Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I have been doing a bit of grilled sandwich research (surfing) this morning. Lo and behold I came across this quote about the Monte Cristo sandwich (YUM!) On Wikipedia
"The first well documented appearance of the Monte Cristo sandwich is on menus at the Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace restaurants at Disneyland's New Orleans Square in 1966."The Blue Bayou is where I have enjoyed most of the Monte Cristo sandwiches I have consumed and I have to say that they are WONDERFUL!
Pesto Mozzarella Grilled Cheese
I got this idea from Tyler Florence on the Ultimate Rainy Day Episode of Tyler's Ultimate. But he made pesto from scratch - I'm sure homemade pesto would be even better, but this is the quick and easy weeknight version & I have trouble finding fresh basil in large quantities, so I'm using prepared pesto.
Loaf of Sourdough Bread
Tub of Prepared Pesto Sauce (find it in the refrigerated pasta section)
Mozzarella Fresca (Fresh Mozzarella it's with the specialty cheeses and usually packed in liquid - it's much softer than standard Mozzarella which has been aged.)
1) Slice Mozzarella and Bread if not pre-sliced.
2) Spread pesto sauce on insides of bread, top one side with mozzarella slices and assemble. Brush one side of bread with olive oil (it actually tasted butterier than using butter!)
3) Place sandwich oiled side down on heated iron or griddle. Brush remaining side with oil.
4) Now in order to press the sandwich you will need something with some weight. Here is what I did. Top sandwich with a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, place the flat bottom of a cookie sheet on top of that (large flat surface that will press down on all the sandwiches) and top that with something heavy (I used my cast iron skillet or you could use some heavy cans.) Grill until browned and flip. When both sides are toasted remove to cutting board and cut sandwich in half.
Tips: On the TV show, Tyler used a nice artisan Sourdough and cut it into thick slices and grilled it on a Panini press. I found that when I tried to use my grill pan and weight with thick sliced bread, I did get those pretty panini grill marks, but only the ridge part of the sandwich browned, and the bread was too thick for the cheese to get warm enough to melt.
I did much better with both browning and melting using sourdough pre-sliced by the bakery (thinner uniform slices) and toasting the sandwiches on a flat griddle - still pressing the layers under under foil, cookie sheet, and cast iron skillet. You could easily make this a Tricolore Sandwich by adding slices of tomato. (The word Tricolore refers to the Italian flag: red, white and green - In Italian Cuisine dishes with these three colors are also described as Tricolore.)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Along my trek thru traffic-y areas (mainly from a few major intersections with signals still out) I DID notice the beautiful cloud formations. As I sat in the drive-thru at the pharmacy I marveled at them. Texas clouds form so fast you can WATCH them forming - it's like time-lapse photography only it's not time-lapse - it's real time real life. With big giant clouds like this I think we may be in for a thunderstorm... but then the clouds move so fast (we must have a lot of wind at higher altitudes) they might blow off somewhere else before they drop rain or thunder.
When Ethan was 2 we lived in a neighborhood where the houses were very close together. You really had to search the sky to find a spot where you could see the moon in between the rooftops, but Ethan's upstairs bedroom had windows that faced 2 ways and usually we could see the moon from there. Before going to bed every night we had to look out the window and find the moon, he would not settle down for the night until he had said goodnight to the moon.
When I moved to Texas away from my parents and friends, I missed them so much. Less than a month after our move when the September 11th attacks grounded all planes, the distance between me and my family came to feel insurmountable. The sky is so big in Texas, you can see forever and I never have any trouble finding the moon in the big, wide sky. One night gazing up at the moon, I remembered that silly saying from the Tammy movie. It changed from campy, funny, to a thought of comfort. I could look up at the Moon in Texas and my family just might at that same moment be looking up at that same moon. After that for several years after we moved I went outside every night to "greet" the moon. Somehow it helped me feel at home until I felt at home in my new home.
So it has been a number of years since I developed my affinity for the Moon, since it became a kind of touchstone for family and for peace. So now I've tried to explain, and understand for myself, just why.
This picture of the moon was taken September 14 on the second night after Hurricane Ike.
Click photo for larger view
CLICK HERE for Take Flight Owl Card with Moon
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
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Click Here to see the other set of pages from this same day.
