Monday, September 27, 2010

State Fair of Texas - and other things

What a busy weekend we had!

First of all, last week was Rominal's birthday. Poor guy had to work really late on his birthday so the first time we had to celebrate was Friday night at my mom's house.

Rominal's not real big on sweets, but he loves Blue Bell homemade vanilla ice cream.

My brother, David, and his wife, Lauren, were in town for the weekend. We took them to the Texas State Fair on Saturday. Unfortunately, it rained until about 2:00pm that day.

Here's Bailey, David and Lauren.

One of the new fried foods this year is fried beer. Yup - you read that correctly, fried beer.
Even though it was still pretty early in the day, we knew we had try this.

It was so gross. David is trying not to spit it out.

Here you can see the beer ooze out.

We had to get a Belgian Waffle to get the nasty taste out of our mouths - except for Bailey. She didn't have any fried beer, but she did have the waffle.

Because of the rain, there weren't that many people there. We spent some time in the car show area and David and Lauren found a foosball table.

This is Bailey in the main food area in front of the Cotton Bowl. Normally this would be packed with people, but because of the rain the place was empty. We didn't mind the rain so much because Bailey and I had gotten used to walking around in the rain from our trip to England.

Here's Rominal - happy as can be because he has a container of Jack's French Fries.

Here they are. Yummy!

Of course, he shared them with everyone.

Here's the typical menu - can you guess what we got from here?

If you guessed fried cookie dough, then you win a prize!
Although the fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich also caught my eye, we were just too full.
Here's the cookie dough. It was really good.

Bailey and Lauren enjoyed some rides.

Here they are on the swings.

They went very high.

I mean really, really high in the air.

This guy was one of the operators of the Love Bug ride. He was dancing and swaying to the loud music. He was pretty fun to watch. He was clearly having a great time.

Bailey and Lauren - on yet another ride.

Then we saw some great pumpkin carvings.

Oh wait - Bailey and Lauren on another ride. . .

Time for more food. David got some corn on the cob.

Lauren got a funnel cake, which we all shared.

And Rominal got a stick of potatoes.

The aquarium had a new stingray exhibit. We got to feed and touch them.

The octopus was a bit "touchy."

Oh - more food! A carmel apple.

And would you believe that after the very full day at the fair, Bailey still had the energy to go to the homecoming dance at her highschool that night.
As soon as we got home, she rushed and got ready and her she is in her dress. She wore her black sequined Converse shoes with the dress. How smart is that!

And that's all for the fair. Believe it or not, we didn't see or do everything. Rominal and I are already trying to think of another day that we can get out there this year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Black Bean Hummus

I love hummus, and I love black beans. So it occurred to me today, why can't hummus be made with black beans?

Well, let's overlook the obvious visual comparisons to ground up black beans, and move on, shall we?

Here's what I did. I first drained 1 can of reduced sodium black beans (reserving the liquid) and put them in my food processor. I then added some cilantro.

I mixed in some seasonings and it was done in no time.

It was really good. I just about ate this whole bowl. I finally had to put it in the fridge just to get it away from me.

Here's the recipe - I didn't really measure anything, so I'm guessing on things here.

  • 1 can of reduced sodium black beans, reserve the drained juice please

  • Cilantro - as much as you like, and I like lots

  • Cumin, about 2 tsp

  • Celery salt, about 1 tsp

  • Garlic powder, about 1 tsp

  • Cayenne pepper - about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp

  • Kosher salt - about 2 tsp

  • Pepper - about 2 tsp

  • Juice of 1 lime

Blend together and add the reserved bean liquid until the mixture is the desired consistency.

It was such a quick snack to make - I'll be doing this again, and again, and again. And since there was no oil or tahini, this really is a low-fat, healthy snack. I paired it with naked pita chips.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Blue Man Group

Over the years we have taken Bailey to a lot of things. Her first concert was to see Sting when she was around 4 or 5. It was an outdoor concert, so we were able to sit on the grass and enjoy the show. She loved it. And everyone around us thought she was so cute dancing in the grass to the music.

