Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ladies Fun, UT Game, and the Lake

The weekend before I went to AZ I had a fun night with Lisha and Shay. I met Lisha and Shay through work many moons ago. We had such a fun time working together and we always have a great time when we get together. We were originally going to meet up at Chez Zee, but then we changed our minds and headed to the Domain. Lisha moved up to Oklahoma (boooo) and hasn't seen the Domain, so we headed over there, did a little window shopping and then settled on Cru for dinner and drinks. We all got the Riesling Wine Flights, then settled on a bottle of wine to share. Thankfully we all liked the same wine! I ordered the crab cakes for dinner, and they were really good. They had some type of mustard sauce that gave the crab cakes a nice kick. The girls ordered salads, which they also said were pretty good.

Lisha, Shay and I

Me, Shay and Lisha

After dinner we decided to get a dessert to share. I went to the bathroom and came back to 2 different desserts :) They ordered the chocolate fondue and the banana brulee. The fondue was good, but the banana dessert was FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC. I'll be back to eat that dessert... by myself, no sharing :). We had such a fun time with each other, which we always do. I'm blessed to have such great, funny, sarcastic, wine loving, and lifelong friends.

On Saturday we headed over to John's house to watch the Texas/OU game. It was a laid back event, only 6 of us watching the game over there. We grilled, drank and watched the game. The weather was perfect! The game was hard to watch because it was low scoring and it was not the best UT game.

Hook'Em Horns

Since it was such a pretty day we decided to head to the lake for one last trip on the lake (at least it will probably be our last trip of the year). Jim was hesitant to go since I was leaving at 8am the next day for AZ, but I didn't want to miss a trip to the lake so I convinced him to go :) Somewhere I downloaded most of the pictures from this day... at this point I have no idea where they are. These were left on my memory card, so I had a few to post. I took 300 photos that day, hopefully I'll eventually find them (I'm hoping the transfer went through okay). I took my big camera with us on the boat and we had 5 different people surf behind the boat. Good times!
And a post just wouldn't be the same without a cute Chewie picture. I took this one morning after waking up. He was just there using me as a pillow, waiting for me to wake up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Jim asked me to make him some brownies for a co-workers birthday a couple of weeks ago so I went searching online for a recipe when I found this recipe on The brownies looked really good and the recipe is pretty simple and straight forward. I made two batches of these... one as a trial run, which the guys that were over watching football got to enjoy, and the second batch went with Jim to work for his co-workers birthday. The guys loved the brownies, so that is why I made the 2nd batch. The only thing I might change next time is to add some walnuts.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of flour
1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  1. Grease a 9×9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Combine cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth.
  3. Stir 1/3 cup chocolate chips into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside.
  4. Place the 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of butter into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 25 seconds and then stir. Repeat this until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with the 1 teaspoon of flour. This is so the chips don’t sink to the bottom while the brownies bake. Set aside.
  6. Into the melted chocolate/butter bowl, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 eggs, then sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir the dry ingredients into chocolate until evenly blended.
  7. Do not over mix. Add the flour coated chocolate chips and stir.
  8. Pour half of the batter into the 9×9 baking pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer.
  9. Top with remaining chocolate mixture (this doesn’t need to completely cover the cream cheese layer).
  10. Using a knife, swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to make a marble pattern.
  11. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until top is crinkled and edges pull away from sides of the pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into 12 squares. Store in the refrigerator or freeze.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ocktoberfest 2009

We headed down to Fredricksburg for Ocktoberfest a few weekends ago. We really didn't know what to expect, we just knew we wanted to get out of town for a few hours and we saw that Ocktoberfest was going on. We stopped at the Becker Winery because we are fans of their wines. They were having a Lavender Festival with a few booths of foods using Lavender. It was intesting to have dried lavender on goat cheese. Even though it poured rain on us for most of the trip, we had a really fun day.

Picture of the dopplar radar... that big green mass was heading our way

We took a tour of the Becker Winery that showed us where they crushed the grapes and put them into the barrels, and where they stored the barrels. Quite interesting

The wine tasting was fun! We tried about 6 wines for $5. We ended up leaving with 2 different bottles of wine.

