Thursday, June 30, 2016

Celebrate July 4th The Texas Way With Texas Recipes!!

Texas Margaritas – Use Exact Brands!
8 ounces Imported Sauza Tequila Silver
9 ounces Dekuyper Triple Sec
5 ounces Gold Label Gimlet Cocktail Mix
4 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice

Put in ingredients in a glass jar and mix well.  You may withhold a small portion of the lime juice until you taste the mix. This mix (without ice) stores well in the refrigerator for 3 plus weeks. To serve, pour over ice in a margarita glass.

Texas Margarita

Margarita Mix Storage

Guacamole is NOT a Salad!
Ripe Avocados, seeded, peeled and mashed with fork or mixed with electric mixer.
A few drops of fresh lime or lemon juice (dip should not taste like lime or lemon!).
Dash of salt. Save the onion and tomatoes for the Pica de Gallo.

Guacamole Dip

Storing Cut Avocados and Guacamole:
Leave the seed in the cut avocado and press tin foil on cut part. Wrap the tin foil tightly around the avocado and store in refrigerator. When ready to use, slice off small brown portion. If not using all, repeat the tin foil sealing process. To store guacamole dip, put in taller jar or air tight container so less guacamole turns brown. Press tin foil over the top of the guacamole and store in refrigerator. When ready to use, carefully remove brown portion of guacamole and serve.

Avocado Storage

Guacamole Storage

Guacamole 24 Hours After Storage

Pica de Gallo:
2 large or three medium fresh tomatoes chopped in small pieces
1 large or 1 ½ medium white onion chopped
1/2 of small to medium bunch of fresh cilantro
3 medium fresh jalapenos
Fresh lime juice to taste

Chop the onion and tomato and place in mixing bowl.
Remove stems from cilantro and dice leafy portion. Add to mix according to taste.
Slice jalapenos lengthwise. Remove all white pulp and all seeds (both are hot). Dice or chop jalapenos into small pieces and add to mix according to taste.
Add a few drops of lime juice if desired and stir.
Let stand at room temperature for two hours to blend flavors, and then refrigerate in air tight container.

Pico De Gallo

Stuffed Jalapenos:
1 pound Owens Regular or Jimmy Dean Regular Breakfast Sausage
1 8 ounce package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
12-14 medium to large jalapeños
1 Strip of bacon per half jalapeno

Brown sausage, drain and crumble.
Soften Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Mix sausage and cream cheese, and chill.
Cut jalapenos lengthwise and remove white membranes and seeds.
Fill each half of jalapeno with cream cheese and wrap in bacon.
Cook on cookie sheet in a 300 degree oven approximately 25 minutes until bacon crisps. Turn once. If you want the bacon crisper, transfer to a clean cookie sheet and place under broiler, but watch carefully, as they burn real fast! You may also cook these on an outside grill.

Stuffed Jalapenos

Dill Potato Salad:
3/4th of a 46 ounce jar of Heinz Genuine Dill Pickles, or equivalent in Best Maid Hamburger Dill Slices cut in small pieces (the point of brands is the great dill flavor)
5 huge white potatoes, peeled, cooked and diced ½ in cubes
¾ large white onion, grated
5 hardboiled eggs finely diced or grated
¼ cup prepared yellow mustard
1/3 cup dill pickle juice
½ TO ¾  32 ounce jar of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise (Best brand west of Rockies) – no other will do!
Pepper to taste

Peel, boil, and dice potatoes. Put in refrigerator to chill.
In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients, except the potatoes.
Gently stir in potatoes. Add more mayonnaise as needed for moisture.
Add a bit more mustard if necessary for flavor – should not be able to taste the mustard.

Even Kids Love This Potato Salad!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Willie Nelson is Visiting Austin Twice This Year!

Willie Nelson    @giovanni CC BY-SA

Willie Nelson’s July 4th Picnic will be held in Elroy, Texas at the Circuit of the Americas’ Austin 360 Amphitheater. The show begins at 11am and will also feature Willie, Brantley Gilbert, Lee Ann Womack, and Shakey Graves. Circuit of the Americas is located at 9201 Circuit of the Americas Boulevard, 78617, 14.6 miles southeast of downtown Austin, Texas.

Austin 360 Amphitheater    Earl McGehee CC BY

While in Elroy, eat at Wild Bubba’s Wild Game Grill at 13912 FM 812. The restaurant receives rave reviews. Menu items include buffalo, cabrito, antelope, axis venison, elk, kangaroo, elk, black bear, wild boar, alligator and yak wild game burgers and cheeseburgers. Traditional American menu items include beef hamburgers and cheeseburgers, fries, chili, chicken fried steak, sandwiches and more. Bring your own bottle; a convenience store is located next door.

