Saturday, December 19, 2009

Day 6: Dallas

I feel I have sufficiently recovered from the events of last night to write about it.  Extreme disappointment is not the emotion of the evening, more like outrage! 

Let's start with the good stuff of yesterday...
We slept in until late and I had a couple cups of coffee with mom.  Once we extracted ourselves from the couch to shower and get ready, we went and grabbed lunch.  Drew always talks about this sandwich shop he likes and so it was time to give it a try.  We went over to Firehouse Subs.  As the name might lead you to believe, it was started by firemen and serves really large portioned sandwiches.  Drew got the Italian and I had the Chicken Salad.  I think I would go for the Italian next time.  It was a good way to get the day going. 
We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing around the house, gearing up for the Mavericks game. 
This was the first time we have ever been to see a "home game" for the Mavs.  The energy in the building and the fact that our cheers for our team were not met with jeers were the things we were looking forward to the most.  The American Airlines Arena is new since my days in Dallas and is much superior to the Reunion Arena of my youth.  We were like to two little kids, all smiles and contentment, just being in the building.  The game was truly a great game.  The problem was the officiating.  It was obscene.  I haven't seen it's like since the '06 finals vs. the Heat.   The highlights of the game, as you may already know, were: Dirk coliding with Landry and coming away to realize he had some of Landry's teeth in his elbow.  Landry earned a trip to the hospital.   An almost brawl between Kidd and Anderson directly in front of our seats and the Mavs bench.  This resulted in a phantom technical on Carlisle, the coach of the Mavs.  Then there were the "conferences" (at least 3, by my count) between the refs that lasted anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes each, resulting in ridiculous calls.  We were, as I said, outraged.  The Mavs lost in OT, but at least we can say we were there the night Dirk got 2 teeth in his elbow, and the only time Dampier has ever been ejected from a game.  These are the things for the history books, folks! 

the AA Center from the outside

the building on its feet at the end of regulation

Oh, and we ate at the game, of course.  I got all excited because I discovered they had Fletcher's corny dogs (just like at the State Fair of Texas) at one of the concessions.  We decided that sounded really good and immediately ordered up a couple to split.  Well, I guess someday I will make it back to the State Fair, because these did not even come close.  I think they had been made some time before we ordered and had been sitting under a heat lamp for some time.  We also had nachos and popcorn.  One thing on the frugal side that I appreciated was the value deals they had for families and couples.  It can be quite expensive to get to a game and then eat.  While the food was no means cheap, it did help that they had deals (including bottomless popcorn and sodas). 

Overall, we enjoyed our time at the game, sad to have lost, but apparently, that's how it goes.
After the game, I told Drew I really wanted a taco (this is a RARE occurance), so he drove through Taco Bueno to grab a taco.  When we drove away from the window, we had a platter with two tacos, cheese dip, rice and beans, and a bean burrito.  So this is what late night snack means. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 5: OK City to Flower Mound, TX

With the night we had on Wednesday, we slept in and got started late.  I got a free cup of coffee at the hotel before we set out to go to the Oklahoma City Memorial.  The Memorial is such a respectful, peaceful place.  It is really a shame there is not something for the 9/11 victims in NYC.  There is a museum we will have to go to the next time we are in town.   Here are some pictures:

Since the temperature was in the thrirties, we did not stay long at the memorial and headed out to TEXAS!  We stopped along the way to eat lunch at On the Border.  Yes, it is a chain, but it is really good and consistent.  Drew had cheese and onion enchiladas and a beef taco.  I had the chicken tortilla soup. 

We also stopped along the way and got Sonic drinks. 

