Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sauteed Fish

This recipe is another one I got from the girls in the recipe group. Until now, I had two ways I knew to cook fish. Natalie sent this recipe out recently so I was excited to try it.

Sauteed Trout
from Junior League of Lake Charles Cookbook

Speckled Trout or Redfish filets (I used Tilapia)
Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to taste
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Italian-style bread crumbs
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Season the fish generously with creole seasoning.
Whisk the milk and eggs in a shallow dish.

Coat the seasoned filets in bread crumbs. Coat in the egg mixture and then coat in bread crumbs again.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy non-stick skillet over medium-heat.
Add the filets in a single layer.

Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until the fish flakes easily; do not overcook.

This was a really good meal. I don't LOVE fish but I really liked it cooked like this. It felt healthier than my normal "fried" fish.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meat Roll Ups

Another recipe from the recipe group. This one is from our friend Tiffany. Ryan and her husband Brandon have been friends since elementary school. We have pictures of one of Ryan's first birthday's after moving to The Woodlands... and there is Brandon celebrating with him.

Tiffany is very good about sending out EASY recipes, which I love. This one was very easy and I thought it tasted really good. If I were to rate on 5 star system, I would give this a solid 4. It's nothing fancy but is a yummy, easy meal.

Meat Roll Ups
1 lb. of ground beef
1 pkg. of onion soup mix (I used Lipton)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Colby)
1 can of croissants (6 is better, they are larger roll ups)

Preheat oven to 375.
Brown ground beef.

Mix in onion soup mix.
Add cheese.

Flatten out dough.
Put meat in the middle and top with cheese. Use more than shown in this picture, it wasn't enough. (I didn't measure)

Fold all together.

Bake for 13 minutes.

I topped with a little extra cheese and let cook an extra minute or two until the cheese melted and the crescent rolls were a little brown.

Friday, October 10, 2008

City of Brotherly Love

(Warning... this is long.)

This past weekend, Ryan and I took a quick trip to Philadelphia. Ryan's little brother, Eric, is a wide receiver for Dartmouth and Dartmouth was playing UPenn. So, the game was our main motivation of going to the game. Additionally, Ryan's family has some very close friends in Philly. The Shea's used to live in The Woodlands and their son, Steve and Ryan's other brother Kevin are very good friends. The Shea's and The Paul's have remained very close over the years, along with several other families whose son's are all friends with Kevin and Steve. So, not only were Ryan and I at the game, but also The Paul's, Kevin and his fiance' Stephanie, Steve and his girlfriend Dana, The Shea's, The Babcock's and The Barton's. It was a big weekend in Philly for this Woodlands Clan!

Ryan and I arrived late Friday night and met up with Steve, Kevin and Steph at a bar about 3 blocks from our hotel. Earlier that evening, everyone else attended a huge gala celebrating the re-opening of the Please Touch Museum. Mrs. Shea was involved with the opening of the museum and The Woodlands gang enjoyed celebrating with her. Ryan and I hated to miss the party but our schedules prevented us from getting into Philadelphia in time. :(

Saturday morning we started our morning with a stroll around the area near our hotel looking for coffee and breakfast. After some aimless wandering we decided to just head toward the stadium and hope to find something on the way. All along not knowing what was waiting for us at the Dartmouth Tailgate. Just before we crossed the Schuylkill River, we found the Walnut Bridge Coffee House. We stopped in and had breakfast sandwiches. The had a divine display case full of Truffles and Petit Fours. I couldn't resist. I got Ryan the Black and White Truffle (Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate) and I had the "Ghost" Petite Four (Almond Cake, Butter Cream Icing, White Chocolate). Both were fantastic... who says you can't have cake and chocolate for breakfast???

