Posts tagged ‘Cooking’

Good Family Fun

I’ve mentioned one or twenty times before that my parents have a vacation house in Galveston. (For future reference, they’ve named the house Bella Rose.) Since we live a mere 40 minutes from Galveston we are able to use this house more often than if their house were on another island. They bought the house early last summer (post-Ike) and up until last weekend, we’d never been as a family.

Many of you probably don’t know this but there is a mini Mardi Gras in Galveston. I’ve never been to the real Mardi Gras so I can’t compare. I’m sure it’s probably similar, but smaller… maybe like if you stuck New Orleans in front of the huge gun thing on Honey I Shrunk the Kids. There are parades and parties in the street. After 25 years of living in south Texas, I finally made it to Mardi Gras.

Stephen and I headed to Bella on Friday night after a nice dinner at a local Mediterranean restaurant. We arrived full of humus and souvlaki and unloaded the car. On Saturday evening we were going to celebrate my SIL’s birthday so I got started making these cupcakes that PW posted a week or so ago. It was my first time to make cupcakes that involved the stove. It was also my first time to use a particular pot from the cabinet at that house. Does anyone see where this is headed? At one point you have to pour a cup of boiling water into a pot of other stuff. So I had two pots going. As I was heading to the smaller pot to pour the water, I tucked my hand into the sleeve of my sweatshirt because it looked like the handle might be hot. Unfortunately the tip of my finger was still sticking out and it touched the handle for approximately 1/8000th of a second and burned the hell-fire out of my finger.

I would show you a picture but nobody had the good sense to take a picture of my wound at the time. And now it just looks like a slightly darker pink line across my finger. So just trust me on this. In the words of Buddy the Elf, my finger had a heartbeat. In fact it was beating in the form of shooting pains from the tip of my finger to my wrist. It hurt. A lot. Cuts and bruises, I can handle. But burns are a different story. They make me moan and whine and curse my life.

So that was the long way of telling you that I burned my finger and may have forgotten the step in the instructions that says to remove the cupcakes from the pan 5 minutes after they come out of the oven.

We all settled into bed and went to sleep. I assume they all slept better than I did because I had to sleep with my finger tucked away in an ice pack all night. On Saturday morning the burning had stopped and all I had was a dark red line and a bit of finger tenderness. Which isn’t a bad thing. We all need a bit of tenderness in our lives, right?

Stephen and I went out to breakfast and left my parents at the house to do grown up fix-up-the-house activities. We had a couple hours before my sister, brother, SIL, and niece would arrive so we thought a nice stack of blueberry pancakes would fill that time perfectly. It was nice until about 30 seconds after we left the restaurant when I realized I left my leftovers on the table. I refused to go back because I assumed that they had already thrown them away… plus I’d rather just whine about it thank you very much. Although we should have gone back because I would have also seen that I left my Chapstick on the table and I wouldn’t have had to go through the awful feeling of putting my hand in my pocket only to feel cotton and a wad of lint. Bummer.

At that point, my weekend wasn’t looking great. And this is totally not where I intended this story to go. It was supposed to be all happy and wonderful and bragging on Galveston. But I suppose while I’m being the equivalent of Eeyore I could go ahead and tell you the rest of the story about the cupcakes. It’s a good one…. if you’re in a good mood. If your finger has just been burned and your Chapstick and pancakes have been lost, it’s a heartbreaker.

While we were having breakfast my mom decided she’d pop the cupcakes out of the tins so they’d be ready for me and my ganache topping. When I walked into the kitchen she had a concerned look on her face and two very torn up cupcakes on the counter. There were 21 cupcakes still in the tin and one that was nowhere to be seen. I later found out that it had mysteriously jumped out of the tin into my dad’s mouth. Apparently the whole 5 minute thing was an important step. These things were practically glued into the tins. I came this close to shedding a tear and thought to myself, “What would Pioneer Woman do?” Well she’d probably make a whole new batch. Or she would never have made this mistake in the first place. So then I thought to myself, “Scratch that. What would Big Mama do?” She’d improvise because one should never throw out good cupcakes even if they are a bit ugly on the outside.

