Friday, May 31, 2013


The husband and I went to visit his parents (who live in Houston) at a family friend's house in Cleveland, GA. It's a beautiful, scenic little town with lots of vineyards. We stopped at Frogtown Cellars where there was this pretty view.

And then at the newly opened Cottage Vineyard, where there was an even more spectacular view of the mountains. As you can see, we decided to do a wine tasting while we were there :).


It was a semi-processed food night but I needed to finish up our CSA veggies while using up some stuff in the pantry/freezer. Sauteed some sliced zucchini with white onion in soy sauce and butter, then made boxed Asian rice (which I added a huge handful of sliced local scallions to). Also steamed some Trader Joe's dumplings, which were okay. Not sure if I'd buy them again--they fell apart while cooking and were a little mushy by the end. Rice and veg was delicious though!

Friday, May 17, 2013


One of my favorite restaurants, Wild Olive, happens to be within walking distance to our house. This may or may not have had anything to do with us purchasing in this area :). They use fresh, seasonal, local ingredients to make simple but delicious Italian food. I had some really tasty bruschetta there a while back that served as inspiration for this dish to use up a lot of our CSA peas.

I got some of the French bread with garlic chunks in it from the grocery store, brushed both sides with butter, and grilled it on a cast iron grill pan until it got crispy with grill marks. Melted a little bit of shaved Romano cheese, added some shredded basil and ricotta, then some lemon zest, a bunch of steamed peas, salt/pepper/red pepper flake (just a teensy bit), more shaved Romano, and a little drizzle of olive oil. Mmm!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How to Make an (Awesome) Diaper Cake

Our neighbors are having a baby boy in a few weeks, and we are excited about their baby shower this weekend. I'm a big fan of diaper cakes--they are practical and fun and can double as a center piece if needed. Plus they are relatively inexpensive to make. But I like to make mine with a special surprise in the center, an idea I got from the Alpha Mom blog years ago (love it!). So here is phase 1:

Wal-mart sells a silver pizza pan for $3 that I place the bottle of champagne (or in this case, mom's favorite liquor, whoo hoo!) in the center of. Then you start rolling diapers two at a time and securing them with rubber bands. I use the big stretchy rubber bands to hold the larger rings in place as I group them around the bottle. We also found this cute little elephant blanket that will serve as the topper, but I've put little stuffed monkeys, bows, big flowers, toy cars, and many other fun things on top too. Once you build three layers high, it's time to decorate!

I wrapped each layer in folded over tissue paper, added some stick on stars from the scrapbook section, and tied a jungle ribbon around the elephant. Final touch was a "K" for Baby Kieran!

Mushroom and Onion Tart

We had so many onions (not sure what kind, they are medium sized white onions with thin layers and scallions on top!) from our CSA this week, and it was time to use up the rest. I chopped about three onion bulbs in to really thin rings, then chopped about half a package of baby portabella mushrooms up and sauteed them in a tablespoon of butter with some fresh garlic. Added a little salt and pepper, then lined my pie crust (from the dairy section of the grocery store) with shredded parmesan cheese and about half of the saute mixture. Shredded some white cheddar on top, added the rest of the onions and mushrooms and topped with some more parmesan before rolling up the edges and baking to a nice golden brown.

There was also a ton of lettuce this week, so after washing it really good (and using some in our dogs' food), I chopped up a bowl full and topped with cucumbers and carrots (shredded with the mandolin), quartered cherry tomatoes, halved kalmata black olives, and some low fat feta cheese. I also tossed it with a little Goddess dressing, some of the leftover scallions, and some sunflower seeds for a yummy Greekish salad.


I guess this is technically another take on huevos rancheros, it was basically a "let's use up everything in the fridge" night that turned out delicious. Sauteed up a bunch of fresh veggies (kale, yellow pepper, carrot, onion, broccoli) with a can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chiles and a can of rinsed black beans. Then we cooked some boil-in-bag brown rice with a jar of salsa and fried up an egg on top. Sprinkled with cheese and added a side of Greek yogurt (my new stand in for sour cream). Good stuff!

Flower Power

A big plus with our CSA is that they do fresh eggs and flowers as add-ons to the standard veggies. I look forward to getting a beautiful bouquet each week to put on our island or dinner table...and they average out to about 8 bucks a bouquet! Aren't they cheery?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Good Company

For my hubby's birthday we decided to do a date night downtown and find some good grub. One of the best things he's ever had was the Curry Laksa at Co. on King Street, so we ended up wandering over there. He got that and a local Westbrook beer, I got the Drunken Thai Noodles with shrimp and some Pinot Grigio (we split the Crispy Edamame Spring Rolls--highly recommend!).

Not the best pictures, but we had a fun night walking along King Street, checking out John's new office space (he got a new job downtown that's closer to home), and tasting the sweets at Whisk on Meeting Street. All in all a good night!

SoCo and Farmer's Market

For our last day in Austin, we walked to the nearby farmer's market and checked out all of the fresh produce, flowers, and food for sale. I loved how there were different varieties of veggies than what we have at home, like purple carrots and bright yellow cauliflower.

I also loved all of the pretty little succulents, and want to try planting some at home.

