Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Football Fare - Southwest Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels

Here is a savory treat for this weekend's games! These Southwest Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels were a hit at our house. Warning: they have a little "kick" to them, but they are really good. Of course, the jalapenos are optional.  The best thing about them is they are very easy.

Southwest Chicken Tortilla Pinwheels
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
3 T. sour cream
1 can Rotel tomatoes, slightly drained
½ t. minced garlic
½ t. seasoning salt
½ t. black pepper
1 C. shredded cheese
5 green onions, thinly sliced
Chopped jalapenos, to taste (Optional)
1 can chopped, cooked chicken, drained
5 large flour tortillas

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, diced tomatoes, garlic and seasonings. Stir in cheese, green onion, jalapeno and chicken. Divide mixture between the tortillas , spreading evenly, leaving a ½ inch border around the edge. Roll up tightly. Wrap pinwheels tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for, at least, an hour or until ready to serve. Remove from refrigerator and slice into 2 inch pieces.

I saw a similar version of this recipe on "Tide and Tigers Today" this weekend and they used ham instead of chicken. That would work, too! Enjoy and may your team win this weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday - A New School for Annie

Rolling out the red carpet for our students on the first day of school!

On Thursday, August 11, 2016, the doors opened at the Sprayberry Center at Lloyd Wood Education Center for the first time. Sprayberry has been Annie's school since she turned 3 and transitioned from Early Intervention with Community Service Programs of West Alabama. While Sprayberry is technically a "center", it is Annie's school and always will be!

Sprayberry Regional Education Center opened it's doors in 1974, under the direction of Dr. Charles Sprayberry, to serve the special needs population in  Tuscaloosa and surrounding counties. Through the years, the population of students has changed and the needs are different than they were in 1974. Both the changing student population and the age of the building contributed to the need for a new facility to serve Annie and her fellow students.

There has been talk of a new facility for several years. The PTO committed a quite a while ago to not spending money on anything we could not move if and when we should ever get a new facility. I am thankful today for the leadership who made our dreams become a reality.

First of all, the last two principals who have served our students are men who truly care about our Sprayberry Stars! This initiative began under the leadership of John Barnacastle and was completed under the leadership of Neal Guy. For these guys, education is really all about the children. I am thankful for their dedication to serving our school. Incidentally, both of these men served our school previously, left for a period of time and came back to serve our Sprayberry Stars. I think that says a lot about our special students!

Less than a month after Dr. Elizabeth Swinford starting her job as Superintendent, a group of Sprayberry Staff met her for the first time at Nick's Kids Luncheon. We were all so anxious to move to a new facility (and we knew the former Lloyd Wood Middle School was available) that I was afraid we would bombard her with requests. Actually, it was Dr. Swinford who brought up the subject when she said, "I'm trying to get you guys moved to Lloyd Wood". For the first time, I felt like their was really hope that it would happen. I am thankful that Dr. Swinford saw the need immediately and had the vision for the beautiful new facility that now houses our special needs students. She was so excited when the Tuscaloosa County Commission approved sales tax funds to be used for the renovation and she shared that enthusiasm with our families. I am thankful to Dr. Walter Davie for seeing this project through to completion.

I am thankful to the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education, past and present for deciding to invest in our students. I am personally thankful to Mark Nelson, past chairman of the board, for answering every phone call, every text and every email and answering questions in the grocery line at Publix or at La Gran Fiesta. He assured me it was going to happen and it did! I am especially thankful to the board for including the beautiful handicapped accessible playground in the construction cost, allowing us to spend PTO funds to equip our sensory-motor rooms and provide therapy equipment.

Sprayberry has never been about the building to me. It is the amazing people that take care of, train, and educate our children every day! Now we have the building to match and for that, I am most thankful! I was quite overwhelmed when I walked into the building for the first time - it's bright, shiny, spacious, colorful,  and so much more than we dreamed! It will provide so many more opportunities for Annie and her friends! And I'm most thankful of all for the smiles on the faces of our staff and students, who really are what it's all about! I do believe the best is yet to come!

So, here's to the Sprayberry Center at Lloyd Wood Education Center - wishing you many blessings as you have so blessed the life of our Annie!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pumpkin Season: Pumpkin Pie Crescents

If you are craving that awesome pumpkin pie flavor but you want to save the Pumpkin Pies for the holidays, here you go! A very quick and easy Pumpkin Pie Crescent!

