September 26, 2011

Chicken Fried Steaks

Pdubbs here again keeping you all entertained while Megjo slacks with this blogging gig :). Come Sunday, I was inspired again by Pioneer Woman and decided to make a nice homey dish, Chicken Fried Steaks, which was featured on the season premier of her Food Network show! I started out with my wet-dry station for the cube steaks. First off just some flour with some seasoning.

Then some milk with an egg, and of course more black pepper.

Then I took my cube steaks, soaked them in the milk/egg mixture and into the seasoned flour. Then once again into the egg and once again into the flour.

Then they were ready for some canola oil in a hot cast iron skillet.

Flipped 'em once they got nice and golden brown.

Once they were nice and golden brown on each side I removed them from the skillet and added some flour and milk to the grease and made a gravy.

While the gravy was thickening, I boiled some yukon gold's (Polish style, of course), and sweated some onions for the veggie side dish.

When it was all done, I plated the steaks with potatoes, and some peas with onions and topped it all with plenty of gravy!

Megan was so happy, she couldn't hold still for a picture!

She's definitely kickstarting fall with her cute dress!


September 18, 2011

Nutella Cookies

Pdubbs here again. So a week ago Megan's family came to Gainesville to watch the UF vs. FSU women's soccer game, with FSU coming out on top! The following morning, Megan made a delicious spinach and feta quiche for breakfast. Soon after eating, Megan and I were very pleasantly surprised by a house warming gift from her Aunt, Amy; a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!

After a few days of searching for the perfect recipe for the first use of the stand mixer, we decided on Nutella cookies! I began with the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and a touch of salt.

While Megan worked on the wet ingredients: sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, and of course Nutella!

And then came the most exciting part, mixing!!

After the dry ingredients were mixed in, the batter was finished with some quick cooking oats and vanilla extract. And now, let the scooping commence.

After just nine minutes, the cookies came out as delicious perfection.

And what better way to enjoy them than with a tall glass of milk!

We are both so very grateful for this stand mixer and can't thank Aunt Amy enough. We are excited to explore all the creations we can come up with using the stand mixer!


September 11, 2011

On this day

September 11, 2001 is a day we will never forget. On this day 10 years ago, things were different.

Personally, I was in 6th grade at Dowdell. It was my first year wearing the coveted blue & yellow Brandon FC uniform. I had never picked up a clarinet. I couldn't tell you where Gainesville was located on a map. Dr. Brother didn't know how to read yet. J was still learning how to french braid her hair.

To put it in a sports perspective, the Bucs had yet to win a Super Bowl. Mia Hamm was still playing soccer. Michael Phelps had 0 gold medals.

In pop culture, the first Harry Potter movie had yet to hit theaters. NSYNC was still making music. ENRON was a thriving company. Barack Obama was an Illinois senator. Justin Bieber was in 1st grade.

Security lines were mere formalities, nothing to sweat about. We were able to keep all of our clothes on. Many Americans couldn't locate Afghanistan on a map. Osama Bin who?

September 11, 2001 is a day we will never forget.

I was walking to lunch when my friend, Madison, told me a plane had crashed into some building in New York City. "Really?" I asked. And I kept walking. It was a weird comment but Madison was known for saying silly things.

After lunch, my teacher was called out of the classroom and came back crying. After collecting herself, she attempted to continue with the lesson without mentioning the reason for the interruption.

At this point, I knew something was wrong. Something BIG. Over the next hour, about half the class had been signed out of school. By the time me & my carpool were called out over the intercom to go home, we were all concerned. We piled into the van where Ms. Swanson told us about the events that had transpired throughout the morning.

It was my first experience with hate and it was a fast lesson.

Almost 3,000 Americans lost their lives in the attacks that day. But our enemies did not succeed. They failed to realize that our spirit can not be broken so easily. Over the next few months, Americans pulled together to support each other through the hard times. It made us stronger, prouder & more united than ever.

September 11, 2001 is a day we will never forget. God bless America.

September 05, 2011

We are all strong for old Florida

This Labor Day weekend was also the season opener for college football. The Gators had a home game and I was once again blown away by the entire Game Day experience. For those of you who haven't experienced a proper Game Day in the Swamp, I would like to impart just a teensy bit of the magic to you. Hopefully one day you'll be able to see for yourself why the Gators have the best fans in the nation.

Game Day in Gainesville for many is almost a sacred pilgrimage. Almost every weekend in the fall, thousands of people pack up their cars and drive for hours just to see their team. RVs and caravans begin arriving Friday night to fill the parking lots, garages, fields, yards, where ever they can find a square inch. Downtown Gainesville is packed with students, alumni, families and fans from all walks of life. There are even the occasional rival fans milling around that stick out like a sore thumb in a sea of gaudy orange and blue. Don't worry, we don't let them get away with it.

Then Saturday morning rolls around and you can sense "it". Your senses are bombarded by the excitement in the air. The best way I can describe it is "tangible." The game could be starting at 12:30, 3:30 or even 7 PM but tailgates start while there's still dew on the ground. A coozy in every hand, the smell of the smoking grills fills the air, and the sound of a football being tossed around. Yep, football season is back!

The festivities continue until about an hour before game time. As tailgates begin closing up shop, hoards of people migrate towards the Swamp, as if guided by some magnetic force. The sound of voices gets louder as you approach as the 90,000 swarm to get inside in time to hear 2-bits. There's an occasional chant or refrain from the crowd, just to reinforce the fact that "it's great to be a Florida Gator."

You push your way through the lines - literally - and march your way to your seat. That is, if you're sitting in the Alumni section, you're marching to your seat where you sit down. If you're heading to the student section, you head to the spot on a bench where you will stand for the next 3 hours to fulfill your student duty to intimidate the opponent by yelling as much as humanly possible.

With a few short minutes until game time, the Pride of the Sunshine marching band storms the field. As if the crowd needed more pumping up, the band fills the stadium with their traditional pre-game show that the fans have grown to know and love. As the band serenades you with the National Anthem, the stands enter a brief moment of silence. But only for a moment as the band picks up again with few more standards before heading towards the south endzone. And that's when you know the team is about to enter.

The jumbotron flashes images of a gator lurking in the swampy Florida waters. The Gator Chomp plays in the background and the anticipation builds in the stadium, arms posed in perfect gator chomps. A booming voice shakes the stadium with the classic pre-game line: "The Swamp: Only Gators get out alive!" The sound of cheers is deafening as the team races onto the field. Football season is finally here!!!

The next few hours pass by in a whirl. Between cheering on Jeff Demps & Chris Rainey, booing the opposition and chiming in during the stands tunes (I guarantee one of them will be stuck in your head for the next 3 days), it's non-stop excitement. And it's even more fun when we win!

Crowd interactions in the Swamp is a great social phenomenon. Just being there cheering on the Gators is like instantly making 90,000 friends. When the Gators score, you seek everyone within a 10-foot radius to high-five. After the third quarter and without even thinking, you throw your arm around the stranger beside you as you sing and sway to "We are the Boys." It all adds to the atmosphere and the experience. There's absolutely nothing like it.

It's great to be a Florida Gator!