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Posts tagged ‘Houston’

Rodeo Fun! Mutton Bustin Anyone?

Photo Credit: rodeohouston.comIt is RODEO time in Houston. Every year this time the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in town for a few weeks. It usually is here during spring break so it becomes one of our day trips as a family. If you have never been to something like this it can be an all day event. Not only do they have a carnival with tons of rides, games and food vendors but there is also over 480 retail vendors with everything like cowboy boots, candy, jewelry, scented candles, furniture, clothing, kitchen gadgets, etc. They also have a kids zone with fun exhibits, rides and interactive activities. Want to see an egg hatch live? They have it! Want to see them milk a cow? They have it! Want to walk around thousands of pens full of stinky pigs, cows, horses, chickens, etc? They have it! They also have livestock auctions and competitions.

The big event is the rodeo and concert held inside Reliant Stadium. They always have a concert after the rodeo that features a headline singer or group. Although I am not a huge country music fan I am impressed with the A list of stars that have sold out shows each year like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Reba McEntire. The rodeo itself includes bucking horses and bull riding, chuck wagon races, barrel races, the calf scramble, calf roping, etc. One of my favorites by far is the “Mutton Bustin”. The announcer actually puts it the best when he says “this is the part of the show where we strap our kids to farm animals and call it entertainment”. If you have never seen it you have to watch the video below. Basically it is a  child around 5-6 years old wearing a heavily padded vest and helmet  put on the back of a sheep, told to grab on to its wool, and then hang on for dear life when the gate opens. As the sheep runs across the pen the object is to see who can stay on the longest. Over the years I have seen a few kids with tears but the majority have huge grins on their faces and are pumping their fists in the air with excitement after they take that dive to the ground.

What is your favorite thing about a rodeo?

Love My New George Foreman Grill!

I am all about convenience. Fixing a meal certainly is not the highlight of my day so anything that will make that process faster, easier and healthier is right up my alley. We have used a propane gas grill or a traditional charcoal grill for much of our cooking. I do like that meats cooked on a grill are not sitting in fat like when cooked in a griddle or frying pan. Frankly though I hate starting up the grill to heat or waiting for the charcoal briquettes to be ready. I certainly don’t like cleaning up the gunky messy grill plates later. Also the last thing I want to do in the high temperature and humidity of Houston is be outside cooking in front of a hot grill. So where is the happy medium that balances that out?

For my birthday my sweet husband and kids bought me an indoor grill. This is the George Foreman Grand Champ Family Value Grill. Each time I use it I am more excited about the benefits this indoor grill offers and excited to actually cook a meal. The one thing this does not offer that you get with a traditional grill would be the smokey flavor but other than that it does the job very well. This particular grill is just one of many products offered by the George Foreman Line and is their larger family size grill.

There are so many things to love! First of all it does not require any cooking spray. You simply start it heating and the indicator light lets you know when it is ready, which isn’t very long. Being family sized I easily was able to cook 6 hamburger patties on it. What is fabulous is the lid closes down to allow cooking on both sides at the same time offering evenly cooked food, no need to turn anything over, and the food actually cooks faster. This grill is slanted to allow juices and fat to run off into a drip tray. Clean up is extremely easy too because once it has cooled off you simply wipe it clean with a towel and warm water. Any juice or food debris can be easily scraped off with the special spatula scraper they provide. The grill does not need to be washed other than that and the drip pan and spatula scraper are both dishwasher safe. It is by far the easiest clean up of any cooking methods I have done.

So far I  have enjoyed cooking chicken, hamburgers and shrimp and look forward to many other adventures with my new indoor grill. So a special shout out thank you to my family for the fabulous gift!

What products are your favorites or make cooking more convenient?

BACON!!!!!!

What would get you literally jumping out of bed in the morning more than the smell of bacon? Isn’t the world just a better place when bacon is involved? Chef’s have dedicated entire cookbooks around this one ingredient! Seriously doesn’t everything taste better with bacon?

