Thursday, August 25, 2011

eats and activities

Howdy howdy!

This week has not been very exciting...just hanging around the house/doing errands during the day and then tearing it up at Carrabba's come nighttime.  I can't wait for my student teaching to start on the 7th so I can have something exciting to do during the day!!

Anyways, the week started off with a little bit of softball.

Every week before the game we all meet up at Stan's Bluenote--a bar downtown that sponsors the team. Me and Austin decided to eat dinner there this week since he came straight from work and I came straight from the dance studio.  Oh yeahhhh I have to tell y'all about my new job!!

I love it!!!  I wish I could teach there every night, but since I have school until 4:00 I can't.  Oh well twice a week is enough to get my dancin' fix :)  On Mondays I assist a 5-6 year old ballet/tap/jazz/acro class.  It is pretty much exactly how you would imagine a room full of 5-6 year old girls in leotards and tap shoes.  When I walked in the room all of the girls were buzzing around, and I was immediately asked to remove one of them from the ballet bar that she was currently dangling from.  The class was a zoo, and I couldn't get enough of it.  I think the highlight was watching them all dance freestyle to Michael Jackson's "Bad" while they waited to go across the floor during the acro part of the class.  I was cracking up...I can't believe I actually get paid to do this! 

Ok back to the softball!  The Chewies were on their A-game on Monday for sure:

Austin got to bat twice, and both times he got a double!!  He also made a couple of really great catches in the outfield.  They ended up losing, but the team they were playing had three players that used to be on college baseball teams--I'd say that's a little bit of an unfair advantage haha.  The Chewies definitely held their own though, and after the game everyone was excited about how well they played!

I made these for treats after the game:
I got the recipe here
Another fun part about softball games are all the cute little puppies roaming around.  I like petting them!

After Monday night the rest of our week wasn't that eventful.  On Tuesday I made pizza:
Recipe for the dough from my favorite blog
Then yesterday I made these (with a little grilling help from Austin):
Recipe can be found here
These were really good, but what made them awesomeee was this pico:

I kind of made up this recipe as I went along, but basically I just threw these ingredients into a bowl and stirred 'em up:
-1 avocado, cubed
-1 tomato, diced
-1/3 of a bunch of cilantro (about a handful)
-About 2 slices of red onion, diced (I don't like red onion very much, so I don't use a lot--you could certainly use more if you want!)
-Juice of 1/2 of a lime
-Salt and pepper to taste
**You could also add a jalapeno if you want, but I am not a fan so I leave those suckers out!  

Tonight we're having the leftover tacos for din din and then tomorrow I have to work all night so Austin is on his own, and I'll probably just have Carrabba's bread to hold me over until I come home and raid whatever's left in our fridgey.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

back to school

Ok life update:

1) I start student teaching 7th grade ELA on September 7th!!!

2) I met my "cooperating teacher" yesterday, and she is really great!  Plus, she is the cheerleading coach, so I get to help do cheer stuff too :)

3) I got a job as a teaching assistant at a dance studio here in Dallas!  I start teaching on Monday!

4) Austin got a new job with the old company (The Ward Group) that he used to work for!!  I'm so glad that he has a job that he loves again!

Lots of exclamation points up in hurr--things are getting exciting around these parts fo sho.  Especially since Aggie football is about to start!

An update that is not so fun: Austin is out of town this weekend.  Boo...I don't like it when he's gone.  He's currently somewhere by a lake at a bachelor party where there is allegedly zero cell phone reception (how convenient).  Oh well, it's just an excuse for me to watch chick flicks galore, scrapbook, dance around the apartment in my tap shoesies that my mom sent me this week, and go shopping! 

Speaking of shopping, somehow my Carrabba's paycheck was about twice as much as it normally is this week.  I don't know how that happened...I guess I worked more than I thought or more people are starting to crave Italian food now that it's been over 100 degrees for the past few weeks, so my tip-share is more.  Who knows?  Either way, the big checkeroo coupled with the fact that it's tax free weekend meant one thing: it was time for me to hit up the Allen outlets.  I haven't gone shopping in a looong time, and figured I needed some "back to school" clothes.  Seriously.  I have almost nothing in my closet that even remotely resembles "teacher clothes", so off to the outlets I went.  I'd say it was a success:

I get a little excited when I go to outlet malls.  I think I'm set for big girl clothes for a little while though!

