Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome to my life

This is an actual conversation that took place with my mom yesterday morning after I saw Pumpkin Crème Brulée on Food Network:

I can't decide which is more amusing/slightly insulting... the fact that she thought that I would be making Crème Brulée for breakfast on a random Sunday morning,


the fact that she tells me where the torch is and then immediately directs me to the fire extinguisher... I mean you set ONE toaster on fire and they start getting all jumpy.  Psshhhh...

And for the record, I meant I was thinking of making it for Thanksgiving dessert. I may not be the healthiest cook, but I do try to avoid making decadent desserts the norm for Sunday breakfast.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Foodie Friday... Mexican Chicken Stew

I have a bad tendency to go-go-go until my body basically says "nope, no mas- not doing it anymore". With a plethora of weddings, birthdays, and traveling these past few weeks, I finally reached that point on Tuesday. Luckily I didn't get full blown sick, but had to take a time out to sleep (about 22 hours in two days, in fact).

I hate canned chicken soup, so I made this super easy recipe Wednesday instead. I have to say- it was so simple that it wasn't even a chore to make while not feeling well. And it was packed with tons of flavor. This is definitely a keeper due to it's equal parts of deliciousness and simplicity.  Oh, and odds are you have everything you need without a trip to the store (if you keep chicken in the freezer like I do).

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Stew {from Allrecipes}
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 oz) can chili beans (I left these out bc I didn't have any and it was still tasty)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans
  • 1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 oz) can or bottle of beer*
  • 2 (10 oz) cans diced tomatos with green chilis, undrained (I used Rotel- one can of medium and one can of hot)
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Any additional accoutrements that tickle your fancy (I used cheese and avocado)
  1. Mix all ingredients but chicken together in the crock pot.
  2. Submerge chicken in mexicany goodness.
  3. Cook on low for five hours.
  4. Remove chicken from crock pot, shred with two forks, return to pot.
  5. Serve, preferably with warm cornbread muffins.
Told ya it was easy. The one can of hot Rotel in this definitely spiced things up, so if you like things milder, you may want to stick with two cans of medium or mild.

*I know the key to feeling better is to hydrate, and yes, this recipe does have a smidge of dehydrating alcohol in it. While beer doesn't have the same healing properties as OJ (well, probably equal healing properties just in different ways), it is a clear liquid.  Okay fine. I guess the best I can do is that the alcohol probably cooks out after five hours, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chef Stalking... Bobby Flay Edition

First it was Giada.... and then Michael. Now, I can add the one and only Bobby Flay to the list!  The founder of Mesa Grill, Iron Chef and writer of many cookbooks was in Dallas on Tuesday.

Central Market is having this glorious little event right now called "Hail to the Cheese". I am lover of all types of food but cheese holds a special place in my heart. Because of this, I have been checking around online to see what events are coming up.

So late Tuesday afternoon I was perusing the Dallas food blogs and saw a post that said "Click here to find out what celeb chef is in town!". I'm not going to lie, it only slightly piqued my interest because I figured it would probably be the fifth runner-up to Top Chef 2 or something of that sort. So imagine my delight, when I clicked and was on the receiving end of the much spoken about trickery of the under promise and over deliver!

The post informed me that Flay would be at the Borders on Preston and Royal at 5pm... it was 4:15. I admit, I paused ever-so-slightly before I clicked on my "forward-to-cell" and hopped in the car. These things can be quite a beat down, but Bobby Flay is definitely towards the top of my list (only trumped by Tyler and Rocco, in case you were wondering).

He was there signing copies of his new book, Throwdown. By the time I got there at 5:30 they had run out of it but you could have him sign any of his cookbooks.... of which they had 12 left across all titles in the entire Borders. That's right folks, he sold every copy of his new cookbook and without a doubt every. single. book. with his face on it in the place. And you wonder why they go on book tours. Insane.

I ended up buying Grill It, which I love so far. The book is focused on key ingredients and gives you five or so recipes for each in a section. So say you are hungry for asparagus but don't know what recipe- it has a whole section just on asparagus with different methods of preparation. It plays well to my ADD tendencies. Okay Natalie, we don't have to plan an entire menu just pick a main ingredient and then we can explore the options from there.... love it!

Back to the book signing. While I loved Giada's book signing because they had snacks made from her cookbook that they passed out to the line, Bobby's line moved much faster. And since the point of buying the cookbook is to, ya know, cook from it- I'll take the faster line any day. I was in-and-out in an hour, he was very friendly, AND they let you take pictures!  Win-win-win!

So here ya go, my Food Network Stalker Moment, Part III. Or IV or if you count this.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I do... Midland Style

I am a sleepy girl today thanks to a weekend spent celebrating the marriage of two of my very good friends, Jacque and Cutler. They met at Tech where she was a Chi Omega and he was an SAE- so it was another wedding that also doubled as a giant college reunion.

I had such a great time. The wedding was easily one of the most stunning weddings that I've ever been to, and as is well documented on here, I go to quite a few these days. The flowers were absolutely gorgeous... as soon as some of my friends post pictures, I'll try to show you. They were amazing.

