Sunday, January 31, 2010

New New News!

There are big changes ahead in hollie-blog town.

Hang in there - I'm in a bit of a blog rut (more like boring life rut) but times they are a-changin!

Including a new look for the blog!

The yellow & turquoise is played out.

And another half marathon in the future!

Because one wasnt torture enough.

More new recipes...

I think I'll try homemade ravioli next.

And book reviews

... still making my way through the Stephanie Plum books.

New and fancy pictures of the house are on deck

And more Mauve mischeviousness.

So hang in there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The other part of me

You can pretty much bet that when I take a few days' break from blogging, it's because I'm working. Now that I have a 44 mile commute to work and back each day, I have little time left in the day when I get home. I talk so little about my job in Labor and Delivery these days, it's a far cry from the days where I had a blog solely to talk about my funny patient stories.

Well this past week, I witnessed something amazing.

It's no surprise that I've been less than thrilled with my current workplace. I left behind a strong network of friends and support in Fort Worth and came into a strange new environment. At my old workplace, we did double the deliveries per month in a brand new facility. It's amazing how two places can do the exact same thing but be so completely different. I dont really know where I'm going with this other than to say that I didn't expect to see anything so interesting outside of a large specialty facility.

Intrauterine surgery. As in, a pair of docs performed a procedure on a baby while in utero. Crazy right?! My patient, (we'll call her "K"- no names folks!) is pregnant with a baby who has an obstructed bladder. Babies, while in the womb drink and breathe in amniotic fluid. The fluid, just like water you and I drink, is processed by the body and excreted back into the amniotic fluid, which is then taken in again and out like a cycle. Well this poor kiddo cannot get rid of what it takes in. By ultrasound, the bladder looks like an overfilled balloon and the abdomen is also full of fluid. Bad deal. The abdomen is so full of fluid, it presses upwards on the diaphragm and leaves very little room for the growth of baby's lungs. This = bad outcome unless an intervention is made.

So earlier this week, I wheel "K" into the operating room and by ultrasound, the docs are able to-
-Drain the fluid off the baby's abdomen
-Empty the bladder
-Place a shunt in the bladder therefore bypassing the obstruction and allowing the bladder to empty.

Amazing. Fascinating. Dangerous. Miraculous.

By the next morning, "K" and her baby were stable enough to move out of Labor & Delivery to a regular room, where she will most likely stay until baby is delivered. Wow!

PS: My latest adventure in cooking was chicken cordon bleu. It was probably my favorite thing so far! Chicken + prosciutto + swiss = YUM. I shouldve taken a picture of the pretty pinwheel shape it made. If you had several hours in the kitchen and all the ingredients (& skills) needed, what would you cook?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


In light of a comment on my last blog, I had the idea of a little dialogue session. Jordan says I'm about as predictable as it gets when it comes to eating out. We'll see how easily he comes up with my usual choices...

Me: I'm going to name a restaurant and you tell me what I always get, ok? Can you play along with me?

J: Sure.

Me: Ok, Carrabbas?

J: Chicken Bryan.

Me: PF Chang's?

J: Kung Pao Shrimp.

Me: Any mexican restaurant?

J: Tacos.

Me: But what about Abuelo's?

J: Durango Burrito.

Me: Macaroni Grill?

J: Vodka rustica

Me: That's not on the menu anymore.

J: Oh well then Penne Rustica.

Me: Olive Garden?

J: Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara

Me: Carino's?

J: Grilled Chicken Bowtie Festival

Me: Outback?

J: Outback special with a sweet potato

Me: Bonefish?

J: Bang Bang Shrimp. You have Fried shrimp at every seafood restaurant we go to.

Me: Zaxby's?

J: Kickin Chicken Sandwich

Me: California Dreaming?

J: Soup & Salad

I'd say he pretty much got them all spot-on. Is it so bad? I like what I like and I'm afraid if I choose something new & fancy, it will be a disappointment!

