Thursday, February 28, 2013

Let's Take A Trip On A Flying Carpet

For my birthday we tried out a new restaurant called the Flying Carpet Cafe. It was fabulous! They have a small, but brilliant menu and the food was out of this world. It is BYOB so we brought some wine to enjoy over dinner and conversation. The place is very warm and inviting. They have Turkish rugs hanging on the walls and also displayed in the front room for purchase. Two sisters run the place, which I think is lovely since I am one of two sisters. One of the sisters, Devon, who is a pastry chef and the general manager greeted us during dinner which was a special touch.

We started out with the Meze sampler with dolmas, hummus, pitas, tzatziki sauce, tabbouleh, and toasted pita bread (which all was devoured before I could get a pic in)

After our appitizer my dad and I enjoyed the cucumber salad.

Mr. Lucas and my mom enjoyed the citrus salad.

Then, for the entrees. Wow. The men folk had the braised Australian lamb shoulder and the women folk had the roasted free range chicken breast. That was the juciest chicken I have ever sunk my teeth into. Yum.

We had a rather difficult time deciding what desert we all wanted. So, we ordered 3 and shared. They were all fabulous. I had a hard time choosing my favorite but I am a baklava lover through and through. The almond pudding was a close runner up!

We finished dinner with Turkish coffee and my mom had the Turkish tea. They came in little tiny cups, so cute!

Such a lovely little place and our waiter was great too. We will be back and I can't wait!


Monday, February 25, 2013

A Nice Warm Bowl Of Chicken Chili Soup For The Soul

I love Chili. Maybe it's a Texas thing. But, I love it, year round even. I decided to branch out a little and make a chicken chili this time. I usually use ground beef or ground turkey for a hearty chili. I've heard of chicken chili but didn't really strike my fancy until, I saw a nice looking recipe in one of my South Beach Cookbooks. I changed one little thing and it turned out so yummy! It made enough to feed an army. So, I was able to freeze the left over (even after  I took some for my lunch the next day) to have next week. I need to get better at making a lot one night and freezing the rest for the following week. That would save me so much time and I am certain I would love myself for it later. Yeah, note to that more often. Anyhoo, without further ado...

White Chipotle Chicken Chili
2 tablespoons evoo
3 medium onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2.5 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes (yeah, I don't get that technical, just chop it up and don't mind the measurement, it will be JUST fine.
1 tablespoon chipotle Chile powder (I used my Santa Fe School of Cooking red Chile powder)
4 teaspoons ground cumin
salt to taste
3 19oz cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (I used the most fantastic Vermont white cheddar from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, stir, and cook until soften, about 4-5 minutes.Push the onions to the side of the pan and add the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with the Chile powder, cumin, and salt. Cook, stirring, until most of the chicken is opaque on the outside, 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir in 3 cups of beans and 2 cups of chicken broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, is a food processor, combine the remaining beans and remaining 1 cup of broth. Process until a smooth puree.

Stir in the bean puree and half and half into the soup. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and serve hot sprinkled with cheese and cilantro. I also topped with a lime wedge.


Oh, P.S, I promise to start posting some crafty yarnie things soon. My hands have been full with my little pup. Somehow, I don't think she is going to allow me to spin yarn. But I am going to give it the old college try. I have been wanting to spin, I feel the urge, it will happen soon!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Berry Breakfast Cake

I don't often get to cook breakfast during the weekday so on the weekend I take advantage. I happened across a box of multigrain baking and pancake mix from Trader Joe's a few weeks ago. Man, I love that place. I never stick to my grocery list when I go in there and the mix was a nice find not on the list. I have made a few things from it but this weekend I made a mixed berry breakfast cake. The recipe is actually on the side of the box, but for a "blueberry coffee cake". I didn't have blueberries but I had a bag of frozen mixed berries which worked just fine. It was super easy to put together. I does have to bake a while but...the end result was rather yummy! 


Friday, February 22, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Refrigerator Recon

My refrigerator, what can I say. It is a gigantic mess.  This is odd for allow my refrigerator to die a slow and painful death. I am typically a very clean person. Even one little cat hair tumbleweed blowing down the hall way can drive me nuts. Toothpaste stuck to the sink drives me nuts. Spots of the floor drive me nuts. An unmade bed drives me nuts Anything not clean drives me absolutely nuts. But, for some reason my poor refrigerator does not fall into the "typically clean" category or even the "drives me nuts" category. So, I have taken matters into my own hands and completely cleaned out the refrigerator. I have given it life once again and I love it. I even open it just so I can look at how clean and organized it is. I plan to make it even more organized. I saw a great article in Real Simple about how to organize your refrigerator so, I am going to take it one step further. But for now, brace yourselves for the pictures to come.

So, this is how it all started. Messy, unorganized, and just plain filthy. I think there is even sour milk in there. Um, gross.

I started by pulling everything out of the fridge and freezer.

I pulled all the drawers, shelves and racks out of the fridge and cleaned them all in hot soapy water. I should have used bleach but for some strange and rare reason, I was out.

