Tuesday, December 29, 2009

La Chaya

We went to lunch here today before hitting the airport and it was fantastic. My inlaws suggested it and all the food is organic, as local as possible, and made from scratch (down to the jam and bread and even some of the building is reclaimed wood from local grain mills!). I would love to go back for dinner sometime. If you're ever at Nicollet near 45th in Minneapolis, check it out.

Fish tacos

Austin's lunch.

Lobster tacos

Mike's lunch.

Cilantro Cream Soup


My lunch- refried beans and cheese on bread with pico de gallo.

Monday, December 28, 2009


You may have noticed the blog has been down for awhile; this was an error on Google's side so there was nothing Austin (or Conner) could do to fix it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Out to lunch with Gramma

Looking good at 93 years young!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Brunch

My parents decided to celebrate my birthday a week early since I won't be here on the actual day. They gave me a beautiful necklace from a local art gallery and then we went to brunch at my mom's absolute favorite place, a joint out of town on a lake. There was a buffet and an omelet station where I got a really good veggie omelet made to order.

After that, we headed to the grocery store and this always blows Austin's mind because we bump into at least one person that knows our family. This time it was the high school Spanish teacher (she was not mine when I was there but I knew her) and we started chatting en espaƱol about my grad program. We also saw the typing teacher (keyboarding now?) and home ec teacher (family and consumer ed?).

Now we're home and it's snowing a tiny bit. Football is one and we're all lazing around. So relaxing.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Made it home!

Great trip other than the suspicious art in our luggage

Friday, December 18, 2009

Test post from phone

Enjoying a beautiful December day.


It's been a little while. Between my sister and brother-in-law visiting, writing what seemed like endless final papers, and grading, there wasn't much time to blog. As soon as I was free, I was spending my time baking like crazy. My friends and I decided to do an interstate treat exchange, each of us "bringing" another friend so I had five boxes of goodies to prepare and ship. They went out today.

Xmas Baking

We head out bright and early tomorrow morning and with my magic new iPhone, I'm hoping to keep up the blog with random photos and tidbits along the way. It's hard to think about leaving when it's 60 degrees with sunny, blue skies here today but it will be great to see the fam and friends again.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Quick Update

I haven't had any time to blog because I have been writing paper after paper for finals and really, who wants to hear about that? Normally each class has about one final paper and I have three classes but ended up writing six papers. This is to say nothing about all the grading I have to do for the two classes I teach...

My sister and brother-in-law arrived on Thursday evening so we've been enjoying some time with them. I managed to catch a cold right before they go here so my energy level has been a little low but they're all about hanging out at our place, just relaxing in front of the fire, so that works out well. Pizza and wine tonight!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Xmas

Our neighbor, Al, started singing that song while he biked past our house and saw us stringing lights into a tree. Here's what it looks like by night, with a bonus picture of Stinky, of course, very dramatically lit.




Monday, November 30, 2009

Gardens and Crepes

Among the many fun things we did while Paula was here, my favorite was the day I almost declined to join P & A since I was feeling like I needed to tackle some studying. On Saturday, we went to the Zilker Botanical Garden and just strolled through the rolling landscape.

Zilker Botanical Gardens

The sections were diverse and included things like a little Swedish pioneer village, a spectacular rose garden, a lush prehistoric garden, a butterfly trail, a bamboo trail, and my favorite, the Japanese garden.

Zilker Botanical Gardens

The huge koi were putting on quite a show, jumping and splashing to the delight of squealing children (some were scared and one boy told his parents that someone had painted the fish).

Zilker Botanical Gardens

This is a detailed shot of a huge, iron gate at the end of the garden. I thought it was so cool.

After working up an appetite at the Botanical garden, we headed to Flip Happy Crepes. Out of a kitschy, old-school camper, gourmet crepes are made. It was the perfect fall day to sit outside while a shower of leaves came down on us every time there was a breeze (I'm still finding leaves in my purse).

Flip Happy Crepes

Paula had the lemon crepe with blueberry sauce.

Flip Happy Crepes

Austin had the cinnamon sugar crepe with toasted coconut and cream cheese frosting.

