The Wild Game Camera at the House

The pilot and I love wildlife. We enjoying viewing the wildlife as much as hunting it. The pilot came home the other day with a new toy, a game camera. This camera is motion activated when “things” walk in front of it. It also has an infrared flash so it can take night pictures without having a flash that would scare the animals. Here are a few pictures of what the pilot has captured.

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The racoons like the timeframe of 7:15 to 7:45. We thought there was just one fat one, but there are a few pictures with several coons.

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The area the pilot is capturing is a creek bottom. It holds some water most of the time and attracts the wildlife. Once we start feeding, we will put another camera on the food.

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We did get a whitetail buck deer on the camera. We have seen several doe in person, but still haven’t seen this guy.

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Here is a really fun picture of a bobcat. It’s hard to see, but look in the bottom right corner of the picture.

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And the last one of the bobcat. It is in the center all the way to the left of the picture.

 

The pilot is enjoying checking the camera, and I think it’s really neat to be able to see all of the wildlife you would otherwise not know was there.

-Morgan

A Woman’s Version of Deer Hunting in Texas (KBBD)

My parents have a ranch outside of Brady, Texas. The pilot and I love to go deer hunting, and it’s an extra bonus that we get to fly there. It’s a short hop, skip and a jump from Austin to Brady, and we figure we have a plane so we might as well use it!

We decided to go to Brady for the annual family gathering at the ranch for opening weekend. It was a little different this year because my father was out of state at a wedding and my brother and sister-in-law were staying close to home with a 2nd baby on the way. So it was my mother, the pilot and I, along with a few family friends.

We eat venison year round. There is usually enough food that we can give away quite a bit and never come close to running out. This year, however, we ran out of one of our favorite staples, venison breakfast sausage. We substitute it in all of our recipes for hamburger meat as well as breakfast sausage. Without this, we had to suffer and buy hamburger meat at the local grocery. It was time to hunt.

The weather was quite hot for opening weekend with highs near 80 degrees. We sat in one of the deer blinds together and scouted out deer. There are many beautiful animals in Brady. We have spent a lot of time culling out deer that have bad genetics and letting the bigger bucks breed. Whatever we have done has surely worked because we have seen some beautiful deer.

 

We came back and did an afternoon hunt to find a young 7 point. We try to remove these early in the season if they don’t have equal horns on both sides. The reason we do that early in the season is to keep them from breeding. We want all the monster 10 points to make new babies! I harvested the 7 point and he dropped in his tracks.

I really love to hunt. I can sit in a stand and simply shoot with just my camera. Over the years I have harvested some very large animals, so I have learned to look at the big bucks we currently have and enjoy their beauty. I can’t wait to go back. It’s the pilots turn to harvest a trophy this year. Hopefully I will have some pictures of a monster soon!

Ran the San Antonio Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon

The pilot has ran quite a few 1/2 marathons, 10k’s and 5k’s. We decided to run the “mini” marathon in San Antonio this year. The mini marathon is a 3 mile course, where the 1/2 marathon is 13.1 miles and the full is 26.2 miles.

When we arrived, I was feeling spunky and told the pilot I wanted to do the 1/2 marathon. It looked to be sold out, so I was bummed. When we looked for our registration numbers, it had both of our names on there twice. The pilot had received a special to sign up and forgot that he had done it. We went to the registration desk and they offered a refund. The pilot had pulled a quad, and decided to stick with the mini marathon and I stayed with the 1/2.

Here we are at the check in expo.

This all sounded like a great idea at the time. The pilot and I have ran a few 1/2′s together and we would actually run the first 3 together. Usually I am the one taking the pictures while he runs, but today the roles were reversed. We lined up in our corral, which is based on how fast your are and were ready to go.

 

The race started and the first 3 miles felt great. The pilots legs did well and he finished the mini marathon strong. I continued on. The pilot would rendezvous with me at different points and take pictures. About mile 10 I hit the wall, but determined I finished the race.

