Friday, February 28, 2014

BBQ Bowl

Spring is my favorite time of year to live in Austin. I want to be outside all day long.

Today we took a walk and stopped to take a few photos and rest some tiny feet. 

Doesn't this sidewalk graffiti look like it could be Super Jackson?

Skeleton horse is a little scary.

Dinner was a tester for Kristy's cookbook. BBQ ranch veggie bowls, topped with oven-baked onion rings. Lots of great textures and flavors all mixed together, yum.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Noodles x2

Save for a morning excursion to the dentist for Jackson to keep the sugar bugs at bay, we spent a rainy, chilly Wednesday indoors, huddled up by the fireplace.

Here are a couple of recent beyond-easy, noodle-centric meals we've enjoyed. First, roasted spaghetti squash with Costco marinara and kalamata olives. Can't beat a three-ingredient dinner.

Second, spaghetti tossed with olive oil, salt and lots of black pepper, with a side of roasted Brussels.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Baby Goat Alert

Recently we visited the HOPE Farmers Market for the first time, and I was like, "Why did nobody tell me BABY GOATS hang out here?" 

Yep, just milling around, looking for trash to chew on, accepting head scratches and cuddles, and being freaking adorable BABY GOATS.

There was also cold, refreshing mint kombucha from local brewers Wunder-Pilz.

Oh yeah, and a fun beanbag toss game that Jackson and Olivia went nuts over.

But you know what the high point was for me.

For dinner, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Seared Brussels Sprouts and Tarragon Cream, from Isa Does It. Isa makes me feel like a tres fancy chef in my own kitchen when I serve meals like this.

My wish for you today, friends, is that you will have a BABY GOAT encounter of your very own, soon.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Toybrary and Testing

I'm happy to be testing a few recipes for Kristy's upcoming cookbook! If y'all follow her blog, you know this is good news for both cookbook collectors and my taste buds. To begin with, I made her curried tempeh salad, served on a bed of baby greens. I love the complex flavors of this salad, which includes dried cherries and almonds.

After lunch, I took Jackson and Olivia to check out Austin's Toybrary, a lending library for toys. Paying a monthly membership fee allows you to check out three toys at a time, Netflix-style. We're not members, but they also offer various classes and drop-in play.

We were there for an Olympics-themed craft class, but the kids got sidetracked by all the toys.

So we hung out and played for awhile.

Superhero shoppers.

We did eventually get around to the crafts.

Olympic torches, fun!

For dinner, I made the BBQ Spaghetti from Cookin' Crunk.  Thank you, Bianca, for introducing me to the concept of barbecue sauce on spaghetti. I couldn't get enough of it!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Twin Falls

Sunday morning we hiked on the Barton Creek greenbelt to Twin Falls. It was an easy little hike, perfect for small feet.

We saw plenty of other folks out enjoying nature.

There was no way to get close enough to the plaque on this rock to read it. Mystery plaque!

Water flowing over rocks is such a soothing sound.

Jackson loves hiking. He scampers across rocks like a little monkey.

We saw trees that had grown over and around the rocks.

Once we had worked up an appetite, we headed to Pieous for lunch. I'd read many raves about this artisanal, wood-fired brick oven pizza place, so I was excited to try it out.

You have to stand in line to read the chalkboard menu and place your order at the counter. Luckily, there's a chalk wall to entertain small ones while this is going on.

While it would've been cool to sit inside at the counter and watch pizzas slide in and out of the brick oven, the music was pretty loud, and the weather was perfect, so we opted to sit out on the patio.

Our food was brought out in a flash. We started with a sampler antipasto plate that included artichoke hearts, green olive tapenade, roasted chickpeas, and eggplant in tomato sauce. The tapenade, with its concentrated olive flavor, was the star.

Tony got a meat pizza, while I ordered the margherita pizza with Brussels sprouts added on. The kids ate a little bit of each. 

The crust is what really sets Pieous apart. It's light, pillowy, bubbly, chewy. It's also perfect for sopping up the tapenade and eggplant from the antipasto plate (which only comes with two little pieces of toast.) All a crust like that needs is a little fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella (I believe they make their own)...and sure, throw on some Brussels sprouts while you're at it.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Climb So High

Jackson recently had the chance to do a little rock climbing at the Chinese New Year festival. (I didn't get any good pics of the dragons this year, but you can check out a past year's celebration.)

We had to wait in line "forever and ever" (about 20 minutes), so he was dying to get his gear on and get going.

When he realized he was much higher than my head, he decided to come on back down.

Olivia did some magnetic wall climbing. I do not see the appeal of this activity, since it's clangy and awkward and 9 times out of 10 the kids will get stuck, unable to move, in need of an adult's assistance. But that's the one she chose.

With mucho help from Daddy, she had fun as well.

Some recent items that have made their way into my grocery cart...

Gelatin-free jello. My kids are fascinated by the rainbow-hued, jiggly cups of jello they see at the store, and I was happy to find this brand that's not made from horses' hooves.

Toasted coconut cashews from Costco...where have you been all my life? I have to ration these.

Daily Greens cold-pressed veggie juice. Daily Greens is a local company and their claim is that one bottle of juice contains nine servings of vegetables. I liked the refreshing celery lemonade.

Another local brand, Oh-Kimchi vegan daikon kimchi. We sampled this spicy condiment at the farmer's market and had to bring a jar home.

It's great on a veggie burger...I'm trying to think of other uses for it.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Central Market Lunch

We took advantage of nice weather and headed to Central Market, with its outdoor patio, for lunch. While we waited in line to order food, Olivia decided that a photo with the chef statue's big ol' butt would be absolutely hilarious.

Greek salad with hummus and dolmades, my usual.

Jackson couldn't wait to finish eating his mini-pizza and get up a tree.

"Look Mom, I'm like a sloth."

Mr. Turtle was sunning himself on the beach, but retreated into the water when we approached.

Just a beautiful February day in Texas.