Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Makes Me Southern...and What Doesn't

Quite some time ago, probably at least a year ago, while sitting in a doctor's office waiting room, I was skimming magazines when I stumbled across an article with a title something along the lines of "Why I'm a Self Proclaimed Southern Belle". I cannot remember for the life of me what magazine it was. But it enters my mind from time to time when I do anything that gets labeled "a Southern thing". I will preface this by saying, I married a "Yankee". Not the New York kind (which I am especially thankful for during baseball season)...the born in Illinois, raised in Wisconsin kind. My sweet, loving, Yankee husband just looooves to point out my innate "southern-ness". If it weren't for this, I'd probably never be able to make such a list as this...

What Makes Me Southern:
- I say "y'all" daily. Sometimes I say "y'all" and I'm only referring to one person. Oops.
- I say "yes ma'am/sir, no ma'am/sir", but not in the usual sense, like answering an elder or peer, though I do try to do that too. This is one of those things Ryan likes to point out. Example, recently, Chloe (yes, our cat) was scratching the carpet. I scolded her by saying "NO MA'AM!" in a stern voice. Ryan laughed. Apparently, this makes me Southern.
- 1/2 of my genetics make me Southern. My Maternal Grandparents were born and raised in Mississippi. My Mom was born in Knoxville, TN and raised in Louisville, KY.
- I call my mother "Mama". She called her parents "Mother & Daddy". Ryan swears no one up north does that.
- I have random little make-up tips that my friends who aren't raised by "Southern Folk" think are weird. Oh, you want an example? Okay. I never leave home without lipstick. That may seem normal...but my reasoning may not. Need a little color in your cheeks? Dab some lipstick on your cheeks and smooth in. My friend Heather, who is from Mississippi, already knew this trick. My friend Ashley, who is from PA, looked at me like I had lost my mind when she witnessed me doing this.
- Even though I fight it hard, I say a lot of words with a drawl.
- I'm overly girly. That's putting it nicely...Ryan calls me "dainty". I know, there are a lot of Southern girls who hunt and fish...I guess my point is that I tend to lean towards the "Belle" in the term.

What Doesn't:
- I don't like Iced Tea...or tea of any kind really.
- My favorite city to visit in the US of A is Boston.
- The other 1/2 of my genetics. My Dad was born & raised in a suburb near Chicago. My Paternal Grandmother was from Minnesota.
- I called my father "Daddy" growing up, but as I got older, that has changed to "Pop". Apparently, this is a "Chicago" trait. Its a totally learned behaivor, because my Dad and his brother both called my Gramp "Pop".
- I LOVE northern accents like PA (see Bam Margera), Chicago and especially Boston.
-Even though it's totally odd, sometimes I say words like I'm from the northern states. Maybe this is from my Dad's family...or Ryan...or both? Who knows.

So, there you have it. I guess instead of being a "Self Proclaimed Southern Belle", I'm a "Self Proclaimed Mutt". And I'm good with that. Oh boy, are our kids in store for some confusion...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Script – Concert "Review"

Last night, Brittany, Kim & I saw Irish band The Script at the House of Blues in Dallas. As previously mentioned, I’ve been to a LOT of concerts/live shows in my life. It’s just something I really, really enjoy doing. Some concerts left me wondering why I ever like that artist/band in the first place. This was not one of those times.

First, the House of Blues is an awesome venue because even if you are midway back in the room (like we were) it feels very intimate. Second, The Script is one of my favorite bands, so I walked in with pretty high expections...only to have them blown right out of the water. Danny O'Donoghue (the lead singer) would ask every so often for the house lights to be turned up so he could see everyone, and then he would thoughtfully sit on the drum deck and just grin from ear to ear looking at all the people there for THEM. Not only were his vocals absolutely flawless, but the energy of all 3 band members never dropped for a second as they danced around the stage and shared stories between songs. But what stood out to me the most? They were humble and appreciative. Danny O'Donoghue took the time to step down into the crowd to hug and high five as many people as he could reach and when the lights would come up it was obvious that all three of them were trying their hardest to make eye contact with every single person in that room.

