The good champagne

Our Father’s Day celebration was nice. Last Mother’s Day, I announced that instead of going out to eat, I’d like to have everyone over and cook for Father’s Day. At that time, I had no idea what I wanted to cook but knew that we’d be able to really take our time and enjoy ourselves. Also, my mom had a nice bottle of champagne we all wanted to get into so I figured it would be the best time since we’d all be together, but without the restrictions of restaurants and TABC rules about bringing in champagne (or any alcohol) from home. I decided I wanted to grill so I marinated some chicken (don’t ask me for the recipe – I honestly threw stuff together. Thank goodness it was tasty.) and had that with sausage and lots of veggies.

I have always loved champagne. I think my sister and I get that from my mother. After we had the bottle of Chartogne-Taillet, we (of course) were still wanting some more champagne. I have several different bottles of champagne chilled here but most are less expensive brands and they’re just okay in taste. Without a thought, I pulled out a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to share with my family and friends. It’s not the most expensive champagne available but it’s good stuff. In fact, we all enjoyed the Veuve better than the Chartogne.

Granted, Father’s Day is a very special occasion. It calls for the good stuff. But honestly, unless I’m mixing the champagne with something (like Central Market brand blood orange Italian soda), I’m always going to reach for the good stuff when I’m sharing with friends or family. Why when I have more bottles to go around of the less expensive stuff? Because when you’re drinking champagne, it should always feel like a celebration. A celebration always deserves the good champagne.

Pasta Salad

I don’t actually measure anything when I make this pasta salad. I pretty much cook the pasta and cut the veggies so they’re proportionate to the amount of pasta. Here are the ingredients:

Curly, colored pasta Garden Rotini
Yellow Squash
Kosher Dill Pickles
Zesty Italian Dressing

After I cook and drain the pasta, I dump the pasta in an ice bath to stop it from cooking any further. This also lets me combine all the ingredients as soon as I’m done with the pasta. As the pasta is cooking, I cut all the veggies and the ham & turkey in bite sized pieces. Once the pasta is chilled and everything is cut to size, I alternate layers of veggies to pasta in a bowl to help when I need to mix it. When it’s all layered, I pour the Italian dressing over and carefully mix it all together. Let sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before chilling. Serve cool.

I’ll post a picture later since I made it today. 😀

Here are the pictures:


This weekend was so wonderful!

On Saturday, we had our TMEA Region meeting but it only lasted 2 hours (I thought it was going to be a marathon all day thing) and everything went really smoothly. No arguments for the most part. Always a bonus and not always the expected.

The saxophone section had their First Annual Kite Day that afternoon. Not only did they play with kites, they had bar-b-qued burgers, volleyball, water fights (I managed to keep dry), cards, dominoes, etc. I went and hung out for a few hours and had so much fun! Most of the parents were there so it was a nice time to catch up on stuff that wasn’t just band related.

I really didn’t want to leave when I did but had to because Trish was playing with the Austin Civic Orchestra that evening and I was going to the concert in So. ATX. Amongst a few other very beautiful pieces I wasn’t previously familiar with, they were playing The Planets in their entirety! Considering this is an orchestra made up of many people that aren’t professional performing musicians, the concert was really quite well performed.

After that, I met up with my best friend Cathy and also with Daniel Montoya, Jr. at Opal Devine’s Penn Field and we had a fun time there, too!

Saturday seems like it was a busy day but really, it was all very laid back and comfortable. Just what I had needed.

Sunday was my birthday. I know you’re asking, “Why didn’t you remind us before this?” but honestly, I’ve been so stressed and tired that I didn’t want to deal with planning or doing much of anything this year. I really wasn’t feeling the whole birthday celebration need thing. I think I’ve mentioned it like twice this month on my blogs and that’s been it. *sigh* But it’s okay…

When I woke up, I layed in bed, watching some TV and hanging with the cats. I was going to go out and get myself some breakfast somewhere but then Cathy called, wanting to go have brunch so we did. We actually ended up having lunch at TGI Friday’s. Have you had their Pecan Crusted Chicken (Cathy’s dish) or their Cedar-Seared Salmon (mine)? Holy Cow, they’re both quite yummy!!

After lunch, we headed to Target ’cause I was hoping to get another lounge chair (hopefully similar to the one I already have) for my backyard because we were planning on hanging out in the backyard for a while…no luck. Everything they had there was either not a lounge chair, for a small child or just plain boring. *sigh* Regardless, I got my first summer reading series book and some 5 lb. hand weights. Still a successful trip. 🙂

Daniel then met us at my house to give me my birthday present – Home Depot Dollars!!! Thanks, Daniel!! 😀

Cathy left shortly after and my family came over. We went to the Sedatole’s house because they were grilling steaks and invited us over (I guess I could say for my birthday). They bought me a yummy cake and we had a really nice time.

