I have to travel to Houston for work this week. I dislike the long hours I work when I travel for business, but I do enjoy having an excuse to eat out. Some of my favorite places near the office are Sushi Jin, Nit Noi, and Bistro Provence. I will also probably get room service for dinner one night of the trip. Getting room service always makes me feel pampered. The other upside of staying in a hotel is that I will have access to cable. I don't have TV at home (by choice), and it's a nice novelty when I get to watch it.
It kind of stinks that I have to travel for work though because I am going to miss my darling fiance (new bloggy nickname, ahoy!). He's actually leaving town to go to NYC with his Mom for the weekend (lucky boy!) just as I get back in town.
Because of this, we actually exchanged anniversary presents this past weekend (our 3 year anniversary is technically on Halloween) and he got me a Wine Maker! My cabernet-shiraz blend is currently fermenting away in the corner of my kitchen- and I am eager to see how it turns out. It's definitely a good gift for the wine loving chemist in your life. :)
Other notable events this weekend were my friend Sarah's Halloween Party on Friday (very fun), the Houston Ballet on Saturday (very good, except for the last Twyla Tharp piece that featured costumes that were distractingly ugly.), and The Race for the Cure on Sunday (I ran with Steph- it was her first race and she did great).
I also used Pumpkin in several new recipes this weekend. First, I made pumpkin dip, which I served in a hollowed out pie pumpkin at Sarah's party. Dippers were apple slices, cinnamon graham crackers, and caramel/vanilla marshmallows. The biggest change I made to this recipe was to dramatically increase the amount of cinnamon called for (I think tripled it at least).
When I woke up the next morning, I made Pumpkin Spice Whole Wheat Pancakes by adding cinnamon (I have no idea how much, let's just say several good shakes) and about 1/4 a can of pumpkin to a half portion of this recipe (to make 4-6 medium sized pancakes)- then thinning the batter to the standard pancake batter consistency with a little water.
Finally, on Sunday, I used the remained 1/4 cup of pumpkin in an easy pulled chicken crock pot dish. I sliced 2 chicken breasts, then added 1/4 can of pumpkin, 1 can of black beans, 1 cup of chopped onion, a few generous shakes of tabasco sauce, and about 2 cups of salsa to my crock pot. I cooked the chicken on high for 3.5 hours, then took the meat out of the pot, shredded it, and stirred it up in the sauce. I expected this to taste very southwestern, but it actually just made a nice brown gravy with beans and chicken in it. I served it on tortillas with cheese and plain greek yogurt, but I think that my darling fiance will be eating the leftovers with bread during the week (in part because we are almost out of tortillas). The best thing about this recipe is that it made a ton of food. So far we each had 2 tortillas worth last night, and I had another for lunch today. I'd say there are at least 3 or 4 servings left. I think you could also add diced tomatoes and chicken broth and make a decent tortilla soup with the shredded chicken. I'll definitely be making this again!