Archive for the 'Food' Category

Fab Veggie Wraps

This weekend, my Heritage Awareness girlfriends (Austin edition) convened at Judy’s house, and I made my current favorite lunch: veggie wraps. Here’s my recipe:

Wrap bread  (I like Flatout Flatbread)
Mustard (I use sweet/hot mustard)
Hummus (today’s choice is a red pepper hummus)
1 to 2 T. chopped pepperoncini
1/4 c. sweet/hot pickles
1 to 2 T. grated carrots
Handful of washed arugula leaves

Spread a thin layer of sweet/hot mustard on the wrap, followed by a thin layer of hummus. If the layer is too thick, the hummus will squeeze out when you roll the wrap. Then add a sprinkling of chopped pepperoncini, a few spicy/sweet pickles, grated carrot, and arugula. Roll it up and cut it in half, and there you have it.

Options: You can create whatever type of hummus, mustard, and veggie combos you like. I sometimes add sliced avocado, chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped olives or an olive tapenade, grated cheese, other types of greens, cucumbers, a sprinkling of red wine or balsamic vinegar, etc. But my foundation is always the hummus and the  hot/sweet combo of those pickles and mustard!

If you’re entertaining, you could cut these into pinwheels for appetizers. Easy peasy!


#14: My First Summer Writing Academy

The Writers’ League Summer Academy surpassed my expectations! I sat in on all four classes and was quite jazzed by them. Now I want to stick around longer, rather than head back on Tuesday!

After the orientation last night, I had dinner with instructors Karleen Koen, Clay Reynolds, Suzy Spencer, and Scott Wiggerman at my surprise find, Trattoria Cafe, next to the McDonald’s by the university. Food and conversation were all quite enjoyable.

The dorm, however … Note to self: For next year, make sure all instructors and visiting E.D.s are housed off-campus at a hotel! Oh, well, it’s so darn cheap, I can tough it out for two nights!

The students all seem to be into the classes, even on Day One. A good sign! The campus is just perfect for our Continue reading ‘#14: My First Summer Writing Academy’

#13: My First Trip to West Texas

Here I sit, on the porch of the Austin Street Café in Marfa, a soft easy breeze blowing napkins off tables, birds chirping, and the threesome at the next table expounding on the merits of Italian sportscars! The Presidio County Courthouse is spectacular, but I cannot find the fabled Marfa galleries and shops. Maybe it’s the Sunday sleepiness.

I fully expected to be more charmed by Marfa, but so far, Alpine scores higher on the charm scale. Nonetheless, I love being in West Texas; it’s so similar to New Mexico and even Sun Valley. The Austin Street Café’s veggie wrap with black-eyed peas and a superb tomato-basil soup –– well, those hit the mark and made the short drive worthwhile.

My whole excuse for being in West Texas is the Writers’ League’s Summer Writing Academy at Sul Ross State Continue reading ‘#13: My First Trip to West Texas’

My Vacation in Burlington, Days 1-3

When my sister Cathy announced that she wanted to celebrate my birthday with me and asked, it took me no time at all to come up with the perfect idea: Opening Day with the Cubs! Cathy, Carol, Caity, and Chris had gone to last year’s opening game; I was supposed to have gone, but couldn’t go. So this was a no-brainer. Plus, I decided to make a week of it and just hang with the family in Burlington and mangia mangia at La Tavola! To top that all off, Bradley University had a home stand in Peoria that weekend, which meant I could go see my nephew Chris play ball (See #6!). BONUS! Cathy took care of EVERYTHING, even finding a flight that took me directly to Burlington “International” (ha ha ha!) Airport on March 27.

We had a plethora of birthdays to party on: Caity turned 16 on March 11, Cheryl’s birthday was March 22, and Carol and her best friend James “Celebrity Slut” Woods share a natal day on April 10! So the Wichita contingent of Carol and James drove up on Saturday and joined in on the baseball festivities.

