In My Life, I've Loved Them All

For the Love of Penguins, a $1 Birthday Wish


This may come as a shock… but I LOVE penguins!

For my Birthday, I am fundraising for World Wildlife Fund.  I have been a supporter of WWF for over a decade.  It’s such a worthwhile organization deeply committed to protecting the future of our natural world.

Birthday Wish Penguin Collage- small 

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I am asking for a $1 donation Birthday wish!

With every dollar donated, we are helping the Penguins!  And Polar Bears. And Tigers.  And Elephants. And countless other species we are sharing the world with.

Your support will benefit WWF’s mission to conserve the great outdoors and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on this Big Blue Marble we call home.

Thanks you in advance for donating to a cause near and dear to my heart!


PayPal or CC accepted
World Wildlife Fund is a 501©(3) charitable organization

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Going on a Houston BBQ Adventure- Killen’s

Update 5.26.15 When I wrote this blog post, Houston had been getting a week of scattered Thunder Storm combined with clear sky days. I did not anticipate the severity of the storm on Memorial Day and resulting #HoustonFlood. My heart goes out to Houstonians as we try to recover and rebuild. I look forward to supporting the local business like Killen’s as soon as possible.

As long as the weather in Houston cooperates, the plan is to try out Killen’s in Pearland for my Birthday this week!

Texas BBQ
image from Reddit
Their menu looks delicious, and they have Daily Specials. AND I hear they have excellent banana pudding.

Yes, they opened over a year ago. But when a friend said she wanted to visit me this Fall, I started on a search to find the Best of Houston (so she can have the greatest trip!). Texas BBQ is obviously something she needs to experience. And since my search started, the name Killen’s pops up All. The. Time. (Like them on Facebook to get lovely pictures of BBQ in your newsfeed)

Food Network: Top 5 BBQ in America
Houston Eater: The Essential 38 Houston Restaurants, April 2015
Houston Chronicle Food Critic gives it 4 Stars
ZAGAT Houston’s Best Cheap Eats (Top-rated Houston restaurants under $25.)
30 Things You Need to Eat and Drink This Summer in Houston
4.5 Stars on Yelp
Forbes Travel Guide says he is the KING of Houston BBQ
Mentioned in Travel + Leisure
Representing at the Houston BBQ Festival The Chronicle says it’s a Superstar!
AND Thanks to Sports Illustrated, I know you can show up before 11am and take-a-ticket (Deli Style)

Tickets are so you don’t have to stand in line while you wait for us to open. Grab a ticket and feel free to wait in your car or in the shade or at a picnic table. It’s up to y’all to get lined up in order before we open. Please grab one ticket per person.

Thank you.

No fighting, it’s just bbq.

Here is a good How-To read for 1st timers to Killen’s... it’s great to know what to expect once you finally make a trip out there. Thanks Texas BBQ Treasure Hunt!


Alton Brown stopped there during his most recent trip to Houston.

JJ Watt has said on multiple occasions that it’s his favorite place to eat in Houston.


A photo posted by JJ Watt (@justinjames99) on

Someone’s not going to paint their wall anytime soon..

JJWatt at Killens

If you have any great Houston “Must See” “Must Do” “Must Eat” ideas… please let me know (comment or email)!

Playing in the Kitchen: Chili Colorado #CincoDeMayo

When I saw an article on Bon Appetit called Chili Colorado is the Greatest Recipe Of All Time last month, I pinned it for later. Usually skeptical of anything touted “of all time,” I’ve had success with Bon Appetit recipes in the past. And this particular magazine seems to have the right balance of taking your cooking up a few notches while remaining pretty feasible for a non-professional cook.

Chili Colorado

The article is less instructional and more a story of a beloved childhood favorite: Chili Colorado (Colorado as in “red,’ not the State). So I consolidated it into a more readable recipe (below) and started on a kitchen adventure! Here are some good tips I learned along the way.

  • Be persnickety when buying chilies. I dug through the bulk bin until I found ones that were not crispy/too dry. They should be pliable like a raisin. If you buy them in bags, squish the bag to test the chilies. Crispy chilies = no flavor.

  • bags of chili peppers
  • I used “pork steaks.” These are pork chops that are not cut from the loin, but rather from the Boston Butt/Shoulder. Since the steaks were cut 1/2” thick, I only had to cut them in 1/2” strips, then cubes. Now if I could buy already cubed, it’d save even more time!

  • The pork steaks were $1.77 a pound and buy the chilies from the bulk bin costs less than $2 total. So this was a pretty cost effective meal (especially since I got to use up my homemade chicken stock sitting in the freezer). But saving money means spending more time… from the time I “started” in the kitchen until the time we sat down to eat: 4 hours. A lot of that time was just a simmering pot on the stove, and looking back I could had prepped/done the recipe in a different order to be more efficient. At any rate, this isn’t a “last minute-throw together” meal. Which is fine by me :)

  • Brown the pork in batches, not all at once. It took me 3 batched. But this way they have room to sear instead of steam. And DON’T stir the pieces around when you put them in the post. Let them sit and sear, and then flip after a few minutes. Remove to a plate and start the next batch.

  • brown the pork
  • Truth: I used all dried herbs spices. Because that is what I had. AND unless you are growing your own herbs, buying fresh can be expensive. Especially for a recipe that is simmering for hours. Save fresh herbs for a finish touch, if you want.

  • I started with the chili puree because that is how it was described in the article. next time, I’ll start with the pork, get that simmering away, and then move on t the Chilies (which have to steep for 30 min anyway).

  • chili puree
  • The article said simmer for 45 min after adding the chili puree. I extended this to an hour. You can tell when it is done because the pot will look saucy, not soupy.

  • Chili Colorado- Reducing
  • The pork will be so tender you can barely stab it with a for without it falling apart. Yum!

  • This is a heavy dish! There was a comment on the article describing it as such, and I should have taken heed. One scoop of brown rice topped with a scoop of chili colorado, a couple tortillas and some corn on the cob and I was FULL. As in 5 hrs later I still felt that heavy kind of full. Next time, less meat and more light sides… like a salad. Or just use the meat for tacos.

  • Nevertheless, I didn’t mind the fell feeling, since I literally knew (and could pronounce) all the foods and ingredients I just ate. Yay home-cooking!

Here is the recipe I de-coded from the article

Chili Colorado Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Chilies: 5 anchos, 2 pasillas, and 2 guajillos –seed and stem
Cover chilies with 3 cups of boiling chicken stock and steam, 30 minutes
Purée chilies and liquid until smooth

2 pounds of boneless pork shoulder, cut into ½” pieces; season w/ salt and pepper
brown over med-high heat (heavy bottom pot coated in oil)

6 garlic cloves chopped garlic
two bay leaves
tablespoon of ground cumin
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh sage and chopped fresh Mexican oregano
stir for 1 min

5 cups of chicken stock; simmer uncovered for 1 hour

Chile purée and simmer for another 45-60 minutes
The meat should be very tender and the sauce a thick, mahogany-red color.
Season with additional salt and pepper

Serve with with Mexican rice, beans a la charra, and flour tortillas

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