26 February 2009

Enjoying the outdoors

And some indoor cuteness

Almond Lemon Chicken

This is one of those recipes that I wouldn't have originally tried, but with my limited diet and my husbands desire to use the almonds we had, he decided to make it. And wow. We ate it all up so quick I didn't even have a chance to get a picture ... either time! It is a little more time consuming than my husband wanted, but he didn't realize that until he was knee deep in the recipe, so he continued on. We serve this with white rice cooked in chicken broth and some sort of vegetable, and never have leftovers.


5 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 slices lemon, for garnish


Combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic and white pepper. Beat in 5 tablespoons of the olive oil. Put the chicken in a shallow container and pour the lemon mixture over it. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a large skillet, saute the almonds in 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil until golden. Remove from skillet and reserve. Wipe out the skillet. Drain the chicken, reserving the lemon marinade. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, then add chicken breasts and brown over high heat until breast is brown on each side (6 to 10 minutes). Remove from skillet and reserve.

Strain the lemon marinade into the skillet. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and cornstarch/water mixture. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces by half (about 5 minutes). Add marmalade and stir over medium heat until melted. Stir in the butter a bit at a time over high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in parsley and red pepper flakes. Return chicken to skillet and heat through. Add reserved almonds and garnish with lemon slices.

25 February 2009

Raven's Grill

One of the first places I went with my husband and his family to eat was Raven's Grill at Texas Star gold course. They introduced me to the great southern staple that is Chicken Fried Steak, accompanied with mashed potatoes, fried okra, Texas toast, and a salad. Holy cow! My husband and I split the Double Barrel and still had leftovers, I couldn't believe how huge the portions were. We really enjoy eating here since its always a laid back, golf course cafe type atmosphere and I don't think we've ever had a wait. It reminds me of one of those places that only regulars attend so everyone knows everyone. Oh, and they have an herbal vinaigrette that is freaking awesome, too!!! And the nachos, ohhhhh the nachos. They are another one of those gigantic portions for not a lot of money and so tasty. Basically, if you want a nice, casual atmosphere and some wonderful home style cooking that is extremely affordable, head to Raven's Grill.

24 February 2009

Picture of the week


I'm on a roll today kids! Here is restaurant entry number two - Snuffers! They have the best, most amazing, absolutely divine, heart-stopping goodness called cheese fries. They are not only covered in cheddar cheese, but then are served with crumbled bacon, chives, jalapenos, and ranch dressing. These are by far one of the staples you MUST get when in the Dallas area. And yet another food I cannot have due to my daughters dairy intolerance right now. My waist line loves it, my mouth however has another opinion. Absence DEFINITELY makes the heart grow fonder. Anyhow - our normal meal at this wonderful place is an order of cheese fries, an order of fried pickles (huge order so be warned), and a pitcher of Shiner Bock. This, obviously, is not for the faint of heart (or dieting patrons).

Melting pot

Mmmmm ... fondue! Remember when I said I was going to post about some of our favorite restaurants? Well, here's the first! We absolutely LOVE The Melting Pot. This is the first place I took my husband for his birthday and also the same place he proposed. The meal is amazing and you get to spend a few hours with the one you love. The atmosphere is nice - the one in Addison is more of a private, date like setting and the one in Southlake is more open, but still with dim lights and a great ambiance. The service is always marvelous and the food, well, the food is always wonderful. This is one of the places that I dearly miss while on my dairy and soy free diet, and as soon as I ween, we will be heading right out to indulge!

Now, we almost always get the same meal - one of the Big Night Out meals. We start with the Swiss cheese (and I'm not normally a fan of Swiss, but this is like a piece of melted heaven for dipping bread and apples). The next course is salads which we tend to mix up a little, sometimes getting a chef, sometimes a Caesar, and sometimes whatever the special salad is. I, of course, always top it off with their wine garlic seasoning - which someday I'm going to have to purchase. Next comes the main course - meat. We get the Coq au Vin cooking style and get whatever mix of meats is offered, including lobster, chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, and who knows what else. We almost always get a second helping of the vegetables as well - we're big fans of squash and mushrooms, and my husband loves the broccoli. Finally, we end it all with the Banana's Foster chocolate (which seems to come on and off the menu, but even if it is not listed, we are still able to get it). Yum! Fruit, pound cake, brownies, and marshmallows all to dip in fantastic chocolate, how can you go wrong? And did I forget to mention wine? The have quite an extensive wine list as well and we usually grab a bottle of something to indulge in. All in all, we have never been disappointed with the food or service and if it wasn't for the cost and calories, we'd dine here every night. But, this is the real world, so we keep it to just a few times a year - and i can't wait until we get to go again.

