Sunday, December 27, 2009

Adventures of the Flinching Gourmet

So.... Rachel and I decided that we wanted to start our own traditions this Christmas. We felt like being in our home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning was important to us. We attended a Christmas Eve service at the Presbyterian church (we're friends with the minister). After looking at Christmas lights and running by some friends' house, we headed home.

We had already started cooking that afternoon, so the potato gratin was already half way finished. We started the popovers and readied the asparagus for roasting. Now to the main event. Rachel stopped by Weldon's Meat Market in Hot Springs a few days before to pick up a couple of filets. I was at home for lunch when she brought the steaks in; I unwrapped the package to examine her purchase - never before had my mouth watered at the smell of raw meat. We were making our Tennessee version of Steak Au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak). We call it a Tennessee version because instead of the traditional cognac to deglaze the pan, we use Jack Daniel's. After searing the steaks, start the sauce by adding garlic and shallots, then deglaze the pan. Then using a lighter, carefully ignite the remaining alcohol to burn it off.

Lighting of the Advent Whiskey

I really have done this before - it just looks like I haven't. Rachel captured such a wonderful shot, I couldn't not share it. Nothing in the kitchen caught fire, and the flames eventually burned away (it took like two full minutes - not like the ten seconds they show you on television). After adding beef stock, cream, and a few other ingredients, the steaks are returned to the sauce for a few minutes.

The meal turned out wonderfully: Tennessee Steak Au Poivre, Rosemary Infused Potato Gratin, Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest, and Simple Popovers. We were delighted. We even used our fine china, crystal, and fancy flatware. It was a great first Christmas together.

This Christmas would have been perfect had I not developed one of the worst cases of exudative tonsillitis I've ever seen - I'll spare you the pictures.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

So.... from both of us to all of you:

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Card of Christmas Past

So.... in 1986, the Texarkana Arkansas School District announced that their Christmas Card that year would be chosen from a design submitted by a student in the district. I was in fifth grade and referencing the razorback motif (the high school's mascot), I submitted my design in early October. And thought nothing about it.

In early December, our principal Mr. Thompson came to our classroom and presented me with a framed copy of the District's 1986 Christmas Card.

This year Rachel and I found a way to incorporate the framed copy into our Christmas decor. It stands proudly amongst our collection of Santas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


So.... Rachel and I decided that we should try to be conservative this year, so we picked a dollar amount that we could spend on each other and worked very hard to get each other lots of little gifts that were creative but meaningful (and in the budget). We've been wrapping each other's presents (and other folk's gifts) over the last couple of weeks, and it's been fun to watch the pile grow.

I've always put up a tree and usually put the gifts I'm giving to friends and family under it, but it sure is fun to see packages for me under the tree this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


So.... some of you may know that I collect Fontanini Nativity Figurines. My ever growing collection has a special place on a bookcase in the living room. It helps to remind me of the true importance of Christmas.

This year is marked by the goat getting to help the angel proclaim the good news of Christ's birth.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

easy post

So.... I thought I'd take the opportunity to use one of my favorite photos from the wedding as a way to make a really easy blog post. Enjoy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Live Oak Photos

So.... my parents have this wonderful old Live Oak tree across the street from them. On Thanksgiving Day, after nearly stuffing ourselves with as much food as we could eat, and after a short nap, Rachel and I coerced my mom, dad, and sister into taking some photos of us in front of the Live Oak. My mom was even gracious enough to let us borrow her leather wing chair.

Sometimes you have to take several photos (sometimes 139) to finally get one you love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Candy

So.... Rachel and I spent one Saturday afternoon this December making candy.

We made millionaires...

chocolate dipped pretzels, chex mix...

chocolate dipped pringles, and everyone's favorite....

Christmas Wreaths!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Broken Beaver

So.... our clinic travels a couple of days a week to some even more rural locations to offer satellite locations. Previously we partnered with the local hospital and used their bus; now we rent clinic area in local office buildings to provide services. On my way down to Gurdon yesterday, I stopped to more closely evaluate the name of this church's pastor.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

...and eat it too.

So.... this is what those wonderful orange cupcakes look like on the inside. Currently the recipe is unavailable - sorry - you'll just have to hope that we open that cup cake stand.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have Your CupCake...

So.... this summer Rachel and I hosted a delightful baby shower for our friends. It was on a Sunday afternoon, so with most people having already eaten lunch, we decided to simplify my typically extravagant menu and make cupcakes.

Now, these were no ordinary cupcakes. They were homemade, and even teetered on the brink of being considered gourmet (perhaps I editorialize a little much). We had a traditional yellow cake with chocolate frosting, red velvet cake with fluffy white frosting (I call it lard frosting), and orange-flavored cupcakes with a creamy filling and almond buttercream frosting.

Presentation is key: we used geometry, repetition, and symmetry to enhance our edible offerings.

Rachel and I have decided that when we strike oil, hit the lottery, or pull a heist at the local bank, we are quitting our day jobs, moving to the beach, and opening a cake/ cupcake stand. We have lots of ideas for fun names and different flavors (of course, I can't share those because some of you might be enticed to open your own shop). I'm sure we'll offer a discount to loyal followers of Pursuing Pineapple, so keep your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed (that we win the lottery).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meet Jack

So.... this is my new friend Jack. He was born about 6 weeks ago, and I have the privilege of being his pediatrician.

