Blessed & Thankful

This week was full of friends, good food, and great memories. Monday, we stayed in & cooked dinner together. John made bacon wrapped jalapeno burgers using jalapeno peppers from our garden while I made pumpkin shells and cheese. Both were super comforting and rich with flavor.

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

16 oz small shell pasta
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
4 cups milk
16 oz grated cheese blend (I used cheddar)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 & 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary (from the Lyle's garden)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 450. Cook pasta & set aside. In a saucepan, 
melt butter & add flour. Whisk together. Add 2 cups milk
& rosemary & whisk until smooth. Add another cup of milk
& continue to whisk. Cook for 3-4 minutes while whisking.
Add about 12 oz of shredded cheese & stir until cheese melts.
Add salt, pepper, & cayenne as well as 1 more cup of milk &
the pumpkin puree. Once everything is mixed together, toss 
pasta in and cover it with sauce. Then pour everything into a 
8 x 8 casserole pan & top with remaining cheese & breadcrumbs.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Tuesday, John and I made a trip to the gym together. I had originally intended on continuing my belly dance classes, but since I will be gone so much in the next few months, I opted out. Therefore, I split my time between my workout and watching John show off his awesome rock climbing skills.

Afterwords, we made a trip to the new Fresh Market beside our house. We picked up some snacks out of the snack barrels & then went on a search for a good view of the city. It made for a sweet & simple week date night!

Wednesday, we had the wonderful opportunity to have dinner at Saw's Juke Joint in Crestline with our dear camp friends, Mary & Timmy. We were especially thrilled to see them because they are having a baby boy in just a few short months! We had a great time catching up with them while eating some AMAZING food. John and I tried the acclaimed sweet tea fried chicken sandwich. Yes, you read that right. Delicious fried chicken brined in sweet tea, topped with a ranch-esque sauce, & pickles. Think-gourmet chick-fil-a. That paired with their home cooked greens made for a top notch Southern dinner.

Thursday, we spent All Hallow's Eve with our friends Lauren & Lee. Lauren made a spooktacular dinner which was followed up with a scary movie and some creepy good treats (I made spooky bones and homemade fall chex mix). After renting Hocus Pocus last week for free from the local library, we went back this week to find another movie for Halloween. If you're in the Birmingham area, I highly recommend you sign up for a library card for many reasons, but especially for the free movie rental since you can check out movies and books from any Jefferson County library (that's 40 libraries that you can use your card in)! 

Spooky Bones

Mini Marshmallows
Almond Bark

Melt almond bark according to instructions. Attach mini marshmallows 
to ends of pretzel sticks (flat side parallel). Dip in almond bark. So easy!

Friday, John & I both got off early. So, we went for a walk with Henry that afternoon before heading to Red Pearl for dinner. One of John's friends recommended the place when John first moved here & since then, it has become a favorite of ours. The food is authentic Chinese and the portions are huge & come at a great cost!
Pork & Vegetable Soup! So good!

After dinner, we went to Hop City to hang out with our friends Lauren, Rachel, Lee & Eric. Eric came in from Nashville & Rachel from Atlanta. So, we were delighted to get to spend time with them!

Saturday John and I were honored to sit in the medical association skybox for UAB's homecoming. Although the Blazers lost, we had a blast eating good food and spending time with friends old and new. I hadn't been to Legion Field in years and had never had the opportunity to take in the beautiful views of the city from the sky box. It was such a good day date!

That night, I helped host a wedding shower for my sorority sister & friend, Katie & her soon to be husband, Joe. The theme was an "I Do BBQ" with food catered from Moe's Original BBQ. We had such fun spending time with our very best friends while enjoying some delicious food in the process. Afterwards, we topped the night off by a trip to J. Clyde. It was such a perfect evening with friends celebrating such a wonderful love.

It's weeks like this one that remind me how blessed I am to have such loving, caring, & FUN people in my life. I am beyond thankful for such wonderful opportunities and people. 


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