Road Trippin through Texas | Part I

Hello peanuts. I’ve been quiet for a while but in my absence I can assure you that I maintained my awesome. One awesome thing that we did was road tripped across Texas last weekend. Apart from hours of driving, listening to Jim Gaffigan’s audio book, Dad is Fat, the scenery, the food and the company were exceptional!

Rob and I made plans to celebrate our birthdays in between our birthdays. He’s late April and I’m late May. As mentioned in my 2014 Resolutions, Austin was a location I wished to visit this year.

*Ticks visits to Austin, with bonus of Canyon Lake, San Antonio AND Fredericksburg off list. Booyoucasherrrr!

Did I take a gazillion pictures? As sure as eggs. Am I going to post them all at once? Naw man. Because who wants to look at 70+ pictures of a trip all in one sitting? We hit the road early Friday morning and our first stop was Canyon Lake TX, where we went tubing on the Guadalupe River. For obvious reasons we didn’t take pictures but as we passed the turtles, swans and ducks in close proximity I was disappointed we didn’t get one of those disposable waterproof cameras. Oh well. It was fun and we saw our fair share or wildlife that day. During three quarts of the trip we spotted an Anaconda sized (ok, maybe not Anaconda sized but it was huge) black and yellow snake casually chillaxing on the edge of some mangrove. You can bet your bottom dollar, we stayed inside of our tubes for the rest that float trip.

Second stop, San Antonio! Our stay was brief but the food was well worth it. I blame hunger for the lack of proof but trust me… lunch was gratifying. We were told that the River Walk was the place to be if ever in San Antonio. We had lunch at Boudros. Peoples, please visit that restaurant if you visit the River Walk. In fact, if you’re in San Antonio ever, find your behinds there and thank me later.

I had the Smoked Shrimp and Pepper Bacon Club Sandwich. Capitalized for emphasis on bessness. The shrimp was smoky and the bacon was sweet! The South Padre Island dressing drizzle was the finishing touch to my sandwich. Rob had the Texas Tapas. Picture his plate, the softest piece of pork tenderloin accompanied by the juiciest Hill Country Jalapeno Sausage and the tastiest, sweetest smoked duck with some other stuff I wasn’t paying much attention to. The meats stole my taste buds. *wipes dribble flowing down my chin.* I’m enduring torture for you people. Appreciate it.

For dessert we shared the Crispy Tortilla Fan with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Imagine a cinnamon, sugar-covered tortilla with rich cream and juicy berries complimented by a two scoop flawless blend of vanilla ice cream.

After our Macajuel sized lunch, we strolled the River Walk, stopping into shops and checking out the scenery. It was a rainy day so we didn’t stay long and explored as much as we’d liked. Stops one and two were good but wait, there’s more! Keep an eyeball out for continued posts and photos of our excursion.

Picture time! Sights at the River Walk: A small collection of iPhone & camera photos.

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MDP-68{Due to funky weather, the river boats weren’t out and about}

MDP-65{My hubby ready for lunch}

MDP-64{At Boudros, if you order Guacamole For Two, a waiter comes out with a cart and makes it right on the spot for you}

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MDP-69{Always selfie ready}

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2014 Resolutions

Happy New Year! It’s been six plus months since I’ve last blogged but who’s counting? I welcome 2014 with open arms. 2013 wasn’t the most favourable year for me and I’ve made it my obligation to make the best of this year – good or not so good.

Confession time: I never make New Year resolutions. I guess I’ve never gotten the point of making improbable promises to myself. I CHOOSE not to cage my year with pipeline dreams and girlish fancies. I CHOOSE not to be fixated on a world of dos and don’ts for 365 days. I CHOOSE not to lie to myself about working towards that Gisele Bündchen body then beat myself up 3 weeks in because I hadn’t started exercising and can’t seem to put down those Hershey’s bars. Instead, I CHOOSE to live each day as it comes. No worries. No deadlines. No frustrations.

On the contrary… I can think of at least 3 people in my circle of friends who have made resolutions and attempted or completed them. Which got me thinking… maybe, if I make a list of attainable tasks, err… resolutions; I can get them completed by year’s end.

The point of this post is to proclaim my willingness to attempt a list of not so firm decisions, that I promise not to conform to BUT use as a personal road map for the next 52 49 weeks or so.