We arrived at Mom's house around 3:30 and spent some time visiting.  Then we headed down to Main Street in Grapevine for dinner.  If I have a hometown, I would consider Grapevine my hometown (I lived there from 1st grade to 6th this day, the longest I have lived anywhere). It was great to see Main Street.  They have it all decorated for Christmas and have Christmas music playing over a sound system installed all the way up and down the street.  We reminisced over days of Christmas parades and such as we walked to a "new" restaraunt.  Tolbert's was started by one of the founders of the Teriligua Chili Cookoff.  It is a spot where they have live music most nights of the week while they serve lunch and dinner.  Mom got the catfish dinner, I got Arturo's Grilled Cheese and Drew got a cup of Red (real beans) and Buffalo wings.  The food was great and the atmosphere lively.  Drew wants to come again to have the Five Alarm Chili next time.  Here are the pics:

Day 4: OK City

We woke up in Oklahoma City ready for a day we have been looking forward to for some time.  Drew's cousin, Dustin, has great connections in the City and got us tickets for the Dallas Mavericks game vs. the OK City Thunder.  These were not just tickets, but floor seats.  Needlesss to say, we were beyond excited!

We got ready and went to a late breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall spot called the Classen Grill.  It was a small breakfast spot where the art on the walls is for sale and rotates as it sells.  The menu had all sorts of interesting options.  I went for the Biscuit Debris - southern style biscuits with ham and sausage on top, smothered in gravy, with hashbrowns on the side.  Not at all healthy and portioned to serve at least 3, but wonderful!!  Loved the gravy, just the right flavor.  I ordered coffee and we also got a carafe of their freshly squeezed orange juice.  They have an old fashioned juicer.   Drew was not feeling very adventurous - he got bacon and eggs.  I recommend this restaurant heartily.  No pictures (forgot the small camera).

After breakfast we went to the Oklahoma City Art Museum.  They have an exibit of Chihuly glass that is breathtaking! Here are a few samples.

my favorite!
Next stop: lunch.  We were going to stop at a Taco stand but it was so busy that people were eating outside in the 30 degree weather.  Next time.  So we went to a Chinese-Vietnamese-French restaurant.  Despite, my reservations on the range of foods, it turned out to be pretty good.  Drew got the Kung Pao chicken and I got some sort of beef - very good.  As was the pattern on this trip, we ordered way too much food.  I think I have gained some weight - ahhh!

We spent the rest of the afternoon tracking down the guy with the tickets from the game.  I will spare the details, but we ended up in a bar somewhere in OK City called Cock of the Walk.  We loved the atmosphere of this dive bar.  We would have liked it more if it wasn't so smoky.  It is one of those places where the bartender knows your "drink" and the patrons have their "seat".  On the end of the bar a couple of guys were playing video trivia and I started playing.  I won the first round, but tanked the second one.  Lots of fun.  We wish there was something like this in the desert.  We found ourselves saying this most of the day!

Tickets in hand, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the game.  Words cannot express how happy we were to get to our seats and realize how close we were.  I realized at half time that my cheeks hurt from so much smiling!  It was great.  They have a room behind the seats for the people with floor seats where they have an open buffet with FREE food.  I have always enjoyed FREE!  The food was great and we were ready for the game.  Here are some of our pictures:




feet on the Floor - the Floor!!

Great day in OK!  Oh, and the Mavs won!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday, December 15: OK City

I forgot to bring in my journal from the car, so this entry is all from my memory - this is not a good thing normally.
We got started this morning, ate a quick bite at the hotel (they had my favorite oatmeal!), and rushed to the car because it was a frigid 23 degrees in Amarillo. The wind was blowing like crazy and I was reminded of the Flatlanders song - "The Wind's Gonna Blow You Away." I now understand what they were talking about.
After much cajoling from me, we set out for Palo Duro Canyon State park. Drew was not so excited, but I had heard good things and was somewhat adamant that we visit. We were driving along and looking at the flat land on the horizon and wondering where and when we were going to start seeing something interesting. What unfolded before us as we approached the front gate of the park and started down the drive is something words cannot express. Thus, I have pictures (which, I am sure, do not do the beauty of this place justice): the pictures are attached to another post.  Needless to say, Drew was happy we made the trip.  We are even thinking about renting a cabin in the canyon park sometime in the future.
Post nature experience, we headed back into Amarillo and had Rudy's BBQ for lunch.  This is not to be missed along the way.  It is a chain restaurant, but each place we have visited, the food is exceptional.  We especially love thier beef brisket.  There was something new on the menu and so I asked about it.  It was Green Chili Stew.  The girl behind the counter said, "Oh, it is just the normal stew.  It has brisket in it, but it also has green chilis."  I know she must think brisket is a normal ingredient in stew, but it is certainly not in Southern California.  Then she uttered the words I long to hear, "You can try some if you would like."  OH, yes, I am not one to turn down a sample.  I was not disappointed.  Also new to the taste buds this time were the turkey and pork loin.  We ate WAY too much food, here are the pics:

