Tuesday, September 29, 2009

tableau tuesday

Sale pending ... damn! Someone's buying the house ($1,277,500 - 945 Heights Blvd.) that I was interested in purchasing in the Houston Heights. I shouldn't have held out so long ... debating the whole thing because I felt the kitchen was too small.

Oh well. Easy come, easy go. Here are some pics (it's Tableau Tuesday, afterall) of the deal that just slipped through my hands ...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

serious sunday baking

... well, minus the measuring, mixing, rolling and cookie-cutting part.

But still ... we DID have to put the cookies on a pan and stick 'em in the oven. So technically -- baking.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

saturday morning breakfast tacos

One of the things I miss most when I'm away from home is breakfast tacos. No place in the world makes 'em like you can get 'em in Texas, where they're literally a dime a dozen. Whether you order barbacoa or cabrito, the result is always divine.

I'm a pretty good cook, and Ive tried to re-create them ... but it's just not the same. You don't get that perfect combination of the charred grill taste, soft gooey thick tortilla, fresh cilantro, crunchy onions, and spicy fresh salsa.

Texas cities and towns are full of taqueria trucks manned by folks who usually don't speak much English, but who can sure whip up amazing breakfast tacos. And fortunately I know just enough Spanish to be able to order my favorites. The tacos are made right there on site, fresh and delicious. It's wonderful -- the perfect way to kick off a weekend.

It's gotten to the point that, for me, weekends just aren't weekends without breakfast tacos. My tacos of choice are beef fajita on corn tortillas with cilantro and onion -- and a liberal squeeze of fresh lime juice on top. PERFECTION!

One of life's great treats -- hot coffee, breakfast tacos, and the weekend. You seriously can't beat it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

an apple a day

As a teacher, I've received countless trinkets and tidbits over the years related to my profession -- wooden school houses that hold post-it notes, Christmas ornaments that never get used, tacky "You're A+" stuff ... you get the drift. I don't mean to sound ungrateful or petty, its just rare when I come across something teacher-related that I'd ever really use.

It's odd, and I have no idea why its the case, but education seems to be one of the few professions where people feel the need to give a gift based on the job. I mean, I don't give my friends necklaces with calculators on them if they're CPAs ... but I digress.

So my rule of thumb regarding "teacher clothes" is that if it's not something I'd wear out to happy hour after work, it's not something I'd wear at all. Period. That's why I love what Jones New York has done for the past five years.

Founded in 2005, Jones New York in the classroom is a not-for-profit
organization dedicated to helping improve the quality of education for America's
children and inspiring others to do the same. Jones New York in the Classroom
benefits: TeachersCount, Fund for Teachers and Adopt-a-Classroom. The purchase of this tee, designed by Sujean Rim helps to support our cause.
Several teachers and friends at the school where I work have these shirts, and they're super cute ... yet fun and sassy! Way to go, Jones New York! Thanks for making the "perfect" teacher shirt! And best of all, it supports a good cause! Bravo!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

tableau tuesday - "fall"ing rain

It's the first official day of fall.

If you're in H-Town, or anywhere near or along the Texas Gulf Coast, you'd better have your umbrellas handy.

Cats and dogs come to mind ....

Friday, September 18, 2009

cheering from afar

The nastiness that has affectionately come to be known as pig flu (H1N1 for all you semantics freaks) is keeping me at home this weekend, rather than in College Station cheering on my Fightin' Texas Aggies as they do battle with the Aggies (yes, Aggies) from Utah State.

My little guy needs his mama to cuddle him and give him lots of fluids and love. So its sofa city for us this weekend.

But in spirit, I proudly and vehemently will be sending a stern message to my beloved Texas A&M: beat the ever livin' hell outta Utah State.

I'll miss the cold beer, warm burgers, good friends and roar of the 12th Man. Give 'em hell, boys.

Gig 'em.

um ... yum!