A friend of mine shared a resolution list from laurenconrad.com on fb so I figured it was a good enough template. In no specific order here they are:

A bad habit I’m going to break: Playing with the back of my hair. How do I explain this? You know those quirky habits you only do when no one’s around? Like picking scabs, taking an unnecessary amount of food pictures, chewing yesterday’s gum and smelling your toes or pits guiltydon_t_judge_me__okay_gif

Well playing with my hair is similar to that. I would simply lightly twirl and tug at the back strands if my hair. It comforts me some how but it irks my husband to degrees beyond my comprehension.

A destination I’d like to visit: Honestly, I’d love to visit San Francisco this year. I keep hearing lovely things about the city, especially the food. On the other hand, Austin is approximately 143 miles away and it would take us roughly, 2hrs 15mins to get there on wheels. That seems more doable to me.

I’m going to work harder at: Blogging often. I would love to blog every week. *Psssht* Three times a week. On ah reals though, dat not happenin’. A more realistic expectation would be once every quarter but that doesn’t represent “I’m going to work harder at…” Unserious debate with myself led to the decision of blogging once a month.

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A project I’d like to finish: Becoming fluent in Spanish. Hahahahahha. Ok. I’d like to be able to ask, “Where is the restroom?” or “Where can I find the nearest shopping mall?” or “Is this really chicken I’m eating?” And of course understand the responses. Survival questions and phrases are all I need really.

A class I’d like to take: Painting! I’ve always enjoyed painting as a child and my mom sent me to classes one summer. I’ve already checked out classes, costs and reviews. All that’s left is picking one and getting started.

I’d like to spend more time doing: Reading, meditating, studying the Word of God. I want to be close to God always. I want to know His desires and thoughts. I want to love Him more than life and seeking is the best way to always being near Him.

A food I want to eat more of: Sushi. OhMyGigaPet. My love for raw seafood may soon turn into an obsession if I don’t put it under manners.

I want to wear more: Smiles. Whenever I pass a stranger on the road, or casually pass someone at a store or even on days when my mood is worst than a two year old whose current frustration is not being able to devour the sticky, linty object he just found under the couch… I want to smile because it’s the universal way of saying hello. Plus its contagious… or so I’ve read.

We cannot become who we want to be by remaining who we are. – Max Depree. 

Farm Animals.Fried Food.Fun Rides

Our visit to the Houston Rodeo.

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{That “H” in Houston sure does look ready for some action – haha}

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{We saw some beef… err… I man cows}

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{Cute little lambs}

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{Chicks feeding and chicks hatching}

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{ Bees making honey}

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{Our friends played Speed of Light}

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{Petting of calfs, Buying of hats and Squirming from puppet iguanas -hehe}

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{Then we ate a lot. Turkey legs, deep fried cookie dough, deep fried frog legs and fries, deep fried cheese cake and grilled beef and veggies}


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{We decided that food was more important than rides that day and we didn’t regret it! Ha! Soon the afternoon came to an end and it was time to go home and sleep off all that food we ate}

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{Rodeo Buddies}

How To {Have a Skype Movie Double Date Night}

So… I know I’ve been absent in the last couple of months. Reason being, Robert got a new job. But…. it’s in Houston, Texas. And we had little time to pack up and ride out. We moved from our lil sunny island to a city whose population is twice as large as our home land, with temperatures gauging between 28°F to 90+°F (depending on the time of year) and if that’s not intimidating enough, we are still trying to get over the culture shock. That’s a whole other story…

Anywho, I’m posting to share some tips on enjoying a movie night with friends that are far, far, far away or just far away.

PRESENTING

How To Skype Movie Night

Step 1: Find a Movie of Your Choice

Robbin Hood: Men in Tights!

{Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a Classic! It’s one of my favourite movies, thanks to my dad. So this was our pick for the night}

Step 2: Find a Cozy Spot

Cozy Spot

{Spots can range from a couch, bed, futon or even a blanket spread on the living room floor if it’s carpeted and comfortable}

Step 3: Find a Cuddle Buddy

My Robby Bear

{Cuddle Buddies can be husbands/wives, boy/girlfriends, best friends, pillows, teddies, or anything soft or snuggle worthy. Maybe not pets because they will eat all your snacks and lick your face continuously}

Step 4: Find the Perfect Munchies

Munchies

{Popcorn is always a movie favourite and we like mixing up salty treats with sweet. You can choose whatever you like}

Step 5: Find your Skype Date Buddies

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{Hi Skype Buddies! Meet Stephanie & Wayne. They aint camera shy}

Step 6: Enjoy the Movie Date

Woohoo! Movie Time!

