Thursday, January 29, 2009

Healthy Recipe: Bacon Explosion

For those of us working on resolutions to lose some christmas cookie, pregnancy, or pregnancy empathy tonnage, a healthy recipe that tastes good can be valuable. Too bad this is not one of those recipes.

The Bacon Explosion, a creation of, combines massive quantities of Italian sausage and bacon in a dense roll that can be smoked or grilled. It's guaranteed to cause the meat sweats. I'm going to give this one a try in the spring. It could be a winner at a cooking challenge party.
The Recipe:

NY Times Article:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another Awesome Pie at Home Slice

The Sieber family trekked down to South Austin last night for a Sunday night dinner with the Floyd brothers. We enjoyed yet another completely free dinner thanks to Chris' ongoing dynastic reign as the pizza-eating champion. We noted to a waitress last night that our baby Mikey probably holds the record for most visits to HomeSlice without eating anything (4 and counting).

The average pizza at HomeSlice features 1-3 toppings. The pricing model: Cost of Pie = $16 + $2x (where X=# of toppings). Freed from the constraints of cost, Chris's free pizzas are a crazy laboratory for experimenting with topping combinations. A typical order might be 7 different toppings. There have been some strange ones over the last three years, with clams, broccoli, fried eggplant, anchovies, and ricotta making appearances.

Last night, while the other paying customers where enjoying their cookie-cutter pizzas, we enjoyed a fantastic overloaded pie free of charge, as always. If you ever get a chance, try thinly sliced fresh pear as a pizza topping. It works phenomenally well.

Toppings: pepperoni, meatball, mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and sliced pear.
Cost (comped): ~$28
Tasting notes: Sweet and savory/meaty notes with a hint of aromatic basil. The flavors hit the right notes with a great balance of salty, savory, sweet, and acid. The pear was the standout addition, adding great texture and sweetness. The usual suspects in our free pies, meatball and basil delivered once again. Overall, a top notch topping combination at a price that cannot be beaten ($0).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Round Rock

We live in Round Rock, Texas. Situated just north of Austin along picturesque Interstate-35, this was a small dusty town until Michael Dell set up shop. Now, Round Rock is a bustling micropolis featuring world-class culture and dining opportunities like Chilis, Applebees, and TGI Fridays.
Quick aside: Ever notice that better restaurants have singular names, while lesser offerings have plural names?
We live in an area called Brushy Creek. It is a MUD. This is an unappealing sounding acronym for Municipal Utility District. Basically a MUD collects taxes and provides water, parks, police, and fire service for communities that are not within a true city limit. The main impact of this is that I receive expired registration sticker tickets from county sheriffs, not standard police officers.
Brushy Creek is a winding, shallow, high-volume mosquito factory that meanders through the area. This creek is brushy due to a large amount fiendish hell-pollen producing Mountain Cedar trees. I theorize that the cedar tree is a bio-terror weapon created in Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec corporate laboratories.
Back in the 1800's, travelers heading south through central Texas would run into Brushy Creek. One popular place to ford the creek was marked by a nearby landmark: a flat, round rock about 8 feet in diameter. It says something about our town that its most distinctive landmark is a small chunk of limestone in a shallow creek bed. That's just how we roll in Round Rock.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Casino Night 2008-The Video is FINALLY Here!

On Christmas night, a large group of revelers converged at the Sants for the always awesome Commish's Casino Night. This event is part party part high school reunion and part parlor games (terrible sentence). Casino games have been phased out and replaced by creative original competitions. A mediocre blog posting can't really convey the awesomeness of Casino Night. We get to reconnect with old friends and compete in ridiculous and hilarious party games.

Here are a few:Facebook Faceoff - How well do you really know your Facebook "friends"?

2008 Pop Culture / Celebrity Baby Name Trivia

Competitive Gift-Wrapping

Playing Card Toss The Doogie Dip - A game of balance and quadricep strength

And a dance-off between teams paying homage to Beyonce's wonderful Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) performance on Saturday Night Live.

We have finally downloaded and edited the video of the Single Ladies dance video. Without further ado, here it is:

Sorry it took so long to get this thing posted, I was little mortified about putting it online!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mystery Diagnosis Check off list...

Now that I have a three month old infant, I'm becoming versed in many new sicknesses that I never knew could affect a person like they do my son.

I can recognize gas almost before it gets to a bad point.
I've also learned that extreme out of character fussiness can be related to my intake of caffeine. What an unfortunate thing for me, but great thing for Michael!
I can recognize when something is just a cough and not the croup (croup is more of a bark cough like a seal-Grandma GiGi told me I would recognize the bark if I heard it).
And lastly, I can now recognize when my son has Coxsackie A-16 virus which is a fancy name for Hand-Foot and Mouth Disease.