All in all, it was a good day. I am glad I did the 1/2 marathon, but would much prefer to do them with the pilot. It’s nice to be able to have company for roughly 3 hours of running.

Airport Identifiers, what are they and where do I include them?

So being the bride of a pilot, I have learned quite a bit about flying. My job duties increase as I learn a little more.  Currently, I get to put the code into the transponder (the part that tells Air Traffic Control where you are) and enter the airport identifier into the backup GPS.

When I write a blog about one of our flying trips, I always add an airport identifier in the title. They usually start with a “K” and are 4 letters or numbers. Most of us know the airport identifier of our local commercial airport. Here in Austin, Texas, Austin Bergstrom International’s identifier is KAUS. Whenever we travel, I like to add that part into the blog so fellow pilots’ can know where we land in case they want to visit the same place.

The pilot uses a website called airnav.com. This site allows him to search the airport, see what type of approaches and runways are available and check the gas prices.

We have landed at over 200 airports over the years. Now you have learned a little bit of what I have learned and will understand when you see an identifier in the title of a trip blog, what it is.

-Morgan

Super Simple Pumpkin Seed Solution, Cook Them!

If you like to cook everything you can like I do, here’s a simple recipe to cook your pumpkin seeds. Whenever we carve pumpkins, we take a few minutes and put all the seeds aside. These are very tasty and make a nice snack.

Here’s the ingredient list:

-1/2 stick of butter

-Cajun Seasoning

-Pumpkin seeds

 

Start out by pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees

Put all of the seeds on a baking pan and be sure to foil line it.

Melt the butter and pour it on top of the seeds. Once that is on, sprinkle cajun seasoning over the seeds

Bake the seeds for10 minutes then stir the seeds, add a little more cajun season (you want to get both sides if you can) then cook them 8 more minutes.

That’s it! They are a very tasty treat with a little kick. The pilot gives these an 8.75 on the 1-10 scale. Enjoy!

-Morgan

Homemade Pumpkin, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies. A Fall Cooking Favorite Recipe!

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. It seems like much more “home cooking” begins and I love to cook! This recipe has become a staple around the time the fall pumpkins come out and the pilot absolutely loves them. The ingredient list is mostly in the cabinet already. You don’t have to cook a fresh pumpkin to make this recipe, but I highly recommend it. Here’s the ingredient list:

1 & 1/2 cups of butter

2 cups of packed brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 cups of steamed pumpkin (if you do not want to cook your own use 1 can of solid packed pumpkin)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups of all-purpose flour

2 cups of quick-cooking oats

2 teaspoons of baking soda

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

 

If you are going to steam your own pumpkin, start with that. Cooking pumpkins are usually quite a bit smaller than carving pumpkins. First, cut open the top and take the seeds out (just like you do a Halloween pumpkin). Then peel the outside of it with a potato peeler. It’s not very hard to do. Once it is peeled, steam the pumpkin for about an hour an a half (note, you are not boiling it, but steaming it). It will slightly change to a darker color. After it has cooked, put the pumpkin into a blender and blend away. That’s it!

Now you can preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugars together.

In the mixer, Combine the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.

Then add the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter-sugar mixture to the mix, slowly.

 

After it is well mixed stir in the chocolate chips.

 

I like my cookies to be fluffy so I like to bake the cookies on an ungreased cooking matte. Bake them 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. These are very homemade and are wonderful to eat. The pilot gives these a 9.5 on the 1-10 scale. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Archivers Scrapfest 2012, Scrapbooking trip of a lifetime!

After a great  day at the Minnesota Zoo, I was ready to jump full force into a whole lot of scrapping.

The pilot and I made a whole schedule of classes when we were registering…I allowed an hour to sign up the morning registration opened and as is the way with most best laid plans, the registration site crashed. There were so many scrappers all trying to register the whole system shut down. After trying for more than an hour and making myself late we finally got an email letting us know that registration would be rescheduled.

Registration for some of these classes is kind of cutthroat. I did not have available time on the Friday that registration was rescheduled for so the pilot had to do all of my registration for me. Even after being reworked it was a challenge to get in and get signed up for classes.  If you are ever going to attend a Scrapfest the BEST tip I can share is sign up for the couple of classes you want and then register again…If you try to sign up for all of the classes at once and some fill up you will not get any.

There are 3 basic philosophies of attendance for Archiver’s Scrapfest in Minnesota

1. Wait in the super long lines and do the free make and take projects (this year there were 24)…most of the vendors have different project each day so you can go back all three days and do different projects every day.

2. A number of locals just come by and take 5-10 classes and spend the rest of the time in a smattering of the make-and-take lines that are specific to their crafting focus and going by the demos to get a quick lesson on the new product launches.

3. Since I come such a long way, I took the third approach….take as many classes as possible. This year there were 23 available hours of class times and 250 classes. I took 21 hours worth. It was wonderful. I enjoyed the rush from class to class and coming home with more project than I will get done in the year before it is time to come back.

On Friday the pilot got up EXTREMELY early to fish. It is our compromise, he gets to fish and I get to scrap. Since Minnesota is that land of 1,000 lakes there are a number to choose from but he really enjoyed fishing with Tony Roach last year so it was back to Lake Mille Lacs.

It is a pretty serious drive from Eagan, MN to Mille Lacs so the pilot documented the drive for me. Most of the drive was done in the dark so the photos on his phone were too dark to distinguish, but the sun came up in time to see the BEAUTIFUL lake . I love to fish so the pilot wanted to make sure that I got to live vicariously through him.

Tony was booked so the pilot fished with one of his buddies, Randy. He met the boat at Terry’s Boat Harbor on the northwest side of the lake in Garrison.

 

The water was smooth and the weather was very pleasant, but the fishing was SLOW.

It is called fishing (and not catching) but a long day of the water with very little to real in and a two hour drive each way does not make for a very successful day. I love to eat Walleye and was looking forward to a plate full of fresh catch but the one the pilot caught was too big to keep.

While the pilot was fishing I was busy learning to quill pumpkins and Christmas trees by Quilled Creations, I was learning new was to use Bella Blvd.’s Embellishments, I made a couple of trays, and learned how to make a number of albums, instead of buying them.

Excluding a one hour break on Friday for lunch and no class during the 5pm slot on Friday afternoon I was in class every hour that there were classes to take. During the first break,  I had the opportunity to see a demo of the “Memory Files” by Heidi Swapp.

I love the idea of making a mini book and adding those mini books to pages inside of other books. I bought a few different sizes and shapes so that I could take them apart and recreate them differently.

In the breaks I also stopped by the demos and made a Honey Pop Flower with Inky Antics, and I played with the new punches from EK Success Brand. I have used the punches a little before and I know to sharpen then with tin foil, but I learned that if you cut the corners first you can make a beautifully done border that all lines up. There were a number of other Demos that I would have enjoyed but there were just not enough hours in the day. I did have the opportunity to use the a new ribbon cutter and sealer called an I-magicut by Imaginisce which was the one product I decided I could not come home without… no more frayed ribbon for me!

On Saturday, the pilot dropped me off at the front door so that I would not have to arrange the shuttle again. Getting the shuttle to drop me off was really easy, it was the pick up that caused the complications.

By day 2 I was in the groove. I brought my lunch so that I would not have to skip a class to eat and armed with my schedule I was prepared to make a Halloween album and Advent Calendar and a Hanging Calendar with Pinecone Press, I made an adorable Christmas Ornament Album from Bazzill and a quick and easy Christmas album with Bo Bunny,  and made an album with Millinery Paper from Making Memories, along with a number of individual page spreads from My Mind’s Eye, Doodlebug Designs, Lily Bee Design.

I was very impressed that most of the classes were taught by the designers themselves. They talked about their inspiration for the designs and some of the planning and ideas behind their ideas and accessories. I have never really been one for name brands, but I have a much greater appreciation now for a number of designers.

