The Paris Disappointments

While I have never been to the “real” Paris, like the one not in the United States, I have been to 3 Paris towns in my life, all with varying levels of buzzkill for me.

Of the three Parises(?)Paris, Kentucky is my favorite. Lots of rolling hills and beautiful pastures as far as the eye can see. It’s very close to Lexington, KY, so thoroughbred horse farms are everywhere and it is breathtaking. The area itself is beautiful, but man did I have an interesting experience with some less than beautiful people. I went with a friend of mine that was “Racer One” (Murray States mascot) to be a part of some kind of alumni function. When we pulled into this estate you would have thought a prince lived there. Anyway, we were treated like servants, not offered anything to eat or drink all evening, and had to deal with a devil horse that tried to bite you every chance he got. All while maintaining a smile for the photo ops with the richie riches. The only reason we got any food is because an awesome lady (who obviously wasn’t like the others) made us some to go plates and sent us out the back door. But I’m not going to hate Paris, Kentucky just because of that night. I’m sure not everyone there is a rude snob.

I’m pretty indifferent about Paris, Tennessee. It hasn’t ever done anything bad to me, but nothing necessarily great either. It is known for having the worlds largest fish fry, and probably even better known for the Jason Aldean song. “Climbed a water tower, in Paris, Tennessee…” I don’t eat fish, I’ve never climbed the water tower, and the rodeo they have during the fish fry is always a muddy mess, so I don’t have a lot of love for that town. The one reason I do have some fondness for the town is because in college it was the closest place we could buy liquor. (I never bought any of the cheapest vodka ever made while in Paris, but I would ride down with my friends for THEM to get some.) Yup, MyFarmer and I went to college in a dry county. And yes, dry counties still do exist to this day in Kentucky. Anyway, I’ve had some fun times in Paris, Tennessee, so I don’t hate the place, but I’m not dying to go back.

Then there is Paris, Texas. By far the biggest let down of the 3 Paris’ in my life. And it didn’t have to be that way. But now it is. And we can’t change that.

My BFF AnnieLisa and I went on an awesome road trip last summer to go see DanaDoodle in south-central Oklahoma. The trip was amazing. Neither one of us had really been on a trip without towing horses, so it was nice to be able to travel at a leisurely pace and stop at all the historic landmarks in Northern Texas… and all the western stores. We stop at this killer western store just outside of Paris, Texas right before lunchtime…

We spend about an hour skimming through the store in awe. Cute clothes, tons a boots, some tack and jewelry. It was a winner of a store for two girls like us. As we were checking out the sweet lady was asking us where we are from, what brings us to Texas, etc. etc. and we told her that we were actually just killing time on our trip because we were running about 6 hours ahead of schedule. (Yeah, we were a little overzealous and excited to see Doodle.)

The sweet lady hands us a couple of Paris, Texas magnets and says with so much excitement that she can hardly stand it, “You HAVE to go see the Eiffel Tower! It’s HUGE! There’s a GIANT cowboy hat on the top! It’s SO COOL!” Hook, line, and sinker AnnieLisa and I are IN. The lady gives us “directions” and off we go with extremely high expectations. We pull down the road it is supposed to be on, and start excitedly looking to the sky. We couldn’t see it until we were literally in the parking lot, and the let down started to set in. There is was. Maybe a couple stories tall, with a big-ish cowboy hat. A couple stories tall of black metal. In the 10 minutes it took us to get there we had built up the excitement to a really unattainable level. And let me tell you that Eiffel Tower wasn’t even close to reaching the level we wanted it to be. As much of a disappointment it was, it was equally as hilarious. But hey we were there for the experience, so take pictures and enjoy the experience we did.

While the Paris, Texas Eiffel Tower was a total let down, I do still suggest that you go if you’re in the area. In all fairness it really isn’t that lame… it just definitely isn’t as cool as we were led to believe. HA! Plus there is a really nice veterans memorial right next to it. The memorial totally made our hunt to find the tower with it. We also found a little diner that had amazing cheeseburgers close by. #winning

I hope that sometime in your life you can make a 24 hour round-trip road trip with your BFF. We had such an amazing time, and too many random stories that I could never share all of them. A couple highlights:

  • “Have we passed Memphis yet?” … As we were closing in on Little Rock.
  • The first time we saw a “Watch for Rattlesnakes” sign.
  • When a random loose heifer on a back road in North Texas called our bluff… in the truck.
  • Sleeping with a knife in the motel room because our door didn’t have a secondary lock.
  • The look you get when asking about the Clinton family in Bill Clinton’s hometown in Arkansas. (Hint… it’s not a good one.)
  • Exciting announcing “There’s a cactus!” every time we saw a wild cactus.
  • Trying on every single piece of clothing at the discount western store.
  • Laughing. Lots and lots of laughing.