I feel like maybe I'm doing something wrong at times that my son has already been plagued with the above sicknesses, but maybe I'm making super immune baby all the same!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Modest Assessment of our Baby

We've fallen headlong into the baby development milestone scrutiny trap. We analyze every little activity and new skill from baby Michael and draw optimistic conclusions about his future (what parent doesn't?).

We may be slightly biased, but after reviewing the evidence, I conclude that our child will some day be the only Heisman Trophy-winning Rhodes Scholar to be elected President of the United States. He will also be able to fool all of the people all of the time and beat up Chuck Norris. If he wanted, he could coach the Aggies to a football national championship (but he won't).

Conclusion #1:
Michael is going to be an elite athlete, possibly in basketball.
He is tall, according to the growth charts. He stuffs his hands into his mouth like a prodigy. He's also very good at supporting some of his weight when held in a standing position. Some people say that his fingers look really long. He recently grabbed Shannon's eyeball and palmed it like a basketball (she should get some Bill Laimbeer goggles to protect herself from our little enforcer).

Conclusion #2:
Michael is going to be an excellent speaker, perhaps delivering arguments before the Supreme Court.
Prodigious cooing and funny baby talk sounds at 12 weeks old. He spoke his first word: AGOO (definition: a small municipality in the province of La Union, Phillipines) at barely 8 weeks old.

Conclusion #3:
He is going to be a super-charismatic charmer and possible ladies man.
He beams frequent, face-crinkling emphatic smiles at his parents and many strangers. He seems to have good skin for an infant, and he doesn't spit up on people often.

Conclusion #4:
Michael is going to be a thoughtful, humble, intelligent person.
He seems quiet, thoughtful and observant. He seldom naps during the day because there is too much stuff to look at and too much contemplating to do. Michael doesn't sleep. He waits with his eyes closed.

It's our jobs as parents to support and unconditionally love our children. In spite of that, I tried very hard to make unbiased conclusions about Michael's future. Fortunately, the cold hard evidence points to a bright future.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bacon Control Officers

I have a good idea to help animal control officers.

Many diesel engines can burn filtered used fry oil from restaurants. Step one is to harvest large quantities of bacon grease and oil. This may require cooking a lot of bacon or establishing a municipal bacon grease recycling program. The city can distribute blue plastic coffee cans to be picked on trash day.

This bacon grease is then used in the fuel tanks of the animal control trucks and vans. The drivers will drive slowly on patrol, and the cooking bacon exhaust will begin to work its magic.

By the time the vehicle returns to the animal shelter, there should be a large mob of dogs, cats, squirrels, and hungry people in tow looking for the bacon. With a little corralling, the streets will be free of stray animals. Plus, everything will smell like bacon.

Other applications: bacon grease burning ice cream truck that sells bacon. Anyone know how to apply for a patent?

Monday, January 12, 2009

One of the Lucky Ones...

In entering in my third month of being a mommy, I'm realizing exactly how lucky I am to have this precious being in my life. How lucky I was to know before we started trying that we were going to have to take fertility drugs to get pregnant, how lucky Christopher and I were that the fertility drugs we took worked the first time without fail, how lucky we are that the nine months of eating tons of spinach and cheetos paid off, and how lucky we were that nothing went wrong in my 20 hours of labor. Being in my 30's, I'm beginning to see how our bodies were not really made to make babies this late in the game. More and more of my friends have told me how they have had to try fertility drugs, and many other forms of alternatives to get pregnant. Some are successful, yet others are still trying. I try to think of those friends who have had problems even conceiving a baby when I get frustrated or tired, and I have to remind myself not take for granted that I have this little boy in the first place to cry and keep me up all night. I am one of the lucky ones, and I thank God for giving me such an amazing gift.

One of my friends in particular who has struggled with fertility just submitted her manuscript for a book. Check out her blog, she is an amazing writer, witty and intelligent.

Christmas Recap Take Three

I've tried to write this blog entry several times over already, but I haven't quite found the right words to describe everything that happened during our Christmas vacation. I will try to sum it up is as brief manner as possible.

Duration: December 19th-December 29th
Exciting Moments: Mikey's first college Graduation of his Aunt Kaitie, getting good grandparent time in with Grandma, Grampy and Nana, and GiGi and Grumpa, Getting a good visit in with Mrs. Floyd and the Floyd boys, visits with my cousins, Josh, Jake and Ali, and visiting with my mommy's friends from high school...(there are four new babies with her friends!)

Bummer Times: Being late to Grandma's Christmas because of car troubles at Aunt Kaitie's Graduation, Three different incidents of car troubles over the course of the two weeks, Michael getting sick with a cough, and not acting like himself.

All in all, we enjoyed most of our time out, however, we have learned a lot about things that we are going to do differently with a new baby in our lives next year.