December 22, 2011

last night

last night, we went to rahr for tasting and touring. it was so much fun! it was really crowded for a wednesday night.
rahr & sons is a local brewery and for $7 (cash), you get a souvenir glass and 3 and a half beers. there was also a tour, but it was so noisy and crowded, i think we decided not to do that. the best beer, to me, is ugly pug. it's velvety and dark.

there was also a special beer to taste that had been aged in these old whiskey casks, called winter warmer. it was really strong. i didn't like it but, son-in-law dru liked it.
oh, and speaking of dru, he was stopped by some men and asked if he would like to join the north texas beard alliance.
i don't know why.

funny...husband scott wasn't asked.

after 3 and a half beers (okay...i only had 1 and a half, and i gave two of them away), we all ended up at buffalo wild wings for wings, onion rings and football (yea tcu!).

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

this is part of the refrigerator after going grocery shopping today. funny, it doesn't look so full in the photo. believe is chock-a-block. not another thing can fit in it. the other refrigerator looks as full. i am hoping there is room for ice in the other refrigerator because the freezer in this one if full.

normally, it doesn't look like this at all. it usually looks empty. but, we are having 9 for dinner tomorrow night, 19 on christmas eve and 9 again on christmas night. plus, you gotta' have eggnog and royal icing for the gingerbread cookies...right?

i will post dinner pics, if it all turns out.
until then, happy cooking (and baking)!

December 20, 2011

so much fun

guess what is in my purse?
daughter michelle wanted to go to mellow mushroom for pizza tonight. son-in-law used to work there and we used to go a lot. they have trivia tuesday there. we decided to go and play and eat. if you haven't been there, you must go. i forgot how good their pizza is. they have new flavors and we tried 2 of them - red skin potato pie and the philosopher's. husband scott ordered his usual - might meaty. i bet you can guess what is on THAT one. on the red skin potato was a garlic based sauce with red skin potatoes cut really thin, cheddar & mozzarella cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and drizzled with sour cream and spicy ranch dressing. it was sooooooooooooooooooo good. philosopher's had steak, portabello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and mozzarella cheese on garlic based sauce. it was good, too, but not as good as the other one.

i left my camera and phone at home, so no photos. i never have my camera around when i really need it.

so why the gift card?

we won the trivia game!!! we were in 4th or 5th place at halftime and were getting discouraged. we didn't turn in one answer and were considering just guessing, but not turning in the answer for the rest of the game. before the final question, we were still in 4th or 5th place, so we put up all our points for the last question and we won! thanks to son-in-law dru, we got the last question.

what was the question? name in order from the most to the least the following animals with the most mass: giraffe, walrus, hippopotamus and crocodile.

yea! we won!!!

December 18, 2011


a christmas tradition. first off, which way are you supposed to pronounce caramels? i always say 'carmels' and others say 'car-a-mels'. so...which is it? is it a regional thing?

I started making these caramels probably about 10 years ago. i still get nervous making them. they take a long, long time to make and what if they don't turn out right because of one thing...did i stir it as much as i should, did i pour in the cream mixture too fast, did i accidentally shake it?

this is a christmas tradition on my father-in-law's side. his mother would make MORE THAN ONE BATCH. i don't know how she does it. she makes, at least 2 batches: one with nuts and one without. when she passed away, i decided to try make them for christmas. sometimes the task seems daunting when i don't think i have the time, but almost every christmas i make them. i use martha stewart's recipe for golden caramels (btw, this recipe was published in 1995/96 issue of her living magazine, so...i guess that is how long i have been making them. that makes it 15 years - and i still have the page from the magazine). i don't deviate from the recipe at all...too scared.

grandma nancy's recipe is basically the same. only difference she has in her recipe is: "be sure to go to the bathroom before starting this recipe." and she is right. it takes FOREVER for the candy thermometer to go up those last few degrees.
i made up the batch this morning because i have husband scott, daughter michelle and son-in-law dru to help me wrap them up. usually, i make son jason help wrap and he complains the whole entire time because he doesn't even like caramels and why does he have to wrap them up?

