Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baking for Sports... Will this be the year?

Will this be the year that the Rockets finally make it past the first round of the playoffs? I know they have done it before -- they've won the whole thing -- but not since I have been a fan. It's time... I'm ready.

Last year, I made a NBA Playoffs Cookie Cake to support two of my teams... the Rockets and the Hornets. They both won the night I made the cake so I am hoping it works this year too. The Rockets are one game away from the Second Round. They have to win this game or it's back to Portland and I fear what that will mean.

My cookies are nothing new for me... Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix with Wilton Buttercream Icing (medium consistency). I didn't work too hard on my decorations... you can see the white icing is pretty messy but I thought my Rockets logo was pretty good for a quick, late night project.
Of course, the most important characteristic is that they taste DIVINE! I know my co-workers will be very pleased with me!

Go Rockets!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Go Rockets!

Late Sunday afternoon, Ryan got a call from the sales guy that supplies the dumpsters to his jobsites. His company has a suite at the Toyota Center and was offering us tickets to Game 4 of the Playoffs. We were out at the new house but quickly jumped in the car and headed home to get changed into our Rockets Red.

Here are some shots from the game (click to make larger).

Both teams waiting on the end of a TV commercial break.

The injured Dikembe Mutombo, headed to the locker room to support his team during half time.

Craig Sager and his suit interviewing Yao Ming at halftime.

A little bit of the action

And of course the food in the suite! This was just the dessert.

Now, I will do a little name dropping. Sometime in the first half, I looked up to see a very familiar face. I knew he was a Texan... it was Chester Pitts. He was with his teammate, Duane Brown and they hung out in our suite the entire game. A little later, Eric Winston came in with who I assume was his wife. Then, another guy that I cannot name. They were all huge!

Then, sometime after halftime, Ryan looks at me and says "Sam Cassell" is in the suite. I didn't believe him until I stood up and saw him. I did my best paparrazi but it wasn't great.

Sam Cassell in the yellow shirt in the background.

Me with Chester Pitts and Duane Brown. Go Texans!

And, the final score... 89-88, Rockets win. Up 3-1 now. Go Rockets!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dining Out: Genghis Grill

(picture borrowed from leesaanddavid)

I don't typically cook on Friday nights because I have cooked Sunday-Thursday and am just tired of it. This Friday night was a typical Friday night for Ryan and me. About 6pm we started talking about what we want for dinner. By 8pm we were FINALLY headed out the door. It's always the decision that takes the longest.

We always want something "different" but there aren't a lot of "mom and pops" in The Woodlands. I was craving Hibachi Steak and Chicken w/ fried rice. Thats too expensive though so we did some investigating and found an Italian place (Hibachi... Italian... same difference) just outside The Woodlands, Sweet Bella's. We made the drive there, arrived at 8:30. Walk in, wait to be seated, and wait. No one speaks to us. Then, the waitress tells another couple that sat themselves that they were closed. Closed.. at EIGHT THIRTY on a FRIDAY NIGHT!!! WHAT? Not Happy and probably won't give them another chance.

So we decide to drive by another place we considered but its a buffet and it was empty and being the only people eating at the all you can eat buffet was just not appealing to me. So, since it was in the same parking lot, I suggested Genghis Grill. I had been told a year or so ago that it was good, but we had never tried it.

Genghis Grill is a Mongolian Stir Fry restaurant. They have a "stir fry bar" that has all the raw meat, seasonings, veggies, fruits, fixings and sauces you could want to make a stir fry bowl. The waitress told us how it worked and we both made our own creations. I had Beef and Chicken with Pineapples, Zuccini, Squash and Potatoes with the house G3 sauce. Ryan had a little of everything with one of the really spicy sauces. We delivered our bowls to the chefs and within about 5 minutes were served our creations over fried rice. It was REALLY YUMMY.

After we sat down we read the menu and realized there are two options -- One Bowl or Bottomless Bowl for $3 more. Ryan would have done the bottomless bowl had he known, not mixing a little of everything together. Next time!

