Thursday, June 30, 2011

Must Make Salsa

It is close to the 4th and something I love on the 4th is a nice freshly made salsa and guacamole but we can get to that later. I'm pretty simple when it comes to both but most people really enjoy the salsa I make, but I have a need this Quick Chef Pro System from Tupperware.
Worth the $64.50!!!
Some people slave over a chopping board and chop their ingredients which is so very time consuming...others use the food processor route which I think liquefies the salsa too much. I purchased this 'spinner' as I call it, about 8 years ago and have been in love with it ever since. salsa is simple...Roma tomatoes, onion, banana peppers, sweet yellow and/or orange peppers (red if you are in a pinch), jalapenos, fresh cilantro, limes and salt. If I am making a smaller batch I add the onions and all peppers into the spinner and spin until chopped well, then I add the tomatoes quartered and cored so the flavors meld together and the onion and peppers become the smallest particles. You can make the tomato chunks as big or small as you want based on taste...I use kitchen scissors to cut the cilantro into small pieces and squeeze lime juice over the entire dish. Everyone likes their salsa different so if you want to experiment until you figure out your special mix then I would spin all ingredients separate and add them together as you like. The important part is that salt is the key to making this taste right, salt brings out the true flavors in the vegetables. I always try to taste my salsa with the chips I'm going to eat the salsa with because the salt in the chips will add to the flavor.

If you can let the salsa sit for a couple hours and chill it will just make it better and better. If you can find non-organic blue corn chips to serve for a red and blue combo perfect for the 4th of July!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paris at Night

While in Paris I received a recommendation to take a night bike tour. Now I don't know about the rest of you but taking a bike ride on my vacation, in Paris, didn't initially seem like something I wanted to do, but then I looked into it and warmed up to the idea...after it was over then I wish I would have booked a full-day tour with the group, it was amazing!

We booked our tour with Fat Tire Bike Tours...they specialize in English language tours in Paris, Barcelona, London and Berlin. Our guide was a college student from Alabama but very knowledgeable of the area and attractions. Our tour started and ended at the FTBT offices not far from the Eiffel Tower and took us around the city in an 8 mile bike ride and an hour boat tour down the Seine while being served wine. Highlights included:

All the bikes had names...mine was called the Thrillho, awesome.

Notre Dame, one of the first stops on the trip.

Ice Cream from was so rich...we were
along the St. Louis bridge.

Riding around the fountain outside the Louvre

Our group riding out the front of the Louvre

From the boat was awesome!

From the the views of the Eiffel Tower!
A couple of things to note on the tour...the tour starts at 7:00 p.m. and lasts 4+ hours so take a nap during the day. When we were there in June it didn't get DARK until after 10 so only a small part of your tour is truly in the dark. It is a bike ride...wear appropriate shoes, but they are California cruisers so they have wider seats and are easy to ride. Pack a bottle of water and a jacket, it got cool on the boat especially, you can tie them onto the bike with bungee cords they have on them. And the bonus is you get a FREE postcard and magnet to take home with you.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Feed Bag Sacks

These are cool...I want to run out to the barn right now since I am at the farm and find a sack to make one! There is a great blogger out there The House that Ag Built who posted a tutorial about how to make these reusable bags that she recommends great for the grocery store or beach since they are extremely durable and water proof and can be rinsed out or hosed off. I browsed The House that Ag Built today and fell in love, I mean how can you not when her weekly post is Hunk of Meat Monday?!

Here is the full tutorial on how to make the Feed Bag to Grocery Bag.

Isn't this awesome?
Do you want to try for a chance to win one of the awesome bags? CrystalCattle has a contest currently going on now through Sunday and will be giving away a bag to one lucky winner, courtesy of The House that Ag Built! Visit CrystalCattle today to learn how you can register to win!

You can find both blogs on my favorite blogs list if you like them to...follow them!

We ate our way through it...