2 large eggs
1/4 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs granulated sugar
4 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, crushed
Eight 3/4-inch thick slices of day-old French bread

1. In a low-lying, flat bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.

2. In another low-lying flat bowl, place crushed cereal.

3. Heat skillet to medium-heat, brush with butter. Quickly dip bread on both sides into the egg mixture, then cover both sides of the bread with the crushed cereal. Place in hot skillet, reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Heat 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining bread.

4. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Servings: 4
Yield: 2 slices per person

Cooking Tips:
*This recipe really is best with French bread that is a day or two old- if it’s too soft, it will absorb too much of the liquid and turn out soggy.
**Do a quick dip into the liquid. You don’t want to soak the bread in it.
***You may leave off the crumbled cereal if you don’t wish to add crunch. (It’s good though!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting ...

... if Congress passes health care overhaul.

According to Investor's Business Daily, two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted.

Those are some staggering numbers.

Changes need to be made for sure, primarily in the insurance industry. But this Shermanesque "total warfare" mentality the current administration has adopted needs to be re-evaluated, to say the least.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

tableau tuesday

My favorite Patrick Swayze role will always be Orry Maine from John Jakes' The North and The South -- literally, a staple in our house when I was growing up.

Godspeed to a great Houstonian. Rest in peace.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

latest new moon trailer in HD

I'm loving this in so many ways. New director, Chris Weitz = brilliance.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon Trailer in HD

"Hell hath no fury like a taxpayer ignored...."

They came. They saw. They protested.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched to the U.S. Capitol in D.C. yesterday, expressing grievances against big government.

"Republicans, Democrats and independents are stepping up and demanding we put our fiscal house in order," said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.

"I think the overriding message after years of borrowing, spending and bailouts is enough is enough."

Well done, citizens. Well done.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I've blogged before about my love of rosé wines (no, NOT the same as a white zinfandels!) , so I'm always excited to try a new one. It seems that most of the good rosés I've had have been French, so I'm happy to be writing about one that's from a totally different part of the globe.

A trip to Leibman's (one of my favorite little staycation get-aways in Houston) yielded a whole new crop of fun wines in the rosé family. Tonight we started things off by opening a bottle of a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé -- have you ever heard of such a thing?! I love it!

To be exact, the wine is called La Playa Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. It's from the Colchagua Valley in Chile and is harvested by hand. It's so much drier than I would have expected. So if you shy away from rosés because they're too sweet for your palate, I'd definitely give this one a shot. It surprised me.

Here are the winemaker's notes:

"Vivid pink color with violet hues. On the nose it is very expressive, showing rich fruit aromas with distinctive notes of candied raspberry, strawberry and underlying touches of herbs. This is a well-balanced and attractive wine with structure, good persistence and a pleasant finish."

saturday in the cherry orchard

It's been a cloudy and rainy Saturday in good ol' H-Town, Texas. I love lazy days like this. The Ags have an off week, so we gloriously had absolutely nowhere to go and nobody to see -- perfection.

The main event of the day, complete with college football on the TV in the background of course, was teaching Aidan how to play a classic -- Hi-Ho-Cherry-O. As fun as its been and as hard as we've laughed, I have to admit that I've officially created a fruit-picking monster. We must have played it at least 20 times today. And Lord help me, but the night is still young. I have no doubt that we'll still manage to squeeze in at least five more rounds.

So here's to rainy Saturdays, Milton Bradley games, and spending the day in our jammies. It's a great way to do nothing, yet everything.

Friday, September 11, 2009

not forgotten

In honor and memory of the 2,974 who were killed on September 11, 2001.

And to those brave men and women who continue to protect us every day overseas and at home.

God bless America.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

fall fashion trend: matte nails

Even if you're not a fashion diva (ahem ... me ... cough, cough), your fingers and toes can still play the part. And you don't have to break the bank.

This season's newest trend in nail polish has nothing to do with color and everything to do with finish: matte is where it's at.

($6) seems to be leading the matte pack with their fall and winter lines. But OPI ($8) is hangin' with the crowd as well. So is KO (short for Knock Out), which actually only makes matte polishes.