One of my favorites was taught by Little Yellow Bicycle, a 6X6 fall album, and the best project I did all weekend was the Christmas Countdown Tray that we did with 7 Gypsies. The class was wonderful organized and really different than the usual activities that I have come up with so far for the trays.

I do not make many cards, but I really enjoyed the ideas that were presented by Art Impressions in their class about gift card holders, I actually think I can make some envelopes on my scrap pages with the concepts…and now if I need a card holder I will have one, actually 3 to be exact.

Most people attend Crops in the evenings to finish the projects that start in the classes during the day but the pilot was with me so I spent the evenings with him instead. We enjoyed some wonderful restaurants and ended up getting to eat the fresh walleye that I wanted at a wonderful restaurant right down the road, Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill.

Doolittle’s was not the only great food we had, we also had a couple wonderful meals at the Granite City Grill.

One night, after the pilot headed to bed I caught up with a wonderful woman I met on the shuttle to the Mall on Friday and we did a little evening crop just the two of us. It was nice to have someone to compare projects with and to talk scrapping with…she was exceptional company. Yolanda is part of a scrapping group on Facebook that all met up at Scrapfest. Next year I would really like to try a crop as I have already been home a few weeks now and I have yet to finish any of the project I started.

On our normal 1-10 scale that the pilot and I like to rate all of our trips on I would give the whole trip a 9, it was wonderful to do something I enjoy so much and have the pilot there to keep me company. I would have loved for him to have a great fishing trip, but he at least got a little time out on the water and we got to enjoy some time together. I hope to be back taking classes and playing with all of the new tools and designs next year.

A Trip to the Minneapolis, Minnesota Zoo (KMSP)

The pilot and I made the trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota (KMSP) for our second annual SCRAPFEST. Last year the pilot flew my mom, Micah (our cousin) and me up there and it was quite a long trip…it took about 6 hours to to get there and the pilot was exhausted. As a result, this year we used our points and flew up commercially. It has been quite a while since I have had to pack and plan a commercial flight; I did not enjoy the process…having to be there 2 hours before, pay for every bag I packed, and go through the body scan  was enough to encourage me to have the pilot fly me more often. The two hour flight was a nice surprise…I took a little nap and we were there. Even better was the fact that it was early in the day and the pilot was well rested and we were able to hit the zoo before checking into our hotel.

Other than school field trips when I was a little girl I have never been to a zoo on a weekday before and it was wonderful to be there with so few other visitors. I absolutely love the zoo…the pilot is really wonderful about taking me to visit the nice zoos when we travel and the Minneapolis Zoo was beautiful and had some of the largest animal enclosures that I have ever seen.

 

There were a few animals that were highlights for us. One of the first enclosures we came to had these adorable monkeys. The pilot and I love to “monkey” on another…the monkeys were cleaning each other the same way that we do. There was also an adorable baby that jumped on its dad’s back and then hung on it’s mom’s leg; it was so much fun to watch.

Not far from these cuties were a number of other monkey families, but 2 of them were obviously used to the camera and really knew how to ham for the camera. The black and white monkey came right down by the glass when we got out the camera and did a number of really adorable poses.

The other, little monkey remind me of those bug eyed little stuffed animals. He also came down to the glass so that he could get as good of a look at us as we got of him.

The pilot and I strolled through the park. Most of the animals were up and recently fed so we got the opportunity to see the majority of the animals. Although the pronghorns did not come down the hill the pilot made sure to remind me that I still owe him a prong horn hunt for a bet I lost a few years back.

We spent the longest amount of time on some of the smallest animals. The prairie dogs provided an enormous  amount of entertainment. Running in and out of the ground, eating their fruits and vegetables, and chasing each other around…the pilot and I watched for like 20 minutes. There are tons of them in the colony and they are truly entertaining.

You can tell that the zoo is built for the cold weather, we spent most of the time looking at animal enclosures from indoors, a big change from our warm climate…without sunscreen I did not even need sunscreen although we were there for hours. The Penguins really liked the pilot. For 10 minutes this penguin followed the pilot back and forth at the glass.