So we cut and scooped and cut and scooped until all of the cupcake bits were free. Then we gently shoved them in a 9×13 cake pan and made a very lumpy cake. I made the ganache and artfully poured it over our messy cake. And friends, it was good.

And that’s really then end of my story. But you see that I titled this post “Good Family Fun” which totally doesn’t work with this story. I had planned to tell you that Mardi Gras isn’t just a drunken fest for crazies to let loose. It’s also an event for families. We sat on our chairs waiting for the parades and then cheered for beads. Good clean fun. So clean that my niece was even able to attend. (I know I’ve already shown you this picture… she’s just so cute.)

And I figured that if Justin and Laura could bring their child along, it was safe for me to bring my Stephen along.

That’s my man. Loud and proud. The only one with his hands in the air!

February 11, 2010 at 9:32 am 19 comments

The Calm After The Storm

I am currently settled into our big leather chair. It’s Sunday night and I have a large glass of Dr. Pepper next to me and The Next Iron Chef finale on the television. My feet are cozy in slippers and I’ve got a pillow and a laptop on my lap. I am happy. I am relaxed. I am accomplished.

This weekend was one of my rare weekends when I look back and wonder, “Who the heck is this chick? Is she on drugs?” I didn’t stop moving. I have the pains in my back and stains on my tile floor to prove it. For real.

After work on Friday I headed home to hang out with Rookie and Molly for an hour or so before going to a dinner. Molly was staying with us for the weekend while my parents were out of town. It’s always fun to have Molly around. I specifically enjoy watching her and Rookie chase each other around the house while barking. There’s really nothing more entertaining than a 6 pound fluff ball and 45 pound wolf dog play. Try it sometime. And when said wolf dog needs to go outside to potty, this is what said fluff does:

Saturday morning I slept. And slept. It was glorious. When I finally dragged myself out of bed, I took inventory on my kitchen and made my grocery list. Incase anyone ever thinks it’s a good idea to go to the grocery store around noon on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I beg you to rethink. Unless you’re the type that gets a high from maneuvering around hoards of grocery carts and fighting for the dwindling supply of canned pumpkin. I am not. I get a high from stocking my freezer or from finding something on sale. Although I did buy two cans of pumpkin even though I already had two in my pantry and only needed 1 for my recipe. You want pumpkin? You need pumpkin? I suppose I need more pumpkin. You know, just incase.

I came home and unloaded the car. I put the ingredients for chicken chili in the Crock and asked God to make this the best soup in the world so my husband would decide that soup doesn’t suck. Without looking back or thinking about what was in my near future, I started making the dough for Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls. I’ve been wanting to taste these for a long time now and I don’t think I know many people bold enough to take these on… and then share them with me. To be honest with you, I didn’t completely read the recipe before I started it. I didn’t really want to know what I was getting into.  So I started the dough. I put it in the laundry room to rise for an hour and decided to make some mini-meatloafs (meatloaves?) to restock my freezer. An hour later I checked on my dough. I told Stephen that if it didn’t rise I would cry. I didn’t rise much. I didn’t cry. I recovered it and turned on the dryer to heat up the room.

Once the dough was “good enough” I started rolling them out. According to PW’s cookbook, you should roll the dough into a 30 x 10 inch rectangles in two batches. Thirty by ten. Thirty inches by ten inches. Imagine your kitchen. Do you have a space that can accomodate a 30 x 10 inch rectangle of dough, plus some space around it for oozing mess, work space, and butter, sugar and cinnamon? That’s a lot of space. Thankfully I had the space but I was cutting it close.

So lets just say that these were a lot of work. Not difficult, just time-consuming. I learned after the first half of dough that there is such thing as a Wrong Way to Roll Cinnamon Rolls. I did better on my second go. By the end of the rolling, cutting, icing whisking, packing, etc. I was exhausted. I nursed my wounds by eating 3 delicious cinnamon rolls and a bowl of mediocre chicken chili.

But I pressed on. I made some King Ranch Chicken with some turkey I had in the freezer from many moons ago when I made my first turkey. So King Ranch Turkey, really. I have no idea if it’ll be good, it’s in 4 9×9 pans in my freezer now. This is what I ended up with.