So I spent a week traveling for work and it just so happened that travel took me to Europe...specifically England for work, but we took advantage of the weekend ahead of our work trip and went to Paris and Brussels. Needless to say we took the opportunity to sample our way through those two places and then sampled a lot of local cuisine in England while we were there for a week. I'll have some more blogs about the trip and some fun things to do if you are ever in that part of the world.

But for now this is how we ate our way through Paris, Brussels and England...the funny part is no we didn't gain any weight, I actually lost a couple pounds on the trip, but we were very active and biked 8 miles one day, walked 2-3 (maybe more) the next and were always on the move and always doing something.

Ham and cheese quiche and chocolate croissant in Paris

Pizza in Paris...yes not French but the line was short
and it was tasty!

Beef braised in beer at the Stella Cafe in Brussels.

Mussels and frites! I was obviously excited
at the Stella Cafe in Brussels.

The lightest, fluffiest dessert waffle I have ever had
with strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate...obviously this
is from Brussels.

"REAL DAIRY" ice cream at the show grounds in England.

Sea Bass in England.
Pot roast in England.

Chocolate torte in England.

Frangipani in England

This is a pretty white meal, even for me...panini and chips in England.

My favorite meal of the trip...a steak and ale pie with chips
from the Lamb and Flag pub in Lincoln, England.

Jennie's first Fish and Chips, also at the Lamb and Flag.

Sticky toffee pudding...also from the Lamb and Flag.

I have no idea what this is, Jennie ate it but it looks yummy!

My egg and mayo sandwich with chips and a salad...salads are hard
to come by...with a ginger beer (non-alcoholic) and lime!

Another Paris cafe meal...chocolate croissant, cheese
breadstick, flatbread and apple danish!

Chocolate ice cream at Berthillon, one of the most famous
ice cream shops in Paris!

Our most unhealthy meal of the trip
a grilled hot dog and bun with fries at the base of
the Eiffel Tower.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oh La La

So the Traveling Cowgirl is REALLY traveling this time...I'm currently sitting in my hotel room in Paris, France people not Missouri or Texas or any other state in the US that borrowed the name. I'm in this part of the world for work but we came over early to get used to the time and also see a little more of the world than a tradeshow in the middle of Lincolnshire, England...that will come later in the blog posts.

We flew into Brussels because it is cheaper than flying directly into Paris and that is where we need to go back to connect to get to Nottingham, England for work. From there we took the train...sounds simple enough right, well it would be if anything would have been in both French and English, so long story short we waited at the wrong train station to catch our Paris train almost too long and had to run in between platforms, up stairs (with 50 and 43 pound bags...mine of course would be the 50) and through confusion to finally get on the train and headed to Paris. In Paris things got surprisingly easier...we were able to take a cab from the train station to our hotel which is just a few short blocks from the Arc De Triomphe.

View from our room.
 We ate lunch at a patsree between here and there and did some exploring before we decided naps were in order for sure. So post nap we are more energized and ready for our night bicycle tour that starts at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

Quiche and a great buttery chocolate croissant.
Jennie and her awesome strawberry dessert!
The Marriott is super nice and the rooms are huge...we're off to eat again, our clocks are all thrown off!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


So everyone who knows me well,knows that I love sports...I was even told last winter that I was football crazy and I took it as a compliment, I do not think he intended it that ways though. I have a close group of friends both female and male who love to go to a the act of tailgating (yes in KC we tailgate for everything, especially baseball)...but this week was a little extreme. In the course of 3 days I've attended a Camping World Truck Race at the Kansas Speedway, a Spring Cup race out there as well and two, not one but two Royals game.

I'm excited about the games and races because they were a blast but need a break from sporting events for a few days!

Angie and I at the Royals/Twins game on Mizzou night!

The hotdog was about 90 degrees this night they had to be hot!
I always root for mustard and rarely win.

Me, Stephanie and Jennie in Victory Lane at the Kansas Speedway during the STP 400.
(photo courtsey of Luke McKelvie)

Long story but I've been craving cotton candy for about 4 weeks, now that I've had it
I won't want it again for about 10 years.

