Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Wednesday, September 29

Winner winner Chicken Dinner

As the temperatures cool off all I can think about is returning home to Natchez and snuggling up with dinner and a movie on the couch with my hubs! My good friend from home posted this recipe on her blog and I cannot wait to make it for my man who has worked so hard over the past 3 months while I have been away for work. He deserves some Comfort Food!!!

Chicken Pot Pie. My friend The Barefoot Contessa knows how to do it.


3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock (she says make your own, I sure didn't)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup flour
1/4 heavy cream
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Cube the chicken breasts and cook in a skillet. Remove from heat.

Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan dissolving the bouillon cubes. Let simmer over medium heat. In a large pot melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add chopped onion and saute over med-low heat for 15 minutes or until translucent. Slowly add flour to the onions, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the onions and flour and stir until thick. Add 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoons pepper + heavy cream. Add your cubed chicken, peas, carrots and parsley. Remove from heat.

*I used carrots, corn, and green beans because that's what I had on hand. The more the merrier!
For the Pastry:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 lb cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs water for egg wash

Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in stand mixer with paddle attachment. You can also use a food processor. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each pieces is coated with flour. Mix on low speed until the fat is the size of peas. With the mixer running, add the ice water. Only mix until the dough is moistened and just comes together. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling among 5 oven safe bowls. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle large enough to cover the top of one bowl. Place the dough over the bowl and press to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

*I don't have 5 oven safe bowls so I use a casserole dish and two mini loaf pans. Perfect to freeze and safe for the chilly days to come.

Wednesday, September 22

Cory and Alicia

Did you ever pray for something for so long that you can't really believe your eyes when it comes to fruition. Well for the last few years I have been praying for my amazing brother to meet a woman that would not only love him and treat him well but also allow him to be his adventurous self and encourage him to become the best man and marine he can be. There are so many important components to a relationship but in my last 2 years of marriage I have learned so much about love that I never knew before. I learned that for me, since I often lack confidence, having someone that is my biggest fan and is always pushing me to be better than I thought I could, stronger than I knew possible, dream bigger than my conservative mind allowed, achieve professional goals I never realized existed and someone that is constantly reminding me that I am loved, appreciated, and that I should love myself. Once I knew that feeling...I prayed for Cory to find it too. I wanted someone to come into his life and make him aware of the wonderful qualities we see in him....I wanted someone there everyday pushing him and enjoying life with him.

Well God (as always) answered my prayers in so many ways. Not only did Alicia walk into his life, but in a matter of one year she turned the world as he knew it upside-down. She is amazing and I am so excited that I get to call her a sister. Alicia has a calm and collected quality about her...she is a nurturer, an optimist, and her fun loving nature is the perfect compliment for Cory. We just got some great news that her kids were going to be able to come to the wedding after originally thinking this was not a possibility. But thanks to months of perseverance by Cory and Alicia, many prayers, and an awesome judge (to whom I want to send chocolates, cookies and heck maybe even my first born)...the kids are coming and we could not be more excited! Only a few more hours of work and then I am headed to Natchez and tonight I will be meeting my little nieces and nephews for the first time!

I know I only tend to get on here and blog when we are going on vacation and my friend Laura recently told me I'm gonna lose my blogging privileges if I don't blog here you go! You asked for is a recap of my boring weekend:

I think I have slowly forgotten the meaning of a weekend. To relax, be lazy, only move when you have to, see how long you can stay in your PJs without taking a shower, etc. Two days when sometimes the most productive thing you do is brush your teeth or feed the dog. Well ever since I moved to Jackson I feel like my weekends have been dictated by an hour-to-hour to do list. This past weekend was a workathon and I found myself driving to Jackson Monday morning thinking, "Ahhhhhh now that it is the work week I get to breath and slow down". WHAT???? Snap out of it Shannon, that is so backwards! Three weeks ago I was so busy at work that I could barely find time for lunch or a phone call to Zach and now I am considering that to be my less busy time of the week even though work is still crazy, I guess my personal life caught up. Two thumbs down!
So here I am, trying to find time to relax on the bridge between weekends.
In retrospect, although I am basically running on fumes at this point, I am really proud of everything I completed this weekend. I got a WILD sewing hair and set up my machine in one of the guestrooms. I strategically positioned the table to face the tv so my marathon sewing would be accompanied by college football, Lifetime movies, HGTV, or whatever other mindless show came on to distract me from realizing just how long I had been sitting there.
And "SEW" it begins....
8 Ten foot curtain panels for the master bedroom (mustard and white damask)
2 large pillows for the bed (navy and white bold stripes)
1 coordinating navy and white striped pillow for the rocking chair (couldn't let a yard of fabric go to waste)
4 black and white damask table runners for the wedding
then I got artsy and made 2 special surprises for Cory and Alicia's wedding (both very time consuming but will be worth the work) and I finished painting the kitchen window that was still natural wood color from the renovation. (yes I know that was almost 1 year ago...I have been busy people!) I also painted a pretty cool abstract piece for above our bed...I call it "White Noise". I think it is so calming but also adds the perfect design element to our newly decorated bedroom. Here is a picture of it drying in my hotel room but I will post pics of it in the bedroom soon. This is about 5 feet wide.

Then, I topped off the weekend by completely reorganizing the pantry. Let me fill you in on how this chore came about. I was on a stool in the pantry grabbing some serving dishes for next weekend brunch and I thought to myself....this pantry is nuts. (anyone standing within an ear shot might say the same about me) I decided to stop what I was doing to reorganize it. Do you ever do that? Do you go in a room to get something and then an hour later you find yourself still in that room addressing an issue that has been bothering you for months??
So art projects are done, sewing projects complete, window is painted, and pantry is newly organized. A few last errands need to be run and then we are ready to have another wedding!