Monday, June 28, 2010

Dog Profiles

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Cheesecake had a baby....

and it is delicious! Holy Hell, I am so happy to have found this recipe. Cheesecake mixed with chocolate chip cookie dough,,, all in one bite?? Yes please, time to get in ma belly!! This recipe has a few steps to it but overall it is a fairly easy to put together and you'll be very happy that you did.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325°.
Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool. ** The 2nd time I made this I left out the chocolate chips and added walnuts,,, great both ways!!**
Cookie Dough:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used miniature)
Using an electric mixer , mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape into teaspoon size balls. Chill while making cheesecake filling.
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended.
Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough balls over the top of the filling.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until set but still wobbly in center. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Chicken, Pesto and Pasta

I came across a recipe yesterday that sounded wonderful. It was a very simple recipe that I knew would have great flavors. Once I got home I realized that I had some veggies that I wanted to use up, so made some changes to the original recipe. Since I was adding veggies with the pasta I decided to make a sun dried tomato pesto instead of a regular basil pesto. I also added the chicken (which I just sauteed on the stove top--wanted to grill the breasts but it was to damn hot outside).

We really enjoyed our dinner last night. The pesto wasn't over powering, the veggies added a nice crunch, and the chicken made it a complete meal. I am looking forward to trying it cold today, to see if it would work as a cold pasta salad. ** tried it cold... and didn't like it. Will stick with it hot**

Shells with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, Veggies and Chicken
Original recipe:

-1 lb. whole wheat medium pasta shells-
1 cup marinated sun dried tomatoes, chopped-(see below where I added to pesto and did not just add to the pasta
2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed in warm water-(just threw these in with the pasta once it was done cooking-- heated up just fine)
1 red bell pepper chopped up
1/2 onion chopped up
2 small squash (from my mother in laws garden) chopped up
1 1/2 cup pesto sauce (recipe follows)-
Salt and pepper to taste-
Parmesan for sprinkling-

When boiling water for the shells, make sure to generously salt the water.
Throw all veggies into a pan with a little EVOO and cook until you are happy (I usually like mine a little more cooked than most)
Cook pasta until al-dente. Drain and transfer shells to a large mixing bowl.-While the pasta is still hot, add pesto, sun dried tomatoes, peas,veggies, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. Serve with some fresh basil and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan.

Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Pesto
(Makes more than you need for the pasta)-

2 large bunches of basil-
1 cup olive oil (add more if needed)-
1/2 cup parmesan cheese-
handful of walnuts (didn't have enough pine nuts on hand)
1 lg. clove raw garlic, roughly chopped-
Salt and pepper