We got on the road and made only one stop along the way: Braums: Peppermint and Cookies and Cream Ice Cream - the thing I crave in California.  I suggested a "freeze out" but Drew was not game.  I know I will convince him someday.
We made it to Oklahoma City and checked into the hotel around 6 PM and we made plans to meet Drew's cousin Dustin.  He picked us up around 6:30 and he was a wonderful host.  I could not believe Drew agreed to go to a sushi restaurant!  I know!  The sushi was out of this world good!  We ordered way too much again, but got to try lots of great new flavors!  We then drove around OK City a little bit and then stopped by a Tequilla bar so Drew could try some new tequillas.  I know nothing about this, but he is happy we stopped by.

Photos of Palo Duro Canyon

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, December 14

We got started this morning after a free breakfast at the hotel.  The town of Wilcox, AZ has a sign that says apples and a cider mill, but a noticible lack of apple trees.  Not sure where they are getting the apples to sell and press, but next time we go through, I would love to stop by the cider mill (I LOVE apple cider!).

We stopped for lunch at Chick-fil-A in Las Cruces, NM. We love when we can get our hands on some great chicken nuggets and chicken strips. We very much enjoyed this. Love the lemonade!
I took some pictures in New Mexico of some beautiful landscapes, but they are on the other camera's card and so, you will just have to wait - the pictures were just outside of Arey Derry.  Cool name, at least.
If you know your New Mexico geography, you noticed, that Arey Derry is north of Las Cruces.  Yes, defying logic, we drove north for most of the day and turned back east at Albuquerque.  When you are on a mission, you are on a mission. 
We stopped for dinner in Santa Rosa, New Mexico to check out a spot recommended by both my dad and my uncle.  They are known for searching out great Mexican food and sharing their insights with others.  We were not disappointed.  The place (Joseph's)  is just off old Route 66 and has been serving customers since 1952.  The food was fabulous.  And for those of you who have lived in California too long, it had FLAVOR!  It was a little on the spicy side.  We will stop here again and try the other items on the menu we found appealing.  Here's the evidence:
Drew's meal: Beef Taco, Beef Tamale, Cheese Enchilads, the "extras"

my meal: Blue Corn Cheese Enchildadas with the "extras"

Joseph's (it was in the low 40's outside...ahhh)

Having finished dinner we set out not knowing exactly where we were going to stop.  I guess the temptation of sleeping under the Texas sky was too much for us and we ended up in Amarillo.  It is good to be home. 

Check back tomorrow for pictures from "the snow"! 

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday, December 13th - Wilcox, AZ

Everything in the last few weeks has led to this day.  The day we leave to go to Texas for Christmas for the first time as a married couple.  We are beyond excited!  So, instead of regretting the lack of updates on this blog for a while, I shall let you in on our little travelogue.

Road Trip Log, Day 1:

Got started a little late despite waking up an hour before my husband to get "everything" done.  Will that ever happen?
Left town to "Goodbye to You" on the radio, how appropriate. 

Drew said "our God watches out for us on all the small things"  - what a way to begin a road trip - in praise of the one who watches over it!
11:54 - discussion of the definition of the word supplant - pretty sure I was right on that one, not that it matters.

2:28 - Victor Hugo located - Chandler, AZ - success!
6:37 - Wilcox, AZ - to bed early and at it again tomorrow.

Those of you wanting to know what we ate...junk!  My stomach is not happy with me for my recent dining choices.   Will be attempting to improve this during this trip.  Pictures and reveiws of food fit to discuss in the future days.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recipes Unrelated

The last couple of days have included cooking and eating, but I have had a hard time getting my thoughts together regarding the results.  Here we go (in no particular thought pattern):


To the dreaded slow-cooker, I added a questionable recipe. 
Fish in the slow-cooker...I have done it and now I won't need to do that again.  There is really no way to know exactly when it is ready and the recipe I used was less than desirable in the flavor department. 

