Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Our BBQ loving friend informed Hubby & I that Texas Monthly had a Top 50 BBQ in Texas issue out!
& that there was a passport to document each of the 50 you check out! So of course I went and bought said magazine!
Tonight we got our first stickers in our passports! Top 5 BBQ! Of course they are one of the Top 50 in Texas! We went with our BBQ loving friend & his wife, so we decided to split their Top 50 Experience. Half a pound of Brisket, Sausage, Pulled Pork (which they were out of so we got more brisket), & Ribs & 4 sides. With 4 of us eating til we were stuffed, there were still leftovers! It was all so good! We have been here several times since I wrote that first post, & I would like to retract my statement about their brisket. It is now my favorite meat there! It has a great bark on it with a great rub!
So go get your Passport & start eating your way around Texas!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Niece is 2!

Last weekend my sweet niece turned 2!
She had a Minnie & Mickey themed birthday party! So I made a Mickey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheeseball :)
The cupcakes had mini oreo ears!
A Hot Diggity Dog Bar!
Party favors & Photo Booth props! My sisters did such a great job making this party adorable!
Anyone who has small children in your life, I'm sure will recognize the call, "Oh, Two-dles!"
There was also cloud sand, soapy water, and kiddie pools to play in!
Make a wish Minnie Mouse!
This gift got the best reaction! She pulled it out of the bag & exclaimed, "Socks!!" Everyone laughed, so of course she said it several more times for good measure :)
Ducks! You are never too old for a photo booth!

Then on her actual birthday, we went for our annual Ton's dinner & then got ice cream after. We love our little Lynnlea!
For Lynnlea's birthday gift from Uncle Hubby & I, we went to Play Street Museum in Plano. Lynnlea really liked the space sand!
This place is so cute! It is perfect for little ones (their website says 1-8 years old).
They have a ton of areas to play all with their own theme. She also spent a lot of time cooking in this kitchen :)
Then she fed the baby
Road trip anyone?
She knew just what to do with these magnets, she has a set at home.
To finish off the playtime she colored a picture that she gave to grandma when we got home :)

I forgot to take a picture :( but after our playtime, we met Uncle Hubby at work, and he took us to lunch :) We had Mr. Wok in Plano & Lynnlea loved her Chicken Lo Mein! She was so excited to see her Uncle Patrick!

Happy Birthday Lynnlea! Uncle Patrick & Aunt Krystle love you very much!!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Book 10 - The BFG

Have ya'll read "The BFG" by Roald Dahl?! You need to! Hubby grew up reading this book, this exact copy, can you tell? So when the movie came out we watched it. He couldn't believe I had never read it! So I grabbed his copy off the shelf, & now I've added it to my Empty Shelf :) This is such a cute story! It is a quick read as well, being a young readers book.
Do you have a special book you grew up reading? For me it's the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Clearly :)

Friday, May 12, 2017

Books 7, 8, & 9

Yikes, have I gotten behind! Here are the 3 most recent books to be added to my Empty Shelf!
"The Racketeer" by John Grisham was a good read, I really enjoy the perspective John Grisham writes from!
"Snacks" by Marcy Smothers, I got this book for Christmas & expected it to be a snack cookbook. What it actually is, is a book of little tidbits, or "snacks", about food! How fun is that?!
"Tortillas & Peanut Butter" by Dr. Linda Sonna & Lois Sonna Mark is a book you won't want to put down! I came across this book because the writers are the sister & mom of a play-wright in Dallas we frequently watch. I saw the cover & wanted to read it; I was not disappointed! I will let the blurb on the cover speak for itself: "True Confessions of an American Mom Turned Mexican Smuggler".
So how has your year of reading going?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Obstacle Warrior Kids

In February this boy, who once weighed 1lb 12oz turned 6!
Also, can I say how happy I was that McDonalds gave him a real deck of cards instead of a cheap plastic toy!
For his birthday gift I took him to Obstacle Warrior Kids in Dallas.
This place was a huge hit!
He totally did this on purpose!
The employees here were super cool! They helped Elias have a great time, and never treated him like a little kid!
He ran, and climbed, and jumped until he finally laid down and was very ready to leave!

Thank you to all the staff for making this a fun birthday trip!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dinners and Shows

We were going to see a play in Fort Worth, and Hubby said we had to try this BBQ place he had been to.
Heim BBQ
Goodness, was he right! All 4 of us (Hubby, me, and our moms) got the Big Cat Sandwich. Chopped Brisket on a Jalapeno Bun topped with a scoop of Green Chili Mac & Cheese. When mine & Hubby's came out on the same tray, Hubby threatened to eat them both! Fortunately, he decided to let me have one ;) This brisket was full of flavor and needed no sauce! We will be back (Grandma, we have to make plans to meet you!)
Then it was time for our play at Amphibian Stage.
We saw Northside Hollow, about a man who was trapped in a mine.
These are working headlamps, we were asked to be part of the lighting crew! :) This was a very well done play! And I'm not just saying that because we were on crew ;)
Our second night of dinner and a show, actually started with the show. Cirque Du Soleil Kurios, a Steampunk themed show. It was extraordinary! The acts had you in disbelief!
After the show we went to Trinity Grove in Dallas, and decided to eat at Beto & Son. I got the Stuffed Chile Relleno Noodle Bowl. A roasted chile relleno stuffed with shredded chicken and topped with cheese, laid on top of a bed of noodles & veggies. It was very tasty!
If you couldn't tell, we really enjoy trying new dishes, and new places to eat! I hope you have some fun trying new things too! Let us know about places we need to be checking out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's BBQ

