Follow me as I take you through a 20-something's life in San Antonio, the Texas Hill Country, and the "Great State" in general. I'll talk about all the adventures Texas has to offer, how I managed to gain 10+ pounds on deeeelicious Mexican food, and so much more! I don't ever sit still and it makes for some pretty interesting stories!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Second best!

Happy Monday Blog Followers,

I've got so much to tell you, so I think I'll start with this weekend.

This weekend, we went to Houston for my friend Kalissa's Brazilian BBQ Birthday Celebration . Chris and I decided to make a full weekend of it! First, we met our high school friend, Sheelah for an Astros game. We won! 
On Saturday, we celebrated the Kentucky Derby Houston-style by going to a charity event. The proceeds went to a great cause--reconstructive surgery for cancer patients. http://roseribbon.org/
 We got all dolled up in our Derby duds...it was a blast. 
After, we drove to Kalissa's house and stuffed ourselves with homemade Brazilian goodies and all the meat we could eat!
The Birthday Girl!
Sunday we slept in and then went for lunch. We found this little gem: http://www.alingshakka.com/ . Who would've thought that Chinese food, prepared Indian-Style, would be so delicious.  May I recommend the Manchurian Chicken!?

 This morning, I channeled my inner homemaker and decided to try making  my own cold brewed coffee for iced coffee. I love iced coffee and prefer it over hot coffee most of the time, but especially during the summer months. I've been stopping a few times a week at a local coffee truck because they're iced coffee is so delicious. However, $2.75 adds up, so I thought I'd try my hand at making my own. The base of my idea came from the blog, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/ I changed it up a bit because I didn't have 2 x 2 gallon buckets or cheese cloth readily available. I used 1/4 cup of coffee grinds and 1/2 gallon of water. I let it steep overnight, and then this morning used a coffee filter and small strainer to remove the grinds from the liquid.
The Finished Product!
I must say it was very tasty, but it just isn't the same as the coffee truck's. I think it may be the brand of coffee. I'm currently trying to come up with a tactful way to ask the coffee truck lady what brand of coffee she uses!

 For some time now, I've had a craving for a dish my grandfather used to make--Pork and Cabbage stew. After several conversations with my mom, we hashed over the potential ingredients and agreed upon the following:
1 lb. Boneless pork spare ribs
1 Can of tomato sauce
1 Head of cabbage
Garlic, basil, salt, pepper to taste
Sear pork ribs, add tomato sauce, half can of water, seasonings and simmer for 1.5 hours. Then add cabbage, another round of seasonings, and simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes.

It was very tasty, but again, I must say that it just wasn't the same! I don't know what I'm missing, but I'm on a quest to figure out exactly how he made his pork and cabbage. I wish I had written down some of his recipes while he was still here! And I say "some" because I can definitely live without his Octopus Salad recipe!

In the spirit of full disclosure and creativity, I'll continue to try to make recipes my own and report the results! Please use this blog as a forum to share yours, or to give me tips!

Please join me in giving a shout out to our men and women in uniform! Congratulations Bo Beeland--The Air Force's newest Captain! We are so proud of you! 

