Austin Baked for Austin!

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Austin Bakes for Austin was today! Volunteers baked lots of goodies and sold them at five locations throughout the city to help raise funds for those affected by the recent floods in southeast Austin.

I spent the day on the east side at the Sugar Circus Bakery bake sale. The location wasn’t so ideal for foot traffic, but the folks at the bakery couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating. They even donated 20 percent of their own sales today!

Things picked up after noon, though it was still a lot less busy than at previous bake sales, I was told. However, everyone who did stop by was very generous because our location raised over $600!

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Bakepalooza

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Austin Bakes for Austin is tomorrow and so I’ve been baking all day. This also included going to the store, washing three piles of dishes, shopping for packaging, futzing around with labels (not my area), and washing my hands a billion times.

I’m bringing baklava and chocolate mustache cookies, but also made some cheddar thyme sables that didn’t turn out pretty enough for a bake sale.

It looks like there is going to be a lot of great stuff, so go buy some goodies tomorrow, Austin!

I may or may not be stopping at Kinko’s to print labels on my way…

A Thanksgiving Anecdote

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I was listening to The Splendid Table while driving to San Antonio this morning. They were having their annual Turkey Confidential show for listeners to call in with Thanksgiving or Hanukkah cooking queries.

There was one caller who I’d really like to be friends with, but I can’t remember her name, just that she was from Portland. Lisa? Let’s call her Lisa. Apparently, eels were served at the first Thanksgiving. (What.) Since Lisa was to bring something to a non-traditional friendsgiving, she decided that eel seemed appropriate. If you guessed that she was calling in about how to prepare eel, and you are correct. Get this: she had a bag of eels and they were ALIVE. Gah. Continue reading

On Being a Klutz

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So this post has absolutely nothing to do with food, but everything to do with the person who bakes the stuff here. If you choose to skip this one, I wouldn’t even know, so go for it.

Oh hey, chin band-aid.

I’ve never been a graceful girl. At age 12, I was one of the tallest kids in sixth grade, and as a result, I still feel awkwardly tall. I haven’t grown since then and am a pretty average height (5’6″), though. Still, the awkwardness remains and most often presents itself as clumsiness. Sometimes it’s just a loss of balance and I am able to catch myself. Other times, I’m not so successful and just hope I can play off landing on my ass. Continue reading

Persimmon Kolaches

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Persimmon Kolaches

Having grown up in Texas, I can’t remember the first time that I had a kolache. The filled, yeasty buns were introduced by Czech immigrants and can be found at many roadside stops, such as the Czech Stop in West, Texas. If you had never heard of kolaches, you can read more about them and their history in this recently-published NY Times article.

Kolaches weren’t part of any family traditions despite having Czech roots on my mom’s side. I mainly remember my grandpa making cabbage rolls as well as a flat bread that was essentially mashed potatoes and cheese baked between dough from a hot roll mix. No idea if the bread was a “thing” or just a (brilliant) cheesy carb fest, but I miss it and need to try to recreate it.

While I don’t have a family recipe for kolaches, fellow AFBA member Dawn Orsak of Svačina Project does. She focuses on the Czech heritage in Central Texas, so it’s no surprise that she was interviewed for the aforementioned Times article. You can find her recipe in the gorgeous Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook. I went to the cookbook potluck last year and of all the things that I tried, the kolaches were my favorite. Continue reading

Austin Empty Bowl Project

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PRECIOUS.

Today many Austinites braved the freezing-for-Texas weather by heading out to the 17th Annual Austin Empty Bowl Project. About 4,000 handmade bowls were donated by area artists and students. Each event attendee chose a bowl, then paid a $20 donation (per bowl) which will directly benefit the Kids Cafe, a program of Capital Area Food Bank, and Meals for Kids, a program of Meals on Wheels. Everyone was then treated to soup provided by local restaurants, as well as live music.

Bowls as far as you can see. Continue reading

Caturday Night

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Today I am full of whines (sniffly, sneezy, eye is leaking, student loan payment) and don’t really feel like saying much. One more week of NaBloPoMo, by the way.

Was contemplating going to the store to get something for dinner because I’m out of food, but it’s too cold (really, in Austin!) to be sick and running errands. Ordering a pizza made more sense, even though I never do that. And I know, soup would be best, but phbbbt.

Anyway, I’ve decided to turn this sad-urday into Caturday. Allow me to curate some kitteh photos from around the interwebs for you. (Not trying to make this a theme…)

Shishi, one of the cutest and most well-documented cats on Instagram. (@emonemon)

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Jam Sesh

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Preserving has always freaked me out even though everyone says it’s easy and there’s nothing to worry about. Does putting glass jars in boiling water on the stove make anyone else uneasy? What if I kill everyone because I didn’t properly can these tomatoes?

Aside from my paranoia, I know that the food prep isn’t difficult, or at least, it seems easy enough. I decided to make some jam yesterday and went with a “freezer jam” recipe. Of course I’m no expert on all the jam and jelly terms, but…this kind ends up in the freezer. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Dessert Pondering

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Apparently it’s a week away from Thanksgiving. I haven’t been thinking ahead very much this month because it’s been like, “What the heck am I going to write about today?” around here.

I think my family is having Thanksgiving at my parents’ house in San Antonio, but I’m not even sure about that. Last year it was at my sister’s house, and she and I made most of the food.

One thing is certain: I’m making dessert (and rolls). Right now, I’m kind of leaning towards making this Pumpkin Cream Pie again. The texture and flavor was way more appealing than traditional pumpkin pie, I thought. Bonus: everything can be made ahead of time and assembled before eating.

I like trying new recipes though, so I spent this evening looking up possibilities.

Here are some great-looking desserts from local bloggers and blog friends: Continue reading

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