Oct 2, 2014

Halloween Wedding Ideas

Tim Burton wedding dress
Here are some interesting ideas for a Halloween wedding starting with the
wedding invitation.
Fancy Orange Pumpkin Halloween Wedding Invitation

Haunted Rustic Blue Floral Halloween Wedding Invitation

The red roses with the black accents are so striking.

halloween camilla photography020
The black lace gloves are so bold and beautiful.

You can defy nature by having black flowers:
Beautiful black bouquet.
Great idea for a ring pillow.
Lacy Pumpkin

You can have pumpkins double as macabre decor.

Place Cards
Cupcakes are an option if you don't want to go with a traditional wedding cake.
Or this work of undeniable genius:
Halloween Martinis
Halloween  Wedding Martinis

There are so many more things you could do for a Halloween wedding.  Like make the reception sort of a haunted house?  

Hope you are having a great day!


Oct 1, 2014

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Kevin is the one that makes the gumbo in our family.  His best friend Kurt taught him how to make it.  A lot of people make their own roux.  We go the easy route and buy Kary's Roux.  This makes the process go much faster.

This recipe will make enough gumbo for several meals.  We fed eight people, had it for dinner on Sunday and still have enough for at least two more meals if not more (depending on how many people we are feeding).  We froze the leftovers in two tall Tupperware cereal containers.  One of them has all of the meat in it and the other one only has juice.  We will add shrimp and crabmeat to the one with juice.
The first thing you need is a very large pot.  Fill the pot 3/4 full.  Sprinkle salt and pepper into the water.  (I'm sorry but he does not use a measuring spoon so he does not know how much he puts in).  Add 3/4 of the jar of Kary's Roux (or more if you like a stronger roux taste).  Turn your fire on high and stir the roux until it is completely dissolved.  At this time, he adds Tony Chachere's seasoning (again, no exact measurement).  I find from past experiences it is better to go with less and that way you can add more later if you feel it needs it.

Once the roux has fully dissolved you add two bags of frozen chopped green bell peppers and two bags of chopped onions to your pot.

Add two stalks of diced green onions.

You can see from this photo that he added the ingredients while the roux was still dissolving.  It is very important that you continue to stir the roux until it is fully dissolved.  Otherwise, it will burn on the bottom of your pot and nobody wants to smell burnt roux!
Some people like a darker gumbo and a stronger roux taste.  If you are one of those people, just add more roux to your pot.
Most people put in chicken on the bone in their gumbo.  The bone adds flavor to the gumbo.  Not my husband.  He likes the chicken to be cut up in small pieces.  He cuts up five boneless chicken breasts and seasons them with Tony's.  Add your chicken to the gumbo and continue to stir. 
The good stuff!
We normally use sausage from Market Basket in South Lake Charles or from Peto's in Moss Bluff, La.  Both of these brands are very good.  They are not fatty and greasy.  However, our freezer needs to be restocked so we had to use a different brand.  He used the brand Big Easy Foods smoked sausage with pork and beef.  It was good but not nearly as good as what we usually use.  Brooke loves deer sausage in her gumbo.  We don't have any of that either.  :(
I cooked five cups of rice in my rice cooker (no photos) and we had some left over for dinner on Sunday.

Next he chops up the sausage in bite size pieces and adds it to the gumbo.  When the chicken turns white, you can turn your fire down low and let it cook for 1 1/2 hours.  You can put a lid on your pot but continue to stir often because it is very easy for the pot to overflow.  
My family likes to eat potato salad and crackers with their gumbo.  It is very simple to make.  I boiled six eggs and chopped them up.  I boiled about seven potatoes chopped up and drained them.  I added the chopped up eggs, Miracle Whip Lite (no measurement) until you reach the desired consistency.  I added two teaspoons of mustard and stirred until it was mixed really well.  Some people like to add pickles or relish to their potato salad.  Most of my family likes it plain.  However, I do have relish on the side just in case someone wants to add it to their own.

I hope all of this made some sort of sense to you.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Hope you  have a great day!


"The ultimate of being successful is the luxury of giving yourself the time to do
what you want to do." -- Leontyne Price

Sep 30, 2014

Alison Cook's Top 100 Restaurants 2014


Alison Cook is the Food Critic for the Houston Chronicle.  She just recently released the Top 100 Restaurants of 2014.  I am excited to say that Pearland is listed twice in the top 22.

