Tales from the Hill's Country

Quips, stories and observations from our adventures in marriage and parenting (as told by Katie).

Friday, September 30, 2011

Green Beans!

At the beginning of the summer, Chris planted forty green bean plants. I couldn't wait to make my favorite green bean recipe with the bounty. And since there were forty of these babies planted, I expected to make a LOT of my favorite green bean recipe.

In related news... remember how we have really cute bunnies running around in our backyard? Apparently, really cute bunnies like to eat green beans...

Here's a photo of our entire green bean bounty:
One. One green bean from the forty that were planted.

Does anyone know a good recipe for rabbit stew?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

August Super Supper Club

I realize that we're coming up on October... but I was a slacker at the end of this summer and it's time to catch up.

So... here is our August Super Supper Club report!

The evening started off with an original creation by Mark:

I think it was a deconstructed muffalata sandwich? If that's not what is was called, then let's just call it "Delicious". He made the topping for the French bread. Then took the leftover topping and bottled it up for later. He said he uses it as a spread for sandwiches or a topping for meals. Isn't that a great idea? Instead of throwing away the extra, use it to jazz up your meals for the next week. Probably not a news flash to anyone but me... I thought it was brilliant!

Here is Mark with his wife... who announced she is three months pregnant with their second baby! Congratulations to the Krewe of Brew!

I had the main dish with Spinach and Prosciutto Stuffed Flank Steak (p. 195):
It looked amazing. And it was... ok. The warmed Prosciutto did not smell great to me. I have to say I prefer this rolled flank steak recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

Carrie prepared a great Butter Lettuce, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad (p. 116). Not only did it taste great, but I LOVED the bowl she brought to prepare it in!
Here's an action shot of Stephanie and I putting the final touches on the meal:
She prepared Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (p. 209) and for me, that was the highlight of the meal!
You can tell from the title of the recipe (but not really from the photo) that the tomatoes are roasted just enough to hold their shape in the dish, but pop in your mouth when you eat them. They are served warm and I just couldn't get enough!

Another highlight of the meal was that my sister-in-law, Laura, was in town and was able to experience SSC. Unfortunately someone deemed her photographer and we didn't get any photos of her visit! Doh! (That someone might have been me... but let's not point blame...)

Anyway,  here's a shot of *most* of the Super Club-ers sitting down to enjoy the meal:
The meal was rounded out with Ashley's Cinnamon Custard Tart (p. 234) which was not photographed. Oopsie. 

After the meal and the tart, we broke into shenanigans. I don't really want to re-live this photo:
So instead of writing a caption, I'll just remind Texas homeowners to go heavy on the roach traps during the summer. *Shudder*

In case this is your first visit to my blog, all of our recipes come from the Houston Junior League's award winning cookbook, Peace Meals. I have fallen in love with 95% of the recipes in this book and highly suggest you buy one for you and all of your friends today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sleeping Habits

I call this "Dog (who needs a haircut) sleeping":

That's Gordon asleep on my blue arm rest pillow. (Click here if you can't visualize what an armrest pillow is.)

I don't get it. He sleeps 12 hours a day, spends 4 hours eating, going outside and getting petted by Chris and I... then flops down in exhaustion for another 8 hours of sleep at night. How do I get that gig??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

October Treats

I recently saw this photo on pinterest:

Which comes from this blog.

Chris' Aunt makes something similar that are delicious-- so I thought I'd give this variation a try.

I started by laying out square pretzels onto a foil-wrapped baking sheet:
You'll notice I went with the "haphazard" method. Had my mom been helping, I'm sure the little squares would have been in perfect alignment!

Next, I unwrapped and placed a Hershey's Hug onto each pretzel:
See the pile of wrappers in the background?

This went into the oven (preheated at 350) for 4 minutes. The recipe said 3-5... so I figured I couldn't go wrong with 4!

When I opened the oven, they looked like this:
As you can tell, they didn't loose their shape! As you can't tell, they were a tiny bit shinier than before they went in. At first I thought I should put them in for longer, but a test on one of them assured me they were ready for the next step.

Which was to squish the candy corn pieces onto the hugs:
Once you apply a tiny amount of pressure, the hugs just fall into a nice chocolaty blob.

Then I patiently waited 10 minutes for the chocolate to harden. And it didn't. So I waited another 5. Then another 5. After 30 minutes I got a little impatient and put them to another part of the kitchen while I started something else. An hour later and they still weren't hard, so I got creative and put them in the refrigerator. After 15 minutes of that, they were ready to eat!