Then we headed to the Dartmouth Tailgate, which ended up being just over the bridge. We got there to find "professional" tailgaters. One of the football players parents knew some guys that tailgate for the Eagles games. They had the full setup for cooking, along with a DJ. Breakfast was being served... Sausage and Egg sandwiches, Bacon and Fried Potatoes. I was so sad I had already eaten that egg sandwich at the coffee house because this food looked good. So, what do you do? Just eat again. And that we did. It was fantastic. After breakfast, they cooked Lunch...Ribeye Steak Sandwiches and Grilled Shrimp. I had to have some of that as well. Then, we finally headed to the football game. Eric played well but Dartmouth lost.

After the game, Ryan and I took a quick stroll through UPenn's campus. It's gorgeous. I remember when I was looking at colleges we would comment on a campus being pretty. In Mississippi, people from Ole Miss think their campus is "prettier" than Mississippi State's. I always thought Rhodes' campus was prettier than Millsaps' with all the matching stone buildings. NOTHING compares to the beauty of an old campus like UPenn. Some of those buildings were probably built before the United States was a country. It was just amazing to walk through. Of course, the "LOVE" statue is new and there is another one, made famous in some movies, in the more downtown area of Philadelphia.
We met Kevin and Steph, Steve and Dana for a quick margarita and some chips and salsa before our dinner reservations that night. The whole clan met at Penne for a nice dinner. They gave us the option to order from a 3 course dinner menu (appetizer, entree, dessert) or off the regular menu. Ryan and I both chose the 3 course meal. I had calamari, salmon and a chocolate dessert (pictures below, of course). Ryan had a Caesar salad, some sort of seafood pasta dish with muscles, scallops, shrimp, etc., (he had something like this once in Chicago when visiting our friend's Ben and Katie and he tries it whenever he sees something like it on the menu. Nothing has compared to the place in Chicago) and the lemon tart. It was a very nice dinner, and the desserts were the best part!! :)
After dinner, we made a quick trip back to our hotel. As we were walking back, we noticed a two guys walking around in a Blazer, Dress Shirt, Tie, dress shoes and Boxers.... no pants. We had seen a bride and groom just before this and assumed that maybe it was some groomsmen playing a joke as they entered the reception. Then we saw another guy alone and still assumed it was wedding related. We went to our room to shower, change clothes and get ready to meet the other guys out at a bar. On our way to the bar, we passed at least 3 groups of 10 guys (with dates) in the same pant less attire. It appeared to be some sort of fraternity party and they had take over the Center City area of Philadelphia. They were everywhere... we even ran into more on our way back to the hotel later that night. And of course, no long day and night out is complete without a stop for late night food. Little Pete's was right across from our hotel and was like a local Waffle House. Ryan had an omelet and I ate some of his hash browns. Then we finally called it a night.

Sunday was our "tourist" day. We woke up late and were ready for lunch. We got
a cab to take us to the two famous Cheesesteak restaurants... Pat's and Geno's. We decided that instead of picking which place to go, we would have one at each place. We went to Pat's first and ordered a "whiz wit". That is, we got a Cheesesteak with Onions and Cheese Whiz. It was REALLY good. Everything I had hoped for. Then we walked across the street, yes, they are right across the street, to Geno's. There we ordered a "provolone wit"--a Cheesesteak with Onions and Provolone cheese. All the tables there were full so a local man let us sit with him. I was too embarrassed to take pictures of the cheese steak with him sitting right there so no picture. We realized that we should have gotten cheese whiz at both places so that we could have done a true comparison. Pat's meat was a little greasier and more chopped up, the onions a little more cooked. Geno's meat was probably a little more tender but was not chopped as much, and the onions were under cooked. The local man we sat with, and our cab driver, both told us they only eat at Geno's, its much cleaner. And you can definitely see this. The man we were sitting with said that Pat's had too much "gristle"... we aren't 100% sure what this means, but we think it means it's fattier, thus making it a little tougher and a little greasier. But, we liked them both!

After lunch we did a tour of the historic parts of Philly. We met up with Ryan's parents, Kev and Steph before they headed back to Houston. I won't name all these buildings but they are all old and all have history dating back to before or just after the US declared its independence. The cobblestone streets where the horses/carriages used to drive were pretty impressive, as were all the old buildings that are still standing. After this quick tour, we saw the liberty bell... the crack's still there and walked around Old City a little more.

