Disclosure: This Dishin’ It Up – March 2018 Edition contains affiliate links, which provides Kitchen Concoctions with referral fees made through customer purchases at no cost to you. This post also contains some information resulting from complimentary products/events and/or freelance work. See full disclosure below.
WELCOME TO ANOTHER INSTALLMENT OF DISHIN’ IT UP – MARCH 2018 EDITION – WHERE I SHARE MY FAVORITE FOOD AND FUN FROM THE PAST MONTH!
Happy April! I’m here with my monthly Dishin’ It Up series – Dishin’ It Up – March 2018 Edition – where I share recent life updates and my favorite food and fun (including current reads and favorite things) from the past month.
What I’ve been up to:
So, I have a little secret and some egg-citing news! We are finally ready to announce we will have a new addition hatching soon! Of course, our family and close friends have been sharing in our excitement for many months now, but we just weren’t quite ready to share our news with the world just yet. Even though I’m a blogger and share many personal stories and life adventures with you all, I still like to maintain some privacy and not let it all out there. Yes, I know that’s opposite than a lot of bloggers, but balancing what I share and keeping some aspects of my life personal, well, that is super important to me (and I appreciate you all respecting that!).
So, we wanted to enjoy this precious gift privately as long as possible before we shared it with all of you. We finally decided that it was time to announce our good news after running into many people in person, and obviously not being able to hide our news anymore; and after having to confess to people I work with that I needed to adjust some work stuff and deadlines over the next few months to accommodate the arrival of our little babe.
In keeping with a good work/life balance, again, I won’t be disclosing a lot of personal details (for example, you won’t be finding my birthing story here, something special that will be shared between my husband and I), but of course this is a major life change that will affect this blog, but not too much. I will continue to bring you family friendly recipes, cooking tips, crafts and travel tips; but because I will have a new sous chef in my kitchen, I’ll be doing more kids in the kitchen recipes and such (like from when I used to teach kids) and might share more kid friendly crafts and travel tips, as my life will change in this new chapter.
I’m working hard behind the scenes to maintain a regular posting schedule, here on the blog and on social media, as this blog is still a life’s passion and dream job that I am so very grateful for. I may have a lighter posting schedule around the time this baby is born, as I do want to take a “maternity leave” to spend some precious time with our new babe. But I’ve been doing lots of things lately help me manage being a work from home Mom and live my best life!
I am so grateful for all of you, my loyal readers, as well as my friends and my family, for supporting me and this blog of mine all these years (nine and counting!!) and I hope you will continue to be a part of our lives as we celebrate this next adventure!
I know that was a HUGE announcement (and I’m glad I finally shared!!) and in addition to getting ready for baby, we’ve been doing lots of fun things too!
March is rodeo month in Texas and that means all kinds of fun! From “go western day” at all the local schools, to carnival rides, concerts with popular country artists and of course all the rodeo events from showing of the animals to the bull riding. Since I’ve lived in Texas most of my life, I love this time of year and ever since I was a child, have looked forward to all the rodeo festivities.
One rodeo event we’ve gone to several times the past few years is the Cowboy Breakfast, which is the kick off to the rodeo. It is a free event and has live music, animals, wood carving artists and food, from walls of donuts, to coffee and biscuits and gravy all made in large cast iron pots over hot coals. While this event is bright and early in the morning (you don’t want to wait until the last hour as they start to run out of food), it is a fun family friendly event and a great way to experience a little bit of the rodeo without buying pricy tickets. Read more about the Cowboy Breakfast here.
What I’ve been eating:
I was honored to be invited to be a guest judge at the Lamb Jam in Austin! It was a tough job (no, seriously, I’m not even joking!), because it was evident that all the chefs worked hard and carefully crafted beautiful, well thought and delectable dishes staring lamb.
Juliet Italian Kitchen won best in show, people’s choice and best in the Mediterranean category! They served Lamb neck sugo with burrata tortelloni, broccoli rabe and Fresno Chile, and I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful dish.
Black’s BBQ took home Best in Latin with their Ancho Mama’s Tacos. These tacos were another favorite which featured Texas Post Oak Smoked Lamb Neck topped with Anjou pear pico de gallo, all served on mini homemade flour tortillas with a sweet nacho chili goat cheese.
And last but not least, Soursop won the best Asian dish with their stunningly platted and tender Lamb and Porcini Dumplings served with English pew, sheep’s milk yogurt, fried lamb fat crispers, fresh mint and radishes. (click here for a picture of this dish)
In addition to eating my weight in lamb at the Lamb Jam, earlier last month I took a quick mini road trip to meet up my friend Nicole from For the Love of Food Blog. Nicole and I met several years ago through blogging and have had the pleasure to meet up in person about once a year. Meeting genuine good people via the world of blogging and social media is one of my favorite things and this job and it is good to know that not everything online is fake, staged or bad.
Since it was a gorgeous spring day we decided to meet in New Braunfels, Texas. New Braunfels is a cute little German town near San Antonio, Texas, right on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. Many people go to New Braunfels to float the river (it’s a Texas thing) and camp in all the hilly and wooded surrounding areas. But the town itself is packed with history, cute little shops and tons of great restaurants.
