I just couldn't be more proud...

Congratulations to the Cross Family!!

After a very long day and a half (18 Hours!), Heidi and Paul have welcomed Ryland Martin Cross into the world! Ryland arrived at 1:55am this morning and was 6lbs. 14.5 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He is absolutely beautiful and I hope to post a picture soon. I am aching to get down there and be able to hold him for the first time. The last 9 months has flown by since we knew he was on his way!!! Congratulations to the Cross Family.
And Heidi, I'm especially proud of you! You are such a great mom already!

Here is a recent photo of our last girls' trip to Charleston. Heidi was already pregnant but didn't know it yet! I love this girl!!!


Sometimes Flour, Butter, Sugar and Salt bring together more than just a Piecrust.

Every now and then I become quite disillusioned with my cooking abilities. It may be the single failed attempt at a recipe I know and trust or just several days of lackluster results that might bring this feeling of culinary mediocrity. Whatever the cause, sometimes it bothers me much more than it should-- not because I am as silly as this would seem, equating my self-worth with the ability to make a really good chocolate chip cookie, but because cooking is often the therapy I crave at the end of a long and tiring day or week. There is nothing so cleansing and invigorating than creating something lovely from simple, fresh ingredients.

Never the less, I have recently had a chip on my shoulder in the domain which we call the kitchen. This 'chip' is about the size of my thumbnail and is made of pure chocolate. That is correct, I speak of the chocolate chip. Be it milk, dark or semi-sweet-- this little morsel of decadence has, of late caused me a great deal of grief. Why, you ask? For some strange reason, I have had a serious problem with making chocolate chip cookies. I have tried many recipes and I always get the same results-- in short, not the results I want. This past weekend I recovered from the "depths of despair" only to hold my head high as I marched out to Target with a vengeance to buy a brand new Family-Size bag of Tollhouse Chocolate Chips in order to conquer my recent fear not once, but many times if necessary. But upon returning home, I found myself not quite ready for the trenches. Instead of facing my bright red Kitchen-Aid with gusto, I sought to lick my wounds at the proverbial workbench of one of the greatest cooks I have ever known,
Marie Josephine Templeton.

"Nannie" as she was always known to me, taught my mother, her daughter, countless things about cooking and baking and in turn passed on her gifts to me. She was a diligent woman. She cooked for many years in a kitchen that most would deem inferior in size and yet she served our family many things that tasted far better than any thing served from the 10 Foot Maple island of a Southern Living Idea Home. A treasure trove of warmth and wisdom accompanied these dishes as she brought them to the table with a sweet smile and gentle hands. It is these hands that inspire me most in the kitchen. When I think back over my childhood and my years being her grandaughter, it is her hands that stand out to me. Standing on a chair next to her, as she made my favorite Oatmeal Cookies and carefully set them in the cookie jar, I learned that you don't rush perfection and that cooking and baking should relax you, not stress you out. I try to remember these things in my kitchen today as I cook for my own dear husband. Although from time to time, my ability to control the outcome takes over and Cindy McNasty is suddenly wearing the apron.. and not that little girl in a pink corduroy dress who knows that "cooking is fun."

This weekend I did something I have never done before. I made a very special Apple Pie. Not just any apple pie, but a pie that has only been made my two other women that I know of, my mother and my grandmother. I was, I admit a little stressed out at various parts of the process... and for those of you who want me to cut to the chase, the pie was not what I would call perfect.. but it was good. The filling was warm and fragrant and sweet and the crust was delicate and flaky-- which moved me to nostalgia over the pies of the two women who have bolstered my cooking abilities so.

I must admit, I constantly compare everything that comes out of my poorly calibrated Seminary apartment oven (which has a mind of its' own and jumps 50 degrees in either direction during any cooking process.) to that of my mother's and Nannie's. But it was in the rolling out, baking and tasting of this pie that I found some culinary justice in the world. It really was not bad for a first attempt! Regardless of the outcome though, I was vividly reminded of why I love cooking and baking. Because sometimes, everything comes together the way you plan. Sometimes when you don't even know what the plan is, you end up with a delicious surprise. And some times, you are gently reminded by the feel of fresh, cool pie crust underneath your fingertips that when you cook for the ones you love, the outcome does not matter as much as the joy you receive from serving them from your heart and hands. I will be trying the chocolate chip cookies again. Very soon. Not because of my Hubris alone, but because I just cannot imagine that it will be easy for little Lucy Stuckey to sign up for a dozen Apple Pies instead of a dozen Chocolate Chip cookies for the elementary school bake sale.

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Lucy's Hat from Grammy in Daddy's Hands... It's so tiny.

