Texas Monkey

  • Location: Houston

Cocktail Party quantities

When I was planning a larger "finger foods" party back in July, I found a pretty good guide on the BHG website. It broke things down by catageory (dips, veggies, meats, cheeses, etc), gave ideas for each, & suggested the # of plates to serve from each category. It also suggested how many pieces for each dish made... (ie- for 12 people, choose 3 plates & make 12-15 pieces each- NOT accurate, just an example...). That was the best online tool that I found, & it helped a lot! Happy Planning!!!-Chris

Chai tea latte powder recommendations?

I'm a fan of Tazo, too... LOVE that stuff!

Buying a whole tuna

Umm... Whole Tuna, No. My Hubby is actually on an off -shore "Tuna Trip" right now... Almost 200 miles out- deep water, HUGE fish. When they come in, the first thing that everybody does is either clean & fillet/portion or have someone do it for you. Other fish we have done whole, but for some reason Tuna just isn't on the list... Don't know why, it's just not done... But if you DO do it, let us know- I'd be interested in the results!-Chris

Hangover Helper: Veggie Enchiladas from Chuy's in Austin, TX

I agree w/ BrockSamson. I actually know one of the Owners... Still can't "get behind" Chuy's as a good restaurant. Sad, but True...

Grocery Clerk - What Would You Do?

Okay, I'm a "Crazy Dog Lady". I have 2 small ones that I love more than anything. I've even taken them to dinner at one of those "Paws on the Patio" places that allow dogs outside. Now THAT was fun (insert sarcasm ANYWHERE in that sentence-)... NEVER AGAIN! Why oh WHY would I want to grocery shop w/the pups?!? I've taken my 3 year old niece shopping... That was interesting. And time-consuming... I hate shopping anyway, so maybe I'm biased. But c'mon- taking the dogs would be worse than taking my husband (who has to go up & down Every isle, "just looking"...). I have a list, get in, & get out! THEN go home & enjoy your Furry Friends/Family!!! I'm just sayin'... -Chris

cast iron... 2nd try!?!

@Mike @ Allison- & anyone else... I've had issues seeing the Talk posts for the last 4 or 5 days- I kept getting the whole "Oops! Page Not Found" message... Today it's all correct, & I see the 1st of these 2 posts, but before... There seemed to be posts during a certain timeframe that were not showing up correctly... I'm on the Mobil, iPhone version, so maybe that's part of it, but just a heads up, nobody's going crazy, there have been some issues recently!-Chris

How to Make Real-Deal Tortilla Soup

Ok- I saw this post this morning & thought "AWESOME"!!! I love tortilla soup- always looking for a new spin, great for when it gets cooler... ThenI started thinking...I have a whole batch of Hatch Chilis in the kitchen... Any thoughts on how Hatch Chicken Tortilla Soup might turn out? May have to give it a shot!...

Headed to Texas. Where do I eat?

Let me know when u are going to be in Houston- I would love to meet you, & the Hubs is all about good food!
You can access my email, right? Let me know what's up! We're all for an evening out, Fancy or not... Christy

Headed to Texas. Where do I eat?

I agree w/Kristin on lots of the Houston places- Rainbow Lodge is nice, Raven Grill is good as well. If you make it South of town, hit Gilhooley's- total dive, but such a great place (Oysters...)! No dogs allowed, Austin, I second Kerbey Lane & would add Hyde Park Grill, maybe Conan's pizza, and Hula Hut or the Oasis- not the BEST in Austin, but old-school, been there 20+ years, if ya can, try them kind of places. Oh, & Hut's Hamburgers in Austin- been there since my Dad went to UT & he's 60+...I don't know about G'vine, but Ft. worth has Kinkade's burgers as well. You stand at the counters to eat... As a kid it was great- haven't been in years. Oh, & Amy's Ice Cream in Austin- Must Try! Have fun!!!- Chris

Help for Too Spicy Soup...

Sorry- Double Post... Darn Wifi!

Help for Too Spicy Soup...

Thank you all SO MUCH!!! Believe it or not, I've nailed it-with yall's help, of course!!! You guys know your stuff... I went ahead & peeled, chopped, boiled, & puréed the other potato, then reheated my first batch (stovetop) & added the second potato... At that point the spice was down, but overall it was kind of "blah"... So about 2Tbsp of honey & a few dashes of salt were added... Left to warm through... Then I scooped out a small bowl, let it cool for a few, & drizzled with lime juice. PERFECT!!! DH came home for lunch & couldn't believe that it was the same "crap" (his word, not mine) that I tried to serve last night! When I asked him if it was "decent", he said "No, it's good-REALLY Good!" As in- Save this Recipe, It's Darn Good!!! So... Thanks a Million, SE'ers! I'm not used to having Epic Fails in the kitchen, & I was just heartbroken last night, crying over my Lost Cause... I Owe it All to You Guys!!! Thanks Again!- Christy

Help for Too Spicy Soup...

