Sunday, March 28, 2010

Texas A&M Vet School Open House

What a weekend! Well, really it was just a Saturday, but it was quite a trip.

Friday night we took the Girl Scouts down to College Station so that we would be there bright and early (and I do mean early - 6:30am!) to start the Texas A&M Vet School Open House tour.

It's about a 4 hour drive from where we live, so we arrived very late Friday night. Just enough time to check into our hotel and get some sleep.

But it was worth it. We saw things like the lizard in the first picture, and we touched him too - even me. He was soft!

We saw lots and lots of snakes.

We saw a blue tongued skink.

And then each of the girls held a python. Here's Kenzie holding it.

And Bailey - can you tell she's a little nervous holding this big snake?

And Tiffany - you can tell she was hating this.

And Steffanie:

And Elizabeth:

Here's me and Melissa. She's Tiffany's mom and our troop Cookie Mom, which is a huge job considering how many cookies we sold to get ready for our trip to England this summer. She was sweet enough to drive the other car down (it took 2 cars for all of us). She's tons of fun and I was very glad she came.

Here's Mary Helen and me. She's been with Girl Scouts forever and we are so very luck to have her as our troop leader. It's because of her that we are getting to go to England this summer.

Bailey got to hold a rat.

And the girls got to see how an endoscope works on a real cow lung.

We saw some typical animals as well too. Here's a very sweet doggy.

Bailey is suiting up to read x-rays in this demonstration.

In this room, they work on horses. The girls are being told how these frames help hold up a horse for surgery or treatment.

We got to see lots of x-rays.

They had a painted horse showing the skeletal system,

and the other side showed the muscular system.

The school has two fistulated cows. Here's the girls with their gloves on getting ready to stick their hands into the stomach of a fistulated cow.

A fistulated cow is a cow that has a hole surgically made so that the stomach can be accessed, while the cow remains alive. They said that the cow feels just fine - and she did look quite healthy. She just chewed her grass the whole time.

Don't worry, I won't show you those pictures. But this is the cow. She was quite fine.

Even I did this - because how many times in your life are you going to get an opportunity to stick your hand into a cow's stomach and touch the grass that she was currently digesting. It was gross and kinda cool at the same time.

After the tour, we stopped at the Texas A&M Bonfire Memorial. It was quite a nice tribute to the twelve people that lost their lives.

It was a very nice trip, I think the girls really had a good time.

We still had to drive 4 hours to get home, so it was quite a long day, but it was all worth it. I could really use another weekend to recover from this super busy one.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sorry for the silence

Our computer server, or I should say, one of them, crashed last week. My hubby, AKA Captain Electronics, has been working on it when time allows. The only problem was that during this time he also had a major problem at work that involved all of his time.

So, needless to say, I've been unable to post. I've got things to tell/show you too - like pictures from the first day of Spring - when we got snow, however, I am leaving tonight with the Girl Scouts to take them to the Texas A&M Vet School Open house tomorrow. So, no time for posting.

Maybe if I survive this trip, I'll be able to post on Sunday. Wish me luck - I'll be in a hotel room with 5 girls tonight after having spent 4 hours driving down to Texas A&M.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Multigrain Bread

Here's an interesting thing, the number one page viewed on my blog is the recipe for multigrain bread. Thanks again to my sister Erin and my bonus-mom Peggy for sharing this recipe with me.

If you haven't tried it yet, you owe it to yourself to make this bread. It really is that good. I make it every weekend and freeze the loaves and pull out a loaf whenever we run out.

So, I've been toying with the idea of adding a cinnamon sugar swirl to the bread for a while now. I didn't do it sooner because I was concerned it might be too good and Bailey would insist that I make the bread that way from now on.

I should have listened to myself. It is that good.

I basically made the multigrain bread recipe, and then after the first rise, before you put the dough into the bread pans, I stretched out the dough and sprinkled on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. I then rolled the dough up and put it in the bread pan for the second rise.

I decided to not roll this loaf in oats, so that I could easily tell which loaf was the one with the cinnamon swirl and which one was my normal loaf.

Here's what it looks like when I sliced into it. There is a bit of a hole where the cinnamon sugar is, but I'm fine with that

I think next time I might add raisins and maybe try to stretch it out a bit farther so that I have more of a swirl in the bread.

Let me know if you try this too.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dallas Arboretum

We had the best day today! We got up early and went to the Dallas Arboretum. It's on the shore of White Rock Lake in Dallas.

I took so many pictures - over 300! I won't bore you with all of them, but here's just a few. Ok, maybe a lot.

I liked this picture because of the title of my blog, kiss that frog. Bailey's friend (and one of my Girl Scouts) Tiffany, took the picture.

Here's Bailey and Tiffany.

And Bailey

And Tiffany - she cracks me up.

