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TBT: The Recipes of Thanksgivings Past

November 19, 2015
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Over the past few Thanksgivings, I’ve been channeling the ghosts of Thanksgivings past…specifically their recipes. And while I’m living in the house where enormous Thanksgivings were held, I feel like I need to live up to the traditions. The awesome food traditions. Most especially the awesome old-school Texas Thanksgiving food traditions.

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This is a bit tricky for me because I’m not an awesome cook at all, but I can follow directions, and I have a few, different yet simple Thanksgivingish recipes. So I’m going to throw down a few throw backs that have worked well in fairly recent Thanksgivings past, and maybe you’ll find them catchy.

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Pumpkin, barley and sage soup with green apple garnish. I like the idea of having soup at Thanksgiving. We never did this as I was growing up, but I think it’s a solid start. I’m bringing this soup this year.

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Kale, quinoa salad with grapes. I’m also bringing this salad. So I can then eat more pie. That’s just math.

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Ancho chilis stuffed with sweet potatoes, pecans and garlic. This is so Texas Thanksgiving. Like the traditional UT/A&M game, oh wait…except these chilis still happen.

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Pork tenderloin with pumpkin seed sauce. If you’re over the other other white meat, try the other white meat.

Photo Credit: Pork Be Inspired

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Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes. This photo does not do these justice. Trust me. It’s like mashed potatoes’ cool Texas cousin that you really want to watch the UT/A&M Baylor/TCU game with.

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Butternut squash and blue cheese risotto (whoa). This is my favorite. It’s like mashed potatoes’ cool New York cousin that won’t shut up about Hamilton.

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My Great Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing Recipe. This is the quintessential Texas Thanksgiving must have. Also, it’s so so simple.

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Sweet potato pie with marshmallow meringue. This is like Charlie and the Chocolate factory Thanksgiving dessert without the chocolate and all the whimsy. Just trust me on this.

And finally…no Texas Thanksgiving would be complete without…

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A Simple Pecan Pie. You just have to have it.

So Happy Cooking! And Happy Thanksgiving!

Boxed Set: Coterie Sampler

November 18, 2015
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We love this new trend involving things being sold in boxes. After all, anytime you can pay a little less for something to be delivered straight to you, I’m in. Add in the idea of not having to shop for anything and/or make any decisions at all, SOLD!

Now I get this concept is not for everyone. A ton of people are not into surprises, and not interested in paying for things that they didn’t have any say in selecting. And for those people, I say this is not for you. But it might be for someone you are wanting to gift something…and ’tis the season after all. So in our Boxed Set series over the next weeks, we are going to profile some different boxes that we think are well done. And we’re going to start close to home with Coterie Sampler, an Austin-made surprise package, delivered monthly.

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Coterie Sampler is the brainchild Chelsea Staires Sun, who founded Coteire Market to make it easier to buy locally in Austin. The market features products from business owned and operated in the Austin area, most handmade with locally-sourced materials. It delivers around Austin, but if you’re not in the delivery area, then you were sort of out of luck. But no more, now they have these monthly box of single-run, chef-made food options. And it comes to you in a white box, stamped with their logo that reminds me of old school stuff my grandparents used to get delivered. It has a vintage dairy or butcher shop quality to it. Plus, great fonts.

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There are two options. The Mark, has 6-8 items and goes for $60 and The Standard, 4-6 items for $40. I get the Standard.

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This is what it looks like when it comes in the mail.

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The first month featured fancy finishing salts from Lenoir, elaborate kale chips, lavender mosquito spray (which totally worked AND smelled good), posh rosemary gin & juice tea biscuits (I loved these), ginger pear preservers (seriously yes) and fruit-infused Sway water (that was really, really, really good).  $60+ worth of stuff that I would have never heard of or tried for $40. Not bad at all.

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I want to say it was almost worth it for the Lenoir Finishing Salt.

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Or the ginger pear preserves, which start a day (on toast) in such a good way. 

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The next month brought natural soap,  salted butter caramels (whoa), seasoned feta, chai latte mix, Gardner hot sauce and chili powder. So five items, $52+ for $40. Not bad.

