Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Been awhile

So haven't been in the blogging mode lately... lots going on in my life and not all of it is good. But we all have to go through growing pains sometimes and this is just one of those times in my life.

We have lived through the H1N1 virus at our house with no major side effects. Thankfully! Morgan is healthy now and pushing my buttons on a regular basis... as only she and my mother know how!

Work is in the "slow" time of year for me, which I enjoy, but I also find myself slacking because I know I don't have that much going on and I work so much better under pressure. I know... it's a flaw, but it's mine and I own it. I am looking forward to a couple of nice little vacations around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Time off is always good!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken and Chorizo Romesco with Spanish Potatoes and Kale

Saw this on Rachael Ray the other day and just had to try it. Very good. My 8 year old loved the potatoes with kale. Who'd have thought? She had seconds of just the potatoes! She didn't care as much for the romesco sauce, but the rest of us loved it. It makes quite a bit of sauce. I'll be eating the leftover sauce with pita chips this week. It's not AS good as the mohambra sauce, but it's a very close second. It takes longer than 30 minutes, which I find most of her recipes do... but it was worth it.


Chicken and Chorizo Romesco with Spanish Potatoes and Kale
Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup shredded manchego
1 to 3 slices stale bread, toasted, cut 1/2-inch dice (I used hamburger buns)
1 cup pequillo peppers or roasted red peppers (you can find the pequillo pepper next to the red peppers)
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained, about 1 1/3 cups
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup marcona almonds (Spanish toasted almonds), substitute toasted sliced or peeled almonds if unavailable
4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh meat (I used 5 bonless skinless thighs)
2 teaspoons orange zest or lemon zest
1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed, cut into 8 pieces on the bias (I used Mexican Chorizo. It was crumbly, but just as good, I think.)

Directions
Heat about 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and slowly cook until crisp and golden brown.

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil, season with salt and cook 15 minutes or until tender, drain and return to hot pot. While the potatoes cook, simmer kale in salted water 10 minutes then drain. When you are ready to serve, mash potatoes with stock and cheese, fold in kale, adjust salt and pepper.

While potatoes come to a boil, move forward with the meal. Add to a food processor: toasted garlic (reserve the oil), some of the toasted bread in pieces, the peppers, tomatoes, sherry vinegar, almonds, and salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in reserved "garlic-oil" and add the rest of the toasted bread in pieces until you get a pesto-like consistency. Transfer sauce back to the skillet and keep warm over low heat.

Cut each piece of chicken into 3 chunks and season with citrus zest, smoked sweet paprika, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and render it 1 minute. Remove the chorizo to a plate and then add chicken and cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally.

Pour a pool of sauce onto each dinner plate and top with a mound of potatoes and kale and chunks of chicken and chorizo.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

My grandmother was the best cook in the entire world. She could make anything. My first experiences with cooking were with my "Mowie" as we called her. She would always let me help and always let me lick the bowls! I would ask for a certain dessert, no matter what it was and at the end of the day when I came home from school, it was waiting for me. My mom finally told me I wasn't allowed to ask her to make anything. So I would go through her recipes and pick one out and stick it on the fridge... I didn't ask... but it was still there when I came home from school. And when my mom questioned, Mowie would tell her that I didn't ask her to make it. She didn't have to lie and I still got what I wanted. She passed away when I was 17. In many ways that was even harder than losing my dad. She was such an amazing woman and I will always miss her.

One of her specialties was chicken and dumplings. She hand rolled the dough and the simmered on the stove for hours. I could never duplicate hers, but this is a fairly good replica. Better than the ones my mom makes out of tortillas... but Morgan says I shouldn't be mean by saying that. (Although she did whisper in my ear tonight that she liked my recipe better than her Nana's -- but I won't be mean and tell my mom!) It was super easy.

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings

4 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
1 can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 can mushrooms
Salt and Pepper

Put above ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours. Chicken will be falling off the bone. Pull bones, skin and gristle from crock pot. Mix up so chicken breaks into smaller pieces.

