Friday.

Happy Friday y’all!

So, today I totally had a delicious scone recipe to share with y’all…but I will wait until Monday, sometimes there are just more important things than food. Wait…did I just say that? Maybe it’s the coffee talking.
So, yea, sometimes other things require attention.
Like waking up at 5 a.m. to catch the sunrise on the pier with Dad.

Living in the moment and 

enjoying Mother Nature 

at her best.

Seriously? Nothing more breathtakingly beautiful.

What a great start to the day.
 Oh, and an impromptu photo shoot with Bella.

One happy pup.

Pure heaven

on earth.
Hope your weekend is absolutely magnificent!
MANGIA!!!

Tea Party!

Happy Monday y’all!
Well, it was a pretty busy weekend to say the least. Unfortunately I didn’t get to cook or bake a single thing. However, yesterday was quite relaxing. My younger girl cousin, Morgan, (who is also my parents godchild) is graduating from high school at the beginning of June. Oh…to be young and in high school…what an experience. Anyway, her boyfriend’s (we will just call him Blase) mother decided it would be a great idea to throw a garden party for my cousin and one of her girlfriend’s that is also graduating with her. 
Now, at first I had no idea what to expect with Blase’s mother. Okay, yes I did. Did I mention Blase is like 6’5, played football in high school, and is an all-around pretty built (Ford tough) guy? He’s in the A and M maritime academy now so just picture a marine type. Anyway, I expected Chase’s mom to be some high society, “dance mom” type, who was living out her dream of throwing a garden party for some one else’s daughter. I learned my lesson. Never be too quick to judge someone. I was totally wrong. She was such a sweet lady and the party was lovely! 

Did I mention that I love garden parties?
Hold the phone…watch out world…getting snazzy with the hair!
 Love the turquoise look for spring! Hell, I love turquoise any time!
Family Pict-cha Time!
 Isn’t the table layout just the prettiest thing? Love white tablecloths and bright flower arrangements.
We were served avocado soup, cucumber finger sandwiches, a fresh garden salad, and a scoop of both chicken salad, and shrimp salad. Every thing looked amazing…unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste everything because I am trying to figure out what I’m allergic to.
Didn’t pick the best week to eliminate dairy. I did take a little bite of each…so irresistible. The avocado soup was my fave, which is ironic, seeing as my stomach does flips when I eat avocados. It was refreshing, yet slightly, but not overly salty. With a dollop of creme fraiche. Why, oh why, do you hate me dairy?
 Dessert: the cutest butterfly cupcakes. 
 Love.
We had some family over in the late afternoon for a nice visit/showing off the new house and by the looks of it
my dad and Bella face-planted into a deep sleep.
I will be back tomorrow with some yummy recipes!
Have you ever been to a garden/tea party and/or hosted one? What did you/would you serve?

MANGIA!!!

Birthday Amore.

Good Monday Morning all!

As you may have heard, Thursday was my birthday. However, I chose not to really celebrate it until Friday night. And by celebrate I mean have a nice birthday dinner with the fam. That is just what I did. The Friday night festivities were pretty ah-mazing. Before dinner, momma, seester, and I did a little shopping. My mom bought me a new cake stand for my birthday. I can’t wait to show it off. I know, I am so lame. Anyway, dinner was celebrated at my one of my fave “Italian” restaurants, Nino’s. In addition to my parents and seester, I invited a few of my cousins along for the birthday fun. The food was amazing as usual.

I pre-gamed with a good glass of Riesling…or two.
 I pretty much felt like a celebrity, ya know drinking a bottle of wine that doesn’t come from a grocery store. Plus, drinking out of a wine glass instead of a paper cup is so lady-like. Points!
The appetizer was the traditional Antipasti Platter. Meat, Cheese, and Bread. The regular staples.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap any more food photos. I know, disappointing. Let me just tell you what I ate b/c it was pretty freakin’ perfect: A salad of mixed greens, with a quarter roasted chicken…the chicken skin was crispy, and the meat so moist, hell I was surprised I didn’t eat the damn bone! I got pretty close though! I also order a side of roasted green beans, sauteed in olive oil, and dusted with fresh Parmesan. These weren’t your green beans that come in a can…nope! To make my meal even more tasty than it already was, I ordered the bakes eggplant appetizer, which was top notch! It was three round layers of perfectly baked eggplant, each layer spread with goat cheese just oozing out the sides, and melted to perfection. The best part? The subtly sweet, and mildly tangy marinara sauce poured over the top of the eggplant tower. Oh my word. I could have literally licked the plate. I did my best to mind my manners, using my spoon to scoop up as much of the sauce as I could!


Here are some pics of the night: 

Momma and Seester

Daddy and Momma

Daddy and I

Seester and I

Family Photo with the Cousins!

3 Men + 2 Ladies
MANGIA!!!

The Perfect End to the Week

Happy Monday all!