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Monday, April 2, 2012

Guest Blogger #2--From the Kitchen of Joe and Jodi Taraba

I’m honored to be a guest blogger for Lyndsey this weekend!   
A little about me:
-         I am a husband to my beautiful wife Jodi and father to sons Zach (16 months) and a second one (name TBD but suggestions are welcome – due in July)
-         Proud Fightin’ Texas Aggie – sorry Lyndsey, don’t hold it against me.  I love my Aggies – and especially Aggie football and basketball
-         Outside of spending time with my family or going to Kyle Field in the fall some of my favorite things include a round of golf with friends (or trying a new course), fishing – although here in dry San Antonio I don’t know of many good places, traveling, and attempting to cook.  I also love spending time with our chocolate lab Charlie or reading a good book in the rare quiet moment.
Having a crockpot with young kids is a lifesaver – here is a quick easy and very tasty recipe that my wife found from Parents.com that we love!
Tex Mex Chicken Tacos – (Note – Store Brand Canned items work just as well here!)
-         1 – 14.5 oz. can of Rotel Tomatoes w jalapenos – drained
-         1 and 1/4  cups salsa verde
-         1 TB ground cumin
-         3 cloves garlic – minced
-         ½ tsp salt and black pepper
-         3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-         1 large yellow and red pepper, seeded and sliced
-         1 medium onion – sliced
-         1 – 14.5 oz. black beans – drained (we use prob ½ the can)
-         1 – 14.5 oz. can corn – drained (we use frozen here)
-         12 hard taco shells
-         ¾ Cup Shredded cheese (mix or Monterrey is OK)
-         1 Avacado – chopped
Make It
-         In a large crockpot, combine tomatoes, ¾ C of the Salsa Verde, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken, peppers and onions and stir to coat.  Cover and cook on LOW for 4-4 ½ hours.
-         Remove chicken and place on cutting board – letting it cool slightly
-         Strain mixture over a large bowl or measuring cup – set liquid aside.  Return vege mixture to slow cooker – stir in black beans and corn.  Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes.
-         Shred chicken using 2 forksand stir back into slow cooker with ½ C of salsa verde and 1 C of the remaining liquid or more if desired
-         Heat taco shells according to package – fill tacos and top with avocado and cheese.
Hill Country Guacamole – Courtesy of the ‘Bluebonnet CafĂ©’ – Marble Falls, TX
-         5 ripe avocados – peeled and pitted
-         1 medium red onion – finely chopped
-         ½ C chopped cilantro
-         2 fresh jalapenos, cored, seeded and finely chopped
-         3 TB fresh lime juice
-         1 ½ Tsp kosher salt (sea salt is OK)
-         ½ Tsp ground black pepper
Remove flesh from avocados and scoop into a large bowl.  Mash with a fork until chucky.  Add onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, jalapenos, and lime juice and mash again until ingredients are well blended.  Taste and add more lime juice or salt and pepper according to your liking.  Makes about 1 ½ C.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

30 day fail and other things...

Happy Sunday friends! On such a beautiful day, I'm reminded of how blessed I am! Chris and I spent an awesome weekend with friends who came in from Houston. Friday night we went to the Spurs game, of course we won! The AT&T center is a really cool place. They had a free concert afterwards and it was one of our favorite bands...The Space Rockerz! They're an 80's cover band who dress like space people...so fun! On Saturday we went to lunch at Silo and then walked around Gruene and visited the shops and wineries. For dinner we tried a new Mexican food restaurant, La Fogata. It's a San Antonio favorite and I still can't believe we've lived here for 4 years and have never been! We all loved the chicken verde enchiladas! Today we had brunch at Roaring Fork...they are known for their green chile everything!
Soooo, by now you can see that I did NOT make my 30 days without eating out. Unfortunately, here's how it went down. I made it 15 days without one bite of restaurant food. I realized how unrealistic it is to say that you'll never eat out, even for 30 days! Life is far too busy to rely on my own cooking 24 hours a day. Going 15 days without restaurant food really has taught me how to say no though! For example, yesterday at Silo, Chris ordered dessert. Instead of digging in as soon as the plate was set down in front of us, I waited until there was about two bites left to enjoy my share. Why, you ask? Because during this process I've realized that it is far easier for me to say no altogether than it is to try and eat one or two bites, or half a portion, or five chips...you get the idea! Additionally, I've realized that I have no choice but to make better choices when I eat out, because I'm not going to stop anytime soon. I learned a lot about myself and my eating habits during the process and I'll continue to blog about my recipes, restaurants, and my battle to do better!
Now on to other topics: first, gas! I've been driving my father in law's truck for two weeks while the Corolla gets put back together and I cannot believe how much it costs to operate! I don't know how you truck people do it! Do you know how many pairs of shoes I could buy with that money!? I'm so excited to get the Corolla back. We're meeting our parents halfway between SA and Beeville tonight to have dinner and get my sweet little Corolla back! Next, I'm writing my first official blog post from my new iPad! I won it at work on Friday--yet another reason why I love my job! If you're wondering why I there are no pics on this blog it's because I can't figure out how to add them!
That's all for today. I hope you all enjoy the Lord's day and this beautiful weather!
Adios friends,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blogger-Notes from a Vegetarian