Happy Mardi Gras

It all started with a trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras - my cousin, his two friends, and me. We rented a balcony over bourbon Street for a few hours and my life changed forever - you see, I met a man there who invited us back that evening since his uncle owned the place. We spent the next few days together and learned we lived just miles apart back in Texas.

This is my cousin and I before heading out to meet back up with that stranger who was letting us on the balcony for free.
This is me and that stranger back in Texas, one of our first few times out.
On to some baseball!

We later bought a house.

And got married.

And along came baby.

The most precious thing in the world.

My heart has changed forever, all because of that stranger ... who my daughter now calls daddy and I call my husband.

Happy Mardi Gras everyone!!!

22 February 2009


In my continuing quest to find foods without any sort of dairy or soy, my wonderful husband said he wanted fried catfish. Now, I've never been a big fish eater and growing up, seafood consisted of shrimp and fish sticks. He on the other hand LOVES fish and has always talked about fried catfish, so I figured what the heck. I was not that excited about it, but it didn't have dairy or soy, AND it meant he would be making some fried squash too, which I do love, so I went with it. Normally, he was used to fried catfish made with cornmeal, but he decided to try a different seasoning and grabbed the Louisiana Fry mix. Oh. My. GAWD! We couldn't get enough of the fish that night, I was completely impressed and asked for it again the following week. And the following week. AND the following week. Then we secured an old fryer his mother had. And we've had fried catfish and squash every week since. Yes, we are officially addicted to this fry seasoning. I think we are even eating this more often than we are eating pasta, which for anyone who knows me, this is amazing because I love pasta. And I can't wait until I can eat lasagna and vodka sauce and all those yummy, cheesy, creamy pasta dishes again - but I'm sure this recipe will stay on our menu then too. I might just add a cheesy salad. (((grin)))

So go buy some and fry yourself some tasty catfish!

19 February 2009

Cran-Orange Oatmeal Muffin Drops

I have been completely addicted to orange cranberry flavors lately and came across this recipe. My husband and I ate all these within 2 days and then made another batch - they are amazing! I will be making sure I always have a bag of frozen cranberries around so I can whip up a batch of these whenever the mood strikes.


1 C Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 C Butter, soften
3/4 C Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1/4 C Milk
1 tsp Orange Zest
1 1/2 C Oats
3/4 C Cranberries, chopped
3/4 C Walnuts, chopped (optional)


1 C Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp Orange Zest
1/4 tsp Vanilla
1-2 Tbl Orange Juice


Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add egg, milk and orange zest.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Mix together butter mixture with flour mixture.

Add oats and cranberries (and walnuts if you want them).

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes, until edges slightly brown. Move to wire rack an allow to cool.

Prepare glaze: mix powdered sugar, orange zest, vanilla and a Tbl of OJ - continue adding OJ until it reaches the consistency you desire.

Once cookies are cooled, top with glaze as desired.

Store in air tight container, separate layers with wax paper. Cookies will increase in moisture after about 8 hours.

Help is needed


Please take a moment to help out one of my cousins. He is applying for the best job in the world, which you can read about here http://www.islandreefjob.com/ and needs everyone to vote on his video - it is only a minute of your time and could help lead to his dream. Just click on the first link and then (hopefully) rate him 4 or 5 stars. That's it! Thanks!

16 February 2009

Super Simple Southwest Chicken Soup

Two words: Simply yummy! I am hoping to get some baking done tonight and needed a quick and easy recipe for dinner, and I came across this one. My husband has always been a big fan of chicken tortilla soup and I've been a big soup kick lately anyhow, so this sort of just feel into place. We were both HIGHLY impressed with how well this turned out, especially for how easy it is to put together. We will definitely be adding this to our menu of dinner items, which is great since I'm still sans dairy and soy which leaves our menu rather weak.


1 can Corn (15 oz)
2 cans Chicken Broth (14.5 oz)
1 can Black Beans, rinsed (15 oz)
1 can Rotel (10 oz)*
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 ts[ Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp White Pepper

Sliced Avocado
Lime wedges to squeeze
Shredded Cheese
Tortilla Chips

*Rotel is diced tomatoes and green chili's. I used the one with lime and cilantro and hope to always use this one with this recipe, it was fantastic!

**I used an 8 oz package of pre-cooked chicken for ease of preparation. I was going to use a store bought Rotisserie chicken, but it had whey protein which I can't have. It was great with the chicken we used but I can see how the rotisserie would have been better.


Combine all ingredients through white pepper in large sauce pan. Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. That's it. Seriously. Serve with your choice of toppings, but I suggest them all. You can adjust the spiciness as needed.