Remove basil leaves and put them in a colander. Rinse and make sure to get any sand off of the leaves. Squeeze out basil in a paper towel, and add to a food processor or blender. Add 2/3 cup of the sun dried tomatoes. Add oil, garlic, and walnuts to the basil, and blend. The mixture should look a little soupy. Add the parmesan, salt, and pepper, and blend again. Your pesto should thicken up with the cheese. Store in the fridge for a week.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bits of Random Thoughts, Updates and Pictures
Abby has a great little squeak when she yawns, I hope that doesn't go away when she gets older
I finally got a chance to catch up with friends that just got back from their honeymoon. The travelled through France, Germany, Austria, and ... Ummm.. Crap. I can't remember the other country they went to. I was told of their adventures of night time cave diving, gliding off the side of the mountain, camping, and over all fun while they were traveling. SOOOO very jealous of their trip but very happy they had a great time
* * *
Finally got to the movies and saw Iron Man 2... I liked it but hubby wasn't happy with the typical sequal movie plot (good guy gets down on himself, has to find his way and be a super hero again)
* * *
I spend a lot of time outside with the kids since Abby still can't be outside on her own. While this has gotten me a ton of mosquito bites, I have enjoyed the wildlife outside. Lots of little frogs, dragonflies, baby grass hoppers, birds and butterflies. I know I would have missed out on these small little moments
* * *
We gave the kids a bath yesterday, a first for Abby and she took it like a champ. Once Chewie was dry he shed about 14 pounds of hair. It was quite gross, and it looked like a winter wonderland in the back yard after brushing him
* * *
I've been doing a decent amount of cooking lately but haven't really been taking pictures of the food... I'll do better, promise
* * *
Abby has 8 days until we see the doctor for her final X-ray.... I am crossing my fingers, rubbing a rabbits foot, and looking for a 4 leaf clover to ensure that Abby's leg has healed and she can be a normal puppy around and run around.
* * *
One day this week I'll actually jog and get back on my workout track. The humidity and heat kill me and my desire to workout.
I am in reality TV heaven... Top Chef, So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Design Star and the Next Food Network Star all started. LOVE IT!
We had friends over for True Blood's first show of the season... had a nice dinner and watched a FANTASTIC first show... this season is going to be great. I want to lick Eric, yeah that's right
* * *
Tried out Gibson's bar before the movie the other night... neat little place that has a rockin food trailer that we need to try out before to long!
* **
Really thinking of visiting the beauty school in town and getting some color to my hair... nothing extreme but perhaps a little auburn. I'm still to chicken, so it will probably take me a month to actually make the appointment
* * *
A couple of weeks ago was the 2nd anniversary of my dad's untimely death. He was such a nice man who loved to cook for everybody that he met. I know I gained that trait from him because I love to make baked goodies for my friends at work. He had such a big heart and never met a person that he didnt become friends with. Dad, I miss you and I hope you are enjoying your time where ever you are!!
* * *
This little beaded beauty container makes my house smell really fresh... not sure how long they will last but it was a great $2.00 investment! Especially since our house smells a little like pee-pee since our little girl Abby hasn't quite gotten house training. She has about one accident a day so hopefully one day soon she'll get it down!

Love Abby's tongue in this picture... she is ALWAYS trying to lick Chewie

I try to take Chewie out to leash-less parks on his own each week. He does such a great job with Abby but I know he needs his "alone" time. I have grown to like the leash-less area at Peace Park which sucks a bit because the city is closing down the park for renovations. Who knows how long that will take but seems like an extreme move to close down a popular park. I wonder if the department in charge was more on top on making sure the park didn't become "run-down" before now had made changes/enhancements if it could have stayed open.

Last Sunday we were fortunate to have a friend invite us to sit inside of a nice AC box at the Round Rock Express Game. The sun was brutal for the first 45 minutes so we stayed inside of the box and watched the game on the TV. But after the sun went down it was quite nice outside!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Refreshing, creamy, and perfect for a hot and humid Austin afternoon

I bought a seedless watermelon from the store last Sunday. I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but it looked good at the grocery store so I bought it :) I came across a recipe for a fruit smoothly using watermelon in a magazine, so I now had a use for the watermelon!! This would be a great drink for kids... minus the booze part! :) Plus for kids that have a dairy allergy (Gilat- thinking of Kai) this would be a great summer treat!

This is so damn easy. The hardest part was cutting up the watermelon and freezing the chunks. As you can see in this picture, I played with my frozen watermelon chunks :)

We didn't really follow the recipe in the magazine that I had. We filled the blender about 2/3 up the blender, added lemon aid (probably between a cup and cup and half), couple squirts of simple syrup, and 3 oz of Bacardi.
We started with the watermelon in the blender and kept adding the lemon juice until we reached the consistency that we wanted. Once we reached the consistency (which was like a smoothie) we added the simple syrup and the Bacardi Rum. Since the watermelon was frozen the drink was really creamy.

Abby was enjoying her toys in the kitchen while we were making our drinks. Chewie was snoozing on our couches :)
The final result!! This was so good, we'll be making this all summer. We'll probably try adding some frozen mango or strawberries along with the watermelon to see what works best, but this simple recipe is totally worth trying!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Just Pooh-Pa

It is easy to get caught up with Abby and her cuteness so I decided this was a post for just Chewie (also known as Pooh-pa, Chunky Chew, Sha-boo-boo, Boo, Bubba, and other combinations of those other nicknames). On Saturday, before the Farmers Market, Chewie and I went to Peace Park to walk around. There is a leashless area between 24th street and 29th street in the park along Lamar Blvd. This is the same area where people play disc golf.