A few pictures of one of the funnest weekends ever.

Stopping at all of the historical landmarks in north Texas was for sure a highlight of the trip. I’m kind of a nerd (as if you haven’t picked that up yet) so every sign we saw we would whip it off the highway.

That stupid Eiffel Tower. I hate it, but actually I love it.

The veterans memorial. Go there.

I’ll go to any Paris as long as these girls are there!

Laney

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Canapalooza 2015

I decided that I needed one last summer trip before “Ruby Branch Farms” season officially gets going, so last weekend I went home to the motherland. Ohio being the motherland, of course.

The weekend just happened to be my little Armadillo’s first birthday. (My niece is Armadillo – doesn’t everyone give their nieces invasive rodent nicknames? Ha!) It also coincided with my sister and BIL needing to take chickens to be processed. (p.s. Go check out Grass Powered Poultry on Facebook. Their chicken is delicious!) And it also coincided with Canapalooza 2015 at my aunt and uncles house in northern Ohio. It also coincided with my last day at my former job and the couple weeks before I started my new job. There was a lot of coinciding going on, and that was the sign I needed to head north.

I like to pack in as much excitement as I can when I head to the north country, so trips usually turn into somewhat of a whirlwind. Here’s the highlights:

I left out Thursday and went to MySeester’s house. I got there just in time to eat all of the leftover spaghetti out of their refrigerator and play with Armadillo for the afternoon.

Friday at approximately 5:30am I was awakened to a sleeping baby being plopped onto my body on the couch. MySeester and Jessopolus were headed out, Aunt Laney was reporting for babysitting duty. My first plan of action? Sleep with the baby for a couple more hours. I’m not sorry.

Armadillo and I had a very busy day cleaning, doing mind enriching activities and napping.

SIKE!

We ate everything in the kitchen, and finger-painted, made brownies, and then made dinner. Have you ever finger painted with a 1 year old? It’s awesome. And even more of a mess than you can even anticipate. Again, I’m not sorry. At all.

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“Aunt Laney was here” ha!

My “baby sister” Juju came to see us that afternoon. It was so wonderful to see her, I miss her like crazy. She’s a senior at Wilmington College and is getting married next year. I’m not okay with that. In my mind she will always be the little 5 year old redheaded girl showing leadline on DZ’s Rockin Reba. I didn’t take a picture with her which I now terribly regret. #sadface

Since I don’t have a picture with her from this weekend we will go to an oldie but goodie.

little julie
Sweet horse show memories. That’s Juju to the right of that dweeb in the middle.

Eventually MySeester and Jessopulus made it home and we all dined on shrimp scampi. Any day that ends with shrimp scampi is a good day in my book.

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She’s the cutest back seat driver I’ve ever had!

Saturday morning we loaded up the truck, I’m talking cab and bed, stuffed full of canning necessities, and headed to AuntBethie and UncleBub’s house. MyMaja met us up there. Canapalooza 2015 was officially underway. We made spaghetti sauce, salsa, and creole sauce. All of us worked together like a well oiled machine – ish. But we got it done and had some fun doing it! Any time spent with the family is time well spent!

A few pictures from Canapalooza 2015. Like a very few. I did a very bad job at taking pictures on this trip. I’ll do better next time, I promise! *crosses fingers behind back.*

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The boys were on tomato juice patrol… is that Captain Kitchen I see?? 🙂
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CuzAn and AuntBethie chopping their hearts out!
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I brought the garlic. No vampires for me!
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Hellooo delicious spaghetti sauce.
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Happy Birthday, Amadillo! xo

Monday morning we departed AuntBethie and UncleBubs. When we were leaving I got the idea that I would drive over to my BFF Jojo’s for the night and surprise her with my presence. A few texts to her husband Wadeywoo and the trap was set. Jojo found me back in her barn cleaning stalls and she was definitely surprised! High 5 Wadeywoo. Then we did what we always do when we are together; go to the Mexican restaurant, drink margaritas, ride ponies, and gossip. It’s great how some things never change. We said goodbye and hugged 3 times before I ever actually got in my truck and left the next morning. She’s the best.

