Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chasing a Toddler with a Camera

I met up with Courtney and Rachel to take some photos of the two for Mothers Day a few days ago. Originally we were going to attempt to find wild flowers to take pictures in, but this year is not the year for wild flowers... lots of grass no flowers :( Hopefully next year we get more rain so we can have a pretty spring. We decided to head to Mayfield Park to take the pictures. I love this little park, so pretty and every inch of the park is photogenic.

We met after work at the park and of course we picked the one day of the week that was the extreme hottest. It was freakin 97 degrees on the day we took photos.... in APRIL!! I'll save that rant for a different post :). Rachel was FAR more interested in the ponds, birds and squirrels than me but I managed to get some cute photos. And she is in that stage where she runs every where and she is quick. She was so enamored with her surroundings and it was fun to watch. I had to keep remembering to keep the shutter going to get the pictures.

Here are a couple photos I took of Rachel when she was a month old.

Rachel at 16 months!

I was actually running with Rachel, and I am damn lucky to have gotten this shot.

She loved chasing the squirrels... they just ran around her trying to get to the bird food

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Crispy Treats

I bought package of Easter themed cookie cut outs about a month ago. I have been eyeballing them and trying to decide what to do with them. My mom mentioned to me that she made Rice Crispy treats for Easter and it clicked! Flower and rabbit shaped rice crispy treats would be perfect!!

I followed the recipe on the back of the marshmallows to make the Rice Crispy Treats. Once I used my muscles to mix the melted marshmallows and rice crispies (seriously, it was a sticky work out to mix everything), I cooled the mix on a cookie sheet pan. Once cooled I used the cookie cutters to create the cute little crispy treats.

To spiffy up the rice crispy treats, I melted some white chocolate, slathered it over the treats, and added some little crunchy candy. I only put the chocolate on half of the treats because I was worried it would be sugar overload. Jim and I took these to work (with some left at home for us) so everybody was able to enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Hour

I met up with some ladies from work at Corazon at Castle Hill. This is one of those restaurants that Jim and I have talked about visiting but never seem to make it. We chose this restaurant because they have awesome happy hour prices on food and drinks. I was the first to arrive and the restaurant was fairly empty around 5:30. There is a parking lot in the back and some street parking, so I don't think there would be an issue with parking during the dinner rush.

I started off with a White Wine Sangria. This Sangria was on the sweet side but oh so delicious! It was $4 a glass and worth every drop. Next time I will have to try their red wine sangria.

Fried Goat Cheese

Breaded and fried cheese round with an ancho chili-sun dried tomato chutney

The fried goat cheese called out to me.... it said "eat my cheesy goodness and don't forget to slather on the chutney". This was a nice change to the chips and salsa. The goat cheese on it's own was good but lacked flavor, but once you added on the chutney it was a wonderful bite of food... cheesy, tart, sweet and a crunch with the crackers.


Made with ripe avocados, cilantro and lime juice

Perfect texture and flavor! No big surprises with this dish, just good guacamole.

Tacos al Pastor

Two tacos with chili and lime seared pork with pineapple, onion, and cilantro

The pork was slightly smoky and tender, and combined with the cilantro and onion for a fresh bite. The pineapple was lost in the meat but occasionally a bite had a slight sweet taste. I don't know what the green sauce on the side was composed of (got to busy talking with the ladies and I forgot to ask) but it had a great kick of spicy to add to the taco.

Overall we had a great time at Corazon. The appetizers were just right for happy hour, the prices were perfect, and service was prompt without being to pushy. I have already told Jim that we will have to give them a try very soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Quick Breakfast

I need to eat breakfast every morning and I'm not a donut type of a gal, I need substance. During the week some mornings I make scrambled eggs, eat hard boiled eggs, or have a bagel. I have a breakfast casserole that is delish, but then I found this recipe. Breakfast bites... sure, I'll give you a try! This recipe is very simple and yet you can totally add what you like to the mixture so that your breakfast bites are just the way you want them.