Guests over (Drew's parents).
In a complete change of pace for me, I got somewhat intimidated by the planned recipe and decided to go with a tried on true recipe. 
Chicken and Dumplings done a la Sandra Lee (who I find mostly annoying...for a number of reasons, one of which includes her recipes actually tasting good). 
The other recipe did the whole thing from scratch and for some reason intimidated me. 
While thinking about this at length (I have nothing else to fill my days), I realized it was because I have never had chicken and dumplings other than the ones by Sandra Lee.  When I was a child, the word "dumpling" disturbed me and I refused to even try this dish. 
The Chicken and Dumplings turned out very nice and I recommend them heartily to anyone who, unlike me, is fine with the word "dumpling" and its implications.

Also made Pumpkin Spice Bars (Christmas with Southern Living 2009) for dessert.  These were somewhat disappointing.

This was ironic because it was the Chicken and Dumplings I was concerned would not meet the standard of Sandra Lee (and thus the other recipe was tossed).  I was really looking forward to the Pumpkin dessert.
There is another pumpkin bar recipe I have made a couple of times in the last couple of years and it is phenomenal.  This one, not as much.  I would have rather had the other.
While thinking about disappointing desserts (again...nothing to fill my days), I started realizing that dessert is something you don't mess with. 
I really can't have dessert every day because of the calories and so if I want dessert, it is going to have to be something tried and true, something to look forward to, something to talk about.
This is magnified when dining out.  In addition to the caloric intake factor, there is an expense to consider.  This is the reason I don't order dessert at most restaurants.  I don't want to be disappointed and a brownie with ice cream on top is not usually worth my time.  The list of must have dine-out desserts for me is extremely small...sad!

Today was the first day I woke up and was cold.  It was one of those days!  This meant soup. 
So, I got started on PC's Creamy Harvest Soup.  This involved roasting various fall veggies, pureeing them, adding cream, and serving. 

It was not that bad, but not that great.  Drew said, it didn't have" much flavor."  I agreed with him that it was mild. 

There you have it.  You are caught up in the kitchen.  And in the meantime the Mavs have won the last two games, tonight's had the best ending of the season.  A cold-ish day and a win - can't beat that!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Carne Asada Tacos

Today was a special treat!  Drew had most of the day off for Veteran's Day and so we celebrated by going to lunch, watching an episode of House (we are almost caught up!), and taking a nap ( we didn't do that last one).  We also stopped by the grocery store and picked up the stuff for tonight's dinner.  Even the checker could tell what we were making.  I don't know what else people would buy flap meat to make.  I got the recipe from Cooking Light's November 09 issue.  It is officially called Carne Asada Taco with Avocado Pico de Gallo. 

This one jumped off the page for me because I have been on a particular food quest for a while now (I think it has been 6 years).  A little restaurant in Houston  (Silvia's Enchilada Kitchen) serves an appetizer called Picomole.  It is phenomenal (not an overstatement).  You would think creating a facsimile of this dish would be quite easy - take pico de gallo and throw some avocado in there.  You would think, as I did...wrong.  There is some sort of secret spice in there.  We spoke with Silvia and she would not relent.   Oh well, the search continues. 
Let's start at the beginning on this one:
I got the marinade for the beef going a little early today - all the better, if you ask me.  The recipe calls for a 3 hour marinade, I think we did it for 5.  This is a great weeknight meal because the marinade takes only a few minutes to get together and can sit in the fridge for a while. 
After my LONG nap today, I got up and turned on the double burner griddle and heated up the grill press (innagural use, PC).  While those got searing hot, I prepped the Avocado Pico de Gallo and tasted it.  Not bad, not bad. It is not quite the standard of Silvia, but it was a nice flavor combination. 