In terms of our eats for the rest of the week...on Thursday I made this:

From this:
Love me some Ina
And then for dessert I made these:

From THIS!

I'm excited to tell y'all about my tales from the dance studio this week and show you guys what we're munching on.  Until then it's back to Love Actually...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

my kitchen smells like mexico

Ok I'm lying.  I've never been to Mexico, so I don't know what it smells like, but my kitchen does currently smell like a Mexican restaurant, and that is always a good thing!

I think I've mentioned on here a time or two how much Austin loves Mexican food, so this week he requested that I make Arroz Con Pollo (aka rice with chicken).  I got this recipe from our friend, Caesar, who got it from his mama.  It's relatively simple to make, and while it is a little time consuming the end result is totally worth it!

So here's how to do it!

Arroz Con Pollo

1 bell pepper
1 yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 chicken breasts
Chili powder
About 2 tbs butter
1 cup of uncooked rice
2 packets Goya seasoning (can be found in the International aisle of your grocery store)

First, cut up 1/4 of your bell pepper and 1/4 of your onion.  But wait!  Don't rid yourself of the 3/4ths you have left over because you will need it in a minute!  You should also go ahead and smash your garlic and give it a rough chop.  

Fill a large pot about 3/4ths of the way full with water, and add in your previously chopped and smashed pepper, onion, and garlic.  Bring that up to a boil, and then add in your 2 bouillon cubes.  While the water is getting hot hot hot it's time to season your chickadees.  Sprinkle each side liberally with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder.

About this time your water should be boiling...

Doesn't that look like a fun pool party??  Yummy yummy look at all those veggies swimming around.  But now it's time for the guest of honor to arrive!  Put your chickens in the pool, cover 'em up, and then let them take a dip for about 12 minutes, or until they are cooked through.

While your chicken is being all social at the pool party chop up that 3/4ths of the pepper and onion that you previously had in time out.  I like to thinly slice these guys so they look like the side of veggies you get when you order fajitas.

About this time your chicken should be done, so take it out of the water, and set aside to cool for a bit.  Now you'll want to strain out some of the water that you cooked the chicken in, and use it to cook the rice.  I use 1 cup of uncooked rice, and then add in about 2 1/4th cups of the chicken water.  Now, if you don't have a rice should get one!  They are awesome and you can cook all sorts of things in them.  Ok, so once you've got your RC (that's rice cooker), dump in the rice, chicken H2O, and a wee bit of butter.  This is also the moment when you dump in 1 packet of Goya seasoning.  Your RC should look like this:

Turn on your rice, and get back to your veggies.  Heat up a saucepan, and add in your 2 tbs of butter. 

Start by cooking your onions a bit, and the add in the bell peppers.  Again, you want to cook these so they look like the steaming mountain of yum that comes with your fajitas! 

While your veggies are a-cookin' you can pull apart your chicken:

Add the chicken to your cooked pepper and onion, and then stir in the second Goya seasoning packet.

Goya makes your chicken taste yummy and turn ORANGE.  Who doesn't love some orange chicken??

At this point in time you can start doing your dishes.  About the time that you're scrubbing your chicken water pot your rice should be ready...oh happy day!  Orange rice!!

Now all that's left to do is mix in the chicken and veggies:

There you have it, folks.  Authentic arroz con pollo!  I had to go to work yesterday evening, so I made it ahead of time and then left the goods for Austin to discover when he got home from work.  I think he was a happy camper last night :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the BEST chocolate chip cookies

Ok I know I know...everyone in the world claims to have "the absolute best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever", but guess what?  They're wrong.  I have the best!  Just kidding--I'm sure your recipe is good too, but I thought I'd share mine with everyone because I love it so much :)

I got this recipe from my sister when I was in high school, and I haven't looked back since.  Here she is:

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick crisco
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips 
Disclaimer: I didn't have a full bag of chocolate chips, so I used 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 peanut butter
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the crisco, sugar, and brown sugar.

