The Five Spices

I've come to realize lately that every meal I cook, I use almost the same spices. Sure, there are certain meals that call for thyme or rosemary or sweeter dishes that call for cinnamon or nutmeg, but more often than not, I have about five go to spices in my cabinet. I thought it would be fun to share, and see if anyone else has a couple staple spices I haven't tried yet.

First things first - who doesn't need some good peppercorn for grinding and course sea salt! Those don't count in my five. These, however, do.

One. Lawry's Garlic Salt with Parsely
Two. Emeril's Essence
Three. Jane's Crazy Salt
Four. Sun of Italy Italian Spice Mix
Five. Tony Chachere's (yes, I know - two cajun spices in my top 5, but I couldn't lie.)

We also love to cook with spices from our garden (when in season) - basil, oregano, mint, dill and parsley.

When it comes to other spices, I'm not picky about brand-names. We use a lot of cumin, roasted red pepper flakes, chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, onion powder, dry mustard and paprika. We like to pick up our staples at the Amish Cupboard in Stuart's Draft - who has great deals on bulk spices, but for my go-to spices, the name brands are the best. Totally worth the extra $$ for the taste!

Happy Spicing!


Life in November

What have we been up to this November? 

I worked the polls on Election Day. 
We tried Blue Apron for the first time and let me just say that the meals are amazing. So delicious! It's pricy, and the prep is double what it tells you, but every meal has been divine! These are a couple of our favorites. 

Shrimp and Shitake Dumplings

Pork Burgers

I found Miss Annalee the cutest baby duck boots. They are Stride Rite and I found them at Target. You can use code SHOES for 25% off today. I did size up since they are a little hard to get on her feet without a side zipper. 

We have played on the playground a lot. Annalee loves to go down the slide all by herself now. It's cute. We are still working on the swing. ha!

I had a fun surprise on Saturday - Meg planned a girls day out - we only made it to Southern Inn for drinks and lunch - but it was so fun! It's so good to getaway and catch up with just the gals. 

Miss Annalee and I made it to Mass Sunday AM - all by ourselves, since Daddy has been out of town all week. He's back now! But our adventure to mass along was ok - she sat for maybe 20 minutes total and the rest was spent walking up and down the stairs in the narthex - at least I could still hear mass - and we made it through communion. 
I rewarded ourselves with doughnuts after! 

We made a couple trips to the Library to play, and check-out books. 

We took a road trip to visit Gramma and scored a unicorn on the trip! 

This was my make shift table for the weekend at Gramma's. Haha! 

I just started reading The Magnolia Story and it's so good. They have such a cute story! 

Annalee LOVES playing in the leaves. These are a couple pictures Annalee's sitter sent me. 

The hubby had a long work trip to Indy and Kansas City last week - hints my lack in blogging - but he's back and he brought delicious Christopher Elbow chocolates with him! 

Have a great week, friends! 


#20 | Hiking House Mountain

A couple Sunday's back, we crossed #20 off my 30b430 bucket list. Just in the knick of time, right?   :)

Reading back over the list today, it's hard to believe I wrote this 4.5 years ago.

It seems like yesterday.

We were newly married, living in a tiny 700 sure foot house, blogging a lot more often, living off a tiny salary (or two tiny salaries), traveling like it was our job - because it was - and loving every minute of it.

Not to say that we aren't exactly where we want to be right now, because we are, but it's so fun looking back on how simple times were such a short time ago.

So, back to this bucket list. I still have 10 things to cross off - almost all of which I still would like to do. Not so sure I'm really into Harry Potter these days {sorry hubs}, but never say never, right? I am still in need of some good jeans, a dance class and a sewing lesson. I'm also still waiting on that trip to the BVI's. Maybe for our 10 year anni, since our 5th was spent celebrating our sweet Lyon cub.

#20 | Hike House Mountain

House Mountain is iconic to Lexington. You can see it from every great view in town - it's in the forefront of every sunset, and I've always wanted to see the view from the top. Lets just say that hiking House Mountain was worth every step. The views were incredible! I carried Annalee in the Ergo baby on my back, facing in, on the way up the mountain. She snuggled in and slept for the first 45 minutes of the hike, and then enjoyed the views once we got to the last leg of the hike. The hubs carried her down, on his back again, but facing out this time so she could see me. She loved this!!
A few things to bring - water, snacks for fuel, good socks and hiking boots, and a map of the trail.

We climbed Little House Mountain. It wasn't a walk in the park, we did have to do a little climbing, but it was doable, even with a baby on my back.

It was such a fun and memorable day. I can't wait to go back! 


Rose with Tracy: Thoughts for November

Can you believe it's already November? I feel like we just put our pumpkins on the porch and pulled out our winter clothes... ok, maybe we were a little late with both of those, but the weather has certainly played a big part in that.

How amazing has this fall been? Warm enough for shorts during the day and cool enough for cozy sweatpants at night. I am loving every minute. I'm certainly not a cold weather gal, so this is the perfect blend of deep south meets Virginia.

We enjoyed October so much, from pumpkin patching to trick-or-treating, we soaked up every once of the day. Annalee loves visiting the playground these days and having one in our backyard keeps us entertained until the sun goes down.

We have watched our fair share of sunrises from the porch and eaten enough pumpkin muffins to keep the pumpkin farmers in business.

I started on my Christmas shopping early - crossing a couple peeps off the list already and trying to get creative with my gifting. I hate the stress if gift-giving, but love, love, love watching others open a gift that I selected just with them in mind. It's the on-going saga that keeps the gifts coming year after year, right?

I do love the holidays. My hubby may love them even more. If there is one time of year that he doesn't keep me from spending, it's at Christmas. He loves Christmas!

So today I thought it would be good to get started early on my holiday prep check-list with a top 10 to get us all Holly and Jolly before December rolls around.

1. Order Christmas cards!
2. Find a plate for Santa - cookies are a bonus!
3. Deep clean the house
4. Clean out craft closet and inventory wrapping paper, boxes, tissue and ribbon.
5. Donate coats from our closet to someone in need.
6. Schedule our 2nd Annual ornament exchange with the girls.
7. Pick out Christmas PJ's for the fam.
8. Deck the Halls once again for Project Horizon.
9. Book plane tickets to Florida for the holidays!
10. Finish Christmas shopping.

Cheers to a fabulous November... lots of Fall goodness, turkey and dressing, football and shopping!


Trick-or-Treating 2016

It was the most perfect day for trick-or-treating and we took full advantage, enjoying our downtown trick-or-treat late afternoon and hanging out at the house later that evening. 

Let's just say once Annalee got the hang of it, she loved running around with her pumpkin and collecting all the treats. Miss Hadley and Annalee looked so cute together in their farm yard costumes. 

School friends. Mimi's granddaughters

Checking out her costume. 

One late night stop to see the neighbors. 

Halloween 2016 was so fun with our little lamb!