Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Black Eyed Peas

What's luck got to do with it? Well, if you're from the south, eating black eyed peas on New Years day has a lot to do with it.  If you're interested in trying your hand at this tradition, read on.

Black Eyed Peas

Here's what you'll need.
1 (16 oz) pkg. black eyed peas
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups water
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, whole and in their skins
1 ham bone, ham hock, or diced side meat
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp.ground mustard powder
2 tbsp. honey

To begin, wash your peas thoroughly (1pulled four little dirt clots out of my colander while picking over my peas).  After my peas were cleaned, I placed them in a stock pot and covered them with approximately 2 inches of water and placed them over high heat and boiled for two to three minutes.  Reduced the heat to medium-low and add the remaining water, chopped onion, garlic cloves, and meat and cook until peas become tender, around an hour.  Keep your pot covered and check often to ensure that there's enough liquid in the pot, adding more if it looks like the water level is getting too low.  Add your seasonings near the end, turning the heat to low and cooking for another 15-30 minutes after adding so that the flavors incorporate.  Remove the garlic pods  from the pot and place on a cutting board.  You will be able to slip the garlic from its skins and mash with a spoon.  Add the mashed garlic pulp back to the pot and stir well to mix it all in.  Taste before serving and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, friends.  I hope that your heart's filled with the warmth and spirit of the season. 


The Kitchen Witch

Monday, December 10, 2012


Guess who is graduating.
Did you guess?  Well, I'm excited and looking forward to my graduation ceremony next weekend, but I'm nervous about finding work.  I had the best student-teaching experience with a group of kindergarten students, or as Bebe says, "kiddie gardeners," a girl could have.  I guess in a way, I've been a kiddie gardener, feeding them full of information and watching them grow.  Children are amazing.  I'm going to miss that little classroom bunch. 

In the meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy spending time with my own little ones during the holidays.  I was so busy with school, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't cook as often as I like.  Baking was nil, good for the figure, but we missed all those tasty desserts an awful lot.

Hubby and I got all dolled up for our first party of the season...
We've trimmed our tree...
Here's Bebe, pouting because Mom told her she couldn't touch the lights.

I've even wrapped a few gifts.  I've still got school related errands to finish up before graduation so I haven't tackled the holiday baking, but that's next on my list.  Stay tuned.  I'll post some yummy things over the next few weeks.

 I've missed y'all and hope that all has been well.

The Kitchen Witch

Friday, November 2, 2012

Holiday Hubbub

Halloween blew by in a hurry,  Teeny Tiny sprinted, literally, from house to house.  It's a good year for celebrations like birthdays, Halloween, etc.  Watching a little one light up with excitement makes walking for hours in mosquito and humidity laden night air worth it.  Now, we've got to get planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  They, too, will blow by in a hurry. : )  Happy Holidays!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carne Guisada and Stewed Okra

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been awhile.  So long, in fact, that my blogger format has changed and I'm fumbling around as if it were my first post.  I'm a month into my final semester and I have to say that I'm loving my placement in a kindergarten classroom.  I'm exhausted as all get out, not so much from school, but from the balancing of school and home life.

Home life, it seems, has gotten comfy-cozy with mom having the available time to cook and clean on a regular basis.  The problem is, like many, many moms may know, when you go back to work, all of the work of home life is still waiting for you.  Home life cohabitants haven't minded the floors not being mopped for a month. I mind. Greatly.  Home life is a-okay with the clutter. Me?  Not so much.  Dinners are still being served, however desserts would be a thing of the past if Big Sissy hadn't been kind enough to bake a few batches of cookies to keep me from getting all crazy eyed.  Now, Bebe!  That's one smart girl, smart enough to learn key phrases like, "You're beautiful," "I love your heart," and "you're really awesome."  These phrases coupled with her baby cuteness, why, she's possibly the smartest in the bunch!  Hubs is falling behind in the "be kind to mommy" category; although I do give him props for making a few grocery runs, and in all fairness, he has been pulling six and seven day weeks and it is football season so...  I know I should cut him some slack, but my lack of slack has cut into his share and I'm feeling all slacked out- so to speak.

