Wimberley & Raspberries

There is such joy in solitude, in surrounding yourself with quiet moments, sewn together with drawn out daydreams.

It’s hard to find.

I find myself clamoring to make friends, be social, and stay busy in this new city of mine. I spent my SXSW in the comfort of old friends, flirting shamelessly with recklessness and questionable decisions. My life has been loud lately, filled with long nights and heavy mornings.

My soul was beginning to feel cloudy, like a window in need of a good cleaning.  Thank heavens for my sister and the fact that her boss has a ranch on 45 acres in Wimberley, Texas. When Pants (aka sister) told me we could go to the ranch for the weekend, my heart skipped a beat. I had yet to venture outside of Austin, and the thought of exploring the big Texas sky was swoon-worthy.

45 minutes away is paradise. Literal heaven. I wandered around the property squealing at how I had discovered all that I needed to claim bliss. The house sits at the top of Texas hill country. The loudest things are the humming birds, dipping in every now and again to feed. My pup can run free, his long pink tongue dangling out of his mouth as he stands guard of the porch. The house has big windows and an even bigger porch.

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I sat barefoot in the sunset and felt everything inside of me smile.

Something deep within me screams to be a country girl.  When my sister suggested I become the caretaker of the property, I considered forgetting everything I have created for myself and running to live out my fantasy of being a farmer.

I imagine there’s some kind of magic in tending your garden, caring for your animals and going to sleep at 8 pm out of sheer exhaustion. A very big part of me feels that could be the life for me.

Needless to say, I spent the weekend light on my feet. My sister and brother-in-law had to leave unexpectedly, and asked if I wanted to go back to the city with them. I shook my head and spent the day alone, reading an entire novel and drinking tea on the porch while the dogs chased each other around the property as if they had never heard the word ‘leash’ before.

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I listened to a Neil Young record on repeat and wrote down all those silly thoughts that have cluttered my brain. I walked the property, two puppies at my heels, panting in the late afternoon heat.

Whiskey Ranch is where I will seek peace. It’ll become my refuge when I find my heart confused, my brain tired or my soul weary. This is where I’ll find my happiness in silent mornings, sun drenched hound dogs and fruit salad in the sunshine.

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Berry Breakfast Bowl

This is one of the recipes that isn’t really a recipe, just more a smattering of delicious fruits thrown together and topped with granola. What can I say? I didn’t have time to do much cooking at the ranch. I kept things simple.

  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut in quarters
  • 1/2 grapefruit, quartered
  • 1 banana, cut into rounds
  • 1/2 orange, quartered
  • 1/4 cup granola

Cut these delicious things up, throw in a bowl and add granola. Like I said, not much of a recipe. Oops.

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Whiskey and Popsicles

To say I need to detox is the understatement of the year.

As it turns out, I give in to peer pressure. Only when this peer pressure dresses itself as old friends from high school who are here to play SXSW. In my head I had every intention of doing what I always do when large crowds of people come around… flee. Instead I found myself in the thick of the madness. 6th street is a place I avoid like the plague when there aren’t an extra billion people in the city, yet I found myself there again last night.

Yes, you heard me correctly. AGAIN. I ended up being there, or nearby, almost every night this week. What can I say? It’s hard to say no to adorable, goofy boys from my past. I was literally walking home barefoot last night at 3 o’clock in the morning after consuming a bit too much whiskey and lone star. Don’t even get me started on the things I ate this week… Ugh.

Just some wall art at the house party I went to last night...

Just some wall art at the house party I went to last night on the rooftop. So strange.

See?! Detox is an understatement.

All of February I was so good to my body. I cut out wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol. I did yoga four times a week. I walked at least three miles a day. My body was beginning to feel healthy in a way I didn’t know could happen, and I felt SO strong.

March has not been good to me.

My back hurts from forgetting about yoga, I feel like my legs are turning into literal jello and my head hurts from the lack of sleep and alcohol that is pumping through my veins. Turns out that when you put your body through the ringer it rebels by giving you a cold and a lot of “I’m-going-to-be-huge” zit possibilities.

Not pleasant.

Do I regret a majority of the things I have consumed in the past week/all of March? Absolutely I do. Do I regret staying out late and wandering the sidewalks of the capitol building with crazy friends? Absolutely not. While slightly (or was it extremely?) intoxicated last night I’m PRETTY sure I kept saying “yolo” (as a joke, of course).

You DO only live once though, am I right? SXSW comes around every March and perhaps it’ll be my tradition to throw ALL rules out the window. Or perhaps the next time this festival rolls around and I have five silly boys sleeping in every nook and cranny of the house, I’ll make them a big batch of strawberry popsicles, send them out the door with granola (good performance food) and get to bed at a reasonable hour. Being an old lady DOES have its perks.

Honey Strawberry Popsicles

While it may seem weird to have a popsicle recipe in March, y’all have to remember that I live in Texas. Yesterday it was 86 degrees. It’s prime popsicle weather. If you are in somewhere that still involves scarves and mittens, just dream of summer and keep this in mind the next time the sun decides to come out.

  • 3 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1/4 cup local honey
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice.

This is quite possibly the easiest recipe around. All you’ve gotta do is pop these ingredients in a food processor or blender, blend until smooth and then pour into the popsicle molds and let set for at least four hours. So good, so simple.

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Secrets & Eggs

I have put all my eggs in one basket.

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Let’s pretend my eggs are this beautiful, perfectly speckled against a backdrop of warm earth. My basket is lined with a cream colored tea towel. This basket is worn down after routine weekend trips to the market.

I imagine this basket to be overwhelmingly full of things I adore. Rainbow carrots with fresh green tops. Ruby red beets the size of small fists. If there was a special occasion there’d be a loaf of bread, adorned like artwork, balancing amongst the greens.

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To put all your energy into something like this is delicate and heartbreaking. It’s like being upside down on the monkey bars.

Dizzying. Terrifying. Thrilling.

Once again I find myself with all my eggs, cautiously waiting.

Chard and Kale Frittata

  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

We’re moving (hip hip!) which means I won’t have to attempt to take pictures in the horribly dark, cave like kitchen. On April 1st we’re moving to the east side. I’ll be able to walk to work, we’ll be near our favorite bike shop. We can walk to good restaurants and be closer to good friends. It’s going to be a refreshing way to start the spring. It also means that I will have moved 5 times in 6 months. Ugh. Needless to say, I seek my sanity and routine in the kitchen.

This is a great dish to eat for Sunday brunch, reheat for a quick lunch and then eat again at dinner (if you’re feeling like staying away from cave like kitchens, that is.)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, saute the onions for 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. While those are cooking, prepare your greens. I de-stem my kale, and leave the stalks on the chard (they’re too beautiful!) Chop all of the greens up together, and toss them into to saute until they start to wilt.

Whisk your eggs (and if you want to, you can add cheese), 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper together in a bowl. Pour over the greens. Gently nudge the greens around to evenly distribute the eggs. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the egg mixture. Bake in the oven until eggs are set and the top of the tart is tinged golden brown, about 45 minutes. If desired, run the tart under the broiler to further brown the top for 1 minute.

Enjoy.