Monday, June 30, 2008

A Taste of Dallas

Jason and I went into Downtown Dallas this weekend to go to the Farmer's Market. Now, just to infuse this post with a little bit of my soapbox standings, I feel that I need to explain a bit about me before I proceed. I mean, it's my American duty/honor/right/freedom...oh who am I kidding? I like to shop at Farmer's Markets and local shops because, well, the food/goods are local. And when you support the businesses that are around you, then you are supporting your country's economy.

I will actually pay a little more to shop at the local liquor store instead of the huge Alcoholic Outlet. I will travel 20 miles to go pick up fresh local (within 100 miles) produce at the Farmer's Market that's usually just picked the day before. I recycle (somewhat obsessively...when I see Jason throw something away, I always am quick to remind him that it can go in recycle), have a tiny garden to grow my own herbs/peppers/tomatoes, and I smell like patchouli. Just kidding on that last bit. Although I am starting to smell like a hippy. I need to take a shower ASAP.

Whew! I needed to get that off my chest and I have now stepped off the soap box. Here are some fun architectural pictures I took. Some of these are buildings that Jason is working on so that's fun too!

This building represents the 80's Dallas boom so, well, '80's-like but it's so "today" at the same time.

This one really isn't that exciting to me but it's another 70's-80's building that used to be an office building and within the last year it re-opened as trendy Dallas lofts/apartments called Mosaic. I wish I had gotten a picture of their sign because it's just my style...very mod, urban and fun. The glass in this picture was project managed by Jason and they are huge floor to ceiling windows (curtain wall, Jason would be so proud of me!) in, I think the kitchen/living rooms of these lofts, pretty cool!

Now this next picture looks really cool and I'm REALLY mad at myself that we didn't go inside this structure. It's the spiral tower at Thanks-Giving Square if we had actually walked inside it (Jason walked in and said it smelled like his grandfather's house...OLD) and looked up, we would have seen a spiral of horizontally placed stained glass. From the website, it says it's one of the largest horizontally-placed stained-glass pieces in the world....AHHH!!!Oh and if you know your Dallas episodes, Thanksgiving Square is where a scene between Bobby Ewing and Kristen's live-in boyfriend were working out Kristen's baby situation.

This is the Old Red Courthouse which is now called the Old Red Museum. This sits right across the street from where JFK was assassinated. It's about 120-130 years old and it recently was re-opened to the public as a museum.

Here's a fun pic that I took utilizing a slow shutter speed to show the motion of the Dart bus. Just a sidenote...Dallas needs to get their act together or they are going to find that all these apartments/lofts for downtown living will be a bust if they don't work on getting some activities/locations that you can walk to. Think Chicago. A city that is near and dear to my heart from all the wonderful memories that I have from when Jason and I were dating long-distance. This would be our meeting place a lot of the time. It had everything you can think of AND the kicker was you could walk, ride your bike, or take the El...all in a downtown setting.

And last but not least is one of Jason's current jobs. It's on McKinney Ave. and it's the hip place to dwell and hang out if you are young, successful and (probably) single.

It was a fun and REALLY hot day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hot Potatoes!

I joined a blog cooking club (see the link on the right hand side!) and this is going to be my first official "recipe" I submit, although I don't really consider it a recipe!

I didn't take photos throughout the process of making these since they are so embarrassingly easy to make. But I did grab it off the grill to snap a few pics!

Skillet Potatoes:

1) Pre-heat your grill to medium-high heat. Cut up 2 pounds of baby red potatoes (I wouldn't use baking potatoes since they have a higher starch content and can turn to mush those for your twice-baked potatoes!), if they are about an inch to an inch and a half, I cut them in half. If they are larger than that, just cut them into quarters.

2) Place the potatoes into a well-seasoned cast iron skillet (my favorite pan for the grill!) along with large chopped onion (I think a yellow onion is nice and sweet and caramelizes perfectly in the pan) and a few cloves of garlic (you can simply smash the garlic and toss in whole in the pan, thin slice to make "chips" or you can mince...this really depends how strong of garlic flavor you want throughout).

3) Drizzle with olive oil until the potatoes are well-coated. Season generously with salt (I only use kosher salt or sea salt) and pepper and toss the potato mixture. Put a few tablespoons of unsalted butter (please, for the love of pete, use the real stuff and not the kind that comes in a fact, repeat after me, I will never use that stuff on my food ever again...thank you) on top and then put the skillet on the grill.

4) There really isn't a set time for how long you should keep the potatoes on the grill. The ones pictured took about 35-45 minutes since I like mine crispy on the outside. You may want yours just cooked through and not crisp. That's fine by me, they're your potatoes!

5) One important reminder...THE HANDLE IS HOT!!! I have those cool silicon handle holders (I got mine at Crate & Barrel last summer since I cook so much on the grill) that you slip over the handle and they are not hot when you place your bare hand around the protected handle. Take the potatoes off the grill when they are done to perfection.