I miss my blogging buddies and hope to get back to some semblance of normalcy in blogland after I graduate, but we will see. Maybe by then I'll be bestowed with super-mommy powers and I'll be able to do it all without any complaint ( hubby's greatest wish).  Yea, and maybe by Thanksgiving they'll invent Pecan Pies that will magically make you drop all the extra holiday  L Bs. : )

To prove that I'm still cookin', here's a dinner that's pure comfort, Carne Guisada and Stewed Okra.  It's not much to look at, but it sure is tasty.  This dinner is going to need some time.  The idea is to have the chunks of beef falling apart.  In all honesty, my beef tips could have cooked down for another hour.  Well, that was just one hour we didn't have and it was still yummy, but if you've got the time, I think it would be well worth it.  Here's what you'll need-

2 lbs. stew meat, I use beef
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. oil
2 cups water mixed with 4 tbsp. of Tony Chachere's Brown Gravy mix
Salt & Pepper to taste

Begin by heating oil and caramelizing onions in a dutch oven.  I've got a cast iron dutch oven that's perfect for this job.  Add meat and gravy and let simmer, covered, on medium-low heat for 3 to 4 hours.  The idea is that the meat be falling apart.  You may want to add a little water here and there, when you check on it.  This is up to you.  If you add too much water, take a 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add a heaping tablespoon of flour, mixing until lumps dissolve; stir this mixture back into your meat and let it come to a simmer again.  This should thicken it.  Serve over rice or wrapped in flour tortillas.

For the stewed okra I sauteed half an onion and added to it a bag of frozen okra, a can of diced tomatoes, and a small can of tomato sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This is a yummy vegetable side for this meal.  The acidity of the tomatoes goes nicely with the rich gravy of the carne guisada.

I'm sharing @ Foodie Friday hosted @ Rattlebridge Farms.

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Days and Time

Here's the thing, I've fallen off the blogger train.  I'm in a bit of a funk, really.  Some call it senioritis:

June 8, 2005 Urban Word of the Day
noun. A crippling disease that strikes high school college seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation.

This pretty much explains it.  I'm in stretchy pants, even now, as I type this.  I read books, but not school related ones.  There's a definite lack of studying-I put it off 'til the very end.  I only have three days left, but the last six weeks in which I've engaged for summer session have left me drained.  Fall session begins on the 27th so I'll continue my lull.. Forgive my absence as I relish my few remaining days off before my final semester begins.  This will be my last hoorah before I graduate in December.  Senioritis is in full effect-

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cajun Twirl

Teeny Tiny doing a twirl to Jalapena Lena.

Happy Sunday, y'all.  I hope it's worth twirling about!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Luck of the Junk

Yesterday morning, I stopped into an estate sale in my neighborhood.  I scored two awesome quilts.  One is a mishmash of squares and circles that will go in Bebe's room.

I love the pink accents in the quilt, and though it has a few squares that have to be sewn down or replaced, for $20 dollars it's a steal.
The other is a red double wedding ring quilt.  It's made of polyester, I think, but is not torn and has no stains.  I like that the edge has a scalloped design.  It was $40 so a bargain, too.

sharing @ Southern Hospitality's Thrifty Treasures

Friday, August 3, 2012

How Websites Promote Eating Disorders

Folks, I'm stepping onto a soapbox, so to speak, but as a mother of two beautiful daughters I feel it is my duty to spread the word to protect them.  If you have little beauties to protect, too, please read on.  Knowledge + Action = Power.
I grew up hearing about how eating disorders were bad when I was in school.  I watched an after school special or two, but other than the general, "Eating disorders are bad for you" knowledge, I didn't know much on the subject.
Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels
This image was pinned on pintrest from a blog named
These days, girls have the internet to gain knowledge.  One could learn all about eating disorders on the web, but  did you know there are also sites that teach girls HOW to be anorexic, bulimic, etc.,
Look at some of the tips I found:

  • "Pick and buy clothes that are tight. Aim to fit in to them in no time.
  • Make thin friends.
  • Keep dancing, after meal, till you feel absolutely fatigued."

and there are all sorts of images floating around the web that girls are using as "thinspiration."
NOTHING tastes as good as skinny feels
Apparently, model Kate Moss, was quoted as saying, Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels," and  it's been posted  all over the internet.  The Kate Moss image was on Pintrest.  I reported it.

If she can do it, so can I.

Social media is a way for these girls to spread these message like wildfire.  There are a ton on Pintrest and Tumblr, for example.  If you see these images, please report them.  In pintrest, you can click on the image and then click report which should appear to the right of the picture.
nothing tastes as good as being fit feels
Is this ad any better?  You HAVE TO HAVE FOOD to have the energy to exercise.  No food does not equal being fit, it equals being sick.

Talk to your girls.  Teach them how to make healthy decisions such as choosing nutritious foods & drinks, portion control, and the benefits of reasonable exercise.

