Dinner Out at Outback

Three weeks ago, B and I got to experience that all-too-rare event known as “date night.”  We ditched dropped the kids off at B’s parents’ house and went to Outback Steakhouse.

I had called ahead, but, due to circumstances beyond our control, we wound up arriving about an hour later than our reservation.  Even so, we were seated rather quickly.

After placing our order, we were presented with two big loaves of bread.  I knew we had a big meal ahead of us, but it still took all of my willpower not to devour this bread.  I took a little taste, but that made it worse.  It tasted so good!


Before long, our appetizer, Spinach Artichoke Dip, arrived.  This tasted heavenly.  The dip itself was wonderful, but the addition of the garlic toast pieces was incredible.


Next up was the main course.  B got steak with shrimp and a baked potato.  I had a mahi dish with rice and veggies.

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I can’t speak for B’s dish, but mine was very tasty.  I wound up finishing all of mine up while B had some of her meat (and the rest of the bread) packed up to eat for lunch the next day.

When it came time for dessert, we were too stuffed to eat any more.  Still, we ordered the Sweet Adventure Sampler Trio.  This comes with samples of three different desserts.  And by samples, I mean what might be regular sized portions of each dessert anywhere else.  Since we were full, though, we ordered it to go.  I was quite amazed when our server showed us how they had packaged the desserts.  Each segment of the desserts was in a different container.  (I’ve got to apologize for the overexposure of some of these shots.  The white packaging made photographs hard to take.)

First up was the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under: A chocolate pecan brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.

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Once combined, they formed this delicious dessert:


After this was the carrot cake (with coconut and pecans) and the classic cheesecake.

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Both of these were good, but the brownie was by far my favorite.  All in all, we had a great time at Outback Steakhouse.  While steak is not my thing, they have enough other options that I look forward to going back there again.

Disclaimer: B received a coupon for a free steak from an online promotion and I received an Outback Steakhouse gift certificate during a blog tour.

Cooking With TechyDad: Apple Pie

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a Cooking With TechyDad segment.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking.  I’ve just been sticking to tried and true (and somewhat boring) recipes.  Picking 39 pounds of apples gives me the perfect excuse to try something new.  We had some frozen pie crust in our freezer so I figured this would be the perfect time to try making an apple pie.

First, I collected my ingredients: apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and salt.


Next, I peeled and sliced the apples.

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After this, I added the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice.

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After mixing, I had my pie filling.


My pie crust had been defrosting during this, so I put the apples into the shell and topped it with another defrosted crust.

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It didn’t look the best, but I knew that looks only matter so much.  I made a few slits on the top and into the oven it went.  Before long, the pie was done.  I was actually surprised at how good it looked.

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Our mouths were watering.  Just look at that delicious crust.


After the pie cooled, I sliced into it and… disaster!  The apples had released their juices, flooded the pie, and soaked the bottom crust.


Taking the first slice out, the slice fell apart.


Obviously, I needed some kind of thickening agent in the filling.  Something to bind or thicken the juices so they didn’t just flood the pie.  The pie tasted terrific, don’t get me wrong, but next time I try this, I’ll tweak the recipe a bit to improve the results.  And, with over 15 pounds of apples left, I will definitely have the chance to try this again.

Have you ever made an apple pie?  How did you avoid a pie flood?

Aloha Friday: Delicious Desserts

As I posted yesterday, I had quite the delicious dessert for my birthday dinner.  I’m still drooling over the cake-enrobed, ice-creamy, fried deliciousness.  Here it is again in case you missed it.


If you’ll excuse me, I need a mop to clean up all of this drool.  While I do that, here’s my Aloha Friday question: What desserts make you drool?

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #99

The Beginning and Ending of Passover

 0418110823 0418110823a Today is the last day of Passover.  During the day, we’ll eat up some of the remaining matzoh and dream of the bread-filled meals coming the next day.  Technically, we can break Passover tonight, but, practically, eating dinner after 8:30pm isn’t worth it, even if it will be our first non-Passover meal in 8 days.

I was going to end with a Cooking With TechyDad post on how to make matzoh brie, but I realized that I did that last year.  So instead, I’ll give you a quick photo tour of our Passover experience.

The day before Passover, we mostly spent cleaning and shopping.  However, we did have one unexpected treat.  As we pulled into a local Target’s parking lot, we saw a familiar pink truck.  It was the Fluffalicious cupcake truck!


We decided to get the boys one cupcake each and split a giant cupcake between the two of us.  NHL got a S’mores cupcake.  JSL chose a chocolate banana cupcake.  B and I split a giant cookie dough cupcake.  (Let me tell you: It’s torture to go through these photos during Passover!)

