Thursday, November 29, 2012

Back to the kitchen!

Thanksgiving (and cooler weather) had me back in the kitchen last weekend!

First on the list?  A classic.  The perfect vehicle for delivering Thanksgiving leftovers...the leftover sandwich! Wheat toast, mayo, dressing, gravy, turkey and cran = perfection.  How do you serve up your leftovers?

Second, something new.  When the "cool front" blew in (Hey, its Houston. We take what we can get.), I decided to make a hearty stew.  I threw in some Texas classics (smoked sausage and jalepenos) with some more trendy mix-ins (white beans and kale) and set out to make crock-pot magic...delish!

Here's what I did, should you be so inclined!

White Bean, Sausage and Kale Stew

3 cans white beans
1 sausage link (I used jalepeno sausage)
1-2 jalepenos, finely minced
1 onion, chopped
1 cup kale leaves, chopped
1 quart chicken broth
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Chop your veggies and add all ingredients to a crock-pot.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  (Or, 1 hour on medium and 3 hours on low if you get in a time crunch like me!)  As with most of my soups/stews, I served this with a square of cornbread on the bottom of the bowl.  That way you get a little bread in every bite!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A trip to the Zoo!

As we were all stuffed with too much turkey, we decided to skip Black Friday madness and waddle our way over to the Houston Zoo!  Cooper had not been since he was just over a year old, such a difference!  Not only did he love the animals, he wore himself out RUNNING the entire park.

Cooper's favorite exhibit was the reptile house.  This is where I hold my breath and try to be a good "Boy Mom".  He kept telling me "Mama, open it!  Cooper touch it!"  If he had his way, he'd be right in there with them!

My parents were in town too so Mamacita and Grandpa were MUCH NEEDED extra hands (and feet) for chasing.  Uncle "Nat" (= Matt) treated us all and was the designated animal sound maker.  He does an excellent elephant...ask him about it! 

It's Sunday night and I totally have a case of the "go back to work" blues.  I enjoyed an entire week off of work with the little man.  I would suggest not talking to me before 9am tomorrow when I have processed my first cup of coffee and sorted through my hundreds of emails!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day Date

(When the sitter stays, the parents will play!)

Kyle and I had the whole day to ourselves this past Monday.  Cooper's sitter was here and we were both off of work, free as birds!  What did we do?  It wasn't anything fancy. We just bopped around town making plans as we went.  Funny how appealing that is now. This is how we used to spend EVERY. SINGLE. SATURDAY. before the Cooper boy!  I have to say, it was the best date we've had in a long time!

We went to breakfast at Adair Kitchen.  Hope all my Houston people make it there or have done so already.  We were in need of a spot like this on the West side of town!  My Chorizo Toast was ridiculously good and totally trumped Kyle's balsamic eggs, which were good too...but I won!  I guess I was trying to make up for the previous time we were there and he got chicken and waffles to my steel cut oatmeal...womp, womp.

We spent the rest of the day shopping, lunching and out at the movies.  Here's Kyle at Pottery Barn.  He was not impressed with their winter collection!

We finished up the day at the movies seeing Argo.  Have you seen it yet?  Really great.  REALLY intense.

The Day Date was a great kickoff to the holiday week.  On to family, feasts and football!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mamacita's Dressing

I love Thanksgiving.  Family, food and football!  What's not to like?!  Something for everyone.  In fact, I'm a little upset that my neighbors have their Christmas lights already up and turned on.  Back off Christmas, it's TURKEY DAY!

When handing out the Thanksgiving assignments, there is one that never changes Mom's dressing!  It is easily the most talked about fought over dish that is at our table.  My mom has to make two separate casseroles, one to serve and one so the boys don't kill each other fighting for leftovers!  I'm told this was once an old Southern Living recipe that has morphed through the years.  One thing is for sure, it doesn't stick around long!

For those of you who haven't finalized your menu, here's the recipe for Mamacita's dressing!

Mamacita’s Cornbread and Sausage Dressing

1 lb. pork sausage (I usually use “hot”)
1 chopped onion
4 cups crumbled cornbread (Make ahead, better if a little stale!)
1 cup crumbled day old bread (I use French bread)
2 eggs
2 cups chicken broth
½ tsp. poultry seasoning
¼ tsp. salt

Combine sausage and onion in a skillet; cook until browned, stirring to crumble meat.
Combine sausage and remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 12x8x2-inch baking dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes in a 350F oven. Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until heated through.

*I usually season the mixture with black pepper, garlic and some Tabasco sauce.
* If you double the recipe, like I have to do with my family, it’ll need to bake for at least an hour.

What are the "must have" dishes on your table?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Liebster Award!

My friend Chelsea @The Life We Love tagged me in the Liebster Awards and I have to answer the following 11 questions about myself.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I love the concept!  Chelsea is one of my best friends from A&M and my inspiration to blog.  She is such a good writer, and freaking hilarious too!

1. What is something you've always wanted to do but never have? Why not?
My husband is a man of a million hobbies.  I'm always trying to find mine.  I suppose at the moment my hobbies would be cooking and drinking wine with friends (um, yes, that counts!) but I'm really passionate about music.  In high school I was in musicals and choir and loved to dance.  Something I've always wanted to do would be to somehow morph that into an hobby.  Adult tap dancing class? Hmmm...

2. Fill in the blanks. People sometimes think I'm ___ but really, I'm ___.
This is a tough one for me.  I think I'm a pretty easy person to read?  You tell me!!

3. What are your favorite kinds of gifts to receive?
My favorite gifts these days are gifts of time.  Like when Kyle does the grocery store run so I can relax or watches Cooper while I clean my closet.  I know its lame, but my time is a scarce resource and when someone helps me produce more of it that is a huge gift!

4. What is something someone has done for you that really touched you?
This just happened yesterday...good timing!  I was standing down the street talking with my two neighbor mom friends and watching four kids run around.  There is another little girl just Cooper's age and between the two of them some mom is always scrambling to keep kids out of the street and within sight. Yesterday, Cooper was pushing his toy up and down the sidewalk and I was running after him, calling for him to turn around.  About the 10th time, he turned around and came back on his own and before I knew it all three of the moms were cheering for him and telling him what a good boy he was for listening.  I could really tell that my friends were proud of Cooper too and that touched me!

5. What are three things you really like about yourself?
Sheesh! Um... 1) I like my willingness to try new things 2) I like my ability to make decisions, not a lot of gray area going on over here! 3) I like my eyelashes.  They always say boys get the best eyelashes but I think mine are pretty OK!

6. If you have kids, what are three attributes you hope to instill in them?
Kindness, tolerance of people that are different than you and ambition to go after what they want in life.

7. What is something you struggle with?
Easy.  I struggle every day with balancing my time, energy and focus between work and home.  Oh, mother's guilt!

8. What are you really good at?
I'm really good at listening.  Sometimes I think I missed my calling as a therapist.  Other times I think I missed my calling as a veterinarian, go figure.

9. What do you wish you could be better at?
I wish I could be better at getting more involved in things outside of work and home.  My friends Lyndsey and Whitney are always going going going.  I really admire their energy!

10. Tell a funny joke.
I tell the worst jokes, ask Kyle.  Here goes!
Q: How do you make Lady Ga Ga cry?
A: Poke her face.

11. How many hours do you sleep per night, on average?
Probably 7.  Sometimes 4 sometimes 9 but 7 is a good goal!

There you have it!  I'm nominating the following bloggers to answer the same questions (sorry, I'm too tired to be original!):

Lyndsey @ high heels and handlebars
Allison @ Tidbits and Snippets
Lauren @ Davis Does Dallas