Breakfast Bites

12 eggs
splash of milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese
about a quarter cup of chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped ham or bacon

Crack eggs and beat with the milk. Spray your muffin tin with some type of cooking spray and then use a 1/3 cup and fill up the muffin tin. Once you have filled up the muffin tins with egg, then add in your toppings along with a pinch of salt and pepper. I debated on just adding the toppings into the eggs, but I wanted to have a more uniformed muffin, with equal toppings so I just added the toppings to the eggs once in the muffin tin. Put the muffins into a 350 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Different view on eggs Toppings- I used cheddar, sliced ham, diced green chilies, and onions
These breakfast bites turned out pretty good. They reheat okay, but they develop a little bit of a crust type topping that I am not in love with. I'll be trying a few different versions to see if I can get it right, ya know, the way I like them :)

Friday, April 15, 2011


You know how there are places that you have driven by a thousand times but just didn't stop to check it out? Well, that Ichiban for us, we live near the restaurant but haven't stopped in to give it a try. It is a stand alone building in between a car wash and a car insurance place. I believe I saw good reviews on Yelp and decided to give it a try. We have been there 3 times in the past few months and each time we have enjoyed our sushi.

Enjoying a little sake with dinner

Miso Soup
Because we were hungry we decided to try out their Gyoza, which are dumplings filled with beef and veggies. They were crisp and not to heavy, a nice way to start dinner.

I giggled like a school girl when they brought out our sushi on this little bridge. :)

We ordered:

Super Philadelphia: Fried Shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, smoked salmon

Playgirl: Shrimp Tempura, spicy tuna, tuna, avocado, cucumber

Sunshine Roll: Tuna, Salmon, Red Snapper and Shrimp

All rolls were very good but I favored the Playgirl (silly name and all). The tuna was delicious and I enjoyed the spiciness of the roll.


Ichiban Restaurant
7310 Burnet Rd

Austin, Tx 78757

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tasty Cold Treat

It's no big secret that I enjoy my coffee. I like it in all shapes, sizes and flavors. :) Over the past few months I have been hearing about Chameleon and Kohana cold brews so I have been wanting to try them out. Chameleon Cold Brew is coffee that is cold brewed for 16 hours using organic fair trade Arabica beans. The cold brew process leaves the coffee with more caffeine and less acidic. I finally bought a bottle at the Wine and Food festival a couple of weekends ago. I didn't want to use my normal creamer (don't ask why.. can't explain it), so I was going to get some normal half and half when I saw the Almond Milk. Something clicked in my head and I remember that my mom said that she really liked Almond Milk a couple months back. There were a few choices for Almond Milk, but I ended up picking the Silk brand. After telling my mom, she mentioned that there is another brand that isn't refridgerated that only has 40 calories (instead of the 90 calories that the almond milk that I bought). I love love love this simple combination. I use about 1/3 cup of coffee and 2/3 cup of the almond milk over ice and it is very good. You can change it up however you want... add a few sprinkles of cinnamon, heat it up, flavorings, you name it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Play Me, I'm Yours

Feeling like tickling the ivories and making some music? Well until the end of May you can head out to a hike and bike trail or on the Plfuger Bridge and play one of the 14 pianos that have been set up around downtown. The pianos are a part of an exhibit, called Play Me, I'm Yours, put on by the Art Alliance Austin. It took a little digging but I found out the intent with this exhibit... according to an article by The Austin American Statesman (Pierre Bertrand) the pianos are meant to "disrupt that familiarity with both music and the curious presence of an instrument typically seen in peoples homes."

One of my employees was telling me about watching various people play one of the pianos near Auditorium Shores, and he said it was a fun experience. He was really impressed with the quality of music he was listening to. I went out today to hopefully find people playing the pianos.

I took Abbey with me in search of the pianos. I figured I would get a little exercise, she would get some exercise, I'd get a little sun and we would stalk some pianos. I opted to stop at the Pfluger Bridge first (easiest parking). As we were walking along the bridge I saw a couple of kids playing the piano. I heard a very nice rendition of chopsticks :)

We stayed for a few minutes listening but the parents were ready to go, so they pulled the kids off of the piano and went about their day. Nobody else jumped on, so we moved on. At the end of the bridge I came across another piano and another little Maestro playing the piano.
Even though I didn't recognize the song, he played well! I sat down and listened for a bit. But then I kept getting the tug on the leash from Abbey to let me know that she would like to continue to walk along the trail. Sure, I should be the one to make that decision but have you seen how cute she is? We walked down the trail for a bit then hung out by the water for 10 minutes or so. She was enjoying people watching as much as I was. But she keep eyeballing the water so I kept her on a short leash so she didn't take a swim. I didn't bring towels for this trip and didn't really want wet dog in the car.

