Monday, January 16, 2012

Charleston, Charleston...a Road Trip!

Sun, Seafood, Sand, and Surf...all found within eight minutes of my front door.  The Apple Store...a 2 hour, 3 hour, or 4 hour drive depending on which city in North or South Carolina you would like to visit.

 On Saturday we chose the 2 hour drive to Charleston, SC, which turned into more of a 3.5 hour drive as Superman worked a bit on the way to my favorite South Carolina city.  My Sunshine gal was having problems with her itouch and if you know my youngest, you know how much of a problem this truly was...let's just say, I don't know of anyone who has literally worn out three itouches in just about as many years.  We had just purchased this one in June at our local electronics store but of course, Apple products are only serviced by Apple stores. While I was irritated that it broke so quickly (her "home" button was stuck on "home"),  I was more than happy to take a road trip to a city which the girls and I had visited one day last March when my friend was in town visiting me.  Superman had driven through this historic city but had never spent any time off we went!

Arriving in the downtown district we encountered traffic...I do mean traffic!!!  Superman was less than pleased...he really would prefer not to shop on his days off but wanted to spend the day with his ladies & knew we had to fix that itouch.  We finally found a parking spot on the 5th floor of a public garage.  I think it was one of less than 10 that were empty.

I failed to grab my actual camera on the way out the door but of course, I had my iPhone which is what I used to snap the few photos of the day.  I used to be so diligent in taking photos but these days I seem to be so "into the moment" when exploring new cities that I take the picture in my mind on not on my camera or iPhone. 

One of the cruise ships docked in the port.  Superman and I had an "ah ha!" moment...we have always wanted to take a cruise but didn't think of setting sail so close to home.  Might be in the trips to consider for our 25th anniversary which is coming soon!

Cooper Bridge.  A bit intimidating to drive across the first time but after that it is just fun and gives such a vast view.  I didn't think to take a night photo but it is beautiful, full of lights!
These two photos were taken from the parking garage.  Not only did it give us a place to leave our car, but gave us some amazing views!

The Apple Store was first on our agenda.  Sunshine gal was all smiles when they replaced her itouch with a brand new one.  Next stop? Brookstone to get Superman a new helicopter.  The girls had bought him a remote controlled flying machine with all the bell and whistles for Christmas and all I can say, is thank goodness I purchased the extra warranty.  As we were heading into the store I noticed this interesting building across the street.  It was dusk so forgive my photos but I want to give you a true glimpse into the history of the deep South. 

When I first saw this building and pointed it out to my family I reasoned that it was probably an old train depot.  I failed to get a picture of the length of it which would help to show why I thought it was a train depot.  While the manager at Brookstone was swapping out helicopter I inquired about the building.  When she told us it was an old slave market my hubby and I were shocked.  Being from the Mid-West we studied the history of the deep South and of course, we have discussed it more since moving to the area but have never actually seen anything that would be tied to that controversial time in American history.  She explained that now the upper floor houses the United Daughter's of the Confederacy  while the bottom is an open air shopping area.  

After walking through the market, we used our iPhone GPS to get us to the restaurant that the nice lady at Brookstone raved about.  I have learned to ask the locals where to eat, they know the best places! She promised an old, two story, brick building, short wait time, and delicious food. We found everything she promised and then some as we got another history lesson from our waiter.   I managed to get a photo of the sign before the sun set and we headed on in for some dinner.  The Southend Brewery and Smokehouse

The building which the resturant calls home is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Our waiter gaves us tons of history about the building which will be something you can inquire about when you get to drop in for dinner. 

I was excited to see that we had come on just the right night as Charleston was featuring Restaurant Week.  The menu was large but I immediately knew that I wanted to order from the special menu.   