One thing on the list to do was to go in a Seven Eleven and get a Slurpee. I hear they are better and different than Icee's... but I didn't really taste a difference.

We wanted to see the Please Touch Museum after hearing everyone talk about how cool all the exhibits were. So, we took a cab out there. It's a good ways from the Center City/Old City area out to Memorial Hall. We get out there and it appears that it's closed. We walk to the door to check and indeed, the man cleaning the steps tells us it is closed and was only open for a short friends and family/members event that we missed by about an hour. While this was happening, our cab driver that we think was being nice and waiting around on us, got into an accident while trying to park on the side of the road. Yikes. So, we decided to start walking down the main street to get a cab... none of which were in site. It was getting hot at this point and Ryan was getting tired of walking. But we just kept heading toward the Zoo, which was about a mile away, hoping there would be more cabs there. (This is Memorial Hall, where the Please Touch Museum is located.)

Luckily, after about a 1/4 to 1/2 mile walk, a cab approached and we flagged him down. $30 in cab rides and no visit to the musuem later, we were dropped off near Penn's Landing. I had gotten turned around in the cab and we accidentally got out about 5 blocks away from where we wanted to go... and it was in a location right near a highway where to get to the street 5 blocks south, we had to go up some stairs, take the walkway over the freeway, walk down the 5 blocks, then go back over the freeway. This ended up being a long trek and Ryan was not happy when we finally arrived at the Triumph Brewery. Fortunately, this section of our trip was really the only rough patch... and it only lasted an hour and a half.

Triumph Brewery was an upscale, local brewery. We both did the beer flight were we tasted each beer. I am not a huge beer fan but I liked a few. Ryan polished off his flight and had a whole glass of the one that I liked least. It tasted like a campfire smells, he loved it. We also had a nice fried mozarella appetizer while we cooled off and watched some football and baseball. By the time we left Triumph, the place was packed with (sad) Philadelphia Eagles fans who arrived after the game.

We left Triumph and returned to our hotel to get ready for dinner. We moved our 7:30 reservations to 8 so we could finish watching whatever football game was on... it was a close one, that's all I remember.

Dinner was at Friday Saturday Sunday. None of our Philadelphia friends had ever heard of it so we were a little nervous. I found it online and it got great reviews on City Search. We were not disappointed. The restaurant advertises that all their wine is just $10 over cost, instead of double and triple like some restaurants. We orderd a bottle of Pinot Noir. They are also known for their cream of mushroom soup. Ryan ordered this and I got the Manhattan Clam Chowder. Both were delicious and we were very happy with our selections. For dinner, I had the Crab Cakes with Roasted Potatoes and Ryan had the Filet with Scalloped Potatoes. Both were outstanding. For dessert we ordered a Puff Pastry with Berries and Cream and a Caramel Sauce. It was a great, light dessert to end the evening. Everything about our dinner and the restaurant were fantastic. We were seated in a corner booth and could see everything going on in the restaurant. It's a small place, very much a local gem. It was a good night. The pictures of the food don't do it justice. It was just too dark and I refuse to use a flash in the restaurant!

It was a really good weekend. Philadelphia is a great city. We loved how walkable almost everything we wanted to do was. Thanks to the Shea's and all The Woodlands clan that was there for an awesome time.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Today is my parent's anniversary. They have been married for 37 years. That's right, THIRTY SEVEN years!

My parents are the real deal. You can tell--you can see in everything that they do--they are committed to each other, they love each other, they love their children, the love God and they know that God put them together for a reason. Like any couple, they have been through hard times, the loss of parents, the loss of friends, tight financial times, but they are always there for each other, to work through things, to comfort the other, to lift the other up, to care for their family. To me, they are the model of a "perfect" marriage.

Thanks Mom and Dad for being a good example of love and marriage. I love you.

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