Then add:

1 small can of refrigerator biscuits (cut into small pieces – about 6 pieces per biscuit). Turn on high and cook for about 30 minutes or until dough pieces are done in the middle.

This should have made 4 servings, but had big eaters. You could easily double it and use a regular size can of biscuits. We'll definitely be doing this one again. I LOVE the crock pot!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Swiss Chicken with Walnut Asparagus

This chicken dish is one that my mom always makes when she has company over. It's so easy and delicious. I have been wanting it for awhile so I finally found her recipe and made it tonight.

Swiss Chicken
4-6 Chicken Breasts
Sliced Swiss Cheese
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/3 Cup White Wine
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
1 Cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse chicken and dry. Place in a 9x9 or larger baking dish. Season chicken with salt, pepper and chicken seasoning (if desired). Place a slice or two of cheese over each chicken breast. Mix soup and wine together and pour over chicken/cheese. Sprinkle bread crumbs over chicken. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 1 hour.

Served with
Steamed Asparagus with Walnuts and Browned Butter Sauce
1/2 cup walnuts, dry roasted
1 lb asparagus, bottoms snapped off
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (we don't like a lot of lemon so I just used some lemon juice)
salt and pepper

In saute pan dry roast the walnuts. Set aside to cool then very coarsely chop.

In a large pot steam the asparagus until just tender (or you can buy that steam in the bag kind from the grocery store, which is what I did!). Arrange asparagus on a serving platter.

In the saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook and stir the butter frequently until it browns and smells nutty. DO NOT burn. Stir in the roasted walnuts and lemon zest or juice.

Pour browned butter sauce over the asparagus, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Conchita's

I have a favorite restaurant in Kerrville... My family doesn't necessarily share my passion for Conchita's, but I don't care. I eat there as often as I can get away with it. I took Morgan there for lunch today, just a mommy/daughter thing. Of course, she couldn't to get home to play with the next door neighbor kids, but I guess I'll take what I can get!

Conchita's signature dish is their Chicken Avacado Eggroll. It's a traditional eggroll wrapping, but stuffed with shredded chicken and avacados and drizzled with her amazing cilantro/pecan pesto. I've tried to duplicate her pesto sauce at home. Mine wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't the same as hers.

Today I had the 1/2 and 1/2 which is one chicken avacado eggroll and then a half order of chicken pesto nachos. Can you tell I am in love with the pesto? She also serves a Greek Salad that is heavenly. It's simple... bed of lettuce with some potato salad, pico de gallo, guacamole and then drizzled with the pesto.

Teresa Womack is the owner of Conchita's. She and I worked together years ago at Justin's Corn Dogs in the "small" here in Kerrville. She's had the restaurant for about 7 years now. Open for lunch only... once in awhile she's open on the weekends for dinner, but I am not sure if she has a set time for that...

Visit her if you get a chance. Tell her I sent you! 810 Main Street - right next to the tatoo parlor!!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chicken & Tomatillo Tacos with Mexican Fideo

You can't live in South Texas and not love Mexican food. But I get tired of the same old enchiladas and burritos. I've been wanting to try some roasted tomatillos so I took a couple of different recipes and some inspiration from Bobby Flay and this is what we had for dinner tonight.

Tomatillo Salsa
1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
2 jalapeno peppers, washed
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Teaspoon brown sugar
Lime
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)

1. Preheat grill.
2. Grill onions, jalapenos and tomatillos (I used a grilling basket) until soft and a bit charred, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
3. Peel, seed and stem jalapenos (next time I am going to leave the seeds of one of them to add some heat). Place the tomatillos, onions, jalapenos, lime juice, cilantro, vinegar, brown sugar, salt and pepper (to taste) in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is well blended but still has a bit of a chunky texture.

To make the tacos, I bought a rotisserie chicken and shredded it and then added the chicken to the salsa and heated it all up. I warmed whole wheat flour tortillas and put the chicken on the tortillas, topped them with crumbled Queso Fresco. (Don't skip the cheese - it makes the taco... you can get it next to the regular cheese at the grocery store!!) Delicioso!!

