Monday, August 23, 2010

Moose Monday

Still learning the ins and outs of the new iPhone flash, observe:

Cute moose:

Demon moose:

Annnd that's all the energy I have for today. It's safe to say that this Monday officially kicked my rear.

Here's to Tuesday! Goodnight!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hit and Run FAIL

I saw this video on Fail Blog today and it cracked me up. To say that I am not the world's greatest driver would be a slight understatement. And ever since I was a little kid, I've never been able to get away with anything. Combine these two facts and I've never even thought to attempt to 'run' after any of my car accidents*. So when I saw this I was pretty much rolling on the floor laughing because if I ever did try to run... this would surely happen to me:

*With maybe the slight exception of the time I ran into our high school football coach's (parked) truck when I was running late for Saturday school {points for irony that I was in SS for tardies?!}.  I for sure backed up and parked as far away from that truck as I could because that man was scary.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Date Night

I've got a hot date tonight. Actually I have three hot dates. I know, I know, but before you start calling me a hussy- it's actually a mama/daughter date with The Dot, Jodi, and her mom, Cindy. We are all going to Studio Movie Grill to see Eat Pray Love.  I figured SMG was a good choice so the preggo one could have free reign of the menu and Cindy, my mom, and I could have free reign of the wine list.  :)

I am really excited to see the movie even though I've heard some reviews saying it's not as good as the book. Not to state the obvious, but when is the movie ever as good as the book??  I think it's definitely a rare case.

I read the book this time last year when we were in Napa. My mom had downloaded it to her Kindle and I pretty much jacked it for the entire trip. Literally, the only time I put it down was if I had a glass of wine in my hand and needed to pick up a piece of cheese with the other hand. I had about a quarter left when we boarded the plane to fly home, so being the smart, self preservation type that wanted to retain ownership of her Kindle upon our return to Dallas sweet mother that she is, she went in the airport bookshop and bought me a hard copy. {thanks mom!}

I loved the book. I'm not going to lie- there were a few points where the skeptic in me wondered if Elizabeth Gilbert had perhaps "James Frey'ed" it up a little bit, but even if she did- I loved the general storyline and the fact that it was non-fiction. And the whole premise of having to pick yourself up and take responsibility for your own mental well being after a terrible break-up is one that is a good lesson for all of us. And one that hits especially close to home for some of us.

I started the sequel to EPL, Committed, and it hasn't grabbed me quite yet but I'll let you know what I think when I finally finish it. 

Anyone seen the movie? What did you think?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Football & Birthday Bashes

What a whirlwind of a weekend! It was one of those that was so jam packed it leaves you wishing you had one extra day to relax. It was a blast though. 

Friday was Bossdad's birthday so we had dinner at Al Bernait's and then went back to my house for presents. Our meal was very good, but I would venture to say that there are probably better steaks in Dallas.  However, my dad got a shrimp tempura appetizer that was pretty damn amazing. 

After dinner, my parents went back to Plano and I changed and headed to PM Lounge at the Joule for a joint birthday party. The party was for three gay guys so needless to say the majority of the party goers were gay men. I almost didn't go because none of my girlfriends could come but decided last minute to go by myself and had so. much. fun. After the party died down, Ross, his BF, and I went to S4 and danced until about three in the morning.
Ross and I at PM Lounge. After about the fourth time I was introduced to some of the guys as "Ross' wife" I realized that that's the gay guy equivalent to our GBF. Good to know...

Sami & Ross.

Saturday was my roomie, Alex's, birthday. After lunch with her mom at The Porch we met up with some friends at the pool for a few hours. Later that night we headed to Bishop Arts for a pre-dinner cocktail at the Belmont Hotel and then dinner at Hattie's. It was my first time and I would definitely go back.
The usual suspects at Al's birthday dinner.

She was apparently very excited about her birthday cake!

