In My Life, I've Loved Them All

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

Playing in the Kitchen: Go-To Banana Bread

This is my family’s new go-to Banana bread recipe.  Since I was a kid, we had always defaulted to <a href=””>The Fannie Farmer Cookbook</a><img src=”” width=”1” height=”1” border=”0” alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />
version of Banana bread.  It is quick, made from ingredients we had on hand, and didn’t require a stand mixer.  But the bottom always over cooked by the time the center was done. And it’s pretty dense.

Knowing there must another convenient yet tasty version that wouldnt burn all of the time, I tried a banana bread recipe from Saveur magazine. It required several different bowls, and the resulting bread was way too moist.

A couple years ago, a neighbor (and caterer) so kindly gave us her recipe! And it is now our go-to Banana Bread. The secret ingredient: Buttermilk. No more burning, and not too wet inside. AND sprinkling cinnamon-sugar on top before it bakes makes for a delicious crust.


Print Friendly

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Heat oven to 350 degrees

1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortening
2 eggs
4 Tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
4 mashed bananas
2 Cups flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 Cup Pecans (chopped)

Cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and bananas.

Combine baking soda, salt and flour.  Gradually add dry mixture to the above.

Add chopped pecans.  Mix thoroughly and pour into greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake for 45 min. to an hour.

Note:  When I bake the small loaves, it usually takes 45 mins.  Large loaves take about an hour.

I also make a sugar and cinnamon mixture* and sprinkle on the top of the loaves before baking

*For the cinnamon sugar mixture, I just eye-ball it. Start with a couple tablespoons of sugar and add 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon. Mix together in a small bowl; it should be a light brown/sand color.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I cooked a wopping ZERO items for the Thanksgiving meal. Sad, but such is life when you work in the Hospatility Industry and Thanksgiving is just another work day. I did get to enjoy a lovely meal wih family and friends and watch a little Football.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>Keep hits on all-time QB above knees and below neck or risk being fined 2 pieces of pie. <a href=””>#BackyardTurkeyBowlRules</a></p>&mdash; JJ Watt (@JJWatt) <a href=””>November 27, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//” charset=”utf-8”></script>

And I only had I piece of pie ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

28 Quilts & Astronomical Block Challenge with Karen Nyberg

I saw the NASA booth at the 39th International Quilt Festival in Nov 2013, and this video of Astronaut Karen Nyberg asking for quilt squares to add to the one she made while on the International Space Station.

<iframe width=”440” height=”248” src=”//” frameborder=”0” allowfullscreen></iframe>

So I figured 10 months to make an 9.5” quilt block would be a piece of cake! Of course, I left everything to the last minute and Priority Mailed my block in the week of the deadline.

astro quilt block

I thought all of the blocks would be made into one super record-breaking quilt! But when I arrived at the International Quilt Festival 2014, I found that the 2,200+ blocks were assembled into 28 72”x90” quilts. Makes sense, and made for a much more manageable way to display the work of Quilters from around the world.

It was a beautiful exhibit to walk through… but my heart began to sink when I realized there were 4 huge notebooks of quilt squares to flip though. Squares that were not the correct dimensions or were received after the deadline. Did I measure right!? Was my block mailed in time?!

Luckily, I found my block on the 26th quilt I looked at! It was on the bottom row of the quilt, so I sat on the floor to get a picture with it.

Found my #star #block! #AstroBlockChallenge #quiltfestival

A photo posted by Cindy (@inmylife99) on

HUGE BONUS: I found out in-route to the Festival that Astronaut Karen Nyberg was going to make an appearance! Had I known in advance, I would have worn a nicer shirt. Being able to meet here really completed this entire experience!


I made sure to take a picture off all 28 of the Star themed quilts… in thoughts to mash them together into a photo of one SUPER QUILT like I had originally thought it would be.

Now I am realizing that 1) Many of the 2,200 contributors could not make it to Houston to see the Display in person and 2) Professional photos of the quilts are not available online quite yet. I thought they be posted as soon as the festival started… but now it may be a week or 2 until gets the online. And that is an eternity to the Quilters who want to see their block!

So to help out, here are the pictures I took of the Astronomical Quilts. They are taken with a point-and-shoot camera, but hopefully are clear enough for quilters to find their blocks!


** click on photos to enlarge **

AstroQuilt1  AstroQuilt2

astroquilt3  astroquilt4

astroquilt5  AstroQuilt6

AstroQuilt7  astroquilt8

astroquilt9  AstroBlock10


AstroQuilt11  astroquilt12

astroquilt13  astroquilt14

astroquilt15  AstroQuilt16

AstroQuilt17  AstroQuilt18

astroquilt19  astroquilt20

astroquilt21  astroquilt22

astroquilt23  astroquilt24

astroquilt25  astroquilt26

astroquilt27  astroquilt28


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