the recipe contest we almost won...

a while back i saw an ad in the Mississippi Magazine about a recipe contest they were having.

i thought this would be super fun even though i have never created a recipe before (except for monster cookies...and let's be honest...we just added m&m's to an already crazy recipe)

i set my heart on crab cakes.

i love crab cakes and can make them pretty well, so i decided to test out different variations.

i invited the only person i know who loves crab cakes more than me...nate bonham. his wife came for moral support...she isn't a fan of seafood. lauren dent and my roommate, emily craft were also among the taste-testers.

it sounds like a fun and easy job, but it was quite daunting.

we decided to make a black bean salsa to go under the crab cakes. this was delicious. some referred to it as "manna from heaven." i didn't argue.

we took a basic salsa recipe for this one and added our own variations. if there are recipes out there like ours...it is purely coincidental.


1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 8 oz can white shoepeg corn, drained (not to be confused with hominy...which i did in the grocery store)
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 large mango, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 whole cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped (we used an english cucumber, but i think regular would be fine)
2 T fresh lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 1/2 t. red wine vinegar
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper

combine all of these ingredients and chill for 30 min.

this salsa is amazing but it kind of over-powered the crab cakes. if i had to do it over again i would chop mango and red onion and make a salad of that to set the crab cake on.

so here is our amazing crab cake recipe.

(we tried so many that i think i'm giving y'all the correct version)

Southern Crab Cakes

- finely chop the following:

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 granny smith apple
4 celery stalks
1 small red onion
1 bunch of cilantro or (1/4 c.)

- sautee the veggies using:

olive oil spray
1/2 t. worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. tobasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

-sautee until they are tender. about 10-15 min.

(this makes a large bunch of veggies, so i reccommend saving them for another recipe)

- in a separate bowl whisk 2 egg whites (we used the break free egg whites that are already separated)

- to the egg whites add:

1/2 lb. of lump crabmeat, drained (1 can of lump from kroger)
1/2 c. mayo (we used the one from canola oil)
5 T oatmeal
4 T bread crumbs
1 t. worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. cilantro
1 1/2 t. old bay seasoning
1 T. dijon mustard
2 t. capers
5 grinds of black pepper
1 cup of the sauteed veggie mixture

- mix gently with a spatula.

- let a skillet heat at med. and spray with pam

- form patties with the crab mixture and add to the skillet. cook on each side for 2 min. then put the skillet in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

- plate and top with manna

yields: 6 - 8 crab cakes, depending on size.

this recipe above was the fan favorite

but here are some alternate substitutions and additions:

-in one batch we added 1/4 c. light sour cream instead of the egg whites and mayo.

-another had 2 heaping T of cream cheese (the weight watchers kind) instead of the egg whites and mayo. mix this one by hand.

-in some we added captain rodney's and some liked the sweet addition.

-since you make a lot of veggies this recipe can be doubled or tripled easily and you can just save the crab cake mixture...maybe make some sort of crab cake bisque?

-you can forget the manna and the veggies and make the crab cakes just plain. maybe with the mango and red onion on top. that part is really easy.

the recipe sounds scary and involved, but it really isn't that hard to make them...or mess them up.

the only problem was that i forgot to enter the recipe into the contest. so we will never know if it was a winner. in our hearts it is.

of course i would forget to submit it.

i would like to thank all those involved in the first annual crab cake festival 2k9.


children's book report

here is another book report for you.

i don't have kids and even if i didn't have nieces and nephews i would get this book to have in my house in case a child ever came over. i wish i could buy tons and give them to every child i see.

the book you ask....

"an awesome book"

no really. that's the title.

dallas clayton wrote this awesome book.

it's all about dreaming big. not dreams like matching silverware (that's in there), but dreams of candy cane machine and rocket-powered unicorns.

the book is so awesome that you can actually read the whole thing online for free...here.

after you read it you are going to want to purchase it.

and you can here.

it's $15.

here is the awesome site...i'm sure that Mr. Clayton will probably have many more books down the road.

or at least i hope he does.


bear with me...

this has the potential to be a long post, but the good kind of long....lots of pictures and little writing. i can't believe i've had so many posts lately without pictures.

so to recap last week...

1. lauren is having a BOY! i'm so happy for her and casey! they are going to be amazing parents!

2. the art show at st. catherine's was hilarious! my sweet friend from church, shirley marshall, is the events coordinator for the residents out there. she was there when my grandparents lived there and is always putting together fun things for them! i've been doing this show with her for the past couple of years, and it's always so much fun!
my roommate put out some of her amazing scarves. one of these days she's going to teach me how to knit. not sure if she knows that.

i have two videos from this show. apparently i need to put a sticker on my camera to remind me that you can't film vertically. i apologize.

this first one is of one of my favorite ladies there...the one with the purple, yellow and green umbrella that she would use to dance with.

the second is a friend of mine (we'll call her shamie shosko) who works as a nurse at st. catherine's. she goes to church with me too, and does a great job out there...she loves those residents!