The prep for the meat could not be easier and the result is a tender and flavorful taco meat.  I served this with some Ranch Style beans and flour tortillas.  Good dinner, easy prep! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Tonight's menu was somewhat in the Mediterranean genre.  It included Mediterranean chicken kebabs and a Cauliflower dish with Feta and Tomatoes (both from Christmas with Southern Living 2009).  I will introduce this review by stating a little known fact about me:  I could easily be Greek - I can eat a plate of almost any type of olive in seconds flat and I am sort of obsessed with feta cheese.  I love all things Greek!  I will further introduce this review by stating a (most likely) more well-known fact about Drew: He hates feta cheese and warm olives.  I know both of these things and tonight's menu tells you who won out in my menu plan this time.  They can't all be for Drew, can they?  In my defense, there was something that he does enjoy thrown in there, too.  He has not gone hungry, I assure you. 
With that introduction, here goes the review: 

The kebabs are a good weeknight menu choice for us.  I did not include the bell peppers, because Drew is not a big bell pepper eater.  I also cheated a little on this one by using a bottled Italian dressing to marinade these for 30 minutes, instead of making the marinade.  I do realize that this is the wrong thing to do when reveiwing a recipe, but I was at the store shopping by memory (never a good idea for me - I forgot at least 3 ingredients for this recipe).  The marinade worked and the chicken was very tender.  I grilled these on the George Foreman grill (which hadn't seen use in a while - George was happy to oblige).   
While the chicken was marinating in the fridge, I turned on the oven got some potatoes going.  I used the mandoline discussed just recently, with much better results (thanks, Becky, for the tip). 

Then I got started in the cauliflower dish.  For this recipe, you parboil the cauliflower and then let them hang out in a colander for a few minutes while you get red onion going in a skillet, then you add the cauliflower, the tomatoes and the feta to the mix and heat and serve (garnish with the kalamatas).  It is straight-forward and I enjoyed the results.  This could not be said of Drew, he refused to try it because of the "smell" of the cheese. 

So there, you have it, my small contribution to the enjoyment of all things Greek.  Maybe some day Drew will change his mind about the feta - he doesn't know what he is missing! 
Mavs 121 Rockets 103 - OH YEAH!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Abbev. Baking Day

Today, I had grand plans of making a number of things.  Grand plans turned into somewhat lackluster results, but results, nonetheless. 
With the holidays approaching, I am preparing in a number of ways.  One of these is baking and freezing some things ahead of time.  I tend to make lots of food gifts for friends and usually end up baking myself into a stupor mid December.  Well, this year, we are going out of town for the holidays; so I will need to bake myself into a stupor in a more methodical manner this time around. 

On the list for the day:
Cheesecake (for a friend - long overdue)
Vanilla Scones
Smoky Pecans
Coconut-Pecan Cookie Tarts

What made it to fruition?  Sadly, only the Vanilla Scones and the Smoky Pecans (both recipes from Southern Living Christmas Cookbook, latest edition).   Sorry, long overdue, cheesecake deserving friend and family.

Here's the rundown:  I got started on the pecans first and after getting them in the oven realized I should have doubled the batch because they could not be easier to do.  The crazy thing about this recipe is the aroma knocks you back when you go to stir them while they are in the oven...Whoa!  Step back!  The resulting flavor is not nearly as knock your socks off (thankfully), but it is distinct.  These will work well packaged in small bags for my gift baskets this Christmas. 

While the pecans were in the oven, I got started on the scones.  Pretty easy recipe to throw together.  I got them prepped for the oven in the time it takes to make the pecans and get the oven to preheat a little higher for the scones.  I am not the most scone friendly person out there, but I tried these to make sure they were edible before throwing them in the freezer.  They were pretty good and I could see myself sipping some warm beverage whilst nibbling on one.  Better yet, I could see various friends of mine doing this as well.  They make the Christmas food gift list.  I did make them into mini-scones, if you could call them that, instead of what must have otherwise been scones for Frankenstein's monster.  The recipe says they make 8, I made 16.  So if you want to call them Mini Vanilla Scones, go ahead, but I don't think anyone will be complaining about the small portion size. 