Thank you all SO MUCH!!! Believe it or not, I've nailed it-with yall's help, of course!!! You guys know your stuff... I went ahead & peeled, chopped, boiled, & puréed the other potato, then reheated my first batch (stovetop) & added the second potato... At that point the spice was down, but overall it was kind of "blah"... So about 2Tbsp of honey & a few dashes of salt were added... Left to warm through... Then I scooped out a small bowl, let it cool for a few, & drizzled with lime juice. PERFECT!!! DH came home for lunch & couldn't believe that it was the same "crap" (his word, not mine) that I tried to serve last night! When I asked him if it was "decent", he said "No, it's good-REALLY Good!" As in- Save this Recipe, It's Darn Good!!! So... Thanks a Million, SE'ers! I'm not used to having Epic Fails in the kitchen, & I was just heartbroken last night, crying over my Lost Cause... I Owe it All to You Guys!!! Thanks Again!- Christy

Annoying TV Product Placement

I don't go to WM often, but... FYI, Yes, they do sell cactus/Cacti (nopales, both paddles & Pre- cut), at least in my area... We get ours from another, more local store, but- they do exist...

Staff Picks: What Do You Eat When Nobody's Looking?

Sweets-wise: chocolate chips, PB, & mini marshmallows, microwaved. Spicy: Wiclkes and Spicy Pickled Okra, from the jar... On occasion, saltines w/Miracle Whip (standing in the kitchen, of course)... But my new fave: a small bowl of Goldfish crackers, a dab of butter, minced garlic, & a couple of shakes of something spicy (Tabasco, cayenne, etc). Microwave & mix- crush it up & eat it plain, or mix w/popcorn... Mmmmm!-c *** none of these are on my regular menu, mind you...

Reality Check: Fiery Ghost at Red Robin Packs No Ghost Pepper Punch

@ Texas Blues... When can I come over?!? Sounds like you've got the hook-up! Nice- Enjoy!!!

How different are grape juice and wine from one another?

I personally can not help you, but I have a very dear friend who married into a Muslim family 8-10 years ago. She has been learning from her Mother In Law ever since. Sadly, her family relocated a few months ago due to her husband's job... As she is many time zones away from me now, I have sent her an email requesting info on this subject... If/when she responds, I will pass on her advice. I figure that she would be a good person to ask, as she grew up cooking one way, then learned to do things differently. She probably has a point of reference that many others may lack (myself included). In the meantime, best of luck! Hope to have some tips for you soon!!!- Chris

2012 crop of strawberries

Yep, same here. I got one good round of cherries (when they were cheap enough) & some pretty good sweet corn locally. Everything else has dissapionted... When I went to visit family in June, I was gifted some wonderful potatoes, squash, & peaches. Also about 4 really nice tomatoes. We enjoyed all of those- plus a few cucumbers- for a brief time. Now, nothing... The tomatoes are taking off at my family's place now (they are canning them, have an over abundance), but I'm about 400 miles away- can't just go & grab some. So sad, as the tomatoes are what I really look forward to each summer... But strawberries- yes, HUGE dissapointment! So pretty in the store, but worthless when you get them home. Boo!!! :-(- C

Dreams of Queso, Realities of Separating Cheese

Well, in my area, a fundido is supposed to be a stringy, chewy white cheese dish, usually served w/add ins such as chorizo or peppers. You scoop it up with a fork, kinda twist it around, & wrap it in a tortilla to eat. So, really, you're doing the right thing to make a Queso Fundido. But I think that you're looking for a cheese SAUCE, right? That's a completely different thing- if you want a sauce- to dip chips in, to pour over enchiladas, etc- & you don't want to go the Velveeta Way, do check out Kenji's recent article, mentioned above. He has lots of good tips. It is possible to do, people make cheese sauce from scratch all the time, but... It's NOT the same as fundido. Make sure that you are looking for the right thing before you waste any more time/money. Hope this helps- Best of luck!- Chris

Who here has a pressure cooker?

We got an electric one a couple of years ago & were so excited... Then the novelty wore off & it is rarely used now. I agree that it makes great stews (that's the only type of meat dish I would use it for). It is also our go-to for fresh greens. And that's about it. Ours is a pain to clean afterwards- I'd much rather wash a pan or the crockpot. I'm not trying to discourage you from getting one, I'm just throwing my opinion out there. A lot of people use theirs often, it just wasn't as useful as we had hoped for our lifestyle. Best of luck!- Chris

Why do martinis taste better in bars?