Since I don't have any pictures yet, I'll recap by giving you my top 10 moments from the wedding weekend:

  1. The couple. These are two of the most genuine people you will ever meet. So it was so cool to see them get married after all these years of being friends.
  2. The RD toast. Jacque got up and toasted Cutler at the rehearsal and it almost made me cry- and I do not cry at weddings. I wish I had it on video... the best way I can describe it is that it was just raw and so loving. Personal things that you think, but might not say in front of 150 people. 
  3. Seeing everyone. The upside to attending my fourth wedding in which my ex-fiance is a groomsman is that while it means some awkward moments between us, it also means that I get to see all his fraternity brothers that I absolutely adore and don't get to see often.
  4. Being the bigger (wo)man. The ex is from Midland, so his parents were also in attendance. I hadn't seen them since before I broke off our engagement so I was understandably a little nervous, but planned on being gracious and classy and saying hello. When I caught his mom's eye at the reception and said hello, she straight up turned on her heel and walked away from me. Apparently maturity doesn't always come with age. However, I do regret not trying to say hello to his step-dad, who is one of the sweetest men I've met and I feel would have had a very different response to me attempting to say hello. But c'est la vie.
  5. Jacque's parents. They have been divorced for years, but I have to say that they are the model of how to approach a situation like this with grace and class. They walked back down the aisle together, danced with each other, and generally seemed to enjoy each other's company all weekend. I obviously don't know the ins and outs of their relationship, but it was neat to see them put all the focus on Cutler and Jacque when many parents in that same situation don't.
  6. Dancing. For some reason we stayed off the dance floor for most of the night, but we were able to get it finally hopping the last 30 minutes or so. We had so much fun that it ended with the guys chanting "ONE MORE SONG!" after the band had wrapped up. I also somewhat learned how to "shag" which apparently is to the Southerners what two-stepping is to Texans.
  7. New Friends. We met two really cool guys that Jacque worked with at Frontier. One of which happened to be the guy that taught me how to shag. He was pretty adorable, but sadly lives in Atlanta. Too bad I've already crossed the Georgia Aquarium off my list.
  8. Narrowly Escaping Disaster. The reception was gorgeous. I've never seen so many flowers in my entire life. There were also a ton of candles. Candles that I apparently did not see when I set my wrap down to go say hi to someone. Thank goodness Erika was standing at the table still and was able to extinguish the flames from my now defunct wrap*.
  9. The flight home. I swear we knew half the people at the Midland airport on Sunday afternoon. Eight of which were on our flight. Our combined hangovers and exhaustion kept our otherwise rowdy group in line- much to the flight attendants' unknown relief but it was still fun to be on the same flight with so many friends. 
  10. The bride (of course). She was gorgeous and glowingly happy. Her crush on Cutler in college was the subject of many girly conversations. After all these years we are so happy that her fairy tale came true.
*Jacque- I am SO SORRY for almost catching your reception on fire. Luckily it was a tiny little incident that no one even noticed aside from the few that were standing there. Thank goodness!! Love you and hope you're having fun in Antigua!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moose Monday - New Friends

Yesterday I had a Sunday Funday of an atypical kind- I spent all day driving around the outskirts of DFW looking at puppies with my parents. I have to admit- not a bad way to spent an afternoon. Before you jump to conclusions- I am not replacing moose.

My brother hinted to my mom a few months ago that a puppy would make a great wedding gift. We grew up with dogs, but neither he nor wife have had a dog since being out on their own. So I guess he figured my mom would be better qualified to pick out a good-natured puppy and as an added bonus- might help the pup get a head start on potty training. I'll give you one guess as to his breed of choice. Yep, a wiener dog... naturally.

So yesterday was the big day, and we ended up coming home with not one, but TWO puppies. My mom is officially the crazy dachshund lady and couldn't stand being around all those puppies without adopting one as well. My poor dad just shook his head. Although I'm not one to talk... there was a cutie of a runt that I fell in love with, but honestly, I like moose as an only 'child' and held strong despite the puppy breath and waggy tails.

Here are some pictures from the hunt:
This little guy was one of my favorites. I'm a sucker for the light brown noses, but the breeder didn't appear to take very good care of her puppies. I almost wanted to adopt him just to get him away from her, but you never know what kind of problems they might have coming from a home like that.

 The second breeder with his arms full.

The boys out of that litter.

 The one on the left was a chunk with a lot of extra skin and reminded me of moose when he was a puppy. Too cute.

Look at all those rolls!

And the two lucky dogs that got adopted! 

The babies sleeping with Bentley who LOVES them already. He wouldn't leave them alone and kept trying to herd them.

All ready for the trip to Phoenix to be delivered!

We have been sending pictures to my brother and Whitney and my mom got a text back from her earlier that said she had already been looking at Halloween costumes for him. So it's looking like he's going to end up just as spoiled as the rest of them!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Phoenix Trip

I know I'm a little late on this, but I had so much fun in Phoenix last weekend that I had to post. As you all know my best friend, Brianna, is having twins in November and her baby shower was in Phoenix. Since my brother and new sister-in-law live there as well, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to head west for a long weekend.