Okay, so today Lance came home with a Raggedy Ann Doll for Lucy. What he didn't know is that this is one thing I have always looked forward to having for my little girl. She's going to love it.. and she is totally a daddy's girl already.


Snow Much Fun!!!


We finally got a good snow!!!! YAY! Pictures to follow! Wouldn't you know it, SEBTS is still opening on a two-hour delay so I'll post some pictures later!!! :) Oh well, at least we get a couple of extra hours to enjoy it at home.
Lance and I started the morning by hopping out of bed at 6:30am and walked in the freshly fallen snow, all bundled up. It was pretty great. Although by the time we walked back, the snow was blowing HARD into our faces... and I'm walking behind him, my trusty snow-shield. Brrr! I was starting to think Lance would live in NC all this time and never see a good snow--so we are excited!!!


Cloth Diapering?

I am seriously considering Cloth Diapering our little one when she gets here at the beginning of June but I am at a loss for resources. Has anyone actually tried this? If you have tried it and have some advice one way or another or know of any blogs, websites, resources-- please share!!! Thank you!

(And for those of you scrunching up their faces and saying "What is she crazy?" There are several reasons I am interested--) Yes it does cut down on waste, (which I feel like our lives our overrun with anyway.) It is also good for baby, and I have heard several say it proves to really save money in the long run. Since I am planning and hoping to be home with little Lu, I think I may just embark on this journey.

Any Thoughts?!


Strawberry Shortcake

I am considering starting a new tradition with this blog. I have decided I will try to share a new recipe, every week with all of you, my blogging family. Whether it be a trusted and well-seasoned sampling from my cooking arsenal.. or something new that I would like to try-- I think it may be a good idea for several reasons. First, who of us cannot use new culinary inspiration from time to time? I know I can. Second, and most applicable to me, I believe it will keep me on task with this blog. I often feel the temptation to allow far too many days to occur between postings and perhaps this new aspect will keep me disciplined. (It's a worth a try!)

For Today: I would like to share a Strawberry Shortcake Recipe (Courtesy of Paula Deen and the Food Network.) With Valentine's Day just next month, this is an excellent alternative to the gooey, rich chocolatey desserts that so often reign around V-Day. Not that I'm down on Chocolate. No way. I love Chocolate. Chocolate is paramount and yummy. However, whenever you want a different romantic dessert-- try this. (Hint: I made this for Lance last Valentine's Day and since it was just the two of us, I made individual desserts in mini-trifle dishes. Either way, it's a crowd/ husband/ fiancee/ boyfriend/ family pleaser!!) Enclosed is a photo from when I first made it. Let me know if you like it!!!


1 large angel food cake
For the custard:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

For the glaze:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons strawberry gelatin (recommended: Jell-O)
1 cup water
2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in 1/2 (if berries are extra large, they can be cut into quarters)
Whole fresh strawberries and mint leaves, for garnish

Slice cake, using a serrated knife, horizontally into 3 equal layers.
For the custard:
Mix together cream cheese, condensed milk, and whipped topping in a bowl; set aside.
For the glaze:
In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin; add water. Cook stirring over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Fold in strawberries.
For assembly:
Place 1 layer of cake in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of glaze, followed by a layer of custard mixture. Repeat layering in this order for remaining cake, glaze and custard. Top cake with 3 whole fresh strawberries and fresh mint leaves.

Cindy's Notes: When making a regular size Shortcake as in this recipe, a trifle dish is an excellent tool to have as the angel food cake when sliced horizontally, fits perfectly! This is also a great idea for Parties and Showers! Let me know if you like it!!! (Oh, and good strawberries are a must! If you cannot get any good ones, wait until you can!)


Baby Lucy

Our Precious gift from God

Here she is. Our first good picture of our little girl!
We have thought long and hard and her name will be Lucy (middle name-- forthcoming) Stuckey! We love her already. Isn't she beautiful?


It's a GIRL!!!!

That's right folks---


Now that it's out in the open, I can finally admit that I have had an inkling since day one but I tried to keep it to myself so no one would think I just "wanted a girl." :) And in days past, I may or may not have been guilty of purchasing certain girl outfits and accessories... that well, let's face it-- a boy could not have worn. I just kept telling myself-- 'well I love this so I'll save it until we have a girl.' :) But all in all, we of course just wanted a healthy little baby. But now that we know we have a daughter-- we are both THRILLED. I think Lance was actually happier than I was. (If that's possible.) :)
Thank you all for your prayers and sweet comments and notes. From the best that we could tell from the ultrasound, everything looks great and she seems to be in perfect health. This is certainly something we want to continue to pray for and if you would join us, we would be very grateful.