Here's Bailey and Rominal

I love getting pictures of them holding hands when they don't know I'm looking.

Here's Tiffany

And Rominal

Oh, and me.

I should say that these pictures are all straight out of the camera pictures. I haven't done a thing to them. Mostly because I am just too lazy, but also because this afternoon when we got back we had to do a Girl Scout cookie booth, so I haven't had much time at home today.

Here's the girls at the top of a hill, looking oh so cute.

And here they are rolling down the hill. They had the best time, and they rolled down this hill at least three times.

Who says you have to act your age?

I tried to get them to imitate this statue, but they wouldn't do it.

I need to remember to not wear my sunglasses anytime I'm going to have my picture taken, they left funny marks on the sides of my nose.

I love this sculpture. Makes me smile.

The grounds were so beautiful.

We had such a great day - beautiful weather and beautiful flowers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sausage and Roasted Vegetable Penne

Sorry, no pictures today - I had no idea this would turn out so good, so I hadn't bothered to take out my camera. It was just going to be a quick meal. I made this dish for dinner Sunday night and we ate the entire thing. It was so good!

This is a recipe by Melissa d'Arabian on Food Network. The original recipe is here.
I made a few changes, which I will indicate below:

1 sweet onion, cut into wedges
1 medium zucchini, sliced in 1/2 lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cheeks removed
1/2 pound button mushrooms, stemmed (nope - did not include these - mushrooms are fungus. Nothankyouverymuch.)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, washed and dried
2 sweet or hot Italian sausages, thinly sliced or casings removed (I happened to have chicken with asiago cheese sausage on hand and it worked great.)
1/4 cup white wine (not sure how much I actually put into the pot, because I drank what wasn't used.)
12 ounces whole-grain penne, cooked according to package instructions, 1/2 cup pasta water reserved (Bailey wanted pasta shells, so that's what we used.)
Freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (I roast my veggies at 425 degrees)

In a bowl, toss all the vegetables, except the tomatoes, with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast, until caramelized, about 30 minutes, turning vegetables halfway through the cooking time. In a small bowl, add the tomatoes and the remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add to the baking sheet, at the halfway point of cooking, to caramelize. (I always do this on parchment paper, mostly because my cooking sheet is nasty looking, and because it makes for easy cleanup.)

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add the sausage and saute until cooked through. Turn up the heat and deglaze with white wine. Once the vegetables are cooked, cool slightly, then coarsely chop. Add the vegetables and any pan juices to the sausage in the skillet. Toss in the cooked penne, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to moisten. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve in bowls topped with Parmesan.

Again, sorry for no pictures, but please do try this recipe. It's a winner!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My dear sister Erin gave me this blog award! Isn't that sweet? Thank you so much Erin!

I will keep this Sunshine award up in the air and pass it along to a couple of bloggers that I really enjoy.

First, to Donna from My Sweetest Things. Donna and I haven't met in person, but we "met" after all of the posts regarding The Pioneer Woman's book tour. Ree's recap of her tour in Dallas included a link to my blog, as well as a picture of me and my family! Since then Donna and I have been communicating through our blogs. I know I can always count on her to leave a positive comment to one of my posts. Even though we have never spoken in person, I just know if we ever got the chance we'd be great friends. Check out her blog - she's takes the best pictures!

My second is to Cathy from The Noble Pig. Cathy was the first famous blogger to post a comment on my blog. I was star-struck for a week after that! Her recipes are fantastic, and each one I have tried has become one of my favorites that I keep in my binder of frequently used recipes. Her pictures of her boys and the beautiful area that she lives in are fantastic. I'm not a big wine drinker, but her blog often makes me wonder what I'm missing. I'm sure she won't see this, but I had to pass it on to her anyway.

So again, thanks to Erin, she got me started in this whole blogging thing and I have to admit that I kinda like it. Love ya, Sis!

And thanks to Donna and Cathy for giving me a place to check out whenever I get a free moment on the computer.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Poppy Seed Poundcake Muffins

I promised that I would post the recipe for the Poppy Seed Poundcake muffins that Peggy and I made last week when I was in Colorado. But first, doesn't that look like a huge muffin in the picture above?

Looks can be deceiving. It was actually a mini muffin. So cute!

Man, my hands need some lotion.

Anyway, Peggy got this recipe from a Colorado cookbook - I forgot to write down which one.

I was also too lazy to write down the recipe, so I did this:

I took a picture of the recipe! I love my new camera!

In case you can't read it, here's the recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions - makes 12 muffins - or more mini ones (not sure how many, we ate them too fast)
In small bowl, stir together flour, poppy seeds, salt and baking soda. In large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in yogurt and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until moistened thoroughly. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins on wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.

These were quick to pull together, and quick to disappear.