Friday, May 31, 2013

The Best Candied Pecans

Don't worry, you don't have to turn the oven on.  These take all of, let's say, 7 minutes to make, and you will not be disappointed.
You'll need:
2 Cups chopped raw pecan pieces (buy in bulk - I got mine at Whole Foods for about $4)
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Heat your cast iron pan over medium heat while you're gathering your ingredients.  Add the raw pecans first, and roast for a few minutes until fragrant.  Sprinkle the brown sugar on evenly, then pour on the oil and vinegar.  Stir until the nuts look nice and coated, and cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour these onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper, and separate them out into a thin layer to dry.

Now you've got yourself the perfect topping for both salads AND ice cream, the essential meals of summer!

Happy Friday!
This weekend I'm hoping to go see Frances Ha, plant some peppers in the garden, go swimming at Barton Springs, and take the dogs to Red Bud Isle (if I can wake up early enough to get parking).


This sweet 15 lb terrier mix will be your new couch companion. Angela has been down a long road with some tough luck, but is hoping to find her forever home with the right person.  To adopt her, get in touch with Blue Dog Rescue.  How can you resist those ears?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Israeli Couscous Summer Salad with Lemon, Asparagus, and Tomatoes

Here's a refreshing and satisfying meal perfectly suited for the hot summer months to come!  Serve at room temp, or better yet, after it has chilled for a couple hours.

Ingredient List:
*Israeli Couscous (1 Cup)
*Juice of 1 Lemon
*Chopped Asparagus (10-14 stalks or so) 
*Diced Tomatoes - About half a pint package of whatever looks best (I used San Marzanos). 
*1 Zucchini, chopped
*1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
*2-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
*Olive Oil

First, cook your couscous.  Sauté your diced onion in a bit of oil, until translucent.  Add your dry couscous and let it turn golden.  Then add 2 Cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until water is absorbed (about 10-12 minutes).  Remove from heat, stir, and set aside to cool.

Now, sauté your asparagus and zucchini in a bit of oil along with the garlic.  I like this best al dente, so take care not to cook these too long.  When the asparagus is bright green and the zucchini is a bit soft in the center, turn off heat.  

In a large bowl, mix the sautéed veggies with the couscous, and add in your tomatoes and lemon juice.  Season with salt & pepper to taste, and enjoy!  
If you can stand to wait, it really does taste great chilled!  And, if it seems a bit dry, just add a bit more olive oil and lemon juice.  

Add some frozen peas or edamame along with (or in place of) the other green veggies.
Top with some cotija or feta cheese.
Add fresh basil if you've got it!
Bell peppers of any color would be lovely and would also add a great source of Vitamin C.
Marinated artichokes and/or olives would be great in here too!

And now, in honor of the new season of Arrested Development, I give you:


This lucky boy is recuperating from a nasty accident that fractured his spine.  He will walk on his own again soon, but gets along speedily on his set of back wheels for now!  Full grown at just under 50 lbs, he's the perfect sized companion.  Get in touch with Austin Pets Alive! to adopt him, or to sponsor his medical care.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Testing one two...

Hello out there!  Welcome to my little corner of the world in Austin, Texas.  I've got a ton of delicious recipes, pretty photographs, cute projects, and colorful commentary to stay tuned!

Post topics will vary from day to day, but one thing you can always count on from me is the daily dog.  I'll feature a worthy pup that's in need of a loving home.  Spread the word, and we can all do our best to improve the lives of shelter animals!  Here we go.

Daily Dog - MOLLY

This pretty lady is looking for a kind home to spend her golden years.  She's a mellow, well-trained lab mix who is just waiting to go swimming at the lake with you this summer.  Currently at the Austin Humane Society.  Go meet her today!  :)