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Saturday, July 6, 2013

What's Up Pup?

It's been a busy few weeks here at the coast.  Balancing regular work, working out, working on cookies, husband's new work schedule, and working on household chores ...results in lots of work going on!  The good news is that my husband is working a regular day shift for the first time in 20 years (woo hoo!).  He's been traveling a LOT for the past 5 years and he was soooo ready to get a job close to home with no 350 mile journeys to get home for a week-end.  That DID happen in March...but he wasn't all that happy...and he still had drive 130 miles every day.  He was very fortunate to get a job even closer to home within the same company and started two weeks ago.  It's been quite an adjustment...a good adjustment, but it is a change!  I'm back to cooking regular dinners, having more laundry, and needing to be "with the family" in the evenings instead of working on my many projects.  When you then add Zumba back into my life with an additional topping of working out in the gym 5 days per week... my free time has gotten more challenging to find! 

Blogging seems to be slipping between the cracks.  My family doesn't like to wait for photos and stuff before eating...that wore thin fairly quickly the first year or so of blogging!  Now, however, I'm starting to gently push the issue again! 

On the 4th of July we stayed at home and avoided the high volume tourist traffic heading to the island.  We love the island in the Fall and the Spring...we do NOT frequent the island much during the Summer!  Holidays and week-ends are particularly unappealing now that we live here and can enjoy a traffic-and-crowd-free season by waiting for September.

Our grill died a rusty death (a side effect of living on the Laguna Madre) and Mr. Flip Flop had bought some beautiful Choice boneless Rib-eyes at Sam's Club.  I picked up some fresh jumbo Gulf Shrimp at Quik Stop in Port Isabel and thus we had the makings for Surf and Turf...even if I had to do them in a stove-top grill pan.  They were outstanding!  We are particularly fond of baked yams so I picked up a few at the grocery store as well as some really nice fresh green beans.  I had intended to make some of Ann Smith's Sour Cream Crescent Rolls but time got away from me and we ended up with Pillsbury's Crescent Rolls instead.  We were so full from all of the good food, we could have done without the bread completely!  Everyone else had already done a nose dive into their steaks and shrimps when I realized I had only eaten one shrimp and still had a "photo op" with my here it is.  My steak was half the size of the boys' but their plates were no longer "attractive", so the smallest shows here!  It was really quite an easy dinner to throw together.  I seasoned the steaks with Weber Chicago Style Seasoning (one of our favorites after dining at the Weber Restaurant in Chicago) and while the steaks were resting, I quickly pan-grilled the peeled and de-veined shrimp.  I snapped the beans while watching one of my DVR'd shows and boiled them in simple salt, pepper, and onion powder.  Delish.  Yams went in the microwave and were perfectly tender and moist.  Yummy to the X-treme!  I only ate 3 shrimps and half of my steak...but I ate two servings of green beans and all of my yam.  We all sat around in a food-induced daze after dinner!!!

Dessert was quickly-decorated miniature star sugar cookies (eaten later that evening).  I started them late Wednesday night and finished them off on Thursday morning.  They were all gone by Friday.  Not my best work, but I was at a tired spot in the day and my hands were not cooperating with piping straight lines and my red icing was not "just right" in the consistency department.  Still, they were very patriotic looking and the family was appreciative.  They are liking the slightly revised recipe I've been using (Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies) and that I'm rolling at 3/8" thickness instead of 1/4".  It makes for a slightly softer, more buttery textured cookie.  Mr. Flip Flop and I went to Lowe's last week-end and bought me some 3/8" untreated trim board to use as rolling guides.  They are fabulous!  Easy to roll out consistent thickness cookies.  Plus, they are much sturdier and less inclined to break when I shake them or bang them on the table to get a smooth surface.  Thicker is better I think!

On Friday I started a big 150-cookie project and spent the past afternoon, evening, and this morning busily base-coating 13 dozen cookies.  The decorating of those cookies will take several days and involve a new technique (or two) for keep your eyes out for a blog post on that before long!

Hope everyone had a great 4th...we sure enjoyed relaxing at home.  Sometimes that is just the best thing in the world!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!


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