i love how smooth the surface is. i am so very tempted to touch it. it is in the utility room because it is supposed to be not disturbed for 24 hours and since i am having a birthday party at my house for my mom, i didn't want it in the kitchen. even so, i am nervous. what happens if it gets disturbed?

and look how tempting it is. it's taunting me. it wants to be disturbed so it can laugh at me later when it doesn't do what is supposed to do during its 24 hour rest.

p s...see the squares of wax paper on the side? if you do decide to make these caramels, it is so easy to cut these up, using a paper cutter. i use the fiskars roller blade kind that is big enough to cut the wax paper. it looks all anal and stuff, but it really is easier. and, i cut several sheets at one time since wax paper is soooooo much thinner than cardstock.

December 16, 2011


i just got back from eating a really yummy lunch here in fort worth.

lanny's alta cocina. was so very delicious!

i knew it was going to be good when i ordered the iced tea and my glass came like this...

it was perfect. the iced tea was not muddy nor too strong and with the iced tea cubes, it never watered down. it is a very nice touch.

i keep thinking i need to do this when entertaining. it really does make a difference.

this what i ordered...

roasted chicken breast with nopal cactus and mushroom risotto. the nopales were diced small so it didn't overwhelm the dish and the risotto was so creamy. i almost forgot to take a photo before inhaling it. actually, i ate very slowly so that i could enjoy every bite. for dessert, we all had the black and white creme brulee. it was a regular creme brulee, but with a chocolate layer underneath it. as you can see, there is no photo because i did inhale it AND i did the annoying scrape scrape scraping thing to get every last bit.


i highly recommend eating at lanny's alta cocina.

December 14, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

got the outside lights up and out. i went with the runway lights again. it is soooooooo much easier than having to get up on the roof. i miss the roof lights, but i don't miss watching husband scott hanging upside down from the roof trying to put them up.

i also put up lights on 2 small trees.

notice that i am wearing loafers without socks? it's 60 degrees outside! it better cool down soon.

December 10, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas...

not really.

i have been busy shopping for christmas gifts (done nearly! just one left) and wrapping them all up (done nearly! just waiting for the rest to be delivered) and cleaning the house. we are getting our tree tomorrow and i will be decorating it and the house, plus cleaning the rest of the house before daughter michelle and son-in-law dru come in (yea!)

none the less, the house looks christmas-sy:

nothing says christmas like fried green tomatoes. just kidding.

i didn't have any tomatoes at all during the summer (waaaaaaay too hot and dry, just in case you didn't read all my complaints about this last summer's weather) and now, after the freeze browned up the plants...i have about 25 green tomatoes. so, i fried me up a batch and learned a very valuable lesson. here it is:

don't make something for the first time without reading a few recipes first. panko bread crumbs may be a good idea, but how do you make it stick? i think the only way to make it stick is to scuff up the tomatoes first with know, like one would prep a surface to paint?

also, i have been driving a car with frost on the windshield almost every morning. pretty, but aggravating all at the same time.

i have a sofa in my car spot in the garage. if anyone wants it, it's $200 and it's a white ikea one. let me know.

i cleaned out my raised bed today and pulled out all the dead plants. then, i went to the nursery to pick up some tulips. i'm planting them tomorrow. i have never been successful with tulips, but here's hoping.

anyhow, i got these hellebores. there was a sign that said to keep them indoors and plant later. they are pretty, aren't they? i hope they last through christmas. then i will plant them in the garden. i sure hope we can continue with the landscaping that we started until it came to a halt with the drought and the heat (did i mention how hot it was this last summer? it was so hot).

every december, i look at all the traffic lights differently at night. because of the red and green, i think they look like christmas. every other month, they just look like traffic lights. event the brake lights look like christmas at night in december, but other months...nope.

so, since i haven't put up any christmas decorations, here are some christmas-y looks in everyday things:

green tea frappuccino with half the sugar and no whipped new favorite and it is so delicious. it's even more delicious when shared with a friend who is enjoying her latte.

guacamole and chips.

see? it's beginning to look like christmas every where i go (even with the ordinary things).