Friday, May 30, 2014

Snake Farm

Last weekend we took a day trip to New Braunfels. Along the way, we stopped in San Marcos for lunch at the Root Cellar Cafe. We shared an order of chips and salsa to start with.

I ordered the Veggie Deluxe sandwich with a side of fruit. The sandwich contained grilled red onion, tomato, avocado, lettuce, and provolone.  I wouldn't rave about this place but the meal was adequate for a lunch on the road.

Our destination? Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo! If the name seems awkward, this place started out as an old-timey roadside attraction/reptile house, and is in the process of branching out into a tiny but legit zoo.

Austin's own zoo is actually an animal sanctuary, so I'm always slightly wary of other zoos that aren't. But the animals here seemed well taken care of. I noticed that they all had a buddy to hang out with.

I amused myself by referring to the capybaras as Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston. Olivia enjoyed watching them nibble on their plant-based lunch.

Have you heard of Reeve's muntjac? Me, neither. Apparently they are a breed of miniature deer. They are the cutest little guys ever.

White tiger cub, aw. (There were, par for the course, two tiger cubs hanging out together, but I didn't get a pic of the other one cause he was sleeping.)

The petting zoo was great. At the Austin zoo, you can feed the animals in the "petting zoo" area and pet them through the fence. But at Snake Farm, you can get up close and personal with the animals, like this super chill llama.

Olivia, the goat whisperer.

She seriously is.

"Love meeeee, Olivia! Love meeeee!"

We also saw piglets!

So tiny and amazing (these were fenced off, you couldn't pet them, and mama pig was right there with them.)

A great way to spend our Saturday! Finally, I'll share with you the Mother's Day present Tony got me. It was shipped to Puerto Rico before arriving here in Texas, haha! But it eventually made it. It's a box of raw cacao truffles from Coracao Confections.

Aren't they gorgeous little jewels? I think I'm becoming a chocolate snob, haha! So this was just what I wanted.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

First Swim

I tried something different this morning: oats with carrot juice, raisins, cinnamon, raw vanilla protein powder. The flavor was great and reminded me of carrot cake. But the vanilla powder got clumpy and gross. 

After dropping Jackson off at pre-K, Olivia and I stopped by Whole Foods. I picked up a Daily Greens juice. I buy them when they are on sale. Apparently I can't bring myself to pay $7.99 for a juice, but $5.99 is acceptable.

We were there to pick up fresh flowers for Jackson's teachers, since the end of the school year is drawing near. These happy pink daisies caught my eye.

For lunch I had avocado and tomatoes on French bread.

After school, the kids asked to set up the kiddie pool. It was definitely warm enough, so they changed into their swim suits and took a dip.

Water babies.

Remember the French bread from lunch? Here's what happened to the rest of it. I filled it with amazing Cheddary Broccoli Soup from Isa Does It. I have made this soup before and I thought a bread bowl would suit it perfectly.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Midway Lunch

Awhile back, I took Jackson and Olivia to check out the Midway food trailer court. A carnival-esque sign greeted us.

Inside the gates, we were met by a suspicious-looking sasquatch. What were you doing behind that bush, Bigfoot?

Decorations hanging from trees added to the carnival atmosphere.

I had a portabello mushroom bahn mi from Dock and Roll Diner, accessorized with grilled onions, guacamole, hoisin sauce, and cotija cheese. It was served hot and toasty (I've had experiences with lukewarm trailer food so I appreciate this detail) and the portabellos were perfectly done, not rubbery.

I was kind of bummed out that half of the ten food trailers were closed the day we went. I guess Mondays aren't optimal for sampling trailer food. Yet, I ended up with a satisfying lunch that I probably wouldn't have chosen if there were more options (I'd been eyeing the tapas trailer, but it was closed.) So there you go.

Since the closing of NATY, Midway is currently the only food trailer court in Austin with a playscape. Happy kiddos.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Hola friends! We had a three-day weekend since Tony was off for Memorial Day. On Saturday we went to San Antonio, which I'll post about later. Sunday and Monday we cooked out. 

On Sunday we cooked out at my parents' house. I forgot to bring a veggie burger, so my dinner was roasted potatoes (made by me), corn on the cob, and salad.

