Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shrimp Tacos and Cilantro Rice

Happy Tuesday!  I hope all of you are having a great week so far.  Our week has been great… but that may have something to do with the fact that the Confessions family is on vacation  this week.  We’re enjoying the sun, water, and lots of good food.

Today was actually a really windy day, so we didn’t spend much time on the beach.  The sand was blowing all over us!  So instead we had a pool day and just relaxed, listened to music, and enjoyed the day. 

Tonight was our night to cook for the group.  We’ve been going back and forth about what to cook.  In the end, after some Google searching and reading a few food blogs, we decided on shrimp tacos and cilantro rice!


This was a delicious meal!  I used this recipe for the shrimp tacos.  I made just a few changes.  First of all, I used turkey bacon instead of regular bacon.  I doubled the onions and shrimp, but I used medium shrimp and did not cut them in half.  I left out the cilantro since we were having cilantro rice and we used salsa with fresh salsa as a topping.  We also used flour tortillas.  These were so fresh and flavorful.  The chipotle peppers gave it just a little heat and the bacon added some nice salty flavor.  We topped our tacos with shredded cabbage and homemade salsa.




The cilantro rice was a great side for these tacos and would be great for any Mexican or Tex-Mex meal.  This is a good alternative to beans (although I love beans too.)  I used this recipe for the rice.  I did not make any changes.  The pureed cilantro mixture was delicious on its own!  It reminded me of salsa verde.  I’ll definitely make that again!



So… now it’s time for some baseball-watching and maybe another game.  It’s looking like a Taboo night…

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Fastest Melting Ice Cream in the Universe

Greetings from the beach!  We had another day of beautiful weather.



We had a little scare around 4 p.m. when a dark cloud and thunder threatened us… but it moved on and we enjoyed the rest of our afternoon!

After some beach and pool time, Ryan, Sadie, and I took a ride in the golf cart. We headed out to the pier to take a look at the ocean, enjoy some ice cream, and watch the fishermen.




The breeze on the pier felt so good!  I always like looking down at the ocean, trying to see fish.  I’m always a little scared to see what’s in the water.  Today I didn’t see anything.  ;)

We had to get ice cream, too.  Can I tell you that this was the fastest-melting ice cream in the universe???  We bought the ice cream in the shop, walked out the door, and suddenly, it was melting, melting, melting!  You could NOT keep up with it!  It wasn’t that hot out… maybe it was the humidity?  Strange…  I got Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream and it was delish.



Then we found a little park and we let the munchkin play for a little while.




We had to head home and let Adrienne take her big puppy on a ride.  Mady LOVED riding in the golf cart.100_8381

We were in for a treat tonight.  It was David and Meredith’s night to cook, and they made Low Country Boil!  YUM!  Corn on the cob, potatoes, shrimp, crab claws, and sausage.  So good.  Perfect beach food.  Tomorrow night is our night to cook.  Can you guess what we’re making???

Finally, before I go, I want to tell you all about a book I am about to finish.  It’s Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper.  This is an adolescent book, but it is a wonderful book.  It’s one of the nominees for the South Carolina Children’s Book Award this year, and I think it’s going to be hard for any of the other 19 nominees to beat this book.  It’s about a girl who has Cerebral Palsy.  She can’t walk, speak, or feed herself, but she’s incredibly smart.  Can you imagine how frustrating that would be?  This is an amazing story that is truly inspirational.  It’s fiction… but it makes you think back to kids you remember from elementary school or middle school… and it makes you think about what school might have been like for them.  If you are looking for a GREAT read, you should check out this book

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sun, Margaritas, and Barbecue

Today was our first full day at the beach.  The weather was perfect and we enjoyed lots of great eats and drinks!

There was lots of beach time today.  It was sunny and breezy, and the water was the perfect temperature.




Sadie, Ryan, Adrienne, and I walked down to a pier nearby and enjoyed the view from underneath.



And take a look at the message someone left…




“Do Good.  Help Others.” 


Soon it was margarita time. 



I promised you Jason’s recipe for the perfect margarita, and here it is!  Jason is my friend Jenn’s husband and he is also our bartender each Monday night for “Margarita Monday.”  He makes great Margaritas, but he said I could share the recipe with you!

