Our Very Own Sister Appears on Desperate Housewives

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So yes, I’m blatantly bragging. My husband’s step-sister has been an aspiring actress since a young age. I remember in high school how excited she’d get about being a thespian down to modeling for local schmocals.  Now we all had someone like that from our hometown, right? And how many of those aspiring actors actually make it somewhere?

Well, she is making it somewhere. Last week she was featured on the Desperate Housewives episode, “Truly Content.” She’s coined as the pretty blonde that young Parker Scavo is trying to flirt with. And she’s beautiful. Although it’s just a quickly panning scene, she steals the spotlight–even if it only lasts a few seconds.

We’re extremely proud of her. Here’s to following your dreams, no matter how distant they may seem at the beginning!

Jenny

Another Indiana Roadtrip

Yesterday we went to Holiday World with the fam. Who would have thought it could be so crowded on a Thursday? The day was fun, but that was only have the trip. We decided to take the scenic route home winding from one small town to another through southern Indiana. We took US-231 north from Holiday World passing through Jasper. We hit IN-56 and headed east towards French Lick. It didn’t take long for us to be mesmerized by the countryside. The soft hills and simple way of life has a way of soothing and re-energizing me when driving through the country.

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As we spotted the downtown of French Lick, I saw a junk store and had to stop. Fox Hollow Gallery had such neat items and a lot of good creative ideas. Next we drove by the casino and resort. Everyone talks highly of the place and I can see why. The place looks awesome from the outside and appears to be a massive undertaking. A lot of new buildings made to look old are built near it as well. They stand empty right now, but I can’t wait to see what type of neat shops find a home there.

In downtown Paoli, we found a natural food co-op right off the square. We needed a few things and I wanted to know what they had to offer for future reference. We got to the Lost River Market & Deli at 7pm on a Wednesday night. An acoustic melody hit us at the front door and it took me a split second to realize it was live music. How stinkin’ cool. There was one worker at hand who greeted us and filled us in about the store. He said the group of musicians came every Wednesday for a free jam session. It just got cooler. We bought a couple groceries and decided to buy dinner off their salad bar. My body was singing praises at the healthy dinner! We also had some delicious pasta salad (now I know what I’ll be making when we get home). I also bought a vegan, gluten free Explosive Espresso Chip cookie.

So for traveling through another charming downtown, finding a natural food store practically on the square, greeted by some awesome acoustic folk music, checking out local produce, having a healthy dinner on the road, AND with an allergy free dessert…my evening could not have ended better. There were several more antique places before and after Salem that I would have liked to see, but our sunburns and water-logged heads were getting the best of us. We ended the countryside portion of our roadtrip at I-65 in Scottsburg. Makes me excited to plan our next Indiana roadtrip. Madison? Corydon? Nashville?

Jenny

Indiana Yellow Summer Salad

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Yeaaah! I think this is my first official original recipe. Inspired by local roadside produce stands and Chef Daniel Orr who emphasizes Indiana produce, I present to you Indiana Yellow Summer Salad. All the produce came from roadside stands and grown in Indiana. I noticed the produce included  colors other than the norm, mainly yellow. I’ve never had the yellow version of these veggies, so I bought them all and created this dish. The “green” beans tasted the same, but the yellow tomatoes were the best ones I’ve ever had in my whole life. The herbs came from my (and my mother’s) backyard. We shared the dish at a lake party on Saturday. Yummo!

Recipe for Indiana Yellow Summer Salad  

– 4 ears fresh sweet corn
– 1 quart yellow wax beans, ends snapped
– 1 quart yellow tomatoes (use slightly less than whole quart), halved
– 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
– 1/2 yellow-green chile pepper, thinly sliced

– 1/3C fresh basil, chopped

– 1/4C fresh oregano, chopped

– 1/2 TBS fresh dill, chopped

– 2 TBS red wine vinegar

– 2 TBS white balsamic vinegar
– 1 TSP agave nectar
– 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)

