Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Bourbon Bombs

Recently I came across a new brand - No. Four St. James. A Texas brand with a London address? Sounds perfect for Slone Ranger! After all, we both share previous London Pride with current Texas true. Even cooler, catch the story of their name:
"We’re often asked about our name, and just as often we’re happy to explain. From 1836 to 1844, Texas was a proud republic—a country of its own. Like other sovereign nations, the Republic of Texas maintained foreign legations (small embassies) abroad. The Texas Legation in London, England was located at No. 4 Saint James’s Street. Nearly 170 years later, we’ve taken that address for our name."
But more importantly, their products are really cool. Especially the Bourbon Bombs, I'm not sure if Santa is going to be putting those in my stocking or my husband's - hopefully both!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas in Fredericksburg

The Christmas Pyramid
Fredericksburg, Texas is a German town, so it is only fitting that come Christmas time, the town decorates its main square with a 26-foot tall Christmas pyramid.
Christmas pyramids were initially used as a sort of woodworker's storybook, capturing attention in both children and adults alike. And watching the figurines go 'round and 'round on this magical tiered mountain truly is a delight. You have to see it to believe it...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Deep South Barrels

Looking for a cool Christmas gift? Check out Deep South Barrels. They're not just decorative, they're actually useful!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie

So what happens after Thanksgiving with all of that leftover turkey? Turkey pot pie, of course!

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 cup of flour
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup of milk

1 bag of frozen peas and carrots, thawed
2 cups of turkey leftovers, chopped

Pie crust
2 cups flour
1 stick of butter, cold
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Start by making the pie crust... Combine Flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into cubes, then add to the dry ingredients. Using your hands (or a mixer) blend together the ingredients - mixture will turn crumbly. Add the water and blend to form a dough. Divide dough into two balls.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over the stovetop. Add the chopped onions and cook until browned and translucent. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and stir.

Add the chicken broth and milk to the saucepan and mix all the ingredients together. Lastly, add the peas, carrots, and turkey, and stir to combine.

Roll out one of the dough balls into a square or circle depending on your baking dish of choice. Place the crust into the bottom of the dish. Pour the turkey mixture filling into the dish. Roll out the second dough ball to cover the top of the pie. Crimp together the bottom and top edges of the pie crust. Cut holes, slits, or a design into the top of the pie to vent while cooking.

Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove and let cool. Happy Eating!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Grand Reopening of Hudson's on the Bend

*** UPDATE: As of February 14, 2017, Hudson's is closed indefinitely. ***

In a recent exchange of hands, Hudson's on the Bend has made a big come back!

Last week I was able to get a sneak peek at the soon to reopen Hudson's on the Bend and ya'll, the food was incredibly delicious! I don't even know where to begin, but I'll try...

First up, I was greeted with a Venison Tartare served atop a sweet potato chip with fermented chili and black lime. I've had my Tartares, but Venison?! It was truly Hudson's, and it was truly amazing.

Right behind the first tray was a second tray coming around with a tasting of a pop-in-your-mouth sized house Fried Okra. You can't get much more Southern classic than fried okra...
Or can you? Coming out of the kitchen next, hot from the fryer, was a perfectly salted buttermilk Fried Chicken. It was addictive, too addictive. And the accompanying tomato was just the right touch.

In true Texas style, another tray carried around a Corn Tamale stuffed with smoked short rib and drizzled in salsa verde and crema. A wonderful bar-be-que Tex-Mex marriage.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Simple Pasta Recipe

Inspired by a recent cover of Williams-Sonoma magazine, we decided to make our own homemade pappardelle.

Here's the deal folks, pasta made at home is actually super easy! And it's as fresh as can be. So careful, there's no turning back! But with something this simple that tastes so good, full speed forward ladies and gentlemen...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Mexican Embroidered Shirts

I'm not sure if it is Texas or the South, but these Mexican shirts are a hit!

I love the dresses too! Look at this adorable Mommy/Daughter combo:

2727 West Mockingbird Lane, Suite 103
Dallas, Texas 75235

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Stretching Dough at Due Forni

My birthday this year fell on a Thursday. So, in honor of Throwback Thursday, I was looking through old pictures and came across some from the time that I "stretched dough" (chef's words, not mine) at Due Forni, a restaurant that came to Austin from Las Vegas for a short tenure of less than 3 years.

A few years ago, my ever-so-thoughtful husband surprised me with a personal pizza making session. Chef Sean Zirkle was more than happy to oblige. From the second I walked through the door to the final moment of that first bite, I was warmly welcomed and in heaven. After all, I was surrounded by my first true love, pizza.

