Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Year in Photos: 2013

2013 will go down as: The Year We Got Married (!!!); The Year I, As a Gigantic Buffy Fan, Got to Meet Joss Whedon (And FREAK OUT); and The Year We Honeymooned for a Magical Few Days in Turks and Caicos.

Below, month by month photo highlights like last year

January (hiking at Enchanted Rock)
 February (bridal shower)
March (with Joss Whedon at SXSW)
April (wedding at Mercury Hall)
May (honeymoon in Turks and Caicos)
 June (512 Brewing Company tour)
July (at a cabin in Concan with family and friends)
August (at Krause Springs)
September (my birthday at Bufalina)
October (Oktoberfest in Blanco)
 November (Wurstfest in New Braunfels)
December (holidays with the family)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Odd Duck

A few photos from our first trip to Odd Duck (or Barley Swine Junior, as I like to call it), Bryce Gilmore's newest restaurant. We will definitely be back again.

 Glasses of Barbera

 Boudin grits and pickled shrimp, sadly eaten before captured by film
Chicken fried chicken egg
Spiced redfish

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This and That

Cozy Pride and Prejudice sweater.

A massage inspired by a classic bourbon cocktail.

Customized George Lassos the Moon print.

Twenty-six Christmas candy recipes.

Cute, free gift tag printables.

Love this riding coat.

The Brontosaurus never existed.

Delicate gold heart ring.

(Photo via Love This Pic)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Top Three Fiction Books: 2013

Here's my top three list of fiction books I read this year.

Noiry page-turner Night Film by Marisha Pessl.

Can't-stop-thinking-about-it The Circle by Dave Eggers. (Brings this recent story to mind!)

Hilarious Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Short Stack Editions

Had to share these adorably well-designed Short Stack cookbook editions. A perfect gift for anyone who likes to cook in your life.
(Photos via Short Stack site)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Pescetarian for a Week: Meal Plan

In effort to do a little thing called being healthy, every once in a while Chris and I swear off eating meat for a week and go pescetarian. The first time we did this, about a year ago, it involved a lot of cravings for bacon and steak and many wonderings about what we were going to eat for dinner. The second time it involved far less cravings, but still a congratulatory hamburger at the end of the week. Because we deserved it. This time, the third time, has been so completely easy that we might end up doing it longer and more frequently in the future and without feeling the need to congratulate ourselves with burgers at the end. Progress, y'all.

Here's what pescetarian looked like for me during the week:

Breakfast: Blueberry-banana smoothie
Lunch: Vegetarian chili
Dinner: Hoisin-and-lime-marinaded salmon and kale salad

Breakfast: Blueberry-banana smoothie
Lunch: Leftover homemade mac 'n cheese and leftover kale salad
Dinner: (out at Eastside Cafe) Shrimp and grits blue-plate special with lemon broccoli side

Breakfast: Strawberry-mango-pineapple-banana smoothie
Lunch: Three-bean soup
Dinner: Panko-crusted sole and black bean, avocado, and tomato salad

Breakfast: Blueberry-banana smoothie
Lunch: Leftover sole and salad
Dinner: Homemade mozzarella cheese and sun-dried tomato pizza

Breakfast: Strawberry-blueberry-banana smoothie
Lunch: Tofu pad Thai (from the Thai Thani food truck)
Dinner: Homemade fettuccine alfredo, kale salad, and creme brûlée for dessert

Also hoping to make something like this greek shrimp with tomatoes and feta recipe this weekend.

(Photo via Pinterest)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Gifts for Him

It's time to get your holiday shopping on, everyone. A few things that might suit the men in your life:

The Winston shaving set from Harry's.

Three Sheets to the Wind flask from Izola.

Tickets to This American Life: On the Road with Ira Glass.

An awesome new board game.

The beer connoisseur set from the MoMA store.

(Photos via each site)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Have you ever cooked a dish that took way longer than you expected? The first time this now-funnily-but-then-frustratingly happened to me was my junior year in college when boldly attempting a Jamie Oliver lamb dish that ended up taking five and a half hours. (I think it was similar to this one.) Yeah, we ate dinner at 11:30 that night. But it was worth it.

I'm definitely better at anticipating prep and cook times nowadays, but for some reason it took me over two and half hours to make this butternut squash lasagna. When I thought, Tops, maybe a little over one.

But, again, it was worth it. And maybe you can chop up butternut squash faster than me, and perhaps also without breaking a sweat? You win then. Maybe the moral of this story is that when recipes take way, way longer than you expect, they will always be amazing? Yep, mm-hmm, I'm sure that's it.

