This weekend was spectacular! I kicked it off by adhering to my goal of moving my body more for my #21DaysForGood challenge with a chilly 5 mile walk with my half marathon training group. Layering is key for walking long distance in cold weather! Our route took us through neighborhoods between S. 1st Street and S. Congress, and we had fun spotting street art.
Afterward, I grabbed a coffee at Dominican Joe’s, and headed to the SFC Farmer’s Market Downtown. I needed eggs, and bread for French toast (thanks, Texas French Bread, your challah loaf was perfect!), but I was sidetracked by the most amazing odor of basil, a lush, peppery scent that grabbed my attention immediately. Following my nose, I ended up buying a bunch of Opal basil, a wonderfully purple plant, from Agua Dulce Austin. In an utterly genius method, Agua Dulce raises fish and plants together in an integrated system. I had nothing on the menu that called for basil, but I simply couldn’t pass it up. As I walked the market talking to vendors, I was “that girl”, the creepy shopper who demanded “You have to smell my basil!” Luckily for me, the police were not involved at any time.
I picked up a beef roast from Richardson Farms, too. With more cold weather on the way, I knew I wanted to make comfort food for the family. My husband was already planning his Saturday dinner, chili. When he makes chili, I steer clear of the kitchen. There is a fine line between tasty heat and an eye burning nuclear blast that Mr. ATXFoodnews doesn’t completely grasp. He loves it, though, and I’m happy to let him use “my kitchen” to make his own meal. I’d spend time in the kitchen later, making pot roast, with all its onion, mushroom and carrot glory. The pot juices in this recipe are thin, and I wanted a starch to soak them up with, but was out of potatoes. A glance through my pantry and ta da! Arborio rice found. My pot roast found it’s perfect partner — mushroom parmesan risotto.
Once home from the market, I made French toast for my guys, and heated up my Snap Kitchen meal. My #21DaysForGood challenge has made me so much more aware of the ingredients in meals. I feel better, and I’m certain part of that is because I’m eating real food. Before this challenge, I’d already seen a small change in the areas of the grocery store that I frequent, but now I’m relying less and less on pre-packaged, processed foods in favor of homemade ones. I haven’t escaped convenience foods entirely, though.
One of my weekend fun tasks was putting together a version of a “lasagna casserole” that’s been floating around blogs and Pinterest as a “fill your freezer” type meal. I used a jarred pasta sauce, but felt a pang of guilt at the additives in it. I know how easy it is to make my own, but I didn’t have the time to spare this weekend. I used that wonderful basil along with mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta for one of the filling layers, and chicken & spinach sausage in a roasted garlic tomato sauce for another. One recipe was enough for six people, so I split it into three aluminum pans. A friend is going through hip replacement surgery soon, so two casseroles will go into her freezer, for meals during her recovery at home. The other will be for my husband and I, when I’m too tired on a weekday to whip up something delicious. (Can someone please explain to me why my son refused to eat “red sauce” and only wants the pasta plain?)
One of the other fun things on our weekend agenda was a surprise pie date. My husband and I dropped the kiddo off at a birthday party, and had a few hours for ourselves. He thought we were going shopping for household necessities, but I took him to Royer’s Pie Haven, for a sweet treat and much needed downtime together. It’s hard for parents to hold on to romance, when so much of our attention goes to the child(ren).
I’m planning on making it easy on myself and my family this holiday season. I’ll be picking up a Ms. Kay’s Sugar-Free Pecan Pie (the diabetics in my family deserve great pie) and a Dr. Karen’s Pumpkin Pie. Want to ship pies? RPH does that! Visit their Thanksgiving pie orderin’ page for more info, and holiday hours.
Did you eat something unbelievably delicious this weekend? Leave me a comment, and tell me about it!