Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tomato Pie

Would you believe there was a time in my life when I wouldn’t touch a tomato? Crazy, I know. I’ve come to my senses, though, and now tomatoes are right up there with peaches and watermelon as my favorite summer foods.

A couple of summers ago, I was introduced to the wonderfulness that is known in these parts as Tomato Pie. It’s pretty much just what it sounds like. Tomatoes. In pie. Duh. With lots of cheese. And mayo. Southern goodness, my friends. That’s what it is.

image via

For the last couple of summers, we have purchased a tomato pie or two from this lady at the beach. Alas, this summer, her little shop is closed, so I had to resort to my own devices.

Thank goodness for The Google. Tomato Pie recipes were no problem to find.

My first question, though, was whether to use store-bought crust or try to make one from scratch. Then I remembered that I have two small kids and lots of other things I like to do, so pie crust from scratch was out of the question. I also remembered complimenting the Pie Lady’s crust, and being told that it was Wal-Mart brand. That should have been the point at which I stopped paying $15 for her pies.

I actually went with Harris Teeter brand. I’ve now made 2 of these in the last week. Last night we had it with fresh, local corn on the cob and a nice salad.

Here’s my slightly-lightened recipe. The best tip I can give is to use tomatoes that are pretty ripe. Other than that, I don’t think you can mess this up:

image via

Tomato Pie
1 deep-dish pie crust
4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
½ medium onion
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 cup mayo (I used light)
1 cup sharp cheddar (I used light)
1 cup mozzarella (I used part-skim)

-Thaw and pre-bake the pie crust according to package directions.
-After you slice the tomatoes, set them in a colander and allow them to drain for about 10-20 minutes.
-Layer the tomato slices in the pie crust, then top with onion and basil.
-Mix together the mayo and cheese. Spread the mixture over the top of the tomatoes, onion, and basil.
-Bake at 350 about 30 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown on top.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fall Fashion, kid-style

I’m sitting here in my 82  degree house because our A/C decided July would be a fine time to stop functioning properly. The repairman is coming between 5:30 and 6, so we only have to swelter a little bit longer. We’re using a repairman we’ve never used before, but just based on the fact that he gave me a reasonable time frame of when he’s coming (as opposed to “between 8 and 5”), I already feel good about him. Besides, the last guy tried to royally screw us over, so anything is an improvement.

The heat in my house and outside has me longing for fall temperatures, and that  has gotten me to thinking about clothes. Of course, I wonder what I’ll be wearing this fall, but that’s not quite as pressing as what my kids will be wearing.

Davis is still easy. Jon-jons, longalls, and anything appliqued are still fine. This is probably the last year he’ll wear anything one-piece, so I have to milk it. A few things I’m loving for him:

Two longalls from Shrimp and Grits:

both via

From Orient Expressed and Kelly’s Kids:

The Navy Corduroy Golden Retriever Longall

images here and here

And I love this set from Ragsland:

Now, Ava has been harder this year. She’s starting kindergarten in public school, and I kind of feel like we need to tone it down. Plus, at age 6, I just think a lot of smocked clothing looks babyish, even though I still love it.

So, I perused the Orient Expressed catalog this afternoon and found a number of options I can live with. Here’s a peek:

The Hot Pink Sweater With Front Pockets



From Kelly’s Kids, I think I like these items:


Now, I just need to think about what I need. But first, I need to figure out how to get rid of the 5 lbs that have somehow taken up residence on my waistline this summer.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I’ve been single-momming it all week while Morgan is out in Phoenix for work. When I say all week, I’m not exaggerating. He left the house at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, and will return around 5:30 tonight. Normally, that’s kind of okay. It’s work, after all. Someone has to make a living around here. However, I did this same stint just 3 weeks ago. The first time was fine. Kids were being good, summer was still new and fresh. This week, however, has just about done me in.

The kids have been  bickering like crazy, Davis’ terrible twos are at what I hope is an all-time high, and Ava seems to think she is 16, complete with constant-eye rolling. Always at me, of course.

I’m definitely looking forward to a little relief this weekend.

The good thing about Morgan travelling, though, is that I get to catch up on all my Bravo shows. Last night I caught latest of episode of Million Dollar Decorators. Is it just me, or does Martyn Lawrence Bullard have to work hard to act so affected? Somehow, I adore him, though.

In fact, all of the designers drive me nuts, but I kind of love them. Except for Nathan Turner. He’s just turned out to be boring. Oh, and that Ross has mighty pretty hair. See?

As for Mary Macdonald, I’d just like for her to design for me. Please.

image via

I hope you all have a great weekend. The cleaning lady is due any minute (yay!), and I’m taking Ava to her last day of Cheerleading camp.


PS: As I was wrapping up this post, Davis wandered in with wet hands. He said, “I wash hands, Mommy.”

I said, “Oh, where did you wash your hands, Davis?”

His reply? A very innocent, “In potty?”

Oh, geez.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cars 2, or Adventures in Toddler Hell

Second children get to grow up a little faster than first children. I don’t know about kids after #2, but I’m assuming they come out of the womb with a drivers’ license in hand.

