Friday, October 9, 2015

Super-Douper Easy Brisket

Hello there!  I've been meaning to post about this recipe for a while.  I'm doing this especially for my brother, David, because I told him I would tell him about this.

This is a brisket that I make in the crock pot, and then I shred it up for slider sandwiches.  It's super easy and very good.  And I love that my dinner is cooking while I'm busy working or doing something else. 

We like our sandwiches with a pickle and some sharp cheddar cheese, but just plain is great too.

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Here's what you will need -
  • Brisket - for these pictures I used a 3lb brisket
  • 1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Buns
  • Condiments (pickles, cheese, whatever you like)
I trimmed quite a bit of the fat off of the brisket because it grosses me out.  Then, I put the brisket in at 7:00am, fat side up.  I sprinkled with salt and pepper and put the lid on it.  I set my crock pot to high for a couple of hours and then let it go at the medium setting for the rest of the day.

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Around 4:00pm that day it was done and looked like this.

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I pulled the brisket out and set it in a pan to work with it a bit.

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I scrapped off some more of the fat, see below.

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Then I sliced the brisket into easily manageable bites.  Since I'm going to shred this, I don't want pieces that are too long.  Cutting the brisket makes this happen.

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To shred the brisket, just take two forks and pull the meat apart.  It's quite tender and easy to do.  Here's one section done.

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A couple of more sections done.

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And finally, all done.  Yum!

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I skimmed the juices that were left in the crock pot to get any remaining fat out, and then added 1 bottle of BBQ sauce.  I've done this with many different types - so use whatever you know your family likes.  Then I add the brisket back in.

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Stir in the meat with the juices and cover the crock pot with a lid again.  Let this cook for at least another hour.  It can go much longer if you get distracted and dinner is later than you planned.

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We like to serve this on mini slider buns (toasted) and my family has found that we love sharp cheddar cheese and a pickle on each sandwich.  It's messy and delicious.  If I have any leftovers, I like to make quesadillas with the meat.  That's fantastic too!

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Rocky Road Chocolate Cookies!!!

Hello!  Yes, I know it's been a very long time.  Tons of things have happened in the time since my last post, and I'll maybe write about them sometime in another post.  But for now - you MUST try these cookies. 

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I made these a few days ago and they have stayed soft and chewy - which is my cookie preference.  They aren't too sweet either (which normally I prefer).

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Here's the goods you need -
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I'll explain below)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup pecans - chopped, or use my lazy method below.
  • 1-2 cups of miniature marshmallows (read below)

My new oven takes FOREVER to preheat, so if yours is like mine - start your oven preheating to 400 degrees F. 

On the stove, melt together the butter and 1 cup of the chocolate chips.  Don't let them burn, just melt everything together.  Set this aside to cool.

Mix together the sugar, melted chocolate/butter combo and then add in the eggs, vanilla and salt.  Blend in the flour, baking powder.  Add in the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the miniature marshmallows.

Because I'm lazy, I took pecan halves and with my KitchenAid mixer on, I added the pecan halves into the batter at this time.  The mixing of the KitchenAid chops up the nuts well enough for me. 

I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper and the cookies didn't stick at all.  This also makes for an easy clean up, which I love.  Drop the cookies in round balls onto the cookie sheet (I use a cookie scoop). 

From the remaining cup of marshmallows, add several miniature marshmallows to the top of each cookie.  Use your judgement here - I liked the look of 3 on each cookie. 

Bake at 400' for 7 minutes (your oven might take a tad longer - my oven seems to be cooking hot).  I let them cool on the cookie sheet for about a minute and then I move them to a wire rack for longer cooling. 

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Seriously, these are fantastic. 


Sunday, May 4, 2014


Where has the time gone?  These last few months have been a blur.  I'll try to recap the highlights.

Gold Award

Bailey has been a Girl Scout since her second grade.  The Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn.  Bailey organized and hosted a science day event at her high school.  She had around 50 high school volunteers who led experiments and demonstrations for the local elementary aged kids who attended for free.   She had around 185 people attend the event and it was a huge success. 

Here's Bailey talking to her volunteers before the event started. 

The volunteers for this event spent their entire Saturday helping Bailey.  I can't tell you how impressed I was with all of them.  What a remarkable group of young adults. 

Here's some of the attendees walking from demonstration to demonstration.

And yeah - I'm married to this.

This is one of the experiments that was demonstrated. Flaming bubbles. So cool.