{Shhh.. no talking}

Closing Remarks: To Keep in Mind

1. Your movie night doesn’t even have to be a date. You can have a movie night with your friends at home if you are far away from them and wanna do something fun.

2. Throughout the movie, we made comments to each other about things that were funny or silly and it was nice having that aspect via Skype.

3. Also, keep the time difference in mind. We’re two hours behind Wayne and Steph so we really needed to be mindful about the time we got started. You don’t want your friends falling asleep during the movie.

4. This maybe a teeny bit difficult and silly but if not done, maybe a little annoying. Try… as best as you can… to start your movies in the same exact spot! Imagine if your friend’s tv was playing the movie a couple seconds before or after yours and you heard every line twice. That may be distracting to some after a while. If its an issue, try it. If not, don’t kick a fuss.

5. In the end, just enjoy the movie and company.

Toodles Good Folk of WordPress and beyond.

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread

What do you do when you have two week old bananas in your kitchen? Make banana bread of course!

This is our favourite recipe for Banana Bread. We got it from our Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook.

In this recipe, we used a special ingredient, which renders many baked goods incomparably moist!

{Sour Cream – mmm… mmm… good}

{It was quick and easy to prepare}

{Be sure to put a little extra for nibbling after you’ve put into the mixture – hehe}

{I bought this cute mini rectangular muffin pan especially for my banana bread baking. I also made the brown paper holder myself. Will be sure to share, how to, in another post}

Chunky Monkey Banana Bread

What you need:

2 c. flour

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

¾ c. light brown sugar

¾ c. granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ c. (about three large) mashed overripe bananas

1 c. full-fat sour cream

2 large eggs

½ c. chopped walnuts

½ c. semisweet chocolate chips

How to make: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9-by-5 loaf pan with parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, until the butter mixture becomes light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, bananas, sour cream and eggs.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, then stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf cool for 10 minutes in the pan before carefully turning it out onto a wire rack, discarding the parchment paper. When baking in muffin tins,  just pour mixture into muffin holders and bake for 30 – 40 mins or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

{Bon Appétit}

Twice-Baked Potatoes

I think its prime time I started sharing some recipes with you folk. All that talk and no recipes in a week? How shameful. I won’t give you any fancy excuses but please sit back, relax and try not to droll on your computers 😛

Remember these bad boys?

{I love twice baked potatoes! When I was a child, I would sit at the kitchen table and look at my mom as she prepared them. I remember I was always in a hurry to eat them and wish they didn’t take so long to cook.}

{Canoe Tatoes}

{Out of the oven and ready for eatin’}

{We had ours with shrimp kebabs}

Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

10 small potatoes
1 1/2 c. Mozzarella cheese
2/3 c.  Green onion (Chive), diced
1/2 c. Sour cream
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. garlic, ground
1 tsp. cayenne, ground
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
extra virgin olive oil for finishing

Preheat oven to 400°.

Thoroughly wash and dry the potatoes. Poke the tops of each potato several times with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake until tender to fork’s touch. It took me about 1 hour & 20 mins at 400° to get my potatoes baked to the right consistency. Your potatoes may require more or less time depending on many factors. Just be sure that, you bake the potatoes to a fork-tender consistency on the inside before moving forward with the twice-baking part.

As soon as potatoes are ready, remove them from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, carve out the tops of each potato canoe-style, then carefully remove the insides to a bowl. (I mashed mine a bit before adding the other ingredients to help get rid of the chunks). After all of the potatoes have been hollowed out, add the sour cream, melted butter, black pepper, salt, garlic, and cayenne and mix together. Fold in the shredded cheese and diced onion.

Scoop the filling mixture back into the hollowed shells, packing each shell generously with the filling. The potatoes will likely be stuffed and overflowing – that’s a good thing. Place the refilled shells onto a rimmed baking sheet and finish each with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the tops begin to turn golden. Remove baked potatoes and serve immediately.

YIELD:  10 very stuffed potatoes

This recipe was adapted from Scarletta bakes.