this wonderfully fun evening. The whole Benson family took part in helping the whole Magallano family have such a delightful meal! I will not give away the secret about what exactly we ate. I am sure Nat will love sharing stories about that, but let me just say this was the most fun I have had in my kitchen in quite some time.

Thanks to the Benson family for an evening to remember.
Now, I am off to literally FALL into bed.

Monday, June 1, 2009


The daughter turns twenty today.
Mentally, I just can not comprehend this.
We are off the spend the day celebrating!
More later...