Chef Zirkle gave me a tour of the kitchen, pulled out a batch of well-rested dough, and told me the secrets to their success (sorry, I promised not to share!). He said that each chef had his or her own way to work their dough and you just had to do what was right for you. So he taught me his method, which I like to call the "stretch and turn". We would take the circle of dough, place our left hand down as a holder, pull the dough out with the right hand, turn and repeat.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Oktoberfest 2016

Today marks the start of Oktoberfest and Real Ale has the perfect beer to celebrate.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Mediterranean Breakfast at Galaxy Cafe

One of my all time favorites... Scrambled eggs with chopped tomato, feta, and freshly cut basil. Comes with fruit and half of a bagel. Perfectly hits the spot every time.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Summer in Madras

Summer has been hot, and miserable. Summer has also been rainy, and miserable. But I'm not sure who is more miserable - me, my kids, or my hair... And come the end of the summer, just a ponytail doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore. So, I seek support, and accessorize I do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cast Iron Corn Bread

Rows of corn on the cob? 

When we moved "down south" to Austin, one of the first things that I noticed was a love in the summer for fresh, sweet corn on the cob, preferably grilled. Another thing that I had already known was that the South loves its cornbread. Well one day we were grilling at my in-law's house and while digging through the cabinets for some of our kitchen supplies, I ran across this clever cast iron pan. 

Most cornmeal packages come with their own cornbread recipe, but just in case, here's a quickie:

1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 
1 cup of milk
1 stick of butter, melted or 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center ocomes out clean.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Kerbey Lane Cafe

If you've seen a movie filmed in Austin, more likely than not you've seen a Kerbey Lane Cafe. It's famous. Of course, the original Kerbey Lane Cafe is located on, obviously, Kerbey Lane, but the one next to the University of Texas along "the drag" on Guadalupe (pronounced Guad-a-loop) runs a close second as far as popularity. And the local business is booming with 7 different Austin locations. But there's a reason... the food is reliably delicious!

The menu itself is quite expansive, offering 24/7 sandwiches, salads, soups, burgers, tacos, tons of southern classics, in-house creations, and my favorite of all... breakfast! I love places that run breakfast all day and all night.

It may not be Bob Dip, but Kerbey Queso is a famous dip in and of itself. Mention it to any UT student and you're sure to bring a smile to their face just thinking about it...

Make it for brunch and order a carafe of Mimosas! Tuesdays kids eat free.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Brennan's of Houston Pralines

A tray of the famous pralines at Brennan's of Houston
Recently we attended a rehearsal dinner at Brennan's of Houston and it was amazing. The food was delicious with seafood so fresh you could taste the ocean. We were overloaded with crab, shrimp, lobster, fish, and a terrific gumbo!

And as if the dinner itself wasn't enough, there, sitting under a spotlight on a silver tray near the door was a heaping pile of pecan pralines, just asking to be eaten. And eaten they were, and yes, they were just as delicious.

Recipe? Thankfully, they are kind enough to share...

Brennan's of Houston’s New Orleans-Style Pralines
1 quart whipping cream 
1 lb granulated sugar 
1 Tbs light corn syrup 
1 cup medium chopped pecans 
Zest of 1 medium orange
1. Line three cookie sheets, preferably with parchment paper, but wax paper will work. Also have dessert spoons close by to spoon the pralines onto the parchment when it's time.
2. In a large heavy saucepan, slowly simmer cream, sugar, corn syrup, and orange zest over low heat. As cream mixture simmers, be careful of boil-over in the early stages. Let mixture reduce, stirring occasionally.
3. When cream mixture first starts to stick to bottom of pan, you need to stir almost continuously until done. As mixture reduces and the sugar starts to caramelize, the mixture becomes thicker and begins to turn light brown in color.
4. When mixture reaches the soft-ball stage of 240 degrees, stir in pecans. Continue stirring while looking for the point when mixture starts to pull away from sides of the pan.
5. Drop a small amount (quarter size) onto a lined cookie sheet. Look quickly to see if the praline runs out flat or holds a nice rounded top shape, and if the praline has a dull-looking appearance. Also, the mixture shouldn't have an oily look while in the saucepan; that means the mixture has cooked too long.
6. When ready, the mixture should be close to a firm-ball stage of 248 degrees. However, don't depend entirely on the candy thermometer.
7. Use two dessert spoons to spoon out the pralines onto the lined cookie sheets. Use one spoon to dip up the hot mixture and the other one to push it off into the paper.
8. You should be able to pick up a praline in about 30 minutes. It should appear dry and not be chewy. If after a couple of hours, you can't pick one up, leave them on the pans in a cool dry area for a day or two, until they dry out.
Some tips from Brennan's: 
  • Use a heavy whisk or wooden spoon for stirring 
  • Try to not over-stir, as this lightens the color too much
  • Once you place them on the wax paper, leave them alone for at least an hour 
Yield: 4 dozen
* Photo courtesy of Brennan's *

Monday, May 16, 2016

In Search of Pupusas...