There was a bunch of publicity for a brand new exhibit for 3 rescued bears. The official opening was a few days away but we got a sneak peak at them. The 2 females slept the whole time we were there, but the male woke up on our last trip by their enclosure and worked it for the crowd.

Before we headed to the underwater exhibits we rode the tram around the park. I was amazed by the amount of undeveloped land that the zoo owns. Someday that zoo is going to be enormous. Our tour guide gave us our very own car so that we could scoot back and forth and have a great view of the animals on both sides of the car. We saw a number of the animals that we had seen on the ground but overhead we got a much better view of a number of the animals. From the tram our favorite animals were the camels that had waded into the middle of their green pond and were covered in the green stuff. It was a little warm, so I guess they were keeping themselves cool…it was also interesting to learn that the humps are not water they are fat. The little one on the edge was a baby, the babies weighs more than 100 pounds when they are born.

After the tram we made one last stop before heading to the hotel to check in at the underwater exhibit. My favorite part about the tanks is that there were a number of species living together. The large tank had more species than I could count…but I tried. There were some large puffer fish and some pretty big sharks that I enjoyed watching…but I was surprised that they did not eat any of the fish in the tank with them. The zoo must keep them well fed.

I love to touch and feed the animals so we had to adventure by the tide pools before we could leave. There were 2 separate tanks full of animals that I got to touch, so I did. Although it was a rush to touch the sting rays and sharks I think I actually enjoyed the aneminies and starfish a little more…there were many more textures in that tank. The sting rays were a a little slimy to the touch and the sharks were a little rough, but the reef creatures were plentiful. Even the variety of starfish all felt a little different.

The pilot is not much for touching the creatures but he did get in on the underwater fun.

On the scale of zoos that we have visited I would put the Minneapolis Zoo close to the top. It was a very relaxing peaceful day. On a 1-10 I would give it a 9.

Red River Bound, Day Trip to Wichita Falls, Texas (KSPS)

The Pilot and I firmly believe that every town has something to offer and no matter where we go, there is always something unique to do. We live in central Texas and have missed out on so many of the great experiences that this area has to offer because we live here and never get around to doing the touristy things that so many people travel here to do. As a result, the Pilot and I are willing to make the flight to just about anywhere knowing that we will find something fun to do when we land. To be completely honest, Wichita Falls, Texas (KSPS) did not start out strong. After arriving early evening we rented a Hertz car at the military base that had a Never Lost gps in it. We hopped in and asked the gps for restaurants near us…apparently it is not updated frequently, because we drove to FOUR restaurants before we found one that was still in business. It is a good thing that McBride Land & Cattle Company was worth the wait.

We ate shrimp stuffed jalapenos, steak and grilled quail; it was a wonderful meal…the water on the other hand was TERRIBLE…It had an aftertaste that is best described as mixing water with dirt. It was clear, but the taste was pretty rough. The pilot tried the iced tea, hoping it was better, but it was just iced tea flavored dirt water. On the other hand, the meal made up for it. We love steak, and the pilot makes a great steak. This makes it tough to go to a steakhouse, since some of them are marginal tasting. The steak was cooked perfectly and was a very nice cut. The quail had two options. One was fried, the other grilled. When the waitress asked which way we preferred it, the pilot and I spoke simultaneously, but I said fried, he said grilled. The waitress told us it was best grilled, so we gave it a shot. It was amazing, as was the rest of the meal. If you go to Wichita Falls, TX, you must try McBrides.

The never lost redeemed itself with a quick trip to the Red Roof Inn, our very affordable overnight accommodations. We use www.homeaway.com quite a bit, but on this quick trip we gave hotels.com a try. The room was very inexpensive, and turned out clean and a perfect place to rest for the evening. It included a continental breakfast, so we figure we saved another 10-15 dollars and it made the stay that much better.

The first stop of the day was the highlight of the trip, a wonderful master gardener named Bonnie Jones at the Wichita Falls Farmer’s Market.