Could I have done more today?  Yeah.  Did I?  No.  And that, my dear friend, is why there are seven weeks to Christmas and many more baking days available.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ham Happiness

For those of you who have read past posts regarding my slow cooker adventures, you will not be surprised to hear that it was with great trepidation that I served tonight's dinner.  As I prepared tonight's foray into the world of slow cooking, I realized, "this may not go well."  You may know one of the rules to slow cooking food is: always add liquid.  This recipe lacked liquid.  I was apprehensive. 
Let me give you the rundown for the evening.  We invited Ken and Conni (Drew's parents) and Stacie and Morgan over for dinner.  Sometime this afternoon I put together the recipe from Fix it and Forget It: Ham and Scalloped Potatoes.  The worst part of the preparation (don't hate me PC) was the slicing of the potatoes.  I used my new and improved, much safer mandoline from PC.  It took quite a while to slice all nine potatoes required for this recipe, so long in fact that I didn't slice the last two.  I gave up.  This mandoline does not seem to work as easily as the last incarnation.  Granted the last incarnation nearly cut my thumb off twice.  This one seems to require much more force behind it and I had to cut each poato in half and then put it on the little food pusher thing, then get it all lined up.  This process took a good 20 minutes.  Not my idea of fun, but I could also blame this on my stubborness.  I had a knife that works and I could have just as easily sliced the potatoes thin, but then I could not rant about the mandoline.  (Remember, I told you PC, you can't hate).   All that said, I got the whole thing together and then checked the recipe for the third or fourth time to try to see where I had missed the liquid.  Alas, there was no liquid and I began to fret.
I moved on to dessert next.  I made Ultimate Chocolate Pudding from Christmas with Southern Living 2009.  I enjoyed the process of making pudding from scratch because, I confess, I have never done this.  I used Ghiradelli cocoa for this attempt and I was very pleased with the results.  I tried a little bit off the spatula, then I tried a little more, and I little more.  Then I had to put the bowl in the sink and run water over it to make sure I did not lick the whole bowl.  If you have never made chocolate pudding from scratch, I highly recommend it.  It was good even whilst warm.  I put it in individual serving bowls and chilled it until after dinner.

So, the reckoning came and I was still very nervous.  I had forewarned our dinner guests that if it was awful, we would order pizza.  AND...It turned out o.k.  In fact, it was better than o.k., it was good, even great.  Everyone really liked it and Ken even got seconds (not a normal thing for him since the stroke).  It was a hit!  It don't know what you are doing to me slow cooker, but you get me every time.  Someday, I will understand your whims and ways.  Tonight, I was just happy that it worked!  Oh, I must add that this does not photograph well, so you will just have to imagine a wonderfully constructed, yet somewhat ugly dish with all the comfort of home.  We served this with crescent rolls and green beans.  A pretty well rounded meal.

Then we had coffee (well a couple of us did) and dessert. The pudding was wonderful!  Mmmm!  The biggest fan was Connil.  I can add this one to the list of her favorites.  She would like for me to consider making her a pudding sandwich.  I will consider this at some future date, after I have gotten over the shuddering. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sublime Sandwiches

We have been taking it easy around here in the way of meals.  I am not sure why.  There is a part of me that thinks you would not be interested to hear about the most recent kitchen adventure, but still I want to tell it for one simple reason...Turkey sublime.

We ventured out to Super Target the other day with a coupon and a short list of grocery items we needed.  When we got to the deli counter to order the ham needed for a previously reviewed recipe, we noticed a turkey they have seasonally.  It is cranberry orange roasted turkey.  Drew and I are averse to cranberry (for the most part) and Drew does not prefer citrusy foods.  Nonetheless, we asked the friendly and helpful deli man about the turkey and he gave us a sample of said deliciousness.  As you may have already figured out: it. was. wonderful.  We were really surprised (this is the second surprise food-like for Drew in the past week) and delighted.   We immediately ordered a half pound for Drew's sandwiches for lunch.

A couple of nights ago, I was feeling a little less than motivated to get in the kitchen and truly cook, so I suggested to Drew we have sandwiches with the turkey.  He (in the way of Elf) said, "YES!"  It was wonderful.  I added white cheddar and onion to mine and needed nothing else.  Drew had half turkey and cheddar (with mustard) and half salami and provolone (with mustard).  We threw some chips with it and viola: a wonderful, easy dinner - very fall too. 