Ava didn’t see her first movie until she was 4. It was The Princess and the Frog. She was very good, sat nicely, ate her popcorn and Junior Mints, and just had a generally pleasant time.

I must have been hitting the crack pipe pretty hard last week, because I decided Davis, at 27 months, was definitely ready for a movie. Cars 2 would be such a great first movie for a little boy, and I just KNEW that the big screen would mesmerize him into sitting still for 2 hours.

Not even close.

All I can say is thank God there were only a few other patrons in the theater. Davis threw his sippy cup several rows in front of us, took off his Crocs and walked around barefoot, spoke loudly, and generally caused me a good 2 hours of stress. This was the only good moment, captured blurrily by the iPhone:


If that wasn’t enough, Ava decided to bring a little drama of her own. She was a bundle of nerves because I had tennis that night, and she didn’t want me to go out. I’m really not exaggerating when I say that she cried (albeit quietly) for 3/4 of the movie. So, I’ve got Davis running wild in the seats, Ava clinging to me like a 9-month-old, and I got to pay $20 for all this fun. Plus $7 for popcorn. And then, like an idiot, I thought maybe a Sprite would keep Davis occupied. Of course, Ava wanted one too. $8.50 later, Davis is still running wild. And then there was a poopie diaper. I wanted to pull my hair out by the time it was all over.

I don’t even think I know what the damn movie was about.

Needless to say, Davis will not go to another movie until he can drive himself there. Ava, on the other hand, will get another chance because Mommy really wants to see the Selena Gomez-Leighton Meester movie, Monte Carlo.

Monday, July 11, 2011


As I threatened to do last week, I made homemade peanut butter cups. All I can say is, eat your heart out Reeses.


(image via)

These things are divine. I got the recipe here, and made one little adjustment, which I think was brilliant. Instead of semisweet chocolate, I used bittersweet. That’s right. DARK chocolate. And seriously, they are SO easy to make. Using cupcake liners makes those cute little Reeses-looking lines along the sides.

Since I am so generous, I will share the recipe, so that you can enjoy this deliciousness.

Here you go:

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Adapted from
Makes 12

*For the chocolate
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Gharadeli 60% cocoa)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Pinch salt

*For the filling
12 tablespoons (or 3/4 cup)  peanut butter (I used Jif Natural)
1/3 cup  light brown sugar or powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (10g) graham cracker crumbs, optional (I used these....they give a subtle crunch)
Pinch salt

Prepare a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
Combine chocolate, peanut butter and salt in a heavy-based saucepan over very low heat, or use a double-boiler, to melt the chocolate.  Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Alternatively, you can microwave the chocolate, but be careful not to scorch it!
Place 2 teaspoons melted chocolate in each cupcake liner and carefully spread it with the back of a spoon at the bottom and only 1/4 of the way up the liner. Repeat with all 12 liners.
Place the chocolate-covered liners onto a plate in the fridge or freezer to firm up, for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Stir together peanut butter, sugar, optional crumbs, and salt.
The chocolate should be hard by now, so divide peanut butter paste into all 12 liners, about 1 heaping tablespoon per liner, pressing down gently to make sure the paste goes everywhere.
Place in fridge to firm up, for about 20 minutes.
Top with 2 teaspoons melted chocolate, spreading carefully so that none of the peanut butter can be seen.
Let cups firm up in fridge or freezer  for at least one hour before enjoying. Store in fridge or freezer.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Tennis, anyone?

It’s been a long time since I played tennis. I took a few clinics growing up, but never really got into it. Let’s be honest. I’m not all that athletically inclined. Classes at the gym? Fine. Running? A struggle, but fine. Team sports? Not so much.

Ava started tennis lessons last month, and it made me realize I should try to play again. We belong to a swim & tennis club, and until this year, I had never set foot on any of the courts. 

So, a few friends and I arranged for some lessons with one of the pros. We said beginner, and he took us very seriously. More on that in a minute.

First up, I had to get a new racket. Or is it a racquet? I’m never sure. Either way, it’s that thing you hit the ball with. I ended up with this one:

You likey, yes? It’s certainly fancier than the one I’ve had since I was 12. I was excited about my purchase.

It took every fiber of my being not to buy a super-cute new tennis outfit while I was there. I figured I need to make sure I like it before I start investing in my tennis wardrobe. But really? Tennis outfits are so stinkin’ cute. As in, you mean I get to look cute AND get a good workout in? Sign me up.

Nike Women's Flirty Set Point Dress

Of course, being in all pink in a skirt and top would be fun, too.

Nike Women's Gridiron Border Strappy Tank

Nike Women's Gridiron Power Pleated Skort

In the end, I decided to just start out with some of my existing workout gear. Seems kind of silly to walk onto the court looking like a pro when you can’t even hit the ball.