Hamburger     Kate Hopkins CC BY

On October 12, Willy Nelson will appear in Austin at the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame feat with Bonnie Raitt, Kris Kristofferson, and Mavis Staples. The show begins at 7:30pm. This event will be held at Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater, 310 Willie Nelson Boulevard, Austin 78701. 

Moody Theater    Ron Baker CC BY-SA 3.0

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Spring Break/Summer Trip Plan for the Needville Area!

When visiting the Needville area, the town and the nearby popular Brazos Bend State Park make a great base camp. Needville’s Creekside Farmers’ Market is open on Thursdays, 4pm-7pm, and the Jay Café receives great reviews for its chicken fried steak, hamburgers, and rib eyes. Brazos Bend State Park amenities include several lakes, tent and RV campsites, cabins, screened shelters, a lighted fishing pier, bird blinds, a nature center and museum, the George Observatory (popular with children), 35 miles of equestrian, biking and hiking trails, and alligators! Birding is fabulous, and park rangers host many family and children’s activities.

Hike 40 Acre Lake at Brazos Bend State Park   TPWD Copyright

Pettigrew Junction is located in East Bernard, 19 miles northwest of Needville. This family owned resale business sells everything that can be salvaged from old buildings. Inventory is located over three acres, and includes lavatories (some pedestals) tubs with and without legs, hardware, decorative wrought iron, pottery (McCoy, California, crocks), chandeliers, ceiling fans, plumbing fixtures (contemporary & vintage), and more. While in East Bernard, eat at Vincek’s Smokehouse; it receives great reviews! The Church of the Guardian Angle, one of the 21 famous Texas painted churches, is located in Wallis, 25 miles northwest of Needville. 36 miles northwest of Needville is the town of Eagle Lake. In addition to being a fabulous duck hunting area, Eagle Lake has two museums, the Prairie Edge Museum, and the Eagle Lake Depot Museum. The Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge is located 9 miles northeast of Eagle Lake. 29 miles west of Needville is Egypt Plantation, a town converted to a family business featuring an antique barn, trade days, historic buildings, a saloon, and a café. Tours are available.

Eagle Lake is a Great Place to View Trains

The 20th Century Technology Museum is located in Wharton, 25 miles southwest of Needville. While there, eat at the Taste Woods Bar-B-Q restaurant, a 4 to 5 star area restaurant! El Campo, 38 miles southwest of Needville, is famous for its 25 or more outdoor murals. The town also features one of Texas’ historic WPA Post Office Murals, the Wharton County Courthouse, the El Campo Museum of Natural History, the El Campo African-American Museum, the El Campo Community Theatre, and Muldoon’s Saloon & Dance Hall (live music). It has several restaurants receiving great reviews, including Father & Son’s Grill, Emil’s Place Café, Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse, and Mustang Creek Bar-Bar-Cue.

Wharton County Courthouse & Veterans Memorial Eternal Flame    Ken Lund CC BY-SA

Angleton, the Brazoria County seat, is located 35 miles southeast of Needville. You can’t miss the 60 foot tall Stephen F. Austin statue in Munson Park. Town attractions include the Brazoria County Historical Museum, the 1897 Brazoria County Courthouse, the MSR Raceway (formerly the Angleton Raceway), and the La Casona Mexican Restaurant. The town of Alvin is located 43 miles east of Needville. Alvin attractions include the Nolan Ryan Exhibit Center at Alvin Community College, The Marguerite Rogers House Museum, the Alvin Historical Museum and WPA Post Office Mural, the Alvin Opry, the Gulf Coast Speedway, the Bayou Wildlife Park, the historic National Oak Tree, the Resoft County Park and stocked fishing lake, Haak Vineyards and Winery, and Kelly’s Place, a favorite local dining spot. Try Diana’s Grill for breakfast.

Stephen F. Austin Statue in Angleton     TexasDarkHorse CC BY

Richmond and Rosenberg are located 14 and 11 miles north of Needville. Richmond attractions include the 1908 Fort Bend County Courthouse, the 1887 Fort Bend County Jail, The Fort Bend County Historical Museum Complex, the Confederate Museum, and the George Ranch Historical Park. Good dining options include Bombay Grill, Fajita Pete’s, Lomonte’s Italian, and Sandy McGee’s. Rosenberg is a great place to see trains! Town attractions include the Rosenberg Railroad Museum, the Cast Theatrical Company, the Art League of Fort Bend Art Gallery, the Seabourne Creek Nature Park and pond, and Brazos Park on the Brazos River. The town has several highly rated restaurants, including Country Pho, Guanajuato Mexican Restaurant, McAlister’s Deli, Hunan Garden Chinese, Bandito’s Taco Grill, and Bull Creek Café and Grill.