And a big group shot of everyone after the event was over.

A high school student wrote about the event and it was in our local paper.  Here's the link.  She couldn't have done this event without her fantastic chemistry teacher.  She inspired Bailey to move forward with this project and was instrumental in getting it done. 

This Saturday we will go to a banquet where Bailey will be pinned with her Gold Award.   Her science teacher will attend with us and I'm really looking forward to this.

In March, Bailey and I helped to organize and attend a Leader and Me Girl Scout camp.  This might have been our last Girl Scout camp together, so it was a really nice weekend.  The weather was chilly, which is perfect for camping, if you ask me.

In April, My mom and I visited the Dallas Arboretum.  I love going there.  Mom was extra patient with me as I took a ton of pictures.  I was trying to get some good ones for our dining room walls.  Here's some of my favorites from that day.

This is Bailey's senior year in high school, so we have been busy with all of that as well.  She attended prom a couple of weeks ago and she had a fantastic time. 

She went with a big group of people and they clearly had a blast together.

I took several pictures for her graduation announcements.  Here's a couple of my favorites. 

I wish Bridget was looking up in this picture - I think it is a good one of Bailey still.

And now we are just counting down to her graduation ceremony.  We are hosting a big celebration the day after her graduation.  And then the next day she will leave to be a Girl Scout camp counselor for the summer camps.  Things just don't seem to slow down here. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Squash Casserole

I stumbled across this recipe about two months ago and I think I've made it about 10 times.  It's that good.  My family loves it.  I even served it at Thanksgiving - it was that good.

First, here's a quick picture of some of the Christmas treats Mom and I made this year. 
It's a tradition for us to bake a ton of things prior to Christmas. We love to bake and we have a lot of fun together.

And one more non-squash related picture - of Bridget, and in the background, my daughter Bailey.

Wait - are they on the sofa??  Doggies are not allowed on the sofa!!

Back to the Squash Casserole.  I found the original recipe here.

Here's what you need (and this has been tweaked a bit):

  • 6 cups large diced yellow squash (about 5 or 6)
  • Vegetable oil or Olive oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter (I only used about 2)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup crushed butter crackers (recommended: Ritz)  I used 1 sleeve of crackers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat your oven to 350.

Chop up the squash and onion.  Sauté the onion in the oil and butter, then add in the squash.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for about 5 minutes in a skillet.  Move to a mixing bowl and add in the cheeses and sour cream.  Pour mix into a greased 9x13 pan and then sprinkle the crushed crackers on top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly.   

Here's my squash, all washed and ready to be chopped up.

Bailey took this action shot for me - chop up all of the squash please. I slice them straight down from top to bottom, and then slice them thinly.

You will end up with a lot of squash.

Then slice up an onion the same way.  Go ahead and try not to cry.  I dare you.

Go ahead and toss the onion into a skillet with a bit (tablespoon) of olive oil or veggie oil and the butter, and sweat the onion for a bit.  Add the salt and pepper too please.

To add to you level of difficulty, please have a dog follow you around and whenever you stand still for more than two seconds, have that dog lay on your feet. 


And then when you aren't paying attention, please have your daughter take a "selfie" of her and her best friend, Taylor. 


After the onions have cooked just a bit, add the squash and let them cook in the skillet for about 5 minutes. 

Then move them to a large mixing bowl.  Add in the two cheeses, and sour cream.

Mix these together and pour into a greased 9x13 pan.   Spread the crushed crackers on top.

Here's the squash with the crackers on top, ready to go into the oven.

Bake at 350' until it is bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.  You will see that the crackers don't get too brown.  That's ok.  It's still yum!!

I have made this dish ahead of time and then baked it just before serving.  It turns out great every time. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Icemageddon and Bridget

Here in the Dallas area, we are just starting to get out of the ice storm called "Icemageddon!"  It started raining freezing rain/sleet on Thursday, December 5 and we got several inches by Friday morning.  On top of that, the temperatures didn't go above freezing for a couple of days - so we were iced in.

My mom came over on Thursday and stayed with us during the storm.  We enjoyed having her and it was nice to all be stuck in the house together.  We did a bit of cooking over the weekend, but mostly we stayed warm under blankets.  It was heaven.

Here's our house a couple of days after the storm hit.


I thought these ice crystals were pretty.


Our street is looking more like an ice rink.


The bushes in front of our house collected lots of ice too.