Jason’s Perfect Margaritas

  • 2 oz. Triple Sec
  • 4 oz. Lime Tequila (We used Margaritaville)
  • 4 oz. Pineapple Run (We used Parrot Bay)
  • 4 oz. Margarita Mix (liquid, not frozen)
  • 4 oz. Orange Juice

Combine all in a blender, fill with ice, and blend.  Enjoy in the sun, preferably by a pool!

On to dinner…

When we go to the beach, part of the fun is the food.  We all take turns cooking dinner each night.  Tonight was my parents’ night.  They decided on pulled pork with baked beans, potato salad, watermelon, and veggies.  A perfect summer dinner!



The pulled pork was such a hit.  It was delicious and had so much smoky flavor!  We were lucky that my sister had given my dad a set of sauces from Blue Moon Sauces and Seasonings.  Blue Moon Sauces are made in Spartanburg, SC.  I love finding local gems! 



We used both the Cajun Red sauce and the Yeller Dog sauce.  Both were delicious!  The Cajun Red had a little kick to it, which I loved.  The yeller Dog sauce was a mustard-based sauce that was a little sweet and sour at the same time.  Very tangy and delicious!  Blue Moon has lots of different sauces and also seasonings that can be shaken or rubbed into meat.  My sister Meredith is slightly obsessed with the Yep Shake!  Be sure to check them out by clicking here.  They are sold in local stores, but you can also order online!

Ok… now a game of Apples to Apples awaits…

Greetings from…

Hello from the beach!  I’m so excited to be on vacation.  Yesterday was a busy day full of driving, unloading, unpacking, and getting settled.  Today we have big plans for sitting on the beach all day. 

Here’s the view from our downstairs balcony:


(view to our left)


(view to our right—and look closely…)

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(that’s the beach)

We’re kickin’ it third-row style.  But that’s ok, because we’ve got a golf cart that will go from 0 to 22 in like 60 seconds.  Yeah, that’s right.

Last night we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner made by Adrienne…


Plus a cucumber-onion salad that was sweet, tangy, and delicious!



Back soon!  Guess what I plan to share with you later today… remember how I told you about Jason’s perfect margaritas?  Recipe is coming today… plus other gratuitous beach photos!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are You Intimidated?

What intimidates you?  This is something that intimidates me.


Meet The Intimidator.  This is Carowinds’s newest ride.  It opened just last year and people… it was aptly named.  I am not scared of roller coasters.  I’ll do them all over and over.  But even though I rode this ride last year… it’s still completely… well… intimidating.  Yesterday we had our weekly Carowinds trip to meet some friends and their kids, and I decided it was time to get back on this ride. 

They say this is the tallest, longest, fastest roller coaster in the southeast, and I believe it.  This is the only roller coaster that truly makes my heart race.  As we were climbing the first big hill, there was a guy behind me who was giggling at the fact that I was holding on for dear life. 

“Hey, look over there,” he said, and pointed off to our left, where you could clearly see the skyline of uptown Charlotte. 

“Are you crazy?!!?” I asked.  “I can’t look out there!”

He laughed.  “I work at the front gate,” he said.  “And every day when I get off work, I have to ride this ride.  It’s the best.”

And then we took the plunge.  And there were about thirty seconds of sheer terror, exhilaration, and screams.

As we rounded the corner at the end, he said, “Never gets old.”

I think he’s probably right.

Here’s a video if you want to get a feel for The Intimidator.


This video is good… but it really doesn’t do it justice.

So, what intimidates you? 

Something that has always intimidated me is meat with bones in it.  I don’t know why… but it always has.  I only ever bought chicken when it was boneless and skinless.  I wasn’t really sure what to do with non-boneless chicken. 

Last year, I saw this episode of “Ten Dollar Dinners” with Melissa d’Arabian on The Food Network.  She was making using split chicken breasts and showed how easy they were to prepare.  So I tried it, and just like that… I mastered bone-in chicken.  Here’s what I do.