I agree w/ESNY- my Hubby loves his martinis (vodka), & has perfected "his" method. If the shards of ice are what you are after, ya gotta shake the heck out of it! He does them for at least 2 minutes each... I, who don't shake as hard as he does, have to put in a full 3 minutes... And around here, the ice doesn't seem to matter so much- we use what we've got- from the ice maker, trays, bagged...filtered, not... If you're happy with the taste you've got, try stepping up the Shake- Best of Luck...Cheers!- Chris

Gadgets: Ice Huggy

We called them Pop Ice, a brand name, I believe... And we were always handed a paper towel to sop up the mess. Then you just tossed it all... It's kind of a neat idea, but do you think that they would be easy to clean? If they are designed for kiddos (mainly), I can see this leaving a sticky, sugar-coated aftermath... If at home, you could just rinse, but if not around a water source, what would ya do? Throw them in a ziplock until you could clean it all up? At that point, just give them a wipe or towel in the first place! Cute idea, but I'm not really convinced that it's practical.- Chris

All out American Meal

@Les ah- Thanks for the link! I just read the intro, & it does look interesting. I'll sit down with it tomorrow, when I have more time... And, of course, you're right- the butter/cream is just a twist on the homemade mayo idea... I'll try it myself next time I do coleslaw! @nillawan- good choices! If you've really never had hush puppies, do try them sometime if possible. They are delicious!!! Have fun with your meal!!!- Chris

All out American Meal

@ Les ah- I am in NO WAY trying to start anything, but I'm very curious. Whereabouts are you located? I'm a Lifelong Texan & have never even heard of putting butter or cream into coleslaw! Very interesting... Maybe I'm actually gonna learn something new- Cool! Thanks in advance for any info/tips!!!-c

All out American Meal

Okay, if you're doing BBQ ribs- coleslaw or potato salad, along with baked beans. Maybe a tossed green salad.  You also need a loaf of plain white bread, dill pickle slices, & white/yellow onions, cut into rings. You could also do pulled pork/ BBQ sandwiches (ahead of time, in a crock pot or something). Mac & cheese is good, hush puppies, around here, are for fried catfish (always an option), not so much for 'Que. Cornbread  is good, but I wouldn't do chicken wings before- too much protein- your guests will be full before the main event. For apps maybe veggies with Ranch dressing (or fried pickles, squash), cheese & sausage (thrown on the grill as it warms) w/ crackers.
Dessert- Apple Pie/Crumble, Cheesecake, or simple grilled fruit with pound cake & vanilla ice cream. and to drink- Beer, Margaritas, Wine... Best of Luck!- Chris

Meat Cooking Guide For A Vegetarian

I was thinking lasagna as well. You could even split it into 2 seperate, smaller pans & go half veg/half meat. Then people could choose...

Help for Too Spicy Soup...

So... I just made a sweet potato ancho soup that turned out way too spicy. I'm about to boil another sweet potato in just a bit of water & add it into the mix, with the hope that it will tone things down a little. Aside from that, it is supposed to be served with a dash of fresh lime juice in each bowl (I know that the citrus will cut the heat some). My question is this: as we want to keep the soup fairly healthy, I don't want to add cream/Crema/ etc that would have a lot of unnecessary fat... Would skim milk do anything at all, or would it just make it watery &/or curdle when the citrus is added? Does anyone have any tips? I've read honey, sugar, etc, but I only want to reduce the heat, not change the flavor... Thanks in advance!!!-Christy

Care Package Ideas

Okay SE  Friends- Looking for some advice... An old HS friend of mine (haven't actually seen her in prob 20 years, but we do keep in touch) recently travelled about 3,000 miles to have a very specific surgery performed. She will be off her feet (literally) for at least 2 months. She is "living" in an Extended-Stay type hotel, will be having therapy take place in her hotel room, & will have various friends/family members with her on occasion. There will be times, however, when she will also be on her own. I'm not able to swing a visit, but I have promised to send Care Packages throughout her stay. I've got some good ideas, but am looking for inspiration... Don't want  all sweets- food items that will ship well, could sub for meals, or maybe easy-prep things once she is semi-mobile... Any suggestions welcome- Thanks in advance!!!- Chris

One- Skillet Wonders?!?...