What is your restaurant routine? Are you a tried-and-true, stick with the favorites like me? Or do you choose something new with each visit?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Taste of Home (AiC IV)

For those of you non-Augustans, there is this restaurant on Washington Road that I must hit everytime we come home. It's a must-do. A given. And usually, when we go, I always get the same thing. Jordan says I'm too predictable when it comes to eating out, but he always gets the same thing too. I get the Soup & Salad and he gets Barbeque Chicken.

Oh California Dreaming, how I love your Baked Potato Soup.

 I had thought a few days ago that I wanted to make BPS my next culinary conquer and Jordan suggested a recipe from Good Eats, which was the plan until I ran across the ultimate BPS recipe. Sorry Alton, I'm sure your soup is good, but California Dreaming is boss.

Bacon! Everything is better with bacon. This recipe just so happens to begin with: "Fry Bacon strips." Good call.

This dish has a serious load of rich ingredients: Bacon, sour cream, heavy cream, cheese... it's not for the faint of heart or anyone trying to watch their weight. Unless they're watching it increase.

Of course, to finish of a California Dreaming-inspired meal, there must be a croissant! With honey butter! Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm. A sweet reminder of being in Augusta.

California Dreamin' Baked Potato Soup
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 potatoes, cubed
1 tsp fresh sweet basil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sour cream

Toppings to taste:
chopped parsley
crumbled bacon
chopped chives
shredded cheddar cheese

Fry bacon in a stockpot and remove from pan to drain and cool. Saute onions and celery in the same stockpot. Add flour and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes, just to take the rawness out of the flour. Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer until tender, about an hour or so- give a taste or try to squish a cube between your fingers. Add heavy cream and sour cream, basil and pepper. Simmer until hot again. Add parsley, bacon, chives and shredded cheese to taste. Enjoy!

After dinner, Jordan and I made a quick trip up to Portland to see a movie. For those of you who arent Rockport-ians, there are two theaters in the area that serve free popcorn on Tuesday nights. The only thing about going to popcorn Tuesdays, is trying to elbow through the snowbirds to get a good seat. We saw Leap Year, which was cute (not great but cute) and the laughs really came from hearing the comments from the gray-haired peanut gallery. Seriously, the jokers talked through the entire movie!

So lets review: Smoothie for breakfast, Chili's for lunch, cake for midafternoon snack (see also: coffee break), Soup for dinner and popcorn at the movies.

And I wonder why my pants keep getting tighter and tighter and tighter...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

AiC III (Or Breakfast-For-Dinner dinner)

My newest culinary conquering? Biscuits.

I LOVE breakfast. L.O.V.E. it! Nothing makes me happier than having breakfast for dinner! (well, maybe not nothing...) So I decided to take on something that intimidated me. Intimidation = biscuits!

You'll notice 2 things in the photo below; 1. my trusty can of Bush's baked beans and 2. no PW cookbook! I've heard what some folks are saying about my PW obsession (which, since we are discussing PW, everyone should check out her tasty kitchen blog. Theres a kitchenaid giveaway going on today and for every entry, PW is donating 10 cents to Haiti earthquake relief!!!). I'm open to other cookbooks, and as proof, I used a Southern Living cookbook for my biscuit recipe. I mean, who knows better when it comes to biscuits - a Rancher's Wife from Oklahoma or good ol Southern Living?

Thank you Barefoot Contessa for making square biscuits ok and "rustic." I dont have any fancy biscuit cutters and I think my rustic biscuits were just fine square. Only drawback is the thinner edges cooked faster making crispy sides and fluffy centers. Not so bad, right?

So shortly after beginning assembly, I had a slight accident.

I cut my finger. Gory pictures are to follow, so scroll quickly past if you're bloody-squeamish. I never thought I was bloody-squeamish until I saw my own blood pouring out of my finger and suddenly was overcome with hot & queasy feelings.

What's worse? I cut my finger with a simple steak knife while cubing butter. Dork.

I did not (repeat, DID NOT) knead my biscuits with a bloody finger. Promise.

Here comes aforementioned gory picture...

Yowzers! Hold pressure kids!

After my little injury (and subsequent queasiness), hubby was nice enough to take over making our breakfast dinner and I went and sat with my head between my knees.