Jalapeno-stuffed quail with balsamic demi glaze on sweet potato mash.  
{it is rare that I request substitutions- especially at a place like Hattie's, but if there is one single food I don't do- it's sweet potatoes... blech!}

I am the designated birthday cake baker for the group, and saw this "zebra cake" recipe and had to try it.  The outside wasn't so cute due to my bunk icing job, but the inside turned out exactly how it was supposed to (and it was pretty delicious as well).
In the pan ready to bake. The zebra effect is accomplished by spooning alternating batters 3 tablespoons at a time into a pan. Tedious, yes. But it turned out so pretty on the inside...

See? Pretty cool, huh.

After dinner we headed to Cretia's and then the Loon. Jules got back from her honeymoon at 2am the night before but managed to stay out with us until 1am. Gotta hand it to her- we were very impressed that she managed to hang that late!

Sunday we had our all-girls Fantasy Football draft. The go-to party house tends to alternate between ours and Julie's, but with her being fresh off her wedding festivities, Alex and I hosted it. This was our first year doing Fantasy so none of us knew what we were doing. Luckily we had a few guys there to help us get set up and show us the ropes.
Our townhouse was packed with people, laptops, extension cords and tailgate food.

E with her Fantasy Football magazine. We all took this pretty seriously- there weren't a whole lot of players being chosen simply because they dated a Kardashian or looked smoking hot in uniform *cough*tombradyadamarchuleta. I think we all tried our best to make sound, athleticism-based decisions.

So here's the team that I ended up with- I've been told it's pretty solid (especially for not knowing what the heck I was doing), but that there might be a few I need to reevaluate.  We'll see once it gets started. I have about two weeks to get brushed up on the strategic ins and outs so I'll be ready once the official season starts.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moose Monday

We did our Fantasy Football draft yesterday and Moose was apparently pretty worn out a few hours into it. It's a rough life to have to lay around the couch and have twelve girls pet you all afternoon.

Jodi was a little Dallas Cowboys happy with her draft picks so we teased her that she should have drafted Moose to go with the rest of her team.

Friday, August 13, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I know we're not very close to the holidays, but my second favorite time of the year starts next week:

Being a single girl in Dallas, I don't always have the opportunity to try all of the places my little foodie heart desires.  For many reasons:
  1. It's generally frowned upon to suggest a restaurant where entrees are $30+ for a first date- even if your date says "pick anywhere".  And as much as I love it when they say that, I always show restraint and go with the middle ground.  
  2. My two week dating expiration does not provide enough time to work up to the fancy dining experience comfort level.  
  3. There's always the thought to 'just go with the girls', but let's face it, if I were in their shoes (in a relationship) and was going to drop significant cash on dinner- I would want to be with my man friend, so I don't even really go there.
  4. As far as splurges go, I've found that there is only room for one foodie vice in my budget and no restaurant can keep me away from my beloved Central Market. 
So when Restaurant Week was announced, I went on Open Table and made several reservations with the thought process that I will find dates, friends, family to go with and/or give them away to friends that forgot to book their reservations early.  

I tried not to book any places I have tried before but I just couldn't help revisiting Hibiscus, Capital Grille, and Dragonfly.  

My lineup:
  • Al Bernait's - a Dallas favorite off Oak Lawn. 
  • Salum - I have to be honest... I originally made this res thinking it was Steven Pyles other baby- Samar. I've been to his original namesake restaurant and it was great, so I was attempting to try his new concept and got a little confused. However, I've heard good things about Salum as well so I figured I'd give it a shot.
  • Capital Grille - The atmosphere of this place is a little stuffy for me. I don't like going in restaurants and feeling like I'm the youngest person there, but it still was one of my favorites from RW last year. Our waiter was so nice (some places get attitude about RW customers) and I literally had dreams about their creamed corn afterwards.
  • Eddie V's - a relatively new place to the Dallas scene, but I've heard good things so far. I'm excited to see if it lives up to its hype or if it's just the newness of it.  
  • Hibiscus - I've a huge fan of all of Consilient's restaurants, but Hibiscus is definitely my favorite. 
  • Kent Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen - After having eaten at both of Mr. Rathbun's other restaurants in the last two weeks, I'm looking forward to seeing what BPK is all about (if I keep the res).  We went to Abacus for my mom's birthday last week and Jasper's on Wednesday, and even though Abacus is the much more celebrated of the two- I have to say that Jasper's is still my favorite.
  • Dragonfly - I have been here several times and just love the food and the atmosphere. The food is always creative and well-executed and the ambiance is swanky and hip.
  • Charlie Palmer at the Joule - I have been dying to go here since it opened and have also heard that there is a fun bar in the hotel that we might hit up afterwards to change up our usual weekend routine.
A last minute trip out of town might prevent me from going to Hibiscus (8/19), Blue Plate Kitchen (8/20), and Dragonfly (8/21) so if any of you in Dallas have interest in those, let me know!  

