Monday, February 29, 2016

Butter My Biscuit!

A couple years ago Cash and I spent a week on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. On Sunday morning we went into Savannah (GA) for church and subsequently had lunch at Lady & Sons. As we sat there on the second floor overlooking downtown Savannah from Paula Deen's table after being blessed a beautiful Lutheran service, I literally had tears in my eyes. I looked at my dear Texas husband and said, "This makes my southern heart so happy." (Texas is the South, but y'all it's a different kind of South--it's its very own place.)

I can't think of anything I don't love about the South. I love the good food, the sayings, the many times your heart gets blessed, the religion, all of it! Now that I live in West Texas, I get the biggest kick out of the way people laugh at things I say. My sister reminded me just this weekend of the You Tube videos called Sh*t Southern Women Say. Oh my. I love it!

A few weeks ago H and I were blessed to spend a few days back in AR with my family. During that time I had my mom teach me how to make my Aunt Sherry's Buttermilk Biscuits. Y'all. Shut the front door. These are SO GOOD, SO SOUTHERN, SO EASY!!! I made them for Cash the next week when I got home, and he loved them! If I can make them, I know anyone can. So...I wanted to share with y'all the recipe and pictures. You. Will. Love. Them.

Aunt Sherry's Buttermilk Biscuits

Things You Need
cast iron skillet (I use an enamel coated one; either way works)
self-rising flour (NOT all purpose)
a tiny bit of oil

The HEB brand flour was in the cutest bag!
Basically, you will mix the flour and buttermilk together until you get the right, sticky consistency. I started with a 1:1 ratio, but I ended up adding much more flour. Next time I will probably start with 2 cups flour and 1 cup buttermilk and go from there. You will get the hang of how much you need depending on the size of your skillet. I realized I needed about twice as much of the mixture as I had made. Although it worked just fine, I had room in my skillet for more biscuits.

It's also a good idea to start your grease at this time. You want barely enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet. Put the stove on about medium to medium-low to get it warm enough.

the consistency

One tip Aunt Sherry gave to my mom was not to stir or whisk it too much. Less is more in this case. 

Once you have your mixture, put flour on a plate. (This is how my mom taught me, and it made it so easy since the mixture is super sticky.) Use a spatula to gather the mixture and basically wipe off the mixture from the spatula onto the side of the plate. 

Once you have your "biscuits" covering the edge of the plate, use the spatula to roll them one at a time into the flour. Again, the mixture is super sticky, so the spatula just keeps you a little cleaner. 

After your cover each biscuit with flour, use your hands (the biscuit should not be sticky at this point) to make the biscuit more into a ball. I just toss it lightly back and forth. As Aunt Sherry said, don't mess with them too much! So, just a couple tosses back and forth should do the trick. 

Thanks to my gal pal Leslie for my apron!

Drop each biscuit into the skillet. It's good to squish them in there real tight. I had way too much room left over in mine. You also want to dab the biscuit into grease and then flip it over to cook on its first side. 

get a little grease on one side, flip it over, and let it cook

covered and cooking up some goodness
Turn the fire down to medium-low or low and cover. Check them frequently, and once the bottom is browned, flip them over. Cover those suckers back up and keep your fire on low. In no time you'll have beautiful homemade buttermilk biscuits. Your honey will love you!

halfway there!
 On top of my husband loving these biscuits, it made me feel very proud to be able to cook something so southern, so reminiscent of home. We finished the meal with some bacon, sausage patties from rams we killed on an anniversary trip, and eggs from my parents' farm. It doesn't get better than breakfast for dinner (and a cheap one to boot)!

I hope you enjoy these southern biscuits from my Aunt Sherry as much as we did!

Keep wandering...

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Surprise is in the Bag!

I'm all over the map on my chronology of posting lately. But, oh well, it's my blog so I can.

Last year before Mother's Day my parents came to visit. We wanted to surprise them with the news that we were pregnant, so we played it up that we were going to celebrate my mom for Mother's Day and give her a gift that weekend. I think the video speaks for itself:

Mom, you're a rockstar. I love your enthusiasm for your kids and grandkids. I love the excitement you bring to life. And I love your sweet tea (plus a million other things). This is one of the best days of my life! Thanks for letting me share it with you.

Keep wandering...
Avery Jane

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Idaho? No, U-da-ho!

Taking it back today to our last vacay before H was born. I had not posted about our trip to Montana and Canada, and it was too good of a trip not to reminisce about.

My parents totally rocked our world when they told us they wanted to take the whole family on vacation this past summer. Then we rocked their world when we told them we would be pregnant during the trip! So, all is fair in love and vacations...

We met up with the fam in DFW and flew from there to Spokane, Washington. How do I say this? It's a long stinkin' way to Spokane, Washington. Even in a plane, it's pretty much an entire day to get to and fro. From there we hit up Couer d'alene, Idaho. What a cool town!

Then we headed farther east to the beautiful town of Missoula, Montana. We were all surprised with how much we loved Missoula! From the local Lewis & Clark history to the downtown vibe and microbreweries, it was a fun town! It was too bad we had not heard the Testie Fest was happening as we did not have tickets. We did get to see the bus leaving for the Testie Fest, though, and it looked like a real...nice time. But alas it was time for Great Falls.

checking out a L&C campsite-the only one they know exactly where it was!

just look at those adventurers
she could probably care less, but she looks good doing it!