All supplies by Close To My Heart
Paper Packet: Rustic Trail
Ink and Cardstock Colors: Bamboo, Cocoa, Olive Dutch Blue
Stamp Sets: It's A Boy, Beauty Seen
Layout Design is Balanced Blocks from the book Cherish by Close To My Heart
Must fly, self has hair appointment at 1. Marvelous self-indulgence at this point, getting hair cut.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Robert reports that the broken pole hanging over the road has been repaired and the traffic signal out at the main road was blinking red last night. Perhaps it will actually be functioning today!
I also got an email this morning saying that power is back up at the church.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I am trying not to go out on the roads as the traffic signals are still out and I live near a major, busy road and it is very dangerous with the signals out. People who have returned to work must brave these conditions and wait in long lines for fuel in order to get to work. My local supermarket has not re-opened. The schools are still closed... looking at the district website it says kids will be out thru the rest of the week, but it does not actually say that school will resume on Monday. It says,
"Other obstacles include the delivery of supplies and food products to the district, as well as nonfunctional traffic lights that would interfere with the safe and timely delivery of students traveling to and from school.There was just an update on our church website saying "Sunday morning service will be held at 10:30 am regardless of power." from this I gather that the church must be without power. Many families are still without power. A news report today at 12:30 said that a million "customers" (57%) are still without power. We have loaned out our generator to another family now that our own power has been restored. We are trying to move forward but things certainly are not yet back to normal. Please continue to pray for all the people affected by this storm.
The district will remain closed until schools and facilities are safe for students and staff members."
Family Photos, Crafts and Kitchen Creations
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Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Family Photos, Crafts and Kitchen Creations
Check out my blog, I'd love to hear your comments!
Monday, September 15, 2008
These are photos we took just on our way to and from lunch yesterday in a local strip mall. Just this short trip told us that our neighborhood was lucky. Or rather that we had some special protection, thanks everyone for your prayers!
Still no power. Weather is cooler today which is very welcome.
School is out until Thursday. We appreciate everyone's continued prayers.
Click Photos for Larger View
Sunday - Nearly Every traffic signal had at least one part hanging down into the street by a wire. Signals still are out.
Sunday - Trees broken and twisted are everywhere.
This Power Pole is snapped at the base, we are on opposite side of divided road. Driving out to lunch we had to go UNDER it only thing holding it up is that it is still attached to the power lines. We think this will delay our power getting back up even longer as they are not yet even restringing wires, much less setting new poles.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
12:03 - Sat out in driveway with neighbors for about 20 minutes watching the clouds and flashing colored lights in the sky. Never figured out what those were exactly. Came in when occasional rain turned to spray. Are trying to get some sleep for a few hours, now. Wind is whisting outside but no more than a regular storm at this point.
Neighbors behind us left out their trampoline, BBQ and all their lawn furniture. The dad was out there bouncing on the trammpoline while I was taking sunset pictures. It steams me that we cleared our yard and could end up with damage from their stuff. Oh well, what can you do?
11:12 - Began eating the See's Candy I got for my anniversary. When the air conditioning goes out, it will melt and I'm not wasting a perfectly good box of See's. Just about to go outside and sit in the driveway with the neighbors. Still not rain. Lights just flickered again, but power didn't actually go out.
Tornado shelter/closet under the stairs.
So spacious for the 3 of us! LOL!
We can really hear the wind getting pretty strong, now - 3 power outs but it has come right back up again.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Friday 10:06 PM
We just lost power for the first time, it came right back up but no telling how much longer we will have power. Right now it's getting windy out but it has not yet begun to rain. The eye is still supposed to come pretty close to us, may even go over us, but we are not going to be on the dirty side.
Friday 5:20 PM
News is now reporting that Ike has a 500 mile wide wind field. That is the area that will experience tropical storm force winds and above. Max projected wind speed for my zip code is 78 MPH.
Projected Wind Speeds By Zip Code
This site is unavailable as I'm trying to check it, I think there is too much traffic becuase it's featured on one of the local news stations right now.
I'll update here as long as I am able - once the power goes out I won't be able to do that anymore.
We're starting to see some clouds, and we're having gusty winds.