Hopefully these places live up to my experiences from last year.  We are kicking the week off tonight with Al Bernait's to celebrate Bossdad's birthday {Happy, Happy Birthday Bossdad!}.  Can't wait! 

I'm thinking that there won't be very many photos of me posted in the later part of August as I'm sure I'll be hiding behind the 15 pounds I've packed on.  :)  I guess I should try kick start that whole running-in-the-morning-before-work bit to try to make sure that doesn't happen!  Oh well.. you only live once, right?  :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tour de Weddings 2010

My blog posting has been a little sparse lately due to the plethora of nuptially themed events that I've been attending in the last month. 

Starting with my brother getting married, and ending most recently with Julie's wedding last weekend.  All of it was an absolute blast. I have two weeks until it starts back up again so I thought I'd play catch up.

Jules' bachelorette party:
Gossiping with the girls in the pool before the night's festivities kicked off.
At Javier's for dinner. Never really figured out why they have a giant bear.
Jules, the bride-to-be, and Erika.
Part of the crew at Sunset Lounge.
Rachel's bachelorette party:
Friday night we went to Top Golf and everyone was encouraged to dress up.  Despite how it may look, I'm not a total party pooper- I did bring a preppy sweater to tie around my neck, but it was July in Texas so that didn't stay on long.
Saturday night we had dinner at Victor Tangos and then went out.  Here is Rachel, our bachelorette, and Meredith.
Jennifer and E.
Meredith, E, Jodi, me.
E and I discovered that Knox St. Pub sold Jello Shots, but notice how E is being stingy and left the cap on hers.  Uh huh... I'm on to you, Erika. And just an FYI, jello shots in fun packaging = dangerous....
Especially for Erika's dress.  Oops!! (sorry E!)

And, of course, Julie's wedding:
Mark and I at the Rehearsal Dinner.
E, Jules, me, Al.
Jules talking to her husband(!) while getting bustled by her 'maids.
The happy couple.
Someone found this giant hula hoop at the venue (I'm sure that wasn't its intended purpose). Jules is mean with a hula hoop and yes, she sure did show everyone her talents in the middle of the reception while wearing her wedding dress. It was classic.
Winding the night down at the after party at Hotel Palomar.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wishing it was Fall

The dog days of summer* are officially here and have already worn out their welcome as far as I'm concerned. It's about 142 degrees in Dallas right now and I've grown very tired of it. It's especially miserable since the AC in my car went out on Friday. The car isn't even that old, and apparently it didn't just break- it pretty much imploded itself. The first repair quote I got was $1,800. Not. Cool.  Needless to say, that furthered my desire for Fall to get here fast.  Things I'm most looking forward to: 
  1. Heading to Phoenix to visit my brother and Whitney.  Her two brothers will be heading down from San Francisco the same weekend, so the five of us will no doubt be getting into some trouble.
  2. Babies!  That would be three total- two of my best friends are pregnant. I already told you about Jodi, but my best friend from when I was little is also pregnant with identical twin girls.
  3. Fantasy Football.  Julie decided back in March that she wanted to put a league together so we have a reason to pay more attention to pro football (we are definitely more of a college football crew). We have absolutely no clue what we're doing, but it will be fun!
  4. Camping. The girls are helping me cross #20 off my 30x30 list and we are going camping the first weekend in October. There are six of us and none of us are the types of girls you might describe as "outdoorsy". I don't think any of us have set up a tent or cooked a meal only using a campfire. Should be very entertaining.
  5. And of course, all the usuals that I look forward to every year- crisp cool air, warm starbucks, fall boots, being able to go for a run outside without a heat stroke, snuggly sweaters, college football saturdays, cozy down comforters, and finally getting back in the kitchen again... to name a few.
*In addition to being the perfect way to describe August in Dallas, this just so happens to be the title of one of my new-ish favorite songs (you may recognize it from the Eat, Pray, Love trailer).  

