Monday, February 28, 2011

black bean soup!

I made black bean soup last night.  It was so yum!  I got the recipe from 'Whole Foods'.  It is really, really good... This is what I did...

Start with black beans.  I soaked them overnight...  One bag of organic black beans.

I chopped up one onion, red bell pepper, one green pepper, diced 4 cloves of garlic, and you can see the other ingredients in the picture.  They include chipotle peppers in adobo, oregano, cumin, ancho chili powder, and a can of fire roasted tomatoes, among other things. (I used the Whole Foods recipe as a base and jazzed it up to my liking... like adding more garlic and the ancho chili.)

Here it is as it gets started.

We're cooking now!  We simmer the soup like this for at least two hours.  Don't add salt yet!  It will make your beans hard (at least that is what 'they' say).

Once the beans are tender, it's time to finish off the soup.

Instead of salt, I added one tablespoon of chicken base.  I know that makes it not really vegetarian, but I'm not really vegetarian... really.

 I added a half cup (or so) of chopped cilantro.

Now for the secret ingredients...  shhhh don't tell!

 Yup... Cocoa.  Unsweetened cocoa.  It adds an interesting depth to the soup!

 ...and orange juice!

I blended up about two cups of the soup.  Be careful blending hot liquids (just had to put that in)!!

These are the bay leaves I added when we started the soup.  I took them out 'cause they're not too good eatin'.

I toasted up some flour tortillas to go with the soup.  TASTY!

This is the finished soup.  GOODNESS!!

... And finally... Mikey's plate!  I had already dove into my plate when I realized I needed a picture of the final meal... and Mike was willing to be the guinea pig for this.  It was so good!  WOW!  We're having it for dinner again tonight!  YUM!

Happy eating, Y'all!

Monday, February 14, 2011

happy valentines day!

Today is St. Valentines day.  My sweet valentine got me this for Valentines day.

 Oh Yeah... It's a kindle!  As I've grown up... or shall we say older... I've begun to love to read books.  I've also realized that books take up space... and we have a shortage of space in this house.  An e-reader seemed like the perfect reading option for me.  I've been drooling over one of these for a while now.

There it is in the box.. Great packaging.  I love great packaging!

Look how cute it is!  I just love it!  YAY BOOKS!

Happy Valentines Day to you all!  Hug your honey... or your puppies!

Love you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

postcard... and old pics.

It's warming up here, finally! I am so relieved.  Over the past few days I've finished my latest postcard, gone through old photographs that my Dad had because his second wife, Kay, my 'step-mother', kept them for me after they divorced so I could have them as an adult.  And, I looking at the dried out, frozen, what is left of my garden.  I've got some real yard cleaning up to do the next few weeks before spring springs.

 This is my latest postcard creation.  It is a picture of Luke putting on the breaks while Mike walks him in the greenbelt of White Rock Creek behind our house.  This usually happens when He (Luke) sees a horse or similar animal out there.

This is a picture of me when I was probably around eight.  I am trying on Momma's old ballet outfits, practicing my ballet poses, in my Grandmother's bedroom, on the bed that is now in my Momma's bedroom in Baton Rouge, with the pictures of my Momma, and her three brothers, John, Skip, and Rock on the wall in the background.  Full circle.  Love it!

These are the pitiful carrots I pulled from my carrot patch.  With my busy work schedule, that often, more than not, keeps me away from home for 12 hours a day, I don't have the energy to coddle my poor plants or water them during our dry winter.  They are carrots though... Just tiny.  I'm gonna see if the others will grow a little more before I harvest them.

This is my new postcard creation.  I haven't done anything to it yet but will be working on it this week.  Happy Sunday, Y'all.  Have a wonderful week!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

snow day #5!!!

WOW!  We had another snow day today.  I don't know if I can handle this frigid, freezing rain/sleet/'snow' weather any more.  I moved back to Texas for a reason... warm winters.

What'd I do today... a lot of nothing... and it was good.

 Here's my wonderful husband and my doggie, Ruby warming up after he had to go to work and feed the masses.  They have special moments on the lazy-boy.

 This is a mistake picture I took with my iPhone.  OOPS.

 This is where I spent my day... after I got out of bed at like, 10.  LAZY DAY.  We watched a movie on 'Movies on Demand'.  I like this.  We were able to watch 'The Social Network' today... at home!  Was awesome!

 and... I wore my footies all day long... and jammies well after noon!  WOW!

 I lit nice candles tonight 'cause it's soo cold out and we need some warmth in the house.

 More candles... I really need to eat that tangerine.

And this is what I read all day long.  Thank you Ree Drummond!  I love your blog,!  I love your book and pre ordered it for myself and my sister in Austin!  LOVE IT!

Stay warm friends!  It's gonna be cold tonight, but we're gonna warm up soon!  It's almost over in Texas, I hope!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

more postcards

So... Last week was my sister's 33rd birthday.  I made her this postcard from my postcard creative coloring book.  I sent it this weekend (wanted to send it earlier but I was snowed in).  I drew a picture of her and I in coloring book style, I guess.  She's on the left, I'm on the right.  You'll see some funnies... the plates are her blue rimmed plates that her parents got when they got married... I remember them well from my childhood.  I, of course am wearing an orange shirt and have a bendy straw in my tea.  I love my bendy straw.  Sister is wearing purple cause if I drew her in blue, she would match the blue candles and I think blue is her favorite color.  