Flip Happy Crepes

I, as always, chose the savory option, a three cheese (gruyere, goat cheese, white cheddar) crepe with caramelized onions and spinach.

It was a fantastic day; we love having visitors so we have more of reason to explore Aus-town.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving in Pictures

I love flowers so it was a good excuse to find a festive bouquet. I liked this one because it had bright green hydrangeas to contrast the fall colors.

Thanksgiving 2009

While not as brilliant as up north, there are still fall colors to be had in TX.

Thanksgiving 2009

The spread:

Thanksgiving 2009

Green beans with hazelnut-lemon butter:

Thanksgiving 2009

It's not T-day without the can-o-cran:

Thanksgiving 2009

Eating and eating and eating:

Thanksgiving 2009

Dessert: Pumpkin Cheesecake (caramel sauce not pictured but was tasty!).

Thanksgiving 2009

And finally, we are cleared to decorate for X-mas.

Thanksgiving 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vanilla and Pear Crumble Pie

The blog has been a little slow lately because how do you follow up after the mountains and ocean and wineries and wedding? We got back on a Wednesday night and were back to work the next day so nothing terribly exciting has been happening here lately.

Today I made a pie and got a few requests to post the info so here it is. I guess it's as good a reason to post again as any. I am addicted to several food blogs and when I saw this recipe at Bitchin Camero, I knew I had to try it. First of all, I love all things pear, second, I happened to have a vanilla bean just waiting for a purpose, third, I'm married to a Lundeby which is the Norwegian name for "he who loves pie."

Vanilla and Pear Crumble Pie

I followed the recipe exactly except for substituting hazelnuts for pecans; I'm just not that into pecans. Austin and I both really enjoyed it; it is a definite make-again recipe.

Vanilla and Pear Crumble Pie

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nick and Carrie's Excellent Adventure!

Wedding Day

What do you do when the bride and groom are from different parts of the country, not to mention the fam? Destination wedding at a wonderful location! Nick and Carrie chose the gorgeous wine country area just outside of Santa Barbara, where the film "Sideways" was shot, and was that ever a great idea! Austin and I hopped the connecting flight from LAX to Santa Barbara and gawked the whole way as our little plane flew up the CA coast over azure Pacific waters with hazy mountains gracing the coast. It was amazing. It was just the perfect choice for an intimate wedding with immediate family and the closest of friends.

First and foremost, it was a wonderful time for us to hang with the fam and meet new people. Austin and I particularly enjoyed this while we were out at the local wineries tasting and mingling. The scenery and amazing wine and good company couldn't be beat.

As for the wedding day- being whisked away in limos to several different wineries for the ceremony, luncheon, and cupcake reception was a wonderful way to do a wedding! The food, wine and dessert(!) were all out of this world- the bride and groom did a great job! Just viewing the scenery out the limo windows was wonderful and then hanging out at wineries- wow!

All in all, a big thank you to Nick and Carrie for making this all happen and to the family and friends of the couple for making it a beautiful, memorable experience.

Coolest Garden Place Ever

One minor side trip I didn't expect to be so fun was to to the Rolling Hills Garden Center in Buellton.

Rolling Hills Garden Center

They had many little critters made of recycled metals- click above to see more- like pigs with wings, donkeys, goats, and roosters. I told Austin I wanted to make a lawn farm! I was just mesmerized all around the area, with the amazing sculptures and planters clustered together in themes, the mountains rising in the distance. It was just stunning and I wished they had a little coffee shop so I could sip a little tea while taking it all in!

Rolling Hills Garden Center

It was a whimsical visit and it made me wish for a larger landscaping budget. Ahhhh... someday....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wine Tasting

Yesterday we toured three different wineries near Buellton. The rolling landscapes, yellow leaves on the vines, and autumn sun were just stunning not to mention how fun it was to taste many different wines. I'm uploading some photos if you can stand to see the many variations on the landscape around here. Just click on the photo of Austin tasting to see the set (captions coming eventually). Cheers!

CA Wine Trip

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First morning in Cali

Sent from my iPhone

First morning in cali

Sent from my iPhoneStaying in the windmill hotel from the
movie Sideways. Off to wineries for tastings now!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Driving to hotel

Sent from my iPhone

We're off!

