Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magnolia and Honeysuckle

The other day we headed to south Austin to eat lunch at Magnolia. On our way inside, Jackson and Olivia had to stop for a pic with Blue Lion.

I had the portabello mushroom quesadillas. I know quesadillas are not a difficult thing, but Magnolia makes the best quesadillas in town in my opinion.

Honeysuckle was in bloom as we strolled through our old hood after filling our bellies. One of nature's finest scents.

We stopped at a park with workout equipment and Jackson had to get in a few reps.

Olivia was like, "I'm in my cute boots, no workout for me."

This happened.

We love visiting south Austin. I hope it never changes too much.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Red Poppy Festival

On Sunday we spent the day up in Georgetown, where my parents live. First we met them for brunch at the Monument Cafe. While we waited a short while for our table, we admired the beautiful garden out front. Olivia loves the smell of fresh rosemary.

This was my first time seeing artichokes still on the vine. I really had no idea how they grew!

Once seated, we ordered a plate of fried pickles to start with. Light, crunchy, pickle-y.

I was let down by my entree salad, though. The menu described it as a "kale citrus mint salad" but, as you can see, it was just a big bowl of kale with three croutons. I guess the citrus and mint were in the dressing, although it didn't taste minty to me. $9 for a bowl of kale, hmm. Although I enjoyed our first visit to Monument, Tony has been unimpressed twice in a row now, so I doubt we'll make an effort to go back.

Our day improved as we headed over to the Red Poppy Festival. The streets were blocked off to cars, and lined with craft booths and food vendors.

I loved this pirate ship selling shaved ice.

I can tell you from carrying it around all afternoon, this bag of kettle corn weighed as much as a baby.

Maybe it weighed as much as a baby goat. I'm not sure; I didn't get to hold the goat. But it was adorable.

Superhero recyclers.

It has been a mild spring but now the temps are getting up into the 90's. After walking around in full afternoon sun, we started getting worn out.

Jackson was being slightly dramatic in the above pic. He suddenly found vast reserves of energy when we arrived at the kids' zone.


All the inflatables were free, and the lines were not long. Awesome festival!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dragon Boats

On Saturday morning, we headed down to Festival Beach for the Dragon Boat Festival. 

The dragon boats were kind of hidden away from where the actual festival was going on, so we enjoyed a scenic walk along the lake until we came across them.

Dragon boats located!

We were not sure what time the actual boat race would happen, so we milled around at the festival for awhile. We enjoyed the various martial arts demonstrations.

The taiko drummers were cool, too. Very precise.

Jackson and Olivia got some energy out in the bounce house.

At last, race time! It was kind of anticlimactic because by this point, Jackson and Olivia were much more interested in getting popsicles and maybe taking another turn in the bounce house. Oh well.

Saturday evening Tony and I headed downtown to see Only Lovers Left Alive at the Violet Crown Cinema. It was a confusing moviegoing experience. You're able to put in an order for food and drinks before the film. We were familiar with this concept thanks to the Alamo Drafthouse, where servers bring your food in to you so you can enjoy it while watching the movie. But at Violet Crown, you have to get up during the movie and get your own food when your pager tells you it's ready, which means you are climbing over a bunch of strangers while balancing full plates of food in the dark. Also there's no busboy, so you sit there with your empty plate and silverware on your lap until the movie is over.

So, no pics of our shared spring rolls and margarita pizza, because we consumed them in total darkness. I really enjoyed my cocktail, however -- the "Constant Ava Gardner," made with vodka, pear, basil, lemon, lavender, black pepper. I am all about the foofy cocktails, oh yes. And the movie was freaking fantastic.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Public Art, Protein, Po'Boys

On other food blogs I follow, I've noticed that "smoothies in a bowl" seem to be a popular breakfast. I'm not  a morning smoothie person, for one practical reason...I get up an hour before Tony, so I don't like to run the blender while he is still sleeping! However, we all got up at the same time today, so I fixed myself a smoothie with mango, almond milk, and chocolate Garden of Life Raw Protein powder, sprinkled with Go Raw chocolate granola. 