Ignore my dated kitchen. Dated kitchens work the same as fancy new ones. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I should have taken a photo of the counter after I rolled the cinnamon rolls. It was bad.  Bad in an ooey gooey cinnamony delicious way. But it’s all okay because I ended up with 8 trays of Heaven.

Then I went to sleep. And slept like a freaking bear in hibernation. Sunday after church we went to a surprise party for my uncle. We got home around 4:30 and I got back in the kitchen. Why? Because I’m a crazy lady. I threw some stuff in the Crock to make tortilla soup and accidentally turned it to warm instead of high. Warm doesn’t cook chicken. In case you were wondering.

Then I whipped this baby up.

That’s a chocolate pumpkin cheesecake, thank you very much. And since my Crock Pot was on warm instead of high for an hour, we were without dinner. So I hopped back up and fried up some bacon, chopped some potatoes and made some hashbrowns, and scrambles some eggs. And that Lord said, “it was good.”

And now I’m relaxing. I’m about 14 seconds away from going to bed where I will pass out and sleep like a baby. Or like a shih-tzu.

(Ten on Tuesday questions have been posted on in the archives – click the button in the right sidebar. Tomorrow marks the first day that YOU come up with questions.)

November 23, 2009 at 9:52 am 25 comments

Slow Cooking is Still Cooking

Just so y’all know, Stephen’s nose is looking excellent but now he’s got himself a big fat fever. I spent the evening wondering how in the world I’m ever going to have kids if I freak out about a 102 fever on a 25 year old man. In fact, this is on auto-post because I’ve spent most of the evening Googling his symptoms and am pretty concerned and I’m not sure what we’ll be doing in the morning. I don’t tell you this so you can be all, “Oh Chelsea, you’ll be a great mom.” No. I tell you this because this is my blog and I can be real with you.

One of the greatest parts of having a blog is that I get to tell you ridiculous things that happen to me and somehow they become less embarrassing. Usually you can relate. You often say, “That’s not so bad. One time I…” and somehow I don’t feel like quite an idiot. We work together, you and me. We complete each other.  

Another great thing about having a blog is that you read it and you often give me feedback. You’ve told me how to cut my hair, where to buy a dress, how to paint my wood paneling, what books to read. You guys are full of good info. So don’t let me down today. No pressure…

I’m back on my crock pot kick. The moods come and go. I find that I fall more in love with my crock pot when winter approaches. It’s cool outside (seriously, it’s in the 70’s today) and it’s dark when I get home from work. There is something so comforting about walking into a warm house that smells like a home cooked meal. Sometimes I feel like saying, “Splendid! The housekeeper must’ve left dinner in the oven for us. She’s such a peach!” And it’s a great feeling until I remember that I don’t have a housekeeper and I don’t say “peach” unless we’re talking about cobbler or Bellini’s. But it’s actually even better that the meal is from my crock pot because I still get credit for making a rocking dinner!

Last week Lauren told me about an easy peasy meal that she and her husband have. She throws a few chicken breasts into a crock pot, seasons them with Lawry’s, and then puts salsa on top. After a day of slow cooking you shred it up with two forks and make yourself some fantastic soft tacos.  I made these last week and they were awesome. Unfortunately I made them on a day when Stephen was still learning how to eat, so I had to make him a taco salad. He said it was good but I could tell he didn’t get the full effect. I decided I’d make them again this week.

Massive failure commenced in my kitchen.

You always hear about young brides who are learning to cook and ruin a ton of food. They either undercook things or they burn them. Or they add salt instead of sugar. Or use a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. Up until a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t relate. I never make those mistakes. I know how to cook. But recently I’ve been burning food. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, maybe I’m too comfortable in the kitchen so I’ve started experimenting more. I don’t know. But Monday night was the worst of the worst.