Eating disorders are  mental disorders.  They have to be taken seriously.  Know the signs and some of the lingo these girls are using.  For example, if you overhear a girl talking about an "Ana" or "Mia", often, listen.  For example, if a teacher overheard two girls talking and one said, "Mia came over after dinner last night" or "Ana is giving her a hard time" it is possible the girls are using slang to discuss Bulimia or Anorexia.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Reading

Summer is winding down.  For me, it ended early July when I went back for summer classes at the university.  Big Sissy has joined suit and is now back at school, too, but that doesn't mean summer reading has to end.  Truthfully, I've had difficulty keeping up with school and home responsibilities so reading has been pushed aside, but I've been missing my books.  So many new books have crossed my path and I just can't wait for next week to finish so I can jump into reading full-throttle again.

Until then, I'll sneak in a few pages when I can.  Here's what's on the menu.

James Lee Burke's Neon Rain
I just learned of this series by it's latest release, Creole Belle, but wanted to start with book 1 in the series so Neon Rain is just the beginning.  So far, it seems promising.
Spring Fever

Mary Kay Andrew's, Spring Fever is on a wait list at my library so that's a good sign, right?  Only five more people ahead of me on the list and I'll have plenty to read until then.

Michele Bardsley's, Because I'm the Vampire, That's Why  is another one I'm just beginning.
It's another first in a series, The Broken Hearts series, that is.  I'm hoping that since I like Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, I'll like this series, too.  Here's to hoping.

Roasted Herb Chicken and Potatoes

Here's a tasty recipe I procured from the web.  It's not often that we purchase a whole bird so I was at a loss as to where to begin in preparing it.  Luckily, the recipe I found was a keeper.  

1-1/2 lbs. baking potatoes (I used red potatoes)
1 large onion, thinly sliced (I chopped my onion-force of habit)
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed (since I don't have a press, I mash mine on the cutting board and mince)
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crumbled
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled (I used thyme since I was out of rosemary)
3/4 tsp. black pepper
1 (4 lb.) whole chicken

Wash and cut each potato in half, then slice each half crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place with onion in  a shallow foil-lined baking pan.  Combine next seven ingredients and drizzle one tablespoon of mixture over potato mixture, tossing until evenly coated.

Discard giblets and neck from chicken (good to freeze for later use).  Rinse chicken under cold running water; drain and pat dry.  Place chicken, breast side up, in center of the pan, moving potatoes aside.  I placed a wire rack over my vegetables and place my chicken on top of it so that it was slightly elevated above vegetables.  Brush chicken, including cavity, thoroughly with soy mixture.

Roast in 375 degree F oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes, brushing with soy mixture every thirty minutes.  Stir vegetables every thirty minutes so that they roast on all sides.  I believe I cooked mine for an additional fifteen minutes, until the juices ran clear.  A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part, and not touching bone, should read 180 degrees F.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
**Recipe courtesy Kikkoman International.

We served grilled asparagus alongside our chicken dinner.  This was a yummy dinner, the vegetables absorbed the flavors wonderfully and had a nice flavor.  I will try this marinade with boneless, skinless chicken breast next time since I'm not the biggest fan of skin-on chicken.

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the Name of Fashion

Love during initial sight
image credit

While I'm not a makeup snob, I am particular about a few products, brands I've come to love over the years.  The trouble is, our smallish city doesn't carry the brands I've come to love and I just don't think I'm ready to find replacements.  I don't like a lot of change so sticking with what I love and know comes naturally to me even if it means me hopping on the web and making an online purchase (which I'm not comfortable with.)
image credit

Maybe you've experienced this with some product...doesn't have to be makeup; you love it, but can't find it anywhere.  Of course, the internet has solved so much of this for us, mostly, but every once in awhile you come across those shady sites.
No, not shady sites!
image source

This particular product, an eyebrow pencil of all things, is no longer made so most companies have only a few unpopular shades left in stock, save one company that had what I was searching for in just my shade!  Oh, happy day!
Doing the Happy Dance

Except the little package never arrived.
image credit
I waited a month.  I called.  A girl answered from what sounded like her home, well, at least with no professionalism to her response.  I told her my problem...order never arrived.  She asked me my name and number, no order number to reference, no inquiry as to what product(s) I'd ordered.  She hung up.  I waited three days for a call (I know, I'm nice) which I never received.  I called my credit card company and explained and told them I had an emailed receipt that referenced no tracking number.  I've had this card for a decade and never had an issue like this.  They reversed the charge right away.  
I felt better, but that company is still on the internet highway.  It seemed like a legit company. Maybe my order just got lost, maybe not.  I'll likely never know, but I do know I'll never purchase from them again.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Girls, Family and Feathered Alike

Did Bitsy lay a super, blue egg?  Nope, it's just Bebe's bouncy ball. ; )
After a lull in egg laying, (hey, who wants to lay in 103 degree heat?) sweet Ruby has begun laying.  Yea!
Bebe thought Shelby might enjoy some music from her bubble machine.  Shelby's curiosity won.  We've been enjoying our girls.  What have you been enjoying, lately?