So, I say to you, dear reader, run out to Super Target and purchase some of this Turkey because it is only available until the end of November.   *This is not a paid promotion of Super Target*

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Snacks for Dinner

We had an unconventional dinner tonight including snacks.  We often do on game nights because it gives us the feeling of being at the game and eating junk food, without actually eating junk food.  So, since it is Halloween, we had spooky snacks.  We also invited Mom and Dad over to watch the game and have fun passing out candy to the trick-or-treaters.  On the menu for tonight: 
Shrimp Cocktail with Green Goblin Dressing
Deviled Ham and Cheddar Toasts
These recipes can be found in the October issue of All You (one of my favorites, by the way)

The Green Goblin Dressing was delicious.  It is a combo of basil (I omitted the parsley - because I hate it with vigor), avocado, and garlic.  Very nice flavor profile and tasted great with the shrimp.  I was concerned that we would miss the usual cocktail sauce, but I was surprised and pleased this was not the case.  The recipe makes way too much for the four of us, so I am hoping to figure out another way to use it tomorrow (hopefully, it won't go brown before then).

The Deviled Ham and Cheddar Toasts were also very enjoyable.  Loved the idea and would try this again with other toppings.  Drew and Dad enjoyed topping these with a Habanero Mustard Drew just bought the other day.  They seemed to like it. 
We pilfered the candy pumpkins for dessert and sat down to watch the game.   Not too many trick-or-treaters this year.  Mavs 93 - Clips 84.

Southwestern Pizza and a Win

Last night we had a wonderful dinner!  Then we watched the Mavs beat the Lakers.  All told, this was a great evening in the Hudson house.
Let's start with dinner.  I made a Southwestern Queso Pizza from PC's 29 Minutes to Dinner 2.  This may make it to the table again (and sometime soon, too!).  I enjoyed making this one because it comes together in just the right order to make it fast and easy.  I used the Cheese Dip from Pace (one of our favorites) and swaped out shredded chicken for a package of prepared grilled chicken (cut up into smaller pieces).  The resulting flavor was wonderful.  One thing of note: the recipe calls for more cheese dip than you need.  I would cut the quantity in half.  The bell peppers add just enough health to this otherwise indulgent pizza.  We paired this with a salad to fill out the veggie requirements of the night.  The battery for the camera ran out while I was trying to take a picture, so you will just have to make this to see it.  This was a great meal to prepare us to win something!
The game was great - the first win of the season for the Mavs.  And against the reigning champs...not bad!  we are looking good this season and it is just getting started!  Mavs 94- Lakers 80.

Catching up on Spooky fun!

I did not have time to write about Thursdays with Morgan on Thursday or Friday, so this late post will have to do the trick (ha - I am enjoying this season way too much!).
Morgan and I made a couple of treats for her to share with her friends at school for Halloween.  We started wtih Witches Hats and finished up the night with carmel apples.  I got both of these recipes from the October issue of All You magazine (one of my favorites, by the way).  
The witches hats are pretty easy to make.  You need a chocolate wafer cookie and a Hershey's Kiss and some green or orange icing.  You just put a dollop of icing in the center of the cookie and then attach the Kiss to the cookie.  We finished the cookies by using cake decorating tips to decorate the hat band.  These were really cute and easy to make.  I had quite the difficulties with my icing, but we ended up making 13 sets of cookies for her friends.  I forgot to take a picture of the hats by themselves, but here is a picture of the bags.

After the hats were done, we started on making Carmel Apples.  These are a little more time consuming, but totally worth the time taken.  The recipe called for making carmel from scratch.  If you have never made carmel from scratch, it is delightful!  It is so much better than any store bought carmels.  The hard thing about this recipe is the carmel sets up extremely fast!  You really have to be on top of the process or the apples can be difficult to turn in the carmel.  I tried one of these on Friday and I can report they are really tasty!  Give these a try for sure!

You may notice the lack of popsicle sticks.  This was an improvisation on my part after getting started and realizing I forgot to buy them.  It works.  

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween menu making

My usual Thursdays with Morgan post will have to wait until tomorrow morning so I can get pictures of what we made.  So I will discuss our dinner for the evening. 
We are not so much on the Halloween thing, but I do have to say I grew up celebrating Halloween with trick or treating and pumpkin carving.  I figure as long and you stick with the safe stuff, it can be pretty fun.  By fun, I mean, you can make stuff in the kitchen and get into theme dinners.  Thus, tonight's dinner was one (yes, I said one) of our Halloween theme dinners for the week. On the menu tonight:  Pepperoni Pizza Pasta, Spooky Salad, and Witches Brew (for dessert).  I also served "blood" as the drink for dinner.