I hope everyone has had their coffee and/or is enjoying it at this very moment like I am. So, this weekend was definitely one for the books. My parents and I drove to north of these here parts to celebrate my baby seester’s 22nd birthday! We arrived at our state’s capital city around lunch time and checked into one of my fave hotels, Hotel San Jose. I have mentioned my previous stay there before. This was my Dad’s first stay at the Hotel San Jose, and let’s just say that he is convinced to one day build a family compound on a couple acres of land round’ these here parts that replicates the architecture and layout of the hotel. Fine by me. Anyway, back to what I was saying…we arrived around lunch, and because I am always hungry I needed to grab a bite to eat, A.S.A.P. So, we walked next door to one of my fave Austin lunch spots, Snack Bar. Dad wasn’t very hungry so he sat out side and smoked his lunch, a Cuban cigar. In the meantime, Mom and I enjoyed a delicious light and healthy feast!


For the Momma: Cauliflower Soup, Fruit, and Gluten-Free Millet Bread

For yours truly: Garden Salad with arugula, kale, orange segments, and shaved beets, served with a fruity vinaigrette and Gluten-Free Millet Bread 
Allow me to pause for a moment and really highlight this Gluten-Free Millet Bread. I am sure they make it in house. Oh my bee-jee-zus, it was delicious. It was so rustic, you would have never known that it was gluten-free! Momma and I spread it with fresh strawberry preserves and never looked back.

 I also ordered a side of Steamed Brussel Sprouts with a Homemade Aioli…this little piggy went to town!
Good thing I like to share, momma fell in love with the brussels. They were seasoned with salt and pepper and steamed to perfection! Seriously, every bite was so tender, and buttery. Very rich, without being rich at all. The aioli was the real treat. It was both our first for aioli. Thank goodness we went to the right place for this “french mayo.” Any dipping sauce has my name written all over it. Did I mention aioli is made with garlic? Sold. So was Momma. She said that it was dangerous, even put a little smear on her bread, and said it was “bleeping” ah-mazing. Aioli=Win! All in all, perfect lunch at Snack Bar. Kudos to our waitress and the entire staff who were light-hearted and entertaining, and who provided the best hospitality that can only be expected round’ these here parts. 

After lunch, I got a photo of the parents chilling outside the restaurant. Dad is loving himself the ipad. He is addicted to Craigslist. Seriously. 

The afternoon festivities included the whole fam and was pretty casual, with some light shopping, Whole Foods bar juicing, and more shopping (this time for music).

We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening’s festivities. Seester picked a restaurant none of us had ever been to, Parkside. Let me tell you, she picked a winner. 

Good thing we were all starving!

For appetizer’s, Mom had the Caesar Salad. I am not much of a fan of Caesar Salad, but this one was dressed lightly, something you rarely see at your average restaurant. Good thing Parkside isn’t average. It was perfect. 
 Then came the next appetizer: Chicken Meatballs with Jalapeno and Pineapple. This was my favorite appetizer. I love me some meatballs but seriously, these were epic. You could actually taste the meat, which was perfectly tender and well seasoned…so flavorful. The meatballs also came with a dollop of avocado cream which was the perfect accompaniment. Very California-ish if I may add. Let’s just say Project Chicken Meatball is happening in my kitchen this week. 
 Round three of Appetizer’s: Crab Fritters with Sauce Ravigote (basically a term for sauce that is ah-maze-balls). 
With each bite, you could taste the fresh crab, that was encased in the perfect crunchy shell. Winner, winner, crab fritter dinner!
 For lack of faulty lighting and other camera issues I was unable to get a photo-op of the rest of the dishes. Dad and Mom shared the Grilled Angus Steak with Sunchoke Potato Gratin, Mustard Greens, and Shallot Brown Butter. Seester ordered the same thing, only with a side of veggies for the gluten-free, birthday girl wasn’t feeling the potatoes. Also, it had been 4 years since her last steak. She was very pleased. So proud of my little carnivore! I had the best dish ever! Let me just say if I died today, this would be my last meal. Pan Roasted Farm Chicken with Parsnip Mustard Puree and Petite Glazed Turnips. I have no idea how to describe this meal. I can only say that it was a crispy, tender goodness, and from now on I will only pan roast my chicken. Heaven! Seester’s boyfriend ordered the Pan Roasted Salmon with Bacon Almond Streusel, which he enjoyed very much! For dessert, mom, dad, and I had coffee, seester enjoyed a trio of fruity sorbet. Mom, Dad, and I snuck out after dinner for fro-yo before heading back to the hotel. 


Photo-op: Seester and Boyfriend…so adorable.


Before heading out Sunday, we enjoyed a family breakfast that ended with lots of hugs and kisses. It was the perfect end to a weekend filled with good food and family fun!


HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR WEEKEND?

MANGIA!!!

Sister

Happy Birthday Seester!

Thanks for having food allergies, you inspire my blog and my cooking skills every day

Thanks for being the family sports star 
 You always know how to make me smile
 And help me avoid the paparazzi…sheesh, stalkers.
 Thanks for being the Bon to my Jovi…such a superstar
Thanks for teaching me how to turn on the drama
 
Thanks for playing 
 dress up with me…Mickey
 Thanks for always looking up to me
 It really helps keep me on my game
 You are the sun 
 to my shine
The peanut butter to my jelly
 Thanks for being the 
 best sister ever
Happy Birthday Seester! I love you boo!
MANGIA!!!