Monday morning I threw two seasoned chicken breasts in the crock. I put a bit of salsa on top and plugged it in. As I was doing this I thought, “I wonder if I should put 4 in there. They say you’re supposed to make sure your crock pot is mostly full. Hmmm… it may be fine. But I wonder if it makes a difference that I defrosted them. Last week I didn’t. It may cook faster. Oh well, I’ll give it a shot.”

I may never, ever give anything a shot ever again. We walked into the house on Monday evening and something didn’t smell right. My mouth didn’t water. I didn’t have the desire to scorch my tongue by eating straight from the crock pot.  I opened the lid. Stephen yelled, “NO WAY! Oh my gosh! Cool!” They were charred. They were shriveled up and hard as a rock. The salsa was burnt to the sides of the pot. It was terrible. Horrible. I was sad and embarrassed and royally pissed off.

I got in the kitchen and made us some breakfast tacos. I cursed the crock pot and went to Bible Study to whine about my misfortune and pray for the mental health of my crock pot. Then I came home and began the marinade for my brisket I was going to throw in the pot the next day.

Tuesday was a bit better. The brisket cooked an appropriate amount of time and smelled excellent. Stephen loved it but I was underwhelmed. I mean, I’m a Texas girl so I believe there is really no such thing as bad brisket unless it’s bone dry. That’s just illegal. But I know I can make a better brisket.

That’s where y’all come in. I need some recipes, brisket and other. Now I’m a firm believer that beggars can’t be choosers, but I’ve got some guidelines here. I’d like crock pot recipes. They need to be easy and TRUE crock pot recipes – None of that saute this, bake that, then let it heat in the crock. No, I need something I can throw together in the morning and leave for 9 hours. Also, I only want recipes that you’ve made. I don’t want to know recipe websites, I have plenty of those. Something that you have made and love. Got it? Post  it in the comments or on your blog or give us a link!

Help a girl out before she has a breakdown!

November 12, 2009 at 9:10 am 27 comments

Budget Shmudget

I had a fantastic weekend. Friday night was our blogger meetup. We went to Gravitas. They were really accommodating and we had a great area set aside just for us with a fabulous bartender. With that said, if I’m going to give it a TRUE review, I have to tell you that it was a bit pricey. They had this amazing drink made with strawberry and vanilla infused vodka. It was incredible! Although it was also $9 and that hurts me a bit.

Saturday I dropped Rookie off at her grandparents’ house because I love free child care and headed up to visit Lauren (from Texas). Stephen was out of town on a bachelor party camping trip so she invited me to spend Halloween with her and her family. God blessed us with a BEAUTIFUL day so we spent the entire afternoon and evening outside. I got to meet her family and eat her dad’s red beans and rice. By this point in our blog relationship, you should know that I don’t eat any sort of tubed meats. To clarify, it’s not that I absolutely will not eat it, it means that I don’t really enjoy it. However, these red beans and rice had sausage in it and they were shockingly delicious. The flavor of the beans was out of this world. I had a great time hanging out with them and think her mom must have really wanted me to like her because she let me sit in front of a campfire and make s’mores. It worked.

I stayed the night at Lauren’s on Saturday night. On Sunday we sat in the kitchen reading cookbooks and working on our weekly meal plans while her husband watched football with their dogs. I realized that it’s fun to do meal plans with someone else. You get to try new recipes and get new ideas. If you’ve never done it, do it. Find someone with a similar cooking style. Oh and also, with the same food budget.

This is huge. Lauren and I both keep our families on strict budgets. We buy sale items and do happy dances when we find bargains. If you can’t relate, then it will make no sense to you when I say that I get a high when I think about saving money.

Stephen and I are pretty anti-debt. Not entirely, but for the most part. We know that there are a few areas of life that often require debt. Houses, cars, and college. But beyond that, no debt. So when we need something, we have to budget. My mom recently bought us a beautiful dining room table that she found at a resale shop. It is brand new table but the furniture store took it to the resale shop because there weren’t any chairs. It was only $100 and it is gorgeous. So we need to buy 8 pub height chairs and those are not cheap. The going rate for chairs is about $129-$169 for a set of two. Do the math. We aren’t talking pocket change here. So we’re saving. We probably won’t be getting them until the new year since this is such an expensive time of year. And we are okay with that, as long as we plan for it.

