Friday, February 29, 2008

1 Day Trip back to LA

We just got back from a quick trip back home to LA. Doggies were boarded at PetsHotel in PetSmart. We got them a luxury suite...equipped with a tv playing animal shows and lambskin cot. They were boarded in the display suite which is in the lobby of the PetsHotel so customers can see them. I picked them up today and decided to sneak up and take a quick picture of them in their suite.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Long Weekend in Houston

Last weekend was President's day weekend, so Ray and I decided to drive to Houston which is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes away for a couple of days.

Our trip started out Saturday morning with both doggies in tow. Here is Teddy riding in his car seat. Half way there, Ray and I switched seats and he got bored so he started messing around with Teddy.

It was pouring rain the day we left. When we got to Houston, it was windy, rainy, and disgustingly muggy. The air was so humid, I felt like I was being suffocated. It left your skin feeling sticky and gross. I don't know how people can live there. Oh, and Ray got pretty darn irritated by the drivers there too. I swear we almost got into several accidents because damn Texans...especially in Houston, don't know how to drive. It's worse than LA if you can imagine.

We were excited to get our grub on in Houston since we had heard they actually have a Chinatown and large population of Vietnamese. Well, not knowing the good places to go to, we found online that Ocean Palace was the place to go for good, cheap, authentic Chinese food. Saturday night, we headed there for dinner and were not disappointed. Sorry that we don't have any pics of the food, but we were really hungry and ate everything before we could take pics. I will tell you that we did have 1 Dungeoness Crab for only $9.99 cooked Ginger and Green Onion style, Clams with Black Bean Sauce, Snow Pea Shoots, Salt and Pepper Squid, and Ray's fav Hot and Sour Soup that was soooooooooooo spicy even Ray couldn't drink much of it.

So, the next morning, we went back to Ocean Palace for Dim Sum. If you check out before 11:30am, you get 10% off. The trend here in Texas with Dim Sum is really odd. They have people pushing carts AND at the front of the restaurant, they have a station for self-serve items. I think it defeats the purpose, but I guess in a way it's good because you can get your food right away.

By the way...doggies were at doggie day camp at PetSmart both days. Casper hated it and tried to escape by climbing over the gate. Teddy loved it because he got to bully the other dogs.

After dim sum on Sunday, we stopped by Kemah on our way to Galveston. Some locals in Houston recommended it. It was ok...a small boardwalk by the water and not much else to see. We did see a billboard advertising that a free boat was being given away for anyone who buys a home there. Interesting...

Next stop was Galveston Island. Island? I didn't know Galveston was an island. I thought it was just a seaside town, but upon closer look of a map that's zoomed in, you can clearly see that it IS and island. Again, not much there. We stopped by Moody Gardens. There are 3 glass pyramids of which consist of an aquarium, a planetarium, and a rainforest. We ended up going to the Titanic exhibit. I thought it was pretty cool seeing the old remains that were salvaged from the site of the sunken Titanic. Ray was bored out of his mind. He couldn't understand why anyone would want to look at old junk. No sentiment at all.
That night, we went to eat dinner at Gaido's Seafood Restaurant in Galveston. It was supposed to be all the rage, but we were sorely disappointed. I mean seriously...there was nothing special about it. All the fried seafood tasted bland. And what kind of seafood restaurant doesn't serve calamari? Definitely not worth the 30 minute wait. We will not be back. We drove all the way to Galveston and all I got was a damn picture with a giant blue crab.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Cookie Recipe!!!

Here is the new recipe that I tried for Cherry Kisses Cookies. It turned out pretty good. If you like Maraschino Cherries and Almond Extract, this cookie has both. It tastes like an almond cookie, with cherry bits in it. Enjoy!!

Cherry Kisses Cookie Recipe

2 cups butter (1 pound)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
1 tsp almond extract
2-3 drops red food coloring
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
50-60 Hershey's chocolate kisses
Cream butter and powdered sugar together, add cherry juice, almond extract, red food coloring and salt and beat well.
Add flour 1 cup at a time. Scrape bowl.
Add cherries and mix only enough to blend. Dough should be stiff.
Using a small cookie scoop, place dough on greased cookie sheets leaving a little room between them to spread.
Bake at 350F degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately place an unwrapped Hershey's chocolate kiss on the top of each cookie, pressing down slightly, not too much.
Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Makes 50-60 cookies.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Easy Yummy Banana Bread Recipe!

Since moving to Austin, I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands. So, I've decided to exercise my cooking skills in the kitchen. Ask Raymond, we've been eating in every night. I'm not sure if he enjoys it since I've been experimenting with a few last night, we had Quinoa, which is similar to Couscous. I'm not sure if I like it myself, but it's really good for you and very high in protein.

Anyways, I LOVE banana bread. And good banana bread recipe is hard to find. I've tried a couple to no avail. I like it very moist and I found this recipe online. I made it yesterday and it turned out better than I expected. It was yumm-o!!! Here is the recipe for you to enjoy yourself. The great thing about this recipe is that it is super easy and doesn't take a lot of time.

Flour's Famous Banana Bread
Recipe courtesy Chef Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Set oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil. Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts. Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cherry Kisses Cookies coming tomorrow! I will be trying this recipe for Valentine's Day.