Friday 11:30 AM
A little good news (for us) the storm turned a bit in the night. At least now we will probably be on the clean side. We'll still have hurricane force winds and lots of rain. They are saying everyone in the region is going to get that because this storm is just so wide. I think they were saying hurricane force winds 100 miles out and Tropical Storm force winds another 200 miles out. Something that big is just unfathomable. We have battened down the hatches. They've told us to get all our prep done this morning because we're going to start seeing rain soon. Landfall is expected between 2-4 AM Saturday morning. I hear there are places in Galveston where the first floor is already under water. If you look at Galveston on a map, you'll understand why they don't want anyone on that island fort this storm!
I took pictures of the house all boarded up. (I've now posted these bellow.) Robert is cutting boards now to board up some windows for the neighbor and we're nearly done moving everything from the backyard into the garage. The house feels so gloomy and depressing with the windows boarded up... but I know once it starts to howling I'll be so glad for those boards.
We boarded up all the windows downstairs except for the back door - couldn't figure out what to nail into - the window in that door is Plexiglas. We also couldn't cover the big window above the front door - it's a big arching thing.
7:57 PM it's getting windy - it's getting dark so these will be the last pictures for tonight.
7:30 Looking North - still some blue sky showing thru.
7:30 Sunset looking West.
6:00 PM Looking North - no rain yet, here.
Yesterday (Thursday)- it was over 100 degrees while we were working.
We were able to use Plylox clips on all the windows with brick.
How do you get all your patio furniture PLUS a Van into the garage?
You load everything you can INTO the van including the Charcoal Grill.
You can see the sky is already getting dark about 1:00 PM on Friday.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
We are being told to Hunker down.
Local News Online can be found at
Pray for the region.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
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All supplies by Close To My Heart
Stamp Sets: Treasure Life, Say It In Style
Colors: Black, Bamboo, Desert Sand
Silhouette Paper Packet
On the striped paper I random stamped leaves in Bamboo Ink and sponged the edges with black ink. Ribbon is from the Black Ribbon Round. I also used a black bigger brad, paper flower and sparkles.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I love this card. My favorite thing about it is the moon, how the layers overlap and how it is cut off at the top.
I did make this card last year so it was hard to remember what I did, but I had a lot of questions about how I got the owl to look like this. So I went back into my stamp room with the card and fiddled on my desk pad to figure out precicely which colors I had used on the owl. I stamped the owl on Colonial White Cardstock - that is part of why he looks richer, it's not stamped on stark white. I stamped him in Chocolate Ink - (also a richer, warmer look than black ink.) Then I scribbled his feathers here and there to kind of shade him up a bit with a Bamboo Marker. Originally I was trying to make him (her?) look like Hedwig but I found the browns worked better for getting a good look on the owl with these papers so I let go of that concept. I colored his eyes with a Garden Green Marker. His feet and beak are Autumn Terracotta Marker. The branch was chalked I sponged the edges of the tag with Terracotta Ink, this helped the tag look less flat and disguised the fact that most of the owls body was the same color as the tag.
All Supplies by Close To My Heart
Stamps: Take Flight, Frightening Fun, Tag Stamp
Enchanted Paper Pack
Colors: Colonial White, Autumn Terracotta, Sunflower, Pansy Purple, Olive, Garden Green, Bamboo
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I have found that recipes which require a quick sear on the meat in a fry pan and finishing in the oven, are easy on me and generally quite tasty. I used a nice heavy Lodge (American Made) cast iron skillet. Food in a non-stick skillet can not rival the lovely browning you get in cast iron. browning tastes good and builds flavor. Think of a plain piece of white bread & butter, it's OK, but toast it, get it nice and brown - and it's even better. Pan sauces take advantage of all the flavor you usually leave in the bottom of the pan, all those flavor packed little brown bits.
So enough snobby food talk. On to the recipe!
Maple Orange Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, halved crosswise (hmmm I missed that detail)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1) Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk maple syrup, mustard, zest, vinegar, and thyme in medium bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
2) Heat oil in large heatproof skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken, skin-side down, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn chicken skin-side up and transfer skillet to oven. Cook until chicken is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes (it took about 25 minutes with the whole chicken breasts.) Transfer chicken to plate and tent with foil.
3) Wearing oven mitt (pan handle will be very hot), pour off any fat in skillet. Add maple mixture to pan and cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits, until thick, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Off heat, return chicken to skillet and coat with glaze. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes.