Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Local Fort Worth Blogs

I've been navigating my way through the new NBC 5 website - new to me anyway. It's kind of hard to find your way around it, but I'm figuring it out slowly but surely.

Anyway, I came across one of their blogs. It's called Worth The Drive. They post something that's worth driving a short distance from DFW. Pretty neat.

There's also one called Shells of our City. It talks about old abandoned buildings around town.

There's a Penny Pinching blog.

And also one called Gourmet Yourself, where you can learn recipes, tips and tricks from local chefs.

Go check them out. You might learn something new!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Pig

Have y'all ever heard of Book Pig? I hadn't till the other day. It seems like a neat concept.

From their website:

"Children read more with Book Pig and it's easy to see why. We deliver great books to your doorstep in a fun package. Books are tailored to your children's taste and reading level. Take a look and see why Book Pig is a great way for your children to read more. "

I think it's kind of like Netflix but with kids' books.

Just checked the price and it seems kind of high to me. Would be a lot cheaper to go to the library and check out the books.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Smell of Cabelas

Does anyone else get grossed out from the smell in Cabelas? I don't know why, but it makes me sick to my stomach whenever I go in there. It smells like burnt cinnamon or something - blah!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

How Do They Remember The Recipes?

I watch a lot of cooking competition shows like Top Chef and Masterchef. I've always wondered...how do they remember the recipes? I think I can only remember one or two recipes and that's for mashed potatoes and the other is my grandma's goulash! Are they able to use written recipes they brought with them? I'm just curious.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: Five Guys

What's the big deal with Five Guys Burgers & Fries? It was supposedly one of Fort Worth's 10 best new places to go eat. We went there yesterday for lunch and I was not that impressed. The fries were overdone and the burger was --- well, just a burger. Nothing much to write home about. Just my opinion.

Review: Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth

So I bought the Groupon for the Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth. I finally got Maddie enrolled in a class. I had never heard of it before and thought it would be really neat for my four (almost five)-year-old to do because it's all about cooking and she loves to help me in the kitchen.

It was a little hard to get her registered, only because they seem to never answer the phone at the Young Chefs Academy. I guess they're too busy "cooking up fun in the kitchen." But they did return my calls every time I called, albeit the next day or two after I called and left a message. Would have loved to have been able to register her through their website, but you can't do that if you're using a Groupon

Anyway, I was finally able to register her and my mother and I took her to the KinderCooks class yesterday. The place looked really neat. All the cabinets were painted different bright colors. Everything looked neat and clean. They looked well-prepared because they had all their ingredients ready to go. Chef Jeff was all set to go when the other 9 or 10 kids came piling into the class.

He helped them all wash their hands and put on their cutesy little aprons. And then the class started. It was off to a good start. He explained to them about measuring a cup of flour and how you have to tap, tap, tap and scrape it off to get an even cup. Each kid had to measure and dump the flour into the bowl.

Then, unfortunately, that's where the informative part went bye-bye. When the not-so-happy-to-be "cooking up fun in the kitchen" employee came into the room to help Chef Jeff. For some reason or another, it didn't seem so fun anymore. She took the bowls and the measuring cup and went around to each table and had them do the same thing again. But she wasn't very nice about it. It was more like, Here, kid...you do it and then pass the tools to the next kid. And so it went for about an hour or so. Each time they started at the table to their right. The poor kids at the table to their left got to do hardly anything - they tore up bacon - whoop whoop!

I was sitting there thinking, I'm glad I did not pay full price for this, when one of the other mother's said, Is anybody else underwhelmed at this point? I thought, OMG, this lady is like Sookie from True Blood...she can read my mind. So all of us moms started talking about how we thought it would be more informative...that they would teach the kids more things about cooking - not just have them dump ingredients into a bowl. Maybe they would say, This is cinnamon, kids; cinnamon is a spice; it comes from trees (or wherever it comes from). Not just dump and pass.

Then...get this...one of the little girls kept standing up on her barstool to kind of look in the bowl so she could stir it. The "teachers" asked her a few times to sit down. Her mother went in and whispered something in her ear (which I'm sure was to have her sit down). The little girl was not disruptive - she was not interfering with the class at all. The sourpuss employee goes around the table, picks the girl up, moves her to the side and then grabs her barstool and takes it away...makes the kid stand the rest of the time!! I couldn't believe it. Totally embarrassed the little girl - her demeanor totally changed.

Listen, I'm all for people getting onto kids when they're doing something wrong. There's a right way and a wrong way to do it. That was the WRONG way. Young Chefs Academy is not the place to discipline other people's children.

The mom didn't see all this go down. She asked me, Did she just take her stool away? I said, Yes. After a few minutes the mom went in there and gave her daughter her stool back and told the sourpuss that she could have gone about that whole ordeal in a nicer way. The mom then proceeded to have a talk with the owner of the place...thank goodness.