There is a whole industry that pays tribute to bacon! I got my husband a t-shirt for Christmas that says “You Had Me at Bacon”. There were a dozen other clothing items to choose from all centered around bacon. If you search Amazon you will find all types of gifts that claim to look, smelling or taste like bacon. There is the Bacon Air Freshener, Bacon and Maple Syrup Lollipop, Bacon BandagesBacon Flavored Toothpicks, and Bacon Lip Balm.  How about carrying around your money in a Bacon Wallet? If you just can’t get enough bacon flavor why not try adding a variety of Bacon Salts or Bacon Hot Sauce? You can even give your loved one the gift of Bacon Roses for your next special occasion!

We usually have several packages of bacon in our freezer which has become a staple in our home. During Hurricane Ike our power was out and the very first morning our neighbors were out bright and early cooking bacon in their backyard. Being summertime in Houston with no power meant everyone had their windows open to get some cooler fresh air. Of course that bacon scent just wafted into our home sparking the question from everyone, “do we have any bacon”? Sadly no we did not and that quickly went on our list of supplies we will always keep on hand for any emergency! I really try to stock up when I can find a coupon or can price-match at Wal-Mart the sale price from another store.

I have several recipes that my family loves that include bacon like Baked Potato Soup, Chicken Carbonara, and a Stuffed Chicken Breast. We often do a breakfast style dinner and it always includes bacon! My biggest obstacle though is when I fix bacon for these dishes I find I need to make extra otherwise as I am cooking it starts to disappear when my back is turned and I am left with little to use for the recipe.

Do you have also have an obsession with bacon? Please share your recipe ideas too!

Suffering Seasonal Allergies

Do you enjoy walking around feeling like a may fly is buzzing around in your nose making you on the verge of sneezing every few seconds?  Is it fun to have one eye watering and shrinking up making your eye bright red and face look deformed?  I know I don’t!

I suffer from seasonal allergies which I guess Houston’s season is “all year-long”!  I certainly notice the allergies more whenever a weather front (cold or hot) comes blowing through.

I get a laugh too because my eyes will often start to water like the Hoover Dam flood gates have opened at the worst time possible.  Just get this visual of me sitting in a movie that isn’t sad and I look like a bawling baby!  The last time was watching the latest Twilight movie with my daughter right during the  notorious “love scene”.  Yeah, that just would not be something I would be crying at!  Thankfully it made the moment really funny and we both had a  good laugh missing most of that scene anyway!

My son also gets what are called “allergy shiners” where he has purple circles  under his eyes that only go away when he takes allergy medicine.  I had taken other allergy medications before but when my son’s doctor had recommended Zyrtec we both started taking it.  My sister also recommended Zyrtec-D which you have to get over the counter.  I try not to take the medication daily but I certainly run for it when I feel the attacks coming on.

What do you do for your allergies?

Who Loves Hockey?

My husband and I went on a date the other night to a Houston Aero’s Hockey Game.  Let me share first that my husband loves everything sports and will watch just about anything sports related on T.V.  I joke with him that if nothing else was on T.V. he would watch competitive underwater basket weaving.  I on the other hand am not a big T.V. sports watcher but do love to go to live games.  We also enjoy MMA and UFC fighting and that I definitely will watch on T.V.  So right about now I am guessing you are thinking we just loves to watch violence when you factor in our like for hockey and fighting matches.  There may be some truth to that because after the hockey game I commented to my husband that it was a very clean low-key game.  There wasn’t much slamming into the walls, tripping, pushing, or any other aggressive activities you see at a hockey game.  There was only one fight and it was so lame compared to what I see at home with my own children.  It was broken up before it ever started.  I guess I was hoping for an UFC fight to break out in the middle of the hockey game.  Now wouldn’t that be something?

This did however bring back memories of when my girls were toddlers.  The Aero’s had a special evening where if you brought a box of macaroni noodles to the game you would get a discount on your tickets.  The macaroni was to be used as a noise maker during the game and then donated in boxes as you walk out and given to local food banks.  Well, I don’t know how everyone else ended up but our boxes of macaroni were so broken up into little pieces we have no idea how anyone could make a meal of it.  But the girls had a blast making noise with them.

What is your favorite sport and why?