Tomato Salad

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I’ve been meaning to post this simple yet delicious recipe for a while.  A few weeks ago, my friend Erin brought her two preschoolers over for a playdate and she brought me a whole bag of organic cherry tomatoes.

Here’s what you will need:


Tomatoes, salt and pepper, olive oil, bacon bits, feta cheese.

(That’s my favorite knife in there…Pampered Chef professional utility knife…visit my website for info  www.pamperedchef.biz/caseychavez  it is weighted and feels so natural in my hand)

Slice up your tomatoes, salt and pepper then drizzle some olive oil over them, next sprinkle with bacon bits and feta.

Beautiful (please disregard my not so beautiful bowl)

Everyone in my family likes this salad.  I also make it with other tomatoes and just slice them up rather than cut into bite size pieces…it looks pretty so see all those tomatoes sliced up on a plate.

Enjoy.

Fried Chicken

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Lately, I’ve been “frying” a lot more than usual.  It’s messy and deep down I know it’s not that good for us (even though, I’ve been eating M&Ms everyday since Easter).  The Elderly couple I cook for ask for Chicken-fried steak every now and then and last week Mrs. H asked for fried chicken. 

Of all the things, I couldn’t find chicken-halves at my HEB so I bought Split Chicken breast.  I only know one way to make fried chicken…my grandma’s way.  Dipped the chicken in flour then milk (milk and half-n-half) and then flour.  I had added salt and pepper to the flour.

Fried the chicken until it was golden and then put it in my Pampered Chef Covered Baker in the oven at 300 degrees. 

It turned out beautifully juicy…

And that is how America does Chicken….

What will you do with all those boiled eggs?

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In our family, we don’t hide our dyed eggs for Easter because then you have rotting eggs in your yard (the ones your three-year-old didn’t find….what a big responsibility for a three-year-old.  We also don’t hide chocolate…that would just be wasteful.  In fact, I confiscate most chocolate because it’s really messy and the boy doesn’t like it anyway.  Well, not as much as I like it.  Chocolate needs to be appreciated.  That is also why our Easter Bunny doesn’t buy cheap chocolate.) 

After the kids see the boiled eggs (not even sure we are going to allow them to touch the eggs other than to help with the dying process), I make deviled eggs.  And I believe my deviled eggs are the best. Why would I think that?  Because I love them, because my family requests them, because my friend Angela (former roommate) often asked me to make them and because they have bacon and bacon makes everything better.

I’ve been warming up for Easter so I made some for my elderly friends this past week (and a few for us).

Here’s a picture:

They aren’t too hard to make but I “guesstimate” on the measurements.

I usually make at least a dozen eggs at once. ( Seriously, my family cannot get enough of these eggs and there have been suedo fights about who gets the leftovers.)

Real bacon bits (I have even fried the bacon myself to add to the eggs)

1/2 teaspoon of mustard

2 large spoonfuls of mayonnaise (don’t use that Miracle Whip crap. I use Drakes mayonnaise)

Salt and Pepper (but not too much)

Combine all these ingredients and mash or whip (use a masher or a hand mixer).  I use my Pampered Chef medium scoop or the Easy Accent Decorator to fill my eggs (Use the Easy Accent Decorator if you are feeling fancy).  To complete the recipe, sprinkle with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning (It’s a southern thing so I’m not sure you can get it “up north”)

Happy Easter everyone!

Best of San Antonio

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My sister is the queen (in our family) of the iPhone.  Or maybe I should say she is the queen of Apps.  She has an App for almost everything.  There are a few Apps (besides Angry Birds) that make we want to go to the darkside and get a “smart phone” and one of those apps is Urban Spoon.  It gives recommendations for restaurants.  It doesn’t give stars it gives percentages…like 95% of posters liked this establishment.

Besides Mexican food which is in abundance in San Antonio, we tried a few other places.  If you are going to eat Mexican avoid Mi Tierra (in the Market Square) the food is okay but the wait and the service are terrible and it is over priced.  Once we paid $50 for fajitas there because we had 6 people in our party and they add gratuity for parties of 6 or more…two of our  “people” were children.  Yes, I’m still a little bitter.  They charged us for cheese…who serves fajitas without cheese?  We went to the Alamo Tortilla factory.  97% of our party liked it.  Devri wouldn’t eat her mashed potatoes…she liked the tortillas and the grilled cheese.

