Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hope Your Christmas Was Merry and Bright!

I hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright!  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and a quiet Christmas. 

We enjoyed dinner at Michael John's for Christmas Eve.  We have gone to dinner here for the past two years and it is sort of like dining with family!  MJ's was even featured in the Bradenton Herald's Food and Dining section.  It was a well deserved article! 

I do have a photograph with all of us in it, which included my Mom and her husband, but I need to lighten it a bit first. 

Everyone ordered something different for the evening.  I had potato crusted Chilean Sea Bass, Kyle ordered lemon Flounder, Jeff had Prime Rib, Bob had a Delmonico and Mom ordered the Filet Mignon.  A few bottles of wine, appetizers to share and a fantastic artichoke, sun dried tomato soup rounded out our meal. 

We had spent our mornings, opening gifts since Kyle was to go with his Dad later on that evening. 

Kyle is attempting to open his stocking.  While he pets Duchess, Bella virtually sits on him and Nico peaks over the table. 

And where is Gracie you ask?

Trying to hide in between the chairs due to total embarrassment over being dressed in a Santa Suit. 

Kyle's largest gifts this year came from his Grandparents.

What????  Nuh, Uhh... 

It was a 32" TV for his room.  Also came with a new dvd player as well.  He was so excited he could barely stand it.  That is until we told him it wasn't going in his room until he cleaned it.  If I didn't force him to clean it this week, I bet that TV would sit in its box until spring!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chicken Pie, Oh My!

Photo courtesy of Centerville Pie Co.

If you read my blog, you know I love food.  Good food that is.  I will try almost anything, especially if it is some sort of comfort food.

During a recent viewing of Oprah, she talked about one of her favorite things being the Chicken Pie from The Centerville Pie Company.  The Centerville Pie Co. has a great story and I really encourage you to read their About Us section of their website.

I ordered a few as gifts, and order myself one.  Mine came yesterday, and since I didn't have anything set for dinner, decided last night was as good as any other. 

Placing the pie in the oven for the one and half hour cooking time, I then boiled some potatoes, and made some extra chicken gravy for them.  The pie comes with gravy, however, I knew it wouldn't be enough for the potatoes.

After cooking, I plated it up, and served it out.  Kyle grabbed his and ran into the other room to eat.  After a few minutes he came running back out to the kitchen.  "Mom", he said, "Oh My Gosh, you need to make this at least once a week.  It is the best dinner ever!"

After thinking things over for a minute, I didn't bother to mention to him that I didn't actually make it.  I did have to place it in the oven, turn the oven on and make the potatoes and gravy that went with it.  I also was struggling with the whole "Best dinner ever" comment.  I have cooked for hours sometimes, and to have this be my "Best Dinner ever" was kind of deflating.  That is when I decided what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him!

The pie was really good!  It has been cold here at night, so it was an excellent dish to serve on a chilly evening! Another thing I considered was serving this when we have company.  Normally I'm cooking like crazy and don't have the time to chit chat too much.  This pie would allow me the free time to visit with company while at the same time serving a great meal!

You can purchase the pie online at Harry and Davids.  Buy one and keep it in your freezer for that one night you don't know what to cook or if you want to impress those that are coming for dinner!

P.S.  Harry and David and the Centerville pie company have no clue who I am, nor do they care!  This was just my opinion!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Starting to Move

Starting to move over to Lather Lovely Life...

It has been and will continue to be a slowww move!

Visit me at

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Biltmore Day 2 Cont'd

After visiting Biltmore for the day, we went back to the Inn to freshen up, grab a snack because we weren't schedule for dinner until 8 p.m., and add a few more layers to our clothing since we were going through Biltmore at night for the Candlelight tour.

So, back to Biltmore we went to visit it at night.

The trees were lit all around.  See the tiny white bags everywhere?  Those were candles, that once it was completely dark, they were lit everywhere.  They went on for a few miles up and down the drive and along the walls and home.

They alter the house a bit for the candlelight tour.  As you entered there was a chorus singing Christmas music in the solarium.  All of the trees in each of the rooms was lit, including the giant 40 foot tree in the banquet hall.  It really was something to see.

Biltmore House at night.

After the tour, we went back to the Inn and changed for dinner in the Dining Room.  We were both hungry after a long day of walking.  The Dining Room is located in the Inn, on the bottom floor.