Ranked #3 is Killen's Barbecue.  Here is what she had to say about Killen's Barbecue:

"The constant lines outside this exciting Pearland destination attest to the grandeur of chef Ronnie Killen's meticulously smoked meats.  With the support of Patrick Feges, Killen has established his welcoming, shipshape new restaurant as one of the premier barbecue spots not just in Texas, but the nation.  It's an exalted niche that needed filling in Houston, where a recent barbecue renaissance has paved the way for Killen's obsessive degree of attention to differentiated woods and smoking methods, to say nothing of his picky sourcing.  Beef -- always a civic obsession here -- finds its highest expression in Killen's brisket (remarkably, both the lean and the fatty cuts are equally fine) and his mammoth beef ribs, which the chef calls "foie gras on a stick" in honor of their lush, perfectly rendered fat.  Jolly little house-made sausage links are another big attraction, whether laced with jalapenos or spiked German-style, with mustard seeds and coriander, they burst with juice under their snappy casings.  All this, and remarkable side dishes, too: letter-perfect potato salad; briskly Asian-style slaw; unrepentantly sticky mac 'n' cheese; and the sweet, milky creamed corn made famous at Killen's highly regarded steakhouse right down the road.  Even the desserts deliver, from a lifting buttermilk pie touched with lemon zest to a blissfully caramelized peach cobbler.  Despite the crowds, service ticks right along, and free samples and beer under the mighty oak tree out front make it all feel cheerfully tribal."

Cuisine:  Barbecue
Entree Price:  $-$$$
Where:  3613 E. Broadway, Pearland, TX


Ranked #22 is Killen's Steakhouse.  Here is what she had to say about Killen's Steakhouse:

"Chef Ronnie Killen may be applying scholarly attention to his new barbecue spot of late, but his splendid Texas steakhouse -- still under his watchful eye -- clicks right along in the capable hands of DeeDee Killen and chef de cuisine Teddy Lopez.  The new ideas keep coming, in the form of amusing broccoli-and-cheese "risotto" or fried calamari in a sweet, garlicky chili sauce.  Not every one works (ixnay on the sour/hot Wagyu meatballs), but the classic sides and fried shrimp are as wonderful as ever, the smart retro cocktails rule, and the beef is the stuff of a steak lover's dreams.  USDA Prime cuts from such top-level suppliers as Allen Bros. and Strube Ranch are butchered and dry-or wet-aged in-house, cooked over mesquite, then crusted under a broiler to achieve a great balance of smoke and char.  The low-slung room, with its white linen and attentive waiters, breathes vintage Gulf Coast charm.  Pro tip: Ask for the peerless steak fries."

Cuisine:  Steakhouse
Entree Price:  $$$-$$$$
Where:  2804 S. Main, Pearland, TX


We have never been to Killen's Barbecue and that is because the lines are out the door, down the sidewalk long.  Our Executive VP at work has gone and raves about the food.  He said the lines move really fast.  Looks like we are going to be going to Killen's Barbecue to taste some of this goodness!

We have been to Killen's Steakhouse several times.  The food was amazing and the service was excellent.  

Chef Ronnie Killen trained at Le Cordon Bleu and honed his culinary skills throughout the U.S.  Lucky for Pearland, he returned to his home town.

Thank you, Ms. Cook, for listing two of Pearland's top restaurants in your Top 100 Restaurants of 2014.

So if you are ever in the Houston area and are looking for a place to eat, be sure and stop by Killen's Barbecue or Killen's Steakhouse.

Take care,


Sep 29, 2014

Soccer, Gumbo and Christmas Decorations

 We had a very full weekend starting with Ms. P's soccer game at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. :)
I handed off my camera to Ms. A so I could help with Mr. W.  She  took this photo of Pey.
I think she did a really good job!
Mom tickling Mr. W
Cute pic of Ms. A laughing at her brother
He rarely sits still.
Kevin made his famous gumbo (I'll post the recipe later this week) after the soccer game.  Of course, I helped!  It was delicious.

I made potato salad to go with the gumbo.
I made Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes that I found on a blog I follow Flavors by Four.  I sent the leftovers to Brad to bring with him to work last night.  They loved them.

They were really good, with and without icing.
  We are all going to Disney World in November so Paw Paw and I gave each of the grandkids a gift to open in anticipation of our trip.
Ms. A got a Darth Vader mug and a Disney gift card.
 We gave Mr. W a Mickey Mouse cup, plate and fork and spoon set.  We didn't think anything of it when we handed him his cup.  Never once thinking that he would think there was something to drink in it, right?  It was so funny.  Brooke handed him the cup and he immediately tried to drink from it.  He could not understand why Nonnie would give him a cup with nothing in it!  I quickly washed it out and gave him some milk.  What were we thinking, right?
Off to the kitchen to get some milk in his new cup.
 Ms. P was so happy to get her Elsa costume.  We have been trying to get her one for several months now.  Brooke (Nonnie) found this one at JCPenney's and put it on hold so Paw Paw picked it up for her.
I asked her to twirl in her new dress.

My favorite photo.
After the Texans' game (go Texans!) Kevin and I brought our my Christmas decorations down from the attic.  I have more decorations in our closets and under the beds.

These are not bags of trash!  They hold wreaths, stuffed animals, linens, etc.

Well I guess you know what I am going to be doing when I get home from work this evening.  That's right...I'll be playing my Christmas music while I am putting up a 9 ft. tree in the family room.  My goal is to be finished in two weeks.  The hubs thinks that is a very unrealistic expectation to have.  I think it is possible since I should not have to rework the garland like I did last year.  We'll see.  You never know if you will run into a problem with lights not working, etc.  My toes and my fingers are crossed!

Hope you have a wonderful day!