We had a blast.  I flew out late in the week and spent Thursday night with Onna. We had dinner with her parents and then passed out in front of the TV around 9pm watching Law and Order... aaaahhh the craziness that ensues when visiting a pregnant lady. My liver was probably a touch confused.

We did have a little excitement the next morning when I saw a scorpion crawling across the ceiling. Not wanting to put the preggo in harm's way, I quickly assumed the role of scorpion killer.
Our bug killing gear.

Success!  Dead scorpion smushed on a box. 

After the hard work, we decided to have breakfast. When staying with one who is knocked up, the breakfast menu can get very interesting/unhealthy/unconventional very quickly.

Friday afternoon, Onna dropped me off at Postino to meet up with my brother and Whit. This is apparently a Phoenix hotspot bc everyone I talked to about it, raved. We had a great bottle of wine that I plan on hunting down in Dallas called Immortal Zin.  And some deeelicious bruschetta:
After that we headed to a sports bar by their house. Whitney's two brother's were supposed to also fly in from California but ended up not being able to make it. So naturally we had to text them this pic to show them how much fun we were having without them: 
We thought we were funny, but come to find out they were having just as much fun without us at the Band of Horses concert in San Francisco. 

New sisters-in-law!

Clint and Whit playing Golden Tee- I learned there is quite a rivalry between them...

... which if I had to guess by this face, Whit won this time around.

Saturday morning I got up and drove back out to Onna's house for the baby shower. Let me just tell you- a baby needs A LOT of stuff, but twins. Wowza. It was insane.

Saturday night we took advantage of Phoenix's restaurant week and headed to Bourbon Steak. Very swanky... my favorite part was their wine storage when you first walk in the restaurant.

Sunday we woke up and put a pork loin in the crockpot in preparation to have pulled pork for dinner and headed out to the bar to watch football all day. Poor Whit probably was looking forward to a female ally to make her weekend football free for once, but fantasy has officially ruined me.  However, she did get to sport her new Cowboys shirt that made the trip from Dallas. 

I left bright and early Monday morning. I'm already looking forward to my trip back after the babies are born! Especially since by that time it (hopefully) won't be 105 degrees anymore.

Thank you again to all my wonderful hosts for the weekend!  I had a GREAT time! Love you and see you soon!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

September in Pictures

Jules and I out at the Loon after an interesting girls dinner at Craft. Loved, loved, loved Craft last time I went but this time it didn't live up to it's previously set standard. I guess everyone has to have an off-night, but at least we still had fun afterward!

I dogsat for my parents over Labor Day and decided to take all three to White Rock Dog Park. People for sure looked at me like I was the crazy dachshund lady. They did really well considering they are suburb dogs and aren't very socialized. Actually probably better than moose who, once again, got a bit amorous with whoever he could find and forced us to leave early.

Reason #497 why I'm not ready for kids. During said dogsitting weekend I found this on the floor. Thank goodness none of the dogs appeared to be hurt or bleeding from the mouth, but come on! Chewing on a razor?!? Not smart, wiener, not smart.
I love this picture. It was taken when Brianna was in town at the grand opening of Nosh, the new concept by Chef Avner Samuel. The side view of her pregnant belly is too cute.

 In the center of the bar there is a flatscreen that shows all the action in the kitchen. I know I'm dorkier than most, but I just thought that was so cool!

My mom and my sweet cousin, Kinley.  Her big thing these days is getting married. Her dad is her most frequent choice of groom... can't wait to remind her of this in 15 years. 

Kinley's precious sister, Cameron, who actually let me give her a bottle! I'm not exactly a baby whisperer (to say they least) so when they actually like me I get REALLY excited! So sweet.

My parents returned the dogsitting favor when we went to Lubbock for the Tech vs. UT game. She sent me this picture of all of them in their TTU gear. Bentley (front) looks quite disgruntled being dressed up.

 Moose apparently got his front paws out of this shirt resulting in it riding down a little bit..... annnd then he used the restroom. Through his Tech jersey. Poor dog, but it was so funny we had to take a picture!
Alex getting iced. It wouldn't be a college roadtrip without a little icing. That's what all the young kids are doing these days, right?

Flynn got reverse iced after she tried to sneak one into the shower with Al and got caught (don't worry- they got me too).

Just a PSA that, with jeans, fit is everything. Let's keep those muffin tops to a minimum, ladies. It should be noted that she was wearing stilettos with this killer outfit. At 11am on a Tuesday. At Target.

Mama/daughter date night at Scardello. Great selection of cheeses, very knowledgeable and helpful staff, and fun events all make this place one of our new favorites. Now if we could just get them to trash the juice glasses for something proper (i.e. with stems) to serve the wine in...

 One of our great reps brought moose a toy last Friday. As if he is not spoiled enough, now he has virtual strangers bringing him toys to play with. Can I come back as him in my next life?

 I got this text after wishing one of my friends I don't talk to very often a happy birthday. I have no idea who BiG DADDY is or why he signs his name like that, but apparently I had an outdated number.  Too funny.

Yet another reason to love fall- the October issue of Martha Stewart and all the cooking mags chalk-full of soul soothing deliciousness, page after page.

On that note- Happy Fall, everyone!