A New Home

I have arrived.

In Austin, I mean.

After spending four days in a car with a good friend, I am finally here. The room is full of my stuff, piles and piles of things stacked on top of more things, as I shove my way into my sister and brother-in-law’s life.

Imagine me dancing into your life with jazz hands. That is how I feel– HERE I AM!! I shout as I wiggle my way into their world. Hound dog included. I suppose it is a nice package to find? Maybe?

Needless to say, the road trip was long. Really long. It also involved surviving on mixed nuts and carrot sticks. We had one real meal when we found ourselves in a small kitchen in Colorado where our friend’s Matt and Kelsey threw together homemade pizza (dough included). They even made a kale salad on the side and my own vegan pizza. Best hosts ever.

It is funny when you see someone after not seeing them for a year, and both of your lives have been flipped upside down. You have taken on new adventures, new people, new lives– and all of it is so good. Seeing such joy and new plans for the future lifted up my soul. What a good stop along the way to my brand new adventure.

And now here I am. Laying on an air mattress covered in sweat and dirt and one too many bug bites (perhaps the West Nile is already seeping into my blood– is that how it works?). I moved to Austin in such a rush in anticipation for a farm apprenticeship. Today was the first day. I spent the morning weeding and chatting with people who know, love and can’t help but spread the knowledge about this town. The restaurants to try, the swimming holes to go to, the hikes to take. These are good people. This is a good place.

I saw a spider bigger than I cared to see, and crickets flew at me from every direction. I harvested peppers that taste like sweet and smell like honey. I drank more water then I have in a long time and dealt with the 95 degree heat like a champ (everyone else commented on how “cool” it was…oh man).

Yes. I think I can handle this life. I think that I can nestle down into this town, make myself a life here. A life filled with fresh produce and eggs, a life with bikes on the front porch and a black dog who just can’t seem to stop panting.

Welcome home.

Homemade Pizza Dough

* adapted from Gotta Little Space to Fill blog

This dough is awesome. It only takes 10 minutes to rise, tastes like heaven, and watching my friend Matt hurry around the kitchen and show off his bulk flour and yeast was the cutest. I will think of this recipe with a fond heart.

1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
cornmeal

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour, salt, honey and olive oil; stir to combine using first a wooden spoon then your hands. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal and press dough into it to your desired thickness. Top with your toppings and bake for approximately half an hour or until crust is golden, toppings are heated through and cheese is bubbly.

Advertisements

Sigh.

Words aren’t coming to my brain these days.

In a good way.

This weekend was slow and comfortable and healthy and perfect.

All I can say is that I am happy that the universe loves me. It loves my decisions. It has decided to make everything line up. Bless that Universe.

I leave you with pictures, as I can’t really come up with anything else to describe the immensity of my bliss.

If I were to sum up my weekend in a dish it would be this noodle dish. You take one bite and it is all over. You’ve found it. Then you just keep eating it. Forever.

Eat-The-Entire-Bowl Noodle Dish

– 1.5 pounds of whole wheat angel hair pasta or soba noodles

– 3/4 cup tamari

– 1/2 cup sesame oil

– 1 tsp cayenne (I was more heavy-handed… oops)

– 1 red pepper cut up

– 1 bunch cilantro, cut into pieces

  • Cook the pasta and add all the other ingredients. That’s it. SO EASY. SO GOOD. EAT FOREVER. Next time I will probably add more veggies to up the nutritional value of the dish… Make it okay to eat the entire pot in one sitting. No big deal. We decided this would be the perfect dish to sell late at night to drunk people. Oily, delicious, addicting. Money maker? I think so.

Austin, TX

The word is out. I am moving to Austin.

The land of my sister, swimming holes and sunshine. A place that feels like a nicer, albeit HOTTER version of Seattle/Portland. A city where horses are sometimes tied up on the side of the road and you can feel the heat radiate into the core of your being. I have spent a few weeks in Austin. Leisurely eating watermelon and mango in the back yard, swimming until I turned into a prune and wandering through an abandoned warehouse turned farmer’s market. I have felt the community and kindness in the people of Austin. I have felt and understand why it is the number one place in the USA for young people to move to.

I am so ready to throw myself into this place, immerse myself in the city and get my hands dirty in the soil. This place is excited about food, I am excited about food, it will be a magical relationship.

My decision has come as a surprise to many people. Most people just ask why. Why would I want to leave a place where my family and friends are? Why would I want to leave the Pacific Northwest when it is one of the best places to live, in the entire world? Why oh WHY would I want to live in a place that is so so so hot?

Here is why:

1)      I locked down a great opportunity to apprentice on an urban farm in Austin called Urban Roots. It is a non-profit organic farm in East Austin that hires teenagers and teaches them how to farm. I will be working there 12 hours a week with the farm manager, picking his brain and learning the in’s and out’s of farming. This makes my heart swell to a point I can’t explain as I want to grow up to be a farmer. Couldn’t have found a cooler place. Couldn’t be more excited. Hip Hip.