Mexican Fideo

1 box of fideo (vermicelli)
Vegetable oil
1/2 Onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 small jalapeno, diced
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 Teaspoon oregano

Put onion, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno and seasonings in a food processor or blender. Process until combined, but slightly chunky.

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add fideo and cook on medium low and brown to a golden brown color. Once the fideo is toasted, pour in tomato mixture, bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer until tender. About 5 - 10 minutes. Liquid should be almost all absorbed. Serve with chicken tacos.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mohambra Chicken Thighs

6 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped pecans, slightly roasted
6 ounces red bell peppers, roasted and skinned
6 ounces sundried tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:Sprinkle chicken with paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper; dust lightly with flour. In large skillet, place olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Reduce heat to medium; add wine, cover and simmer 15 minutes, turning chicken occasionally. Remove chicken to ovenproof casserole, cover and place in 300 degree F. oven to keep warm. To skillet, add onions, garlic and pecans. Sauté 5 minutes and remove to food processor. Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes, salt and process until almost smooth. Return chicken and any drippings from casserole to skillet; stir in onion mixture. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes.

I served it with fresh green beans with sauteed onions and garlic and diced tomatoes. The Mohambra sauce is really good with pita chips!

My 8 year old LOVED it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicken Asparagus

I had fresh asparagus and chicken breasts... I didn't want to do a roll up thing, especially since breasts are prone to drying out... so here is what I did. It was super yummy!

3 chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise, seasoned with salt and pepper and browned on both side in olive oil/butter
1 lb fresh asparagus (blanched for a few minutes til they were almost soft)
1 yellow onion, chopped and sauteed in butter until soft and starting to carmelize

In the bottom of a baking dish (I used my pampered chef covered stoneware baker), I put the asparagus, then the chicken breasts and then the onions. On top of that I put a mixture of:

1 can of cream of chicken soup with herbs
1/2 cup light mayonaise
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I get the stuff in the deli section... noth that powdered stuff with the regular cheese. Get GOOD parmesan!)

I covered it and baked it for 25 minutes, then uncovered it and sprinkled about a cup of grated swiss cheese over the top and put it back in the oven until the cheese was all melted and gooey. Served it over bowtie pasta.

My family ATE it up! Good stuff. We'll be doing that one again for sure!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A long wait

My friend Gail recently was married. For the very first time at 59 years old. She waited a really long time for Mr. Right. I envy her that. I wish I could have been that patient! The wedding was at an event center in Wimberley. It was so beautiful. They were married along the river bank. The reception was in on outdoor pavilion at sunset. Just absolutely gorgeous. And my favorite photographer in the world, Rick Breckenridge, took photographs. He lives in Austin and works for Channel 8. I don't get to see him nearly enough. I miss my friends who move on from Kerrville. Gail's been in Houston for years so I rarely see her either. So overall it was a wonderful evening. I spent time with two very wonderful friends and had my mom and daughter there. Oh... and did I mention there was free wine? What could be any better?

Me, Gail, Mom
Me, Gail and my mom

Me and Gail
Gail and I

Tammi and Rick again
My favorite photographer, Rick and I

Gail and I again
I just love Gail!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fresh Basil Pesto

I admit it... I am a pesto fanatic... I can't imagine anything better than a freshly made pesto... I had it in restaurants for so many years, never realizing how easy it is to make at home. It's simple and you can put it on everything... burgers, bread, pasta, vegetables.... the possibilities are endless!

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh flat leaf (Italian parsley)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (Romano works too)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (I substitute walnuts when I don't have pine nuts... just toast them up in a small skillet on top of the stove. Your nose will let you know when they are done! You can also use pecans for a different taste!)
4 garlic gloves, peeled and roughly chopped (use fresh - not that jarred stuff)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I only cook with kosher salt)
1/2 cup of good quality olive oil

Put all ingredients except olive oil into food processor. Pulse until ingredients are combined and starting to break down. While processor is on, drizzle olive oil in through top and combine until pesto is smooth.