And now on to Bridget.  She has grown so much.  Just to remind you of what she used to look like -

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Here she is now. Bailey still likes to pick her up, which isn't easy. She's 6 months old and about 45-50 pounds now.


Bailey actually took this picture, but I love it, so I'm using it.


Here's Bridget running in our backyard.
She.  Loves.  To.  Run.

What do you do when you are tired from running? You cuddle up in a blanket made especially for you by Bailey.


And here's a good size comparison to our fireplace for you.


She is resting on her second dog bed.  Someone chewed up her first one already.


I originally told you in my first post about Bridget that she was a Newfoundland puppy.  Well, she wasn't growing as quickly as a Newfoundland should, so we had her DNA tested.  Turns out that she is mostly Lab, with parts Chow and Shetland sheepdog. 

Basically she's a mutt. 

But that's ok, we have gotten quite attached to her.


I didn't think she was really sleeping.


Here's her full body.  She often looks like a wolf to us.  Her fur is curly in areas and straight in others. 


And here's her Bridget smile. 


Sunday, August 11, 2013


It's only fitting that I follow my last post about the Dog Bowl 2013, with our own dog story.

I should start with the information that our most beloved cat, Twister, passed away in May.  We still miss him to this day.  If he were here he would be stretched out on top of my desk, occasionally knocking things off when he stretches in his sleep. 

We went a couple of months with a quiet, clean household, and then we found this announcement for this little cutie at our local shelter.  They had her listed as a male, but we had to go check her out.

After bribing Rominal with some electronics for the house, we have a new puppy.

Meet Bridget, our newest family member.

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Bailey and I had researched dog breeds and we liked the way the Newfoundland dogs were described as mellow and great with kids.  Also, they aren't that active.  Perfect for us.

She and her 3 litter mates were found in a storm drain that had been blocked by huge rocks.  The puppies were in pretty bad shape when a good Samaritan heard their cries.  It took the fire department to hose out the rocks in order to get the puppies out.

In the picture above and below, she was about 8 1/2 weeks old and about 10.5 pounds.

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When we first brought her home, she slept a lot.  I've always had a thing for pigs, so I love how she looks like a little pig here.

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But after a week or so, she started to get more active.

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As you can see, Bailey and her have bonded nicely.

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We named her Bridget after Bailey's most favorite stuffed animal, seen below.  The pink Bridget has gone on all trips with us and slept with Bailey since she was very little.  Bridget has been Bailey's companion at all times, so it only seemed appropriate to name her after her most favorite item.

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The pictures below were taken today.  I'm trying to chronicle her growth.  She currently weighs 16.8 pounds and is 11 weeks old.  If she is a full-blooded Newfie (which I don't think she is) she would be considered underweight.  The shelter had her identified as a Newfie/Lab mix, which would explain her current weight.

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She loves to chase us outside.

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And she really loves her new Frisbee.
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We occasionally have indoor chases as well. 
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She can almost catch Rominal!
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Love those eyes!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013 Dog Bowl

Hello.  How are you?  I'm good.  It's been a long time since I've posted, and much has gone on, but I thought I'd start with something fun that we recently did.


The Girls Scouts and I helped out at the 2013 Dog Bowl which was held in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. 

Basically the Cotton Bowl is turned into one big giant dog park.  The Girl Scout's role was to keep the kiddie pools and buckets filled with water. It turned into a full-time job, but it was fun. Here's two of my favorite men - Rominal and my brother David. They came along too.


The girls job was to keep kiddie pools and buckets filled with water for the dogs.


This turned out to be quite a job. Bailey clearly loved being around all of the dogs.


This little white dog went to every pool and scratched at the side of it - as though he would find a hidden bone. The other dog didn't seem to mind.


It was so neat to see all of the different dogs. We didn't see any fighting, just lots of running around.

This dog reminded me of the dog I grew up with, Tim.


What do we think of this dog?


Here's Bailey and David, loving on a nice dog.


How's this for a face?


And no one told this little dog how little he was. He chased the Frisbee all over the park.


While some dogs chased the water.


All over they chased the water.


Look at these faces.


And then there was the drool.


So much drool.


Lots, and lots of drool.   Ewwwww.


How cute is this?  This woman carried her dog out of the park - he clearly loved her.


It was neat to see a handicapped dog, doing quite well.


And another dog with three legs - who seemed to have a great time.


Can't leave out a picture of a well-dressed dog.


Overall it was a great day.