The Pepperoni Pizza Pasta was a recipe I found on a package of Harry and David Halloween shapes pasta.  I found this about a month ago and this menu was born.  The prep for this goes pretty quickly and I was able to make the salad while the pasta cooked.  The recipe has mozzarella chese thrown in at the end to make it look like "spider webs."  Pretty cool effect, overall and not to bad taste wise.  It is nice because you can use your favorite pasta sauce for this recipe.  I was already thinking you could to the same thing with a white sauce and salami.

The spooky salad was just a regular salad with really strangely torn lettuce and a green "finger sticking out of the center.  Nothing great or different, just something to go with the pasta. 

And to many eye rolls and strange looks, I served "blood" to drink with dinner. 

I made this a couple of weeks ago and I thought it looked like blood, so it went on the menu.  What is it?  Crystal Light fruit punch stirred into a glass of water with lots of ice.  The ice creates the coagulated look.  What do you think?  I mean besides that I am insane...what do you think?

We had a great dinner and enjoyed conversation with Morgan.  Our conversation took us many places, but one of our favorites was into the mind of a wookie.  Who knew?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Simple Supper

Today I was a little under the weather; so after napping on the couch for the afternoon I went upstairs to cut coupons and came across a recipe to try for dinner.  We had on hand everything to make the recipe, so I thought it would be perfect.  Perfect except for one thing.  It was for Pumpkin soup.  My husband does not like pumpkin and will tell anyone that will listen.  I solved this problem by comprimise.  I decided to make something I know he loves and something I know he is not too keen on.  Pretty good idea, eh?
Let me set the stage.  I have never had pumpkin soup.  I do enjoy almost all things sweet and pumpkiny, but I was not so certain myself on things pumpkin savory.  So the solution to my problem didn't just serve Drew. 
So I, still trying to work from what I have on hand, decided upon Macaroni and Cheese.  Yes, readers the Macaroni and Cheese that has been mentioned at least a handful of times on this very blog - Granny's Macaroni and Cheese.  This was a no fail plan.  If the soup was horrible, we would just fill ourselves up on what we know we enjoy. 
Time to prepare dinner came and I started on the Mac and Cheese first. Here's the method (it is more a method than a recipe). 
1.  Cook noodles according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Butter a casserole dish.
3.  When noodles are ready and drained, layer noodles and cheese (shredded sharp cheddar is best, tonight I used a combo of sharp cheddar and mozzarella - I thought I would try something new) to the top, ending with cheese.
4. Place pats of butter on top.  Sprinkle pepper on top to taste.
5.  Pour milk in the side of the casserole dish to halfway up the dish.  (see why it is a method?)
6.  Place in preheated 350F oven for as long as it takes for the milk to bubble up (this can be tested by slightly turning the dish to the side to see if milk is still milk, if it is still milk, it is not done)
7.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Once the Mac and Cheese was in the oven, I read a couple chapters of my book and then got started on the soup.  It was a pretty easy process and, as I said, included items from the pantry.  The recipe is from a Ralph's book of coupons, so if you have that laying around the house, give this soup a try.

Drew started asking questions about the soup very early on in the process.  The first one:  "What all is in this soup?"  Answer: "These are just onions I am cutting right now."  Second (as I hand it to him to take to the table): "Is this a cheese soup?"  Answer: "No."  Third (as he takes the soup and is about to eat the first bite): "Is this squash?"  Answer: "No."  Fourth (after eating two bites):  "What is this?"  This last one was in that tone of voice that implied, "you better tell me what this is."  So, I relented because he had already tasted it.  I told him it was pumpkin.  He gave me a look and then....he ate more!  We had a discussion that it did not tasted like pumpkin, but it smelled like it.  I wanted to scream, "SUCCESS!"   I did not and we continued to eat.  I really enjoyed the fall comfort food meal from the pantry.