Smoked Pork and Green Chili Enchilada with Guajillo Pepper and Pict’s Stout Mole.  *
Alligator Sauce Piquant with Jalapeno Toast Points


Blackened Catfish with Sautéed Mirliton, Roasted Andouille and Béarnaise  *
Chicken Clemençeau


Chocolate and Pecan Pie  *
Red Velvet Cake

The selections which I have * are the ones I chose and of course, I took photos to share with you.  I am sure your mouth is watering...

All three were delish!  After our waiter left, we joked about his pronunciation of the Chocolate Pecan,  PEE-Can,  pie since of course, we all KNOW it is Pecan, Pu-Chan pie.  ;)

I took some pics of the food the rest of my family ate too...

She Crab Soup...I ordered this too as I just had to taste it!  Very good and a bit sweeter  than some that I have tried in other establishments.

Superman had the steak...and yes, I tried it too!  He and Sunshine Gal shared their meals as they both wanted to try the steak and the...

Chicken Fried Steak.  The space on the plate is due to the other chicken fried steak had already been placed on Superman's plate...just keepin it real as a fellow blogger stated about her photos :)

Brownie with Vanilla Bean ice cream...

Lemon-Lime Tart...for those who know me personally you will be surprised to know I didn't even try it. 

While eating dinner we actually debated on spending the night so we could explore more of the city the next day.  Remembering we had made commitments to be greeters at church the next morning we decided to make a full weekend trip another time.   As we were leaving the hostess called a bike taxi for us as the walk back to the Apple Store (I had a later appointment to get my iPhone looked at) was quite long and it was getting cold.  Besides, we wanted to re enact a family photo that we took in Denver, Colorado, on a trip to downtown when the girls were small. 

This is my all time favorite pic of my family on vacation in Colorado.  We were in downtown Denver just after Christmas in a horse drawn carriage to see the lights.  It was the best night!  I am so thankful for digital photography, this was taken on a point n shoot on film!

The quality isn't much better but the memories are just as wonderful!  My babies have grown up and Superman and I are a bit older.  So glad we could squeeze into the bike carriage for a picture!  We didn't want to break the back of the bike rider so we opted for two separate carriages.  What a fun way to see more of the city on the way back to our destination.  Super inexpensive too, at just 18.00 for both carriages! 

Our road trip was fun and as I drove home, the other three fell asleep.  I scanned the Sirius radio and listened briefly to the Republican debate before settling on Siriusly Sinatra.  After we arrived home, Superman turned on the tv only to see that the FoxNews debate I had heard was live in downtown Charleston!  We all laughed and wonder so many people were downtown, parking was almost gone, two men asked us how to get to some auditorium, and all of those people were pouring out of a convention center as we were leaving town.  Leave it to us to miss something so big that was right in front of us! 

How was your weekend?  Did you take a road trip?  Please leave me a note, I truly enjoy reading each and every one of them! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Turkey Pot Pie

Turkey. The word has taken on new meaning to me in the past few years.  Around the same time Superman started his new adventure in NC my dear friend, Sheryl, who blogs at The Altered Passport and her hubby started looking into their own adventure in Istanbul, Turkey.   These days when I hear turkey, I immediately recall my trip to Istanbul last summer.  I plan to share that trip with you in the near future so be watching for future "Turkey" posts. 

 November brings Thanksgiving and my oldest daughter's birthday in the same week so often our left over turkey doesn't get eaten the first few days and is usually tossed in the freezer for a later reheat.  This year, I decided to make a turkey pot pie and turned to my favorite online recipe source The Pioneer Woman for a little help.  Not finding a recipe, I looked in her first cookbook which has taken up permanent residence on my recipe stand and found one for chicken pot pie.  Reasoning that both chicken and turkey are foul I used her recipe and added my own twist for a perfect pot pie! 