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The morning before Passover, I went to temple very early.  You see, because one of the plagues was death of the first born, first born Jewish males have to fast the day before Passover.  However, there’s a way out of this obligation.  If you attend a special learning session, you have to celebrate afterwards by participating in a celebratory meal.  And once you eat, you’re let out of the fast for the rest of the day.

After temple, we went out to Friendly’s for breakfast.  B had eggs and french toast (which I don’t have a photo of), I had eggs and pancakes and the boys had M&M pancakes.

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Sadly, while delicious, this was our last non-Passover food for the next 8 days.

That night, we went to B’s aunt’s house for the Passover seder.  We had a great time with family and had fabulous food.

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The next night we had the second seder.  In many ways, it was a repeat of the first.  Lots of good times and good food with family.

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During the rest of Passover, we dealt with a finicky child’s hunger strike (luckily, it turns out he really likes matzoh pizza), a lot of exhaustion and a lot of matzoh.  Tonight, we’ll pack up our Passover pans, cooking utensils and the like and put them away for another year.  I can’t say we’ll be very sorry to see it go.  Passover is fun, but by now we are all dreaming of our favorite non-Kosher-for-Passover foods!

A French Cake Wrecks Meetup and Disney Steampunk Inspirations

Have you ever read CakeWrecks?  If not, you definitely should.  People from all over send Jen and John photos of badly designed/executed cakes done by professionals.  These might be funny on their own, but Jen and John don’t simply post the photos.  They include hilarious commentary as well.  The end result is a website that can often result in you laughing out loud thus alerting your co-workers to the fact that the website you’re on is not work related.  (Not that I’d ever do that, mind you!)

Anyway, as we were planning to go to Disney World for DisneySMMoms, I noticed a Cake Wrecks post that mentioned that Jen and John reside in Orlando.  I asked if they’d be interested in a meet-up and they said yes!

While walking through Disney World, I was so looking forward to meeting the folks behind Cake Wrecks that I began seeing Steampunk influences in various locations in Disney World.  Ok, this might require some explanation.

Many of you are probably saying “What the @%^# is Steampunk?”  First of all, you should all be ashamed of yourselves for using that kind of language.  That aside, Steampunk envisions a world in which steam powers everything.  (For a detailed analysis of Steampunk, consult Wikipedia.)  From many readings of Jen’s other blog Epbot, I know that they like Steampunk.  So my brain seemed to home in on Steampunk elements.

One thing about Steampunk is that gears and bronze coloring are big.


Those shots are from the Dumbo ride.  Yes, the ride known for letting kids of all ages fly atop an elephant is secretly a Steampunk ride!


This robot can be found outside of House of Blues in Downtown Disney right near where La Nouba is located.  I’m not positive that Steampunk includes robots, but if it did, I think this is what one might look like.

Of course, my imagination being what it is, I couldn’t help but expand on Steampunk.  Introducing Junglepunk!

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These are from the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  The river turns the big wheel which pulls ropes to move a series of buckets.  The buckets collect water, get lifted high up and then spill their contents onto a series of drainage gutters which lead to a storage vessel in the kitchen.  I’d bet you could design a whole series of “technology based on running water”  I believe Futurama has already provided one:


Getting back to the Swiss Family Treehouse (which my boys loved so much that we walked through it twice back-to-back and then they complained when we didn’t go through a third time), I loved the look of this piano.


Getting back to the “*punk” genre expansions, though, how about “Toypunk”?

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I’m thinking that the Lincoln Logs could be miniaturized and used to replace gears in a Steampunk-esque design.  Steampunk meets Toy Story!

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Cake Wrecks-TechyDad/TheAngelForever meet up.  We had agreed to meet in Epcot’s France area.  Twice prior to this, the boys and I (and B on one of the occasions) ate at Patisserie.  Both times, the boys had Cheese Tartine – French bread topped with a touch of sauce and some cheese.  No, it’s not pizza.  That would be found in Italy and this was France!  Both times I had the vegetable quiche.  Both times, I eyed the pastries.  Please excuse the drool as I think of them again.

When we met, we got a seat and then John, the boys and I went to procure some snacks.  JSL wanted chocolate cake, NHL saw John getting a strawberry tart and wanted one.  Me?  I had my eyes on the Napoleon.  (There’s that pesky drool again.)

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As good as it looked, it tasted even better.  As we ate, we talked about various subjects both online-related and offline-related.  A good time was had by all.  Even when JSL – with perfect kid-timing declared he needed to use the restroom and I had to walk all the way from France to Morocco to find one for him.  The lengths dads will go for their kids and I didn’t even get any frequent flier miles!

Pretty soon the snacks were consumed and it was time to head out.  We said goodbye and went out separate ways.  Here’s hoping we can meet again the next time we go to Disney or if they happen to be in the Upstate NY area!

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