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This month featured gingerbread meringue cookies (what?!), nutty autumn granola (yum), toasted almond and pecan breading (I have no idea what to do with this, but I’m looking forward to discovering the what what), Austin Honey Company candles, and togarashi caramel sauce & sprinkles. None of these are listed on the site yet, so the only way you can get them is through the box and I’m not sure how much these five items are worth.

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But I’m exceptionally excited about the togarashi caramel sauce from Counter 3. Five. VII. Because despite it’s ridiculously overcomplicated name, it is my newest favorite restaurant…the food and the whole experience is exceptional, more on that later. But this sauce is from its pastry chef Sarah Prito, who as far as I can tell is a freaking genius.

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Each month, the whole bit comes with an overview. For instance, the info they give on the Togarashi Caramel Sauce & Sprinkles: “Sarah’s Togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice) Caramel Sauce has flavors and infusions of orange peel, red chili, sansyo, and ginger, along with miso. The Sprinkles feature nori, black sesame, and white sesame. With warm, bright flavor that leaves just a hint of heat, this sauce is the perfect pairing with rich, fall desserts.

I don’t even know what most of that means, but I feel fancy just typing it.

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Besides the monthly subscription option, they have specific, singular boxes that you can purchase for singular, specific things and occasions. Check it. Or you can buy specific items as well (in case you fall in love with one specific thing and/or just want that.)

This is obviously the ultimate gift for the ultimate foodie. On the other hand, I love it and I don’t consider myself a foodie at all. I mean, I like food, yes, but I don’t even know what most of this stuff is when I get it. However, it opens my mind and my perspectives and it gives me a really good excuse to try new things. And that is worth $40 to me. It’s a nice treat for yourself or someone you love…Austin delicacies straight to you. Check it out. 

TTYL: The Things You’ll Love (this week)

November 16, 2015
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The past few weeks we’ve been point out the things you will need for the week…but the reality is, you don’t need anything. You definitely don’t need more things, more stuff. And sure most of the stuff we have been pointing out aren’t actual things you need (stuff) they are things you need to do (like breathe and drink water, for instance). But still. We firmly believe none of us needs more needs in our lives…but all could really use some more love, more loves, more things to love. So from this point forward, we’re going to reframe this framework to be The Things You’ll Love (TTYL)…which of course also stands for Talk To You Later. Which we will. About The Things You’ll Love. So let’s do this.

This week, here are The Things You’ll Love:

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  1. The Big Apple…with some queso. We are still talk about NYC. Because we love it and you love it, and hell, it’s NYC season starting the second that that parade starts. So we’re going to keep talking about our favorite things NYC all week, starting with a quick roundup of contributors favorites. Watch for that.IMG_8215
  2. Hand to God, You’ll Love Hamilton. And we’re going to talk about both before the end of the week. One was written by a Texan, one was not. One possibly could be consumed by children, one should definitely not be. We’ll compare and contrast. Werk! (That’s a nod to the Hamilton soundtrack, if you’ve been listening to it, as we suggested last week.)3
  3. Easy recipes. You will love easy recipes right now. Because ’tis the season for easy recipes. We’ll features some throwbacks (Like Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese Risotto. True story.) and a possibly few new ones but good ones. And pace yourself, we’ll probably be talking about food until December, at least.9
  4. Boxed sets. Surprise boxes are all the rage right now… we’ll be featuring some of our favorites from now until New Year’s, and we’ll start this week with one that ships out close to home. 5
  5. Planting Seeds of Gratitude.  This is really our theme for the month and we’ll keep going there. Join us.

A Framework for Gratitude.

November 11, 2015
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It’s a curious thing to live in a space where you are related to almost everyone who has haunted the halls, or the walls, before you. On some days, you feel like if you are quiet enough, reverent enough, or maybe just aware at all, that you can in some way get a sense of the souls who inhabited the space before. It’s the blessing of an old house. Besides non-existent closets, this is something that only comes with pre-war construction. Unfortunately (to me), this house isn’t haunted, but it definitely has a presence. As you walk into this space, it feels like babies were born here. Like dinners were served over laughter here. That something good before you came together. Here.

It also holds a lot of potential. It’s mostly untapped potential of lives lived before the opportunities we have now, but it’s also in its simple layout, its small frame and its considerable age. As I look around, I mostly just see everything that it could be, everything that needs to be done. But in reality, there’s beauty in where it is and what is has withstood.  This home has a lot of stories, euphoric and tragic, there’s no doubt. I just don’t know many of them. But sometimes, if I’m quiet enough, reverent enough, or maybe just aware at all, I think that’s why this house drew me here.

But let me back up. More than five years ago, we moved from the center of giant Houston to the outside of small Austin and into my great grandparents’ house. My mother’s, mother’s, mother and father were the second residents of the home in the 1920s, followed by my grandmother’s brother (my great uncle) from the 1960s through the early 2000s.

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That’s my great uncle on the right. He was a dancer on Broadway in the 1940s, and that is his official headshot. He was born Phillip Jefferson Allen, but always went by P.J.  Except, in New York he went by Leigh Allen (his stage name), and lived on Christopher Street, and danced at the Roxy Theater with Ethel Merman in Something for the Boys and Annie Get Your Gun. He also allegedly ran with Cole Porter, amongst other West Village heroes of the day… and I would give almost anything to know his stories. The sad reality is, I don’t know them, because he never told them. I’m not a hundred percent sure why he didn’t open up, but I’d speculate that we weren’t ready. He was a man born too soon, I guess. I can only guess. But now, instead of his tales, I have barns full of his memories and artifacts of his later profession, designing and building parade floats. But that’s another story.

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And these were his parents. This is a closer shot of the photo on the upper left, a photo of my great grandparents, George and Arnie Bell Allen. I love the way she is smirking into the air…and I really love the way he is looking at her. George was a Texas Ranger, she was kind, loved children more than anyone could understand, and baked bread every day. What I know about them is not enough, but I love this line that was in my great uncle PJ’s obituary:

“His parents loved to dance, and the children were taught to waltz as they learned to walk. In the Allen family, honesty, kindness and manners were of utmost importance. P.J. said his most valued possession was his friendship with his parents.”

Whoa. His most valued possession was his friendship with his parents. As someone who is raising a son, that feels like a lot of good to live up to, and I live in their home.

When we first moved in, probably for the first year or two, we were working on the bones and structure of the house, and I was too intimidated, confused, or overwhelmed to do anything with the decor.  So it sat undone, an open space of drab, incompletely existing in between neglected decay and what’s next. It was odd and sort of depressing.

I wanted to honor its former residents, but I wasn’t sure how. Because a Texas Ranger and a dancer-turned-parade-float-maker have very different styles and sensibilities, and I had no idea how to recognize any of that while incorporating my own thing, especially since I wasn’t sure what my own thing would be.

But then I saw a photo in a magazine of a wall of photos and it made sense. I would fill the walls with those who had lived here, visited here, spent holidays here. I thought if I featured a collection of those who had been here before, it would unlock how I should arrange things now. So I did it. I found a bunch of photos.

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Like this one. This photo was taken on Christmas 1947 in the room I am currently sitting in as I type this. On the left, the third woman back from the front is my grandmother, who was then, in this photo, the age that I am now. Today, there is only one person in this photo who is still with us. The front baby on the right side, that baby is my mother.  Everyone else is gone.

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Or this photo from 1951. This photo was taken in the next room, the room where this photo hangs now. And man, I would love to hear what they are laughing about. Well some are laughing, some are very serious. My great grandparents are sitting in the middle, surrounded by their seven children and their families. Almost half of the seven took their own lives. There are some stories there, trapped in a time where people didn’t tell their stories or have any words to name depression, much less to understand it. And yet in the midst of it, there is joy. That’s what I wanted to frame.

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I have about 50 of these photos collected. Black and white photos taken at, near, or connected to the house. So I spray painted 50 frames blue and began to hang them up on the wall. Most of them hint at stories I don’t know.

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Like, my great uncle, the “old bachelor” as they say around here, well, he was married once. To a lady. There’s a story there.

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Or my great grandfather, who was not only a Texas Ranger, he was the Sheriff of this county. He is standing tall, back row, middle at the Capitol in Austin where he served as Secret Service. But check out the little dude in front with the giant hat, posing with the cigar and the gun. There is definitely a story there.

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Or this guy. Who is this guy? I have no idea. But he also has a gun (Texas) and he is not messing around with trespassers. As they have trespassed against us.

I began to put these around the house, paying tribute, and slowly (very slowly), quietly, the patterns started coming together. The house, as it currently exists and stands, is starting to look connected.  It sounds completely woo-woo, but it worked.

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Here’s a bit of the collection. Only, a ten-year-old human lives here, a growing human boy child who jumps and runs around and bounces balls on the regular. So as a result and after a while, it is truly impossible to keep the frames hung straight up on the wall, and it starts to look like a janky hodge podge hanging in the Weasley’s house … and not in a good way. (Those of you who are really undone by the uneven crookedness of the photos above, you are my people and I feel your pain.)

It was clear that collected together, the snapshots of the past began to look like clutter.

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So I took them down today.

It now looks different. A bit stark, a bit blank, but also clean and fresh.

The symbolism here is obvious.

Those who came before us may have established the scene that we entered, but it’s clear we are here to create what’s next.

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And for all of that, I am thankful.

The Butcher’s Daughter: New York

November 10, 2015
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Photo Credit: Alison Piepmeyer

If you are ever in New York City, in the NoLita area, and hungry, you should check out The Butcher’s Daughter Juice Bar & Cafe. If only to meet this guy. I mean. How cool is he?

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It’s small, it’s mostly outdoor and the vibe is great.

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But also, the food is good. We went for breakfast a few weeks ago for eggs and requisite trendy avocado toast…have you noticed that everyone is now serving avocado toast?…and thank God for that. The schtick is they “treat fruits and vegetables as a butcher would meat.” And they are good at their job.

You can see the whole menu here, which is swell beyond brunch with salads, soups, sandwiches, charcuterie, plates & boards. They also have a lot (like a lot) of juice offerings, including cleanse & wellness packages for local pick up. But we just came for the food and stayed for the great coffee, atmosphere and company.

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Like this gal. She’s the reason that Laurie White and I stopped in here. Our pal Jordan Ferney (who is usually in San Francisco) was in town for some work (a photoshoot for Martha Stewart) and the night before, she had invited us to stand in line with her for tickets to The Comedy Cellar…even though I was staying about two blocks away from The Comedy Cellar, we declined because we are lame…and then Louis C. K. totally showed up and treated them to a set of new material. I’m not even kidding. Because of course he did! (The moral of this story is always go where Jordan and/or New York City beckon and/or invite you.) So we for sure met her at The Butcher’s Daughter the next morning to hear all about it.

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I am a sucker for dippy eggs and soldiers. Even if their soldiers are actually just triangles.

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So if you are in the area, stop in.  You won’t be disappointed.

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Honestly, it’s worth it just to hang with this guy.

He’s our favorite.

Things You Will Need This Week

November 9, 2015
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For some reason this time of year gets us thinking beyond our borders. Beyond our region. Perhaps it’s because it’s beginning to look a lot like ’tis the season…the New York City season. This is true, no mater what is printed on the cups. Even if you are nowhere near the city, it seems everywhere you turn, NYC is in your face. Whether it’s a parade or a tree lighting or any Thanksgiving Christmas Holiday show ever, it’s probably set in NYC. This is how they get you. They lure you in with their festivities. So we’ll offer some of our favorite NYC things to do, see and enjoy whether you are headed in that direction now or later. Let’s go.

To Get Started, This Week You Will Need:

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1. The Hamilton Soundtrack. Just trust us on this. Even if you aren’t that into theater (we get it), you will get going with this. Because it is epic. (Epic.) Brilliant even. It may take a listen or two, but you will get it and you will get into it, and you will get what we’re saying. Give it a chance, you won’t be disappointed. (Also, you might become obsessed. Or maybe that’s just me.)

