Thursday, May 27, 2010

Weatherford Trip

*** Warning: This post is very image heavy. But they're pretty! ^_^ ***

Almost a month ago, Brian and I took a little mini-vacation out to the nearby town of Weatherford, Texas. It's a small, quaint town, with a couple of gardens and a historic district. We even made our way a little farther, into Mineral Wells, to see the famous, but now dilapidated Baker Hotel.

On our way home, we actually stopped to stay a night with Brian's mom and stepdad. We met up with some of his family the next day at the Fort Worth Stockyards, and had some fun.

I am only going to post favorite pictures, that I did some post processing on. If you click the title of each section, it will take you to the Flickr set of all the pictures I uploaded -- and there are tons, so I highly recommend it, they're so pretty! ^_^ Let me know if you have a favorite, or what you think! ^_^

The town square and some beautiful historic homes. I wouldn't mind living in Weatherford. Nice, quiet, and not too far from Fort Worth (for the city amenities). ^_^

Weatherford, Texas Courthouse

Gray Craftsman

Light Gray Victorian

Green Victorian


The Baker Hotel is a huge hotel that sits towering over the sad little town of Mineral Wells. It was apparently quite the celebrity hotspot in the 1950s, frequented because of the apparent curative properties of the mineral water (hence the name of the town). Sadly, it has now been condemned, although there IS a FOR SALE sign. Wonder how much they want for it. As always in places like this, people claim it's haunted. What do YOU think? ^_-

Baker Hotel (vintage shot)

Baker Hotel Entrance

Baker Hotel Entrance - Other Side

Baker Hotel Front (Tall View)


This garden sits on many, many acres, and it has some wonderful spots, including sighting of the swan, the shaded areas, the cute church and the white garden, among many others. Also has a little train depot, with miniature trains running in several tracks. Quite fun and pretty place!


120/365 (Extra): Pink Water Lily

Butterfly on Daisy

120/365: Upended Swan

Drippin Swan

Swan in Lake

Train 1

Lizard Giving Me the Eye



Chandor was a portrait artist. Apparently, he painted many of the presidents back in the day. He created this garden, around his home, for his wife. Now THAT's love. ^_^ He was British, and infused that gardening sensibility with his love for Asian art. Even though this garden was much smaller than Clark, it was so green and tranquil. Such a peaceful place that one could easily settle into a chair in a shadow, with a good book and be lost for hours. Awesome, awesome place!

Main Entrance, Guarded by Lions

Water Dragon

Peering Gecko

More Ladybug Pupas

Salmon Iris

121/365: Turquoise Door

Deep Purple Iris

121/365 (Extra): Singing Cardinal

Deep Pink Peonies and Lush Greens

Little Girl Statue Water Fountain

Closeup of Orange Flower


We didn't spend too much time here, but we watched the cattle drive after some people ran the maze (that was featured on The Amazing Race a few seasons back). Also had some BBQ. It was a great, but exhausting weekend.

Stage Coach

122/365: Animal Tricks

Fort Worth Stockyard Coliseum

Fort Worth Live Stock Exchange Building

Cattle Drive 4

Cowboy Clown

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Recipes: Soup and Sweets

It's been awhile since I've posted a recipe. I think it's because I've been so busy photographing my food experiments for my Project 365, that I haven't bothered blogging about it.

So, I have a few recipes to share, because they're just that darn good (and sometimes, easy). (Yep, all my pictures!)

So here we go!

110/365: Heavenly Chicken Tortilla Soup

I got this from Centsational Girl, and used my George Foreman to grill the chicken. Oh, my goodness, so delicious! And you have to, have to use the avocado. It totally makes the soup. Also, can easily be done vegetarian, obviously leaving out the chicken. ^_^

Chicken Tortilla Soup
(Serves 6)

• 2 tbsp vegetable oil
• Four 14 oz. cans chicken broth (or equivalent with bullion)
• 1 package taco seasoning
• 1 tbsp red taco sauce (mild or medium)*
• 4 oz. can diced green chiles (mild or medium)
• 6 oz. can tomato paste
• 8 oz. petite diced tomatoes – half the can and completely optional
• ¾ tsp ground cumin
• 4 chicken breasts
• 14 oz. water
• 1 medium onion, finely diced
• 1 ½ cups diced celery
• 1 ½ cups diced carrots
• 1 ½ cups roasted or frozen kernel corn
• 4 corn tortillas
• 1 cup shredded jack cheese
• Sliced avocado (optional, if available)
• Fresh cilantro (optional)
*add another tbsp taco sauce if you like it spicy

1. Start by dicing your onion, celery, and carrot. In a large pot or dutch oven, soften your onion, celery and chiles in 1 tbsp vegetable oil for 3–4 minutes on medium low heat.
2. Add chicken broth, and then fill one can with 14 more ounces of water and add to pot.
3. Add carrots, corn, tomato paste, taco sauce, and cumin. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low.
4. Meanwhile, coat your chicken breasts in taco seasoning.
5. Grill chicken breasts on an indoor grill or a panini maker for 6 to 8 minutes. You can also broil in your oven for the same amount of time, but to me, the grilled chicken tastes better.
6. Once cooked, dice your chicken into chunks, then toss into soup pot.
7. Cook soup on low for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Ten minutes before your soup is done (or before you intend to serve) thinly slice your corn tortillas.
9. Toss in pan with 1 tbsp vegetable oil, and stir on medium heat until lightly browned.
10. Soup can be made one day in advance, stored in fridge and reheated. Serve hot by garnishing with fresh corn tortilla strips, shredded jack cheese and fresh avocado slices (if available).
11. Other optional garnishes: fresh chopped cilantro, squeeze of lime, sour cream, or diced fresh tomatoes.

Note: If celery, or diced tomatoes, or corn is not your thing, then simply leave it out. The taco flavor comes from the combination of the liquid ingredients and the dry seasonings.


115/365: Better Than Cinnabon

I found this recipe on All Recipes that a friend posted on her blog. You can follow down for the recipe, or click this link.

Clone of a Cinnabon
(Serves 12)


• 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 2 eggs, room temperature
• 1/3 cup margarine, melted
• 4 1/2 cups bread flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

• 1 cup brown sugar, packed
• 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
• 1/3 cup butter, softened

• 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

My Notes: If you don't have a bread machine to make the dough, if you click on the link to the All Recipes site, there are many comments on how to make this without one. But I have to tell you, it's SOOooo easy with one. Thank you, in-laws! (They gave us theirs since they hadn't used it in ages.)

Also, if you make it the night before, then put it in the fridge overnight, they rise just enough to bake up loverly the next morning. Oh, yeah. Oh, and I would make 1 1/2 servings of frosting. But that's just me. ^_^


136/365 (Extra): Lime Meltaways

This is a Martha Stewart recipe, and there is no fuss or muss here. Once you've prepped, it takes about 5 minutes for the dough to come together. Although, I will admit, it takes a few minutes to roll the dough (but do a search on her site and you can see a video of her rolling the log of dough -- it explains a lot!). Great cookies to make ahead of the holidays and then just pull from the freezer, slice and bake when it's time to shine. Delicious!

Lime Meltaways
(Makes about 3 dozen)

• 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 cup confectioners' sugar
• Grated zest of 2 limes
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 ¾ cups , plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• ¼ teaspoon salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.
3. Between two 8-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1 ¼-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.
4. Heat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a re-sealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.
5. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Note: The dough for these icebox cookies can be frozen in logs for up to two months.


And that's it, for now. I do have a Tres Leches Cake recipe that I shall post soon. It's so easy, I can't believe I didn't attempt this sooner. Mmmm! If you try any of these, I'd like to know what YOU think. ^_^

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Project 365 Roundup: Weeks 17, 18, 19 & 20

April 23 - April 29
113/365: Yuki with Mouse-y 114/365: Japanese Garden Crane 115/365: Better Than Cinnabon 116/365: Family Home Evening
117/365: Rosezilla 118/365: Cake Pop 119/365: Working on a Project

April 30 - May 6
120/365: Upended Swan 121/365: Turquoise Door 122/365: Animal Tricks 123/365: April Book Club
124/365: $3 Vintage Pitcher 125/365: Literary Swans and Cygnets 126/365: Greek Salad and Cheese Pie

120/365 (Extra): Pink Water Lily 121/365 (Extra): Singing Cardinal 125/365 (Extra): Eye of the Swan

May 7 - May 13
127/365: Goodbye, JenJen 128/365: Let's Go Fly a Kite 129/365: Mother's Day 130/365: Cat Behavior Modification
131/365: Odd Graffiti 132/365: Work Board 133/365: Pumping Gas

May 14 - May 20
134/365: Texas Storm Approaching 135/365: Well Blow Me Down 136/365: Patronus Protection 137/365: Bee on a Mexican Hat
138/365: Movie Popcorn 139/365: Magazines 140/365: Gift Bows

136/365 (Extra): Lime Meltaways

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