Friday, January 16, 2009

T.G.I.M. ???

Well for most today it's a TGIF, Thank Goodness It's Friday, but for us it's a Monday. Jason had the last two days "off." I say it that way because yesterday he actually worked from 7 am - 2 pm for the big Fire Weather Conference at the office. He has worked so hard on the presentations and having everything all ready to go. He came home very happy that it went well and everyone that was able to go from around the Valley and Corpus Christi area were happy with how it went. I'm so proud of him! We got to cap off the lovely day with a dinner among friends. The Pyke's, Johnson's, and ourselves had a wonderful time of catching up from the holidays and yummy food at The Longhorn Cattle Company. (Honestly, I go for the banana pudding!) We got to see 2 of their 3 kids (all adults mind you) before they headed either back off to college (Whoop!) or on to see what God has planned for them to work in Dallas. Oh and of course the Pyke's little guy, Isaiah, was a blast to have around, although he just about chewed my thumb knuckle off! We missed you McAngus', we'll do something with you this next week.

So my Friday, Jason's Monday, was spent actually getting to relax and read some. I had a tough night sleeping for some reason. Here's some of the latest books I have read and enjoyed very much. Check them out sometime, especially Marley & Me. Jason and I have both read it so now we can go see the movie.

(Finishing this one tonight.)

LOVED this one, laugh out loud funny. Just found out there are 2 more after it! Sadly our library doesn't have them, so I'll have to be patient while they do inter-library loan.

What good books have you read recently?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Growing Basil

Ok, now I'm usually very good at keeping things alive and growing. My snapdragons outside the front door survived our very hot summer and bloomed through the cold days too. So, when I decided to start keeping fresh basil I didn't think it would pose a problem. I have figured out that when I need basil it was cheaper to still get the large live plant for $3.99. It was much more cost effective than a small package that was about a third of the plant and $2.19. The live plant is also hydroponic basil grown here in Texas. Now, this is my 3rd plant. I'm not terribly proud that the others didn't make it, but for good reason, usually we were heading out of town and they didn't get watered enough.

We shall see how this one does, it's 5 days old.
(From when I bought it of course.)

My Kitchen

Tonight I worked on getting my canisters all filled with everything to help make cooking and baking easier. I'm so excited to have my flour, sugars, and other ingredients in reach as opposed to having to dig them out of the cabinet all the time. And what is so nice is the under the counter lights that Jason installed this past weekend! I can now see everything as I prepare, instead of my shadow blocking all the light. What's even more fun is the lights are RED, just like my Kitchen Aid mixer.

This was just a fun photo angle I took and color focused on the honey jar only.

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Hamburgers, Lettuce, and Flies Oh My!

Strange title I know. Let me explain, if the buzzing in my ears doesn't keep distracting me.

Today's lunch was hamburgers. Not just plain ones either. I found a recipe awhile ago that we both loved, and now I try to usually add the same ingredients into the meat because it gives it such good flavor, well that and I have them on hand most of the time.

Start with ground turkey and add a couple good shakes of Montreal Steak Seasoning (this is the best seasoning ever, I ALWAYS have it in my cupboard), some shredded cheddar cheese, and then about a tablespoon of horseradish. Now usually this is where I go off and grill it then it gets topped with whole cranberry sauce for the usual recipe, but this time I still have tomatoes and living lettuce that is over 2 weeks old that need to be used up, so I skipped the sauce and went for regular burger style with cheese. (Provolone for me and Jarlsberg for Jason.)

Here's where the flies come in. I have just started using a brand new grill pan from, you guessed it, IKEA. (See previous post.) Well since it's cast iron and I have not really cooked with that before I got the burner a little too high and cooking the meat made it start to get smokey in the house. It got to be so "foggy" that I had to open the front/back doors to air out the house before any of the smoke detectors went off (they never did). And in come the flies. Ok, I knew that was going to happen, but flies in my kitchen and house in general are one of my biggest pet peeves. I loathe them! Jason then comes to my rescue, since swatting them with the spatula to turn the meat is a big no-no, and starts chasing them around the house as they land and smacking them. He did a good job of it too. We're down to two that are zooming everywhere trying to find a way out.

In the end it was a good lunch, yummy burgers that were definitely big mouth bites!
Those are Texas-sized buns we used.

What was good or bad about your lunch today?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Have I ever told you, "I LOVE IKEA!" Well, I do. Mind you, we don't have any of their furniture, but I do have lots of other smaller things that have definitely made life a little easier here in the Straub house.

Today's lunch was SUPER easy! On our trip to Bastrop this past fall we went to IKEA Austin and then IKEA Houston on our way home. We love eating in their restaurant while we shop. The prices are very inexpensive for the amount of food you get. Plus, it's halfway through the shopping trip!! We like to get the 15 meatballs with potatoes and lingonberries for $4.99!! Oh and lets not forget the chocolate cake they have for $2.99!! Can't beat that in restaurants.
So our last trip through IKEA we bought the combo package to get the frozen meatballs, gravy mix, and lingonberry jam. And today it was lunch! Mmmmmm! Cooking the sauce made the kitchen smell like IKEA, it was wonderful!

I don't care if someone thinks I am weird because of this. Other people have their favorite meal from a restaurant that they would love to have at home too. Don't get me wrong, I love the food and it's very flavorful, but it's the memories we have from shopping in the store with friends and family or just us talking about what we will want in our kitchen some day when we own a house. That is what makes it so great.

So... what kind of foods bring the best memories to you?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Portobello Pizzas

As I promised, photos of lunch from today. Yummy pizza!

All it took was an oven at 450 degrees and about 20 minutes of my time to enjoy a very healthy lunch! There's fresh and regular mozzarella, Boar's Head Pepperoni, sauce, and some red pepper and Italian seasonings.

I do have to comment on the pepperoni though, HEB on 802 had it for $6.79/lb, but when you only need 6 slices so each one has 3 on it, it only cost 54 cents!! To make homemade pizza I might be doing that more often for Jason's side of it because I always have way too much left over from an entire package.

Who knows what I will be cooking next! Actually I do have 1 more major meal to do because I'm still working on cleaning out the freezer so I can add more back into it.

What are you having for lunch or dinner?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Portobello Burgers

Today's lunch after church was so nice and quick to make! Jason and I did some shopping at Sam's the day after I got back so we'd have some other food options. (He learned he can survive a week on 1 crock pot of Angel Chicken and brown rice when I'm out of town.Not to mention a couple other frozen meals I left for him too.) Sam's had some great looking portobello mushrooms and I knew I had a recipe in one of my cookbooks for a burger with them.

I started off with the olive oil in my skillet and then placed a portobello in it. Then realized, oops, only 1 will fit in the pan!! So I had to pull out a 2nd skillet to cook them. All I could do was laugh since I never realized how large they were! After they cooked with some seasonings and balsamic vinegar, I added the mozzarella to the tops to melt and then added pesto, lettuce, and red onion slices. I can see why they work very well for the "patty" of the burger. It was very filling and all the flavors melded well together.

These are all the ingredients it took to make, and about 20 minutes. Tomorrow we'll be having Portobello Pizza, imagine how good that will be!

Oh and a side note about the nutrition I found online:
"The meaty-textured portobello mushroom is the perfect stand-in for a hamburger. One portobello mushroom has about 30 calories and no fat or cholesterol. By comparison, a 3-ounce hamburger patty has 235 calories, 16 grams of fat and 76 milligrams of cholesterol."