Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dinner at 24 Diner by dbinatx
Dinner at 24 Diner, a photo by dbinatx on Flickr.

Dinner at 24 Diner

We have eaten at 24 diner a few times now and have always had a good meal there. So far I have tried the Applewood Bacon and Cheddar Fritta, the Pulled Chicken sandwich and 24 Hash with Bacon instead of sausage. They are on the more expensive side of food, but a nice treat every once in awhile. Jim ordered the Chicken and Waffles the last time we went and it is SOOO good. For the longest time I just couldn't wrap my head around that combination but DAMN it goes together really well. It is a food that I think is perfect for after a night of drinking downtown. If you are in the area of 6th and Lamar and want damn tasty food with an excellent selection of food, then head over there!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I love brunch but I love brunch with the ladies even more!! Our good friend Rachel recently moved back from Hawaii and most of the ladies met up for brunch last weekend. It had been far to long since our last brunch, so we spent about 4 hours catching up :) Now, I will say that it took 1.5 hours to get our table because Tacos N' Tequila is a hopping place on Sundays. It was damn near crazy how busy it was. They have an excellent brunch buffet for $16.95 that includes mimosa's. With the unlimited mimosa's and buffet, people would camp out at a table (much like we did :)) We were lucky and got to sit at the bar while we were waiting for a table, so the wait wasn't to bad (except for the fact that I didn't eat so I was STARVING while waiting).

Ashley, Michelle, Courtney, Kelly and Rachel

Nicole, Me, Krista and Michelle

Ashley, Courtney, Rachel and Kelly

I loved the tiles in the ladies rest room... so we took some photos in there :)

My camera was resting on top of the toliet

So this might seem random.... but since we are a bunch of catty women, we made fun of these tights. Our whole table zeroed in on these tights when she walked by the restaurant (our table was near a window). They just aren't.... brunch tights.... more like.... stipper's day off tights :)

Nicole and I

A few of us went to Kung Fu Saloon after brunch, and Rachel got a bloody mary. It was kind of cool because they had their own "bloody mary" bar were you could mix and match flavors.

Rachel, me, Michelle and Nicole

The ladies!

A very fun and much needed girl time brunch!! Next time I won't wait as long to throw it together!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Engagement Pictures with Friends

A couple of weekends ago I met up with friends, Mike and Erin, to take their engagement pictures. We didn't have a lot of solid plans as to where or what type of pictures so we just headed downtown and had fun! The only issue of the day is that it was very overcast and I didn't have a lot of light to work with. For those of you not living in Austin, the weather here can be quite fickle... one day super sunny and 70 degrees but then the next day can be windy, overcast and a high of 50. There is no telling what type of weather that you will wake up to :)

Mike did mention that he wanted to get pictures in front of the Austin Greeting Card that is on South First Street, so that was our first stop.

Right around the corner from the Austin Greetings Card (which is painted on a wall),

is a cool lighting shop.
After a few more photos in that area, we headed down to South Congress. The picture below is behind the Austin Motel. I had no idea it was there until we parked on the street near there. There was a cool rusted out car with plants in it, so of course it became our backdrop.

Another iconic spot in Austin, which is on the side of Jo's Coffee on South Congress. I actually don't know much about this "sign" but it was perfect for our photo shoot!

I can't decide if I like this photo or not... I love Mike and Erin in it, but the damn leaf from a bush got in the way. Adds a little color to it, but part of me wishes it was gone.

On our last stop, I wanted to head down to a rusted out bridge that I have been eyeballing for a few years. You can see it while you are whizzing by on S. Mopac heading towards Cesar Chavez/5th street exit. I'm pretty sure this bridge is to connect the hike and bike trails to 5th street. I was fighting with the lighting at this point.... we had to hurry to get some pictures!

Love both of these pictures!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Slinky and Chewie by dbinatx
Slinky and Chewie, a photo by dbinatx on Flickr.

Jelly and Chewie

There is no shortage of love for our animals at the house. Right now it seems a little like an animal house since the kittens are so rambunctious (as all kittens are) but we also have the kittens sequestered in the living and dining room. We don't want them to have free reign over the house since they are so feisty and need adult supervision :). Occasionally we'll see the kittens creep over to the dogs with the hopes of laying next to the dogs, but usually Abbey gets up and moves right away, and Chewie will tolerate them for a few minutes. One day I hope they'll all just lay together. But for now, here is some Chewie and Jelly cuteness!