About five years ago we took Bailey to see the Blue Man Group's "How to be a Megastar" tour at the American Airlines arena. She was around 9 years old then. That show is one Rominal's all time favorite concerts - mine too. And we have been to a lot of concerts.

This last Saturday we saw the Blue Man again. This show was held at the new Winsphere Opera House in the Arts District in downtown Dallas. It's a much smaller venue than the American Airlines arena is and it felt more intimate.

Here's a great song of theirs just to give you an idea of what they sound like:

If you ever get the opportunity to see the Blue Man Group, I highly recommend it you see it - with or without a teenager.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tropical Fruit Salad

A while back I found this recipe in the newspaper and I clipped it out. I knew at some point I would want to make it. About a week ago, I got the opportunity to try it out. It had two of my favorite flavors, cilantro and avocado. Also it has jicama in it, and I'm always trying to find recipes for jicama - I love it too.

Here's what you need:

• 1 small red onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin
• 2 tablespoons light olive oil
• 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
• Juice from one lime
• 1 (3-pound) pineapple, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
• 2 cups peeled and diced jicama
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 cups diced firm papaya (the fresh papaya I bought tasted terrible, so I ended up using a canned tropical fruit salad. It worked just fine.)
• 1 avocado, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
• ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro

Place the onion slices in a medium bowl and toss with the olive oil, vinegar and fresh lime juice. Add pineapple, jicama and salt; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (I didn't have time for this, so just let it sit for an hour before my guests arrived.)

When ready to serve add the papaya, avocado and cilantro. Gently toss and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings.

I thought this turned out really good. It was a nice, refreshing salad.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And now for something completely different. . .

So, I thought I would take a break from posting about our trip to London and tell you what's been going on around here.

A lot has been going on around here. The day after we got home from London, Bailey started school. High school. She is loving it.

She had homework within the first week. She had to build a model of the earth, showing the continents and layers. It was a $40 project.

Here's Bailey with her earth. A styrofoam ball covered with felt. I thought it turned out pretty good, and she ended up getting a 100 on it. I guess that $40 was well spent.

She had to label everything, and show the equator, etc.

Here's the side where she cut into the earth to show the mantle and core of the earth.

Remember a while back when we had a bad storm in our area? It was two days before we were leaving for London.

Well, everyone in our neighborhood has finally received their insurance checks and work is starting to happen. That includes us.

Labor day weekend, the fence contractor came and tore down all of the fence for us and several of our neighbors. We all worked together to get a better price.

Our yard looked huge without the fence.

It was kinda nice to have the big open space.

Here's Rominal checking things out.

Here's the back of our house. Notice that the roof still needs to be replaced.

Well, while everyone's fence was down, we got to know our neighbors behind us. We've lived here for 7 years, but because of the fence we had never really talked to them that much. We found out that we liked them a lot!

While the fence was down, Bailey took advantage of their trampoline. They also have 4 dogs. She loved playing with them too.

While the fence was down, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get rid of Bailey's old play set. She no longer uses it and it was just taking up space in our backyard.

Our neighbors behind us have an 8 year old boy, who would really love a play set.

So, all we had to do was move this thing 10 feet to the left, or right, depending on where you were standing.

Here's Steve working with Rominal to take the swing part off of the tree house part so that it could be moved easier.

And here's Rominal, working on the tree house part.

Well, as of yesterday, our fence is just about complete. It was stained yesterday and they still have to seal it. But doesn't it look great!

And did you notice - the play set is now in our neighbors yard. Yeah!

We actually liked our new neighbors so much that Lisa (my neighbor) and I asked the fence guy to put in a gate between our two yards. He should have that finished in the next day or so also.

And, look what else we got done - we got a whole new roof! It's hard to see in this picture, but it looks really good.

Everyone in our area has been getting new roofs - two went up yesterday. Hopefully this one will last.