Thursday, June 13, 2013

BlogHer Food Recap! {Part 1}


*SO* much fun y’all!!

Emphasis on SO


And y’all.

Just kidding.


On Thursday, we all checked in, said our hellos, began our squealing and jumping, then rushed off to our welome parties.
NanaBread and I went to Whole Foods for their Bites and Bloggers, where we met Rebecca Rather y’all!

She’s a big deal here in Texas. Ms. Rather owns Rather Sweet in Fredericksburg and now has opened the Oink! restaurant.

My mom and I both have her cookbook The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe (affiliate link), and our favorites are her Hello Dolly! bars, and Mile High Meringue.

The dessert she featured was a wildflower honey panna cotta with prickly pear sorbet!!!

And how even cuter is that, that Jeanne’s nails matched!


Friday we woke up bright and early as 5 girls began the process of getting showered, dressed, and made up in 2 bathrooms.

Good thing we’re all so naturally good looking. *cough*

Up top thats Lauren of Grier Mountain, Laurie of Simply Scratch, and Megan of Country Cleaver.


Being the “local” since Blog Her Food was held in Austin this year, there was *some* pressure for me to take them to a super awesome lunch place.

The humor lies in the fact that I know Austin about as well as I know the cat in my back alley.
I see it, and feel bad when it’s hungry, but visit it every once in awhile.

Yeah, I’ll work on my analogies.

Anyways. Took them to Walton’s Fancy and Staple! Owned by Ms. Sandra Bullock! SO GOOD!
Check out those chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes.

And yes, we all stood on our chairs to get our overhead lunch shot.
HELLO, we are food bloggers in town for a convention!



Then on break… uh.. ok, we cheated and skipped out on one session, we went to explore South Congress, or SoCo.

Stopped into the famous Allen’s boots, and I built my wish list for my next three pairs of must haves.

Dear Santa….. 


Next stop was Uncommon Objects. Funnest flea market thrift store around.

With a little creep factor too.

And noowwwww for the MOST humorous part of the day!!!!



Let me begin….
Once upon a time, there was a famous bridge, we’ll call it the Ann Richards (45th governor of Texas) bridge – otherwise known as Congress Ave Bridge. And under this bridge lived 1.5 MILLIONNN Mexican free tailed bats that reside here from May until November. Well – these bats are so exciting, so spectacular, so social, that people flock from miles around to watch the bats awake at dusk and fly off into the sunset as they eat millions and millions of Mexican free tailed insects.

I’m going to change the name of my tour from Bats & Brats to No Bats & Brats. Catch my drift?

(insert sarcasm)

We arrive at the bridge, all 17 of us, oh and by the way, Marlboro Man almost came on the tour – there’s a little fun fact for ya’.

We arrive at 7:30 and I tell the group they have 45 minutes to be back for dusk to see the spectacle. They can go grab a cocktail. Like the Four Seasons and their “Batini” – it’s good.

Everyone arrives back at 8:15. Dusk arrives at 8:30.
No bats.

“It’s ok y’all, it’s been a little cool, we’ll just give them more time.”
8:50… no bats
“Well, you know, we can’t control the bats? Maybe their tired from their little bat party?”
9:15… no bats
“Uhhhh…. really have no words. Who’s ready for a hot dog?”

I have no idea what happened to the bats. I’ve never heard of them JUST SLEEPING IN.

Who do they think they are?

Don’t they need to EAT?

A person just CAN’T do something fun!

At this point I’m like “Hey, it’s cool, stuff happens, I can’t control nature. They can come back tomorrow to see the bats.”
So the 7 of us left head to Frank for some gourmet hot dogs.

I’m already getting all worked up telling the story, so long story short Mumford & Sons came to Frank before us, took the whole upstairs, leaving no room for BLOG HER FOOD!!!



ANYWAYS, trying to laugh the whole thing off (and crying on the inside), the four of us – Kelly Bogard of Texas Farm Bureau, Lee and Winter Redd of Redd Party  (yes, that’s their name. Coolest people EVER.) and I made our way to Cedar Door for dinner where we enjoyed some GREAT pomme frittes and white wings.

I hope Mumford & Sons liked their franks. Hmmph.


Stay tuned til tomorrow for Part Deaux.

~ Peace, Love, and Bats Y’all


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paleo Day 1

If you read my Beefy Mexican Lasagna post, you saw I started the Paleo thing. I decided I’m going to share with you what I ate.

If you don’t like it, no worries, I’ll be posting regular recipes too.


Except this. I had to take a Paleo sabbatical over the weekend for BlogHer Food (recap coming soon), so Sunday night I made Thai Coconut Rice Pudding.

You know, just to REALLY blow Paleo out of the water.

Do y’all like Thai food? I love it. And hopefully, *fingers crossed* I’ll be going to Thailand summer of 2014 for a family wedding!
I’m a good saver, I can do it.

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding is made from a black rice grain, really dark purple, called “Forbidden Rice.”
(You can find it through this affiliate link: Thai Black Cargo Rice, 5-Pound)

~ Oooh, I’m interested already.~

Cook it, add full fat coconut milk from a can and sugar.

BOOM. Thai Coconut Rice Pudding. Apparently in Thailand, they often eat this for breakfast.

It’s soooo goood y’all! A bit of a step away from my granny’s rice pudding. I used the Epicurious recipe, wouldn’t change a thing.

Serve it warm.


Ok, back to Paleo.


Breakfast: Poached eggs and pesto.

The pesto is a recipe from the Practical Paleo cookbook, I seriously love this book.