Now, I of course ate it without the cheese and it was wonderful, although I can definitely see how the cheese would make it better. 8 months and counting until I can verify that.

08 February 2009

Help wanted, apply inside

Alright readers, I'm looking for insight, advice, and recommendations - so please leave your comments below! I am really struggling with trying to figure out what I want to do. I spent 6 years in school for a BS and MS degree in Materials Science and Engineering and then spent 7 years working as a Yield Enhancement Engineer at a semiconductor company. The problem? My job was FAR from satisfying and in all honesty, I am glad I was forced to make a decision on how to move forward because I would have stayed in that position until retirement otherwise. Now don't get me wrong, I did not hate my job, and in fact enjoyed many parts of it - but the parts I enjoyed were the parts not nearly as critical for my position. I liked the supportive type functions much more than the team leader and influencer stuff. I always felt like my peers knew more than me so I was quite timid and usually deferred to them.

So what do I enjoy? Well, the most satisfying thing I remember is when I was a teaching assistant in grad school for a "Chemistry for non-Science Majors". I was tutoring one of my students who just could not grasp the periodic table and after going over how the period table is laid out according to the electron orbitals, there was her "a-ha" moment. It all made sense now and she finally, after chemistry in high school and again in college, understood. I felt so good to make a difference in one person's life. I realize I'm a developed and I enjoy numbers and those black and white things, the right and wrong, the it works or it doesn't work. I'm good with the stuff in the middle, where you give me a general outline or idea of what you want, I can get you 80-90% of the way to the finish line, if someone else can tend to those final details.

So where do you come in? I need to know what types of jobs I should be looking at. My first thought is math teacher, but that means more schooling and a pretty significant pay cut - plus I'm not sure what the job market is for math teachers around here. However, if I end up in a good district, then we can send Ruby there instead of dealing with private school since the district we live in is, well, not really where we want to send her. Plus I get summer's and holidays off, which means more time to spend with Ruby. Okay, so what are some other options though? Some thing in banking or finance? What schooling or training is needed? Oh yeah, and how do I deal with pumping if I have long interviews or training or other thing like that?

05 February 2009

Mmmmm! Toes!

Yay! Our little pumpkin has found her toes, and its quite cute. I do have to say diaper changes were MUCH easier before. I'm sure it is just going to get worse though, but that's okay, it means she's growing and learning - and THAT is good.

On another note, I took her in for her 4 month shots today - and she was a trooper. She cried a little, but quickly recovered and has been a wonderfully happy child ever since. I am just hoping she can keep this mentality with the shots and not get my super severe fear of needles - so I just have to hide my fear around her. We might make daddy be the one to go with her more often, but shhhh, don't tell him! (((giggle))) Oh, and she measured in the 99% for length / height. no wonder she is already in her 6-9 months clothes. She definitely got her dads genes in the height sense, lucky girl!

02 February 2009

4 months and counting

Wow, January was quite a ride for us. I went back to work and Ruby went to daycare and my husband went back to midnights. Of course, I was back to work for about 3 weeks when I got laid off, so I'm back at home with Ruby again. We also all spent most of the month sick, from head colds and coughs, to me having mastitis and Ruby getting an ear infection, along with my husband dealing with not one, but two different boils. Needless to say, it was quite a rough month ... but it wasn't all bad!

Ruby started doing a LOT better with tummy time and is doing really well with rolling over. She's good when it comes to rolling from back to belly, but still needs more practice going from belly to back. I think the fluffy diapers and not nearly enough tummy time are the main reasons, so we'll work on more tummy time to help her out. Meanwhile, she's seems to be doing great with her hands, grabbing items and holding them - and EVERYTHING goes into her mouth. She's learned how to snatch our glasses off our face and loves when I do kissy noises on her hand. She also giggles when we kiss her belly during diaper changes. She smiles more than not anymore and has really learned how to make all sorts of racket, although she doesn't quite understand the indoor verses outdoor voice yet.

I think we are all really starting to get this family stuff down. My husband and I dropped her off at daycare one day and then came home to clean and it just felt strange not to have her around. She has become such a huge part of our life its amazing to think that just a short period ago it was just the two of us, and while I'll admit I miss some of the couple time my husband and I once had, I wouldn't trade what we have now for anything.

My sister and sister in law also came to visit (and I shamelessly stole the pictures from her blog). It was a nice, relaxing weekend for them to get to spend some time with Ruby.
And Ruby really enjoyed spending quality time with her aunts. She got a little spoiled of course, but isn't that what aunts are suppose to do?

Ruby continues to grow each and every day and is now into her 6-9 month clothes, its incredible. I get a little sad every time I have to put another outfit in the bucket because it just doesn't fit anymore. Good thing baby clothes are so inexpensive!