My twist on her pot pie:

6 celery stalks, chopped
handful of baby carrots, chopped
1 sweet onion , chopped
1 stick of butter
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn
4 cups cooked, chopped turkey...I used larger bite sized pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey stock, which I saved from the day I baked my turkey and didn't use for the gravy
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 heaping teaspoons thyme
salt and pepper
2 Pillsbury pie crusts

I just melted the butter in my large skillet then added the veggies and cooked until the onion was clear.  Then I added the turkey and flour and stirred it all together.  I cooked it for just a few minutes before I added the turkey stock, bouillon cubes, wine, and cream.  I simmered this until it was just thickened.  I seasoned this with the thyme, salt, and pepper.  I tasted it just to make sure the seasonings were right.  YUM! was all I can say!  While all of this was cooking on top of the stove, I had a pie crust baking in my stone in the oven.  I baked it until it was just browned then poured in the pot pie mixture.  I topped the mixture with another crust, adding the cute little cut out hearts for some "lovin from my oven".  Baked it at 400 until it was deep brown and flaky.  It was yummmm!!!

Just a side note, that night I actually had enough to make one deep dish pie and a small pie in my small deep dish baker, both from The Pampered Chef.  I could have froze the extra filling for a later date.  I baked a turkey a few days before Christmas as Superman thinks turkey should be served at every holiday and while our cousins were here from OK I made two pot pies and enough filling to freeze for a pot pie in the future.  I just love the cook once, eat twice concept!

Just thought I would share what I have been experimenting with in my kitchen.  What is your latest recipe that you have tried? 

Be sure to leave me a comment, I do read each and every one!

Linking up to The Three Mango Seeds

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year Day!

WHEW! 2011 sure ended with a bang, literally, in our family! My hubby crashed his Harley into an 18 wheeler, Oh I mean...fell off a ladder while working on Dec 23rd causing him some major pain and injury. He likes the first story, it is so much more interesting! Being self employeed, this caused him some great difficulty. Thankfully, his cousin was already on vacation and offered to head out to NC from OK to help him out. What a blessing to our entire family as he brought his wife, one of his daughters, and two of his grandsons with him!! We enjoyed having family with us to help bring in the new year and Superman was oh-so-grateful to have help with his work. Okie cousin worked hard while he was here and helped Superman so much! Superman still isn't flying around yet, but we believe he is on the road to recovery.

On the 30th while the men were out working hard, all of us girlies and the two little guys decided to head to Myrtle Beach for the day. An accident quickly changed our plans for a fun filled day. My daughters and I were in one car with the others following right behind. As I was attemping to turn into a gas station BAM! we were hit on the back drivers side of my car. Thankfully, we suffered no major injuries and know that a few visits to a chiropractor will have us feeling good as new in no time. My car, my all time favorite car, the car I have driven cross country many times, the car Superman bought me and I called to thank him at least once a day for the first month I had her, the car that we have filled up many times for trips to the lake and the beach, the car that is no longer being built by Dodge, is not looking too good. I included a picture of her at the top of my blog. You can tell how much luggage she can haul and that is Little Lulu peeking out of the back seat. She is always afraid we are going to leave her behind! Can you tell how much I super like this car?! She was taken away by a tow truck and we will have to see if she can be repaired. Even though our day was suddenly changed, I am thankful on many levels. We were not seriously injured, the babies were NOT in my car, my cousin was not only able to avoid hitting the man who hit me but was also right there to help calm me down, remind me to call 911 then my man, to take pictures of both cars, to help me know exactly what happened as I never saw the man who hit me coming...I was hit from behind, to take us back to my house even though it took two trips, to help me laugh through it all (we joked, well, today was a waste of hair and makeup!), and then to take me to pick up the rental car. What would I have done with out her?! I am just so thakful that she was here!

After that CRAZY day we were all in agreement that New Year's Eve night would be spent at home, far away from the danger of the roads. We did venture out to Sharkey's in Ocean Isle Beach for some delish seafood for lunch before staying if for the night. My girls invited some friends over and we all had a great time eating, dancing with the wii, and shooting off some fireworks!

Hope your 2011 ended with much less excitement than ours and as we enter 2012 please remember what is MOST important in life. Jesus, Family, and Friends...what would we do without them?

Happy New Years!