Riding to the park

Lots of lush green trees and bushes along the trail. There was some water along the way, but thankfully Chewie stayed out of the water. I didn't have a towel with me.

There are lots of great trees along the trail

Chewie is going off roading here

I was a little worried near the disk golf players because Chewie is such a frisbee dog. I didn't want him taking off chasing their disks :) Luckily, he just watched and then went on his way to sniff the trail.
Relaxing in the sun

Abby was so happy that Chewie was back, she covered him with kisses

Thursday, June 10, 2010

LOVE this new recipe!!

I love corn and when it is corn season I eat it as much as I can. I am totally happy just eating it off of the cob but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it! This is soooo easy to make and it is so damn good! This will make the top 3 recipes that I'll use for corn. The only way I can see tweeking it a bit is to add grilled onions, red peppers or roasted jalapenos. However, this dish is perfect just the way it is written below!

Grilled Corn Salad with Cotija Cheese

3- 4 ears of corn, silks removed, husks on (soaked in water for 30 min)
1 tbls butter
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbls chopped, fresh cilantro
1/2 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ancho chili pepper

After soaking the corn, grill on medium high for about 20 minutes. I added the string around the corn because I couldn't get the husk to go all the way around it. The string burned off on one corn cob, but overall it was very helpful to have it around it.

When the corn is cool enough to handle, remove the husks and cut the corn off the cob. I have cut corn off of the cob when it is raw, but it is soooo much easier to cut it off when it is cooked!

Saute in a pan over medium high heat with the butter, lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, chili powder, and chili pepper. (I threw the butter into a bowl, nuked it, then put everything else in it to mix it up).

Add the cotija cheese just before you are ready to serve. This is where I made a change.... I couldn't find the cotija cheese at the grocery store so I bought Queso Fresco. Once I got home from the grocery store I looked up cotija cheese and found out that it is a hard cheese. The Queso Fresco is more of a crumbly cheese. I will have to try it with the Cotija cheese next time, but I will say the Queso Fresco was pretty damn good too!!!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

On the road to recovery

Abby had her surgery on her knee a week ago and it was a success. She had two rods inserted into her knee to keep the bone fragment and ligament in place. The hardest part of the surgery was the post-op instructions.... keep her immobile for 3-4 weeks. That's right... keep a 4 month puppy immobile. To try to comply to those instructions we keep a leash on her while she is out of the crate. This helps us keep her calm and not running around while around Chewie. It does not help that she loves to play with Chewie every time she is near him.

I think we have done a good job of keeping her immobile.... but not a great job. There has been a few times when she got loose and went running around but we got to her as quick as we could. She gets the staples out (9 in total) in a week and also will get another x-ray to see if everything is healing okay.

They shaved her entire leg as well as a top of her back (where they did the epidural). Look at that sexy little leg :)
A close up picture of her incision and staples. So far it has looked good, and that makes me happy
Up until 2 days ago this was the leash that stayed on Abby while outside of the crate. Occasionally she would start chewing on it in frustration but I didn't realize that it was so close to being chewed into two different pieces. We now use a different leash :)
Chewie enjoying the outdoors
Look at that sweet little face!

Pretty sure this is a pre-surgery picture since she doesn't have a leash on

Jim attempting to keep her on the couch while I vacuum but it wasn't working so well

Abby says "thanks for looking at our pictures!!" :)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sushi in ma belly

Last weekend we decided to head out and enjoy the all day happy hour at Maiko. They have sushi, appetizers, and drink specials. We have eaten there in the past and have always enjoyed the food. We ordered the Rock and Roll (shrimp tempura, spicy aioli, cucumber- $6), the Butterfly Roll (tuna, salmon, white fish,avocado and cucumber -$7) and the Pleasant Valley (tempura white fish, avocado, jalapeno, and roasted jalapeno mayo -$6). Since these were on special I noticed that there was more rice than fish in the roll. It wasn't a huge deal, but seems a little like bait and switch. You think you are just getting a discount on their normal rolls, but in reality you are playing less but you are getting a lesser roll. I was a fan of the Rock and Roll and the Butterfly Roll. The Pleasant Valley lit me up... super spicy... but Jim loved it so it worked out well.