As you can see, the whole weekend was really laid back and relaxed. Thanks to everyone and their Birthday Messages in all forms! They meant the world to me. I hope you have a fantastic week!!

The “NEW” Energy Drinks

I stopped at 7-11 one morning to get myself my morning cup of coffee. As I was fixing my cup, I noticed these new bright yellow shot-sized cups by the creme tray. Turns out that they’re selling Energy Coffee. Isn’t caffene enough? They say that it’s powered by ginseng, guarana and yerba mate and the man who was pouring himself a 20 oz cup of the stuff said, “Whatever they put in this stuff sure does work. I’ve never felt so awake after a cup of coffee!” Hmmm…I can’t think to try it. One 8 oz cup of regular coffee in the morning usually does the trick. Especially with how much water I drink during the day. Speaking of caffene, doesn’t that and the other chemicals in coffee almost make the nutrients cancel out? Your everyday, run of the mill coffee is pretty nasty stuff for your body.

Has anybody tried the Diet Coke Plus yet? Again, another normally unhealthy, chemical filled drink “infused” with vitamins (this time, B3, B6, and B12, and the minerals zinc and magnesium) to make it seem healthier. I think Pepsi is going that same route as well.

I can understand vitamin infused water but soda or coffee? I really do think that the chemicals that they use to create sodas and coffee will negate the whole vitamin concept. I’ll stick to plain water and my vitamin suppliments, thank you!

Super Bowl of Queso

With today being Super Bowl Sunday, I thought it would be reason enough to share my recipe for The Super Bowl of Queso with you. I got it about 17 years ago from my friend Paul Zuniga and his sister. I will be making it today for my Super Friends at a Super Bowl Party.

Super Bowl of Queso
1 pound ground beef (I use 90-95% lean)
1 pound Jimmy Dean’s Hot breakfast sausage
2 pounds of Velveeta
1 can Rotel
1 can Campbell’s Golden Mushroom Soup

Cube the Velveeta and melt in a crock pot or regular pot. While that’s melting, brown the sausage and ground beef together. Drain excess fat and mix with melting cheese. Add in Rotel (not strained) and soup and mix. When all the cheese is melted and all the ingredients are blended together, it’s ready to eat. Enjoy!

Ice & chicken…but not icey chicken.

Once the snow stopped, there was sleet. It’s not nearly as fun as snow is…in fact, it kinda hurts if you stand out in it too long. Luckily, I’ve heard that somewhere so I didn’t stay out in it much at all. Not enough for it to hurt, anyways. We didn’t loose any power so I was able to roast a chicken. I do have ice on the tree limbs which is making them hang down and hopefully, they’ll recover. I took some more picture this morning with all the icicles and such. Ice and water are very fascinating, what it can do. Its power, its beauty. Again, you can see all the pictures in my gallery. Take a look:

Okay, so this chicken I roasted was WAY yummy. First, I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees. Then, here is the pictoral of the steps:

Wash the chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place chicken in the roasting dish, cut up veggies and place in and around the chicken. The veggies I used were garlic, onion, carrots, and celery.

Actually, before I stuffed the veggies in the chicken, I made sure to season the cavity with fresh basil, sage, garlic, and chives. After the veggies went in, I seasoned the outside with sea salt, 2 dried bay leaves (those actually went inside as well), dried basil, dried rosemary, and dried thyme.

I also added some wine to the roasting dish.

I put the chicken in the 400 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Actually, at 45 minutes, I basted the chicken with its juices. It already looked yummy at that point!

45 minutes after that, it was ready. How did I know? The joints moved freely and the juices ran clear. Also, the little ready indicator had popped up. 😀

It was so good and there are plenty of left overs for lunches to come. It was really easy, too. Next time, I may add some of the orange salt Saucy Joe gave me and lemon slices to make it a citrus chicken. Ooh, or I could use bar-b-que seasonings and make it a bar-b-que chicken… The possibilities on this are endless!!

Yummy Mushroom Soup

The other day, I was at the HEB Plus and they had a sample of some cream of mushroom soup available. It was chock full of fresh mushrooms and other good flavors. It was a packaged soup mix thing and being that I was actually there running errands for school, I really didn’t have time to take a look at the packaging or even ask if it was available in any other HEB. Tonight, I was really thinking about how yummy that soup was and I really wanted some but I couldn’t find anything that resembled what could have been that mix at my local HEB so I decided I wanted to recreate it.

I got a package of cleaned and sliced fresh mushrooms, melted a pat of butter in the bottom of a pot, minced two cloves of garlic and added that as well as the sliced mushrooms to the butter. Once that was sauted down, I added a family sized can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup in. I also added a 1/2 can of milk & 1/2 can of water and stirred it until it was all heated. And that’s it.

It’s a really good addition to plain cream of mushroom soup. Next time, I might mince a 1/2 an onion and sauted that in with the garlic. Maybe some chicken….