Friday, August 6, 2010

Deliciousness with chicken atop puff pastry shells

The original title of this recipe was "Creamy Chicken in Puff Pastry Shells".  That just seemed so boring to me so I officially renamed it for Foodie Friday.  Forgive the lack of credit- this was taken off Tastespotting a long time ago and I can't seem to find the original poster.  
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz light cream cheese, softened
  • 6 basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 oz(about 2 TBSP) sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked until crispy then broken up
  • 3 Tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine
  1. Cook puff pastry shells according to package directions.
  2. While your shells are baking, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until no longer pink. (About 5-8 minutes)
  5. In a medium bowl mix together the cream cheese and remaining ingredients until smooth.
  6. Slowly add cream cheese mixture to chicken. Mix with the chicken until no lumps remain and mixture is heated through.
  7. Remove the middle part of the puff pastry and set aside per package directions.
  8. Place chicken mixture into the hole in the pastry and put the little "hat" on the top of the chicken.
I made a few changes to the above recipe... 
  • In addition to the salt and pepper, I also seasoned the chicken with a "Tuscan" italian herb blend before cooking it.
  • I changed the bacon to prosciutto. I don't have anything against bacon- I just like the flavor of prosciutto a little better.
  • I have no doubt that I added more basil and sun dried tomatoes.
  • After it was cooked and fixed one for my roommate, I added a decent bit of cayenne to the chicken mixture since I like things with a little kick.
My roommate said this one "definitely needs to go into rotation" which is always a good sign.  With cream cheese, regular cheese, oil, wine, and puff pastry... this probably isn't one you want to cook every night, but it was delicious for a cheat night.  And since the portion sizes aren't huge and it's extremely easy to make- it's definitely a splurge you can make more often than some other dishes out there.

Sadly, I did not get a picture of it before we ate it.  Since posts are always better with pictures,  I'll leave you with a mouth watering one of my Chipotle Bacon Duck Breast with Maple Black Pepper Glaze that I had at Abacus Monday night for The Dot's birthday:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

July in Pictures

Whew.  This was one crazy month.  Two bachelorette parties, a shower, a going away party, and a brother getting married will just about wear a girl out.  Not that I'm complaining because there is definitely nothing else I would rather do than celebrate these huge events with friends and family, but July was damn near exhausting.
These two young guys were not only walking out of Eclipse, but were also clad pretty much head to toe in Ed Hardy. And they were on a man date. I found it very amusing that two guys, so obviously hell-bent on 'appearances', would go on a man date to see Twilight.

Speaking of Twilight: do you might remember me talking about The Bet that Jodi and I made awhile back (which she lost)?  I posted about it here, but I couldn't post the shirt she had to wear in all its nerdy glory (it's hard to read, but it says "Renesmee" with an arrow)  because it was a bit too revealing at the time... due to the fact that JJ is PREGO! A month ago she was still keeping it under wraps, but now that she is in her 2nd trimester, the news is out!  So exciting! (And yes, I know it was mean of me to make her wear that shirt in public, but a bet's a bet!)

To my horror, I recently found out that two of my best friends from college have been house hunting in the 'burbs.  Look at their happy faces when they found the D issue on shelves that outlined the best Dallas suburbs. Not loving this getting older business.

The Psychedelic Furs. Richard Butler is in his 50's I believe and looks like he could be 30. I don't know what his secret is, but I want in on it.