After a rough start to the evening, Genghis Grill saved the day and it was much closer to Hibachi than Italian!! :) When we left at 10pm, there were still people coming in. We must have been late to the party learning how good this place is. Mom and Dad, I'll take you next time you are here. I think you'd like it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Cake Pops Take 2

I gave the cake pops a second try on Saturday. I had more patience as we had no plans and Ryan wanted to do nothing but lay on the couch so I had a little more success. Ryan's family really enjoyed these on Easter Sunday so I am sure I'll make other variations sometime soon. I'm thinking basketball cake pops for the playoffs? (Go Rockets!)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What a Difference Two Months Makes

Just over 2 months ago, the house looked like this:
And now....
There are a couple of additions that I saw for the first time this week. First is the platform in the media room. We decided to move the door a little and go ahead and build a platform so that we could possibly have two levels of seating. Of course, all of this is for the that hypothetical furniture and hypothetical projector/screen/speakers that we will have one day, when our hypothetical children are teenagers! Ha!
And the second addition is the "bonus room". This came about in the past two weeks when we decided that part of the attic would really make a nice bonus room... ONE DAY. We made arrangements to have all the furnaces, water heaters, etc placed in the back part of the attic so that ONE DAY we could turn the attic above the garage into a bonus room. Well, ONE DAY got here a few years earlier than I thought it would and now, we have a bonus room that will hopefully serve as an exercise room for a while until those same hypothetical children take over.
So now that framing is over it's on to plumbing, A/C and electrical--all the stuff that needs to go inside the walls before the sheet rock. I'm really ready for sheet rock. I've done pretty well with visualizing things since I have been in the house so much. But I know that the sheet rock will really solidify the feeling of the house and I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Egg Cake Pops

As promised, I attempted the Easter Egg Cake Pops from Bakerella. (Scroll down in her blog for the recipe/directions). In general, it was a success, except for the decorating part. See more below.

Here are the cake pops pre-dipping
Close up after dipping in white candy melts.

And, my attempt at decorating...

See, the problem was the decorating--the sprinkles. I couldn't make them stick. I let the pops dry and then tried using the light corn syrup as Bakerella suggested. Well, that just didn't work. The syrup on the candy coating was like mixing oil and water. It was like a Rainex-ed winshield and rain -- the corn syrup just beaded up and was useless. So then I tried brushing on the candy melt as the adhesive but it dried so fast I had to do it bits at a time. After 5 pops, I was DONE decorating. So, my coworkers got plain white egg pops today! I have a few in the freezer that are un-dipped, and some colored candy melts that I am going to try my luck with again this weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Front Porch

My wonderful husband just sent me this picture! MY front porch now has its cedar beam across the top and the cedar columns. Later this week, decorative bracket/braces will be installed where the columns meet the beam. I'm so excited!

Ps, I completed my "Next Baking Adventure" over the weekend. More on that later...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Next Adventures in Baking

I am determined to make one of the following sometime this weekend or next....

Sheep Cake Pops

Chick Cake Pops

Bunny Cake Pops

Easter Egg Cake Pops (scroll down in link)

Hopefully a post about my experience making these cute treats will come soon!

A Roof over our heads!

This week we have seen some real progress. The most notable from the outside is that we have a roof, complete with shingles. In addition, all the Tyvek paper is up, windows and doors are in, and fascia board is primed.

Inside we have also seen TONS of progress. The framer has almost wrapped up all the detail work. There are tons of arches and a couple of cool ceiling treatments that I was finally able to see this week and it looks awesome!

long hall way between living and dining
that connects kitchen to master.

Master Bedroom Barrel Vault Ceiling

View as you walk in the front door
Living Room ahead, Dining to the right.

Master Bathroom

And of course, a picture of Admiral
trying to conquer the stairs. This is still new for him.

For a full set of pictures of the house progress, go here.

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