I leave Austin in five days.
This flat, hot and beautiful place has been my home for the past year +, and now it’s time to go back to Seattle. I’m returning to green trees, tall mountains, salty seas and family. I’ve come to the conclusion that a piece of myself will stay in Texas. This town will always be a second home. It wouldn’t be an honest departure without a love letter, so Austin… this one’s for you.
My Southern Love,
I will miss your warmth. I will miss your wet heat that felt like the biggest, sweatiest hug. I will miss riding my red bicycle through your streets in my cut-offs. I will miss eating tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then for breakfast again. I will miss your friendliness and open arms. I will miss whiskey on tap, two stepping with strangers and late nights with my favorite people. I will miss swimming in any body of water I could find, just as long as it got me out of the heat. I will miss being in the land of fireflies and topo chico.
Austin, I will miss your people. The ones that welcomed me without question. Those people who I would carry around in my back pocket if I could, little reminders of what it feels like to be surrounded with goodness. This town is full of folks who live. Take all of it and shape it into something worthwhile. Austin, you are a neverland. Sitting outside of barton springs in my bathing suit, watching the stars in the 85 degree heat on a summer evening, I looked at my friend and said, “this place is magic…”
Austin, you are magic. You are sunshine, pants, bike rides, food, friends and dancing. So much of my heart will be left in Austin, forever.
I am moving on to the next adventure. I ate the Texas sun, I had year round freckles, I scuffed my boots and turned all my jeans into shorts. Now it’s time to go home. I’m bringing a bit of the south home with me. I’m determined to bring some of the warmth, some of the genuine friendliness, all of the dancing and you BETTER believe I will bring “y’all” with me…
Onward and upward y’all, onward and upward.
Black Bean & Avocado Salad with Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries & Cabbage Slaw
This is what my perfect plate looks like. Sweet potatoes are my jam, and when you add in the complete protein of rice and beans, I’m in heaven. And it wouldn’t be a well-rounded meal unless there were some greens, and the cabbage slaw fit the bill. It only seems fitting that I give y’all THREE recipes this time around, because everything is bigger in Texas. All of these dishes are great to mix together and stick into a tortilla, because EVERYTHING is better in a tortilla.
Black Bean & Avocado Salad
- 1 can black beans
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2.5 cups water
- ½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 small shallots, diced
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- ¼-½ tsp salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large avocado, chopped into ½ inch pieces
Cook the brown rice, I use a rice cooker, but you can cook it on the stove top, do whatever tickles your fancy. Drain the beans and rinse. In a large bowl add the beans and toss with limes, cilantro leaves, diced shallots and ground cumin. Season to taste with salt & black pepper. After your rice is finished, set it aside to cool slightly before you mix it in with everything else. Peel and slice an avocado, and serve the beans at room temperature, with chopped avocado on top or mixed in throughout the salad. This salad lasts for several days in the fridge, so it makes for the perfect lunch to bring to work.
Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼ inch fries
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Sea salt
- Ground chipotle chile
- Garlic powder
In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and chipotle chile powder. Spread potatoes on a baking sheet. Avoid crowding so the potatoes get crisp. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Ovens may vary so keep an eye on them and be sure to cut all the potatoes the same size. It’ll ensure even cooking. Cool and try not to shove them all in your mouth at one time. These are delicious.
- 1 head cabbage, cut into small pieces
- 2 carrots, shredded (optional, I didn’t have any, so I went without… delicious either way)
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
- Handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbsp honey (or agave)
- Pinch of cumin
Generous pinch of salt and pepper
Chop up your veggies and mix with jalapeno and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice and honey. Add to the veggies and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Toss until finally coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-5 days.