Stephen also has a desire to bike. He’d like to get a road bike and take this up as a hobby. He’s been casually saying this for a couple years and he’s finally decided he’s serious. We talked about it and decided we’d start budgeting to get him a bike. I don’t even want to tell you the price of bikes because if I type it, it might make it real. Little by little we are setting money aside for this. So every penny matters.

I have a couple ideas for Stephen’s Christmas present. His birthday is in January so I have to buy two gifts each year. I really think we should start celebrating his birthday on his half birthday so we can spread it out a bit. But whatever, nobody asked me. I was flippng though an ad on Saturday and saw that one of the items I was thinking about was on sale. I figured now was as good a time as any to go get it. (Sorry I can’t tell you what it is, he reads this. Check back on December 26. I’m sure the anticipation is killing you.) Not only was this item on sale, but there was a mail-in rebate as well. So I went to the store on the way home from Lauren’s on Sunday. I found my item and didn’t see the rebate form next to it. I went to check out and asked the lady if the form would print out. She seemed very unclear about what I was talking about.

This annoys me. I tried to stay calm but it really bothers me when people have NO clue what they are talking about when it is their job to help. So I explain… “This ______ is regularly $___ but it’s on sale for $____ and there is an additional $___ mail-in rebate. I need the form for the mail-in rebate. Do you have any idea where I get that? They are normally located by the product but it wasn’t over there. Did it print out when you finished my transaction?” Crickets. Ugh. She stared at me and said, “I think it’s in the box.” Umm, no. I told her that’s not how rebates work and I was 99.9% sure the form was not in the box. “I think it is. With that paper that tells you that it will work for a certain amount of time.” Oh dear. “The warranty? No. The warranty comes in the box, the mail-in rebate does not. Can you please tell me who to talk to so I can get this figured out because I don’t want it without the form.” FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER after she’s checked out 3 other people and talked to 2 people on her walkie talkie (“This lady needs her warranty-” “No, rebate.” “–Oh, her rebate.”) she tells me to walk back over to the product to find the form and Evelyn who is supposed to be helping me. I walked back over there… still no form. And I assume there was no Evelyn, although I wouldn’t know because I have no clue who Evelyn even is. I made my way back to my lovely cashier and she asked me if I found Evelyn. “Well, I actually don’t know Evelyn so can you just return this. This is getting ridiculous. I’ll go to another store.” And then Evelyn showed up with my form.

It may be important to know that the rebate was for $10. I told you, every penny matters. I will do anything to save a few bucks. Our budget doesn’t have much wiggle room so I think it’s important to do what we can to protect our precious budget. However, you can be as careful as you want but sometimes things come up. Sometimes something comes around and smashes your budget… and your husband’s nose. (Please don’t look at these photos if you have an issue with blood.)

 

bloody nose

The guys were riding ATVs over the weekend and Stephen hit a branch or a bump or a crater and hit his nose on the handlebar. The ATV didn’t care about our budget. Neither did the doctors.

doctor

Luckily the helmet took most of the blow. They said that if he hadn’t been wearing his helmet, he would have smashed his face in. Apparently he tore a lot of tissue in there. He has 8 stitches outside and “a lot” inside. Say a little prayer for him today, he’s in quite a bit of pain.

surgery

 It may not be necessary to say this but we definitely won’t ever be fitting an ATV into our budget.

stitches

————–

If you are participating in Ten on Tuesday tomorrow, you can find the questions by clicking the “Ten on Tuesday” button on the right. Please don’t post them until tomorrow morning. I’m going to ATTEMPT a Mr. Linky so we can get all of your links in one spot so it’s easier for everyone to visit each other. Bear with me, I’m not good at this blogging thing.

November 2, 2009 at 10:08 am 31 comments

Stage Fright.

Chelsea and I decided Saturday, while we were up to our elbows in chopped onions and spaghetti noodles, that this whole “Blog Swap” thing was going to be rather nerve wracking. I mean, here’s how I look at it. Some of you know me. Some of you don’t. Usually, when I am writing on my own blog, my writing decisions affect only me. (Maybe my husband too.) But here I am, hammering out a blog post on someone else’s blog, and there are all these people reading, with all these expectations. SO MUCH PRESSURE.