Mark and I before the Third Eye Blind concert. Which I also have some pretty good video of, but you can hear my alcohol-induced singing, and let's face it- I enjoy having readers. And if I subject you to that, I'm not sure I would have any left. It's not pretty. I would compare it to the sound you might hear if you were to torture a cat. {note: m&l does not condone the torturing of cats. Unless it's something harmless like putting tape on their feet. I'm sorry, but that's funny.}

My mom may have topped herself in terms of travel grub on our flight to SD. She busted out what amounted to a fairly gourmet picnic on the tray table: sonoma chicken salad, chipotle cheddar cheese, farmer's market tomato, and a baguette... on the plane. A glass of white wine from the flight attendant and we were all set!

This, my friends, is a flabongo.  I learn all sorts of things when I'm out in California. Apparently this little contraption with its cut off beak and hollow bottom, is a beer bong.  Yep, and you thought you'd seen it all.... leave it to my brother's new brothers-in-law, Kyle & Garrett, to enlighten us!

This adorable old Beagle was chilling outside Trader Joe's in California.  He was so sweet and just sat there watching everyone walk by.

Our college crew at the beginning of Julie's bachelorette festivities. We were so lucky that the two moms in the group,Whitney & Laura (far left and far right), could join us from out of town for the weekend.

My second time ever to get iced (the first was my brother's wedding weekend).  This little game is gaining quite a bit of popularity. I've been seeing it all over facebook and blogs. I'm sure some marketing exec at Smirnoff recently got a nice, fat raise.

On Sunday after the bachelorette party, Laura was pleading to go to Ikea because they don't have one in Kansas. I love it, but Ikea on a busy Sunday after a crazy Saturday... let's just say my bed sounded far better than trekking my dehydrated self to Frisco.  When we finally gave in, she was so excited.  So this is Laura literally jumping with joy that we took her to Ikea. It actually wasn't too bad. Very crowded, but since we were already up in Oklahoma we stopped at one of my favorites for a little cure-all lunch.

Yep, she sure did carry on a doormat on her way home to Kansas. She said she got some pretty funny looks. At least she didn't try to check a flat-packed dresser or kitchen table.

I FINALLY got to meet baby Kate. I was the only one in our group from college that hadn't met her yet and I'm so happy that Whit brought her over.  She was so cute and SUCH a good baby! {Yes, that's me in the green, but I had to crop myself out of this one... I looked quite haggard after two days of bachelorette festivities + the fun that comes with a Monday at work after such a weekend.  That, and let's face it- I just couldn't compete with Kate's cuteness.}

I am mean with iMovie.  Literally. You need a wedding slideshow done in the back guestroom 10 minutes before an engagement party starts because your computer ate the original? Done. (And I do speak from experience). Alex's sister wanted to learn iMovie so she bribed me with food. She is a culinary school grad and has worked at Craft. Um, no brainer? It was deeelicious. I was tempted to "forget" to teach her a few steps so she'd have to have me back over for a refresher course.  :)

I saw this last week at my little piece of heaven on earth, Jimmy's Food Store. It's rare for me to find any fault at all with my beloved Jimmy's, but molding the flesh of an animal into the likeness of said animal... not my cup'o tea. Kinda gross if you ask me.

Remember Melissa from Jason's season of the Bachelor? The one that got dumped on national television? Don't feel too badly for her- she has recovered quite nicely. She actually ended up marrying one of our college friends, Tye. It always cracks me up to open US Weekly or go on gossip sites and see him. Anyways, apparently they have been very busy newlyweds!

I came home to this the other day. My roommate's sister 'candling' her ears. I have heard of this very briefly while getting a mani/pedi but had never seen it in action. Super weird. I don't think I'll be trying it anytime soon!!

I ended the month with a far too rare dinner date with my "boyfriend" that has a boyfriend. Isn't he adorable? And he speaks french. I've tried to convert him for years with no such luck. *Sigh*... maybe ONE of these days....