It's that EASY! And the best pesto you will ever eat outside of a really great restaurant. It puts that store bought stuff to shame! You'll never buy it again once you've made this and realize how easy it is!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Herbed Creamy Pasta with Mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter
1 cup mushrooms (brown or white)
salt
pepper
rosemary (I use a Pampered Chef dry version, but fresh would be good)
garlic salt (although fresh garlic would probably be better)
8 ounces of linquini or pasta of your choice
3/4 cup cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (not that stuff in the can, but the real grated kind from the deli section)

Saute mushrooms in butter with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Meanwhile boil pasta until al dente. Once mushrooms are browned, add cream and nutmeg... cook for a couple of minutes until slighty thickened. Add pasta and toss to coat, add parmesan cheese, stir and serve.

You can also add peas to this or shredded carrots. Just be sure they get cooked. You could also add some roasted chicken to make it a complete meal on its own.

Amaretto Salmon

This is one of my absolute favorite dishes.

One salmon filet (however much you need to feed your group)
salt and pepper
dijon mustard
Italian bread crumbs (I use the ones in the blue cannister that you buy on the flour aisle)
1/2 stick butter
1 shot of amaretto liquor

Wash and pat dry your salmon, place on a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, spread on a thin layer of dijon mustard. Follow with a thin layer of bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes or until just shy of done.  When the salmon is almost done, turn the oven to broil, move the rack and pan up and cook for about 5 minutes or until it is nicely browned. Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat and add the shot of amaretto. Remove fish from oven. Remove to plate. The skin should stick to the foil. Cover with butter sauce and serve!! It's delicious!

Great left over on top of a salad. Good stuff!

Relay for Life 2009

Cyndi Lauper and Punky Brewster

Every year our family participates in Relay for Life. We lost our dad on November 17, 2007 to prostate cancer. Not a day goes by I don't miss him...

And that is the ONLY reason you'd ever see me in this outfit! My daughter and I participated in the 80's celebrity contest. Between all the participants we raised over $500 for the American Cancer Society. Our team raised almost $12,000 altogether.

Hope for a Cure... at least in my daughter's lifetime.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Chicken Marsala Casserole

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Marsala
2 cups water
1 cup long-grain converted rice or orzo
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and diced (You could use rotisserie chicken and it would add lots of extra flavor!)
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚.
In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms and shallot in the butter until tender.
Sprinkle with the flour and stir. Add milk and Marsala, and cook over medium heat until thickened. Add the water. (Yes, it seems weird to add the water, but you need it for the rice/orzo.) Sprinkle the rice or orzo evenly over the bottom of a 13 x 9" pan. (Spray with Pam first!) Add the chicken, and top all with mushroom gravy mixture. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes until bubbly. Remove foil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer. Serves 4 (or more if you use more chicken).

Amaretto Chicken

We had this tonight... pretty good over rice, but I think I'd like it even better over linquine or egg noodles. But I am just a pasta freak... what can I say?

SERVES 3 -4 (Depending on how much you pig out!)

1/4 cup butter
3-4 boneless chicken breast halves (I used thighs because we like dark meat)
3 green onions, diced
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon (I left this out because I didn't have any)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded gruyere, cheese
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
1/4 cup capers

Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in large skillet over med high heat.
Brown chicken in butter quickly, remove to a baking pan.
Add the green onion and mushrooms with the garlic and tarragon. (If you used chicken breast you may need to add some more butter in order to brown the vegetables.)
Pour this over the chicken.
Heat the cream, cheese and amaretto in the pan, whisking rapidly.
Stir in capers then pour the sauce over the chicken.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad.... week

This has really been just a week from hell... I wish I could be all Suzy Sunshine all the time, but honestly I just don't have it in me. I'm tired... work's been crazy... my house is a mess... it's the end of the semester so everyone is crazy... the bulb burnt out in my projector... I had 400 women for lunch today... they took the gym away from me for 5 weeks making me bump a group to another location... they keep telling us to not spend any money, but do more work... It's just been a bad week overall...