Monday, July 23, 2012

No-Bake Energy Bites

Forever searching for snack ideas for the fam, I stumbled across this recipe and was instantly attracted.  Simple ingredients, no prepackaging mystery ingredients, easy, and did I say easy?

This recipe is from Smashed Peas and Carrots blog.

No-Bake Energy Bites

(makes 18-20 bites)

1 cup oatmeal (I used old fashioned oats)
1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes (I used unsweetened shredded coconut and the bites were still perfectly sweet)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Be sure to check out other recipes by Maggie on her blog and thank her for sharing this recipe if you enjoy them as much as we do. : )

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cilantro Lime Sauce for Shrimp or Fish Tacos

The other night we made shrimp tacos.  The shrimp were local and plump and screaming to be turned into tacos.  Yes, the really screamed that to me.  "Turn me into Tacos, Tawanda!" they said.  I don't know why the shrimp call me Tawanda, but I kinda liked it. ; )

I blackened a pound of shrimp and heated corn tortillas in our cast iron skillet.  We shredded a little bit of fresh cabbage and diced our homegrown tomatoes to top the tacos.  We used the cilantro lime sauce as the base to build on, as you can see in the image.  Black beans and yellow rice accompanied these tasty tacos.

Cilantro Lime Sauce
6 oz. plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
a pinch of red pepper
Kosher salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and serve.

It's that simple, folks.  This sauce was a change from our usual shrimp tacos and really added a nice fresh zing.  I hope you give it a try the next time you make shrimp tacos...would be equally good on fish tacos, I do believe.

Take care, y'all.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon

Every once in awhile new social media crops up and I jump on the band wagon (hello Facebook, Myspace, Tumblr, and Pintrest).  Inevitably I grow bored, quickly (goodbye Myspace and Tumblr, you are not missed, and FB you are on a fast track to getting the boot).  These outlets really don't do much for me, but Pintrest has become a right-handy tool.  I pin recipes often, and I make them!  GASP!!!  I know you wouldn't know it by my lack of blogging, lately (blame that on taking two classes this summer), but you have to believe me.

Here's proof.  I pinned this yummy recipe for salmon from How Sweet It Is blog, and truly, it is sooo sweet.  Just look up at that gorgeous piece of fish.  Thank you, Hubby, for grilling it to perfection and thank you, Jessica, for sharing the recipe on your blog.

Here's Jessica's recipe, please click on this link to check out her beautiful pics.

Toasted Sesame Ginger Salmon, serves 2-4
1 1/2 pounds raw salmon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tablespoons freshly grated ginger (I used ginger powder since that's what I had on hand)
1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
4 green onions, sliced
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. (Here we decided to grill the fish after it marinated.)
In a large bowl or baking dish, combine olive oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar and whisk well until combined. Add salmon to the dish or place everything in a ziplock bag, then refrigerate and marinate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the broiler in your oven. (Or preheat your grill, etc if you prefer to use something else.)
Remove salmon with kitchen tongs and place directly on the wire rack. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper, then place directly under the broiler. Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on the salmon’s thickness (our’s was just about an inch thick), until opaque and easily flakable with a fork. You can flip the salmon halfway through cooking if desired.
Remove and serve immediately, with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds, green onions and the glaze below.
 Sesame Ginger Honey Glaze
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over salmon.
How awesome is that?  This was a simple, healthy recipe that I know we will make again.  We ALL loved it.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Daughter...

Wants me to order her the Brazilian Butt Videos.  She's 13.  Lord, help me.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

We are in a homegrown tomato overload situation, here...not complaining.  I love our tomatoes.  This year a Brandywine Heirloom tomato plant has been the star producer.  It's loaded and shows no signs of ceasing, even in our triple digit heat.  Our parsley is still hanging on, too.

With our bounty we created this salad to accompany our dinner, the other night.

Here's what you will need to put this fresh and healthy salad together.

Tomatoes, as many as you see fit to serve your family (I used between 8-10 smallish tomatoes), seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, chopped in large chunks
a handful of fresh parsley, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
6 pats of soft goat cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
2 to 3 lugs olive oil, I use extra virgin

Combine all ingredients up to oil.  Drizzle olive oil over the salad and toss to coat.  You may add green onion and/or Kalamata olives; if you have them, each would be a nice addition.

Sharing on  Foodie Friday  at Rattlebridge Farm.  Be sure to check out all the other great recipes shared their.