Hello New Internet Friends! I’m so excited to make my debut into the blog world. Because I know that you are dying to know, here is a brief summary of why I decided to be a vegetarian.
My family is beautifully southern. We cook with all the bad things that everyone has been warned against. That being said, my immediate family is in good health, they exercise, practice moderation and all that jazz. That was all lost on me apparently and at 23, I was told I had high cholesterol (in my defense, it does run in the family). I’ll be honest, I panicked. I’m young, in good shape and with the exception of frequent sugar binges I eat well or so I thought… After really paying attention I realized that it was packed with preservatives (frozen meals), sugars (snack bars and pretty much everything I ate), all the bad stuff. I also had a really hard time saying no to the things I loved (donuts, chocolate cake). So, I made a change. Well, I wallowed in self pity and started eating Cheerio’s like a fiend initially.
Then I watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and “Forks Over Knives” and that lit a fire under my butt. Particularly because if it’s in a documentary it must be true! Now, full disclosure, I did not do a juice fast (although it sounded kind of interesting) and I did not go vegan. What I gleaned from these films was the importance of fresh veggies (aka listening to mom) and that some studies have linked the consumption of meat to cancers and other ailments. Additionally, once you freeze vegetables they lose most of their nutritional value and American’s eat too much salt. You may be saying “DUH!” All I can say is, well… don’t be rude, I’m learning.
Eating vegetarian has been surprisingly easy for me. It stops me from eating fast food (except for the cheese quesadillas with pico at Taco C… oh man, delicious). Having to think about what I’m eating has made me more conscientious of where my food comes from and what’s in it. At the beginning, I would make 2 dinners on Monday so I had leftovers to eat all week. Recently, however; I haven’t had time! Terrible excuse, I know, but seriously. So I found myself relying on frozen meals yet again. But this time I looked for healthier options...
This one is all natural and vegetarian!
The frozen meal was a good quick fix but I had really enjoyed being in full control of what I was eating. I also have a tendency to say “I could make that” so this was my test. I wrote the ingredients down, bought ‘em and got to chopping. Side note: my boyfriend was skeptical that I could pull this off so I just had to prove him wrong! I am happy to say that I did. He has to repent and wash my car.
Ingredients are listed on the box in order of their amount so I tried to work with that. Mine had WAY more vegetables than the box.
Tortellini Primavera Parmesan
Ingredients: tortellini (prepackaged)
1 red bell pepper
5 baby zucchinis (1 large one would probably work)
4 carrots
No salt added tomato sauce
Heavy whipping cream
Red pepper flakes

Directions: simmer garlic in the EVOO, then add your chopped up veggies, the tomato sauce (I ended up using the whole can but I like lots of sauce), about a glass of chardonnay, basil and red pepper to taste. Let simmer about 20-30 minutes depending on how tender you want your veggies. Cook the tortellini. Once sauce is ready, stir in about a tablespoon of the whipping cream.
Look at that goodness...
 I love cooking with garlic because it always smells like you know what you’re doing. I was amazed at how well this turned out! We ate all of it. Literally. The entire container of pasta. Guess I’m still working on portion control…

I couldn't find good light but there's the finished product.
 Every  good cook has helpers. I found out that the Twins love carrots and zucchini! 
Healthy Little Dogs!

Peace, love and veggies Y'all,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Days 6, 7, and 8 + a few other things

I made it through the weekend without eating one single bite of restaurant food!  
The weekend proved to be a challenge but I held strong. On Saturday, I packed my lunch, resisted these deliciously sinful Astro Super Nachos, and managed to go home instead of going out for Sushi! 
On Sunday, I ate leftover breakfast casserole and ran some errands. Around 5 pm I had a sandwich and then met Chris and some friends at one of my favorite Mexican food restaurants, Taco Garage. I cannot believe it, but I didn't even have a chip! I did enjoy a sangria swirl Margarita...delish! 
Monday was an easy day. I brought a Lean Cuisine to work for lunch and then  made a light, healthy dinner. I forgot to take a picture, but essentially I sauteed fresh spinach and mushrooms in balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and white wine. Then I added red pepper flakes and some cooked rotisserie chicken. I served it over whole wheat angel hair pasta. It was great, and I was able to finish the spinach and mushrooms I had in the fridge before they went bad. 

Resisting some of my favorite fatty foods was very difficult for me. While my family ate the Super Nachos, I sat at a different table until they were finished. I'm not too proud to say that I'm not at the point yet where I'm strong enough to say no all the time. Sunday night at Taco Garage was easier because I had just eaten, and wasn't hungry. I was still very tempted! Overall, I'm proud of myself for not breaking my streak! 

This week, I'm trying to implement a few more changes. Last week I feel like I ate entirely too many carbohydrates and not nearly enough fruit and vegetables. I also only worked out 2x. This week, I'm going to try to workout 3-4 times to see if it helps me combat my hunger and desire for fatty foods. 
On another, more important note, Happy 11 Years to my favorite husband! I can't believe its been that long. It seems like just yesterday we were 15 and 17, on the tennis team, with a crush on one another...Love you!
Chris, Samantha, and Robert became 3x winners on Saturday as they won the Trio Tournament at Astro!
Next, I'd like to make one more plug for my foster dog Mimi. She really needs a loving home and our house is getting a little crowded with three canines! Please pass on her picture to anyone you think may be interested.