I worked the phones at the restaurant during the lunch hours on Friday and Wednesday. Several people commented, “You HAVE to be another sister!” That was a kick! What was really great was seeing how fond the regulars are of Cheryl and Carlo. Several of Cheryl’s birthday bouquets were still decorating the joint.

Not only was it great fun to hang with my family, but I also enjoyed exploring more of Burlington, which is actually quite charming. Cathy and Cait live over the restaurant in the historic downtown, just two blocks Continue reading ‘My Vacation in Burlington, Days 1-3’

Bragging on the Family Restaurant!

La Tavola, my family’s restaurant in Burlington, Iowa, made the news again! Check out this article in The Hawkeye! My sister Cheryl reported that when my niece Sofia heard that, she announced, “I am so NOT seven!” (that would be because she’s nine!).

#2: Mexico!

(Hint to improve your reading experience: Click on this link for this entry’s soundtrack and then come back and read on!) On the cruise, I knocked out a second Fab First: my first trip to Mexico.

Carol, Lynn, and I left the ship around 10 a.m. on Monday, January 28, for a stroll through Cozumel on a bright, sunny day. First impression: Charming from the ship; too touristy on land. We stopped at a little mini-mall where Lynn succeeded in bartering (a first for her!) a good price on a wooden Jesus. We then diverted off the turista trek (there was no Senor Frog’s for this group!) and popped into a small Americanized coffee shop for water, latte, and cookies. It was also our first shot at using cell phones; Carol’s worked. Mine did, sort of –– Continue reading ‘#2: Mexico!’

#1: Cruisin’ With Carol

cruise-logo-orange.jpgTo celebrate my birthday, my sister Carol invited me to tag along on the fourth annual KFDI “Cruise With Carol” — yes, she’s that Carol! That was a “first” offer I couldn’t refuse! Plus, it led to First #2 (more on that later!). I joined about 250 of her diehard listeners and special guest Trent Tomlinson and his new band aboard Carnival’s Ecstasy in Galveston on January 26 for the five-day Western Caribbean cruise, with stops in Cozumel and Progreso. Carol had her own private posse along for the fun: friends Lynn, James, Chris, Angie, Joe, and Mark and, of course, big sister! We boarded around 1 p.m. (that’s Carol and me in our first Carnival photo, below!) and tracked down Lynn for lunch before Muster Drill, which was basically an exercise in cramming cruisers and their life jackets into small rooms (think inadvertent sumo wrestling) and then seeing how well we can maneuver our way as a group to our designated lifeboat area. Not being terribly fond of water, I wasn’t all that crazy about staring at the lifeboats and the running tape of “women and children’ first!” Once we were all released from looking at the lifeboats, we shipped out and went to the Adults Only Life Vest and Bon Voyage Party in the James/Chris/Angie suite, the first of several visits. They even had a soaking tub, granite countertops, and a balcony — we had bunk beds, a shohappy-cruisers.jpgwer stall that tended to overflow, and an ocean-view window.

At dinner, we met our KFDI table mates. Because all of the KFDI cruisers were dining in the first shift, Carol made the rounds each night. What a kick it was to trail along in Carol’s wake! She’s so great at her job, and her fans just adore her. Lynn and I stayed behind to chat up our table mates and whoever else came by looking for Carol.

Overall, the food was quite good, although we all had to wonder about the eggplant parmesan, which was more like sautéed eggplant and zucchini doused in béarnaise sauce and slathered with greasy cheese (and poor Carol and Lynn did more than wonder about it!). I was disappointed that the Suite Bunch was dining in the later shift, because Joe apparently made a habit of ordering at least two entrees at every meal, and I would have paid to see that! Everyone was about the chocolate melting pot, which was waaaay to choco-latte for me. But I DID manage to down dessert at every meal (it’s a cruise, so dessert

Continue reading ‘#1: Cruisin’ With Carol’

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