Friday, August 31, 2007

Recipe of the week - shrimp tacos

A few days ago we had a friend over for dinner and we made shrimp tacos. They were really good. We got the idea from restaurant in Austin called Chuy's. Monte always got the shrimp tacos and they were so good. We tried to recreate their recipe from what we remembered. My favorite part about the tacos was the sauce we made (Mandie it wasn't the boom boom sauce - I wish I knew how to make that). Here's what we did:

1 lb of precooked and shelled shrimp put on skewers and baste with BBQ sauce (we used a sweet blueberry BBQ sauce we got from Doug and Judi) put on the grill just long enough to warm through. I guess you could use raw shrimp and keep them on the grill a little longer. Build your taco using tortillas, the shrimp, and any other topping you like on your taco. We made a yummy sauce to put on top. Again no recipe - I put sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, and salt in the blender. I had to taste it a few times to get the quantities right. It was a nice refreshing taste on the tacos. I used left over sauce on my salads all week it made a great dressing. The best part is it was low fat because it didn't have any oil in it. If you like salads try making the sauce and using it for dressing.

I also made the typical corn and black bean salad/relish to go with it. I added mango to it which made it sweeter. I intended it to be a side dish but we ended up putting the relish on the tacos! Yumm!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not Marine Material

Many of you know I take a class at the gym taught by a woman that trains Marines. I have never seen a woman so fit. She is tough as nails. Some people see her at the gym and stare in amazement as she runs forward, backwards, and sideways on the treadmill which is going faster than I run and has a steep incline (Meggo got to see her do this). She has run a marathon pushing her kids in a stroller. I don't think I could run a marathon let a lone one pushing an extra 40+ lbs. Needless to say she is hard core which might be one reason I love her class. I always feel like I have accomplished something when I finish her class. I am always sore the next day but am glad I did it.

On to the story, Connie trains Marines and incorporates some of the training she uses with them into our class. Today she decided that we were going to do the whole class carrying a "gun". Since the Y doesn't have guns she found us all 9 lb body bars to carry. At first it wasn't bad as we ran, lunged, shuffled, and sprinted with the "gun" but after a 20 minutes it got tough and my arms started to ache. Half way through someone mentioned how hard it was and she said - this is easy you don't have on combat boots, 100 pound pack on, and we are inside in the air conditioning. I then realized I am not cut out to be a Marine. (Not that I ever wanted to be one). I tend to think I am in pretty good shape but each drill she gave us I barely finished. I couldn't imagine doing that in the heat, with all the equipment Marines wear. I did finish the class and I did complete all of the drills but I was wiped out. It made me appreciate all the training our military goes through. For all you military folks out there thank you for protecting us and all you do because after Connie's class I know I couldn't do what you all do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Best Friend

Meggo's comment in Praying for Rain made me think of another story worth blogging. This past weekend our church hosted AVBS (After Vacation Bible School). Each night all the participants got to put their name in a bucket for a prize. If you brought a friend you got to put your name in the bucket for each friend you brought, increasing your chance for winning. Beckham didn't win a prize the first night and was confused as to why he didn't win a prize. I tried to explain that not everyone wins - just 3 people out of everyone there won. He didn't understand and proceeded to ask what he did wrong and why he didn't get a prize. I explained further saying it's just luck and that only 3 people win. the more your name is in the bucket the better your chance is to win.

The second night we were on our way to AVBS and Beckham asked if he could bring his friend Charlie so he could put his name in the bucket twice. Problem was, Charlie is his stuffed animal dog. I told Beckham Charlie didn't count it had to be a real person. Beckham's response, "I can put my name in twice because I brought you and you're my best friend." My heart melted even though I knew he was just saying that so he could put his name in the bucket twice. I told him that in order to put your name in twice you had to bring a real person who is a friend your own age. I couldn't blame him for trying. I'm sure I would have tried the same tactics when I was younger if I had been that smart. (Beckham is a smart cookie who is always thinking outside the box).

Beckham never won a prize. As a mom it broke my heart every night to see his face disappointed when he didn't win. I felt even worse when he would ask what he did wrong. I wanted to go buy him a prize just to make him feel better. But I realized it's one of those life lessons you have to let your kid learn on their own - not everyone wins.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Praying for Rain

Many of you know that it has been a hot dry summer for us in Charlotte. It hasn't rain for a while (I don't count the day it rained for less than 2 minutes). We have mandatory water restrictions and can't water our lawn except on Wed and Sat. Cops in our town don't have much to do so they have also been the "water police" giving warnings and writing $120 tickets for those that water on the wrong day. (After the first ticket it goes up to $240 then $400 - guess they are serious making you stick to your watering day). Anyway, we were driving in the car and Beckham and I had the following conversation:

Beckham - mom it's going to rain b/c I prayed to my heart for it to rain
Me - You mean you prayed to God for it to rain?
Beckham - yeah, to my heart. That is where Jesus is so I prayed to my heart.

I thought it was the cutest explanation and had to blog about it. The funny thing is last week we were talking about how God is omnipresent meaning he is everywhere. I guess he hasn't fully grasped that concept - but he can say the word!!

Incase you are wondering - it did rain that night. Not enough to wet the ground. It evaporated right away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recipe of the week - Maple Pecan Pork

A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to try a new recipe each week and blog about it. The idea came from 50 toes - they do Music Mondays and pick a song to share every Monday. It has been fun hearing new songs and seeing what they pick. I thought people might enjoy getting a new recipe each week and it would make me try to cook something new. I have cooked something new for the past 4 weeks but I haven't gotten around to blogging about it. This is the week I start. Since my schedule is ever changing I am not going to have a set day for the recipe so you'll just have to check back each week to see what I've been cooking.

Last night I made Maple Pecan Pork Chops. they were really good and super easy. I can't promise a good or easy recipe each week but this one was both. Below is the recipe if you want to try it. Happy cooking!

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
4 (3/4 inch thick) bone-in pork loin chops (I used boneless)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 cup pecan halves
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, pepper and 2 teaspoons syrup. Brush over both sides of pork chops. In a large nonstick skillet, brown pork in butter over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Add apple juice. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until meat is tender. Remove chops and keep warm.
Add pecans and remaining syrup to the skillet; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until blended. Serve over pork chops.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The ants go marching one by one

The past few weeks have been hot and dry from the lack of rain. It has been in the 100s and one day it was the third hottest day in Charlotte history. Not just for that day but for all days. The hot dry weather has brought a ton of ants. This weekend we noticed a few ant hills in our yard. I also noticed a line of ants in our dining room and quickly took care of it- by smashing them!! Well, yesterday I woke up and went to the pantry to get breakfast and there were ants everywhere!!! When I say everywhere I mean everywhere. It was so gross. I threw a bunch of food out (due to the volume of ants on it even though it was sealed). I needed ant spray but I didn't have time to load the kids in the car and go get it because we were going to see a movie at 9:00. So, I furiously started killing ants. There were 1000s of them. I got the majority of the ones I could see and put a line of chili powder where they were coming in (it is supposed to deter them). I couldn't do anything more until after the movie. We stopped at target on the way home and thankfully got some ant spray. Once we had the spray the ants didn't have a chance. So the moral to the story - when it is hot and hasn't rained in a long time ants like to find their way into your house so make sure you are ready. And, don't leave any open food anywhere - we had an open granola bar the ants were devouring.