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Here’s the deal, Hamilton a rap/hip hop concept mixtape album turned Broadway musical about US Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Skeptical? Understandable. Here’s an overview.

I saw Hamilton in September (with only a medium interest in musicals), I bought the soundtrack the next day and I’ve been listening to it on loop ever since. I’m finally going to post a whole thing about it this week (Spoiler alert: It makes you feel like this.) but you should know more tickets just released today. So make a plan and go. Don’t throw away your shot, because you want to be in the room where it happens. And speaking of the room where it happens…

 

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2. A Dining Table. Are you hosting Thanksgiving at your house this year? If so, you are thinking about space and family and lots of family in a space. We are reminded of this scene in You’ve Got Mail (NYC, again) where friends gather in small spaces to celebrate by singing about French horns. Or something. We are not sure why this is so ideal, but we are suckers for this stuff. On the other hand, if you aren’t hosting friends and family, you might be thinking about food, which might be something you think about on the regular. It is something we think about on the regular. We are already thinking about the mashed potatoes we’ll be eating as we are watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Which again reminds us of New York.

 

6 3. A Few Great Things To Do In NYC. Even if you are nowhere near the city, we are entering NYC season. It’s true, no mater what is printed on the cups. Whether it’s a parade or a tree lighting or any Christmas Holiday show ever, it’s probably set in NYC. This is how they get you. They lure you in with their festivities. So we’ll offer some of our favorite NYC things to do, see and enjoy whether you are headed in that direction now or later.

 74. Stuff for the Kids. Stuff here and thereStuff to keep them engaged. Stuff to keep them out of the pool hall. Stuff to keep them thankful. We’ll cover it all. And stay alert because ’tis the season for kids to be getting into stuff. There’s some debate about if they should get into Hamilton (and we’ll talk about that later in the week) but they will definitely like the soundtrack. Which brings us back to number one.  And the loop continues. Because this week, it all about the Hamiltons, baby. Which will maybe get you one coffee in New York.

Okay so, save your pennies and get in a New York state of mind.

What To Plant In November

November 5, 2015
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It is finally starting to feel a little bit like fall around here* in the smallest of ways. It seems the plants sense this before I do because the tomato trees that just wouldn’t quit are finally checking their Roth IRAs and thinking about retirement. Ever since I remembered that my grandfather would always plant pumpkins on the 4th of July, I’ve tried to set up traditions around holidays…mostly so I can remember to do them. And the last few years I’ve started picking the last of the tomatoes on Halloween. So right now I have a ton of tomatoes (and even more that I’ve freezed along the way) so it’s definitely time to can them in some capacity. I’ll start doing that next week.

But for now, I pulled out the last of the summer garden and I’m planting for winter. Here’s what that looks like for me.

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Cilantro! You love it. Or you hate it. But really you should love it. And now’s the time to plant it. If you cover it on the rare day that it may freeze (in February), this should last you into the spring. Or plant it in pots (fairly big ones) and move them inside when it gets colder. If it gets colder.

Collard Greens. Kale and Spinach. I only really eat collard greens on New Years day and the first few weeks of January when I’m still attempting to keep “eat more greens” resolutions.  But now’s the time to plant collards for that. (Halloween seeds = New Year’s greens). Kale grows really well and it’s a nice thing to plant, as we all tolerate it in our lives because it’s good for us, yes? So right now we are stuck with kale until something more trendily awesome comes along, which, honestly couldn’t be that hard to do or that far off. And of course, spinach is everyone’s green go-to Popeyed friend. You should for sure plant that.

Onions and garlic. These are super easy to plant and grow. Just get your starters at your favorite seed/bulb supply or big box hardware store’s nursery department. They can help you. Or read more here. Basically you just put the starters/bulbs in the ground and get out of the way. Which brings me to…

Bulbs. I am not an expert on these at all, but my grandmother was, and I’m attempting to learn this year. I do know that Fall is the time to plant Spring bulbs. I like the symbolism behind this, so I’m working now for things to grow in the Spring. That’s a nice thought. Here’s a handy bulb planting guide that I’m using and you might like it too. And speaking of planting for the spring…

Fruit Trees. November is the month to plant fruit trees for the future, and here’s a list of fruit trees that grow well in zones 7-9. This house is planting a kumquat tree so we will have one and a Satsuma Orange Frost tree because the Aggies say they are the best.