We decided to try Huisache Grill, after it came highly recommended, and the restaurant was cute and packed for lunch. I got the Grilled Sliced Duck Breast Salad – duck breast over greens, mango, jicama, crispy fried wontons, roasted cashews, fresh mint, cilantro and basil, with a ginger soy dressing and Nicole got the Three Salad Sampler – Waldorf chicken salad, made with toasted pecans; a taster of Shrimp Louis salad, with sliced avocado; and a fresh spinach salad tossed in fat-free raspberry vinaigrette with mango, toasted almonds and dried cranberries. Served with a slice of our house-made tea bread.
While I enjoyed my salad, I had ordering regret and wished I had gotten the Hot Ham, Smoky Gouda and Caramelized Onions Sandwich. Oh well, I guess that just means we have to go back!
Last month I also finally tried Bougie’s Donuts & Coffee. I have heard great things about this donut shop and have been meaning to make it over there for quite sometime to up date my guide to Best Donuts in Austin Texas. Let me tell you, all the hype about this shop did not let me down! I LOVED the Lemon Lavender Donut and house made Horchata (pictured) and took home to try the seasonal carrot cake and blueberry donuts (the blueberry being my second favorite). While I can definitely enjoy a classic yeast doughnut, my favorite donuts are cake donuts, which is what Bougie’s specializes in.
I can’t wait to go back and try other donut flavors, the Brown Butter Pistachio was calling my name, as well as get a Ladybird Lavender Latte!
What I’ve been reading:
It’s been another month and I am proud to say I’m still going strong on my goal to read at least one book a month. Since I’ve managed to read two books a month since the beginning of the year, maybe I should change my goals to read more. But then I worry I won’t be able to make it, especially with a babe on the way, so I guess I’ll keep with at least one book a month and try to do more!
Anyways, here’s what I read this month:
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines – Whether you are a fan of the TV show Fixer Upper or not, I’m sure by now you have heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines. I can honestly say I’m not a super fan, having only watched a handful of episodes, but I can say that I have been intrigued by their story. There is no doubt about it they are inspiring as entrepreneurs, way before they even made the TV show, and they have done so much for the little town of Waco.
After my mother-in-law requested me to take her to visit the silos and thoroughly enjoying baked goods from the Silos Baking Co., I became even more curious about this seemingly picture-perfect family and decided to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, technically listening to it as an audiobook (which was fun, due to it being ready by Chip and Joanna) and was inspired by their honesty about how they struggled to get where they are today. That it was through honest hard work, sacrifice, giving back and being ready when that completely unexpected call, to film a pilot, came.
If you are a fan, or just someone working hard to reach your dreams, then I highly recommend this book!
Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel by Lauren Graham – After reading Lauren Graham’s memoir, Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between), last month, I knew I wanted to read her fictional novel next. This book is about a struggling actress in New York City and while fictional, has similarities to Lauren’s real-life memoir. While I wanted to love this book, since I like Lauren Graham and enjoyed her memoir, for me it was just alright. Maybe it was because I felt the story has been done before, or maybe it was because of the similarities in this novel as in Graham’s memoir, but I just thought it lacked something.
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 and am excited to announce that I am a new contributing blogger to White Cloud World Teas.
Since spring is in the air and we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day last month, I rounded up 10 matcha tea recipes and shared a few facts about matcha tea over on the White Cloud World Teas blog.
On the SoFab Food blog I shared some of my favorite kitchen hacks and cooking tips for how to soften butter quickly (you know when you are desperate to make Double Chocolate Almond Cookies) as well as one of our favorite 30-minute meals (that also happens to be a $10-dollar dinner), Sausage and Pepper Sheet Pan Supper (pictured below).
What I’ve been loving:
Zaycon Fresh – Zaycon Fresh is a company where you can buy meat in bulk at great prices. I originally signed on to be a Zaycon Fresh Ambassador last year, because I heard of how great their products were and what a value it was. Week after week I saw all the emails with lean ground beef at $2.99 a pound and Premium Hickory Smoked Bacon for also just $2.99, which is all WAY less than the prices at my grocery store.
But despite hearing all the rave reviews and seeing all the killer prices (and being an ambassador!!), it wasn’t until I saw a special for new customers for chicken breasts for 99 cents a pound, that I finally placed my order. And now I can’t look back!
We ordered 40 pounds chicken (at the 99 cent a pound price) and then waited patiently to pick it up. You see, the way Zaycon Fresh works is you place your order a few months in advance and then go pick it up at a pick-up location on an assigned date and time. Each order/pick up date has different items on sale and my city has 5-6 pickup spots (churches, schools, etc.).
The pick-up process was so easy (like 5 minutes) and the chicken is quality (fresh, all natural, minimally processed and amazing flavor). I froze all this chicken in 2 chicken breast packets and this amount of chicken will last us a few months (mixed with various meal plans and other protein sources), as we add some of our favorite chicken recipes, like Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats (pictured above) and Spicy Bar-B-Q Bacon Wrapped Chicken Kabobs (pictured below), to our weekly menu!
If you are curious about learning more, sign up here, and here is the discount code I used to get the 99 cent chicken breasts, FIRST99, however, I don’t know if that is still a current deal. BUT if they aren’t currently offering that deal, go ahead and sign up and they will email you when they have special promotions.
Well that’s it for now! What have you been up to lately? Share in the comments below!
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*Disclosure: I am a paid SoFab Food and White Cloud World Tea contributor. I was invited to be a guest judge at the Lamb Jam and received complimentary food to judge. I am a Zaycon Fresh Ambassador and earn a small commission for referrals. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 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.