Expect to be ‘wowed’ by the wildflowers* this spring. We’re talking a plethora of phenomenal colors, shapes, sizes and textures, thanks to the crazy amount of rainfall South Texas has received over the last several months.
Our state flower is looking mighty stately now that temps have finally leveled out. Believe it or not, beautiful Bluebonnets aren’t the only ones in peak bloom…see for yourself!
Claret Cup Cactus
Yellow Evening Primrose
Sold yet? 😉
The timing couldn’t be more ideal to plan a playdate with friends and family. We also have some ideas for easy outdoor grubbin’, while you relish the best that Spring 2015 has to offer in the serene Texas Hill Country. Take a weekend vacation without venturing far from home. (Thank you William Shumpes for the beautiful wildflower photos!)
Made for Masons:
We’re striving for small portions — separated, pre-packed and ready to consume at a moment’s notice! This Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad covers all the bases:
And it’s delicious cold, so create and refrigerate before packing up and heading for the hills. Here’s where the mason jars come in handy…
It’s a similar story for this gluten free Layered Picnic-in-a-Jar from Melissa D’Arabian of Ten Dollar Dinners on the Food Network. Layers of eggplant, chickpea and rice ready for the road ahead!
Here’s a Spring Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad made with orza pasta (cooked to al dente), sun-dried tomatoes, diced asparagus, and artichoke hearts dressed in a homemade lemon vinaigrette. Tupperware approved!
Another warm weather fave of ours is from legendary ATX chef, Jack Gilmore (Jack Allen’s Kitchen), with his Heirloom Caprese Salad. That’s multi-colored heirlooms, crumbled goat cheese, whole basil leaves and chopped red onion in Jack’s own champagne vinaigrette!
Savory Spring Potato Salad coming your way, thanks to personal chef/lifestyle designer Brit Schremmer. This and the Eggplant Casserole you see below as well. LOVE how easy they both are! With clean ingredients that will fuel your body – not fill you up.
Land & Sea:
A simple roast chicken, trimmed and fully cooked can yield hearty sandwich meat for any extended excursions. Central Market supplied us with their recipe to a Simple Roasted Chicken you can whip together the night before.
A suggestion if you may: try this tender, lemon garlic chicken alongside a chopped batch of Collard Greens, courtesy of Max’s Wine Dive.
Tuna ALWAYS packs light! How’s half a dozen different ways to enjoy this sandwich staple for options? Open-faced or closed, mayo or no mayo…and there’s more. This includes the Wild Albacore Lemony Tuna Melt you see here:
For my vegetarians — uber famous Crepes a la Piperade from the one and only Julia Child. Find the exact recipe in her Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol. 2 cookbook out now…
These crepes also work well with diced poultry, veal or pork (which you may include in the mixture). Top with a poached or fried egg, and a tomato or cheese sauce. Functional for informal meals like picnics.
We discovered these lip-smacking scones while traveling in Patagonia in South America — one of the most beautiful, scenic spots I’ve ever experienced! Made with the berries of your choice:
This Smoked Banana Pudding is nearly impossible to put down. It’s a fun take on a classic barbecue dessert made with ripe bananas, Nilla wafers and a teensy bit of whiskey.
Take one big bowl of happy and mix things up to get this Dulce de Leche Trifle. Sliced strawberries, bananas combine with crushed biscotti, crumbled angel food cake, caramel, whipped cream, dulce de leche and chocolate sauce for a whirlwind dessert that keeps for several days!
Unwrap a slice of this world-famous Coconut Cream Pie from Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, TX; a spot internationally known for its pie selection, plus all-day breakfast. This particular flavor is their top seller, and you’ll have no trouble tasting why…
Wash It Down:
A ‘Watermelon Toss‘ cocktail…spiked yes, but also refreshing for an afternoon strolling through the countryside. Muddled watermelon, vodka, simple syrup and soda.
Care to skip the alcohol altogether? Reach for this Cucumber Lemonade Mocktail. Or this Rehydrating Lemonade [below] by Chef’s Backyard. Fresh lemons, cucumber and basil…among other rejuvenating ingredients.
Sometimes, nice and simple is most feasible! Give average H20 an easy upgrade by adding fresh fruit for natural flavoring: