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WELCOME TO ANOTHER INSTALLMENT OF DISHIN’ IT UP – FEBRUARY 2018 EDITION – WHERE I SHARE MY FAVORITE FOOD AND FUN FROM THE PAST MONTH!
Happy March! Yes, I know I wished you Happy March earlier this month (it is the 10th after all!), but I’m here with my monthly Dishin’ It Up series, and to me finally sharing last month’s recap allows me to dive into the new month, even if I’m a week late. So…. Happy March (again!) and let’s take a look back at February with my Dishin’ It Up – February 2018 Edition!
What I’ve been up to:
February was bu-sy! From several fun events like a family member’s baby shower to seeing Cirque du Soleil on ice, which was absolutely amazing and I highly recommend for anyone (kids and adults), to several fun foodie events (see below) and lots of work; last month just blew by!
If you recall, in January’s Dishin’ It Up post, I talked a lot about my goals for the new year. I’m still doing good with most things, but am still trying to figure out ways to achieve my goals, specifically for this blog and other work, without overworking myself to get it all done. If you have any tips, advice, helpful printables or useful podcasts and books, etc. I am open to anything that helps with time management, productivity and inspiration that won’t cost a fortunate and actually works since I know life is only going to get busier!!
What I’ve been eating:
As I mentioned in January’s Dishin’ It Up, since it is the beginning of a new year, I’ve be updating my city guides to the best restaurants in Austin, Texas. Because of this I’ve been visiting some new and highly rated restaurants (new to Austin and/or new to me), to see if they are worthy of adding them to my Austin restaurant guide. I’ve also been revisiting some of my favorite Austin restaurants to get new photos and to make sure they are still the best of the best.
To update my guide to Austin’s Best Tacos, I recently revisited Amaya’s Taco Village. I’ve eaten at Amaya’s Taco Village a few times, but despite having tacos in their name, only get the fajitas. This time I went specifically for the tacos, and got the saucy and tender carne guisada (my favorite) and the picadillo (both pictured above). For more about Amaya’s Taco Village and other great tacos in Austin, check out my guide to Austin’s Best Tacos.
In February I was invited to a complimentary tasting of DK Maria’s most popular menu items. We sampled their queso, famous Māka Wayne Guacamole Salsa, fajitas (pictured above), Anselmo’s Grilled Fish (black drum) with a Vera Cruz sauce, Brisket Tamales and more. In my book, you can never go wrong with beef and chicken fajitas with all the fixin’s; but I also recommend the Las Guisadas Migas with tender carne guisada, refried beans and crispy potatoes!
February also brought a monthly happy hour with my food blog friends! Our happy hour was generously sponsored by Hopdoddy and they treated us to a sampling of their most popular burgers and fries. To be honest, when I first tried Hopdoddy, many years ago, I was not that impressed. A friend of ours came to town and wanted to go. That was way back when they were still fairly new (I think with only the original location operating) and had lines that were blocks long down South Congress. Despite their notorious long lines, we went at an off time and didn’t have to wait (thank goodness!); but I don’t know if it was all the hype, or the fact we went at an off time, or I just ordered the wrong thing, but I left dissatisfied and haven’t been back until a few weeks ago.
With all that said, I’m glad I gave Hopdoddy another try! I was all over the sweet potato fries (they’re my weakness) and loved the flavors in The Goodnight burger. And even though I didn’t try the ahi tuna burger (pictured) it was the most popular burger in our group and definitely the prettiest! 😉 But, what surprised me the most was the vegetarian Impossible burger that looked and tasted like ground beef!
What I’ve been reading:
Despite being insanely busy right now, I’m so happy that I’ve been able to keep up with my reading goal! In February I read two books and started a third! Below are my reviews for the two books I finished:
The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – A Love Story by Ree Drummond – Whether you are a Pioneer Woman fan or not, Ree Drummond helped make blogging what it is today. I regularly read her blog in the very beginning and event met her a couple of different times (she is super nice in person!); and once I even accidentally crashed a private party she threw, oops! But besides on social media or occasionally catching her cooking show at the gym, I haven’t read her blog in ages.