Here are some of the other establishments we enjoyed during our stay.

After spending the day at the Children’s museum (yes, I have 100 pictures of that event too…I’ll post some highlights in a Momlog), we walked two blocks to a Twin Sisters Cafe and Bakery.

They close up at 3 p.m. and it was 2:50 p.m. when we showed up.  I asked if they would mind and was told, “We are still open”.  No one else was there so lunch was fast, our kids weren’t disturbing anyone and the food was wonderful.

Kid’s meals included fruit cups and this house salad was part of my sister’s meal.  They have a lunch special that allows you to choose 2 items like soup and salad (which she got the tortilla soup and the house salad) or a 1/2 sandwich and salad or soup.  I ordered a turkey avacado sandwich with a ceasar salad.  I couldn’t even finish the salad.

They had peanut butter and jelly for the kids.  To finish it off, I purchased a cookie for later.  It was chocholate-cayenne pepper so it had a little kick to it but very good.

We had promised the kids pizza but the idea of eating in the room wasn’t appealing and the idea of greasy typical pizza wasn’t very appealing either.  Jenny looked for something on Urban Spoon and came up with Central Park Pizza.

We arrived around 7 p.m. and they close at 8 p.m.  There were only two employees and one informed us that it would take 45 minutes to get our pizza.  We said fine.  And proceeded to order; one pepperoni pizza (even though we are giving up pork…our kids can still eat it.  The pork decision is another post) and one chicken-spinach pizza.  They inform us they are out of chicken.  (Did they not prepare for Spring Break in San Antonio?) So we ordered a white pizza instead.  The employee then asked us if we were going to take the order “to go” since they would be closing.  I said, “No.  We have five small children and will be eating here”.  The other employee or possibly the manager told me we could stay.   About that time, my sister, Jenny walked up and started chatting with the employees which made everything nice.  Because I was about to smack that guy…here’s why.  The WORST thing about San Antonio is the parking.  We paid so much $$ to park throughout our trip.  We had just paid $10 to park and getting in and out of the car with 5 children who all require child safety seats is a huge pain in the rear (and not usually in my rear because my sister Judy was having the buckle the boys in the very back seat in…I hope someone got a picture of us all packed into the Expedition).  They were also out of Dr. Pepper and Coke. 

The pizza was good.  Of course by the time we ate, everyone was hungry.

After pizza we decided to get the kids nice and tired by taking them to the Riverwalk for ice cream (we were the ones who ended up nice and tired).  Did I mention that it is Spring Break so on a Monday night, the Riverwalk was crowded?  To make matters more complicated, we decided to take our strollers rather than carry three small children.  The Riverwalk is not nearly as wheelchair accessible as the visitor’s bureau makes it out to be….we know this because we climbed up and down no less than 4 flights of stairs with toddlers and strollers.  A wheelchair wouldn’t have made it.

The kids LOVED the ice cream.  Which we could have purchased at Wal-Mart and paid 1/3 of what it cost us at the Riverwalk.  Ambiance…what you are really paying for.  The place served Bluebell Ice cream which is what we all buy at home.  If you aren’t from the south, you may not be familiar with Bluebell Ice cream.  It’s the best around…unless you go to Amy’s Ice cream in Austin.  (When it comes to Bluebell ice cream what I want to know is when are they bringing back Mexican Pralines in Cream??)

We decided to leave the ice cream parlor on the street level rather than fight the Riverwalk crowds.  We did get a little turned around (meaning we got a little lost…my Verizon Navigation feature doesn’t work as well “on foot” as it does driving.  Can you say “One way streets”?  It had us walking around blocks) but we burned off the pizza calories. 

When you visit San Antonio, stay at the Hotel Indigo not the Fairfield Inn where we stayed at this past week.  I saw one of those little roaches….gross and our TV didn’t work for 24 hours (what were we suppose to do to distract our kids?). 

Favorite food…the Alamo Tortilla factory was very good and we (*I) loved the Twin Sisters Cafe and Bakery.

Chicken Fried Steak

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Saturday night, I made Chicken-Fried Steak.  It was incredible.  I haven’t made chicken-fried steak in years.  I had never made it for the hubs.  He’s not really a “chicken-fried” kind of guy.  He likes my Chinese food (which I only learned to cook because they don’t have a PF Changs in Mobile, Alabama and I had a craving for Sweet and Spicy Chicken). 