Stairway to the Dining Room

Dining Room

After we were seated, our server, Lisa came over to discuss our menu options.  Since we had meals included in our stay, she recommended the Chef's Tasting Menu.  A five course meal w/wine pairings.  You don't know what the Chef will cook for you, you have to put your trust in him.  We decided to take her up on her recommendation, let go of our inhibitions and let someone else decide what we would eat.

This is how our courses went.
First Course:  Roasted Quail with Spiced Pear, Arugula Salad and Cider Syrup
Second Course:  Seared Scallop with Fennel Mousseline, Orange Salad, Citrus Reduction
Third Course:  Pan Seared Trout with Caramelized Leek Bread Pudding, Broccoli Raab, Celery Root and Banyuls Vinegar
Pallet Cleanser:  Raspberry sorbet w/berries and Champagne (all I can say about this was YUM!)
Fourth Course: Mustard Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Silver Corn Grits, Winter Vegetable Hash, Apple Rosemary Reduction (The Chef actually won the NC Iron Chef competition with this dish, and he deserved it!)
Fifth Course:  Dessert, was an apple tart with, I think, Cinnamon Ice Cream.  By this point I was so full from wine and food, I could barely concentrate!

I cannot express how wonderful this dinner was.  I love good food.  And this was by far, some of the best food I have ever had!  We went back to our room collapsed and went to bed happy!

P.S.  Don't forget it's Sunday!

Relax and Surf Sunday

Friday, December 17, 2010

Biltmore Day 2

Day 2 of our visit to Biltmore, started out at the Main House.  It is really impressive to see.  You travel up this wooded winding 2 mile road and all of a sudden, there it is.  You can't see it the entire trip up. 

I can only imagine what people thought when it opened in 1895.  As impressive as it is to see now, back then it must have been amazing to see.  The house had full plumbing and electricity from the first day it was built.

We decided that first we would walk up the giant hill in front of the home.  Doesn't look too bad from this shot.

This is really how far away we were.  It was a steep climb, but so worth the view.  And as we were the only ones up there, I had to set the timer on the camera to get this shot. 

They turned the old stable area into shops and small cafe's.  The area above the stables with the windows were the male servant quarters.  One thing I found interesting was the clock on top of the stables.

This clock was the main clock for all servants.  All of the clocks in the servant areas of the house were wired and linked to this clock.  That way, all clocks had the same time and no one would have an excuse to be late. 

We took a walk around the side of the house and into the garden area.  From here the house almost looks like a large home instead of the 4 acres of living space that it actually is!

You are not allowed to photograph the interior of the home.  They are trying to preserve how the home looked at the time it was lived in and even with the amount of people entering every day, they have done a great job.

Jeff and I also took a Behind the Scenes Tour of how the servants lived and worked at Biltmore.  It was my favorite part!  You learn to understand that wall color would let you know if you were in a servants area or a guest area.  We traveled to the basement to view the huge coal furnaces that heated the home.  Can't imagine having that job!

There isn't enough information that they can currently piece together in regards to what it cost to build the home.  However, there are two elevators in the home.  One is the servant elevator that stops at every level from the basement up.  From discussions with Otis Elevators, they know that elevator cost $250 fully installed back in 1894!

Day 2 will have to be split into two posts!  Wait until you hear about our dinner!  Oh my!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Biltmore Day 1

I have wanted to visit Biltmore for quite some time.  We were supposed to go in the spring, but weather and work deterred our trip.

Having found fantastic prices for airfare, I jumped off the ledge and booked us a trip to Asheville, NC for December staying on Biltmore property at the Biltmore Inn.  It would just be Jeff and I getting away for a weekend.  I cannot express how excited I was about this trip!

We arrived at Biltmore Inn and this was the first clue I had to how cold it was going to be.

Waterfall in front of Biltmore Inn and yes, it is frozen

Frozen Waterfall

There is a huge waterfall in the center of the driveway at Biltmore Inn.  It didn't feel that cold outside to me, but seeing that allowed me to rethink my ideas of what is cold.

It is a well known fact to those that know me, that I don't do well in the heat.  I know, I know, what the heck am I doing living in Florida then?!  That just boils down to moving here when I was in High School, going to college here, getting married here, and now having a child in High School here.  There is no way out for me!  So, I was a happy camper to be in the cold! 

After parking the car, we entered the lobby.  All I can say is WOW!

This was the Inn made out of cake!

The Inn truly was beautiful.  Elegance was everywhere, and the staff went above and beyond what you would normally expect at a hotel.