We walked back up to the piano on the bridge to find another person playing. She played very well and a crowd started to form.

Abbey sunning herself while listening to the music. Poor girl was hot so I decided to cut our adventure short and head home. I'm sure wearing a black fur coat in upper 80 degree weather is not fun. So much for spring... hello summer. Blah.

I hope to be able to visit a couple more pianos around town to see if I can catch more people playing them. I wish I had the talent to sit down and play these pianos. Having the view of Lady Bird Lake and downtown while playing the piano sounds pretty damn awesome to me.
I was going through some old pictures on my phone when I came across Abbeys puppy photos. She was so skinny and all legs... Her legs haven't grown but her body has :) My little girl is all grown up.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival

Sunday Fair- An Eclectic Urban Celebration of Food and Wine

I bought tickets for the Sunday Fair almost as soon as they were released. This event looked like so much fun and a perfect place to try bites from restaurants and chefs as well as wine and spirits from many wineries. I thought it would be a perfect afternoon for Jim and I but I didn't realize that Jim was going to be out of town that same weekend :( After some failed plans with friends to meet up at the festival, I ended up going alone. Before you feel all sad for me, don't... I had a wonderful time. I met people, talked to vendors and strangers, took photos and ate and drank more calories more than I should have. A delightful afternoon!

Samples from Izzoz's tacos. Normally I love Izzoz's tacos, but the sample I had was pretty bland. It had all the right components to have a party in my mouth, but it just fizzled :( Zagunda's tacos had more flavor but the flavor of the meat was slightly overpowered by the slaw on top. I thought Takoba had the best flavored taco. A really great combination of pork, corn tortilla, and salsa.
I had a chance to eat something outside of my comfort zone and I chickened out. I was in line at Trace when I heard they are serving rabbit pate. some people were excited, others were not. I was in the not excited line but then I saw that they also had a dessert. I wish I was excited about the pate, but I just don't think it's for me. Maybe one day, but for now I'll eat my calories in other ways :)

This chocolate cup was from Trace and it was DELICIOUS.

So smooth and wasn't over powering
I have been wanting to try Chameleon for a few weeks now. I saw their booth a few times at SXSW but each time I was on my way into a venue that wouldn't let me take in outside drinks. The sample I had was a perfect little pick me up. I bought a bottle to take home with me :)
The lone picture of me...... Hi
I totally forgot about the Cooking demo's going on inside. I headed in and caught the end of the demo with Chef Matt Lightner. He was cooking a duck breast. I only stayed a few minutes then went back to the booths.

I took many wine pictures and tried many samples yesterday and this might be my favorite wine that I tried. There were many Pinot Noirs to sample (actually many flavors of wines) and they were good but this Brouilly had a delightful flavor.
The venue was at the Mexican American Cultural Center. This was my first time visiting, and it a simply beautiful venue. In the description they mentioned that they are off of the banks of Lady Bird Lake, but I missed due to being wrapped up in all of the fabulous booths :)
The shrimp and grits was the first thing that I tried. HOLY YUM! The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the grits tasted great. I need to find out what they seasoned them with (or what they added to them) Not only were there food, wine and trinket booths, there was also an area for liquor and beer. I didn't partake because I wanted to stick with wine. But there were some tasty looking beverages out there!

Whole Foods was serving a Short Rib Slider and a Vegetable ceveche. The slider was excellent, but didn't photograph well... perhaps that is because it took me .21 seconds to finish it :) The veggie cevechie was okay, not my favorite but it was very pretty
Chef De La Vega of the El Naranjo trailer fame showed us how to make refried beans long with (I believe) pork tacos. She was not afraid to let us know that using lard while making the beans will make them a lot better than just oil. :)

I failed to get the bands name and I can't find them on the website, but these guys were high energy and pretty good!

Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper preserve... They gave samples of this over goat cheese and it was delicious. There was a nice sweet strawberry flavor with a black pepper bite.

This festival provided me with a fantastic afternoon of food, drinks and fun. I was slightly worried about the amount of people there, but the lines moved quickly. It didn't really feel like it was to crowded since I wasn't bumping into people or getting stuck in a crowd , which was nice.

I can't wait for next year!!!