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Showing posts from December, 2010

Christmassy Hudson's on the Bend

One of my all-time favorite Austin restaurants (if not, most favorite) is Hudson's on the Bend, and Kelly and I were fortunate to experience an incredibly delicious dinner out together as one of our Christmas presents while were were home in Texas for the holidays. The cozy ambiance and local flavors and ingredients always make the evening memorable and this night out was no exception as we enjoyed their incredible signature dish of hot and crunchy trout combined with some kind of elk entree which was so tender and moist. The duo was well balanced with just the right southwestern flavors and perfectly cooked and seasoned vegetables. It was heavenly to soak in the festive lights and dine at a quiet table for two with my dear husband.
The real apples dangling from the ceiling created a most festive holiday spirit.
This was one of my highlights during our brief trip to Texas. Thank you, honey!

Santa brought me a new camera!

These first, second, and fourth pictures were with my old camera. The shot above was taken right after we got home from church yesterday, then this morning for breakfast I made this Butterscotch Pecan Pull Apart in a fluted baking stone and thought it would be interesting to compare my old camera to my new one. I had it in auto mode, which is what I usually do.

Old camera:
New camera:
Old camera:
New camera:
Thank you, Santa! I like my new Canon PowerShot S95 camera!

Lunch with Demi and Charlotte

Every month I schedule a visit in my home with Demi and Charlotte, some of my friends from church, who come by to check on me to make sure I'm doing fine. It's always a pleasure. We had talked about eating lunch out, but I suggested that they come by so I could cook for them. Demi asked me if I would show her how to make something Mexican, so I made beef tostadas served with Touchdown Taco Dip, and the food was a big hit. Charlotte told me she was in heaven as she dined on her meal. She was so cute, as she sat comfortably at my dining table, savoring each bite, taking note of the pleasant music playing in the background, fully appreciating the delicious meal that someone else had cooked for her.
While those of you who are in the United States may be seeing this, it's probably no big deal t you. I actually bought a package of 90 tortillas at HEB on my last trip to Texas, then carried them on the plane, took them through security, simply because my luggage weight was max…

Pecan pie tarlets

My sister, Tracy, took a moment from her busy schedule, she works full-time for the Federal Reserve, to email her pecan pie recipe to me and I really appreciate it. Thanks, Tracy! Is that Grandma Jackson's recipe? I accidentally stumbled across these beautiful mini pie crust shells at a local store, Aiga Food, and also a candy funnel tool that made the job be rather tidy. Here's the recipe:

Pecan Pie
3 eggs2/3 cup sugar1/2 teaspoon salt1/3 cup melted butter1 cup corn syrup1 cup pecansunbaked pie shellMix first five ingredients until nice and creamy. Stir in pecans and then pour into pie crust. Bake at 350 F (or 176 C) until center is solid. For these tartlets, I baked them for 23 minutes. You would need to more than double the baking time for a regular pie shell.

To make the tartlets, I didn't add the pecans until I had filled each shell using the candy funnel, which worked like a charm. I then added a few pecans to each mini pie, then tried to coat them with the fill…

Zhiping Lu, our Taiwan home

Our daughter has been hoping to see pictures of our apartment, since she hasn't seen it since we moved in. I've been planning to take more outside pictures before posting this, but since there are already plenty of interior shots, I'll save those for another time.
Here's the elevator we take to the second floor. You have to use an elevator key to get to our floor and we can only access that one floor to keep the building extra secure which can provide a feeling of safety, but at times can be inconvenient.
Here is our front door on the right. We usually keep the gate open.
When you walk in, here is the first view you'll see. The marble and wood floors are very pretty.
This is just around the corner from our front door.
Family photos warm the place up with everyone's smiles.
Here's our living room, looking toward the breezeway.
This is the opposite angle, looking into the living room from the breezeway.
We have two revolving glass doors on each end of the breezew…

Cinnabon style cinnamon rolls!

One of my friends loves cinnamon rolls and she's coming to visit tomorrow, so I tried a new recipe for her that I'm really excited about because it reminds me of the same flavor and texture of what you'd find at Cinnabon, a popular American company found in malls and airports. Thank you to Mel's Kitchen Cafe for the recipe, which I followed completely.
Rolls:
½ cup warm water 2 tablespoons active dry yeast 2 tablespoons sugar 3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding ½ cup butter, melted 2 eggs 1 teaspoon salt 6+ cups flourFilling:
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar 4 teaspoons cinnamonFrosting:
8 ounces cream cheese ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla 3 cups confectioner’s sugar 2-3 tablespoons milkIn a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt to the pudding mixture. Mix well. Th…