2 Years!

Man, already another year?! How can it be? This last year has been one for the books, for sure. Grateful for you and our marriage every. single. day. Now for an ode to Dan & the last year- sorry for everyone else who doesn’t find him as cute as I do 😉

 

Thanks for making me homemade pizza & bread & beer (should I just broaden it to culinary skills?). Thanks for taking selfies with me and only getting mildly irritated by snapchat. Thanks for building me things and helping me when I’m frustrated. Thanks for being so very smart. You’re the best and I love you!

An Afternoon in Galveston 

Considering how close we live to the coast, it’s a shame we don’t make it down there very often. This year, I was determined to introduce Barley to the ocean, so we packed up a cooler and some sunscreen and headed down I-45 to Galveston for the best Sunday afternoon.

We stopped at Mosquito Cafe on our way in for lunch and it didn’t disappoint.

Afterwards, we headed to the beach and set up camp! The tailgating tent was a true life saver- it kept us surprisingly cool and prevented sunburns. We threw around the football, let the dogs play in the water, and just had a super relaxing afternoon. The pups were definitely pretty hesitant- we had to really encourage them to actually get in, but it was pretty funny to watch Barley try to jump over the waves and watch them play together.

All in all, it made me wish we did this more often. And in Texas, you can do it the majority of the year- we once laid by the pool in Galveston in January! Even if not’s the prettiest beach in the world, it still makes for a nice day 🙂 Especially when you’re there with great friends and cute pups!

Cooked

Dan and I just finished the documentary mini-series, Cooked, and we can’t stop thinking about it.

“Explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth –Cooked is an enlightening and compelling look at the evolution of what food means to us through the history of food preparation and its universal ability to connect us. Highlighting our primal human need to cook, the series urges a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions and to forge a deeper, more meaningful connection to the ingredients and cooking techniques that we use to nourish ourselves.”

First of all, it’s Michael Pollan, who is great. But I think the best part of the series is getting to see people cooking in different cultures and countries. From India to North Carolina, it’s nice to see how cooking varies around the world. In Morocco, bread is considered sacred and served at every meal. I also loved that they have communal ovens they take the dough to so that can be baked. Bread is back, y’all! Just check out this article in the Wall Street Journal. In every episode there’s a big push to actually cook your meals at home, with real ingredients, which is something that I think is incredibly important. Since we’ve been married, I’ve tried to make a big point of cooking most nights of the week, but this encouraged me even more. Dan always gets home from work later than I do, so it’s nice to just be in the kitchen preparing a meal for us. (While I do mostly cook from scratch, this week we did have a boxed lasagna from Costco-the turkey, ricotta, spinach one is delicious. Oh and a bagged salad on the side 🙂 Also, I am aware that we are childless and cooking is thus infinitely more do-able, ha.)

Dan even has a sourdough starter going and made pain de campagne bread (using this book for the recipe)!! He’s gone down one of his curiosity holes, where he completely absorbs himself in a topic or skill. They are pretty fun 🙂 And now I get fresh baked bread, which is tough to beat. There’s actually a whole wheat loaf sitting on the counter right this second!

So if you are looking for something to watch while staying inside and avoiding the heat (dang, it’s gotten WARM), try out Cooked!

Fredericksburg Getaway 

Dan’s parent’s recently built a place in Fredericksburg, which is affectionally termed “The Cabin”. We’ve been out several times over the past few months and a few weeks ago, they lent it to us for a weekend friend getaway (THANKS!). It was so refreshing to hang out on the deck, drinking beers, away from the big city. There ended up being 10 of us, but through the miracle of air mattresses, we made it work! I was slightly intimidated to play host to that big of a group, but they are the sweetest and it actually ended up being a breeze. (I did forget to bring the nice camera, so the pictures aren’t stellar!)