This is what I found when I pulled everything out of the fridge. Really, its gross. There is a mozzarella cheese stick back there that was cryogenically frozen. I think that is some wine and Millie's dog hair. RIP old girl. Her dog hair would get EVERYWHERE. So, I am not surprised I found enough laying around in the fridge to knit a sweater. Please don't judge. I am showing this picture because I am human and I can't possibly keep everything clean unless Mr. Lucas hires me a maid and I know that ain't happnin'

Then, 2 hours later......

Super duper spankin' looking new refrigerator and freezer!

I purchased box of OXO  containers at Target. I am going to get more, these things are awesome! So I organized various foods into the containers. I also had some zip lock containers that I used to organize with as well and Pyrex that we got as a wedding gift. I rearranged the shelving to make things fit better as well.

I wrapped the meat in freezer paper because the containers the come in can take up so much room! I also divided the chicken and placed in freezer bags. 

I am pleased but like I said, still have a bit more organization to do. But, for now. My fridge is happier and so am I.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Man Breakfast

As I have said before, Mr. Lucas does not cook. But, when he does it tends to be breakfast food. Typically a fried egg. But, he has branched out folks and moved on to sausage gravy and biscuits. He has made it before and I bought the ingredients at the store. I typically get turkey sausage, whole wheat biscuits, and low fat milk. Yeah, not this time. He was at the store with me and insisted on fully fattening ingredients  So, I went with it. It was damn good.

Sweet pork sausage (or turkey if you fancy)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste.

Fry your sausage in a skillet until brown.

Add salt and pepper

Add the flour gradually while stirring.

Carefully pour in the milk and let cook until thickened. 

Slice open the biscuits and pile on the sausage gravy.

Mmmmmm good! 

Happy breakfast eating! 


Friday, February 15, 2013

In The Moment

Stinkin' cute.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crock Pot Sausage and White Bean Soup

Sometimes I like to just throw some stuff in a crock pot, have it do all the work, and come home to a sweet smelling house after a long day at work. Well, not just sometimes...practically all the time. It is just so dang hard for some reason to find good healthy crock pot recipes. But, I happened across a pretty cool cookbook with some pretty cook recipes. I have made this one several times and it is delish.

Sausage and White Bean Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, meat pushed out of casings (I use turkey)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 14.5 oz cannellini beans, drained (um, I actually use 3 15 oz cans, I like beans)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca (not sure why but I did it)
1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth
1 head escarole, washed and chopped (I couldn't find escarole so I used cabbage)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a large skillet cook onions and sausage until meat is brown and onions are soft. Drain off fat (you won't get a lot of fat if you use turkey.
2. Add sausage and onion mixture to crock and then add all remaining ingredients except for the escarole and Parmesan. Mix gently until tomato paste dissolves.
3. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Chop escarole, stir well and cook 1 more hour. Scoop into individual bowls and top with Parmesan cheese.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Late Night Lamp Recovering

So, the crafty bug bit me one evening which lead to an impromptu lamp covering. I have these 2 great milk glass lamps but they have the same old tired white lamp cover they have had probably since they were made. There were few stains on the shades here and there too. I just got tired of looking at them so I stuck both the lamps in the garage for a while. Then, eons later, I had a thought. Why not recover the darn things? Geeze, and it took me THAT long to come up with the idea to recover the shades? 

So, I went scavenging into my craft supplies and low and behold, I had all the supplies necessary to recover the lamp shades. While I can't say I followed a professional protocol for lamp shade covering, because I didn't. I do have to say I came up with my own creative way and they turned out pretty darn good. 

From my craft stash I used 2 different fabric prints, fabric scissors, craft clue, a craft sponge, newspaper and a sharpie to make the pattern.

Take your newspaper and lay the lamp shade on it. Use the sharpie to draw the outline of your shade to make your pattern.

Cut your pattern out.

Lay the pattern on your fabric with wrong side of the fabric facing up and trace and cut your fabric.

I don't know what the proper way is to fix the fabric on a lamp shade but I used glue and a craft sponge. It worked great! Just dab the glue on the lamp shade and lay the fabric on.

I used another pattern of fabric to make trim for for the bottom of the lampshade and glued that on as well.

There you have it, an old lamp looking good as new.

Happy little lamp shade.  


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Torchy's Tacos Is Tha Bizomb

I have been obsessed with Torchy's Tacos for years now. We eat there like a gazillion times when we take road trips to Austin. The. best. tacos. period. Now...the gods have listened and they built one here in little old Funky Town. Praise all the is merciful. When they first opened in December there was a line wrapped around the building so Jeff and I ordered online and he went to pick up. But, today, we headed on down there for lunch and it was delish! Our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs when we go. So, it was only fitting that we ordered a metric ton of food. So much food the guy that delivered it to our table said "here comes the party" and a party it was. A bit honkin' food party that left us with big  honkin' food comas. It was all so worth it.

The street corn is to die for. I cant describe it really other than freaking awesome. Yum.

I always have to get the green chile pork taco because I am a green chile eating fool. I also like to throw a breakfast taco in too so I went with the migas taco. Again, yum, thank you very much. 

The queso is the best every. I didn't get a picture of that because we ate it all. :) So, there you go. If you live close to a Torchy's, go. Now. 


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