I also made this one for my monkey nephew, Gabe.  You'll notice that the monkey is climbing a made-up tree on a made-up beach with little mountains in the background.  What I find amazing is the little lady bug representing my grandmother, Mimi, and the red butt on the monkey... had to add that in!

So, we're getting ready for another whollop.  We'll see if it comes... forecasting this stuff isn't easy.  But if we are off... you'll see about it here!  Stay tuned!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

buffalo chili

Tonight, I'm making buffalo chili.  YUM!  We're having a few friends to watch the Super Bowl which is being hosted in Big D (actually in Arlington which is a little town between Dallas and Ft. Worth, which is about 30 miles apart along I-30, and Arlington is really just 15 miles from downtown Dallas).  The area is all a hubbub about the big game being here.  With the weather we've had this week... it's been interesting to say the least.  So, anyway, I'm making chili to serve the hungry football fans.  Today, I'm going to show you how I make my chili.

 I start with onions sauteed in olive oil.

 I then add a bunch of garlic.  I'm making a double batch by the way so the proportions will be a bit off.

 This is what I'm using.  I've got four pounds of ground buffalo.  Yes, I said buffalo.  It is much healthier than beef and really tasty.  You could use buffalo chuck and cut into small bits to get a 'chili grind' but I just decided to use straight ground buffalo.   I like using 'Wick Fowlers' two alarm chili seasoning packets.  They are all measured out and it's really easy.  I've made chili without the packets and it's just as good cause I have secret ingredients.  I'll share my secret ingredients in a minute.

 This is my onions, garlic, and meat sauteing.  For the record, you could also use beef, venison, turkey, or whatever other meat you'd like.

 These are my secret ingredients.  Shiner Bock beer and powdered chipotle peppers, which are really dried and smoked jalapenos.
I used about 1 TB of the chipotle and one beer per each batch of chili.

 This is what the packets look like.  They're nifty.  I added the jalapeno for flair.

We save the masa for later.

 I use all of the red pepper.  I like things pretty spicy.  I don't really think it's too hot but I don't know what your tastes are like so go at your own risk.  You will add all of the packets, save the masa for later, and add the red pepper and chipotle as you need to depending on the heat level.  Add one 28 oz can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes, one shiner bock beer, and one can of water (this is for one batch of chili which will need two pounds of meat).

I even added another jalapeno for good measure... and the chipotle pepper is hot too so this will get you warming up under the collar.  YUM!

It's still cooking... I will add the masa later to thicken it.  Masa is basically finely ground corn meal and it works as a thickener.  You will mix it with about a quarter cup of cold water and mix it into the chili.  It just makes the consistency just right.

Make chili while it's so friggin cold.  I've been making this chili for years and even when I was in college.  My mother would send me the chili packets in my care packages so I could make chili for my friends.  YUM!

Happy chili eatin!


Friday, February 4, 2011

snow days and days and days!

Well... we've had four snow days in a row.  I'm going a bit stir crazy.  I didn't want to bore my humongous blog audience (right) with my stir crazy thoughts but I thought I'd update you on my 'fun' activities.  

I baked a banana bread with the old bananas I was going to pack in my lunches this week.

I colored some more postcards which I will talk about another time cause they are in the mail.

I hung some pictures that needed to be hung.

While wearing my footies.  I love my footies... they are great for really 'cold' weather.  I know, it's not really cold relatively speaking but it's cold to Big D... our average temp in January is 59 deg.

 I started a new postcard drawing.  It's Mike taking Luke for a drag,  I  mean walk.

We watched movies... 'The kids are alright' which is an awesome movie highlighting a lesbian couple with kids going through things couples, straight or gay, go through.  We watched 'The Fantastic Mr Fox', which is an animated movie directed by Wes Anderson with George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Bill Murray to name a few.  It was really cute and funny.  Cussing funny.  Then we watched the 'Secretariat' today.  Awesome movie.

 I made Indian Food last night.  It was pretty good considering it was cheap and we had all the fixin's here.  If we had ordered, it probably would have been better but whatev.

You gotta live a little and try something new.

We got ready for bed and when I was shutting down the house at about 12:30, I find this out in my back yard.


 Coming down FAST!  It wasn't snowing 30 minutes earlier and we have 2 inches already.  Remember, Dallas has been shut down for ICE, not SNOW.  Ice that will not melt!  Now snow!?!?!

 This is my car this morning.  I woke up to four inches.  It snowed another 2 inches all day long.  Wait, WHAT!?!?  It was supposed to get above freezing today... but NOOOOO!  High 28 deg.  The warmest since Monday night.
 The front yard with 'Phyllis Diller' the eucalyptus tree.  (it's the small tree)

 Ruby playing in the snow!

Ruby snuggling with her nice Martha Stewart sweater on.  On her doggie bed, not the couch.  (Sorry, Luke, the only pic of you I got today was you playing leap frog, aka, pooping.)

 I did find this picture of Me and Shiner Bock, My GSD!  I miss Shiner!  I'm wearing this same sweater today... I think this picture is 8 years old.  She died almost two years ago at the ripe old age of 15.

And... Most exciting of all... I took this picture of Boris, our halloween freaky thing we put out to scare the children when they come for tricks and treats.

Take care, stay warm, and enjoy the Super Bowl this weekend!