Monday, June 6, 2011


This is my first time blogging from my IPad so please bare with me and my formatting, it is a test run for my trip to Europe and the UK next week and hoping to ditch the computer and just take the IPad. Jury is still out so if you have any formatting suggestions please let me gentlemen start your engines.

The NASCAR industry is a billion dollar industry. It is unreal the amount of money and time that is put into the sport not only by the teams and drivers, but tracks, sponsors and fans. I'm not a motor head but after spending some time with the sport a few years ago I learned a lot about it, the science behind it, the engineering, the training the drivers put they study the tracks and conditions the computer programs they use to figure out the fast line during practice by following the path of the fastest guy on the track truly amazes me. And that is just one small part of the industry that I actually understand not to mention the 100,000 other details I don't. 

But for the average person or fan most NASCAR experiences are from an easy chair on Saturday or Sunday, or a chance at tickets only if you live close enough to a track to attend or willing to travel
for a weekend, which a lot of people do. They camp in the infield or outskirts of the track, they tailgate...and boy do they tailgate, and they love their driver. There are flag poles representing 20 years of NASCAR history at any given tailgate...maybe featuring their favorites past and present and a lot of the past will deal with #3 (if you are not familiar just google NASCAR #3). When I was at Watkins Glenn i even saw an evergreen covered in beer can ornaments, they are very creative fans! For those of us in the Midwest, tracks with a Sprint Cup Race (highest level of skill) are hard to the Kansas Speedway is a huge attraction for many reasons but primarily because of the two Sprint Cup Races each year. But they have a lot of other great qualities and benefits for fans that you can't get at most tracks. 

They have one of the most expansive Fan Walks. They get you up front and center with the garages, haulers, crews and maybe even a glimpse of a driver or two. They cost a little money, $15, but worth the money. Free parking, a lot of free parking...pretty good traffic flow in and out as well. You can bring in a 14x14x14 soft-sided cooler with beverages, whatever beverages you
want as long as they aren't in glass containers.

Here are a few pictures from my time there this weekend...great place to watch a race. I also strongly suggest if you like NASCAR catch a race at Kansas Speedway. If you think NASCAR is a bunch of red necks with mullets drinking PBR in sleeveless Dale Earnhardt t-shirts well you are part
right, but it is also a very complex sport with a lot of very smart, educated individuals who love the sport and are working every day to make the sport better. There are drivers who are following in the foot steps of their fathers and grandfathers, there are young guns just trying to make it big, but regardless it is a sport full of passion and I encourage any sports fan to check out at least once in their life.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos view from pit road

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos view from not so cheap seats

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos winner's burn out

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos victory lane

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Garden Update

An update on my Growing Salad Pot from May 4th...28 days into growth and it is looking awesome! Can't wait to pick some lettuce when I'm back from my travels!

May 4th
June 1st

And an update from my Wonderful Herb Gift...look at how well this has grown! I'm keeping it inside so I don't ruin it outside. I use herbs from this every night I really cook, even if it is eggs.

May 4th

June 1st

Key Lime Pie Variation

Recently a friend of mine was looking for a great dessert to take to a Memorial Day BBQ on a very warm summer day. She was looking for something that would transport and store easily but be easy to serve. I suggested the Key Lime Pie because well it is awesome and super refreshing, but instead of making it in a pie plate with a graham cracker crust, I offered the option of using a Nilla Wafer in the bottom of a muffin cup liner for individual serving Key Lime Pie Cups. She took that idea and ran with it making the filling the night before and preparing the cups with the Nilla Wafers and filling then chilling over night. The day of she topped them with whipped cream and a slice of lime so everyone knew what they were. She said they were a huge hit and everyone kept complimenting on how good they were to the point where it was a little uncomfortable...I think that is a HUGE compliment to the chef!

Aren't these soooo cute? And tasty looking?!?!
Photo rights to Jennie Martin