Friday, October 26, 2007

Road Trip!

I had the week off of work (yay!) and decided to take a road trip down to Austin. Tori is living in Austin and going to graduate school at UT, so I wanted to see her new digs. My cousin Maggie, who works for the New York Times, was going to be down there visiting family. So I figured it would be the perfect time to visit! It was great to get to see my sister, cousins, grandmother, aunt and uncle! Michael had to stay home and work, though. :(
Some restaurants we visited:
Z Tejas - This restaurant was great! There were a lot of southwestern inspired seafood and chicken dishes. I ordered the Jerked Chicken Salad and loved it. It was very spicy, and I loooove spicy food!
South Congress Cafe - My cousin Maggie and I just wandered in here while shopping. I got a Southwest Chicken salad, which was a special that day and it was very very good! The atmosphere was very nice and we sat by the window, which made for good people-watching.
Shady Grove - This is one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, it has that great laid-back "Austin" atmosphere. I got the Green Chile Black Bean Burrito with grilled chicken. Another yummy and spicy meal!
Central Market Cafe - This is always a great spot for a quick (or long) lunch on the patio. I wish there was one in Dallas! I tried the Turkey and Fontina Panini and it was delicious.
Amy's Ice Cream - No trip to Austin is complete without a visit to Amy's! We stopped at the walk-up booth on South Congress. I got Mexican vanilla with rainbow sprinkles and I'm already craving more.
Places we shopped:
South Congress - This is an area that has been somewhat revitalized for shopping and eating. There are all kinds of funky antiques and thrift shops. There is some good info on this site:
Barton Creek Square Mall -

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tori!

Congratulation on turning 23! ;)
To celebrate my little sister's birthday, we went to another family favorite: McCormick and Schmick's at Northpark. ( We love going there because they will print up special menus for you if you let them know ahead of time that you are celebrating something.
I got grilled Alaskan halibut with lemon butter, mashed potatoes and grilled carrots and asparagus. It was so delicious, I had never had halibut before but I loved the flakiness. (Last time we were there I ordered swordfish and was so surprised about the texture! It was like eating a steak.) My salad was seasonal greens with candied walnuts, blue cheese, and some kind of citrusy vinaigrette. I also tried a little bit of my mom's grilled rainbow trout, it came with a wonderful chive butter. My dad got Texas fried catfish and french fries. Tori got Oscar steak and said it was very good. For dessert I had a bite of the twice baked apple pie and cinnamon ice cream (so good!) and my family also raved about the key lime pie. I was too stuffed to eat much else for dessert, but next time I have to try the Rocky Road brownie sundae.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Couch To 5K

I started a new exercise program a couple weeks ago, the Couch to 5K running plan.
So far it's going great, I start Week 3 on Monday. I'm also still doing a power yoga class once or twice a week, depending on my schedule. At this point, I'm not actually planning on doing a 5k, but it would be nice knowing that I could!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


We really liked our hotel, El Cid La Ceiba Resort- It was just remodeled last year after Hurricane Wilma and all of the facilities were very nice. It is right on the beach and every room has a beach view. The views are gorgeous, although there were cruise ships docked there every day we were there. There is a tennis court, really nice pool, and a swim-up bar. They are a timeshare resort, but we stayed as guests under Michael’s grandparents’ timeshare. We stayed under the all-inclusive plan, which included meals, drinks (house brands only) and that was only $50 per person per day. The food was pretty good, not a huge menu but everything we tried was good. They have a good sized buffet at breakfast and a few days they had a buffet for lunch, too. The staff was very nice and they had a lot of planned activities, like bingo by the pool (I won a pina colada!) and karaoke (we sang “I Got You Babe,” we are nerds!) I loved the location of the resort, it was only a few miles to San Miguel, which is a great shopping area.
We rented a scooter our second day. There are several vendors up and down the main street, there was one right next door to El Cid and the rate was $30 for 24 hours, which we thought was a good deal. We drove about 2/3 of the way around the island, around the southern tip and it was a beautiful drive! Our hotel was on the mainland side and so it was neat to see the other side where the waves were much bigger. We also went to the San Gervasio ruins, it was really cool. Michael made friends with an iguana.
Overall, a great trip!