Yay! Golden deliciousness! Sweet success!

The little leftovers (to the left side of the pan) were a little crispy to be called biscuits, but the middle ones were perfect! Brush on a little melted butter and you have fluffy/salty/hot perfection.

Now to decide on a sweet topping...

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Sexual Relations"

San Antonio Super Getaway Weekend Extravaganza = Success!

The hubs doesn't like ol PuffChang's, so I've got to load up while he's not around.

Our Room @ Hotel Valencia

If the river has no water in it, is it still a River? No, it's just a concrete ditch.

It was wicked cold

Band @ Dolores De Rio

Seriously! Cold!

Neato room in Mi Tierra

Again @ Mi Tierra!

Bakery Case @ Mi Tierra! Crazy good treats!

Weekend Recap:

8a: Packing the car and enjoying a couple of cinnamon rolls before hitting the road.
830a: Sinnies consumed.
~1130a: Arrive in San Marcos.
230p: Leave San Marcos with no cash left.
3p: Midafternoon Snack @ PF Chang's.
~5p: Check in @ Hotel Valencia, Room 519
730-930p: Dinner, live music, & awkward belly dancer entertainment @ Dolores Del Rio.
10p: Feeling drowsy

1200a-2a: Awoken by music blaring d/t wedding @ Hotel Valencia.
324a: Awoken by a very vocal conjugal visit in room 518.
4a: Sleep.
~10a: Arguing with front desk about loud wedding & "sexual relations"
11a: Greatest chorizo taco EVER @ Mi Tierra
12p: Continued shop-fest.
130p: Lunch @ PF Chang's.
3p: En Route to Rockport
~515p: Home Sweet Home.

Good Times.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Adventures in Cooking Vol. 2

Due to low patient census, I was lucky enough to make a break from the livelihood and head home (but not before buying myself a new pair of tennies! Woo!). After making my shop stop, I headed to the grocery store because I was determined to make the Betsy. I promise one day soon I'll break out of the PW rut and jump into one of my other new cookbooks. Jordan has already cracked into the Good Eats book and made Spinach & Artichoke dip for the Taylors. Fancy boy.

Back to Betsy.

Isnt it pretty???
Heavy cream is everyone's best friend. It sticks with you closer than a brother. Nevermind that it sticks right around your hips, midsection, lovehandles or those little jiggly bits right south of armpits. Speaking of armpits (and my aversion to raw onion- Betsy has sauteed onion, which turned out splendidly in comparison to the chicken spaghetti), am I the only one who thinks raw onion smells like ripe body odor? Raw onions smell like body odor; body odor makes me gag; therefore, raw onions make me gag. Am I crazy?

Dont answer that.

Jordan requested a shot of the manual labor I put him through.

Feast your eyes on this...

Mauve helped out too. She's very good at cleaning the floor! She just walks around behind me and licks up whatever I may have dropped on the floor. Am I ever going to have a blog without mentioning Mauvey?

Ta da!

This was pretty delish! It makes a TON of food - I probably threw away more than we ate! Next time I'll only make half the recipe and use maybe grilled chicken & pancetta in place of shrimp. Oh I'm so excited to try something else new! Any suggestions?

Have I ever mentioned I LOVE The Soup? (chicken tetrazzini!!)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Adventures in Cooking

I had the notion that I would cook something new-to-me both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. The goal was Penne a la Betsy on Tuesday and Chicken Spaghetti tonight. I still had seafood Tuesday, but it wasn't shrimp in a tomato cream sauce. I stuck with the spaghetti tonight, because I could make it ahead of time and cook it after church, and because I didnt need to get a cart full of groceries to make it.

So here goes...

The before...

Putting my new cookbook to good use!

The during...
The after...
So what's the verdict?

Let me jump in with a little anecdote: The first thing I EVER saw on Pioneer woman was her recipe for Chicken Spaghetti. I dont know if any of you Baylor girls still read this, but it's all Amanda Rhodes' fault!!! She did this to me!!! She raved about how delish this dish was and how fabulous the entire PW website was. I went home, looked up the recipe and took an extra minute to check out what else was so appealing. Fast forward a year or so... and now my husband thinks I'm a PW stalker freak.