Whatever you put in the ground this November, I wish it lots of sunshine and water to grow strong into the fake winter. And we plant with hope that we once again have a fake winter. Because we probably will. Enjoy the greens!

*This is written for zones 7-9

Things You Will Need This Week

November 2, 2015
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Happy November. We are so grateful that we survived the week of candy and crazy and crazy candy. Between Halloween and the time change and impending climate change and/or doom, we somehow made it through. And we are grateful (oh so grateful) that we are here, in November, our favorite month of gratitude.

All throughout the month we will be counting our blessings for so many things, and this week we are starting with the basics. So here’s a roundup of things you will need this week. We will also do our best to fulfill them. Let’s go.

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1. You Will Need To Go Outside. Now that we have reached a month when it is not 1,000 degrees outside, we are very happy to encourage you to go outside and enjoy every single second of it. The weather is becoming ideal for anything outdoors. Hiking. Zip lining. Golfing. Running (some of us are starting Couch to 5K training this week). We have lots of outdoors in store this week because it’s a good time to be in this part of the world and be outside.

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Well, mostly…Except for a variety of residual hurricanes and resulting torrential flash floods. I mean, other that those 16 inches of rain that fell on our houses within a few hours on Friday, not to mention the tornadoes, it’s totally perfect.

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AP Photo/The Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner

And speaking of last Friday, last Friday’s floods, A) What the heck was that? and B) the tornados shut down all the Internets, so we couldn’t share Elizabeth’s post about how you should go outside. IRONY? We think so. We also still think you should outside now. Because today, it’s quite lovely. Although you know what they say about Texas weather….so you should probably hurry.

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2. You Also Will Need To Not Forget Thanksgiving. I opened up my Facebook this morning to no less than five (FIVE) humans who were sharing their Christmas tree decorations that they put up yesterday. No. Just, no. Do not forget Thanksgiving (unless you are in Canada and Thanksgiving was weeks ago) But America, you got to chill. No Christmas until the Turkey has been made into turkey curry salad for leftovers. Thems the rules.

So this week, we’re going to talk about space and family and how we’re getting ready for the most wonderful holiday of the year (Hint: It’s Thanksgiving. And it’s offended by your preemptive Christmas tree.)

 

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3. You Will Need To Consume a Good Bit of Water. Admit it and face it, you are still hungover from last week’s high fructose corn syrup overload. There’s no shame to your game, but your body wants water and fast. We are also starting a new face/skincare regimen around here to help with that. We will let you know how that is going later in the week.

 

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4. And You Will Need Some Vegetables. And ’tis the season to plant them. Besides corn syrup, Halloween means picking the last of your tomatoes, pulling out all of your summer garden, and planting for the winter. We’re going to talk about that on Thursday. And finally…

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5. You Will Need a Break. Some Ease. And Some Easy Ideas. If you have small humans in your life, getting through last week was no small feat. Between the candy and the parties, the sportsball games, and the time change, well, bless your head. You need a nap. But you can’t have a nap because we are now entering the most wonderful time of the year which demands that you are ready with crafts. It’s a whole thing. So until you can bust out the Shrinky Dinks Christmas set (not yet, see #2), you need easy, fast and smart ideas to occupy hours and brains. So Tish, mother of two little ones, will share really easy ways to encourage creative play…or a slacker mom’s guide to surviving craft season. Same thing. And several of them involve sending kids outside. Which brings us back to number one. And the loop continues. Because this week, it all comes back to backyards. And kids.

Okay so, Happy Kids and Dogs Outside Week!

Fishsticks & Queso Party

October 29, 2015
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A couple of weeks ago, we hosted a queso & fishsticks party at a bookstore in order to honor penguins.

 I love that last sentence.