2)      These people are there.

I don’t know if you know this, but these people rock my world. They do this for the following reasons: that lady is my sister. My sister is like what happens when you combine sunshine and puppy’s paws and good bluegrass music put it into a bottle, shake it and out pops a human. Meaning, she is a combination of all that is good and right with the world. She is my other half. When I told her I was moving down she said, “Apart we are a disaster, together we are unstoppable.” My thoughts exactly. And that other dude? That guy is ok I guess. Whatever. (hehe. I kid, I kid. He is the combination of deep laughter, beautiful art and feeling like a little kid again. Joyful.)

3)      9 months of sunshine. When you live in a place that is 9 months of rain, switching to a place that is opposite of everything you know (weather-wise) is a brilliant and scary thing. I can’t wait to step out my door and feel the heat in the evening. I can’t wait to find a place to swim at night. I can’t wait for trips to the beach and to dip my toes into the gulf. I can’t wait to have my freckles all year-long, and only need sweaters every once in a while. I know I will miss the rain, the green, and the magical northwest fall and winter. I get that. Here is the kicker; Seattle will still be there in a few years. Crazy, I know.

4)      And finally, there is this boy… But that is a story for another time. Bottom line: sigh.

Here is to new changes, shaking my life into a new place and throwing caution to the wind. Here’s  to the universe acknowledging the brilliance of all of this and granting me opportunities and bliss in a way I didn’t even know was possible.

Cheers.

The Perfect Margarita

1.5 oz tequila (don’t fool around with this. Get good stuff. 100% agave. Worth it)

1 oz Triple Sec

1 oz fresh lime juice

A dash of agave syrup (optional)

Salt!

  • Get yourself a martini shaker and fill with ice.
  • Combine all the ingredients into the shaker and shake shake shake.
  • Rim your glass of choice with lime and then dip into coarse salt.
  • Pour in the chilled margarita and enjoy. Continue to enjoy when you move onto your 2nd, 3rd, 4th. I mean, we are celebrating after all.

Brewfest

Ah. Those people.

You know the ones. Face hurting, belly splitting, eye brow raising people. Singing on the train, interpretive dancing and the endless sarcasm people. The calm, confident people.

These are the ones for me.

Throwing caution to the wind and skirting responsibility I spent a good chunk of time being awesome with three incredible human beings.

Nothing short of refreshing to be in a fantastic city, doing fantastic things. Are there anymore synonyms for great? I will use all of them to describe my time in Portland.

 

As previously mentioned, I love this city. I love it even more when I am shown around by dudes that a) know the city well after living here for years and years b) are some of the most hilarious people I know c) can make any activity a shit show of sass.

I am a big fan of sass.

Dreams came true in Portland. I got to see Beasts of the Southern Wild (magical), got to drink a plethora of beer at brew fest, got to see what kind of bluegrass spectacular Portland had to offer (nothing spectacular about it, but unlimited fodder for joke after joke after joke) and got to lay in the grass and figure out what is so special about quiet afternoons in the park.

Like I said, these are my kinds of people.

I also ate out a lot. Thai and mexican and brunch galore. The one nice thing about returning home was getting back to the kitchen. Whipping up this lil’ treat was a perfect way to get my stomach back into balance, and sigh my way back into my routine of work, sleep, work: repeat.

Portland, I miss you already.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Kale Pesto

adapted from Love and Lemons

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups ground raw cauliflower flourettes (about 1 small head)
3/4 cup almond flour (I used regular flour because I didn’t have almond flour and didn’t want to go to the store)
3 eggs (or you could try flax eggs if vegan)
pinches of salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

whatever pizza toppings you like, I followed Love and Lemon’s suggestion and did the kale pesto (kale, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper and lemon– chose how much of each and blend in a food processor. BAM), roasted tomatoes, sautéed broccoli and toasted pine nuts. So bomb.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Chop cauliflower and pulse flourettes in a food processor. Be careful not to puree it or grind it until it’s mushy. You’re going for a “riced” fluffy consistency. It should not be sticking together at this point.

Whisk 3 eggs and mix all of the rest of the crust ingredients together and form into a ball. We kind of just slopped it out onto the baking sheet and pressed it around until it was flat-ish… This doesn’t look like dough, feel like dough, or taste like pizza dough. It is delicious. Shoot for “dough” that is 1/4″ thick.

We popped that bad boy in the oven for 25 minutes, removed it from the oven and then put all the toppings on. We put it BACK into the oven for another 5 minutes, and let everything get warm. After removing from the oven, we drizzled on some balsamic vinegar and I topped mine with more nutritional yeast (it is like gold to me).

Mama ate hers while drinking a delicious Amber ale, which I had to mournfully turn down as my nose is getting stuffy (you know, just an early August cold… what?!) and I drank a BIT too much this weekend. Oops.

Eat. Enjoy.