Sent from my iPhone
Test 2

California, Here We Come!


We're at the airport and going to board in about a half an hour. Stinky is at home and on catcam and also being cared for by our house sitter, my friend, Beth. We're really looking forward to meeting up with Austin's parents and the sibs today! Nick and Carrie's wedding is going to be amazing, cannot wait for the adventure to begin.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

By Request- Stinky Cuteness

Here is Stinky in various stages of cuddly cuteness and the last photo is of him trying to figure out this trick-or-treat thing.

Cuddle Cat

Cuddle Cat

Cuddle Cat

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Road Trip!

dallas2009 008

My friend, Beth, and I escaped our grad school surroundings for awhile and went to Dallas. I've been busy catching up from a weekend away but here are some highlights.

  • Cooking class at Central Market- the theme was "cooking with wine" and it was a total blast.
  • A glass of bubbly at Veritas after class.
  • The Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth had an amazing collection and the building itself was really cool.
  • Dinner out at Local, a restaurant specializing in, believe it or not, local and organic foods.
  • Dessert at La Duni (cuatro leches cake!)
  • Pedicures

Sunday, October 18, 2009

From Baking to Candle-Making


Besides baking this weekend, Austin and I made 12 jar candles. I absolutely love seasonally-scented candles and so we decided to try our hand at making our own. It wasn't so difficult, basically we melted the wax, added fragrance, color, then poured and let cool. Austin was the wick-wizard, using some kind of special 3M tape to hold the wicks in place so they withstood the poor and then we fashioned some wick-holders out of random flotsam and jetsam from the garage. As a result, we now have Harvest and Home for the Holidays (Yankee Candle knock-off) scented candles along with Lime-Ginger. It was a lot of fun and the 16 ounce jars come out to about $6/each for materials. Not bad.



Weekend Baking

Berry Pound Cake

The baking is a result of some booking; two girlfriends and I have an interstate (Iowa-Georgia-Texas) book group that we conduct via conference call and the books we read tend to relate to women and cooking. Our first pick, A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg was chock full of tempting recipes and I just got around to making the first, the Raspberry-Blueberry Pound Cake that was recommended by Jill of our book group. Indeed, the recipe did not disappointed. I basically followed the linked recipe except that I used frozen berries and cheap cherry brandy instead of kirsch. It turned out wonderfully and Austin keeps nibbling on it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Saturday and Sunday

The rest of the weekend kind of blurred together so here are some random bullet points.

  • I got a Halloween costume (Victorian Queen whatever that is).
  • We bought and Austin installed a few Halloween lights and decorations.
  • Austin made a huge vat of delicious, spicy chili.
  • I did some fun reading for my book group.
  • Stinky got a lot of love and attention since he was feeling kind of clingy.
  • Austin made a panel for our back patio door that allows the cat to come in the house and leave as he pleases.
  • I discovered that a black tea latte with pumpkin spice syrup is a nice, seasonal alternative to my usual Earl Grey vanilla lattes.
  • We watched too much football.
  • I studied.
  • There was also some laundry.
  • I guess it gets a little boring here so I'll sign off.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday Night

Just like in MN/WI, the weather here can have mood swings. On Thursday, it was almost 90 and on Friday, it was barely able to make it into the 60s with gray skies and rain. The latter is my favorite weather and I happily dug out my sweaters, sipped tea, and watched Obama's speech about the Nobel Peace Prize (yay!). A package of Snickerdoodles arrived (part of Austin's fall treat exchange) and I made pumpkin bread.

For dinner, we tried to recreate the Cajun pasta we had for our wedding dinner and got very good results. First, we sauteed veggies in butter.

Veggie Sautee

Then we took a pint of cream and brought it to nearly boiling, turning the heat down adding some basil, parsley, shallots, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne. We stirred in about a half cup of a mozzarella-parmesan cheese mix then threw in the veggies and served it over fettuccine. I, of course, had to put even more Parmesan on top of mine.

Cajun Pasta

After dinner, we had our first fire of the season and it was perfect.

First Fire of the Season