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We actually gathered to honor this lady. Mary Laura Philpott. She wrote a book called Penguins with People Problems. It’s funny.

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And as promised, we had Fishsticks. Lots of them.

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And queso. In the pumpkin head of a penguin who was puking guacamole. Classy.

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And people came! This is Wendi Aarons, co-host and Queso writer on the left. And Omar Gallaga, totally legit Technology, Culture reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. And all-around great guy.

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And Elizabeth Jayne Liu lives here now (sorry LA) and she came! Also, I look like a giant next to Elizabeth Jayne Liu. She is teeniny!

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And Deep Eddy Vodka came.

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Everyone loves Deep Eddy Vodka.

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But in the end, it was really all about this lady in the middle of a Queso sandwich here.

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And Penguins with People Problems

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And Fishsticks.

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And Queso.

Thank you so much to everyone that came out!

You guys are the best.

10 in 10: LAST-MINUTE HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS FOR UNDER $10

October 28, 2015
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I talked to a friend today who was lamenting the fact that she hadn’t done anything yet for Halloween. I was legitimately confused.

“Halloween isn’t until Saturday,” I said.

“No, I mean for Halloween season. I’ve been slammed at work, and I haven’t had time to do Halloween, like carve pumpkins or decorate the house.”

Halloween season? I’m pretty sure for moms in the 70s and 80s, there were no seasonal seasons and “doing Halloween” consisted of buying whatever plastic Star Wars Scooby Doo costume we screamed for the grocery store along with a plastic pumpkin to carry around while we begged for Butterfingers. And maybe, maybe, they served up TV dinners on whatever night the nation collectively watched “It’s a Good Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” But that’s it. That’s. It. Decades before Pinterest happened, Halloween happened three days before it happened. With $10 or less. And I see no reason why we can’t do the same thing now. And that’s it.

I posted a similar version of this a few years ago (#wbw/#tbt/#etc), but we hold these truths to be self evident, still, today, now. Plus, we typically decorate for kids…and kids have no concept of timing (one hour = 5 years, to my son) so three days is like forever enough time to celebrate pumpkins, spiced or not. Therefore I give you, again, 10 legit ways to “do Halloween” in 3 days for under $10. Let’s go.3

You can get these little weird gourds almost anywhere. And right now, they’re totally on sale at most places because stores are already attempting to fill up every square millimeter with decor de Christmas, which is so two months from now.

 

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If you are against buying real gourds which are weird, you can get these reusable ceramic numbers at the dollar store. Trust me, I have 5 dollar stores within 5 miles of my house. Work.

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Candy. This is the week for candy. And candy corns. (And around here, we loves us some candy corns) If you don’t like to eat it, it’s cute to jar up around the house…and if you do like to eat it, you’ll love to eat it on ice cream. Plus it’s $1 at 5 places within 5 miles of the house.

 

4

They’re cheap. They’re festive. Put a dollar’s worth of them next to your kid’s pencil stash, and you are festive. Well done.

 

6

Again, dollar store. Or if you are crafty, you can make them. 

8

Or pumpkin lights. $8 at Target.

 

9

Placemats. Dollar store. And this set up can last through Thanksgiving.

7

Or make it scarier with Poison plates. I like decoration that also has function. Like plates. Melamine plates especially, because as hard a children try, they are hard to destroy. I got these poison plates at Target a few years ago but they are good about having seasonal plates every season. Also Crate and Barrel has some cute black cat plates.  Or Amazon has kooky ghost plates. With Amazon prime, they can be delivered to you in 10 minutes or something.

 

12

Dish towels. Like your mom would rock. And you would remember. $1.

 

2

Craft store bats. Pin ribbons on them and hang them around. Spooooky!

11

I saw buntings for sale at a gas station in central Texas, which only means, they are now LITERALLY everywhere.  $1.

10

And finally, my son’s favorite. A Dollar Store foam cemetery. It’s just not Halloween with a few gravestones lying around.

Because nothing reminds you how much time you have, more than a Dollar Store foam cemetery.

No really, it’s not too late.

#YOLO.

Go.