Verdict: Not bad. Not as good as Chris' Aunt's version (which I'll recreate and post here someday) but not awful. Truth be told, I love candy corn, and I'm not sure it needs to be paired with anything to make it better. It's amazing on it's own. And Hershey's Hugs are ok... but nothing beats milk chocolate...

Although I won't make them again, they were quite tasty... so I packaged them up and brought them to Baton Rouge this weekend (where I was helping to co-co-co-co-co-co-co-co-host Jojo's baby shower) (that's eight co-hostesses!):
I learned the tissue paper trick from my sister-in-law, Laura. When making and packaging up treats, don't just throw them into those plastic containers. Instead, put a little tissue paper down first. It makes it look cuter and more festive!

The Baton Rouge Krewe had the same verdict. Not bad... but not as good as Aunt Ann's original version... don't you want to know what that is?! Well, you'll have to sit tight... it'll be a few weeks, but I'll post that up here soon enough.

And if you want a more printable version of these treats... click through to the original blog that featured them, she wrote a paragraph that's much easier to print off and put in your kitchen than my photo-heavy version!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stephanie Turns Thirty

It's become a bit of a tradition (if you do something twice that makes it a tradition, right?) that I bring a pinata to my friend, Stephanie's birthday gatherings.

This year, I chose a farmhouse:
And filled it with all sorts of yummy goodies!

Happy 30th, MaGoosters!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Laurel's Bachelorette Part-ay

Back in the beginning of August, I hosted a bachelorette party for my friend and cousin, Laurel.

It. Was. WILD!
Just kidding!

It was fun, but not 4 large bottles of alcohol wild.

I'm a big believer that the party lies in the details... so i put together a few projects to make it fun and special.

Like these gathered streamers, for example:
Which I learned about how to make from one of my favorite blogs: Made.

The party had a nautical theme (I chose that since one of our main activities was cruising around the bay in my dad's boat)... so I got these flags for decor as well:
And here we are about to go out on the boat:
You'll notice our matching "Bridesmate" sailor caps and "Laurel's Last Sail Shirts". Adorable... and made us quite inconspicuous as we headed down the dock.

Here I am with the captain:
A close up of the hats and goodie bags:
Laurel's of course had a veil:
 Everything had to fit the theme, including:
The snack bowls (and toothpicks)...
 The utensils and napkins...
The cups and straws... and most deliciously...
The cupcakes!!! Which were made my my uber-talented friend/girlfriend of my other cousin, Harley!
That's her on the left and that's the bride on the right. (Laurel took her sailor cap off after a while because the veil was itchy.)

They are karaoke-ing in this photo which is what we did for our evening's entertainment. I rented a private room so we could jam out without the fear of randoms interfering on our good time.

And jam out we did!
for a while...
Then we snapped a group shot and headed home:
After everyone left, I slept for about three days. Just kidding. It was 2 and a half. Boy howdy!

I had a great time getting to know Laurel's friends during the weekend and was really happy to see my little cousin all grown up! Next stop... wedding day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

July Super Supper Club

Supper Club in July was held once again at Ashley's Summer Home-- and it was a delicious summer meal!

Michele brought guacamole...
Any doubt that is was a-maz-ing??

Stephanie (or was it Carrie?) prepared a delicious Watermelon Mango Salsa (p. 55):
 It was much better tasting that it looks. And it was much better looking at the beginning of the night!

In contrast, here's my dish: Fresh Tomato Salad with Herbed Dressing (p. 113).
Doesn't it look great? It was... decent. It probably would have been better had I found the correct ingredients. See those yellow tomatoes? They aren't actually yellow tomatoes... they just aren't ripe yet. So the non-amazingness of the dish is due to user error. 

Ashley took the main dish: Fish Tacos with Tropical Fruit Salsa (p. 158). Here is the meat cooking:
She followed the recipe exactly... but it was s-p-i-c-y!! Chris thought it was fine (of course he did!), but I was happy for the add ons:
That helped temper it down a bit... but it was still really spicy! I can usually handle spicy food, but I was sweating that night!

Here's a close up of the plate:
You can see the taco all together there. 

Everyone enjoyed the meal (including the non-pictured Frozen Margarita Pie (p. 233) by Ashley)(Which I've now made twice-- I LOVE it!!)
 And everyone enjoyed the wine:
 Another successful Super Supper Club! And in case you didn't get the memo-- all recipes are from the Houston Junior League's newest cookbook: Peace Meals. It's the cookbook I always turn to first!