At this point, that's when the owner took over the class. She saved it. Made it fun. Was very informative. Explained things to the kids. Made it worth the $15 or so I paid.

My suggestion to the owner of Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth: use recipes that have way, way, way, way less ingredients than French Toast Cupcakes; have smaller classes if possible; fire the sourpuss. Your classes will never be enjoyable for little kids if you have an employee working there who absolutely does not want to be there.

My suggestion for parents taking their kids to Young Chefs Academy of Fort Worth: stay while the class is going on and sit in that little area that you're supposed to sit in and watch the class. If things aren't going like you think they should, go find the owner.

As for me and my kids, I don't think we'll be back.

This young chefs idea is a great concept. It could be so fun for little kids. You've got to have people working there that want to be there, that want the little kids to have fun and to learn something in the process.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

Last night I made Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas - another recipe taken out of one of the Kraft magazines my mother-in-law gave me. They were pretty good... a little too spicy for my taste. I don't know why they were because I bought the mild salsa. Here's the recipe:

First you've got to cook some chicken breasts. I used the frozen chicken breast tenderloins. I cooked about 12 or more of them because I wanted to save some for another recipe. Here's the recipe for that:

1 cup Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing
8 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 lbs)

Pour everything in Ziplock bag and put in fridge for 5 minutes to marinate. Line baking sheet with foil and then put chicken on baking sheet and throw away marinade. Pop in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees). (It drives me up a wall every time I hear someone on a cooking show say pop -- like pop it in the oven! I'm a weirdo, I know!)

Here's the recipe for the chicken enchiladas:

Vegetable oil - just enough to cook onions
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cooked small chicken breasts, shredded (I used about 8 of the tenderloin thingies from recipe above)
1 cup salsa - divided
4 oz. can diced green chilies (optional)
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 Tbsp cilantro (I used dried - just eyeballed it)
1 tsp cumin
1 cup (or more) Colby Jack cheese (or whatever you want)
8 flour tortillas (I used seven, but who really cares?)

Preheat oven to 350. Put small amount of vegetable oil in skillet. Cook onions and garlic about two minutes. Add chicken, 1/4 cup of the salsa, cream cheese, green chilies (if you want them), cilantro and cumin. Mix well. Cook until heated through - stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix well.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture onto each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in 9x13 baking dish which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining 3/4 cup salsa and remaining shredded cheese.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 4 servings, 2 enchiladas each.

(I thought this might taste better with a sauce on top of it of some kind - something juicier than just salsa - Kelly liked it as is though.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognese

My mother-in-law brought me a bunch of her old Kraft magazines and I've been having a heyday going through them. I made this last night and it was scrumptious. I modified it a little bit, so I'll give you my recipe.

Super Easy Spaghetti Bolognese

12 oz. thin spaghetti
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups chopped onions (Yes you really need that much!)
4 cloves minced garlic (I put about 3 or 4 teaspoons of the already minced jar kind)
1 (14 1/2 oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes undrained
4 Tbsp. tomato paste (I used the kind with garlic in it)
4 Tbsp Zesty Italian dressing
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Cook pasta. While that's cooking, combine meat, onions and garlic in skillet. Cook until meat is not pink and onions are tender. Stir frequently. Drain (if necessary) but don't rinse (if that's what you normally do).

Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste and dressing. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 5 minutes or until heated through.

Drain pasta. Place in large serving bowl. Add 1/2 the meat sauce - mix lightly and sprinkle with cheese if you want.

Here's where it got a little screwed up. I mixed the pasta with 1/2 of the meat mixture. I planned on saving 1/2 the meat mixture to make Zesty Beef Chili (see recipe below) the next day, but SOMEBODY (I'm not going to name names) but SOMEBODY spooned the extra meat mixture into their bowl. They thought I had it separated like that because Maddie probably wouldn't eat it with all that meat in it. Excuses, excuses!! LOL!!

Anyway, if you can keep yourself from eating the extra 1/2 of the meat mixture, then make this:

Zesty Beef Chili

Leftover Bolognese sauce (from up there)
1 (15 oz.) Can kidney beans, drained
1/2 Cup Salsa
1 Tbsp chili powder
Any kind of shredded cheese you like (and please shred your own -cheese tastes so much better when you shred it yourself, plus I think it has less additives in it! I'm just saying!)

Spoon leftover meat sauce into saucepan. Stir in drained beans, salsa and chili powder. Cook and stir until heated through. Top with cheese of your choice if you want. Makes 2 servings, 2 cups each.

(Does anybody know how to make a link to where y'all can print out the recipes easier without having to cut and paste them? I can't figure out how to do that!)