Tomorrow is our annual Relay for Life fundraiser... which means I have to spend time with one particular family member that I am not always fond of spending time with... so I will have to grit my teeth a lot... but on the upside, I get to dress up like Cyndi Lauper... if I can just find some hair coloring. I have the outfit.

I need a vacation. Rum drinks served in pineapples with umbrellas... cabana boys... a beach... no responsibility. Dream on...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

50's Bash

We threw a 50's birthday party for my friend Debbie this weekend. She turned 50, thus the theme... We had a lot of fun planning it and she enjoyed it a lot. She's one of my very best friends.
Here we are in our 50's finest. Her daughter in law, Michelle, Debbie, her daughter, Monalee and myself.

50's party

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good times with old friends!

We had our "Recall" this past weekend which is basically our yearly college homecoming. There weren't as many people as I had hoped but I did get to spend some time with some dear friends that I rarely get to see. One of my very best friends from high school and I (Amy) both skipped our senior years of high school to start college early. Our parents both worked there which probably helped. We were 17 and thought we were so cool to be in college. In hindsight I think I wish I would have stayed for that senior year and done a few things differently, but in the end I am happy to be where I am now. Who knows what different path my life may have taken if I hadn't what I had. Amy and I have managed to stay in touch somewhat over the years, but hadn't really connected until last summer at our high school reunion. After coming here this weekend her husband told her that she really needed to stop dragging him to these reunions if she was only coming to see me and that we should just get together on our own. He's right, of course, and I hope we can do that soon!

Amy and I

Amy and I at Casino Night.

Jamie and Amy Mackie

Jamie and Amy Mackie

I also got to see Barry Milam and his sister Amy. Amy married Kyle Johnson who I went to high school with. Small world. They are all living in San Antonio now, but I still haven't seen them since college. It was so much fun. I hope we get a chance to see each other more often!

The Milams/Johnsons at Casino night

Sara and Barry Milam and Amy (Milam) and Kyle Johnson.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter 2009

Morgan Easter 2009

Didn't get many pictures, but here's the kiddo hunting the eggs!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Kebabs

I love my grill. It's the best thing in my cooking arsenal. When I asked for it for mother's day, James thought I was nuts. He said he never heard of a woman asking for a grill. Well, I do all the cooking, so I think I should have a grill fit for a queen... or at least for a mom!

Tonight we had beef kabobs. I bought boneless beef ribs, cut them into 1 inch pieces and marinated them for about an hour in worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, olive oil, grill seasoning and fresh garlic. Then I skewered some orange bell pepper and onions on some bamboo skewers (after soaking them for awhile, of course!) and the did separate skewers of yellow squash and mushrooms.

All and all I'd give it a 6 on a scale of 10. OK... Healthy, for sure... Even the kiddo asked for more mushrooms! She skipped the onions and bell pepper, but she made up for it in squash and mushrooms. The meat was really tender, but had some muscle running through it so it really had to be cut smaller even after the 1" pieces.

Last night I did the HEB pre-marinated chicken thigh fajitas on the grill... Two nights in a row I didn't have to heat up my kitchen and we had good food. I'm all about easy and good.

Tomorrow night is chicken fettucine alfredo... guess I could grill the chicken thighs first... that could be really tasty! Think I'll try... I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fish N Chips

We had this "good for you" version of Fish n Chips tonight. I added some smoked chipotle or cayenne pepper to the breadcrumbs to give it a little kick. Good stuff. This comes from Rachael Ray.