Richmond's George Ranch Historical Park Cattle Round-Up   Roy Luck CC BY


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

It is Rodeos & Wagon Trains Season in Texas!

The legendary Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is going on as I write, 15 January through 6 February. Two other great rodeos are the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (February 11-28) and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (March 1-20). Both the San Antonio and Houston Rodeos have their associated trail rides with wagon trains – a great photo op not to be missed!

The 2016 South Texas Trail Riders Trail Ride & Wagon Train rides from South Texas to the San Antonio Rodeo. They leave from the Edcot Gin (FM 631) in Edroy, Texas, San Patricio County, at 8am on Friday, 5 February. They lunch at Hartzendorf Gin on FM 796, and spend the night at the Tynan recreation center in Tynan, Texas. On Saturday, February 6, they leave at 8am. Lunch is at the Skidmore, Texas Fire Department at the corner of 4th and East Refugio Street. They spend the night at the Beeville Expo Center at 214 South FM 351, Beeville, Texas. They leave Beeville on Sunday, 7 February at 8am and head to their overnight site in Pettus, Texas. On Monday, February 8, they ride to the Karnes County Show Barn located on U.S. 181 between Kenedy and Karnes City, Texas, and adjacent to the Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital. On Tuesday, February 9, they are off again at 8am, and ride to Falls City to spend the night. On Wednesday, February 10, they leave at 8am for the Wilson County Show Barn at 435 SH 97 East in Floresville, Texas. They are off again at 8am on Thursday, February 11th, for their ride to the Bexar county Sheriff’s Posse Arena at 11755 South Foster Road, San Antonio, 78223.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have 13 affiliated Trail Rides and Wagon Trains which provide many photo opportunities. The longest of these rides is the 386 mile long Los Vaqueros Rio Grande Trail Ride from Hidalgo, Texas to Houston. Last year, the Northeastern Trail Ride from Cheeks, Texas to Houston included 300 riders and 14 wagons. The Salt Grass Trail Ride from Cat Spring, Texas to Houston featured 1,400 riders and 25 wagons. If you missed the South Texas Trail Ride to the San Antonio Rodeo, you can catch the Mission Trail Ride from San Antonio to Houston. For more information about the 2015 wagon train schedules, check out Houston Entertainment, Food and Events, Houston Rodeo Trail Rides. The schedules will be similar this year, with the main difference being the date and day of the week.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ready For A Break After The Holidays? Maybe Some Casino Fun?!

Casinos are illegal in Texas. In 2002, the State of Texas shut down two Indian Tribe casinos, the Alabama-Coushatta Casino and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Indian Tribe Speaking Rock Casino in El Paso, Texas. The state was able to close these casinos because the two tribes are administered by the Texas Indian Commission. The Kickapoo Indian Reservation in Eagle Pass operates the Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel. This is permitted because the U.S. government is the trustee of the Kickapoos, and the Kickapoos receive no money from the State of Texas. The Lucky Eagle offers bingo, slot machines, and poker. According to the Star-Telegram, in 2016 the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribe of Texas plans to open a casino in East Texas, 17 miles east of Livingston. It is not known if the tribe's plan will be legally challenged by the State of Texas.

Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, Eagle Pass  J.R. Ramos CC BY-SA

Other than the Kickapoo Lucky Eagle Casino, Texan’s closest casino options are located across the Texas border in Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The Choctaw Casino in Durant, Oklahoma is located 22.5 miles northeast of Denison, 33 miles northeast of Sherman, and 39.6 miles northwest of Bonham and Bonham State Park. The Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is located in Sunland Park, New Mexico, 9.8 miles northwest of El Paso and Franklin Mountains State Park. The WinStar World Casino is located in Thackerville, Oklahoma, across the border (12.6 miles) from Gainesville, Texas. Two Oklahoma casinos, the Comanche Red River Casino, and the Kiowa Red River Casino, are located in Devol, Oklahoma, 12.3 miles north of Burkburnett, Texas. There are several casinos in Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana. These Louisiana cities are located 37 miles southeast of Uncertain, Karnack and Caddo Lake State Park, 42 miles east of Marshall, Texas, and 22 miles slightly northeast of Waskom, Texas.

Choctaw Casino    brad_holt CC BY