I Cooked

When Husband first left for Nashville a couple of weeks ago I promised myself to learn to cook at least one meal while he was gone.  I had been craving Spanish rice and beans for days and began searching recipes on Pinterest*. I came across one that used a crockpot, was very simple and sounded delicious. Perfect.

The only thing it needs is rice, dried kidney beans, celery, onion, bell pepper, scallions, seasoning, and garlic. The directions basically said to add these all to the crockpot, cook for four hours, and poof! Rice and beans at your service.

riceandbeans ingredients greenonions

I did exactly what the recipe said with one exception; I used canned beans instead of dried because I already had them. Four hours later, I opened the crockpot to give it a taste and discovered that the rice had yet to cook and it all tasted very bland. I add more salt and seasonings and continued to let it cook, checking on it every half hour.

Six hours later, it was all cooked, but tasted absolutely disgusting. I tried to bear it. I added hot sauce and more seasoning, but then it just tasted like a spicy bite of disgustingness. I kept it around for another day, wishing that it would improve with time like wine or soup, but it did not. It all ended with me pouring it all in the garbage and ordering a large order of rice and beans from a nearby Mexican restaurant.

Actually, I accidentally ordered two large orders of rice and beans and was able to eat of them for 3 days. I also ordered vegetable fajitas and I managed to use all of this to create my own nachos every night. I just tossed in the chopped veggies, the rice and the beans into a skillet with a little olive oil. After, it sautéed for a about 5-10 minutes I poured it over a plate of tortilla chips, added fresh tomato and avocado and had my version of “homemade” nachos.

photo

Even though my original plan failed miserably, I attempted one more simple recipe. I decided to make fruit infused iced tea. This was SO easy, and actually came out great!

First I made pomegranate tea.

herbteas tea

Once it cooled, I added chopped strawberries, oranges and blackberries. To finish it off I stirred in a little honey and fresh lemon juice.

fruit

That’s it, and the tea was delicious, fruity and not too sweet.

glass

I’m not going to give up yet, I am determined to learn to cook, and hopefully enjoy it.

Cheers!

*I searched for the recipe again on Pinterest so I could share the link, and give the original author credit, but I couldn’t find it. Also, she may not want to be connected to the outcome in this post, but I’m sure her’s came out much better than mine.

Baby Butts and TexMex

Guess who stuffed themselves with 3 large Mexican meals in two days?! Aaaa the sweet (or spicy? taste of success. Mexican food in Texas is the best because everyone gets their own bowl of salsa in they refill your bowls with pitchers of salsa every 10 minutes. Husband would disagree, but I think no other state can compare to Texas’s TexMex.

My last few days in Texas were full of quality time spent with loved ones. Mom spoiled me with extra love one day by taking me to get a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed. Hmm, maybe she’s just concerned that I’m looking a little rough around the edges… Either way, it was nice to be so spoiled.

We went shopping in the cute little downtown areas around where my parents live, and I bought the cutest bracelet from Gaudie & Co. They’re called Lenny and Eva and they come in tons of styles. You can choose different sizes and colors in leather cuff, chains, or necklaces. Then you can choose an inspirational word of quote, and finally add charms. I really love the way these look when they are stacked, but I could only afford one during this trip. Perhaps Santa will bring more for Christmas???

I chose the word “breathe” because I so often need a reminder to do just that.

We also shopped at another awesome store called Down to Earth where everything (lotion, soaps, makeup, shaving bars, bath salts, body scrubs) is made from organic and local ingredients, and literally made in the room in the back of the small store. My mom bought some awesome delicious smelling gifts and goodies for herself and a few others. I scored a grapefruit soap bar that helps fight acne and other cool stuff like that.

a cute handmade crown from recycled pieces

I love shopping and getting presents, but the best times are still dominated by the babies! I know you didn’t get enough of the cute kids in my life, so here’s a few more photos of us having an awesome picnic day in the backyard – complete with a bouncy house and water slide. These are some lucky babies.

chasing bubbles!

gotta love those butt dimples!
Never gonna grow up

I have been telling Husband how much fun it is to have kids, and I was hoping that spending a play day with these babies would really pump him up about being a Dad (not that he’s about to be). My friends are in on the persuasion too, and were all ready to talk up the pleasures of being a parent.

Within minutes of visiting, one friend was peed on, I was pooped and peed on (there was a lot of naked babies in pools), one kid was bit, and another was crying. It was awesome.

 I was still having a blast, and we just reminded Husband that the play-date is just very realistic.

I am missing my own baby Belle, who is definitely getting spoiled by Zoey back in NYC. My parent’s dog has been my replacement cuddler this week.

Shhh! Don’t tell Belle!

Our last night at “home” we stayed up until the wee hours of the night playing Rook with my parents. Mom and I kicked butt (surprise, surprise).

Now, I am sitting on another stuffy plane, waiting for free coffee, and wishing they didn’t charge us to watch TV on the flight. Our week in Texas was great. A week wasn’t long enough to see everyone I wanted to visit, but I’m thankful for the qualities hours I had with some of my favorite people.

Farewell Lone Star State!

Cheers!

Cowboy Take Me Away

Every now and then a girl just needs to get out of the big city, and out to the country. I love Manhattan’s skyline, city lights, and constant flow of excitement, but sometimes I need a big yard, starry skies, and the sounds of nature. If there is any polar opposite of New York City, it is Southeast Texas.

Since, my arrival (4 days ago), I’ve made a nice long list of Southern Vacation Achievements. It goes as follows:

-1 barbeque

-15 puppy cuddles

-4 bubble baths

-1 book finished

-5 movies watched

-3 babies kissed and hugged

-4 friends visited

-2 parents happily spoiling me with junk food and cable television

-12 episodes of Keeping up The Kardashians

-16 episodes of Sex and the City

-1 husband with a stomach virus…no bueno

-1 workout session

-87 mosquito bites

-2 four wheeler rides

– 108 times I’ve said “yall”

-1 sunburn

-1 awesome drive on my own with the radio blaring and me giving my best Mariah Carey impression. (Oh, how I miss driving!)

AND ZERO AMOUNTS OF TEX-MEX FOOD CONSUMPTION

How is this possible?!?!?!

One of the best things about coming home is the abundance of Mexican restaurants. There must be one every 20 feet. I can’t throw a stone without hitting a Casa Ole, a Tequilla’s, or a Rancho Grande.

This is serious. I only have 3 days left to gorge myself on tacos and chips and salsa. Let the fiesta begin, and the list grow longer!

Salud!