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A Halloween Eve / 2nd Blogaversary Special Posting

I've been absent the past week or so... but I will nonetheless now celebrate my 2nd Blog Anniversary (Oct. 29th)! Woohoo! The flowers and cards have been pouring in from all my adoring fans. Thank you thank you... but really, its too much.

My blog has gone through many facelifts in its two short years of existence. I wish I had a picture of the simpler times... before there were sites just for blog backgrounds and html changes...but check out some early posts HERE. A special thanks to E.H.R for first inspiring me to start my blog. Oh the times, they are a changing!

Dear McLeod Blog,

Thank you for the past two years. You have supported me through many a tough times -- a most unpleasant job last year, my eggnog taste-testing phase, all the times I got tagged, and when Pandora broke my heart. You've always been there to share in my joys and brag about my craft and cooking accomplishments. You revel in Nashville with me. You are indeed my friend. Happy 2nd Birthday/Anniversary - whichever you prefer, just know... you are loved!

With Gratitude,

To close this post I will now add a few pictures from my HS Junior year Halloween. Let me preface by saying that my freshman year in HS my sister and I started Trick-or-Cans. The first year twin & I + 10 of our friends went door-to-door collecting cans instead of candy. We pushed around borrowed shopping carts and filled the parlor floor with cans. By my Senior year we had expanded to include all the county high schools and several local churches -- I don't even remember how many trick-or-canners were going around, but we consistently collected THOUSANDS of lbs. for the local food kitchen. Trick-or-Cans is still going on today. Check out an article HERE.

Okay, I think this forever-long-post makes up for my recent absence. David and I are having a Halloween Bash tonight... stay tuned for pictures!

Just a couple of snapshots from work today! (did I mention i love my job?!) Also, I would like to point out my:

second-hand $0.50 vest (bought at church yard sale by Momsie + its handmade!)
$4.00 skirt (banana republic outlet)
...and of course my target boots, my fall go-tos

Weekend Snapshots

{Benny Boo Boo}

{Zack Attack a yak yak yak}

Proud Peacock for my Daddy - the President!

My dad was appointed this week as the new President of Lambuth University in Jackson, TN. I'm so excited for you daddi-o. You've worked so hard and no one could do this job better! You are the bomb!

Oscar: Watchful Guardian & Eager Snuggler

according to the cell phone photographer (hubbs), Oscar sat like this for 30 minutes as I dozed...I love this spoiled little poochie pooch...

Smitten Wednesday Experiment

I've gone and done it again!... my husband is starting to worry -- I cooked dinner last night. After discovering SmittenKitchen last week and last Wednesday's successful squashy-goatcheese-tomato pizza, I decided to give it another whirl. Last night's menu - butternut squash and carmalized onion galatte!

My lack of attention to detail got in the way at the grocery store last night and I forgot the fresh sage (I had to settle for dried) & my lack of patience and time got in the way of making a homemade crust-- in other words, this recipe was done the Blair way.

It turned out pretty well. We liked it (just not as much as last week's pizza). It is very savory. Almost too savory for my liking. If your looking to try this recipe, my suggestion would be to buy cheaper cheese. The fontain cheese it calls for is nothing special (especially for the price). It tastes just like munster cheese, plus I think this dish would be better with some mozerella and parmesan.

I had some extra butternut squash and more or less made little "tatter-tots" with them - tastes a lot like sweet potatos. mmmm-yum.

All in all, I'm expanding my horizons in the kitchen (you should all be grateful). Don't hold me to it, but perhaps you'll see me back in the kitchen next Wednesday!

I got a Handwritten Letter from the Smallwoods...

Who loves mail? Raise your hand! Who loves parcels filled with homemade surprise gifts?...

Exactly! Not a single person with their hands down! Thats why yesterday was so great... this lovely family --

sent me this --

Oh HAPPY day!!

This package came all the way from the SmallWoods via the Inkling Network. Tammy is an awesome artist/singer/musician/mommy/blogger. (did I mention she is my cousin-in-law?!) I loved my surprise. Tammy & Jamie (her hubbs) are so fun and each have a bounty of artistic ability. But you should check out their many skills yourself!

Thanks Tammy! I (and david, and my whole office, and everyone I have met today) love my little hoot pin, business card caddy, and print! In short-- y'all are pretty much the bomb!

Reveling in Nashville - Part 5

As part of the south and the Volunteer State, I have always found Nashville to be a very friendly place. As the second largest city in TN, its still a small town with lots of historic and community charm. So, I am not surprised that Nashville has been voted the friendliest city in America by Travel & Leisure Magazine!

We also ranked within the top 10 cities for: affordable getaway, wild weekend trips, bar scene, attractive cities, best B&Bs/Inns, affordable hotels...and not surprised based on my Nashville Revel #3... we were the number 2 city for Live music/concerts and bands! Way to go Nashville!

And now, as a resident of this great city, I would like to now humbly accept these great awards ...I would like to thank all of the little people for making this possible and all of my was a lot of hard work and Nashville couldn't have done it without me... thank you America!

Pigs have flown...

because I actually cooked dinner last night! I'm quite proud of myself and after enjoying the leftovers for lunch I thought I would share.

Yesterday I spent a couple minutes drooling over the yummy meals on Smitten Kitchen (again) and ran across a "Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza" recipe that I was intrigued by. I set out to make my own squash pizza- sans "lemony" plus tomato and parmigiana reggiano. It was delish if I do say so myself.

{Look what I made!}

Don't tell anyone, but I'm thinking about trying to cook at least once a week. Be scared!

Heaven's my home anyhow...

Perfect Wednesday morning work music-- Nashville artists Sam & Ruby. I actually heard a piece on them this morning when my radio alarm (set to NPR) went off. I checked them out right after staff meeting and plan on listening to them all day. Check out their myspace (also on itunes and amazon).

During the fall I eat...

...candy Pumpkin corn, pumpkin pie, pumpkin-spiced lattes, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin-nut muffins, pumpkin cheesecake (David makes the best!)...

and although we all know that I don't cook... just read the post below to know that my hubby does! I stumbled upon this plethora of pumpkiny recipes and can't wait to be served them by sweet chef David! Who knows- perhaps I'll give one of the recipes a try myself!

Head over to the and check out these awesome recipes!

The beautiful circle of cooking

Next to my wife and my art, cooking stands as one of my greatest sources of joy and frustration. There's something of a microcosm in the act of planning, prepping, cooking, and serving that never ceases to provide a distinct extremity of emotion. It's a project in every sense of the word--there's a concept, a working prototype (that becomes the product, nonetheless), a deadline, an audience, and a delivery. This circle is opened hours--or days--before, is traveled upon dutifully, mindfully, and frantically, and is closed at the table with your closest friends (usually), who just so happen to be your greatest critics (usually). And hopefully, eating as a closing act to cooking is a pleasant experience. If not, there's nothing to deprecate the act of traveling the arc, desperately fighting the forces that would pull you off course...

Though I cook nearly every day, it's only a few times a month when I find myself embarking on a project that really feels special. Sometimes it's delivered; most of the time it's simply served at home. On these occasions, my audience has the fortune to stand alongside the arc, and the lowly "project" becomes "performance". I'll spare the details; essentially, my wife and I had a good friend over for dinner. We tag-teamed the menu, then I shopped, prepped, and cooked. One of the delicacies we served was a conglomerate of necessity (eat-me-now tomatoes), prior knowledge, and new recipes. Thus:

Basically, this treat is a fried tomato, topped with homemade pimento cheese and a balsamic sauce. DE-lish. Recipe here.

If life is a straight line, it's really nice to have a neat, closed circle every once in a while.


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