To quote a conversation from yesterday:
Me: “I made Sangria. Is it too early to start drinking?” (It was 11am.)
Chelsea: “No! Never!”

So maybe I’ll just have a glass of leftover Sangria and proceed.

I’m not going to bother talking about myself. I do enough of that on my blog. But I do want to tell you that 1) Chelsea is a genius, 2) I now have enough food to last until Christmas, and 3) it’s great to spend the day with a fellow blogger.

Let’s begin.

Chelsea arrived at my house around 10:30. I had previously (like, the night before) had full intentions of getting up early(ish), getting in a work-out, showering, and being 100% prepared for her arrival. But sometime between the time I woke up and 10am, I ended up doing nothing of the sort and instead stuffed mine and my husband’s faces with cinnamon rolls and watched “Iron Chef” on the Food Network (which, come to think of it, was probably a good choice of program considering the activities lined up for that day). When she got here, I was brushing my teeth and apologizing for my dirty kitchen floor. As you well know, Chelsea lives in a house she calls “Hurst Castle.” That’s a little intimidating, given the fact that my whole house is probably the same size as her living room, from the way it sounds. Oh well, my kitchen is painted the cheeriest shade of apple green, that should cover a multitude of smallness, right?! Anyway, we rolled up our sleeves, donned our super cute aprons, strands of pearls (provided by me, so we could be “just like Julia!”) and started cooking. We cooked and cooked and cooked and cooked. 5 recipes, doubled, ended up making 26-1/2 8×8 foil panfuls of food. That’s 13 for me, and since I am a nice person (and Chelsea beat me at arm wrestling), 13.5 for her.

Let me just say: this was Chelsea’s idea, and it was a GREAT ONE. Now, whenever I get done with a hard day of work and have a hungry husband on my hands, all I have to do is pop one of these gleaming silver packages in the oven and… VOILA! Instant dinner! It’s like having a maid. (Probably not, but since I’ve never had a maid, I can pretend.)

I think the best part of the day (besides the Sangria, which I can’t take credit for either – credit goes to Emeril – click herefor the recipe) was spending all day with a fellow blogger. Our conversation never veered from these 3 topics: husbands, food, and blogs. The only thing I can liken it to is dudes (or girls, I ain’t no sexist) talking about sports. They can talk about it for hours, and if you’re not into all that, it can sound kind of boring (not to mention confusing). The same goes for blog-talk. My husband was in the other room periodically and I’m sure he was thinking, “Who is Bon Bon Rose? What is SITS? WHAT ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?” But we couldn’t stop talking about blogging. When she left that evening, after a second batch of Sangria, some really bad television, a delicious pizza that was NOT homemade, and The Mexican on DVD, I had a big grin on my face. Michael asked me, “Did y’all have fun? Do you think you’re becoming better friends?” To which I answered, “I think we’re already pretty good friends.” True, maybe this was only the 4th time we’ve seen each other in real life, but when you have such a huge part of your lives in common, and when you can email and comment and read and write and blog and facebook each other all the live-long day, what’s to stop you from being friends? Really, really good friends? BF4EV, even?

Suddenly, I’m not scared to post on Roots & Rings. We’re all family, right? Or at the very least, blog friends?

For kicks, here are the recipes I brought to the table. I doubled them both.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas (I got this recipe from my mom)

Ingredients:

3-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 medium onion
1 can green chilis (or 3/4 c. salsa)
3 T. butter
12 corn tortillas
1 lb. grated Cheddar/Jack cheese
1/2 saved chicken broth

Directions:

Boil chicken, cool, and shred (save broth). Preheat oven to 325. Saute onion in butter. Combine onion, soups, broth, chilis, and stir. Cut 6 tortillas into small pieces and cover bottom of 9×13 pan. Spread 1/2 chicken over tortillas, then 1/2 sauce and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers. Bake 30-40 minutes until bubbly and brown.