Monday, July 9, 2007


Tonight we ate at one of my family's favorite restaurants: Patrizio's in HP Village. I don't think I have ever had a bad meal here! Tonight was no exception. We started with baby bellinis, always delicious. (Pet peeve: When bartenders refer to Shiner as an "import" beer. Ummm, it's made in Texas.)
As usual, I ordered off the specialty menu, which changes nightly. I had a salad with wild greens, gorgonzola and spiced pecans. Yum! Then came the roasted salmon (perfection!) which came with a side of sauteed spinach and a fried risotto ball. That's right, fried risotto! I was suspicious, but it was so good! Creamy rice and romano cheese in a crispy golden-brown shell, not oily or greasy.
Michael got his favorite dish, the chicken Romano (breaded chicken with a side of bowtie pasta in alfredo sauce and mixed veggies). Mom ordered mussels with pasta and Dad ordered a specialty pizza with prosciutto. Too bad we were too full for dessert!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Taco Seasoning

We love Mexican food! Turkey tacos are a favorite to make at home because they are so easy to put together. We used to buy the packets of taco seasoning, but in an effort to cut back on both food costs and sodium, I decided to make our own at home. These are all spices that we usually have on hand. We just add the ingredients to 1 lb of turkey meat as it browns. You could also mix it up ahead of time in bigger batches and store in an airtight container.
This recipe is a modified version of one that I found on
1-1/4 tsp chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

BJ's Brewery in Addison

I went to BJ's Brewery on Monday night for the first (but probably not the last) time. I normally like to stick to my Budweiser as far as beers go, but I tried the blonde beer that they had on draft and it was very good! I just ordered bruschetta from the appetizer menu, but I would definitely order dinner there sometime. The bruschetta was delicious and somebody at my table ordered an appetizer that looked like the southwestern eggrolls that I love at Chili's. :) I told Michael that I would love to take him back there. We'll see what the beer connoisseur has to say!

Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart?

As a promotion for the Simpsons movie coming out this summer, the 7-11 at Northwest Highway and Hillcrest has been turned into a real life Kwik-E-Mart! Go to for info on the Simpsons-themed products. Too bad they're not selling Duff Beer. :)
Link to Dallas Morning News article:

Monday, July 2, 2007

Movie Review: Sicko

As most of you know, "Michael Moore" is a borderline swear word at our home! But this film was actually pretty good. I mean, I don't think any red-blooded American can deny that our health care system is intrinsically flawed. Even those of us who are lucky enough to have insurance, the health care industry is incredibly difficult to navigate.
After Michael got the inside scoop on the poor health care system in America, he traveled to other countries who have free universal health care: Canada, France, and Cuba. (That's right, I said Cuba!) He visits hospitals and visits with patients, all of whom are perplexed when he asks how much it cost for their treatment. He also takes a group of 9/11 rescue workers to get treatment in Cuba when their insurance (and the US government) won't cover them.
Overall, I think it was a fair look at the health care industry. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Homemade Pizza

I tried my hand at homemade pizza this past weekend. Granted, this was not exactly gourmet but it came out extremely tasty! I cheated and used premade pizza dough, the kind that comes in a tube. I just rolled it out flat on a greased cookie sheet and patted it to make sure the crust would come out even. I baked it at 375 for about 6 minutes.
I let the crust cool a little bit, then added a thin layer of store-bought pesto. (My current favorite brand is Classico. Now, I'm trying to rid my diet of preservatives, so next week I'm going on a mission for the perfect homemade basil pesto. I will post results!) Next I added a layer of thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. Then I sprinkled on two generous handfuls of chopped baby spinach. (You could also just tear it by hand.) Next I sprinkled on shredded mozzarella cheese, although next time I may try goat cheese.
I baked this at 375 for about 8 minutes. It was delicious and so easy! What I like best about this pizza is that you could serve it for dinner, or slice it into smaller pieces and serve it as an appetizer. Yum!

Dinner review: Bread Winner's

I went to Bread Winner's for dinner with two good girlfriends who also enjoy good food. We went to the location at Lovers' and Inwood, although there is also one on McKinney Ave. The two locations are very different in layout, but the food is equally amazing at both!
I ordered the spinach artichoke dip as an appetizer. It was fantastic, with a very cheesy crust on top. It was served with toasted flatbread, thank goodness! (My big pet peeve is when restaurants serve this dip with tortilla chips.)
I was in the mood for a salad, so I ordered the Honey Glazed Salmon salad. Yum! The salmon was cooked perfectly, flaky and flavorful. The greens were dressed with a lemon shallot vinagerette, the perfect compliment! The salad also includes asparagus, red onion, and mandarin oranges. They only thing I could think that would have made it better was toasted walnuts or goat cheese. But the fat in the salmon made up for the absence of cheese or nut. :)
My friends ordered the garlic chicken pasta and I heard nothing but rave reviews.
I was too stuffed to eat dessert right away, but the cakes, pies, and cookies displayed in the bakery part of the restaurant looked too good to pass up! I took home a slice of Chocolate Seduction cake to enjoy later. Big surprise, Michael ate most of the generous slice! But I managed to sneak in a few bites, and what amazing bites they were! Layers of chocolate cake are alternated with layers of white chocolate cake, and the bottom layer is basically a brownie. Mmmmm....I was in chocolate heaven!