6) I took some fresh parsley out of my garden and chopped it up, threw it in and called it a day. I also like to add a full sprig or two of rosemary toward the end of cooking the potatoes on the grill. You could also add some chopped green onion for extra fresh onion flavor and a bit of green.

Let me know if you make this, I would love to hear how they turned out!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Monkeying Around

Today was lovely. And it was spontaneous, something we lack in our lives a lot. Lawyer saw a playground on the way home from the library and asked if we could go to it and instead of saying "Maybe later" or "How about tomorrow?", I pulled my car off to the side of the road, grabbed my camera and we played in the 100 degree hot Texas sun. And it was fun!

These were my favorite images from the day. Hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed getting to see them when I put them onto my computer!And in the spirit of trying to be edgy, gritty and cool in the abstract photography arena (I have no clue what I'm talking about), here is a picture of the stairs at the playground and I love it.Until next time...over and out.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ice Man

Funny title since my 3 year old actually loves Top Gun and you better believe that he knows who Ice Man is. My husband likes to think he's Maverick or Ice Man but don't let him fool you, he is Goose all the way, and that's the way I like him!

Anyhow, I had visited this mom's blog that has lots of great ideas to engage your small children. Well, she had posted about this ice excavating activity where she froze layers of water filled with finds. I knew Lawyer, being as OCD as he is and with being a very hands-on child, would love this so I actually bought a bag of "value" beads and just threw them in a container of water and froze each layer, adding more beads and water and freezing.

Well, this was a huge hit and it ate up at least 1 hour and 15 minutes. I gave Lawyer several choices of "tools" and he got to pick and choose and decide which was going to work best for him. I do have to say though that my collection of toothpicks, a toy screwdriver, and a wooden hammer didn't exactly blow his socks off. He announced that he would be right back and for me to not move. Lawyer came back out with his real child's-sized hammer and that would work better. Duh, mom.The hammer ended up being his favorite tool (big surprise there!).Of course, to really get the job done, he needed to get down and dirty on the ground.And here's what we ended up with...Oh and these are some great pics of Lawyer, his favorite part was eating the small bits of ice that broke off the big ice block.Who knew that ice chips were such an indulgence to be had and enjoy?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Painting for Granny...

One would think that a title like that would make you want to be so proud as a parent that your child is being so thoughtful to think of someone else, especially their granny, when deciding to paint. I certainly did. Shoot yeah, that sounds like a great idea! It will eat up at least an hour of our day too!Nice technique, my child.He's so thoughtful when deciding where his next stroke should go.Hey Lawyer, why don't you smile for the camera for mommy?Never mind.

Here we're getting fancy with the artsy/photo techniques. If you know more than me about photography (which I assume is most people) then look away now.He definitely follows after his dad in the OCD department (see post below on Dad). Look at him lining up his brushes AND they are color coded for the paint that he will use for each one.See? What'd I tell ya? Blue brush must go with blue exceptions.Beautiful technique.Lawyer, say cheese!Fun side note about the container used for Lawyer's was the egg container that came with my fridge. Pretty smart of me, don't you think?Don't you just love grubby little 3 year old boy hands? I especially like the dirty, chewed up nails.Look at the seriousness in this kid's face. He means business when he paints a picture for Granny!Check out ol' OCD child's right hand straightening out the brush...he is OCD dad's kid all the way.Coming back to where I started with the joy that exudes out of me when my child wants to share such beautiful art with others. When asked what he called this painting, he looked at me with mischief in his eyes and said...The Gun! Nice, I've raised my boy right...guns and paint. Redneck and refined.

Lawyer...Say Cheeseburger...Gloom and Doom, people, gloom and doom. The End.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Still Swimming...

that's all we've been up to the last few days!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pool Fun

Ah, summer. My favorite time of the year. There's something that awakens in me every time I feel the warmth on my skin. I feel alive and healthy when I step out into the hot Texas sun. Not very many people I know share this same sentiment but luckily I have a son and husband that can't wait to be outside each and every summer day.

We also are very blessed to have a pool right in our own backyard, complete with palm trees, an outside fridge stocked with our adult beverage of choice, and a ridiculously fabulous 10' square bright red umbrella. I love my backyard. I literally wake up every single morning and thank God for my family, what I have, and where I live. Especially when I open my curtains and blinds to let the outside in.

Lawyer is my summer baby. He loves being outside, he loves the water and, when we go to the beach, he loves the sand and ocean. He's also fearless when it comes to swimming. He's 3 and thinks nothing of jumping off the diving board without the use of kiddie floats. He's a super great swimmer. Praise the Lord because I don't know what I would do if I had a child that was scared of the water.

Granny just got him some new goggles for the pool and he thinks they're grand. He's almost Willy Wonka-like when he has them on (Johnny Depp Willy Wonka, not Gene Wilder Willy Wonka which is still my favorite). Check out the fun that goes down on a summer day in our slice of paradise.
We hope your summer is as grand as ours has already gotten to be. Lots of memories have already been made around here and it's only the beginning of summer!!