3. i sadly didn't get to see baby harry last week. i sat down to make the new website and all of a sudden it was wed. night. hopefully next week i will get a chance to go by there.

4. the art class is still so much fun. i'm sort of getting addicted to painting oils now.

5. after i left oxford on sunday i drove to hernando to see jenny and her sweet little elizabeth! and her husband, chas, and 2 year old, anne mitchell. they are one of the cutest families!! i've known jenny since 2nd grade and i have never doubted that she would make an amazing mother...and i wasn't wrong! she makes it look so easy!

sweet elizabeth

this last one is of anne mitchell. i asked her what my name was. she said, "emmie." then i asked her if i was her friend, and she said "yes." i would give this litle girl the world!

6. this one really needs no explanation, but i'll give one anyway. hallie and newman are two of my best friends in the world. when we all get together everything just makes more sense and we can all breathe more easily. they are the friends i have who know the most and worst about me and love me regardless. i don't know how i got so blessed to have the friends i have, but i am so thankful for them!!

7. sweet taylor marshall. helen marshall is another one of my best friends from high school and college. sweet hellian had a sweet little boy on jan. 21st. someday soon i'll post some pictures of her baby shower and her holding him at the hospital. we all got to go see helen in action as a mom! that baby boy has the greatest parents in the world!! helen's sweet sister, mary ann, stopped by and brought her little boy, allen. allen is 4 month older than taylor (i think that's right). here are some pictures from our visit...

helen with baby taylor

mary ann and newman with allen

newman with taylor

we had decided to get showers after our visit, maybe we should have rethought that? oh well.

four best friends...hellian, harriet, em g and newman

8. words can't describe how excited we were to all be in oxford! we got to oxford and went straight to proud larry's. newman's sister, cali, had a table waiting for us. we ate with her and some of her friends (one of them being a good friend of mine...emily moore).
from there we met up with another best friend of ours, ashley, for drinks. i realize y'all don't want to know all these details. they're more for me than you.
ashley's parents live in oxford and always let us crash at their house. they are AMAZING! if they aren't opening their door up to us then they usually have multitudes of others that they take in.
funny story y'all might appreciate.
-when we met ashley for drinks it was 8pm. we were so excited that downtown grill wasn't too packed (having not realized what time it was). we sat with ashley and grilled her new boyfriend (who is wonderful btw). we sat there a couple hours and it started getting crowded and loud. we decided it was too loud for us, so we left to go home and sit in front of the fire in our pjs. it was 10:30pm. apparently we are getting old.

on saturday we all met up at bottletree for breakfast. i felt like we were in college again.
we went back to ashley's where we made a fire and chilled for the rest of the afternoon. ashley's dad even made us lunch, so we wouldn't have to venture back out in the cold. i'm telling you...they're amazing.

then that night was the wedding.
our sweet college friend, suzanne eleazer, was the bride. it was such a sweet and fun wedding!!
obviously we loved the dance floor.

this picture of hallie sums up our night quite nicely....

suzanne and newman dancing to whip it. the band was awesome!!

because it was so cold that night (it was snowing!) we ran to our cars after the ceremony. i got a sweet parking spot, so we were the FIRST people to arrive. we secured a pretty sweet booth that was right next to the dance floor. perfect.

hallie, matt milner, carter milner (sweet high school and college friend of mine), andy and newman

andy, newman, me, miriam, ashley and casey

best friends....
newman, em g, miriam, ashley and harriet

9. when we woke up for church on sunday this is what we woke up to.....


and lots of it! (ok...a lot for a mississippi girl!)

we made it to church and were actually early. i'm telling you...we're getting old.
after church newman's sweet, sweet mom drove from clarksdale to make lunch for us!! how sweet is that! a bunch of us went to cali's house and had an amazing sunday lunch.
we all hit the road and that is when i drove to hernando to see baby elizabeth.

10. it is now march. it took me forever to write this post, so i hope y'all are still my friends after reading it. i said this post wouldn't have many words. i lied. i'm sorry.

an added bonus from last weekend. another one of my best friends (we go way back), caroline hogan, was in town for the weekend. i stopped by her sweet in-laws house to see her and her cute girls. i've told y'all about her. she has 2 little girls (ages 2 and 1) and has another one on the way. i, of course, think this is completely normal and so fun!!! she's such an amazing mom....she won't notice having one more mouth to feed...right? caroline completely has her hands full, but somehow still has the time to be there for me always. i'm so thankful for her friendship over the years! she was always the one who would call and ask me "how is your heart and how can i pray for you"....in HIGH SCHOOL! i know. i'm telling you...i'm blessed with the most amazing friends.

sweet caroline and cute little millie. millie had just learned how to walk the night before!

getting sweet kisses

oops! haha! millie moved right as we were getting our picture taken!

their sweet deedee reading to all the grandkids

i can't believe how old dendy looks!! they need to hurry up and move back to jackson!!

y'all only thought i was finished with this post. ha!

yay for spring being here!!