Finally, get excited for my very first guest blogger on Thursday!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Days 4 and 5...and a story about how a deer met my Corolla!

Happy Saturday morning everyone!

I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and an episode of "Flip This House" as I write my blog. Before we start our day, a day that will be full of bowling tournaments, I wanted to let you all know how days 4 and 5 went, and also about my horrible morning yesterday. I know you've all been eagerly awaiting this! :)

So, Thursday was a success! First, I made it through lunch without eating the pizza my office provided! Second, I went to happy hour with these girlies--Kayse and Kierstin--and didn't eat one bite!
I hope they enjoyed every bite! (Nope, not bitter at all!)

 For dinner, I made a sort of beef goulash using some existing ingredients I had that were about to go bad. I sauteed half an onion, half a red bell pepper, and 1/4 lb of lean ground beef in a pan. I added 4 oz. of reduced fat Velveeta cheese and about 1/4 cup of milk. I served it over whole wheat bow tie pasta. It was great! It made just enough for dinner and my lunch on Friday.
I topped it with some Parmesan cheese...if I can remember how I made this, I'd definitely do it again!
Yesterday, day 5, got off to a rocky start. On my way to work I hit a huge a** deer! He demolished my hood, front bumper, and left headlight. The darn thing is fine, but my car is not! The old Lyndsey would've said "screw it" and gone to Starbucks for breakfast, but I did NOT. I stuck to my guns and didn't let a little stress send me off track. Last night was also a success. I helped my friend Kayse prepare for a bridal shower she threw for a good friend. All the food was homemade so I enjoyed bruschetta, chicken salad sandwiches, and spinach and artichoke dip! 

This morning, I'm determined not to let the weekend ruin my progress. So, to combat it, I've done the following:

1. I made this delicious casserole for a nice, hearty breakfast to prevent me from eating any bowling alley food.
Appropriately named "Lyndsey's Breakfast Casserole"
2. I'm packing a sandwich and chips to take to the bowling alley for dinner. I have a birthday party to attend tonight at my favorite Mexican food restaurant, so I plan to eat the sandwich and just enjoy a cocktail at the party.
3. I'll keep a few snacks in my purse, just in case.

For the casserole, I took the recipe from earlier this week for the Doritos Taco Bake and modified it. I put the reduced fat crescent rolls at the bottom of the pan, spread FF cream cheese on top. I added cooked RF breakfast sausage, and raw hash browns that I sauteed in about 1 tbsp of Olive Oil. I topped it off with 6 scrambled eggs. I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes. I hope its delicious!

Friends, enjoy your weekend, I intend to! I'll keep you posted on my progress. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 3= Success and Failure!

And so continues my 30 Day-No Restaurant Food-Challenge! Day 3 was a success in that I did not eat any restaurant food, but it was a failure because the dinner I made was terrible!

I've made this recipe before and it was awesome, but this time I tried to get sassy and modify it. Not a good idea!
Here's a link to the recipe: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2009/07/crockpot-italian-chicken.html

Here's what I did to destroy it. First, I added about 4 oz. of chicken broth because the last time I made it I felt it was too thick. Second, I added a package of frozen spinach, cooked and drained. Last, I rushed the cook time and only crock potted it (yup, its a new word) for 2.5 hours, instead of the 3-4 recommended. Therefore, the result was tough, flavorless chicken in a mess of liquid. I would normally have called for a pizza at this point, but I didn't. Instead we ate cheese, crackers, and beef jerky! :)

Here are the ingredients

This pic was taken before I realized what a disaster it turned out to be!

Though I don't recommend that you make the recipe my way, I do recommend that you try it using the original recipe because it is really really good.

Additionally, I'd like to provide a side note. I went to the grocery store and diligently compared the prices of boneless, skinless chicken breast. I decided on the Hill Country Fare (store brand) chicken breast because it provided the most bang for my buck. WRONG! I must have cut off 1/4 lb of fat. Next time I'll try a name brand and see if I like the quality more.

Today is going to pose a challenge for me. First, our bosses have ordered pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch for our team. I intend to eat a Lean Cuisine. Second, I have a happy hour with a friend tonight at The Cheesecake Factory. If I can battle these two events, I feel like I'll be ready to face the weekend!

Wish me luck!

Happy Thursday,