Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Fray w/ Jack's Mannequin

Last night Ryan and I went to see The Fray and Jack's Mannequin at The Woodlands Pavilion. Kevin and Steph went with us and my friends Erica and Dylan were there too. Ryan and Kevin's main goal for going to the concert was to see Jack's Mannequin. They are bigger fans of them than The Fray. I like both so I was excited despite some reviews that said Jack's was awesome but The Fray was boring. It was a great show and both bands really rocked. I was able to get some decent pictures.

Jack's Mannequin
Rocking out while playing piano
Piano playing singers like to get on top of the piano!
The Fray. He sang the first few songs out front.
Then sat down for a few on the piano.
More singing on top of the piano
At the end, the whole band came out front, one by one. It was a nice ending to the show.

Eric and Whitney, we missed you guys! Whit, hope you are feeling better!

Friday, July 24, 2009

A couple of house updates

There is a saying about something being so boring that "its like watching paint dry". Well, these days, our home building process is really boring because it IS just watching paint dry. The painters have a couple of more weeks and we are getting really impatient! :)

All the stain is complete so the next two weeks are baseboards, painted cabinets and walls. Boring! I'm ready for tile and granite!
Stained front door
Primer coat on upstairs cabinets

The following pictures are not our house. These are some tile pictures from the house Ryan is building around the corner. I took them because they are the same tiles we are using.
Front and back porch slate

Main first floor tile

Spring Chicken Roll-Ups

I first saw this recipe on a blog I follow. It's a Rachel Ray recipe so I hoped it would be easy enough. It turned out pretty good despite on mishap. The middle of the chicken was not cooked through when I took this out of the skillet. I think the problem is that when rolled, it made an inner layer of chicken. Next time, I'll do more of a fold-over than a roll-up. It had really nice flavors and Ryan liked it (always a plus with chicken).

Spring Chicken Roll-Ups
by: Rachel Ray

2 (6-ounce) pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thin slices provolone cheese
4 thin slices prosciutto
12 thin spears asparagus, trimmed of tough stems and blanched in salted water 2 minutes, drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup chopped, flat-leaf parsley, a handful

Cook's Note: Some markets sell "thin cut" chicken for a premium price. With a sharp knife, cutting the chicken breast yourself is easy. When chicken is on sale, stock up. Plastic storage bags can be stacked and frozen. Each portion will thaw in minutes and ready to use for dinner any night of the week. Plus, by halving and pounding out the breast meat, you're stretching your dollar and the meat to provide twice as many portions.
Halve the chicken breasts horizontally separating each into 2 cutlets.

Place each halved cutlet in an individual freezer plastic storage bag (with slider tab). Add a tablespoon of water to each bag and pound into1/8-inch thick cutlets.

Arrange the 4 cutlets on work surface. Season cutlets with salt and pepper on the side facing up. Cover each piece of chicken with 1 slice cheese and 1 slice ham. Starting on 1 side of the breast, place a small bundle of 3 asparagus spears.
Wrap and roll the chicken around the asparagus. Wash hands.
Heat about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a turn of the pan, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
When hot, using tongs, add the chicken roll-ups to skillet with seam side down. Season the roll-ups with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan loosely with tin foil and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turn roll-ups over and cook and other 4 to 5 minutes.
Remove cooked roll ups to a serving plate.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons flour Stir in the chicken stock and Dijon mustard, scraping up any drippings from the bottom of the pan, and simmer 1 minute.
Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley and spoon over chicken.

A little more love for the family

My parents sent me all of their pictures from our week together. Here are a few more pictures.

I had to show this picture of Helmi with her tongue out while she worked on her artwork. So cute.

As if we don't already know how crazy tall Uncle Ryan is! Helmi learned the phrase "Everything's bigger in Texas" before she visited. We asked her about it one day... "What's bigger in Texas?" She pointed at Ryan, then Ryan's dad. Ha.

Helmi with the three men in her life.

Helmi posing in our pantry.

Helmi wanted to make cookies. Here we are rolling out the dough.

Cutting out cookies.

About to go in the oven. H for Helmi and a fish for Shamu!

Pink Icing!

The whole family waiting for our Riverwalk boat tour.

Helmi and Uncle Ryan being silly in the pool.

The family on their last night. Don't you love Helmi's little yellow shoes with her black and white dress??

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Helmi Takes Texas

A few pictures of our niece Helmi hitting some of the hot spots of Texas during my family's trip last week. These are the non Sea World Pictures. To see those, go here.

At the Houston Children's Museum.

Posing by the pond in our new neighborhood.
Swimming at the Cranebook Pool (she did not want to get splashed in the face)

San Antonio Riverwalk
Goofing around with Uncle Ryan in the hotel in San Antonio.

Riverwalk Boat Tour

She was just a doll the whole week. Four years old, a week of non-stop activity and not one melt down. She's just awesome to be around and we miss her tons!

Admiral Gets a Haircut -- Take 2

Admiral had his first hair cut in March. This time, we did it ourselves. We put him in the bed of the truck to keep him contained. Lots of hair, one bath and 2 hours later, Admiral got his summer 'do back.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The painters are in the house. They start with spraying all the stain. Then they will cover all these cabinets and spray the wall paint. Here are some pictures of our dark stained cabinets.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cheesecake Pops -- The Easy Way

A few weeks ago, I posted that I was going to make cheesecake pops soon. I made them before Eric's Graduation and they were a hit. But man, was it a pain. You have to make a cheesecake (it was my first time to do this), get it nice and chilled, form the balls, freeze the balls, then finally dip them in chocolate. It was a three night process.

My friend Suzie is having twins and I helped host her shower. I decided to make cheesecake pops as one of the desserts. Since my family was in town all week and we were going to Sea World, I didn't want this to be a three day process. So, I took the Sandra Lee "Semi-Homemade" route and bought pre-made cheesecake bites. This meant all I had to do was add the sticks and dip in chocolate. It's still a time consuming process, but not 3 days.

Easy Cheesecake Pops

Sara Lee Cheesecake Bites
Semi Sweet Chocolate for Melting
Sucker Sticks

Let Cheesecake bites soften just enough to insert the sucker sticks.

Melt chocolate and shortening according to package directions. I used two boxes of Baker's brand and added probably 3 tablespoons of Chocolate. Bakerella always suggests this when dipping with chocolate and I always ignored it. She is right... it REALLY helps.

Dip sucker stick in chocolate and insert into cheesecake bite.
Put un-dipped pops back in freezer while you finish prepping them all. They don't need to be completely frozen before dipping but the colder the cheesecake, the better the chocolate will coat and harden (less dripping).

Dip pop in chocolate. Gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl to get rid of the excess chocolate. Stand pops on Styrofoam block to cool. Return to freezer or refrigerator until ready to serve.

See Bakerella's blog for more detailed instructions! :)

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