Finger snapping, leg slapping, foot tapping Texan girl who works with numbers. I like blank pages, the written word and horses. This is my attempt to amuse you via books, food, travel and the assorted spice rack of life.
It's finally time for the wedding weekend. I hope y'all will excuse me for a short break while I help my friends celebrate their nuptials. If you're interested in following me along on the wedding adventures, check me out on Instagram (@roothers).
You know what’s harder than cooking for one person? Baking for one person.
Unless I’m willing to blow up like Violet Beauregard in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I typically don’t bake for myself. My parents and sister have been willing guinea pigs for my past baking experiments - including exploded pies, not-so-delicious-but-healthy cookies, chalky brownies. However, because of my sister’s psoriasis and my parents’ rapidly growing concern with their own health, they’ve been trying to cut down their sugar intake. No candy, no desserts, no milkshakes (to Siri’s dismay). Also, this is the famous wedding weekend so I’m trying a bit of a ‘clean eating’ diet to promote healthy skin and fit into my dress. No sugar this week. Except for the sugar that’s in my daily caramel macchiato and then the 5 lbs of Swedish fish that I eat when I come home every evening. But no sugar except for that.
Luckily, this weekend I stumbled upon Carolyn’s recipe for Greek Yogurt Cake. Y’all, this cake is pretty flipping awesome. My mom would have liked this cake with slivers of almonds and my sister would have liked this cake with frosting. I think it was pretty darn good on its own and the amount of sugar can be adjusted to your liking, as I did below.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used fat free Fage)
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position the rack in the middle. Butter a 9-by-2-inch springform pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir together the yogurt and honey in a small bowl.
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.
Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the yogurt and beginning and ending with the flour.
Transfer the batter to a prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake and lift off the pan bottom.
We dove into it while it was still warm and toasty - deeelicious. Slice the cake and serve with whatever you would like on the top or on the side.
It went from being chilly, windy, rainy and dreary to scorching hot in the matter of hours, it seems like. We've completely skipped over any semblance of spring time weather straight into summer. A hot, searing, sticky summer. So much for the great outdoors between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. Luckily, we're getting some rain here (which Texas desperately needs) and on a quick jog around the neighborhood last night, I can tell by smell that folks have already started breaking in their grills and practicing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
The featured home this week has lovely outdoor and indoor spaces. It's modern and eclectic and there are enough punchy bits of colours scattered throughout the home to keep it interesting and homey. Do you like the contrasting fireplaces - the formal marble in the living room and the brick pass-through in the family room? Plus who wouldn't like a backyard like that for throwing a casual summer soiree. You supply the bug spray and beer and I'll bring the popsicles and ice cream.
Do you have this urge to categorize, classify and label everything in your life?
“I’m an introvert, he’s a OCD, we’re a couple.”
Because I definitely do. I’m a <bit> of a control freak and labeling things lets me put this crazy world in some type of perspective. Labeling everything allows me to try and make some sense of it all. Obviously I’m not alone in this feeling as Facebook has over 10 categorizations for “Relationship Status.” Clearly people feel a need to define what is going on and make it clear to everyone else as well. With Instagram and Twitter, you feel more in the know with little hashtags giving you the labels around something, like you have a little bit more context. Even this blog post has a label (you’re welcome control freaks).
But what if you mislabel things? What if your need to define and categorize everything gets in the way of what the purpose of that thing is? What if you spend your nights, much like in middle school and high school, having DTR* talks with everything in your life? Do you toss and turn trying to slot everything into a mental cubbyhole in your mind?
Recently, I’ve been trying to let it go. To not focus so much on calling things by their appropriate names but by what they are, even at the time. And maybe in my head, those things are still bouncing around, trying to find a cubbyhole but not succeeding (it’s like mental musical chairs up in here). But since letting go of that manic need, it’s surprising how much time I have left to enjoy things, just for what they are instead of worrying about where they belong. It has been a hard habit to change and I still have a long way to go. But maybe someday in the near future, I’ll be able to put down the mental labelmaker I have and just let everything be.
*Define The Relationship for those of you not familiar with teenage-speak
A herd thunders past, feet striking the path. If it hadn’t rained a few hours prior, a choking dust cloud would have been thrown up in the air. Instead, runners dodge miniature canals and lakes while dogs run right through them, speckling anyone close enough with mud. Bodies glisten with sweat, even though the sun barely reaches through the branches and it’s a cool 70 degrees out. The number of shirtless men and women gliding along the trail (the women have sports bras on, for modesty, I’m sure) outnumber any that I have ever seen anywhere. I won’t complain but I also won’t be taking my shirt off to join them anytime soon.
On the trail, I pause every mile or so to snap pictures of the lake. It’s too early to be crowded with the kayakers and paddle boarders that brave the cloudy green water and snapping turtles to sunbathe on the water. The underside of the bridges are still empty, typically crowded with informal lake parties, except for a pigeon or two.
A river of tanned bodies continues to roll by. On the topside, the crowd begins to thin and the sky starts to turn a darker hue of blue. A beautiful day for the beautiful people in Austin.
Did y'all have a wonderful mom's day weekend? Do any Sunday brunching and mimosa toasting to your mothers and mother-figures in your life? We did an atypical Sunday mother's day lunch of food trucks on First Street in Austin, dining on an eclectic mix of Thai, Chinese and West African cuisine. Only in my dear old ATX.
If I could get my mom anything for Mother's Day and price was no object, then I'd snatch up this quaint little cottage for her. It has the most adorably landscaped front and back yard and probably the most chic rugs that I've ever seen throughout. Mom would die over the 'formal' dining room and also the green glass master shower. But most importantly to mom would be having the family over and gathering together over a hot meal. As long as sister and I cleaned up afterward.
My mom is wonderfully weird, funky and funny. Examples? She gets these crinkly Totoro eyes when she’s laughing too hard, which is quite often. One glass of wine will make her punch drunk. Ever the beautician, she permed our hair to look like hers when we were 6 and 10. She can go from your goofiest friend to Naggy McNaggerson in a split second. In the last few years, she’s picked up some mad French cooking skills. She’s also borderline obsessive compulsive about brushing her teeth and flossing.
My sister and I are awfully weird, funky and funny. My sister inherited my mom’s musical inclination and chooses instruments at random to learn in her free time. Siri also inherited my mom’s tendency to do strange yet hilarious poses for the camera. I inherited my mom’s black thumb - the only thing I can successfully grow is mold. I also have her snappy temper, quick to anger but easy to forgive and forget.
It’s a scary / comforting feeling about turning into my mom. There’s an inherent and potentially irrational fear that I think all women have about turning into their mothers. But there’s the other part of me that feels relieved that I will always be able to have a little bit of my mom with me, no matter where either of us are.