Serve for breakfast, brunch, lunch or anytime treat with a cup of your favorite coffee!
By the way, if you like Pumpkin Spice coffee, New England Coffee makes it and it is a BOGO this week at Publix!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Red Bandanna - Remembering 9/11/01

Where were you on this day 15 years ago? I remember well that I was co-leading New Employee Orientation at DCH Regional Medical Center when some came in and told us the news. While I didn't have an active part in orientation at the time, I went back and forth to the PT department to keep up with the television reports and keep everyone posted. Disbelief and fear prevailed that this was happening in our country!

It will always be easy for me to remember how long ago this happened - it was the year my first child was born. She was almost 5 months old and all I could think about was what kind of country she was going to grow up in? I hurried home from work at the end of the day to hug her tightly and pray for our country - for her safety!

In 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the attack in New York City, Tom Renaldi of ESPN told this story of "The Man in The Red Bandanna". I ran across it again today. It is a beautiful story of a true servant who put others before himself and saved the lives of 12 people - a young guy named Welles Crowther, former Boston College athlete who worked in the 2nd tower. Listen to his story and be inspired by the heart of this young man!

As my friend, Gina, reminded me, 15 years ago today,
God was our refuge and strength and today he still is!

My reminder that God answered my prayers for this precious child that day!
Elle is 15 and loves NYC!
In 2015, Barry, Elle and I were able to visit the 911 Memorial in New York City and able to see, up close and personal, the area affected and the names of everyone who perished that day. Wish I had known to look for Welles Crowther - "The Man in the Red Bandanna"

The video begins and ends with the question "What would you do if it were your last hour?" and "Who would remember you?" Questions to ponder..... so, I pulled out a red bandanna, put it in place in my kitchen where I would see it every day and be reminded to make it all to count for something. It may not be saving lives as Welles did, but we call all do more for others.

"If this country could pull together and have compassion that is has every year on 9/11, this country could truly be wonderful in every aspect."...... Katie Toxey
Well said, my friend!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Friday Football Fare - Crimson White Cookies

It's almost Game Day - you're tailgating on campus, taking a road trip or watching games at home - here is a yummy cookie recipe for you to make. Typically, you see these cookies around Christmas but, who says we must wait for Christmas for these delicious soft batch cookies. They just so happen to include the colors of my team so I call them Crimson White Cookies. Everyone may not call them by that same name but everyone will call them good! See the link below for the recipe and listen when they say "do not over bake" - soft and chewy makes the best cookie! Enjoy!

from The Domestic Rebel

Monday, September 5, 2016

Pumpkin Season: Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Well, I gave myself until Labor Day to starting decorating for fall and bring out the pumpkins. I didn't bring out the witches and ghosts but there is a lot of fall color around the house now. With the start of fall (I know it's technically not fall and it's still 100 degrees), it's time for PUMPKIN!
Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks!
Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts are back at Krispy Kreme!

Couldn't wait for the cool weather (which I hope is coming soon) to make these Pumpkin Sugar Cookies! Just a basic sugar cookie with some pumpkin puree added....

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

1 ½ cups sugar +more for rolling

2 ½ cups all- purpose flour

½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt

½ t. cinnamon

14 T. Butter (1 ¾ stick) – room temperature

2 t. vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

 ½ C. pure pumpkin puree
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. Mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla. Add pumpkin and mix well. Gradually mix in the flour until well combined. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes but watch closely and don’t overbake. Let cool on pan for a couple of minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
For a printable version of this recipe click Here! Thanks to Wine and Glue for the great recipe!

Just checked my Pinterest "stats" - I have 109 pumpkin recipes pinned - Look for more to follow in Pumpkin Season! Maybe the weather will cooperate soon!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Friday Football Fare - Ham and Cheese Party Rolls

So college football season begins and that means fun, family, friends, festivities and food! Whether you are planning to watch the game in person or at home, you've got to have some great game day recipes. This one is all over Pinterest and I've had it printed for a while, just waiting for the season. The season is here and these Ham and Cheese Party Rolls are just as good as they look. The best part is how quick and easy they are - less than 30 minutes from start to finish!

Kevin and Amanda sure know how to get the season started! Get the recipe Here

Good luck to your teams this season! Comment and tell me who you are cheering for!