Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lindsey's Senior Pictures

When my in-laws came into town last month for a visit, we (me, the husband, my brother-in-law William and my sister-in-law Lindsey) escaped for a day downtown to take Lindsey's senior pictures. We first hit up Zilker Gardens and then made our way over near South Congress to sneak walk around the alleyways and whatnot to find some cool spots. Lindsey is, for lack of a better word, crazy. But the awesome kind. She's hardcore into basketball (she plays on her HS varsity team) but can't leave the house unless her hair looks perfect (you know it's true, Linz). Not to mention she's a ridiculous ball of energy. We love her to death and her silliness made the photoshoot all that more fun. She was a trooper, too - we walked around for about 4 hours in the middle of the day and in this summer weather, that means 100+ degree temps. Now that they have the final images on disc, I thought I'd post a few of my favorites. Including some outtakes at the end... :)

Um, yeah. Apparently playing basketball gives you killer legs. Sign me up! Also, if you're a boy, look away.

And now may I present to you: "Gangsta" Lindsey and Overly-Giddy Lindsey. She hearts haterz.

This last picture on the right is quite possibly my favorite of all of them. Classic Lindsey.

She might kill me for posting these last couple, but deep down she loves them too :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is Coming my bedroom.

Yes, that is newspaper on my wall. No, it's not staying, but something else will be in its place. It's still in conception but I'm hoping to start on the project soon. I can tell you that 1. I can't decide between white and a color, 2. they won't be photographs, and 3. I need 64 total, but currently there are only actually 59 in existence.

I know that doesn't make much sense, but what fun is it to tell you ahead of time? :) Stay tuned...

My New Best Friend

Okay well "new" is a relatively loose term, I suppose, since I've had this particular product for seven or eight months now, but it is still very much my bff in the kitchen. When the husband and I got married last October, we received a new cookware set that we had registered for from his wonderful family as a wedding gift. I was super psyched to get them since I had been sporting a $20 set from Ross since sophomore year in college and I was done with that cheapness! *

One thing I didn't count on was my new pots and pans looking anything other than beautiful and right-out-of-the-box shiny forever and ever. I quickly realized that without a non-stick coating things tend to, well, stick to the pans. This is largely combated by generous amounts of butter and oil, but even if you prevent things from getting stuck, after awhile the pan starts to look like this....
Pleasant, isn't it? Yeah, it looks like a layer of gunk, but we do wash our pans, thank you very much, and this is as clean as it gets! That is, unless you know my good friend.

Super cheap on Amazon
Yes, this aptly named can of powder is pure magic (though I suppose Harry Potter might argue that "scourgify" is a bit faster). In fact, if you visit that link I put up there in the first paragraph to our cookware on Amazon, the one thing it tells you that most customers "frequently bought together" along with the pots and pans set is this stuff. Easy to use? Why yes, yes it is. Are these visuals necessary? Probably not, but ignore that point and enjoy the pictures.

STEP 1: Wet the pan and dump out any excess water.

STEP 2: Put a generous amount of the powder on the surface that you want to tackle.

STEP 3: Start scrubbing with a cloth that you don't particularly care much about. Make sure it's wet as well so that the powder starts to make a paste. Depending on the severity of the surface, you might be doing this for awhile.

 STEP 4: Realize that the back of your pan has foreign markings on it as well and scrub some more.

 STEP 5: Rinse well and hand wash to remove any remaining residue.
Already looking better...
And now for a before and after, because those are my favorite things ever:

I don't use this stuff every day, but when I notice a pot or pan looking a little worn, I like to bust it out and make them look nice and shiny again. This powder will get out pretty much everything. If it can be removed, it will be, as long as you're persistent enough. This one pan only took me about 2 minutes. So if you have stainless steel cookware that needs a pick me up, I highly recommend it!

Do you have any "must haves" around the house?

* I realize this makes me sound like a horrible person, but you would agree, had you used those terrible pots and pans for so long.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pot Roast Monday

Pot Roast has become somewhat of a tradition around here on Mondays and I never get tired of it! We don't do a whole lot of variation (why mess with a good thing?!) but it still lets us have melt-in-your-mouth meat once a week with deliciously season potatoes and broccoli. It was always one of my favorite things my mom made growing up and ever since I invested (okay, it was $20) in a good crock pot, I've been a happy camper :) It's a good "meat and potatoes" dish (literally) - warm, comforting and best of all, easy to make. And as crazy as Mondays can be, that's a good thing.

- One rump roast or similar cut of meat, roughly 3/4 lb per person
- Beef or Chicken broth, enough to nearly cover your meat (we've used both with equally good results)
- Vegetables 
- Seasonings (I use garlic powder, pepper, onion powder and red pepper flakes)
- Flour

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix the flour with seasonings of your choice (for this step I use pepper and garlic powder) and cover both sides of the meat. Place meat in the skillet to brown, two minutes per side. Remove from heat and transfer to crock pot.

Cover meat with the beef or chicken broth and add the rest of your seasonings (I reapply pepper and garlic powder and add in the flakes and onion powder. Because the broth already contains a massive amount of sodium, I never add additional salt). Cover and cook on high for 7-9 hours.

Optional: Add in vegetables during the last hour or two of cooking, depending on the type of veggie. I use red potatoes - one per person - and put them in for at least two hours. They are delicious by the end. I also throw in broccoli about 15 minutes before we sit down to eat so that it doesn't get soggy but that it has a chance to absorb the flavors.


What about you? Do you have a staple dish that you keep coming back to?