**I need to interrupt this regularly scheduled blog post to tell you a story about my mixer**

As you can see, this mixer is clearly the highest quality that Walmart has on its shelves, and cost me a fortune (a whole 12 dollars...gasp!)  Well, apparently Walmart's highest quality mixers have a little malfunction involving the "on" switch.  Somehow this lovely mixer's on switch got pushed a little too hard, and is now permanently on.  Goody.  Well, most people would take this as a sign to buy a new mixer, but not I!  Instead, I just wait to plug it in until it is already in the bowl of stuff that I need to mix up.  Usually this works great, but yesterday when I was making these cookies I forgot about that little trick.  Needless to say, I had to take a brief intermission from cookie making to clean up some sugar and crisco.  Don't worry...the cookies still turned out just fine.

Ok back to the recipe:

After the crisco and sugars are mixed up add in the eggs one at a time...

Then stir in the vanilla.

Now you can add your dry ingredients!  Dump in some salt, baking soda, and 1 1/4 cups of your flour.  Fold these in with a SPOON.  If you try and mix it up with a mixer you will have a kitchen that resembles a winter wonderland.  (I definitely learned that the hard my sister's kitchen...sorry Fox).

Once the first 1 1/4 cups of flour are incorporated you can add in the other cup.  Finally, stir in your chips.  Like I said up there, I used half a bag of chocolate and half a bag of peanut butter.  This is also the point in time where you can go buck wild with pecans, coconut, whatever tickles your fancy.  I'm a simple kind of girl though, so I usually just stick to the chippers!

Now you can make little balls of dough and place them on a lined cookie sheet...

Stick these little cuties in the oven for 8 minutes, and then pull 'em out!  They won't look done, but after you let them cool off for awhile they will be chewy and delicious.  

Eat them with a big glass of milk.  Or pile 'em up and serve them to your boyfriend's softball team...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Deep Thoughts

Over the course of my life I've had a few people say this to me: "Jamie, I wish I could get inside your brain and listen to what you think for just one day".

I never knew how to take it.  Do people think I'm crazy? Funny? Insightful? Who knows.  But I decided to grant these individuals their wish and fill you in on a few random thoughts that I had today.

1) Sheesh Louise, my life would be so much easier if a) birds didn't exist or b) I wasn't afraid of them.

2) Why or whyyyy do top 40 stations play the same songs over and over and over again?! If I hear "rolling in the deep" one more time I will cry.  Actually, I'll probably sing along because I love Adele, but still.  They should have top 100 stations instead.

3) Why is it that lions and other wild animals can just eat raw meat right off the bone, but we have to cook it?

4) I AM SO GLAD THAT MELANIE WON SYTYCD!!!!!  If Sasha would've won Austin's TV might have a foot-shaped hole in it right now.

5) I wonder if other people think that bags/papers blowing down the road are actually puppies and/or small children and have a mini heart attack/slam on the breaks when they see them...

6) My heels hurt.

There you have it.  I'm sure there were other things racing through my head today, but those were pretty much the highlights.  I wonder what makes us think the things we think...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baccas and Brunch

Meet the Big League CHEWbaccas--Austin's intramural softball team.  He plays with a bunch of people from A&M on Monday nights, and it is a great source of entertainment for me.

The baccas lost their first game, but got a W on Sunday night!  

We do lots of fun stuff together like go to brunch here:

Where you can get as many of these as you want for 8 ducks:

Oh and you get this for free:

And they have food like this:


Yep, hanging out with the baccas is good times.  And in case you're wondering, no I definitely do not take part in the softball playing.  The last time I played softball I struck out every single time I batted and once ran off the field in the middle of an inning because I had to pee.  Who cares if 2nd base was left unattended?  Did they actually expect me to hold it??  

So, yeah instead of gracing the field with my presence I cheer from the bleachers and bring treats.  Everyone calls me the team mom.  I'll take it.