(yes, I know, the picture says Slinky but it is really Jelly)

Monday, January 09, 2012

First food I ate in 2012

Since we had our bestest couple friends come over for New Years Eve, I knew I wanted to be prepared for breakfast the next day. And I knew that I didn't want to be messing around in the kitchen just in case I woke up with a headache :) This recipe jumped out to me thanks to the hash brown crust :) I'm a sucker for anything potato. This was a very easy recipe to put together.

The flavors were mellow in the Quiche and I think I would have preferred a little more punch. Maybe a few jalapenos (finely chopped) or an addition of a sharp cheddar cheese would have given it just a little more flavor. But the great thing about this quiche is that you can add or leave out whatever you like!! Very easy to cater to your tastes. And the nice thing about this Quiche is that you can make it in advance... just pull the quiche out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes before you are going to eat, cut a slice and heat it up in the microwave. I thought about putting it in the oven to heat up but I didn't want to heat up the entire quiche, just the slices I cut for us to eat.

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash Brown Crust
(adapted from Martha Stewart) – serves 8

2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 package (1 lb) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
10 large eggs
Sea salt and ground pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
half of one yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup baby spinach
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1 package (4 oz) soft goat cheese, room temperature
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Brush a 9-by-2 1/2-inch springform pan with butter, and line the sides of the pan with strips of parchment paper (same height as pan); brush paper with butter. (I forgot to brush the outside of the paper but all turned out okay)

Squeeze excess moisture from thawed hash browns. Mix hash browns in a bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Press into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, using a moistened dry measuring cup. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges start to turn slightly golden brown. (My hash browns were thawing enough for this impatient chick so I threw them into the microwave for a few minutes to hurry up the process... worked fine)

Saute the onion in a pan with the olive oil for about 2 minutes, then add the red pepper and saute for another minute, then add the baby spinach and saute for 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, goat cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined; whisk in 9 remaining eggs. Then stir in the red pepper-spinach mixture.

Pour the egg mixture into the hash brown crust, and sprinkle the top with scallions. Bake until the quiche is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Tap the side of the pan, if the sides of the quiche are set and the middle is slightly jiggly, the quiche is done.

Unmold quiche, and peel off parchment paper before serving.
Rain!! Rain!! Rain!!

Rain is in the forecast all day, and that makes me totally happy! Not only was 2011 totally void of rain for almost the entire year this rain will also wash away the Cedar allergies. I know it will be a short reprieve from the allergies, but I'll take it! Of course this picture shows Austin is only in the middle of all of the storms, but we have been getting rain off and on since last night.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Untitled by dbinatx

The kittens are getting a little more comfortable around the house and the dogs. It's kind of cute because they are also bonding with the dogs as well. We haven't gotten a cuddle time between the kittens and the dogs but I have a feeling it is just a matter of time :)

Monday, January 02, 2012

Resting on New Years Day

Resting on New Years Day by dbinatx
Resting on New Years Day, a photo by dbinatx on Flickr.

Here are Chewie and Jim resting on the couch after a fun New Years Eve :)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope everybody had a great New Years!! We spent the night with friends at the house for a very laid back night. I look forward to 2012 and what it holds for us! I'm not doing any type of resolutions but I do actually have a lot of plans for 2012 floating around in my head. Hopefully I'll get to most of my ideas but if I don't then I won't beat myself up over it. :)

Ha, this cracked me up!

Here are some of the top headlines from 2011....

From the Statesman for Top Austin Headlines:

Tragic toll from wildfires
High winds and drought-parched land made for a tragic combination as downed power lines sparked wildfires over the Labor Day weekend, destroying 1,691 homes and claiming two lives in Bastrop County. At the same time, smaller fires destroyed 57 houses in Steiner Ranch, Spicewood and Pflugerville, all in Travis County. And Leander lost 26 homes in a pair of wildfires this year.

A summer like no other
Crops wilted, lake levels dropped, lawns turned brown, and wildlife went thirsty as Texas endured record drought. At one point in October, 88 percent of the state was deemed to be in exceptional drought, the most severe level. Austin received just less than 15 inches of rain, about half of its normal precipitation, and sweated through a record 90 days of triple-digit temperatures.

