Archive for July, 2010

I’m totally doing this.

Or should I say, “we’re” totally doing this?

Because I don’t touch power tools, and this project would involve one…in a minute way. But still I DON’T TOUCH POWER TOOLS.

My fear of power tools arose freshman year of college when I took my required 3D Foundations art class where you guessed it, we made 3D objects. The class involved a lot of art installations as well as one huge board game that the entire school came together to make. It was really cool. BUT all of this 3D-ness involved utilizing the wood shop. A place I associated with saw dust and blood after our first project in said class was to make our own wooden tool box. I made one successfully and we still use it in our home. huzzah. But the process of getting there kind of sucked.

I was made aware of how powerful and real those saws were when Haans, the wood shop purveyor held out his right hand before grabbing hold of one of the saws. HE HAD FOUR FINGERS. AHHHH. I of course, wanted to keep all mine. And if a person that was trained and skilled using this type of machinery could do that type of damage, god knows what I’d be able to pull off. Or should I say, “cut off.” Ack.

Anyway, wow, so yes…Alex will be helping me with this project. I saw it yesterday on one of my favorite blogs and I love this artful solution for their office. It’s the perfect place to display all of the smaller art we own without having to frame it all. AND when you grow tired of a certain piece being displayed you can simply swap it out for another. Perfection.

Our guest bedroom is in a bit of a transition stage right now. Last Friday we had a paint party and changed the drab white walls to silver drop and deep aubergine. Picture a nice light, warm gray and a deep, earthy purple accent wall. Pictures are coming soon!

The bedding matches the current wall color now perfectly and now all we need are some cool wall graphics and this art project that I can’t wait to finish! A rug would probably be nice too! Oh and a new lamp shade for that sad looking lamp on the night table.

Anyway, I’ll try to document the process along the way. I usually just like taking “After” shots, basically because I never think to take a “Before” picture. And in this case I did too, it’s just that Alex randomly took pictures of our entire house months ago…so voila. Behold, the “Before” pictures…iccckkkk!

July 25, 2010 at 12:26 pm 2 comments

the day I blushed with foodie pride

Saturday Alex and I took my mom out for a birthday lunch to Mother’s Cafe & Garden in Hyde Park. A place I’d been meaning to try for the past few years. I knew it had to be pretty good since it was a meat lover that recommended this vegetarian only restaurant to me.

So Saturday I got my chance. My mom and Alex both enjoyed artichoke and mole enchiladas while I had their mushroom, black olive, and spinach quiche with a yummy limeade.

The ambience was great, quirky and peaceful and the food was quality. I’ll be back.

Across the street we spotted Antonelli’s Cheese Shop which we’d both read about in Austin Monthly and decided to check it out. It’s an adorable yet sophisticated shop with great owners that really know their product. The service was impeccable and we were able to sample whichever cheese, salami, chocolate, honey, etc. that we pleased. After many oohs and ahhs Alex and I decided on a sharp cheddar from England and raw Tupelo honey. The two paired great together and I knew it would be a hit at home with some rice crackers and vino.

On the way out we sampled some incredible chocolate made in the St. Louis area with only the highest quality of ingredients. I forget the brand, d’oh. Upon trying their milk chocolate variety I exclaimed to the owner:

“Was this made with goat’s milk?”

She responded with a puzzled look because it was made with cow’s milk…however, upon reading the ingredients was informed that goat milk powder was also added.

Schwing! Let’s just say that eyebrows were raised while she uttered, “You have an impeccable palette!”

It kind of felt awesome. I can’t say that palette is educated in the wine area but dammit I know my chocolate!

P.S. Alex never believes me when I say I can taste goat’s milk or cheese for that matter. Says it doesn’t taste any different to him than cow’s milk or cheese. Which I think is crazy talk…having him standing right there during my victory made it that much sweeter :-)

July 21, 2010 at 5:52 am 4 comments

Dear Giada,

You’re awesome.


My love affair with my favorite celebrity chef continues. I saw the following two recipes on two different Giada At Home episodes and knew I had to try them both.

We’ll start with the dessert item, because I’m wacky like that. I mean it was the first of the two recipes I saw on her show anyway. These blueberry marscapone turnovers (which I lovingly refer to as my mini pies) were divine. Especially straight out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream and nutella drizzled on top. I MEAN SHUT UP. nom.

you can WATCH how to make these here. Unfortunately, I can’t find the written recipe.