– Pinch of sea salt & fresh-cracked pepper

  1. Heat up grill. Peel back husks of corn but don’t tear off. Remove silk, rub with EVOO and salt & pepper to season. Tightly re-wrap husks, and wrap whole ear in aluminum foil. Repeat with all four husks.
  2. Grill ears of corn for about 20 minutes total, rotating every 5 minutes or until there’s slight grill marks on all sides of the corn.
  3. Let corn cool, then slice off kernels with a knife. I like to leave in chunky pieces so that you can tell it was fresh off the cob. Place in large bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, cook snapped yellow green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes. Move to ice bath to stop cooking.
  5. Place chilled yellow green beans in bowl with corn. Add tomatoes, onion, pepper, and herbs.
  6. In a separate dish, mix salt & pepper, red wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, and agave nectar. Whisk together ingredients while pouring in EVOO.
  7. Pour mixture on top of veggies and toss. Serve at room temperature. To save time, grill corn the night before with your dinner.

There it is, an original by Jenny Erb–Backyard Chef.

Jenny

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New Home, Awesome Realtor

Finally…we’re moved into our new home!!! And I finally got our internet working. I’m bummed that I didn’t have much time to post this past month, but believe me – I have so many projects to share that I’m sure I’ll make up for it!!!

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Jane Mellinger, Century 21

But first, I must give kudos to our awesome real estate agent, Jane Mellinger. Any buyers debating if they need professional help shouldn’t think twice about it – Jane made the process a piece of cake for us. She explained every single detail to us first timers and provided an answer to every crazy question I asked. Jane is so respectful of the buyer’s wishes, especially when it comes to tastes and budget. She didn’t once force any opinions on us but respected every single one of ours and always stayed within our buying budget. Jane comes highly recommended in our book!

We’ve already started so many projects on the new home, but none are finished yet. I made sure to take “before” photos to post with any “afters”! Now back to work.

Jenny

Locally Grown Produce Shop Opening this Weekend

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I can’t wait for Double Oak Farm to open this Saturday, at their new location 1120 Washington St., Columbus, Ind. I volunteered there yesterday, helping them paint the new store. They only stock locally-grown produce within a 100 mile radius. They draw from friends and family, largely from the Amish community. And since many of then are in southern Indiana, they get a lot of produce two weeks earlier that other vendors.

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They also are the only CSA program in this area. By paying upfront to cover growing costs, you get a vegetable box each week featuring their best produce at the time. Soooo cool.

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Count on seeing me there Saturday!

Jenny

A Favorite Pick – All Natural Ambre Blends

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Ambre Blendsis my absolute favorite line of scents, and in honor of their new holiday gift set, I thought I’d give it a shout out! As their website states, Ambre Blends compliment your own natural chemistry and are activated by body warmth to produce a unique individual aroma – one that drives my husband crazy! The best parts about the roll-on cologne is that it’s 100% organic and is based in Indianapolis.

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I received an email from PillowTalk, a lingerie boutique in Carmel, Ind., announcing that they’ll be selling the Ambre Blends holiday gift set for $55, a $70 value. The gift set includes 10ml essence roller, 2oz body cream, and samples of all 3 fragrances. Also, you can get 15% off your entire purchase on www.ambreblends.com until Dec. 10. Take hints, loved ones! I’m hoping I get one for Christmas.

Jenny

Conner Prairie’s Headless Horseman

Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow

Conner Prairie – Headless Horseman 2009
I spent the last two weeks of October helping Conner Prairie with their annual fundraiser, Headless Horseman. It’s a haunted hayride through the dark, mysterious Prairietown. Trust me–walking around at night in the dark, historical home and barns is plenty scary, so be glad the visitors get to stay in a wagon! My most favorite part? The Headless Horseman, of course. At the end of the night when the volunteers walk back from their posts, it never fails that before you have time to hear the clunks of their hooves, the headless horseman sneaks up on you in the dark night. Creepiest. Thing. Ever. And I love it!

I took these photos during the event and have been meaning to post them. Enjoy!

A wagon full of riders passes by

A wagon full of riders passes by

The school house gives off an eerie green

The school house gives off an eerie green

A scarecrow greets the wagon upon exiting woods

A scarecrow greets the wagon upon exiting woods

Graveyard Shift

Graveyard Shift

A spirit dances on the side of a barn

A spirit dances on the side of a barn

Jenny