He later made a career in banking after successfully guiding the Corps of Discovery. 
an actual discovery

Let's back up a good 20 years and talk about 10 year old Cash who came home from school wildly upset one day. His teacher had assigned each student to do a history report, and he was not happy. When his mom asked why, Cash exclaimed, "Because I got a girl!!! I got Meriwether Lewis!!" Once little Cash learned that Meriwether was not only a man but also a great explorer of America, he became fascinated with all things Lewis & Clark. So here we were in Great Falls, Montana, home of the Lewis & Clark Museum, and my now 30 year old husband could hardly contain himself. This was his hero! But he was only to be outdone on the excitement level by my very own father. See, my dad's childhood memories of Lewis & Clark were real-time. He remembers the day that Lewis & Clark discovered the Pacific Ocean and fondly retells the story of where he was when word was sent that Sacagawea had found her people! (Joke, Dad. I know you're not THAT old. I love you.)

look at this cute librarian taking history serious

my BIL making history come alive, folks
Dad was too busy reading about the museum to notice we were taking pictures, literally behind his back.

the man. the myth. the legend. THE Meriwether Lewis, ladies and gentlemen. (And it was real hide, not that fake stuff his mom used to make his elementary costume--the audacity she had to use fake hide when he so badly wanted the real stuff. ha)
with the mom & sister at Great Falls
me & my boo thang living out his childhood dream

The museum was very interesting, but we were all surprised that Great Falls was nothing like Missoula. In fact the town itself was pretty industrial and not touristy, but it was definitely worth the drive to see L&C. We headed back west then to Whitefish where we stayed for 3 days in a peaceful cabin on the river. Cash and my mom did a tiny bit of flyfishing, and the whole fam (minus the prego girl) got to go whitewater rafting. While they were all out rafting, I stayed back to rest and do some homework. I was sitting on the couch when I heard a rustle out the back door and ran out to find over 20 wild turkeys walking past the cabin. Amazing!  

the most delicious cherries in all the land, err, what's left of them

Sis & Mom at the cabin
Mom enjoying the big Montana skies
From the cabin we could shop in Whitefish, pick cherries in Kalispell, and head into Glacier National Park. Glacier was the main destination of the trip, but we only spent 1 day on the US side. We went up the Going to the Sun Road and luckily had received a good tip to tour this via the Red Jammers. If you ever go to Glacier, this is a must! What an incredible way to see the park (if you're brave enough to look out to see a sheer bluff, which I was not--BUT the view from the top was exquisite and I can truly vouch for that).

jammin' on the red jammer
sis & the kiddos going into GNP

red jammer


my sister's beautiful family

paparazzi got us

to the right you can see the Going to the Sun Road

the whole fam on Going to the Sun road

beautiful family at GNP
Ultimately we headed over to Many Glacier which is a smaller but equally beautiful section of the park. There were so many things to do in the park that we just didn't have time for, but if we ever went back we all agreed we would want to stay in the Swiss-style hotels, hike, and enjoy the park a bit more.

Many Glacier

After Glacier we decided to head up to Canada and see what all the maple is about. Let me just say that while I am a law-abiding, pretty good American I was nervous as a cat going through the border security. Why? I have no idea! But it was nerve racking both I thought maybe they would say, "No! You can't go back to America!" or something. And really, it's Canada for crying out loud. That's like going to Michigan or something; it's barely even outside the United States. ;)

my sister's family

Mom & Dad
Cash & me (and Baby H at 27 weeks)

My dad had set up a surprise for my niece once we got to Glacier NP on the Canadian side (aka Waterton Lakes NP). She was ecstatic when we began to drive up to the "princess" hotel. The Prince of Wales Hotel was breathtaking, and the inside had an old world charm. (Some of that old world crept out during your shower--maybe I'll take my modern bathroom. ha) Dad had also arranged for us to have high tea in the hotel overlooking Waterton Lake.

the excitement began as soon as she saw the Prince of Wales Hotel

better than Christmas

She felt like a real life princess.

She acted like one too.

Addison and her Bumpy all dressed up and ready for high tea.

our table and the view we had

fun at high tea, even Braeson acted like a little gentleman

the princess and her hot tea. she was made for this life.

Nana prefers cold, sweet tea; but she was a sport to try it out.

Cash and I loving the tea (and from the looks of it, I loved everything that was edible)

Sis being all fancy
After tea we went out on a boat tour of the lake and actually briefly went back into the US via water. We learned about the local life (or lack thereof, specifically in the winter) and the amazing hikes in the area. It would definitely be worth another visit to go on the hikes and see the views that were described.

Sis and her family playing at Waterton Lake

Prince of Wales Hotel

Mom & Dad before we headed out onto the lake
To end our trip we went to British Columbia and stayed at the St. Eugene Mission & Casino. Driving back through BC and then Idaho was just absolutely gorgeous. It's hard to describe in words all of the amazing scenery in that part of the world. To be honest when I had first thought about Idaho, I only pictured potatoes. But, man, it was beautiful. We would love to go back!

St. Eugene Mission
The hardest part of any trip is saying goodbye. I had spent over a week with my family, and I am always in a ball of tears when I leave them. No amount of time is ever enough. But, alas, it was time to go home. After all, I had to put in my notice at work the following week. What a way to go out.

sometimes you have to go home to get some rest
Mom and Dad, thank you so much for an amazing trip! You guys are so selfless and pour love onto us all the time. We are so undeserving of such wonderful parents. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Keep wandering...
Avery Jane