I had a little craving for chicken-fried steak so I made it.  He has decided that it one of his favorite meals.  My only regret was I didn’t take tons of pictures and post my recipe online.

Keep in mind, I made chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy and sweet green peas on SATURDAY night.  Today, I visit my current favorite blog (other than my sister Jenny’s blog www.jbryans.wordpress.com), www.thepioneerwoman.com and she has posted a whole blog about Chicken-fried steak.  (By the way, in Alabama they’ve never heard of “Chicken-fried” anything.  Apparently it is a Texas – and maybe Oklahoma thing since the Pioneer Woman is in Oklahoma.  In the Deep South – you would think Texas would be the deepest south you can go since any more south is Mexico – they call it “country-fried” and they will bread and fry anything….seriously, they fry pickles.) 

There is really no need for me to make and photo-document  my Chicken-fried Steak…you can just click here.  Her pictures are better anyway.  My recipe differs a little.   I like to keep it pretty simple.  She adds lots of spices to her batter (sounds good…I just use salt and pepper).   She adds and egg to her milk…I’m milk only.  Overall, the recipes are very simple.  I purchase “thin” sliced steak, sprinkle meat tenderizer and pound it out a little then salt and pepper and batter.  It is a beautiful thing and now that I know the Hubs likes it, I’ll make it more often.

I was a little bitter about being preempted by the Pioneer Woman but I prayed about it.  😀  (Not really)   It’s good to know that great minds think alike.  I was really more bitter that her dishes are so darn cute compared to mine (I still have the same ones I had when I was single…we just didn’t get any place settings as gifts for our wedding).  There will be time for cute dishes later.

Pop-over Donuts

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The plan was to make donuts and let the kids decorate them…the kids weren’t so interested in helping out.  I took some good pictures though.

Once they were cooked, either roll them in cinnamon and sugar, powdered sugar or a glaze. 

Afer glazing, I sprinkled.

Here is the outcome…

And of course…

So here’s the recipe….I haven’t made these in forever because I don’t fry much.  Although, I did made chicken-fried steak so I guess I’ve been on a fried kick.  As far as I can remember, I got this recipe from my grandma.  I’ve had it forever so I couldn’t tell you forever.

Pop-over Donuts

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 T. shortening or butter (I used butter)

1 cup milk

3 1/2 cups flour

4 1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 quart oil

In a bowl mix the eggs,  add sugar, shortening, and vanilla.  Beet until well mixed.  Stir in milk and blend in the dry ingredients.  Heat the oil to 370 degrees.  (I actually heated my oil on #7 – between medium and high).  Drop dough into oil in heaping teaspoons (I used my Pampered Chef medium scoop, although I think I would used the small scoop next time…although it would mean making a lot of donuts).  Cook until golden.  They will naturally form into round balls.  If you don’t cook them long enough, the middles will be gooey.  After removing them from the oil, drain onto a paper towel (or 5).  Roll in powdered sugar or cinnamon and sugar.  I made a glaze out of powdered sugar, sugar, butter and milk.  I liked the glaze.

Questions?

How America Does BBQ

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Several years ago the Hubs and I came up with a great idea for a travel show for foodies.  We are self-proclaimed foodies.  We were going to call our show “How America does chicken” because when we were dating it was always about the chicken.  (The Hubs was managing a Cafe and they had really good chicken and he was always marinating or grilling chicken).  We discussed starting with a blog and instead of calling it “How America Does Chicken” we would call it “How America Does…” and fill in the blank.  Cute, huh?

We happened across on of the best burgers we’ve had in a while (other than my dad’s burgers) at this little BBQ place near the San Antonio Zoo.

The Sign said Barbed Wire Smokehouse but the receipt said Augies’ Barbed Wire Smokehouse (or something like that).

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the food.  We purchased a chopped Beef Sandwich, creamed corn, baked beans, cheeseburger with steak fries and a side of macaroni. 

The chopped beef was very good but the cheeseburger rocked.  The cheeseburger was juicy and flame grilled (I assume it was flame-grilled it tasted like flame kissed).

Everything was very good.  We also ordered a bottle of apple juice for the boy and a Pepsi for the big boy (I was sticking with water in light of my recent health issues).  All of that ended up costing about $20, very reasonable.