If you have never bought split chicken breasts, you’re in for a great surprise.  They’re sooooo inexpensive!  I have noticed that a pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts can cost $8.00 to even $10.00 for a package of 3.  Well, if you buy split chicken breasts, you get more meat for your money… and the pack of 3 that I bought this week cost me $3.00.  Now, that’s a bargain.

Select a skillet that is oven-safe.  You can start your chicken on the stove and then finish it up in the oven.  I use a Cuisinart Stainless-Steel Skillet.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

First, season both sides of the chicken.  I use salt and pepper always.  Then feel free to add other seasoning mixes.  Coat the skillet with a light mist of cooking spray and then heat until hot on the stove.  When the pan is hot, add the chicken, skin-side down.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the skin is golden and crispy.  Then, flip the chicken over and cook the other side for another 5-7 minutes. 

Place the lid on the skillet and pop it into the oven.  Allow it to cook for 30-40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  (And a secret… because you seared the meat… you’re probably not going to overcook it.  Taking that step at the beginning locks in the juices and the flavor!)

When the chicken is cooked, allow it to cool.  And then you can remove the bones and slice it up.  The bones will just slide right out, leaving you with lots of meat, and each breast will have enough meat to serve at least 2 people.  So for $3.00… you get enough meat for 6 people! 

I served ours with a little creamy broccoli-pasta side dish. 


Chicken sizzling in the skillet… pre-oven


Dinner is served. 

Don’t be intimidated by bone-in chicken.  Or roller coasters. 

So… what intimidates you?  Tell me about it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day-Date and “Margarita Monday”

Today, Ryan and I had a “day date.”  This is the advantage of being a teacher AND being married to a teacher.  Every day can be Saturday and you can enjoy “day-dates.”

We decided to see a movie and then have lunch.  Ryan’s really been wanting to see “The Green Lantern,” so we caught the 11:30 showing.  It was better than I thought it would be.  Let’s be honest, Ryan Reynolds is pretty easy on the eyes.  And I really liked that the movie did not drag on and on.  Sometimes I feel like action movies drag out the “fight scene” for the longest time, just to throw in a billion special effects.  This movie did have really nice effects, but it was a good length for a movie.  I actually saw Ryan Reynolds on the Today Show last week and he explained that he wore an “energy suit” during the filming which tracked all his muscle movements.  I thought that was kinda cool.

After the movie, we headed to Charlotte.  I really wanted to look at bathing suits.  We decided to have lunch on the way. I chose The Cowfish because I have been dying to go there.  The Cowfish is a Burger/Sushi restaurant.  Isn’t that a cool combination?  You would never think those things go together, but YUM.  I LOVE the concept.


We started with onion rings, because they are known for these.  They have coconut in the batter and are really delicious.  If you go there, you must try them.


I decided on a bento Box because it has a little of everything: Thai Cucumbers (soooo good!), sweet potato fries, edamame, 4-piece sushi roll (I opted for Spicy Tuna) and a mini-burger.


Everything was wonderful.  I don’t always like sweet potato fries because sometimes they are a little too sweet.  These were perfect.  The Spicy Tuna roll was awesome and so was the burger! 



Next time I think I want to try some of their more specialized rolls.

Ryan got a big ole burger. 


We sat outside where it was a little warm, but they had lots of fans to help with that. 


The service was great AND we saw a celebrity there… Ric Flair!  I am sure that since he lives in Charlotte that many people see him out and about, but this was the first time we had seen him out.  It was pretty exciting, even though I do NOT enjoy wrestling AT ALL.  It’s always kind of fun.  I asked the husband if he wanted me to take his picture with him (because hubby loves wrestling) but he said no.  We didn’t want to interrupt him.  I am sure he gets enough of that. 

From there we went bathing suit shopping, which wasn’t nearly as fun, but I did have some luck.

I finished up my Monday with a margarita with some friends. 


Each Monday, Jenn hosts “Margarita Monday” at her house.  Her husband Jason makes the best margaritas ever! 



I’ve got the recipe so I can make them at the beach!  YUM!  AND… Jason says I can share the recipe with all of you!  So stay tuned for that!

So… reader question…

What celebrities have you encountered?  Who did you see?  Did you stop to have your photo taken or just go about your business?  Tomorrow I’ll tell you about some of my other celebrity encounters.