Jim in the wine tasting room

The outside of the winery had a great display of pumpkins, all shapes and sizes

We found a really good BBQ place on Main Streen in Fredricksburg. They suckered us in with a sample they gave us. It was REALLY good. We both got the brisket sandwich and we shared the German potato salad. We will be back to try them out next time we are in town. Wish I could remember the name
We made a stop on Main Street, where I got a few samples of wine, and Jim got a wine-a-rita
The happy couple at Ocktoberfest

Hmmmm... perhaps I was a wee bit to happy to see this big ass beer stein
We stopped in and watched a bit of Polka dancing. Not really my thing, but interesting to watch

Jim the pretty little lady and Dana the young handsome boy... that is a little weird

This guy had a contraption on his drill to create a thin potato chip to fry from a potato.
I totally LOVE these decorations. I grew up with one at my parents house, and now I want one for my house. Of course my mom tells me that she probably bought it at a Dollar Store, but I still loved it. These decorations were around $50 and up, so I'll keep looking for something more reasonable.
This was the BEST FUCKIN HALLOWEEN decoration exhibt that I have seen. It was a lot like the little communities you see at Christmas. It was awesome. Now I must go out and collect a few of these pieces so we can have a little Halloween community at our house.

After the Ocktoberfest and shopping, we stopped in at the Fredricksburg Brewery to get a few beers and some food. We have visited there before and were very happy. This time did not disapoint. We sat at the bar and watched a little college football where we met a nice couple that lived in Fredricksburg. They gave us the names of a couple of restaurants that they always have good food at in town. We'll head there next time.

I took a few photos on the way back to the car, and I like this one the best. I love the car headlight coming through Jim's truck. Not my best photo, but I like it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'll be back!!

I'm heading out of town for a few days so blogging is going to be put on hold until the end of the week. I have PLENTY of stuff to blog about, so I won't keep my loyal readers (all 3 of you) waiting once I get back!!!
Have a great week!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Hour at the Four Seasons...
so hoity toity!

I met up with the "Yelp Ladies who Happy Hour" at the Four Seasons last week to enjoy each others company as well as nosh on some half price appetizers and half of wine! Hell to the yes! First off, we had several managers from the Four Seasons come over and welcome us to their location and thanked us for choosing them to host our happy hour. They were very accommodating and really set the mood for the night. The waiters were also top notch and ready to refill our wine or take an additional order of food right away. I like their happy hour because they serve great food, their happy hour doesn't end until 8pm and they have happy hour on Saturday. You go to certain establishments and based on their type of location you know what you are getting into.... go you go Casino El Camino- great burgers, but it is dark and dreary, go to Juan in a Million and you know you'll be seating yourself and it is a very laid back environment, go to Four Seasons and you expect an elegant and top notch service. Four Seasons came through that night! 3 of us were sharing the food below, which is perfect because we each ordered something different

I chose a Riesling to drink. I'm not 100% what type, but I recognized the bottle. It was $5 a glass for Happy Hour which I thought was reasonable, but I don't think I would pay $10 a glass for non happy hour times.

Steak Fries – Rosemary, Garlic, Truffle A├»oli
These were pretty good, especially with the Truffle Aioli. I'm not familiar with the truffle flavor, so I just assumed that the truffle aioli was just a flavored mayonnaise. The steak fries were in various sizes, which meant the larger the fry the less done it was. These were a good snacking item.

Texas Cheese Plate – Chef's Selection of Local Artisan Cheese
I didn't get a good picture of the cheese plate with the honey, but you can see it behind the glass of wine. Usually I love the cheese plate, but this plate was just okay. I liked the blue cheese and I liked the cheese wrapped in a grape leaf (at least I think it was a grape leaf) but didn't care for the other two. I seriously thought one of the cheeses tasted like feet. Yuck. I wouldn't rule out the cheese plate in the future, but I would ask to see what they are serving before I ordered it.

Tuna Tartare – Avocado, Soy Lime Vinaigrette
The tuna was fresh and tasty and went well with the crackers they served with it. I could have used a little more of the soy lime vinaigrette for a little kick but overall it was a pleasing dish.