But I’ve had her memoir on my reading list for quite some time, and when it popped up as a book suggestion last month, I decided to go ahead and read it. Ree is a very talented writer and the book inspired me to be better about writing my own story and to do the creative storytelling I once loved when I was in high school and college.
The book is the Pioneer Woman and Marlboro Man’s love story; and that is exactly what it was, her romantic account of their meeting, falling in love and first year of marriage. It read like a novel, was relatable (even if you don’t live on a ranch in the middle of nowhere) and it was interesting to hear how they met and how she had to learn to cook red meat and a lot of the recipes she is known for. It was very entertaining, but at times predictable. I definitely recommend it if you have ever been a fan of the Pioneer Woman and are curious as to how her life on the ranch all began. If you are not a fan, then might think it is just another love story.
a throwback pic to when I met The Pioneer Woman in 20013
Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham – I’ve been a Lauren Graham fan since Gilmore Girls (yes, I’ll confess, I love that show!). Not only do I love the TV show that made Lauren Graham the star she is today, she always seems so down to Earth and like we could be friends. Ever since I watched the Gilmore Girls Revival I have wanted to read Graham’s memoir and the fictional novel she wrote, Someday, Someday, Maybe.
I started out listening to Talking as Fast as I can as an audio book and it was fun to hear Graham tell her story of getting into acting, the behind the scenes info on how she got the part on Gilmore Girls and how the reunion show came to be. However, I switched to reading the book as Graham kept referencing photos in the book. This book is a quick and easy read and as a fan, I really liked reading this insider info, but felt the book just ended abruptly. I mean Lauren is still young, so obviously she is still writing her story, but after liking the book so much, I wish it ended better.
Scenes from The Gilmore Girl’s: A Year in the Life watch party I threw back in 2016.
Kitchen Concoctions around the web:
In addition to dishing up lots of recipes here on Kitchen Concoctions last month, I also guest blogged again on the SoFab Food blog. Last month I shared two healthy recipes, one dessert and one dinner recipe. For the healthy dessert recipe, I shared a Cranberry Pear Oatmeal Crisp. I have shared several healthy crisp recipes here on Kitchen Concoctions, including an Easy Pear Crisp with Vanilla Bean Frozen Yogurt and a Breakfast Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, and the Cranberry Pear Oatmeal Crisp (photo at the top of this post) I shared over on SoFab Food was a nice seasonal twist featuring winter ingredients.
The healthy dinner recipe that I shared on SoFab Food was our go to recipe for Baked Chicken Parmesan (photo below). This recipe is so easy and a family favorite, therefore we make it al least once or twice a month!
You can see all the recipes I’ve shared over on the SoFab Food blog by checking out my profile.
What I’ve been loving:
Girl Scout Cookies- I’m a sucker for them every. single. damn. time. And it’s like those girls know it. And don’t try to tell me homemade Girl Scout Cookies are the same, they’re not. And neither are those knock offs they sell at the grocery store. But if you want to take those beloved cookies up a notch, you can make Thin Mint Gooey Cake Bars or Samoa Icebox Cake, but I’m perfectly fine with eating my Thin Mints frozen and the Caramel DeLites (Samoas) straight outta the box.
Cooking- I recently tried this method for steaming asparagus and it was a game changer.
Crafting- How cute is this No Sew Applique Rainbow Tote! It is the perfect craft for spring and I really wish I had some time to craft right now!
Well that’s it for now! What have you been up to lately? Share in the comments below!
For more up to the minute peeks into my favorite eats and fun, follow Kitchen Concoctions on Instagram!
*Disclosure: I am a paid SoFab Food contributor. I was invited to special media events for DKMarias and Hopdoddy and received complimentary food and drinks. No other products and places mentioned in this post are sponsors or part of any partnerships, I just love sharing what I’ve been up to and some of my favorite things as part of my Dishin’ It Up series! All thoughts and opinions are my own. To read more about my disclosure polices, click here.