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I bet we have taken at least 50 pictures like this sitting in Mexican restaurants. Probably more.  Not even kidding.

5 days, 3 houses, 18 hours and 1000 miles of traveling later, I was back to the ranch. All of the animals and mums were alive, as was MyFarmer. That my friend is what you call a successful trip.

I hope you all are getting in an “end of summer” trip because it’s almost fall, y’all!

Peace out cub scouts,

Chipper the Onion Chopper

Sweet Corn Recipe – Week 2 – Nana’s Baked Corn

Man this summer is flying by! This is definitely the “year of the weddings” for me and I love it. Weddings are awesome. I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for my BFF DanaDoodle this past weekend for their GORGEOUS wedding near Chicago. Can we just talk for a couple minutes about legit Italian food? I’m not talking Olive Garden here people. I’m talking like the real stuff. All 47 courses of it. Calamari, vodka cream sauce, prosciutto, tiramisu, creamy chicken, mozzarella, do I need to say more? It was heavenly.

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Everything about this wedding was beautiful – especially the bride!

That’s enough jibber-jabber, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this post. Well actually, the baked corn of this post.

The original baked corn recipe came from my Nana, who is my maternal great-grandmother. I made a couple little changes to use the fresh sweet corn instead of canned corn/creamed corn. Let’s get to it!

Nana’s Baked Corn 

Ingredients: 

9 -10 ears fresh Ruby Branch Farms Sweet Corn

1/2 stick butter

4 eggs

2-3 T. flour

1-2 T. sugar

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup sour cream

1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Salt and Pepper to taste

The Process:

First of all, we have to make the “creamed corn.”

Start off by cutting the kernels off of 4-5 ears of sweet corn.

Melt about 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a pan.

butter
Any recipe that starts with butter is a winner for me.

Once it’s melted, add about the same amount of flour. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Enough to soak up all the butter.

flour
Do you own a flat whisk? No? You need one.

Cook the flour and butter over med/low heat for a couple minutes to cook out some of the flour taste.

Then grab a bottle of the good stuff.

cream
There is something serene about the picture. Pouring heavy cream… ahhhhh….

Heavy cream. What did you think I was talking about?? Start off with a cup, add more as you need it. It will start to thicken up really quickly. Best to keep stirring it around. Once it gets really thick and yummy, add in your corn.

corn gravy
I almost just stopped the recipe right here. Holy Moly that’s yummy!

Pretty much you just made corn gravy. You’re welcome. At this point, throw in some S&P and a little sugar. Then you’ll need to taste test about 4 wooden spoonfuls for quality assurance. Pull it off the heat and let it hang out.

Now cut the corn off of the rest of your ears and throw it in to a bowl. Add the sour cream, 4 eggs, and a little more sugar. Mix all of that together until it is thoroughly combined. If your creamed corn is still warm, you will need to temper your corn/egg mixture. So grab a small spoonful of the warm mixture, add it to the cold mixture and stir. Repeat that process a couple times. If you were to just dump all the cold into the warm you could scramble your eggs. Nothing good can come from that.

Once you are sufficiently tempered, throw what’s in the bowl into the skillet with the creamed corn. Mix it all together until it’s happy. I’m using a 10″ cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can use any kind of casserole dish you have.

Then grab a box of America’s Favorite.

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In an ever-changing world, it’s nice to know that some things will never change. Like Jiffy.

Sprinkle the deliciousness all over the top. I used the whole box because it feels so good to be bad.

sprinkle

Once the top is covered, throw some pads of butter on the top. I’m sorry if you’re on a diet this week.

oven
I almost forgot to take a picture, hence the fact that it’s in the oven. Luckily the butter wasn’t completely melted yet.

Stick that bad boy in the oven on 350 degrees for about an hour. (Keep an eye on it. Your cooking vessel will determine how long it will take!)

done
Oh Baby.

Oh that’s a beautiful sight to behold.

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Get on my plate!

Serve it up hot!

Baked corn is the perfect side dish for TONS of meals. We had it with pork chops, baked potatoes and fresh from Indiana squash/zucchini (thanks Jojo!) last night. It’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but fancy enough to impress the in-laws.

Happy cooking, friends!

-Laney