Wednesday, June 23, 2010


So since I have just given you an entire meals worth of recipes, why not finish it off with a citrus-y cold drink? I just made this tonight, and Scott and I both enjoyed the sweet, but tangy delight!

Limeade (adapted from Simply Recipes)
Serves approx. 4

1 c. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 T. lime zest
1 c. sugar
3 c. water

-In a small saucepan, make simple syrup by bringing the sugar and 1 c. of the water to a light simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove, allowing the simply syrup to cool.
-While the syrup is still warm, add the zest to the pot
-Once the syrup has cooled, pour it into a serving pitcher and add the remaining 2 c. of water and the lime juice
-Serve over ice!
**If you wish to remove pulp and zest, run the lime juice and syrup through a sieve first, then pour into the serving pitcher (Scott and I like the texture of the pulp, so we left it in)**


Who doesn't love a huge bowl of creamy, cool, GREEN guacamole in the summer with salty lime corn chips? Oh man, I could EASILY down an entire bowl of this delicious mashed-avocado greatness!

This recipe is inspired from my mother, and very well may be her recipe, though I am not sure :-)


4 ripe avocados, seeded and spooned out of the shells
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large tomato, diced
Salt and pepper

-Place the avocados into a large bowl and mash with a fork until well smashed, but with some avocado chunks remaining
-Toss in the red onion, lime juice, cilantro, tomato, and salt and pepper (to taste), and combine with a large spoon
-Serve with tortilla chips! Our favorite are the Tostitos with a Hint of Lime



Corn Salad with Feta

To go along with the Jimmy Burgers, I made a light corn salad with Feta cheese. Though corn is a starch and not technically a vegetable, it provided the sweet crunch that was needed with the big, juicy, greasy burgers.

Corn Salad with Feta (adapted from Real Simple)

4 c. fresh corn kernels (or frozen if not in season), grilled or raw
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese
**The Real Simple recipe included 1 c. of chopped walnuts, but I omitted this because I am allergic to walnuts**

-In a large bowl, combine all ingredients
-Simple, right?



Scott's Hamburger Recipe

So, my dear husband had a secret up his sleeve that I never knew about until we moved to Houston. And even then, I didn't know about it until about a month ago. The title of this post completely gives it away, but.... Scott makes VERY GOOD burgers!! When I was out of town a few weeks ago, Scott hosted a pool party at our apartment and grilled some burgers. Scott is good at the grill so I thought, "fun! Burgers are tasty..." Well, my friends tell me the next time they see me, "Oh my goodness, Hannah, Scott made the BEST burger I have ever had!" So, my first thought is, "huh, I wonder what he does differently..." Well, here is your answer. I have been given permission to share the recipe ;-) And, yes, I finally had a taste of one of these big boys last weekend. The votes are in: They are GOOD.

Scott's Jimmy Burger (In memory of Jimmy Dean):
Serves: 10

4 lbs. ground chuck (80/20)
1 lb. Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage
4 eggs
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
Tony's Creole Seasoning (Scott says you CANNOT use anything but Tony's..... hmmm... ;-) )
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
Worchestershire sauce

-With your bare hands, squish together the ground chuck, breakfast sausage, eggs, bread crumbs, bell pepper, onion, and enough Tony's to season the meat to your liking.
-Form the meat into 1/2 lb. patties (or lighter, but it will make more burgers if you do this)
-Using your fingers, gently put dents in the top of each patty
-Fill the dents with Worchestershire sauce and allow the patties to soak up the sauce for about 1 hour
-Preheat your grill and when ready, grill the burgers to the desired "doneness" (we like ours medium-well)
-Serve on the bun of choice with the condiments and veggies that you love!

Let me know what you think, should you try this lovely :-)


Saturday, June 19, 2010

14 days of friends and family

Well, this two weeks of no blogging I have to blame on school again. I started back on June 1st! I have many, many clients this summer and just one class (thank goodness!) But, in between clients and class, I have been blessed with spending evenings with husband and weekends with friends :-)

Levi graduated on June 3rd. It's so hard to believe that I was there just 5 years ago. I wish I had a picture of me in my cap and gown to show you, but Mommy has those...