After the sushi we decided to try their version of jalapeno poppers. I know what you are thinking... are you nuts? Have you not had enough of spicy foods? Jim loves them, and I figured that I was already on fire so why not. The Tempura Jalapeno Poppers($6) had cream cheese, spicy white fish, and spicy mayo. These fuckers were spicy and still were fairly raw. I'm guessing because it doesn't take as long to fry since it is tempura. I ate one popper, Jim ate the rest :)

We were seated in this little alcove and we kept feeling like we were at a the head table at a wedding. It was a little odd, but comfortable. We had some drunk chick come up and tell us that we looked so cute and she just had to take our picture. I had my camera out since I was taking pictures of the food so I handed it to her. She took 3 different pictures... one far away, once closer and one super close. The one I posted was the middle picture. Anyway, she chatted with us for a few minutes and made us giggle. We have all been there where we had just one to many drinks. It made for an interesting night.

A few weeks ago we showed up early to a Yelp event (just now realizing that I never posted those pictures) so we walked over to Maiko and had a few of their Yakitori skewers. These are on special Tuesday- Thursday 7pm until close in the bar area. We ordered the beef tenderloin, shrimp and escolar filet. Our favorite was the escolar, it had the most flavor. The beef tenderloin was good, but had an odd texture. The beef was $1 per skewer and the shrimp and escolar were $2 a skewer. Good quick food!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


When I saw that Central Market had pineapples on sale, I knew that I would be buying one. I didn't really have a plan but I wanted to play around with the sweet juicy fruit. When we were in Hawaii last year, we had wonderfully sweet pineapple that I haven't tasted since then. The pineapple I bought was sweet and tasty but still not the same thing as what I had in Hawaii.

Chewie and Abby with the pineapple

Bacon wrapped pineapple

1 pound Bacon
1 can Chunked Pineapple (large Chunks)
½ cups Brown Sugar

Cut the pound of bacon in half. Put the brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Take a half a slice of bacon and dredge it through the brown sugar. (I actually sprinkled the brown sugar over the pineapple in a bowl, then wrapped the bacon around the pineapple). Put a chunk of pineapple on one end of the bacon slice and roll up. Secure with a toothpick.

I cooked these on the grill, but I will warn you don't walk away for to long. I think the sugar dripped off causing a huge flame. I came back to the grill just in time to save these little guys from a charred death. The original recipe called to bake the bacon wrapped pineapple at 375 degrees, for 25 minutes. On the grill, I only cooked them for about 15 minutes.

Our overall impression of this appetizer was that it is a sweet salty goodness. The pineapple still retained it's juiciness and the bacon was nice and crisp. We will be making these again... and perhaps we might add a sliver of jalapeno for an extra kick.

Since we have so much pineapple I needed to find a different recipe to use it. I bought a couple of Halibut filet's for dinner, so I thought a fruity salsa would be good. I marinated the fish in lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, garlic, onion and a squirt or two of Sriracha sauce. I marinated the fish for about 45 minutes but there wasn't a lot of flavor to the fish. Overall the pineapple salsa was a really good addition to the fish. I think it would also go wonderfully with shrimp quesadilla’s.

For the salsa:

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup finely diced pineapple
1/3 cup finely diced, seeded English cucumber
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno (didn't have this, but the slight heat would have been nice)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

In a small bowl whisk together the honey and the lime juice. Combine the pineapple, cucumber, onion, jalapeno and mint in a medium bowl, pour the dressing over and toss to combine. Set aside.