I know I’ve really harped on their personalities and stage presence, so I should probably talk about the music now! I first heard of The Script close to three years ago. They were on XM’s The Pulse doing a radio interview before their album dropped so I listened to their totally sexy Irish accents all the way home. After a good 15 minutes of chatting they played the first The Script song I ever heard. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”. For me, this song felt SO personal…and I actually had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so hard. Yup. I’m THAT girl. I loved his voice from that very first moment…and I felt like that song embodied a very personal struggle that I felt when Ryan & I had broken up years before. At the time I first heard this song, Ryan & I were engaged and planning our wedding…but the song took me back to before fate brought us back together. Well, when they played that song last night…I’ll openly admit, I cried. In public. At a concert. For a few brief moments, there was no one else in the room. Hearing his pristine voice effortlessly sing every word, I couldn’t help but relate to Roberta Flack's “Killing Me Softly”…but in a good way.

I’ve really only talked about Danny, which is totally unfair because both Mark Sheehan (guitar) and Glen Power (drums) were also phenomenal. Mark Sheehan was hilarious and I don’t think he ever stopped moving! And I’m pretty picky about drummers…maybe because I’m married to a drummer (who has set his sticks down…for now), he always points out what makes a good drummer…good. Well, Glen Power was great.

Here are some pictures from the show:

Hugo - the opener

Me, Brittany and Kim.
We were SO ready for The Script!

The Script

Mark Sheehan

Danny O'Donoghue

Glen Power

My favorite shot of the night of Danny O'Donoghue

This was pretty awesome. When the lights went up, Mark Sheehan asked if he could take our picture. It was a really neat moment as they all stepped back to "appreciate" all of us. He then posted it on Twitter. :) Such a cool trio of guys.

So…taking this entire blog-novel into consideration, I think I can safely say The Script ranks in my top 5 best concerts ever. In fact, I think they have even broken into the top 3…


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bars

As promised, my recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars!

• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 3/4 cup butter

• 3/4 c sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp ground cloves
• 2 eggs
• 15 oz pumpkin (I use
• 1 can evaporated milk


In one bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon and stir together. Break apart butter with your fingers and mix into the dry ingredients until mostly incorporated. Press firmly into a greased 9x13 pan.

In another bowl, mix all dry filling ingredients. Once mixed, beat in the 2 eggs then STIR in the evaporated milk little by little until fully incorporated. Pour evenly over the crust and bake, uncovered, until a skewer or knife can be inserted and comes out clean. Once out of the oven, I like to sprinkle with chocolate chips. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour and refrigerate.

Here is the crust pressed into the pan:

Here is the finished product! 

They are so yummy and super easy! Enjoy!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

This weekend, we (okay - I) went a little pumpkin crazy. I’ve been eagerly awaiting fall since…well, June, so it’s no wonder I have pumpkin on the brain. Over the weekend we purchased and carved pumpkins, and I baked an array of pumpkin goodies – Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Bars.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

3 cups white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (or you can make 15 oz of your own roasted pumpkin. For time/ease I used canned organic pumpkin puree)
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/Pam your pans. (I use disposable pans so I can give them away and not worry about getting my dish back. This time I made 2 regular loaf pans and 5 mini loaf pans worth.)

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Blend in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill 1/2 to 3/4 full. (I do mine at about 1/2)
3. Bake for time varies depending on your oven and pan sizes. I check it every 15 minutes until an inserted knife or skewer comes out clean. If you want to remove from pans, cool on wire racks before doing so.

Here is a picture of the finished product. It's not burnt, FYI. I sprinkled chocolate chips on top…and topped it with a little powdered sugar.

We also carved pumpkins, as I mentioned. I’m willing to bet you can guess which Newlywed Naslund made which pumpkin… ;) (In case you can’t…mine is the face, Ryan’s is the 7 legged spider.)

And yes - I'll post my Pumpkin Bar recipe later! :)


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Whatever Wednesday - It's My Blog & I Can Write When I Want To!

It's been a while. I've had bloggers block.

And now "It's My Party" is stuck in my head. Super.

FALL has finally arrived (or so says the calendar) and we couldn't be more stoked about that. The weather has been really mild (YAY!) though the end of this week it will almost be back into the 90's (sad face).

This past weekend Ryan & I along with Kim & Jason and Brittany went to our local Farmer's Market and I officially have a new obsession. We bought some veggies, cheese, grass fed beef and a few other items. The beef was SO much better than what we have been buying at the grocery store. We made Taco Soup amd used the grass fed beef and you could really tell a difference. It was such a rich flavor! I will definitely be buying our meat (and produce) there as much as possible. They also have free roaming chicken (and eggs) but they sell out of it very fast, so we will have to go earlier next time so we can try that too.

As it gets cooler out, I'll be able to start using my oven more, so expect new recipies soon! :)