I would just like to say that when you double 3 tablespoons of butter, you end up with almost an entire stick of butter. Chelsea never batted an eyelash when I dumped that much butter into my cast iron skillet. It was then I knew we’d be friends forever.

Next recipe.

Mediterranean Tuna Casserole (I ripped this recipe out of some food magazine – I am not trying to say I made it up. There now, no one can sue me.)

Ingredients:

1/3 c. olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. wide egg noodles
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cans (6 oz. each) tuna in olive oil, drained
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and thickly sliced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil 2 8″ square (or other shallow 2 quart) baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente according to package instructions; drain, and return to pot.

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer.

Step 3: Remove from heat, add mixture to noodles in pot, along with tuna, artichoke hearts, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Divide between prepared baking dishes, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.

So there you have it. Chelsea should be posting her recipes over on my blog; if she doesn’t, let’s all agree to annoy her until she does.

And the moral of the story is: go grab a friend, a bunch of ingredients, and a kitchen. Cook for a few hours, drink some wine, and laugh a lot. Then guest blog for each other.

And get over your blog fright.

BF4EV

 

August 24, 2009 at 8:58 am 23 comments

Oh, The Anticipation

Last Friday I told you to come back on Monday so we could all talk about our weekends. Then I went and saw Julie & Julia and couldn’t think straight. So I had to get yesterday’s post out of my system and now I”m back to my normal self. Back to the uninspiring posts about Rookie’s seasonal allergies and my frozen Double Stuf Oreo addiction. I apologize. You probably read yesterday’s post and thought, “Wow. She’s really growing. She’s becoming a much more serious writer. This is fabulous.” Nope. I’m not. It was a fluke.

I almost peed my pants on Saturday night.

See. Back to normal.

Really though. Stephen and I went to Austin on Saturday morning. Our friends were in town from Germany. They had limited time in Austin so we made sure to force them to see us as much as possible. We think that if we force ourselves upon people and do our best to be funny and charming, we’ll convince them all to move to Houston. I don’t know if it’s working or not, but we’re not going to let up any time soon.

Some of our old community group met up for lunch at Trudy’s. We ate food that was too spicy for me and I reapplied my Chaptick about 428,9347 times. We caught up and went through the required questions. How are you? How’s your job? How’s your church? How’s your dog? Are you pregnant? etc. etc. etc. So Saturday night when we all met up again, we could just go straight to where we all left off before we all married each other and moved off to random places.

We had a blast. We sat around and talked for a while. Made the boys go outside and talk about us so that we could stay inside and talk about them. Then we gathered again over burgers and beer. We decided to play Catch Phrase. There is almost nothing more fun than playing Catch Phrase with a group of people who share many of the same inside jokes. It was probably the best ab workout I’ve had since I started ignoring Jillian in my DVD player.

Throughout the evening we pumped ourselves up about our upcoming vacation. Ten of us are heading down to Galveston at an undisclosed date to hang out for the weekend. (It’s only undisclosed to you since you aren’t invited. They all know the date.) The more we talked about it, the more excited we got. Cooking, laying out, sitting on the porch at night, playing games, drinking beer. That’s the life. We are counting down the days and can’t wait until it’s finally here.

I love that group of friends. When we get together we laugh until we cry and almost pee our pants. We have history. We knew each other when we were single. Before we had jobs and houses and responsibilities. We’d hang out until all hours of the night because we could.

I’m in the process of developing a friend like that here. Lauren. Remember her? My blog soul mate? My friend date? We live about an hour and a half apart but we are doing everything in our power to pretend that we are actually neighbors. This Saturday we have great plans to hang out all the live long day. We’ll be cooking! This week, Stephen and I are eating our very last meal from our freezer stock. Time to replenish. I’ll tell you more about it later and we have a surprise in store for you on Monday. If you read her blog, you’ll see what the surprise is. If you don’t, you’ll just have to wait and see!!

I know, the anticipation is killing you. Me too.

What did you do this weekend? Anything exciting that would make me jealous? Anything totally boring that will make me appreciate my weekend even more?

August 18, 2009 at 9:37 am 11 comments


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