The pilot and I have a wonderful garden in the back yard, but with the unpredictable weather here it is hard to really maximize the growing season. Bonnie and her husband were doing a special presentation on raised beds and took the time to step aside and visit with us about the advantage of covered beds and tips for making the project manageable. According to Bonnie, with the covered beds I should be able to grow vegetables year around and with the raised beds that my wonderful parents already gave us for Christmas, adding the covers will be easy.

The old windows that the Jones’ used were really heavy so the Pilot has agreed to make them out of plexiglass for me and I love the idea of building the beds taller for the broccoli and the bush tomatoes to allow them to get the height they need to produce.

Although rather small, the Wichita Falls Farmers Market was a lot of fun. I also learned that I do NOT like Arabian Melons but the cross bred squash were actually as good as they were described. I love going to farmer’s markets. We love to grow things in the garden, but we also like to buy anything we are not growing fresh. We have learned over the years to figure out which product is really homegrown and which is bought to be resold. We prefer buying from people who actually grow their own product.

If you are planning to visit…just be aware, no dogs allowed. As dog people, it was a blessing we did not have Runway on the trip; none of the places we visited were dog friendly. We are very accustomed to Austin where most places welcome dogs and Runway always loves to come along with us.

From the Farmers Market we headed next door to the Train Museum only to learn that it did not open until 11 so the pilot and I walked around the outside. There seemed to be quite a few trains that were in retirement. Many had stairs going in to them, but with a tight schedule we couldn’t wait around for them to open. Maybe next time if we are stopping through.

After the Train Museum we were off to the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau to meet up with our Aunt Carol and her boyfriend Robert. We browsed through all of the marketing material for all of the towns in Texas. The pilot was grabbing material left and right telling me these were all leads for printing, and he was going to have someone at the shop call them and solicit business. I looked around at other fun cities to visit. Carol and Robert showed up after we had loaded up on “print material” and were ready to grab a bite to eat.

They rode up from Abilene, Texas on their motorcycle. I am amazed that they were still able to walk after all that time on the bike. The motorcycle trip for them was around 4 hours. It was Carol’s birthday weekend trip to gamble in Oklahoma, and we decided to come hang out with them for awhile. Here’s a picture of Robert and his Harley motorcycle.

Last on my request list for the city was to see the Falls, Wichita is not Wichita Falls without the water. According to my history lesson from the pilot, the actual falls washed away around 100 years ago and these were built in the 1980′s to replace the falls. They are man-made and have a pump that recirculates the water from the bottom back to the top creating the waterfall. There is a bridge across the bottom that allowed me to walk across the falls, but we didn’t stay long, the water did not smell well.

We walked along the bricks and made the little hike to the top to enjoy the view from the top. Although a good attempt at recreating the falls, I imagined them a little different than what they were. I can say that I have seen the falls of Wichita Falls, Texas now.

From the falls it was off to the casinos, a big first for me. As a teenager I used to play volleyball in Las Vegas, NV,  but that was before I was old enough to put money in the machines. We ventured across the red river to the casinos in Oklahoma. The Red River currently looks more like a stream…we need rain in Central Texas, but they need it a lot more than us.

To be perfectly honest, it was NOT at all what I expected. I had envisioned the cup of coins I would pack around and the tink tink tink sound that the coins would make as they fell out of the machines. The cards with money on them from the players club and the vouchers it prints when you win was far removed from my imagination. It was a pleasant surprise that the casinos give you free money to play with if it is your first time there. First we headed to the Kiowa Casino just on the other side of the border.

The $10.00 free cards that we received entertained us for almost an hour…on the $.1 slots it can last a long time. The pilot did put a $1.00 bill in one of the slots that you get to pull so that I could  actually pull the handle on a slot machine.

When the money ran out we moved to the next casino down the road Red River…we are probably not the ideal customer, but we decided we are not really gambling people so we might as well take advantage of the opportunity.

The Pilot played the wilderness game and actually had a successful trip to the casino. Considering that we played with the casino’s money it was exciting to leave with $18.00.