So, it's the busiest time of the year for both myself & my Other Half. We are up daily around 5 a.m. (4:45-5:15), leave home at 6:20 & 6:30, & neither of us returns until at LEAST 4:30, usually much later... The dogs are already suffering, & our dinner is beginning to as well. Usually don't get around to eating until 8-9:30 right now. We try to eat healthy during the week & have fun on the weekends... I do crockpot meals, he grills on the weekend, and we def know how to do other "big" items that we can repurpose & use throughout the week. But we are also in the middle of remodeling 2 baths & shopping for a new mattress set... Amongst other projects...Have tried lots of "skillet" meals from the store (spoofing them up, always), but are not happy... Too much salt, cheese, etc... Any ideas out there for quick & easy 1- pot/skillet meals that aren't so generic? And fairly Healthy? Any ideas appreciated- Thanks in advance!!!- Chris

Food & Politics...

There is a certain popular Chicken fast-food chain that has always been very open about their (Christian) faith- based beliefs. They're even closed on Sundays so that their employees can spend the day in worship & with family. I just read an article that states the CEO of said Chain has made some public remarks against "non-traditional" relationships/ marriages- & the author was encouraging those of us who disagree w/the statements made should stop frequenting their restaurant. This made me start thinking about it all- Do any of you NOT purchase certain products or brands due to a company's policies or political stance/ beliefs? I know plenty of peeps w/ "alternative lifestyles" that love this place- also, if you're not Christian, should you stop eating there? (I have a Muslim friend that eats there all the time)... Where do you draw the line? I personally think that it's pretty silly. If I like a product, I'm going to use it... My beliefs shouldn't matter to the company, so why should I care about theirs? Any thoughts?!?-c

40th B-Day/ Housewarming Party

SE'rs - I might be WAY off base by asking here, but... DH is turning 40 in July, & we have lived in our 1st home together for over 2 years (& never had a Housewarming Party)... I want to combine the 2 & have a really fun time doing so...inviting about 70, but planning on about 50 to actually show (plus a few Wee Ones).

I'm thinking of doing a "Come & Go" Dinner Buffet/ Check Out the House from about 4 or 5- 7 p.m. Bring the kids, visit, Family Time... Cake Cutting & a Toast of some sort around 7-7:15... Around 8, request that it be Adults only, as the Music will be Cranked Up & the Adult Beverages will be Flowing...(Pool Table, Darts, Blackjack, Fire Pit, etc will get going) Is this Rude?!? I'm thinking not, as it gives people w/ kiddos a chance to either come early WITH them or later without- or both, as most live nearby.

Also, if I do the Buffet Dinner, I want a "Theme"- ideas for: Italian, Mexican (Tex-Mex), Asian, BBQ/Southern, Finger Foods/Apps, Greek, Middle Eastern, Cajun, Any Other- would all be appreciated! Most of the Big shopping will be done at Sam's Club- But i do plan on cooking as well... (And I have a HUGE group of friends already willing to help cook/ store stuff)! Drink Ideas also very welcome! Thanks in Advance!!! BTW, I'm not rich, but have time to put away some $$$ for the Event! Thanks again- Christy

SE Slicers- Help for a Novice?!?...

Okay, I've made pizza at home for years now, casually... I have a decent stone, use the oven or the grill, have a couple of very "basic" dough/crust recipes that we are fine with for a basic Pizza Night at home... Now that I've started following SE, however, I've become very interested in the Slice articles and how YOU GUYS do things. Can anyone out there recommend a good "Beginner's" book or website that would explain the terminology, techniques, etc that are used?!? I get the idea of most of it, but if I really want to step up my game, where/ how do I begin? Any suggestions welcome- Thanks in advance!!!- Chris

Dublin, TX Dr. Pepper Plant Shut Down

Dublin, Tx, was the birthplace of the Dr. Pepper soda... The product(s) from this plant have been made with pure cane sugar since day one. In fact, this is the ONLY plant to still use the "origional" formula... It was just shut down today due a lawsuit brought on by the "big" company- Dr. P/Snapple/Cadbury... Due to a technicality, as far as I can see...I'm pretty upset about this, but I'd like to know if anyone else out there has heard about this all... Would love some other opinions/ feedback. Thanks!!!

SE Day 2012- Is Anything Official?

I saw the post(s) earlier this week asking everyone to voice their opinion(s) as to the date... Has there been any sort of official announcement that I missed? Or are we all still waiting on the Powers That Be to let us know what's going to happen...?

Ideas for Family Cookbook?...

My family is interested in putting together a collection of our recipes, including those of relatives who have passed. I will have plenty of help with the project, but I am "in charge" of getting the whole thing off the ground... Do any of you have info or reccomendations as to some decent companies that do this type of project? I looked into Morris awhile back, but we really don't need 100s of copies- probably 40-60 copies would be good. As for price, we are flexible (I know it changes depending on #s), but not wanting to spend tons (maybe around $20 per copy, max?!?)... Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!! Happy Holidays!- c

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