Terrace Room on the 1st Floor

Since we got in later than expected due to a delay in Atlanta, (now there's a surprise!) we just hung around the Inn until dinner.  We walked down to the Bistro for dinner.  It looked a lot closer than it turned out to be when we decided to walk.  It wouldn't have been bad except that it was around 25 degrees outside.  Needless to say, the next few days we either drove around the property ourselves or took the shuttle service!

The food was fantastic and after a long day of traveling we were both ready for bed.  We had a big day planned for Friday which included a day tour of Biltmore, Candlelight tour of Biltmore, Servant Behind the Scenes tour and dinner at The Dining Room. 

Tomorrow I will publish photos from our visit to Biltmore and photos of The Dining Room! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mid Winter Break

Blog Be Dandy has been on a mid winter break. 

As if you hadn't noticed!

I will be back blogging photos and updates of our trip to Asheville, North Carolina starting tomorrow.

It was a fantastic trip and one I would love to do again.

Come back tomorrow for a daily update of our adventures!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Baby Its Cold Outside

Okay, live and learn...this was a screen shot of this mornings temperatures.  I didn't realize that it would change as the day changed.   So, lets pretend that is says 37 in Bradenton.  Thanks.
This is a screen shot of our local weather.   I'm sitting here amazed right now that our local weather at 6:30 this morning was 37 degrees.  Ummm.  Hello???  I live in Florida?

Don't get me wrong, I love the colder weather.  I can dress for work and not sweat my makeup off before I even leave the house.

But 37 for early December is stretching even my belief that I live in Florida and therefor I am NOT turning on the heat.

This is always a battle for my husband and I.  He walks around in sweats, thick socks and slippers, moaning that it is cold.  I on the other hand, will be in yoga pants and a t-shirt with bare feet, moaning that I am hot. 

Gotta love the female hormones.  (Sorry to those that are reading this that feel that is too personal!)

Here is an example of our conversation this morning.

Me:  "Morning.  Brrr.  It's chilly."

Him:  " I don't want to hear it.  Last night I got up to use the bathroom.  I'm freezing, I run back to bed and get under the covers as fast as I can.  I then glance over at you.  There you are sound  asleep with NO COVERS ON!"

As I stated before, Gotta Love Them Female Hormones!

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's Friday

It is cold outside.  I know not as cold as some of you who are reading this and live up North, but for us Floridians, it's cold!

I have a lot to do today, so I have to keep this short! 

Here are a few Blog Hops for your reading pleasure!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Memory Lane

Kyle at 6 months

Last night Kyle and I went to the movies along with one of his friends, the brother of the friend, and the Mom of the friend.

We went to see the new Harry Potter movie. Which was really good, and I have to say, as much as I can't wait to see the final movie, I will be sorry to see it end.

Anyway, when we went into the theater, the three boys all diverted to as far away as they could get from us two Moms. As I sat there waiting for the movie to start, I was thinking of how quickly parenting roles change, how time flies and when the heck did he grow up?

Kyle entered the world weighing a whopping 4 lbs 2 oz and 6 weeks early.  He was a wonderful baby though.  Always laughing and he was just plain easy.

At 2, I felt like he would cling to me and would never let me go.  Anything that didn't go his way, became my problem, and the only way to fix it was to pick him and make it better.  This was also the age that he took the Sharpie pen and drew all over my kitchen walls, floor, cupboards, and appliances.  Thank God for Soft Scrub.  After trying twelve other products, it was the last one in my arsenal and the only one that worked!

At 5 I watched him enter kindergarten and realized that he had let go of my leg and the opportunities to pick him up had become fewer. 

At 8 years old, we dealt with major health issues with Kyle.  It was 2 years of hell trying to find someone who could help us.  I plan on blogging about this in the future, because it could take an entire post.  This is also the age that we met his best friend mentioned above and the boys parents who have become good friends of our family.

When he reached Middle school, and I could fondly remember my own middle school days, I started to feel anxious about how much time had gone by.  Now, he is a sophomore in High School, picking out his class ring and standing an entire foot taller than me.  And not wanting to sit next to his Mom at the movies.

I'm lucky because I have a son who is thoughtful of others, caring and funny as only he could be.  He worries about things and people that boys his age normally don't worry about.  He doesn't frown upon taking time out to visit his Grandparents or even his Great Grandparents. 

As I sat in my seat waiting for the movie to start and listening to the boys in the back, I was thankful for the quick jaunt down memory lane, and for the wonderful boy that I have.