May 23, 2010

30-Before-30: Attend a Food Festival

Just because it's fun, I included a visit to a food festival as one of my 30 things.

We ended up at Taste Addison on Sunday with Kirk, Megan, and Truitt and enjoyed a warm and windy afternoon together eating and listening to music, and learning about wine in the (air conditioned) Robert Mondavi tasting room. We bought a cute new piece of original art at the festival too. Fun times - and a great way to count down the hours until the LOST finale.

17 down, 13 to go...

20/52 Photowalks: Congrats Mags!



Congratulations to my sister Maggie on her graduation from Physical Therapy School at Texas Woman's University last weekend. After three busy years, Dr. Maggie is ready to help heal the world - and happy not to have to worry about homework anymore.



Following a photo shoot at our favorite Little Chapel, we celebrated with our parents and Jimmy's folks by enjoying a delicious dinner at Fogo de Chao. We're proud of all your hard work Mags - way to go!



May 19, 2010

30-Before-30: Update my Diamond Necklace

Something different, I had a special piece of jewelry made as one of my 30 things.

My great-grandmother, Grammy Dinzler, gave me a special necklace on my 13th birthday that she wore all the time. Maggie got a diamond broach on her 13th birthday from Grammy and updated it last year into a pretty bezel necklace - inspiring me to do the same.
From a pretty gold heart pendant to a modern white gold bezel, Grammy's necklace will definitely get a lot more use now.

16 down, 14 to go...

30-Before-30: Tortillas!

Easier than I was expecting, I made tasty homemade tortillas for one of my 30 things. I wanted to try a recipe without shortening and they ended up turning out great. Matt liked them with black bean salsa and melted cheese, I thought honey+butter+tortillas were the perfect match.
"Healthy" Homemade Flour Tortillas
Straight from Tasty Kitchen.

Ingredients

3 cups organic, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup hot water

Directions
Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder with a whisk. Add the canola oil and mix with your fingers until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add 1 cup of hot water and mix until a ball is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 balls and roll out one at a time on a floured surface. Brush off excess flour. Cook on a hot, ungreased griddle over medium-high heat. Turn the tortilla when brown blisters form on the first side.

Serve warm and enjoy!

15 down, 15 to go...

30-Before-30: Make Salsa from Scratch

Another cooking-related task from my 30 things, it's salsa season at our casa. I made Black Bean Salsa and it turned out wonderfully, very refreshing and great on chips and tortillas.
Black Bean Salsa
Adapted from Life's Ambrosia.

Ingredients

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 jalapeƱos, seeded and minced
juice from one lime
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy!
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Matt got in on the salsa fun too. He used a recipe from Tasty Kitchen after we went to the Frisco Farmers Market a few weeks ago. His salsa was pretty tasty and made a ton, next time it needs a few more jalapeƱos though!


14 down, 16 to go...

May 10, 2010

19/52 Photowalks: Rose Overload


At the amazing EarthKind Rose Garden in Farmers Branch.

I knew this was planted a while back when Matt worked for the city, but we hadn't made it out to the garden at Gussie Field Park until just last weekend. It was the perfect time to visit - a cool evening with dozens of rose beds in full bloom.









18/52 Photowalks: Fountain



In Frisco Square.

May 9, 2010

30-Before-30: Bake a Cake from Scratch

Moving right along on the 30 things list, I baked a homemade cake with frosting to celebrate Mother's Day. Ina Garten's Coconut Cake was rich, dense, and definitely delicious.

Happy Mother's Day Mom - glad you liked the cake!

Coconut Cake
From Barefoot Contessa at Home.

Ingredients

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting (this is for a half recipe and it was plenty):

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

13 down, 17 to go...

30-Before-30: Make Great Burgers on the Charcoal Grill

Maggie (sister/most loyal blog-reader) came over for dinner last Monday - the perfect opportunity to make burgers on the grill for one of my 30 things.
The burgers turned out great: onion, bread crumbs, an egg, Dijon mustard, and spices in the mix made the meat juicy and delicious. Thanks for your help Matt - guess I'd never actually lit charcoal before!

12 down, 17 to go...

30-Before-30: Make Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

This was a fun one! For my 30 things I decided to replace the "jog a 5k" goal with "make chocolate-covered strawberries" - it's just more my style.

Some plain, some with almonds, and a few with shredded coconut - the strawberries were beautiful and delicious. I just used the microwave friendly chocolate bark for these, next time I think I'm going to have to try these Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Tasty Kitchen - yum!
11 down, 19 to go...

May 4, 2010

30-Before-30: Shop at a Farmers Market

We hit up the opening day of farmers market season in Frisco Square last weekend for one of my 30 things and unfortunately it was a total bust.

The market was tiny, so get there early and try later in the season if you plan to get anything good - or just head to Market Street like we did, it's definitely the next best thing to farm-fresh.

10 down, 20 to go...