Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Joe's Specialty: Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Joe's pork tenderloin is one of our favorite company-worthy entrees. Succulent and flavorful, this dish was the star of our recent family dinner in celebration of Carson's 16th birthday. Although he is not one to follow a recipe specifically, Joe has shared a few secrets of this grilled specialty.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin
Low-sodium soy sauce
3-4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 lemon, halved

In a narrow dish or gallon-size resealable plastic bag, place tenderloin. Add enough soy sauce to fully submerge meat. Add lemon juice. Lightly squeeze lemon halves into marinade, and add halves to marinade. Refrigerate about 12 hours.

Heat grill to very hot. Place tenderloin onto grill, reserving marinade. Cook meat until char marks appear, then rotate a quarter turn. Repeat until cooked on all sides.* Near the end of the cooking process, drizzle honey over tenderloin to glaze.

Remove tenderloin from grill, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil and cook for at least 5 minutes. Add a generous drizzle of honey to sweeten, and cook down to desired thickness.

Slice tenderloin, and drizzle with marinade. Serve immediately.

* guidelines recommend grilling pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145-160 degrees, about 20-30 minutes.

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

Monday, April 27, 2015

One of Our Favorite Entertaining Menus

When we hosted family for Carson's recent milestone 16th birthday, we offered one of our all-time favorite entertaining menus. Here is a peek at our dinner buffet.

Positioned with the cake and Carson's 9-month photo -- one of my favorites from his first year -- a blue-and-white rabbit from Hobby Lobby makes a sweet centerpiece to honor my springtime baby. I asked Carson yesterday if he might want to display the figurine as a memento of the party. He laughed and said, "Ah, no, Mom. I do not want a bunny in my room." We agreed that I can keep it to remember that he is my bunny. Thankfully, even though porcelain bunnies aren't on this teenage boy's wish list, dinner with family is. Here is our menu of springtime dishes.

Carson's 16th Birthday Dinner Menu

Grapes, Cheese Ball with Crackers, & Crudites with Ranch

Tossed Green Salad
Corn Salad
Broccoli Slaw
Sliced Tomatoes with Feta
Fresh Strawberries
Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Hash-Brown Potato Casserole
Green Beans
Squash-and-Zucchini Medley
Grilled Garlic Bread

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Joe's mother made the salad, broccoli slaw, and squash and zucchini medley -- such nice additions to our menu for 26.

All of these fresh vegetables and fruits added vibrant color and garden-fresh appeal.

I knew fresh strawberries would be a hit with the little ones!

My uncle declared this grilled pork tenderloin the best he had ever tasted. It's one of Joe's specialties, so I will share the secrets of this delicious dish in my next post.

As the guest of honor, Carson was first in line for this feast of family favorites.

Chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream made the perfect finish to our happy celebration. Look for a Pin-worthy recipe for grilled pork tenderloin in my next post!

"Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!" ~ Albert Einstein

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Beautiful Blue and White Tablescape

We celebrated Carson's 16th birthday over the weekend with dinner at our house. In honor of his favorite color, I set our tables with the classic combination of blue and white.

A bouquet of hydrangeas made an easy centerpiece, while single blooms added more softness, set against the rich wood of the bare table.

I have had this Spode transferware for many years, and I still love it!

These place cards were included in an invitation suite from Leslie Vega Design -- more on that in a future post.

Here is another view of our dining room table.

These little arrangements were a favorite detail. I found these artful glasses at TJ Maxx -- with their curving rims and watercolor swooshes of blue -- and knew they would be perfect keepsakes to send home with our guests. I purchased one for each family and positioned the posies on our tables.

My mother's Spode goblets were a perfect addition and a way to remember her in our celebration. Joe's mother gave us most of our silver service, so we honored both of Carson's grandmothers with each place setting.

Carson and his girlfriend sat at this table, along with grandparents and a special aunt and uncle.

For such a pink girl, you would be surprised how easily I embraced blue and white. It really is a beautiful combination -- one I have enjoyed exploring. In my next posts, I will share more of my brother Nathan's images from our special evening.

"Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul." ~ Alice Walker

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spring Blooming

What a blessed and beautiful weekend our family enjoyed! Saturday morning, I spoke for a ladies day at my home congregation, the Riverchase Church of Christ in Birmingham. Along with offering the opportunity to enjoy fellowship and Bible study with my sisters in Christ, this event was a momentous occasion because it was the first time that daughter Mary Ashley joined me on the program. I have always loved taking both the girls with me to speaking engagements whenever possible and dreamed of the day we might present them together. At 11, Mary Ashley inspired all of us in attendance with her passion and poise. I thought my heart might burst!

That event would have been enough for a memorable weekend, but a family celebration at our house that night made it truly unforgettable.

Can you believe that my little Carson is now 16 years old? We honored this milestone birthday with a gathering of both sides of the family -- all who could reach us by car. Planning our party during springtime, we knew several relatives would probably be unable to make it due to other weekend commitments. But to our surprise and delight, everyone on the guest list was able to come. We are still talking about what a once-in-a-lifetime event this was.

My mother-in-law, who joined us when Carson was born, brought these stunning irises in honor of the vivid flowers that bloomed outside our little cottage around this time 16 years ago.

Positioned in the foyer, this lovely vase welcomed loved ones to our celebration -- much like they greeted our little bundle when he joined our family that blessed spring day.

Be sure to visit again soon, as I will be sharing a host of creative ideas in the days and even weeks to come, both from Carson's birthday party and from the home-improvement projects we took on in preparation for the big event.

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter 2015

"For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born."
~ Alice Freeman Palmer

A highlight of Easter Sunday for me is capturing portraits of the children, but this year they were eager to shed their dressy clothes and move on to other afternoon activities. I'm thankful for the images above and below -- a group pose and a picture of Mary Ashley and me. She was the only one in the family willing to linger for more photos. I think we will both cherish this impromptu picture!

Were you pleased with your Easter pictures this year?

"I think of the garden after the rain;
And hope to my heart comes singing,
At morn the cherry-blooms will be white,
And the Easter bells be ringing!"
~ Edna Dean Proctor

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Easter Egg Hunt

" 'Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees
Filled all the air with fragrance and joy."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What a lovely few days we have enjoyed! After a busy weekend in Atlanta reuniting with many friends from church in Montgomery and beyond, we spent the afternoon with Joe's family for Easter lunch. A highlight of the visit for Mary Ashley and Emma was the annual Easter egg hunt. Cousin Reese joined the girls to find eggs hidden by Carson. These images -- captured during the celebration and rendered in the style of watercolor through FotoSketcher -- share a bit of loveliness from Sunday.

Our evening held a visit with my grandparents, a sweet aunt, and my father and his wife. My grandfather is recovering from a stroke, but he is working hard to regain strength. I would appreciate your prayers of his behalf. Last week we enjoyed time with my cousin and her little girls, another sweet aunt and uncle, and my brother. What a blessing it has been to hug so many who are dear to me over the last week!  

Ye sleeping buds, break
Open your green cerements, and wake
To fragrant blossoming for His sweet sake.
~Margaret French Patton

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Easter Table

A family dinner this week gave us a grand opportunity to welcome a bevy of bunnies to our table. Here is a peek at our springtime fun.

I hope the holiday weekend will allow you time to gather with those you love.

Happy Easter!

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