From there we ventured over to South Congress, where we checked out more outdoor vendors and grabbed lunch at HopDaddy before the massive crowds hit. The truffle oil fries are AH-mazing.

Then, I tried to get a picture in front of the famous wall outside of Jo's Coffee since I finally had someone to take my picture, and...epic thumb in the picture fail. Oh well, maybe next time!

We wrapped up our South Congress tour with some shopping, and my mom especially liked
Uncommon Objects, the really well-curated antique/junk shop that has all sorts of arty fun stuff.

It kind of makes you believe for a half second that you could pull off having all of this stuff in your house...if only you had someone to display things in such a creative and uncluttered way. I think it would look dangerously close to an episode of "Hoarders" in my house, and not nearly as cool :).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Back to Austin

I'm back in Austin for work, this time with my mom for Mother's Day weekend. We got in on Thursday, where I introduced her to Amy's ice cream and she got a juicy steak at the Roaring Fork. Today I had my work meeting, but Mom walked around town and enjoyed the hotel's posh lap pool. Tonight we walked to Book People, an awesome local book store, Anthropologie, and Whole Foods. My mom was very pleased with her salmon burger, while I enjoyed crostini with butternut squash puree, arugula, goat cheese, and a tasty vinaigrette. On the way we dropped into Walton's Fancy and Staple, a cute little bakery/flower shop/cafe owned by Sandra Bullock.

On our journey we passed this cute old truck full of flowers and I picked up a marshmallow ice cream cone from Whole Foods...something I might try to make at home in the near future!

I think they would be super cute with sprinkles or Oreos on top and chocolate lining the inside. We got back to the hotel right before a major thunderstorm came through, and tomorrow we're going to hit South Congress and the Farmer's Market at Republic Square Park (yeah!) before heading home. Another great trip!

Play Time!

Some mornings I just want to sleep in, but the puppies have other ideas. I love my sleep, but luckily I love these goobers even more!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yo, I Heard You Like Cookies

I was thrilled when a friend of a friend referred me some new freelance work, so I quickly baked her up a thank you gift. I was short on time, so baking from scratch wasn't an option, and I went with the next best thing. Which would be a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with an Oreo. Obviously :). Picky Palate came up with this genius concept, and I have to admit they are delicious. At first glance they just look like super enormous cookies:

But then you bite in and there's a yummy surprise in the center!

And the best part, is when you give them to people, you get to say fun stuff like this!

Hee hee hee!

The Fruits of My Labor

Lately our fridge runneth over with CSA goodness, so I spent an afternoon cooking up a ton of food for me, my mom, and my sister. In addition to a delicious beet salad (roasted beets, goat cheese, walnuts, Goddess dressing on romaine), mashed potatoes (local red potatoes and scallions), and strawberries, I made several quiches with our farm fresh eggs. My mom and sister's had local asparagus and sweet onions, mine had onions and broccoli. They were a little, shall we say, "rustic."

But delicious! I blame it on the pan :). And I had enough for breakfast the next day, which was awesome.

Now I can see in the refrigerator again and am ready for this week's veggies!

Rainy Day

Back home this morning, and I wake up to (surprise) more rain and temps in the 60s (I know, I sound like a whiner, but it's usually bathing suit weather by May in Charleston). I made myself a nice bowl of oatmeal with cinnamon, blueberries, honey, and walnuts for breakfast...

...and cuddled up with (one of) my favorite girl(s) to get some freelance projects done.

Trying to make the most of the gloomy weather, and hoping it turns around soon!

Final Competition

So let me tell you about this weekend. Our cheer program has gone to Carowinds every season for the last five years for our last competition. Only this weekend it was really our last competition--I am merging our program with another one right down the road so that our kids can have a better training environment and so that I can step back and focus on some other areas of my life. So I was hoping to wrap this season up with a bow and sunshine and good times. Wrong.

When we got to the park it was only 50 degrees outside (in May! In the South!) and had started drizzling. By the time we got everyone checked in it was pouring and windy. The event was in an outdoor amphitheater, so it was covered, but rain was blowing in sideways and running down the aisles and it was bone cold. And the weather set the schedule way behind so we were there 11 hours. ELEVEN HOURS. It was ridiculous. The kids couldn't go on the rides most of the day because of the weather and everyone's patience was frazzled. Way to end the season (and our program) with a bang!

The good news is that two of our teams (and several individuals) got first place, one team got 3rd out of 8 and the other got 6th out of 8. Here we are huddled under blankets, celebrating with our trophies:

Don't even get me started about my hair. And later that night (night--because we got done at 7:30 p.m.), I met my long-time friend Kendall for Cinqo de Mayo margaritas and burritos. Warm food and a big fish bowl drink really took the edge off :). Spent the night, got brunch at The Yolk Cafe, then drove to IKEA, where I did a speed round before driving back to Charleston. Another weekend on the road done!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wakey, Wakey Time for Bakey!

I'm a vegetarian, but my husband made these and they were easy and (he says) tasty. Just make sure you spray the muffin tins REALLY good, then drop in your (turkey) bacon, egg, and some salt and pepper. Bake until bacon is crisp and egg is cooked.