The second recipe was for stuffed peppers. I tried making these back in high school. And while I remember the filling being tasty I was disappointed with how undercooked the peppers were. Back then I didn’t have Giada to hold my hand and tell me to fill the pan 3/4 of the way up with either hot water or hot chicken/veggie broth in order for the peppers to get CRAZY tender. And oh my garsh were they tender. FALL APART TENDER. They tasted so divine, and the golden layer of cheese on top was perfect. For the recipe go here.

Now I didn’t follow either recipe to the letter. It’s just not my style. I think Giada would respect this as I like to put my own personal touch on culinary delights.

For the blueberry marscapone mini pies I didn’t use egg wash to bind them, rather plain ole water. And for health and mostly clean up reasons I decided not to fry them. Baking them was far easier and makes them even more like mini pies…instead of fried pies (OMG FRIED PIE. WHERE?)

And for the stuffed peppers I made my own stuffing of garlic couscous, fresh wilted spinach, sauteed onions and bell pepper (used from the tops of the bell peppers that I cut off), artichoke hearts, fresh from the garden tomatoes, and sharp cheddar. OH and don’t skip the basil sauce for topping, it really made them sing (sweet nothings to me). Tip, I used the rest of the marscapone from the mini pies instead of creme fraiche in the basil sauce. How very resourceful of me.

Both items were served for a dinner party we had that night. It was also the same night that Alex found a runaway dog right before the guests arrived. Good thing Giada taught me to prepare the food way ahead of time and put it in the oven when guests arrive :-)

July 15, 2010 at 9:13 am 2 comments

Something I need.

I dream of one day owning a craftsman bungalow with beautiful crown molding, original wood floors, and a stained glass window or two.

The above picture is the exact representation of the architectural/design elements that I’d totally adore in a sitting/living room. All that is missing of course is the stained glass.

I picture myself in said house with the perfect modern/contemporary furniture and home accessories. Let me tell you, the place looks great…in my head.

Homes like this in Austin will cost me an arm and a leg. Perhaps I’ll be ready for that sacrifice one day. I mean, just look at that nook of awesome!!!

July 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm 5 comments

Maria’s Taco Xpress

We made our first stop on our journey to find the best breakfast taco in Austin this past Monday.

Taco Xpress on S. Lamar can’t be missed (literally), while traveling down the busy street you see what seems to be a junk yard with brightly colored objects in it (kidding…well not really). The place is definitely funky and DELICIOUS.

I ordered a breakfast taco with egg, cheese, potato, and chorizo as well as a picadillo taco and horchata. Alex got two picadillo tacos as well as a barbacoa…and a friend ordered some queso that we sampled.

All the food was great, my chorizo breakfast taco was definitely the best I’ve had in Austin so far (crazy right, on the first stop I’ve already topped my list of favs) and the picadillo was the perfect blend of spice and flavor. The salsas frescas were full of bright flavors and a good amount of heat. My first time trying the famed horchata was faboo. It was perfect match to a taco because it instantly cooled down your mouth after a spicy bite! And as I was telling my dining mates, it had a distinct flavor that brought me straight back to childhood. I STILL can’t put my finger on the exact spice/memory I was tasting. It’s going to drive me nuts.

I wish Taco Xpress had another location because I would frequent the place…for now I’ll have to deal with making the trek down south for some yummy am snacks.

Onto the next…La Mexicana Bakery here I come!

July 6, 2010 at 11:41 am 4 comments

I’m on a mission here…

…to find the best breakfast taco in Austin.

photo courtesy of Maggie’s Austin

I know where to find my favorite taco in Austin but as far as breakfast tacos go they’re always just good…I want to find one that is GREAT!

Places I’ve already tried that are just good are Rudy’s, Taco Shack, Jim’s, Taco Cabana (I lie, these aren’t that good), and J&J BBQ.

The following are a list of places I’d like to hit that I’ve either heard have great breakfast tacos or through some extensive googling have read about their am treats!

Taco Xpress

Nueva Onda

La Mexicana Bakery

Enchiladas Y Mas


Taqueria Arandas

Taco Xpress is up first this coming Monday which we have off. Woot. I’ll report back!

Anybody in Austin with other suggestions that I should hit up???

July 2, 2010 at 5:45 am 7 comments


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