Yesterday we cooked out at home. I had my veggie burger. I also roasted some Brussels sprouts and topped them with aioli (Veganaise + lemon juice + minced garlic) and a balsamic vinegar reduction. My mom gave us some fresh peaches from Fredericksburg. They are small, but sooooo sweet and juicy!

Oh yeah, and I made peanut butter chocolate brownies for dessert! I forgot how to do the fancy peanut butter swirl, so I just smeared it on top, haha!

Today it's rainy. I am starting to go through our belongings because we are moving next month. We have been renting for a long time and we finally bought a house! It's just a few miles from where we live now, so it should be an easy move compared to our two most recent cross-country moves. But I still want to go through boxes and clear out anything we don't need to take with us. While I was organizing my clothes closet, I gave Olivia my grandmother's jewelry box to keep her busy. She loves the wind-up ballerina. Whenever the music stops, she says, "Wind it up again!" I loved it too when I was her age.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring Sippin'

It's spring for another month, but starting to feel like summer here in Austin. We are spending lots of time in the backyard, which means we need to hydrate. What do you like to drink to stay cool? Iced tea has been my drink of choice lately. I won some ginger tea from Organic India. I love how spicy it is!

I also picked up some Nettle Leaf tea. It's caffeine-free (a must for me) and has a neutral flavor, perfect for making a big pitcher of iced tea.

I have also been sippin' on my homemade kombucha. With my latest batch, I brewed it plain, then I diluted it with cranberry juice for flavor.

Since I like their chocolate flavor so much, I bought a thing of Garden of Life raw vanilla protein powder, for variety.

I've been using it in "milkshakes" that I make by blending up protein powder, almond milk, matcha tea powder, ice, and a little stevia. I had one for breakfast along with avocado-cucumber toast. What an extremely green breakfast.

For lunch I made miso soup with udon noodles, shredded carrots, wakame, and sambal oelek. I add five-spice powder to my miso broth.  For Jackson and Olivia, I make a simpler version with just broth, noodles and carrots. They love any chance to use their chopsticks.

For dinner I made the sweet potato gnocchi with tarragon cream sauce from Isa Does It. Apologies for this completely unattractive pic that doesn't do this luscious recipe justice. It feels like super fancy restaurant meal. I think it's the tarragon that does it.

Jackson wears his paper bowtie and parades around talking in an English accent. He says, "I'm a fannnnncy mannn!" Kids. They are hilarious.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Costco Haul

My new favorite breakfast: oats (made with 1/2 almond milk, 1/2 water), maca powder, peanut butter, cacao nibs and bee pollen. Fortification for the Costco journey that lay ahead.

I thought I would share a typical haul. I go to Costco once a month. I don't always buy the exact same things, but here's what I needed (and impulse bought) this month.

Mixed olives, organic diced tomatoes, salsa.

Amy's bean burritos, Mary's crackers, and organic carrot juice. I thought my kids would love the carrot juice because they are fans of making it at home. Turns out, they are mostly interested in using the juicer. Store-bought carrot juice does not appeal to them at all. Lesson learned.

Organic blueberries, black olives, avocados. I wavered on the avocados, wondering if they'd go bad before I could use them. But then I confirmed that you can refrigerate avocados to slow their ripening. Which is what I did.

Mamma Chia squeeze packets, stevia packets, Alexia sweet potato fries. Olivia requested the chia squeeze. It's like a pouch of jelly with chia seeds mixed in. The kids suck it down, of course, since it's sweet. But it's also very messy. They get it on their clothes every time. Won't be buying again for that reason.

Mama's treats: pistachios, smoked almonds, Sabra hummus.

Organic red quinoa, Brussels sprouts, pecorino romano, and Baby Bel cheese rounds (another request from Olivia, my constant Costco companion.)

I find Costco fun -- I like to see what new products they have and try the samples -- but also semi-exhausting. For dinner I made something simple, the Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl with Tofu and Kale from Isa Does It. I served it over some of the red quinoa. Amazing, thanks to the rich, flavorful peanut sauce. 

My buddy working on his Legos. I love seeing the chimera-like creatures he comes up with.