I can't say any more about the graduation or I will tear up, haha. I have become such a sap in my married days...

My last photo with Mom's camera :-( At least it's a cute one! This is Danny.

Back to my little point-n-shoot :-) This is Phoebe.

So... remember those socks I started knitting for Scott back in February.... I finally finished the FIRST ONE!! Yay!! Turning the heel was not near as scary as anticipated. Maybe he'll have the second one by Christmas? Maybe?

Last weekend, Scott's sister and her husband came to visit us. We started their visit with a night out on a sailboat. Our friend, Brook, invited us and we had such a fun (windy!) night of sailing, eating salsa and hotdogs, and watching fireworks!

Scott got to learn how to steer the boat

View from the bay

I'm on a boat!

Early sunset picture of the gulls

Stef and Trey

The next day, we put on our USA World Cup Soccer gear and headed to St. Arnold's Brewery! Trey really likes their beer and the brewery happens to be about 10 min. from our apartment. The atmosphere was really friendly and fun. You walk in to a HUGE room full of LONG wooden benches filled to the max with people, beer in hand and games on the table! Your entry fee comes with a tour and four free 10 oz. samples of beer.

The group

My fun USA nail job!

From there, we drove over (soberly) to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the USA v. England World Cup Soccer game!! It was SO fun! It's amazing how much you can get into a game when 100+ others around you are equally excited! The girl from the newspaper took a ton of pictures of our table, haha.

Over the past couple of weeks, our garden has really grown! We just plucked our first two tomatoes! Remember when those guys were just seedlings?? Our bell peppers are well on their way, too.

Last night, we had 6 of our friends over for a game night and burgers. Scott made his famous grilled burgers (recipe to follow, if he will let me post it), I made some yummy corn salad (recipe also to follow), and some guacamole (guess what, I'm posting that recipe, too!) Unfortunately, I was unable to get pictures of the corn salad and guacamole because the burgers stole the show!

Tonight, Scott and I headed over to Minute Maid Stadium to watch the Astros play the Rangers. Now, I have grown up a Rangers fan, so I was little torn. Needless to say, I was happy with either win. The Rangers ended up killing us, 4-1! Oh well...

Well, tis all for the update! Stay tuned for recipes.



Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Road Trip

I should start this post by saying that my mom let me take her Canon Rebel on our 10 day trip. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I was able to get so many great photos! I have MAJOR camera envy right now.

So, as I said before, it all started in Kentucky. After Ryan's wedding, we drove through Trappist, KY to visit a monastery that Thomas Merton inhabited for several years. The church was beautiful. Very traditional, Catholic architecture with amazing acoustics and several outside meditation spots.

There were many monks walking around, which was interesting to see. They wore the same brown robes that you see in the movies (Monte Python being the movie I happen to be thinking of...) but instead of brown rope sandals, they all wore Chacos or some form of outdoor sandal. I guess you can't hold to every historical dress code standard...

We then traveled about 2 hours to the Woodford Reserve Distillery.

We toured the bourbon factory, learning about the process of making bourbon from the grains... the shot glass.

Scott and I's favorite part was walking into the aging room...

I have never smelled something so wonderfully earthy, old, and aged, but at the same time, sweet, rich, and bold. The smell of that old rock building consumed by stacks of white oak barrels housing the ever aging barley and corn was WONDERFUL.

After our visit, we drove into Shaker Village, where we stayed for 2 1/2 days. Shaker Village is pretty much as it sounds: a renovated/restored village that Shakers used to inhabit. The Shakers owned about 3,000 acres and the land included restored blacksmith buildings, craft shops, furniture shops, dormitories, and barns. We stayed at the Inn at Shaker Village in a very nice room and enjoyed dinner at the on site restaurant, serving food that was grown on site!