Back to the CS... I think I'll make it a little differently next time (which, I already exchanged out the Cream of Mushroom soup for Cream of Chicken, given that I do not like fungus.) I'm also not an onion fan, with the exception of them being cooked in something. Raw onion = gag. I mistakenly thought that the 40 minute cook time would soften them and cut some of that offensive raw onion flavor out. BUT they were still crunchy and pungent and I picked around and pulled out big chunks here & there (see the ring around my plate!). Jordan really liked it, crunchy onions & all. I got the Jordy OK to make this again in the future and I think next time I'll decrease the volume of diced onion and saute them prior to assembling the casserole. So there you have it.

PS: I havent mentioned this yet, but I'm taking a fabulous weekend getaway to San Antonio this Saturday & Sunday! I'm SOOOOOO looking forward to it- just me & Bethany & lots of shopping, laughter, and good times. Pictures to come!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Taylor Time

Since I got a few fancy new cookbooks and a pretty white Artisan stand mixer for Christmas, I was itching to get cooking. I gave Jordan a hard time about getting me an appliance for Christmas this year, even though I've wanted a stand mixer since before we were married. Jordy got the "ok" to get a grill (which basically means I had no idea what kind of grill he really really wanted, so I gave him permission to pick out whatever his heart desires, which he still hasnt done.).

Knowing we were expecting Nate & Allison (and Garrett!) for New Years weekend, I figured it was only appropriate to make PW Cinnamon rolls... or should I say SINnamon rolls?!

By the time I was finished, I had sprinkled flour over every square inch of our kitchen.

Even Mauve. (notice the sprinkles on her nose) (Also notice Mauve's Christmas present- her shock collar! I was a little afraid to use this at first, but it works like a charm!!!)

Being that I am still a very amateur cook, I overlooked the need to procure a rolling pin prior to starting my cinnamon roll assembly. I was on a roll (no pun intended!) and didnt feel like going to Walmart on New Years Eve, so I improvised with a family sized can of Bush's Baked Beans to do my rolling with.

I even got flour in the oven! The recipe says it makes 40-50 cinnamon rolls, and that's no exaggeration. I ended up filling 7 pans!

Ahhhh, sweet cinnamon love.

And just so you know, the rolls freeze beautifully. Dont let the abundant yield that the recipe affords intimidate you. I was nervous at the idea of freezing a bread product for fear that it would get tough in the reheating process. So, I did exactly what was recommended in the book: bake, ice and cool the rolls before freezing them instead of freezing the uncooked dough. They reheated perrrrrrfectly. So now, whenever I choose, I can pull a pan out of the freezer and pop it in the oven for a few minutes and have a gooey flavorful breakfast (or midday snack... or post-dinner dessert...)

We had such a great time with our friends. They were sweet enough to put up with our homebody-ness, our cooking, our dog (who now that she doesnt jump on people anymore thanks to the collar, has resorted to sniffing crotches. )

Jumping : irritating / Sniffing crotches : awkward.

Anyway, they withstood our sniffy, licky dog, our current obsession with Super Mario Wii, and our tiny full-sized guest bed.

Here we are having the key lime pie that almost wasnt! After having seafood & key lime pie at Water Street in Corpus, I told them about this great place in Port A that serves plate-sized key lime pie. We decided that after lunch on Sunday, we'd make the drive (and ferry ride) to Pelican's Landing. So we get there, sit down, order drinks, order key lime pies all around and hear "Oh, the key lime pies arent ready yet... it'll be at least 2 hours until they're cooked." We were all brokenhearted! No other dessert was appetizing. We were ready to pack up and head home, when the waitress ran back and apologized for being incorrect- there were pies! Oh and they were delicious, and I think desperation had little to do with it.

I tell you who else had a great weekend with our friends-- Mauve. She just loved all over the Taylors and hardly gave them a break! She got lots of play time in and tons of good scratches and head rubs. I didnt get a picture of her looking out the window for them when they left but...

I did get a picture of her moping by the door.

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