3.5 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups milk
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 tablespoons flour
9 lasagna sheets (the no-boil kind is fine)
1 1/3 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat butternut squash in oil and spread in one layer in a baking pan. Season with salt, and then roast for 10 minutes. Then stir and flip the squash before roasting for 10 more minutes, until tender. Remove from oven.
2. Bring milk to simmer with rosemary and heat for 10 minutes. Pour milk through sieve into a bowl to extract rosemary when done. Set aside.
3. Cook garlic and butter in a saucepan over low heat until softened. Stir in flour and cook for 3 more minutes. Pour in milk and heat for 10 more minutes while whisking until thick. Then stir in butternut squash, and some salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour 1 cup of the sauce into the bottom of your lasagna pan. Cover with 3 lasagna sheets. Spread half of remaining butternut squash sauce over sheets and top with 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat with one more layer of sheets, sauce, cheese, and end with a final layer of lasagna sheets.
5. Beat heavy cream and salt in a mixer until soft peaks form. Completely spread cream mix over final layer of lasagna sheets and top it all with the remaining 1/3 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
6. Reduce heat of oven to 375 degrees. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes, until golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

(Adapted from Gourmet)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This and That

An infinite staircase.

Can you read people's emotions? (I got a 29 out of 36.)

So dorked-out excited about the Doctor Who Christmas special.

Bunny alarm clock.

Pumpkin s'more doughnut muffin.

15 recipes every parent should know.

(Game of Thrones print image via Nan Lawson)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How to Throw a Proper Friendsgiving

Every few years, our group of friends will throw a Friendsgiving. Not to be confused with actual Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is held in the weeks leading up to that feast-filled Thursday in November.

Everyone brings one or two dishes and multiple bottles of wine. Games are played. Merriment is had. It is very much like Thanksgiving, but extract all the family drama* and just add in extreme fun. (*If you don't have any family drama, then just add in more extreme fun on top of all the other extreme fun you're already having with your functional family. I am sure you are well-adjusted and probably pleasant to be around.)

In honor of Friendsgiving, here are some tips for organizing:

1. Timing: Pick a date when everyone is still in town and not feeling guilty already about eating too much over the holidays. This is key. Holiday fatigue could ruin your Friendsgiving. People might just show up with a variety of kale salads, and everything will be for naught. (For naught in this context means too healthy.) Early to mid-November is best when the Halloween candy is gone and cravings for sweet potatoes start to surface.

2. Potluck it!: Assign or distribute dishes and make sure all important ones are taken, like the ever essential turkey and should-be-a-staple creamy macaroni and cheese with pancetta and bread crumbs. This will prevent overlaps and make it clear that picking up chips and salsa from the grocery store is not contributing to the potluck. Also, offer to help any friends that hate to cook with their dishes or even pick out a can't-fail recipe for them, like mashed potatoes or green bean casserole.

3. Dietary restrictions: Have options for everyone: vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. A non-stuffed friend is a sad friend on this holiday.

This will essentially be the best potluck you will ever throw because Thanksgiving food makes people happier than anything else in the universe and your friends are the most awesome people on the planet. Enjoy!

(Image via Pinterest)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Somm Documentary

Chris and I finally got around to watching the documentary Somm this weekend (while drinking a lovely bottle of Barbera del Monferrato), and I recommend it to anyone who likes wine even the teensiest bit. It follows four guys studying and training to pass the Master Sommelier exam. Which is a crazy, intense test!

The doc is awesomely on Netflix now. Here's the trailer:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Arroz con Pollo

Now that it's finally getting a little cooler (or at least rainier) in Austin, all I want to do is throw as many ingredients as possible into a pot and watch it simmer as the kitchen fills with a decidedly fall-ish aroma. Chili, braised basically anything, beef stew, chicken and dumplings, and now this first-time-knocked-it-out-of-the-park arroz con pollo.

2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 chicken thighs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic glove, minced
1 small jalapeño pepper, minced
1 1/2 cups of rice
1 15-ounce can tomato puree
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Rub spice mixture on both sides of the chicken. In a large (oven-safe) pot, cook chicken in vegetable oil over medium-high heat until browned. Transfer cooked chicken to a bowl.

Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, and cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat. Add rice, turn up the heat to medium-high, and cook for a few more minutes. Then add the tomato puree, broth, peas, tomatoes, and chicken. Bring to a simmer, then cover and put in the oven. Bake 30 minutes.

(Adapted from D: ALS)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Etsy Finds: Ferris Bueller's Day Off Edition

Love all of these so much.

Quote print via Lily & Val.

Illustration print via SEMillustrations.

Classic Save Ferris T-shirt from ThatShirtRocks.

Abe Froman hoodie from HoodieLovers.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oktoberfest with Real Ale and Dai Due

Scenes from this weekend's Oktoberfest at the Real Ale Brewery in Blanco.

Oktoberfest beer
 Apple cider braised pork belly
 Beef knackwurst

Thursday, October 17, 2013

This and That: Halloween Edition

Ten simple masks to make.

DIY striped Halloween candlestick.

No-carve pumpkin decorating.

Gingersnaps and pumpkin ice cream sandwiches.

Fashion icon halloween costumes for kids. (The Grace Coddington one is adorbs.)

Pumpkin pie smoothie.

Temporary tattoos for Halloween.

Printable Halloween party invitations.

(Image via Pinterest)
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