The next few days included a long hike to a STUNNING waterfall...

So.... camera tip for those who are learning the ins and outs of exposure, aperture, shutter speed, etc. (myself included in this bunch) When taking pictures of moving water, if you slow down the shutter speed to about 1/4 or 1/8 and hold the camera VERY still, the water turns out looking like floating clouds of fog over the rocks! Very cool effect!

...attending a lecture on "Shaker Agriculture"...

This was our teacher for the Ag lecture.... he was an interesting fellow, but very knowledgeable and funny.

...purchasing a few things at the craft store, and really, just enjoying the beautiful rolling hills and observing the farm animals on site.

The first thing Scott and I noticed was how Q-U-I-E-T it was.... almost eerily quiet. The still and quiet combined with the Tempur-Pedic mattress on our bed resulted in some GOOD sleep.

From Shaker Village, we ventured down to Nashville, TN, and stayed with Scott's college friend, Natalie. God bless her, she also served as our chauffeur and tour guide for the next two days. The first night, she took us to a honky-tonk in downtown Nashville where we enjoyed some good live music and....

...I swing danced with a complete stranger. Those of you who know me know that I do NOT like to dance, much less in public, even more less with someone I do not know. However, it was actually really fun! I found that my very minimal swing dance skills were became quite good with a leader who absolutely knew what he was doing! My goodness, that man could dance!! It was SO fun and I dare say I would do it again....

The next day we went back into downtown and visited a print shop, which I was so intrigued by!

The print shop still uses antique printing techniques and every poster they make is hand printed, hand inked, hand carved.... wow. I was very impressed. The uniqueness was amplified by the fact that two posters of the same design had slightly different coloring, proving the fact that the inks were all hand mixed applied just before printing. We hopped across the street for ice cream...

...then headed over the the Parthenon!

It is the only exact replica of the actual Parthenon that resides in Greece. We then drove to see Dave Ramsey give his radio show-LIVE!

I realize that not everyone knows Dave Ramsey, but he is a financial advisor with a pretty well known talk radio show and book. Scott's dad introduced us to his radio program and we have since become fans. We got to meet him and talk to him for a few minutes, got one of our books signed, and a photo taken :-) We then ventured down to a vineyard owned by Kix Dunn of Brooks and Dunn. The Tennessee landscape was quilted with rows and rows of grape vines, with the building lined with rows and rows of newly bottled wine. My favorite, of little surprise to me, was the raspberry dessert wine. Yum.

The day ended with dinner at Cafe Loveless. If you want authentic, Southern cooking, you must go here. The macaroni and cheese was creamy and rich, the biscuits were flaky but dense, the meat was served in portions that would feed 4, and I'm sure the dessert was killer! (I had absolutely no room left to even think about the dessert.)

From Tennessee, we ventured to Siloam Springs, AR, where we attended the wedding of Ben and Meredith, two of Scott's close college friends. The wedding was just beautiful and the weather could not have been more perfect for the outdoor event. Of coarse, I took a billion pictures and captured some good ones! I love taking candid photos; the results are always the most pure, the faces the most honest. I love it :-)

Scott got to do some wood-working in his friend, Austin's, wood shop. It was very large with lots of good equipment!

We visited our friend, Travis', organic farm and ate lunch made up of his produce!

Scott was an usher in the wedding. Doesn't he look good?!

Our week ended with a trip to Dallas to see Scott's sister and her husband for Memorial Day. Trey grilled some amazing dry-rub ribs and Stefanie made some excellent corn on the cob and potato salad--YUM.

Stef and Trey's dog, Jack :-)

Back in Houston, I have started school again--full force. They have no mercy. But, again, I am trying to keep a positive outlook on the whole thing. I will admit that my first day back was rough, to say the least. I was in a bad mood all day and just, well, stressed. Next week will be better though :-) I will MAKE it better!

Next stop: Levi's graduation.