F1 is off-again, on-again
After much debate, the Austin City Council gave its blessing to allowing $25 million in state sales-tax receipts to flow to Formula One race organizers for each of the next 10 years for an event to be held southeast of Austin. But construction on the Circuit of the Americas racetrack briefly halted when contract disputes arose between local and international race officials. At year's end, the disputes were settled and the race was on for November 2012

Longhorns gain network, lose rivalry
ESPN agreed to pay the University of Texas $300 million over 20 years to operate the Longhorn Network of sports programming, but the effort got off to a rocky start when major cable and satellite providers refused to carry the channel.

Perry seeks White House
No Texan garnered as many headlines as Rick Perry in 2011. Already the longest-serving governor in Texas history, he was inaugurated for an unprecedented third full term in January, then drew a hard line on preserving rainy day fund money during the legislative session. He rebuffed talk of a presidential run but reversed course, saying he felt he had been called to seek the White House. A late entrant to the race, he rocketed to front-runner status only to slide back into the pack after too many "oops" moments.

More top news stories from 2011....

From yahoo.com

A 21-year old motorcyclist who collided with a BMW on the campus of Utah State University was lying unconscious beneath the burning wreckage when bystanders rushed to help. Workers at a nearby construction site tried to lift the car along with students, while a professor shot the scene on his camera phone from an upper floor window

Almost 10 years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden is finally found and killed3

Japan is hit with a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. This earthquake was so strong, it rattled the planet on its axis and shifted parts of Japan's main island 3 to 16 feet. After the earthquake came the waves, some as high as 30 feet and reaching to about 6 miles inland. According to Yahoo.com, the latest death toll reached 15,703 and 5000 are still missing. This earth quake was a natural disaster that we will not be likely to forget for some time.

Casey Anthony Trial-- (copied from yahoo.com) In December 2008, the body of 2-year-old Caylee Anthony was found a quarter-mile from her Orlando home. She had been reported missing by her grandmother, with whom she lived, along with her grandfather and her mother, Casey. Three years and countless headlines later, Casey Anthony's murder trial was the courtroom spectacle of 2011 (or, as CNN described it, "one hot ticket"). The media furor had been whipped up partly by Casey's astonishing number of lies, which had eroded her faltering credibility. Still, no one had a clue how sharply this trial would seize the public imagination in 2011. Obsessed "tot mom" watchers descended on Florida from across the country, waiting in long lines overnight to duke it out for one of the coveted 50 courtroom seats reserved for the public. Police were called in more than once to deal with brawls and stampedes. In the end, Casey Anthony was convicted of nothing more than lying to police and being a terrible mom -- neither of which necessarily make her a murderer. In the court of public opinion, she was already sentenced to life, which will surely make the rest of her days insufferable.

On April 29, 2011, Prince William of England married Catherine Middleton -- and the world was invited to the wedding. The last royal ceremony of this magnitude was 30 years before, when Lady Diana married Prince Charles.

Six people were killed and 14 injured when a gunman opened fire January 8 on a crowd gathered to meet U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords at a Safeway store near Tucson. Among the dead were 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, born on September 11, 2001; federal judge John Roll; and Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, Giffords's community outreach director. Giffords, the alleged assassination target, was shot in the head at point-blank range. Quick-thinking citizens were lauded for preventing further deaths. When the shooter reached for a new clip for his semiautomatic handgun, a bystander hit him in the head with a metal folding chair, and another man pinned him to the ground. Patricia Maisch, then 61, wrestled away the ammunition clip.
Amid the contentious rhetoric and complicated legal developments, observers held close to the concrete milestones of Giffords's recovery. Crime scene photographs gave way to the first images of a smiling, short-haired survivor. Her struggle to walk became a triumphant return to the House floor. She continues to progress, although it is unclear how complete her neurological recovery can be.

Death of Amy Winehouse--Nothing testified to the staying power of her music than the heartbroken worldwide reaction to her sudden death from accidental alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011.

Occupy Wall Street--The notion of a privileged 1% has been kicking around for a while. About 1% of the population owns 40% of global wealth. To put it another way, if the 48 poorest nations pooled their resources, they'd still own less than the three richest guys in the world. Protesters took to the streets -- including Wall Street -- and went online almost immediately. "Occupy Wall Street" buzzed in searches September 16, the day before the first protest, with searchers ages 13 and up, from coast (New York) to coast (Oregon). Some supporters fretted about the lack of media coverage, and some journalists thought the movement's leaderless concept backfired.