So, according to the fashion experts of the world, get shopping for your matte polish. Here are some of my favorites (in order L-R: Zoya Posh, Loredana, Harlow, Veruschka, Dovima, Savita; OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, Russian Navy, You Don't Know Jacques, Lincoln Park After Dark)

an alternative to the coffee monopoly

It might not be the sexy thing to admit, as far as supporting grass-roots mom-and-pop businesses, but I love Starbucks coffee. I love the smell. I love the strong, semi-burned taste. I love the atmosphere -- complete with big comfy chairs and hip, [usually] indie music. The whole package is a dream to my senses, and not much else even comes close.

Unfortunately, Starbucks has jacked up their prices ... again. So I'm pretty much finished with 'em. Unless I have a gift card (which as a teacher, I frequently do), or am absolutely jonesing for a pumpkin spice latte on a cold, Friday, December morning, I've decided that I just can't justify paying that much for a flippin' cup of coffee.

The problem is, I miss it. Friends and colleagues have encouraged me to try McDonald's coffee. I have, and I'm not a fan. Horrifically, I found a roach, an antennae and a bug leg in the coffee creamer container at work, so that's out. I try and organize myself enough to make my own pot once I get to school, but that just doesn't always happen. Damn! What's a java junkie to do?

Enter Sonic. Woo hoo! Their coffee ROCKS! I made this accidental discovery a few weeks ago when I made a quick stop on my way to work. I ordered my usual Route 44 Diet Cherry Limeade, but once I got to the window, I decided I wanted a cup of coffee first. Their hot mocha latte is divine. It's smooth, creamy, and delish! I almost cried.

I had it again this morning and still love it. So I'm not missing out anymore! Take that and stick it in your cash register, Starbucks.

Now ... here's hoping Sonic will provide pumpkin spice lattes around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. My fingers are firmly crossed.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

tableau tuesday

One of my favorite [guiltless] pleasures in life is pictures. Even though I'm about as photographically talented as the rock I'm currently using as a doorstop, I feel somewhat empty-handed if I don't have my camera with me for a special occasion, or even just an every-day event.

I love the written word. No, scratch that. I'm captivated by the written word. But even more so, I adore the way a picture can trump even the most eloquent of poetry, as far as describing a moment in time.

So I thought I'd begin to dedicate a single blog day a week to one of life's great mediums: pictures.

Dictionary.com describes a tableau as "a vivid or graphic description" and "a ‘picture’ formed by living persons caught in static attitudes." Perfect!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

football, family and friends

My beloved Fightin' Texas Aggies opened the season last night at home with a solid and convincing win against New Mexico.

We spent the day tailgating and catching up with family and friends -- and wading through the excitement of college football gameday.

My sister made some killer stuffed mushrooms that we cooked on the grill. Another friend brought the hottest, cheesiest, and yummiest jalapeno dip that I've ever tasted. Drinks were strong and cold, and rain threatened all day (but never materialized), adding the perfect amount of breeze and tolerable temperature levels.

No matter how crazy life can get, returning "home" to College Station amongst the friendliest people in the world, always helps to ground me and remind me how fun this whole ride can be.

So ... beat the hell outta Utah State, Ags!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

it's that time of year ....

... the most glorious time of year -- COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS UPON US!

Although my beloved Aggies aren't predicted to do much [again] this season, it feels so damn good to know that the best chunk of the calendar has officially arrived!

I'm not, and never have been, a big people person. I don't like crowds. I hate malls. I have very little tolerance for ignorance. But put me in a stadium -- Kyle Field, to be exact -- with 83,000 of my maroon peeps, and life is just about as good as it can be for me.

We're kicking things off this year at home in College Station against New Mexico. The good guys are picked to win. But for some reason, it doesn't much matter to me. What matters is that fall is in the air, our tailgate crew is already planning the menu (and the tailgate drinks), and we're ready to get things started with Aggie friends and family (minus Ty ... sniff sniff).

So ... beat the ever livin' hell outta New Mexico, Ags!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009