(Here’s an affiliate link: It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle)

Have you ever poached eggs in the microwave? My new favorite shortcut!

I microwave 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon vinegar for 2 minutes.
Crack in 2 eggs, and add to the hot water.
Cover with a plate, and microwave for 1 minute more.

Perfection! The whites are slightly loose, but way quicker than the stovetop version.


Lunch/Dinner: Spaghetti on spaghetti squash

Ever cooked spaghetti squash? New easy tip I just learned. Poke a bunch of holes with a fork or knife, and microwave the sucker for 10 minutes. WAY easier than trying to cut it in half without removing my thumb (gosh I sure like my thumbs) and way quicker.

And way easier than heating up my whole 900 sq foot house in the summer with the oven on!

Microwave the heck out of it, cut it in half (you’ll need hot pads), throw away the seeds, and scrape the inside with a fork.


Yeah, it’s a little different, but all I can tell you is that I’ve been feeling GREAT – when I actually follow the plan with no grains, sugar, and dairy.

Sugar seems to be the biggest problem causer for me at the moment.

Anyways, then I just cooked up hamburger meat and added a jar of all natural spaghetti sauce.
True paleo would be homemade, but hey, I’m getting back on the Paleo train after a crazy weekend.

Last note:

I’ve signed up for eMeals and absolutely, whole heartedly love it. No, they don’t know I’m writing this, it’s not a sponsored post for them, I just really love it! They have all different meal plans: meals for 2, diabetic, clean eating, paleo, classic meals, low-fat, and on and on.

I paid $21 for 3 months of recipes. Every Wednesday they email you a week of recipes.

Here’s the cool part:

It comes with a shopping list! That’s the most annoying part for me.

Even cooler? There’s an app! I open the app and there are my meals, for this week and past weeks, and a shopping list to check off which items I’ll need for those meals.

Then the recipes are mine to keep!
Try it, you’ll love it. You can click on my link below.

eMeals - Easy Meals for Busy People!


~ Peace, Love, and Caveman Diets Y’all


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Beefy Mexican Lasagna

beefy mexican lasagna name

This is one of my favorite go-to casseroles y’all.

Actually, I’ve really decided I’m like the casserole queen.

Like, for reals.

That’s all I did, was cook casseroles. It had to be something in a 9 x 13 pan, I’d cook once or twice a week, and then we’d eat the leftovers throughout the week for lunch and dinner. It was so EASY!

I use past tense because I’ve been trying this whole “Paleo” thing. Basically it means eating like a caveman.

No sugar, dairy (gulp), or grains. You read that right. I’ve embarked on a disaster journey.

I heard about the Whole30 program, and my mother bought me the book, as well as the Practical Paleo cookbook.

(Here’s an affiliate link: It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle)

So far, I love it. It’s been hard, and I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve been pretty close, and I’ll share my meals with you along the way.

And don’t worry, I won’t (read: CAN’T) give up baking; I’ve just got to get off this sugar addiction thing first, before I learn what a healthy amount is. (HA)


ANYWAYS, if I haven’t scared you away by now, back to the casserole.

It also happens to be a childhood favorite of mine.
I seem to have some recollection of being 8 years old and dropping my brother off at his first junior high dance…. he was supposed to bring food. Mom made the mexican lasagna, but burnt it slightly (which is atypical for my mother). I was lying in the back of the van – pretending not to exist – holding the lasagna, while my brother and his friends were in the middle seat.


Anyways, there’s no punchline here. No, I didn’t send the lasagna flying into the middle seat at a stoplight. No, I didn’t gouge my hand into the dinner as I was so hungry as we dropped them off. No, I didn’t upchuck my mexican lasagna dinner as my brother and his friends watched….

All these would have been good endings though…..

We just dropped him off.





beefy mexican lasagna1

All of you should be proud. My best friend is half Hispanic, so she convinced me to start cooking tortillas from half-scratch. I didn’t make tortilla dough, but they do have the dough already rolled out and packaged, and all that needs to be done is toast it in a pan.

Many burned fingers later, this little gringa had herself a pile of hot, fresh tortillas.


beefy mexican lasagna2

Add in some taco seasoning, beans, and my favorite Red Gold diced tomatoes, and we’re almost there.

I usually use the Red Gold diced tomatoes and green chiles, but I had used my last can!

Next, you’ll mix up your cottage cheese mixture, and assemble.

I’m hoping y’all have some good stories for me after reading this.

Come ON, bring on the family pranks. *GRIN*

beefy mexican lasagna name

~ Peace, Love, and Tex-Mex Y’all

Print Print Save Save

Beefy Mexican Lasagna

Yield: serves 10


1 pound ground beef
14.5 ounces Red Gold diced tomatoes
16 ounces refried beans
1.25 ounce packet taco seasoning
2.8 ounce can of french fried onions
24 ounces cottage cheese
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 eggs, beaten
12 tortillas


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by browning meat over medium heat. Once browned, add in tomatoes, beans and taco seasoning. Stir in half the can of french fried onions, then simmer for 10 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, eggs, and shredded cheese.

Create your assembly line of one 9x13 pan, tortillas, meat mixture, and cheese mixture. Begin by spreading a few spoonfuls of meat mixture on the bottom of the pan to keep the tortillas from sticking. Next, layer tortillas. Then, layer meat, then cheese. Continue layering tortillas, meat, then cheese. The last layer should be the cottage cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top of the casserole and the remaining french fried onions. Bake covered for 45 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes.

*Freezes great!