Happy Valentine's Day!! We were trying to find a casual place that wouldn't be packed today, so I turned to my D Magazine BBQ issue.
There it was, Top 5 BBQ, #8 on D Magazine's top 20 BBQ joints in Dallas. Even better, it was only 15 minutes from our home!
This is a tiny place with only a couple tables, so we decided to bring our Valentine's dinner home and eat it while watching Mad Max, one of my Christmas gifts from Hubby :)
Our reviews:
First of all these are some of the nicest guys! We were asking about their sauce options (regular, hot, and atomic) and they had us come over and try each. Telling us what made them special, and then telling us about their different sausages. These guys are passionate about BBQ!
Both of us agreed that the sausage was the best, and the ribs were also amazing. I love dry ribs! The brisket was good, but not better than the ribs or sausage. I was not a fan of the pulled pork, but I've never had pulled pork that I was a fan of. I'm pretty much ready to quit wasting stomach space trying pulled pork ;) Hubby, who is in the pulled pork is good camp, really liked this pulled pork :) so I would listen to him! The mac & cheese had a sharpness to it that I can't put my finger on, but really liked! The cabbage tasted like it came from Grandma's house :) The potato salad was tangy with mustard, and the beans were a little spicy and a little sweet, but not quite cooked long enough. These sauces though, ya'll, I would eat a shoe coated in their sauce! This is coming from someone who rarely likes BBQ sauce, their hot and their atomic are smokey, spicy, and tasty! And if you are on the side of there should be more cookies in pudding then you need to try their banana pudding. It has no bananas, just thick banana flavored pudding with a box of cookies in every bowl ;)
We thoroughly enjoyed our Valentine's dinner! Now excuse us as we go watch our movie :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Books 5 & 6 A Couple More Cookbooks

My 5th & 6th books on my Empty Shelf are both cookbooks :) I'm really trying to build my recipe repertoire!
The 5th book was a birthday gift from Hubby :) Eat Like A Gilmore by Kristi Carlson. This unofficial cookbook for fans of Gilmore Girls is a great read! Before every recipe is a little blurb about what was going on in the show when we saw this dish. While the recipes are made up by the book's author and other contributors, they do seem to be right out of the kitchen of Sookie, or Emily, or Luke :) The only recipe I envisioned differently was Sookie's Muffin Bottom Pudding Pie. This book used a graham cracker crust then the muffin bottoms. I always figured Sookie would have made the muffin bottoms into a crust, no need for bread on top of bread ;) But that's the great thing about recipes, experimentation! One of these days I'll make my vision for Muffin Bottom Pudding Pie!
I believe any fan of the show would enjoy this cookbook! Have a little Stars Hollow with dinner :)

The 6th book on my Empty Shelf I actually started a while ago & Hubby found with a bookmark in it. So I finished it and added it to the shelf :) The Easy Way To Chinese Cooking by Beverly Lee. An Interesting tidbit I learned from this book was that egg drop soup is not something eaten in most Chinese households, but she still included the recipe for us :) I have never been able to pull off good Chinese food, but I'm hoping with the help of this cookbook, maybe I can try again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fresh Fish

On our quest to eat healthier, I decided to find a way to make fish that Hubby would eat! The first step was starting with the freshest fish I could find, which led me to Atkins Seafood.
This is a tiny half fish market half seafood lunch spot in Waxahachie, TX.
So of course I got lunch before buying my fresh fish :) Blackened Fish Tacos with pineapple salsa, and a side of black bean salad. These were hands down the best seafood tacos I've ever had! I thought the black beans could have used a little more seasoning, but they were a nice complement to the spicy fish.
Then it was time to pick what fish we would be having for dinner :) The lady behind the counter told me, you pick your fish and pay for the whole thing, then if you would like they will fillet it for you.
She told me Red Snapper was their most popular fish, so that is what I chose, and I got it filleted with the skin on.
Then I brought it home to cook :)
Blackened Red Snapper
9oz Red Snapper Fillets, skin on (about 2 fillets)
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1/2 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Mix salt, paprika, garlic, cayenne, and pepper together in small bowl.
(What you see in this pic is twice as much seasoning, I ended up only needing half, and adjusted suggested measurements accordingly)
On Clean work surface cut several small slits in skin to keep it from curling while cooking. Flip fish and generously season meaty side. Heat small cast iron skillet over medium heat. If only one fillet will fit in you skillet, then add 1 tsp oil and allow to heat without smoking. If both fillets will fit, then add 2 tsp oil and let heat. Once oil is hot, place fish, seasoning side down into skillet and set timer for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes flip fish and allow skin side to cook for 2 minutes. Remove fish and allow to drain on paper towel lined plate. At this point you can add the second tsp of oil and second fillet if you did not cook them together. You can peel the skin away from the fish before serving, or the meat will gently flake off the skin while eating.
I also made Crustless Swiss Chard Pie from The Skinnytaste Cookbook to go with our fish.
Blackened Red Snapper, Crustless Swiss Chard Pie, Sauteed Green Beans, and homemade (kinda) Horseradish Sauce ( 1 single serving size fat free greek yogurt, 1 Tbsp Penzey's Horseradish dip mix, 1 tsp dried dill)
Served on our fancy china ;)
It happened ya'll! Hubby said the fish was his favorite thing on the plate! This is a man who has always hated fish! I was so excited! Fresh fish is clearly the key!! Hubby's mom also really enjoyed it. Though she said it was pretty spicy, so take that into consideration when using the cayenne. We all also really enjoyed the swiss chard pie! We always enjoy sauteed green beans (I had to have something on the plate that we had eaten and liked before!) The horseradish dip was surprisingly good on the swiss chard, however I thought it had a tangyness (hello greek yogurt) that did not meld well with the fish.

I highly recommend this dish! And if you too are hesitant to eat fish, find a fresh fish market, and let them change your mind!