Also sharing @  Ms. enPlace  and @ Southern Sundays at A Slice of Southern Blog.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops

4 center-cut thick pork chops (bone-in optional)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 medium sweet onion, cut in half and thin into strips
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cups beef broth
1 packet brown gravy mix

Heat oil in skillet.  In a large Zip-loc bag, add flour, salt, and pepper], seal and shake to combine.  Add pork chops to bag, one at a time, to coat and place each in the hot oil.  Sear for a minute or two on each side.  This isn't cooking through, just getting color on the chops.

Chop onion and place in the bottom of a crockpot.  Place browned pork chops onto bed of onions.  Pour can of Cream of Mushroom soup on top of chops.  I smeared the soup around with a spoon.  In a small mixing bowl, combine gravy mix and broth, then pour the 2 cups of broth mixture on top of the soup covered pork chops.  Close the lid and cook on high for three hours.  **If you buy thin cut pork chops, you may reduce the cooking time in half. 

The onions and pork chops should be very tender.  We served our smothered pork chops over white rice and had pea salad and skillet corn on the side.

This recipe was adapted from Paula Deen's Old Fashioned Smothered Pork Chops.

Peach Blueberry Upside Down Cake

Mrs. Crocker, you've done it again.  I'm in supreme bliss due in part to this Betty Crocker recipe I found online.    I'd purchased blueberries from my local grocery at a bargain and I was given two buckets of peaches that came from my Mom's trees; lucky me!  I thought for days about what to do with my bounty, jams or jellies, cobblers, crisps or crumbles?

While I sat, undecided, my peaches were ripening.  I admit, I almost waited too long.  Then I found this link for freezing fresh peaches, which is what I did, and bought myself more decision making time.

Alas, the skies parted (literally) and the rain came down...and I found myself in the mood for comfort food.  What's more comforting than an upside down cake?

So here we go-

2 Tbsp. Butter (I used unsalted butter)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp. orange peel (I skipped this ingredient)
2 cups frozen peach slices, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup fresh blueberries, washed and patted dry

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites or 1/3 cup egg whites from a  carton
2 Tbsp. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup skim milk

1/2 cup whipped topping (the recipe calls for frozen, but I make mine from freshly whipped heavy cream sweetened with powdered sugar)

  • 1Heat oven to 350°F. Place 2 tablespoons butter in 9-inch round cake pan; heat in oven until butter is melted. Sprinkle brown sugar and orange peel over melted butter. Arrange peaches over top; sprinkle with blueberries.
  • 2In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • 3In medium bowl, beat 3 tablespoons butter and the granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Beat in egg whites, applesauce and vanilla until smooth. Alternately add flour mixture and milk in 2 additions. Spoon batter over fruit mixture in pan; spread evenly.
  • 4Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Turn cake upside down onto heatproof serving plate. Serve warm with whipped topping.
Recipe courtesy of Betty Crocker

As you can see from my image, the cake doesn't rise much, but the taste is nice.  I may have to play with the recipe a bit further...possibly substitute the cake recipe I use for Pineapple Upside Down Cake which rises nicely.

Sharing at  Ms. enPlace  & at A Slice of Southern's Southern Sundays

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Stars at Night...

Are big and bright, deep in the heart heat of Texas.  Temperatures have ranged between 103 and 106 degrees Fahrenheit.  There are countless photos that people have snapped of the temperature read inside their vehicles so I won't show you mine that read 113 degrees! in a parked vehicle, of course.

So how do we beat the heat, you wonder?

Like this,
and this.
We floated for hours at Reimer Ranch Park in Travis county.  We also visited Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels.  The lines were not as bad, mid-week, as I imagine they'd be on a weekend.  If you 're ever in Texas, these are not bad spots to visit.  

We stayed in Austin...was nice to visit my old stomping grounds.
This motel is smack in the middle of great dining and shopping on Congress Street, and just a few minutes from down town.  Actually, it's pretty central to a lot of Austin attractions.  You can easily get to Barton Springs pool and park, the capitol, 6th street, you get the idea.
We ate here, which is walking distance to the motel.  It's not my favorite Mexican food place in the world, but is in walking distance to the motel, is good, and reasonably priced.  
The scene was much the same, a few shops have changed...many have remained the same.  One noticeable change was the addition of many food trucks.  I like the "chicken" signage for this truck.  I suspect the recent tv show series on Food Network has had something to do with the food truck phenomenon in Austin.  I can say that there were slim to none on Congress, with the exception of 1st Thursdays, five years ago.

All in all, it was a nice little get-away.  Austin, I miss you.