So, the first lesson was last night. And once we got started, it was SO. MUCH. FUN. But as I mentioned before, we were really treated like beginners. As in, “This is the basic stroke in tennis. It is called ‘forehand’.” Um. Thanks, Mr. Tennis Professional. I think we’re a little farther along than that. Honestly, though, it was probably for the best that we started at such a basic level. Once we got started hitting, I really enjoyed myself, and was bummed when our hour was up.

A little girl and her mother were playing on the court beside us. The little girl was like a mini Chris Evert. She was eight years old. And let me tell you, she could have whipped my ass on the court. I’ll have to make sure I never get on a court next to her again.

I can’t wait to go back next week. I could definitely see this becoming a real interest/activity for me. And besides that, all the tennis players I know have those amazing msucular-but-feminine legs.

Soon enough, I’m sure I’ll be playing like this. But maybe not as grunt-y.

A view of Maria Sharapova playing a shot during a tennis game

Oh, and before I forget, I finally added a blogroll to The Mean Mom Chronicles. I have a lot of blogs that I read, and I think you should read them, too. The list is somewhere over there  ---------->, to your right.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reading now….

Reading is among my favorite activities. It’s to the extreme that if I had an unlimited shopping budget, I would be hard-pressed between spending all my money at Barnes & Noble or the Lilly Pulitzer store.

While I do love purchasing actual books, I have been doing most of my reading on a Kindle for the last year. I don’t even miss physical books. It saddens me to think that they could one day be obsolete, but the Kindle really does provide a full reading experience. And on the beach, there is no glare whatsoever. Love it.

So, last week, before I went to the beach, I saw Brenda Wilhelmson on the Today show. She has written a memoir called “Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife.” This is her:

Pretty normal looking, right?

So, this memoir is pretty much exactly what it says it is. Brenda, wife and mother of 2, realized after one too many hangovers, that her drinking was out of control and decided to go into a recovery program. Her program of choice as AA.

When I first heard her interviewed, I heard her mention “wine playdates” and started thinking that she sounds like a whole lot of women I know, myself included. I was a little concerned that the book might hit a little too close to home for me, but I was really curious and decided to read it.

Diary of an Alcoholic Housewife

Well, Brenda and I are nothing alike, except for being wives and mothers of 2. She had a lot of hard-partying, cocaine-filled days. I didn’t exactly relate to her addiction. I mean, this poor woman was getting black-out drunk night after night, waking up, feeling like crap, and doing it all over again. She even admitted that she got pregnant with her second child so that she would be forced to stop drinking for a while. Yikes.

The book is a good read. It’s fast, entertaining, and it gives a good perspective on what high-functioning alcoholics go through in trying to get sober. It also made me feel like my 2 glasses of wine every night are not a problem at all.

Next up on my reading list is Sarah’s Key:

And that will be followed by Lara Hillenbrand’s Unbroken:

Anyone else have summer reading recommendations? Feel free to post in comments!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Hi! Sorry for the blog hiatus. I went to the beach for the 4th, and just didn’t get around to anything other than eating, drinking, and tanning. I can’t complain. Just need to get on board with a little detox this week.

I did manage to catch up on lots of blog reading. My favorite iPad app is Flipboard. It puts all my Google reader subscriptions into one nice little magazine-looking format, and I love it. It looks like this:

It’s completely customizable, and you can add to it pretty much anything that uses an RSS feed. Try it out.

Anyway, I noticed that everyone seems to be into Pinterest these days. I can’t completely figure out what it’s all about, but according to Pinterest itself, “Pinterest is a place to catalog the things you love.”

Simple enough. I think you can basically just find stuff on the web – anything you like – and “pin” it on Pinterest. Pretty neat. And then the loved items are shared, so you can find things you love from other people’s pins.

Just what I need. Another place to find things to obsess over/need.

Sadly, I’m only on the waiting list for my own Pinterest account. Silly. But I think I can still stalk  explore other Pinterest users’ accounts.

One thing I found was this deliciousness: Homemade Reeses Cups.

Dear Lord.

This was supposed to be the week I started to abstain from sweets. Seeing recipes like this doesn’t help. I haven’t made them yet, but I’m sure I will. Soon. In fact, we have friends coming over Saturday night, and I think they would be a tasty dessert.


Are you drooling yet? Recipe and image here.

In the meantime, my 2-year-old is still napping and it’s nearly 5pm. Do I wake him or just pour a glass of wine and call it happy hour? He might be recovering from a little trauma earlier. He fell asleep in the car, and it started storming. I thought we had pretty much beat the storm into my driveway, so I went to get my sleepy boy from his car seat to move to his bed (he transitions beautifully, thank God). Just as I got him from his seat – CRACK! – huge lightening bolt and simultaneous BOOM! Seriously, my heart stopped. For a second, I thought we had to have been struck. He woke up, said, “WOW”, then requested a book, and went back to sleep. Ava, in the meantime, was freaking the hell out. I had rushed her in before the huge thunder, so she thought Davis and I were outside getting struck.

Now it’s sunny, though. And hot. Guess I’ll go get the little guy out of bed so he’ll actually sleep tonight.