I can't remember where I heard about this brand of protein powder, but I really like it. Its protein comes from a blend of sprouted foods such as rice, quinoa, chickpeas, and lentils. 17g per serving, pretty good! And I like the deep chocolately flavor. This breakfast kept me feeling satisfied until well after noon, which is amazing for me (I'm already snacky by 10 a.m. when I eat cereal for breakfast!)

It was a beautiful spring day, so I brought Jackson and Olivia to Big Stacy park where they happily climbed all over an art installation. 

It's part of Austin's TEMPO, temporary public art program. We love public art!

We spent some time at the little playground.

Olivia is following in her monkey brother's always-climbing footsteps.

The kids led the way down to the creek.

It's nice to see actual water in the creeks this year. We have been getting a good amount of rain.

Olivia randomly discovered an old toy car. Beep beep!

For dinner we had veggie po'boys with roasted cauliflower, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and Veganaise. The kids ate deconstructed versions. They are still in a phase where different foods should not be touching each other.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Trying Raw

So, I got it in my head that I would try to make a complete raw feast, based on some recipes I found on Pinterest. I am interested in raw foods, but it often seems like a ton of preparation. For example, I was going to do raw falafels. But to do this, you need to sprout your chickpeas several days in advance. So I moved back the date of my raw meal and started sprouting. It did not go so well for me. 

The chickpeas grew cute little tails, all right. They also smelled like garbage. Like, an obvious bacteria smell. Maybe I should have kept the jar in the fridge? The instructions were not clear. I have more dried chickpeas, so I can try again some time. These went in the trash.

Instead, I made the baked falafels from Appetite for Reduction. Always so good. My kids go to town on them.

To accompany the falafels, we made the Mediterranean-Style Cashew Cucumber Dip from Veganomicon. It's like a raw vegan tzatziki sauce. Jackson and Olivia are getting skilled with the veggie peeler.

Lots of dill is key! We had plenty left over for dipping carrots and pita chips.

Finally, I made a cauliflower tabouli. I guess you would call it high raw, since it has green olives in it, which aren't raw. The lemon juice/olive oil dressing kind of "cooks" the cauliflower, which takes the place of grains in a traditional tabouli. Tasty!

Since Jackson, Olivia and I were working together so nicely in the kitchen, we also made some hempseed salad dressing. It is so good! I love those nutty hempseeds. I ate it on a salad of mixed greens, roasted beets, goat cheese, and leftover falafels.

Please share any favorite raw food recipes with me!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pinterest Odds 'n' Ends

Occasionally I become determined to actually cook a few of the hundreds of recipes I've pinned on my "food I will cook" Pinterest board!

First up, Soba Noodles with Lemony Kale Pesto. I love soba noodles lately, and they are so easy and fast to cook. I didn't know you could make pesto from kale. It has a really green, vitamin-y flavor. Really tasty; I had two helpings. Oh, and I cut the amount of oil in half and just thinned it out with water as needed, because an entire cup of oil is too crazy.

Next, Roasted Radishes. OK, I also never knew you could roast radishes. Pinterest is so educational. When roasted, the radishes have a buttery, potato-like flavor and texture. Aren't they pretty?

Finally, Okonomiyaki -- Japanese savory pancakes made from napa cabbage, and served with a dollop of sriracha-enhanced Veganaise. These crisped up really nicely and I'd definitely make them again. 

I had to pick up some bath soap for the kids today, and instead of their usual Mr. Bubble, I decided to go a more natural route. Although I don't usually talk about bath and beauty products, I have to rave about this Everyday Shea lemon-lavender bubble bath. Aside from being all natural and fair trade certified, it smells amazing. And very strong! I could smell it down the hall, and my babies came out of the tub smelling like the little cherubs that they are (haha!)

I also picked up two bags of Saffron Road crunchy chickpea snacks because they were on sale at Whole Foods. I got Bombay Spice and Falafel flavors. Olivia has eaten almost the entire bag of Bombay Spice by herself. Jackson is not crazy about them. The Falafel flavor is spicy, so we saved that one for Tony. I grabbed a Kosmic Kombucha for myself. I brew my own kombucha but sometimes I want a different flavor. Kosmic is my favorite brand and their Mint Julep flavor is super refreshing.

My pretty girl showing off her new headband.