Aunt Carol and Robert stayed behind to enjoy her birthday weekend. We would have like to stay and hang out more, but had to get back to Austin, Texas for a little work. We departed Sheppard Air Force Field and flew home. It was a safe flight home and a great nights rest…not bad for a fun day trip.

We brought a little beach back; A blue crab and gulf shrimp boil

Four blue crabs and 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp made the adventure home with us from Galveston, Texas. When preparing for a boil, you always want to make sure that the crabs are still alive when you cook them. If they die, they release a toxin that can make you sick (it makes me really sick but actually does not bother the pilot at all). We brought the crabs that we bought at Katie’s Seafood home in a brown paper bag, they suffocate in plastic, and we kept them from direct contact with the ice…if they get to cold they will also die.

What is needed:

2 blue crabs per person

1/2 pound of shrimp per person. Fresh shrimp is much better!

Corn, cut in 1/2

Potatoes

Boil Seasoning (I prefer the powder to the liquid)

Here’s how to do it in the story format:

We wanted to make sure that they were still fresh when we ate them, so we had them for dinner the same night we bought them. Even though I cough and cough when we boil (because the spices are so potent!) on the stove, it was just for the two of us so we did not think we needed to get the propane out and setup the outside boiling pot. As a compromise, I cleaned the crabs and shrimp and the pilot took care of the actual cooking. I rinsed the shrimp but we cooked them in the shell. The shrimp get really rubbery if you shell them before you boil them (according to the shows I like to watch on the cooking channel, there is also a lot of flavor in the head and shell so it is best to boil them whole)…We bought them headless though. These were the jumbo size and they were huge.

I also rinsed the crabs; I used cold water to get the crabs spunky again just to make sure they were still healthy. As soon as the cold water hits them after being on ice, they come back to “life” rather quickly.

Put enough water in the pot to cover all of the shrimp, crab and vegetables along with as much shrimp boil as you like. The more you add the hotter the corn and potatoes are going to make your lips. The pilot and I love the Louisiana Brand Crab Boil. Dumping in the seasoning really helps give the shrimp and crabs a lot of flavor and we like things spicy. The pilot says part of the spicyness is the soak after they boil. This is where you turn off the heat and let them sit. For a milder flavor, pull them out immediately. For hotter flavor, let them sit for 10 minutes after turning off the heat.

There are two methods for cooking crabs. You can boil the water and then put the crabs in or put the crabs in and then bring the water to a boil. I recommend putting the crabs in the water first and then bringing the water to a boil.  When you drop them in the boiling water they tend to expel a white stingy substance and I have a tendency to splash myself and starting with water that is not boiling prevents me from burning myself.

We put the crabs in first, and brought the water to a boil, once it is boiling add the shrimp and potatoes and corn. To make sure that the potatoes and corn can get finished in the few minutes it takes to boil the shrimp I usually put them all in a potato bag in the microwave for 3 minutes before I put them in the water.

We added corn and potatoes (from HEB, our local grocery store) to the boil when we added the shrimp and let them boil for a few minutes, the shrimp will turn bright red when they are ready.

When the shrimp are ready, cut off the fire (or turn off the heat if you are making them inside) and add Okra if you like Okra. We have a garden full of tokra and I love it so we tend to put it in everything…Then let everything sit in the water and rest. Like I mentioned, The longer you let everything sit in the water the spicier they get. We usually let ours sit for about 10 minutes before we take them out. The Okra gets really HOT.

Strain out the water and eat. I usually have to add a little fruit to the meal to help my lips quit burning but it is ready to eat…and not boiling hot. A nice addition is some cocktail sauce to dip the shrimp in. The pilot likes to dip his potatoes in the cocktail sauce as well.

We have also been known to add a few other fun things to the boil:

Whole Small Onions, Mushrooms and Artichokes.

All three of them soak up a lot of water, and spice, so just be careful with how much seasoning you put in and how long you rest your boil.

I love, love, love fresh seafood. I really love a fresh seafood boil. This rates a high 9 for me.The fresh seafood was WONDERFUL. Enjoy the recipe!

-Morgan