Yet Another Austin Weekend

Josephine House

As I mentioned in a previous post, I love any excuse to dip down to Austin for a night or two. This past weekend I decided to visit a friend who lives there, and luckily, I was able to spend the night at her place because Austin City Limits had the town and its hotels bursting at the seams. Somehow in all my years as a Texan, I’ve never made it to SXSW or ACL, probably for that very reason—the already crowded city becomes difficult to navigate and a little less enjoyable.

But, despite ACL, I still managed to have a lovely overnight trip and, as is always the case when I visit Austin, I ate and sipped to my heart’s content. More

Pumpkin Spice Banana Pancakes

Pumpkin Spice Banana Pancakes

Okay, let me start off by saying that I think “paleo” is one of the most obnoxious diets du jour. No cheese? No beer? No bread? That bleep is for masochists. And the gluten-free craze falls into the same category (unless you legitimately have celiac disease, in which, case, I’m really sorry and also, can I have that bread if you’re not going to eat it?).

Since I’m much more of an epicurean than a masochist, I generally bristle at the sight of gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipes. But I keep coming across a recipe for pancakes that has caught my attention, something involving two simple ingredients: a banana and two eggs. I may not be into fad diets, but I’m totally into healthier versions of not-terribly-healthy dishes, and I was also curious about how a banana and eggs could magically morph into pancakes, so I decided to give it a shot. More

Kahlúa Macarons

Kahlua Macarons

I threw my husband’s cousin an ostensibly Big Lebowski-themed 40th birthday party last night, and since I’m always looking for an excuse to try my hand at a new batch of macarons, and since White Russians are The Dude’s cocktail of choice, I decided to see if I could come up with a Kahlúa-flavored concoction.

Although it’s October, summer is still lingering here in Texas, and most days have been in the upper 80s/lower 90s lately. It’s also been very dry. But on Thursday evening, a quick but rather violent storm rolled through, snapping trees in half and lowering the temperature a few degrees. I was grateful for the relief from the never-ending heat wave, but macarons are notoriously finicky and I was worried that the humidity might ruin them. Fortunately they came out just fine, but I did learn a few new lessons about macaronage (technically that’s the French term for folding the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients for the macaron shells, but in reality it refers to an exercise in magic and finger-crossing). More

Feigning Fall: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I’ve mentioned previously, I lived in New Hampshire for close to three years in my 20s, and I miss it terribly, especially in the fall. Having grown up in Southern California and Texas, I never experienced a true fall until my first in New England. I remember how amazed I was when the trees erupted into technicolor as the air cooled and took on the collective scent of cider and cocoa and roaring bonfires. There’s nothing quite like it.

Down here in Texas, “fall” doesn’t really exist. Summer merely shifts gears from 100-degree days to 90-degree days, and those often last well into October. Sometimes it gets chilly as the holidays approach, but I recall one year when it was so warm that we ate Christmas dinner on the patio. I adore gloomy weather, so when summer refuses to release its grip, I start to get a little blue, and the only thing that will cheer me up is closing the blinds to block out the relentless sunlight so I can daydream about the cooler climes for which I’m better suited. Throwing myself into fall-ish recipe also helps. More

Sunday Supper and a Farmers Market Oddity

Dallas Farmers Market

With the exception of a (glorious!) three-year stint on the East Coast, I’ve lived in Texas for the better part of two decades. Though I often complain about the weather and the less-than-inspiring landscape, the Lone Star State does have a lot to offer in terms of food and shopping. Those two things come together at the Dallas Farmers Market, a place I’ve somehow never had the pleasure of visiting in all these years until this past Sunday. More

A Cabin in Crested Butte

Crested Butte

My husband Michael and I have made a tradition of going somewhere new every New Year’s. So far we’ve done Italy, Spain and France, Switzerland, Jackson Hole, and, most recently, Crested Butte. However, that last trip was cut short for various reasons, and we’ve been anxious to go back all year.

While the beginning of summer is cause for celebration in many parts of the country, we Texans (or at least this particular Texan) wait to break out the bubbly until the end of this hellish season, and Michael and I decided that a post-Labor Day trip to Colorado would be the perfect way to toast the beginning of fall. More

Chocolate Hazelnut Martini

Chocolate Hazelnut Martini

Chocolate Hazelnut Martini

It’s Friday! Time for cocktails! What’s your poison?

My poison is usually red wine. Or champagne. Preferably champagne. Cocktails? I don’t drink them too often, but when I do, my go-to is a vodka gimlet. I make mine with equal parts Tito’s vodka and Rose’s lime juice (I have no idea if that’s legit, but that’s how I like ’em).  But every once in a while I like to experiment with something different, and today I got it into my head that I’d like to try my hand at some kind of chocolate martini. I had the afternoon off, so off to the liquor store I went . . . More

Recent Reads: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

Let's Explore Diabetes With OwlsI think I’ve read just about every word David Sedaris has ever written. As an aspiring author, I’m obsessed with his ability to turn a phrase in the most clever and subversive ways. I bought Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls as soon as it came out last year but, since I always have a mile-high stack of books waiting to be read on my nightstand, I only got around to reading it this summer. And as I suspected I would, I read the first page and immediately wished I’d gotten to it sooner.

Like his other books, Let’s Explore is a collection of essays, short stories, musings, and anecdotes, some likely true, some clearly fabricated by the author’s delightfully warped mind, all thoroughly enjoyable. One of the things I love most about Sedaris is how he doesn’t hold back: he shoots from the hip and says things that most of us (or at least I) would be afraid to say. This particular gift of his shines through throughout the book. More

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Cheesecake Macarons

Cheesecake Macarons

When it comes to the kitchen, I’m pretty fearless. Very few recipes intimidate me. In fact, I love spending the better part of a day tackling something challenging like boeuf bourgignon (even if I don’t eat a bite of it ’cause I don’t eat stuff that had parents). Macarons, however, scared the bejesus out of me until recently. I haven’t taken very many cooking classes because I can usually figure out how to cook just about anything on my own. But after a terribly failed first attempt at making macarons (they didn’t even make it into the oven), I decided I needed professional intervention, so I wrangled my mother-in-law into taking a class with me at Sur la Table in Dallas a few weeks ago. ‘Twas a great success, as I’ve now successfully made macarons several times in the comfort of my own kitchen. More

Quick Trip to Austin

Adelbert's BreweryHaving both graduated from the University of Texas (hook ’em!), my husband and I share an intense and nostalgic fondness for Austin. If you’ve not yet been lucky enough to pay the town a visit, here’s a quick crash course: Austin is the capital of Texas and it’s the state’s largest liberal enclave, a bastion of free spirits, intellect, phenomenal food, top-notch watering holes, more live music than a human could possibly know what to do with, and dirty hippies as well as hipsters of both the thrift store and Anthropologie varieties.

In short, all of that adds up to a town that we adore visiting as often as possible, and we decided to pop down for a quick overnight trip this weekend. More

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