It was Match Day. Technically it was just a friendly. DC United versus C.D. Guadalajara at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. Many, many moons ago... But I remember it like it was yesterday.

The stadium was packed full, so full that they had to add temporary bleachers to accommodate some more of the fans. We were seated in that section, or rather standed since no one sat the entire game. No, it wasn't in my head, the bleachers were actually moving, like ocean waves, from all of the people jumping up and down. Noise makers were not easily ignored. Crowds were cheering, mostly, "Chivas! Chivas!"

All of this I vividly remember, but what I truly remember most of all was that it was my first experience trying a pupusa.

For the occasion, they had brought in a local Salvadorian vendor that sold the stuffed corn tortillas. Despite my many travels, to Mexico and Central America, I had never had a pupusa before, but boy, oh boy, was I smitten! Order up, one stuffed with cheese (queso) and one stuffed with pork (chicharron) and they were delicious. Ever since, I have always been in search of finding these marvelous wonders.

So I was struck with only the most excitement when Whole Foods announced that it would be featuring pupusas on the menu of its local food truck test kitchen for the month of May and June.  The options include a slow-cooked beef, chicken mole, slow-cooked pork, smoked brisket, rajas, and a few other vegetarian dishes. The truck is also serving up complimentary-style sides such as street corn, fried plantains, and cinnamon sugar churros. Yum, yum, and even more yum!

* Image courtesy of Whole Foods Market *

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Daily Philosophy

Every morning I am greeted with this lovely message. It makes me think of my children, myself as a child, and reminds me to prioritize that which is truly important. Thank you, Philosophy.

"purity is natural. we come into this world with all the right instincts. we are innocent, and therefore perceive things as they should be, rather than how they are. our conscience is clear, our hands are clean, and the world at large is truly beautiful. it is at this time we feel most blessed. to begin feeling young again, we must begin with the most basic step of all; the daily ritual of cleansing."

Monday, May 2, 2016

C.O. Bigelow Lip Care

A lip conditioner and breath freshener all in one:

Mentha Lip Gloss for the Girls

Mentha Lip Balm for the Boys 

Courtesy of C.O. Bigelow

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bouillabaisse a.k.a. Fish Stew

The Spring always brings about the best of the fishing season so seafood is at its peak for the freshest catch of the year.  

Bouillabaisse, a fancy French word for Fish Stew

1/4 lb. Cod
1/4 lb. Haddock
1/4 lb. Shrimp, peeled
1/2 lb. Mussels
Fish Bones, skin, and Shrimp Shells
1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
1 Large Shallot, chopped *
1 Small Leek, chopped *
4 cloves of garlic, chopped *
2 Vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped *
6 sprigs of Thyme
Fistful of Parsley, ~ 1/3 cup
3 Stems of Basil Leaves
Fennel Fronds, ~ 1/8 cup
1 Bay Leaf
6 cups water
1 9 oz package of fresh Fettuccine
Dutch Oven

* Don't worry about dicing the vegetables as they are only used to flavor the broth, so in this case, size doesn't matter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

'Nanners on Banana Pancakes

Don't forget to top your Banana Pancakes with none other than... bananas!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Skyline Drive

Some of the most beautiful views in "our country tis of thee" are along the Shenandoah National Park's Blue Ridge Mountains Parkway, also known as Skyline Drive.

It's a scenic ride to be enjoyed leisurely - and legally at 25 mph.

The Spring season, is one of my favorite times to take the drive with all of the trees so freshly full of green. It competes closely with the Fall when the leaves change to their oranges, and yellows, and reds.  

As the saying goes - A picture is worth a thousand words - so now I'll let the images of Skyline Drive speak for themselves:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Cinnamon Roll at Upper Crust

The Cinnamon Roll at Upper Crust Bakery has recently stolen my heart. I've indulged in the pastry more times than I'd like to admit in the past month.

It's just the right combination of butter and sugar and flakiness. Sweet, but not too sweet. Flavorful, filling, but not too full.

Inside it has that gooey goodness that is cooked but not at all over cooked. The long-time Austin bakery really has perfected their recipe, and definitely has me hooked, headed back for more and more...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Striped Caroline Flats

Thank you Tuckernuck for bringing these adorable Striped Caroline Flats by Southern Proper to my attention! 


Aren't they perfect for Spring/Summer?!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pink & Green Poncho

Some seem to be calling it a wrap while others seem to be calling it a poncho. While I believe it to be the latter, whatever you want to call it, these coveralls are hot right now. 

Image courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer

They make for a perfect season to season transition piece. And for me right now, expecting a baby in less than a month, I think it is going to be the crucial piece to my wardrobe on a day to day basis. Mothers of newborns, you know what I mean... style and practicality, ingenious!