SERVES 4 Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 20 min

1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1 shallot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 sweet potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), each cut into 12 wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cooking spray
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
3/4 cup buttermilk
Four 5-ounce skinless, boneless tilapia fillets, each cut lengthwise into thirds

1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 450°. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon parsley; season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer and bake on the lower rack until tender and crisp around the edges, about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, coat another foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and fish, turning to coat. Working with 1 piece at a time, coat the fish with the cornmeal mixture; transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spray the fish with cooking spray; bake on the upper rack until golden-brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with the fries, dipping sauce and lemon wedges.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tried it Twice... still don't like it

Last night we went over to see Gini and the baby at the hospital in Fredericksburg. I had thought we'd go visit and then have a nice dinner, preferably at Pasta Bella, but by the time we go there it was already 8:45 and by the time we left the hospital it was well past 9:00. We drove up and down the main street there in F'burg trying to find a restaurant, but amazingly most of them close at 9:00. You'd think for a tourist town, it would stay open later, especially on a really nice, warm Saturday night in April. We ended up at the Brewery which we had tried on one other occasion and were not that impressed. Last night was no different. The first time we ate there we tried their German food. Frozen pork/veal patty. I am not a fan of frozen, pre-purchased patties of any sort. And now that I have started making Jaegerschnitzel at home, we just don't eat it out anyway. I wish I could find veal, but pork works...

So last night James had the red snapper and I had a chicken fried steak. First of all, I am not a huge fan of restaurant chicken fried steak, but their menu is fairly limited and I was just wanting something that was mostly meat. It was about the size of a small dinner plate, but flatter than a pancake. The meat had all kinds of strings in it. Obviously a very cheap quality. I won't go as far as to say it was a frozen patty, but it was bad enough in it's flattened state. I will say the green beans were good. The German potatoes and onions were cold, had absolutely no seasoning on them and I am fairly certain that there are centuries of dead Germans rolling over in their graves at this very moment only because of them... James's fish was obviously from frozen state. (Not that we were expecting fresh red snapper in F'burg.) But these were frozen with the batter already on them. I'd say one step above Vandekamps.

My advice is... if you are going to visit the Brewery, stick to the brew.... enough of it and any food might taste decent!

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The goofiness of my kid

This picture was taken about two years ago.

Morgan Brush

I know God knew that she was safe and that "Grace" was never a name that I even slightly considered when naming my child. She found a round brush in the bathroom and decided to try to comb her naturally curly hair with it. A lot of conditioner and a lot of patience and we finally got it out! Just gotta love kids, don't you?

Morgan and Nana

She does lover her Nana, though. And as all good grandmothers, hers doesn't mind her goofiness as much as I do. She's so much more patient with her than I am. Funny, I don't remember my mom being that patient with me. Maybe I am just getting old and the memory is fuzzy? Somehow I doubt it. I think grandparents get a huge dose of patience somewhere along the line. Too bad they don't hand that out to parents as well.

Morgan and Papa Bear

She loved my dad so very much. I have never seen a grandparent/grandchild relationship that close. They truly were each other's best friends. Not too long before my dad died he told me that Morgan was THE most important person in his life. I truly think that she's the reason he hung on as long as he could. A year and a half later and there is still rarely a day that goes by that she doesn't mention her "Papa Bear". I miss him, too.

Baby Max

One of my best friends and coworkers and the person who performed my marriage ceremony, Reverend Gini Norris-Lane gave birth to her second child yesterday in Fredericksburg. Maxwell Robert Norris Lane joined us at 7:17 in the morning weighing 7 lbs and 10 oz and he was 20 1/4 inches long. He is welcomed by his parents, Gini and Wes and by big brother, Austin. We are all excited to have Max here with us. He joins the rest of the student services "M" children and we are thrilled that Gini continued the "M" tradition. The other "M's" include Morgan, Marcus, Marielle, Mattie and Maela. (We love Austin, Bishop and Lyric, too! And we forgive them for not being "M's" becuase their parents didn't work at Schreiner yet!)

Max and Aunt Tammi

Aunt Tammi and Max!

All together now

I've been blogging for awhile now in different sites all over the internet so I decided it was time to gather all my thoughts into one place. Most of you won't care and that's fine. I don't do this for any reason other than to get the random thoughts out of my brain. Helps me sleep... And helps me remember things. So that's that... who knows what will pop up here. Recipes, for sure. I seem to collect them a lot. Experiences, places we go, stories about the kiddo... yep, my thoughts are pretty random. But they'll be here... for what they are worth.