Friday night, Dan grilled up some burgers and corn, and we had this lemony salad on the side. After we ate, we lounged around, star gazing and roasting marshmallows for some s’mores. And a short game of Quelf, which is always hilarious.
For Saturday morning breakfast, we cooked bacon breakfast tacos, which are a staple at the Witcher residence. We had to fuel up for a day at the wineries! Texas actually has the 2nd largest wine region outside of Northern California, and over the last few years it’s grown even more! Every time we visit Fredericksburg, it feels like a new winery has opened. Since we had so many people, I tried to stick with places where we could make reservations. The popular spots can get super crowded on nice weekends, so this was helpful.
We started at Pedernales Cellars, mostly for the amazing views! It’s not my favorite wine and on the pricier end, but the setting is beautiful. They have a nice patio to picnic on, also!
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However, we moved on to Kuhlman’s Cellars because it’s quickly becoming a favorite. I love all of their wines and they are reasonably priced (for the area… I splurge a bit when in wine country, compared to my typical $12 Kroger bottles). They were totally booked up by the time I tried to make a reservation (see?! book ahead!) but we were able to grab a couple  bottles and enjoy their deck as we ate lunch. I packed this delicious salad in advance, and it was surprisingly portable and actually perfect picnic food.  I did add chicken (because Dan refuses to eat a meal without meat) and had him grill it up the night before while he was working on the burgers. Everyone loved it, and it was so easy (although there are one million ingredients). All the recipes on her blog are on point.
Next up was Calais Winery, which was definitely the best tasting of the trip, and actually, ever in Fredericksburg. It’s basically a bunker in a field, so don’t come expecting hill country views, but the knowledge passed onto us was thorough and fascinating. It’s owned by a young, French guy who is making his mark on the Texas wine scene by using only Texas grapes with French oak barrels. He was the one leading the tasting, and we asked so many questions that he was happy to answer.
We ended at Lewis Wines, which is another one of the few who only use Texas grapes. We sat out on a patio, surrounded by vines and it was the perfect last stop.
We spent the next few hours playing outside like a bunch of kids. We played corn hole, frisbeer (Dan’s new favorite ever since the UT tailgate), and beer pong may have happened. Then we wrangled everyone up and headed into Fredericksburg for dinner at Fredericksburg Herb Farm.
On Sunday, we drove out to Alamo Springs, which has my absolute favorite burger. The drive is beautiful and I love seeing old German-style homes from when the area was founded.

For previous Fredericksburg trips, see here and here.

A New Truck!! 

We bought a new (to us) truck!!! Dan and I have been talking about this for about a year, and finally decided to just do it. We’ve both been so lucky to have great, reliable, cars that our parents gave us (thank you, thank you, thank you!!) so we’ve been trying to hold off on a car payment for as long as possible. But now it’s here. And worth it! Dan’s needed new tires, which were about the cost of the car itself, so it was perfect timing to upgrade. We also cracked his front windshield recently while trying to jam a bunch of lumber into the car for the deck, not to mention his interior upholstery has been peeling off or a while. Overall, it was a pretty smooth experience and we felt like we got a good deal on a 2014 F-150! My favorite part are the AC seats J They will be perfecttt for this upcoming summer. Can’t wait to conquer more projects and take more road trips in this thing! 

 

Modern Art Bridal Shower

This weekend, I was lucky enough to help shower one of my favorite people with best wishes. My mom and I teamed up with the most creative mother-daughter duo (and some of our best friends) to host it at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. In high school, we dreamed of getting married on this lawn, fake ceremony included. The architecture is gorgeous and the Texas sun reflecting on the pool is magic.  It felt very apropos to be there celebrating an upcoming wedding with our best high school friends and their moms. I feel so lucky to have remained close to these girls, even though most of us now live in different cities.

My mom and I arranged the flowers, while Taylor & Carri painted custom pieces for each place setting. Taylor came up with the MOST clever idea of having the “AL” balloons in  “BRIDAL” be different colors since the bride’s name is Alex. She’s good. They tend to throw amazing showers (I know because they threw mine :D). And the bride looked beautiful- can’t wait to see her in a wedding dress!!

Easter Weekend 2016

Per usual, Dan and I were all over the place for the holiday! Luckily, we both had Good Friday off work and headed straight out to Fredericksburg to stay in the cabin with Dan’s immediate family. Got to love a road trip with bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes framing the pavement.

Friday was spent enjoying wine, playing with the kiddos, and listening to music at Luckenbach. We did wine tasting at 2 of the newer Wineries on the 290 block- Kuhlmans (which included a food pairing!) and Barons Creek. Both were excellent. And hanging out at Luckenbach has got to be one of the most relaxing & fun things in Texas- the picker’s circle is always a treat! The last time Dan & I were there, they even let him join in for a song 🙂 After stuffing my face with my absolute favorite burger at Alamo Springs, we ended the night with s’mores, which was just perfect. Even though Dan got marshmallows all up in his beard.

Saturday, we hung out on a boat on Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake?) in Austin with some of my college friends. It started out pretty overcast, but the sun came up and it ended up being a knock out day. Gah, my love for Austin will never fade. Seriously.

Sunday was spent in Waco celebrating Easter with Dan’s extended family- made for a huge crew at church that morning. Lots of food, egg hunting, bluebonnets, and cacarones (AKA lots of confetti stuck in your hair and shirt).