Before Jack was born his mom and dad were worried about being new parents. They shouldn't have worried - they're doing great! At one of the baby showers I showed his parents how to swaddle a baby. For illustration purposes, we used a dish towel and other handy items.

Lori practiced with a flip-flop.

Donnie practiced with an alligator dog toy.

I then taught them how to disguise a Jack Russell Terrier so that he could infiltrate the Taliban.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We've Been Blogged Again...

So.... our wedding photographer featured Rachel and I on her blog a few days ago. I thought you might like to have that link. While you're there, check out the slideshow of our wedding day (the first time Rachel and I saw it, we both cried).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Ward!

So.... Rachel recently had a birthday, and (for close to a week) we celebrated her first birthday as Mrs. Ward. First up: a quick trip to Memphis. We met there last year for her birthday, and I wanted to surprise her with a return visit. I didn't tell her until the night before we left. This is the picture I made and used as the wall paper on the laptop to let her know what we were doing.

We stayed at the Madison again. It is a boutique hotel a couple of blocks up from the Peabody.

I left work a little early on Wednesday for the overnight trip. On Thursday, we only had until early afternoon in Memphis because we had to get back to Arkadelphia for Rachel's softball game that night. We walked around Beale Street, and we enjoyed ourselves. We skipped breakfast and decided to eat an early lunch. Rachel had never been to a Hard Rock Cafe, so we ate there. Now, we never have to eat there again (such a poor excuse for over-priced mediocrity).

After lunch we headed into A. Schwab's for our annual millinery tour.

We stopped by Peabody Place to grab a snack before we left Memphis (fortunately, no Memphis March this year). No, those red blotches aren't Rachel's lipstick on that napkin. They are the remnants of Maggie Moo's most wonderful flavor of ice cream - RED VELVET! Delicious!

That Friday night we had some friends and family over for an informal birthday party. Rachel wanted Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. Thank you Mark and Lisa for our wonderful monogrammed cake-keeper.

We made a purchase at A. Schwab's, a "birthday hat." We've decided that from now on, during the lighting of the candles and the singing of the happy birthday song, the birthday boy or girl must wear the hat. A tradition is born.

Saturday (July 25th) was actually Rachel's birthday, and we celebrated once more by joining my family in Hot Springs for some time on the lake. We ate at Bella Arti that night (and had another cake). That Sunday, Rachel was able to be a part of a Ward vacation tradition of Steak, Eggs, and Tomatoes for breakfast.

This Summer has been so busy, and we're looking forward to everything slowing down just a little more as we move into Autumn.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Joe Cool Turns Five

So.... number one canine friend, Travis, just turned five on July 11. He didn't have a party this year - he was at the spa (that's what we call the vet's boarding kennels, so we can feel okay going away for the weekend).

Happy Birthday, Travis!

oh, yeah, happy birthday to my mom (whose birthday is today)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happily Ever After...

So.... I finally got married. Yup; tricked some pretty gal into gettin' hitched. Not sure why I just wrote that sentence as if I were at the O.K. Corral, but you get the idea. Yeah, it's been a while since I've updated, and Rachel and I have already celebrated our Two Weekiversary (we went to Wal-Mart). I'll try to recap some events of the last few weeks.

We went to the Rutherford County Clerk's office on June 10, and we applied for our marriage license (way easier than getting a driver's license). Fortunately, by doing some premarital counseling, we saved a little bit of money.

We spent the next few days tidying up the last few arrangements for the wedding, and we had our wedding rehearsal (followed by rehearsal dinner) on June 12. Rachel made her bouquet (which turned out really well) from a bunch of the bridal shower bows; she and Joy saved an extra special (extra large) bow for me to wear as a boutonniere. Our wedding nazis, I mean, wedding coordinators, did a wonderful job (even some of the groomsmen commented on how detailed a job they did).

Rachel and I wed on June 13, 2009. The ceremony started at 5 pm. Rachel and I felt like everything went perfectly; we weren't stressed or upset or distracted. We were able to enjoy the moment and enjoy each other. We laughed through the entire ceremony (no tears); actually my family had taken bets on when during the ceremony I would first giggle (my mom won - when I put the ring on Rachel's hand). We had the petal toss immediately after the ceremony, and we're hoping the "official" pictures turn out as good as this one taken by our friend Amber. I love, love, love Rachel's expression.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


So.... do three posts on a single day and the following picture make up for my recent lack of blogging?

This is me wearing red crocs (I think they're my mom's) taking my dad's new zero turning-radius lawn mower out for a spin (literally - I was doing do-nuts all up in their yard). I love the name of the manufacturer! To my dad's chagrin (and my mom's delight), the purchase of the mower didn't include a complimentary magazine subscription.

"Eric, see if you can get some ridge detail from that." Please excuse the CSI reference and my sister's finger in the photo.

Sneak Peek

So.... I'm offering you a sneak peek of just a lil' sum'en, sum'en that Rachel and I will have for folks at our wedding reception. A little before and after action, just for you, faithful reader.

Our talented friend Lori helped us out with it; she is the freelance graphic designer (and church secretary) who created our Save the Date Cards.