Truffle Mac 'n Cheese
Oh. My. God. This was really good and even though I could feel my thighs and ass grow as I ate it, I couldn't stop. It was the perfect creamy and cheesy consistency. I thought Dawn and I were going to throw down to get to the last bite! Mac n' Cheese can so easily be done wrong in restaurants, but the Four Seasons really rocked it out

Crab Fondue – Herb Bruschetta
So even though I really loved the Mac n' Cheese, this was the clear winner of the night. I should have asked what type of cheese they used because it was so thick, creamy, and flavorful that I wanted to rub it all over my body. The lump crap was a little lost in the fondue, but when you got a chunk of crab it was a little piece of heaven on the bruschetta.
I will be back to try this again, so worth it!

Table of food

As if the food wasn't enough, we were surprised by the Four Seasons management with a plate full of items to make our own Smores!!!! LOVE IT! We walked outside to the area with the mini fire pit and started to roast our marshmallows. Normally the Four Seasons offers their guests complementary Smores on Friday and Saturday nights, so they made an exception for us on Thursday.

Not only did they have your typical Smores fixings, they also included peanut butter, bananas, and strawberries.

I couldn't decide what I wanted to use, so I just made one with one of each of the items. It was slightly hard to eat, but it was DAMN tasty. I want to make these at home now, I don't want to wait until the next time we go camping.

Dawn and I, with our bellies full of great food, wine, and Smores!!! A perfect happy hour!

The last of the Lee photos

I had a few pictures lingering in my little camera that I just downloaded. Lee, Aaron and I headed out to lunch before dropping them off at the airport. We went to Cuatros which has a great patio, good food, and a fun atmosphere. It is by UT so Lee and Aaron had plenty of eye candy while we ate lunch :)

Lee, Aaron and me (well, my arm) toasting to the fun trip they had in Austin

Aaron and Lee

Lee deep in thought.... should I get the hamburger or the chicken sandwich? It either that or he is secretly happy that he won't have his sister around taking his picture every few minutes once he leaves :)

This is the little logo on Lee's shirt. It took me all of a second to realize that it is a naked lady with her panties down. Dirty Lee... dirty :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Random Photos
Here is a collection of photos that I have taken over the past couple of weeks. I am having a back up of material for the blog, and while these pictures are good, not all of them needed their own blog post (well, except for the pictures at the end). :)
Thanks for looking!

I had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn a couple of weeks ago, and got to see the beginning of this sunrise. I loved the pink hue the clouds had.

Taylor in the kitchen with me while I am cooking

Sunset in Texas. I didn't alter this photo at all... the sky really was pink and purple

Another picture of the wonderful sunset
Another early morning... the sun was higher in the sky, but it still gave a great glow to Chewie
Random gross mushroom in the back yard. This guy popped up after all of the rain that we got

In celebration of my work location being open for a year, I bought cupcakes for the staff. I went to a place called Delish (3rd and Colorado, downtown Austin) to get these little cups of goodness. I saved the Smores cupcake for Jim because Sarah said it was the best cupcake out of the bunch. For those of you that may not realize, cake and Dana are not friends. I'm not a big fan of the texture... it is like wet bread to me. Yuck. Anywho... the Smores cupcake has a graham cracker crust bottom, chocolate cake, and a top of toasted meringue (to mimic the marshmallow). Jim LOVED the cupcake.... and if I liked cupcakes, I bet I would like this too :)

I was using the sunset light in our back room to take the pictures. I couldn't resist to play around with the shadows. That is my hand... supposed to look like somebody is going to swoop in and grab the cupcake! Of course Jim couldn't have his cupcake before I took some photos :)

These are my FAVORITE photos that I have taken in a long time. I was on my way home from a Happy Hour, when I noticed the huge lightening storm that was North of Austin. It was beautiful, and I knew that we needed to get out and take pictures. i convinced Jim to head out with me to Mt. Bonnell to take pictures of the storm. We stayed up there about 30-40 minutes, waiting for the one lightening bolt photo that I have been wanting to take. I think the storm was still to far away to get that one lightening bolt photo that I want to take, but I'm still pretty damn happy with the results. Plus we got to watch a FANTASTIC storm roll into Austin.