Farmer’s Market Follow-up

So this post is a quick follow up to my Farmer’s Market post. I wanted to share the yummy outcome of that wondrous $12 trip.

First, I used the sweet potatoes to make some Sweet Potato Quinoa cakes. Of course I found them on Pinterest. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, which definitely would have more them better but  they were still pretty tasty anyway. I made 8 instead of 4 which makes them less than 100 cals per pattie!

From How Sweet It Is by Jessica

From How Sweet It Is by Jessica

Next up was my own creation. Stuffed Zucchini made with what I had on hand from the other recipes.

Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients:

1 zucchini

1/4 c. quinoa (cooked)

1/8 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

1/8 c. parmesan cheese, grated

1 tsp. minced garlic

I cooked the cooked the zucchini for 17 minutes at 350°. The I scooped out the center, missed it with the other ingredients, sprinkled a few more bread crumbs on top and broiled it for 3 minutes.

At 118 cals for each half it made a great dinner/lunch. If I made it again I think I might include sun-dried tomato, or some basil.

Last but not least I made Roasted Summer Squash with Mint and Lemon also from Pinterest.

From Kalyn's Kitchen

From Kalyn’s Kitchen

It was the perfect way to enjoy some summer squash before it’s time to start making winter squash creations.  It was so light and fresh and let me tell you, it made my apartment smell amazing. I could have sat there and ate the whole pan!

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Did Someone Say Free?

There are a couple things you should know about moving miles and miles away from your home base. 1) It ain’t cheap. 2) Your social calendar will take a hit.

Eventually both of those things will work themselves out but as we’re on day 8 in Austin they are both still 100% true for me. Enter Austin’s Free Day of Yoga.  It’s like they knew I’m poor and friendless (ok, that second part isn’t true, I have friends…just limited friends in Austin, and it’s a holiday weekend so they had stuff to do, just like I probably would have if I was in Boston so it’s totally fine).

Austin isn’t the only city that does Free Day of Yoga so I strongly suggest you check out the link. You can even learn how to go about creating a Free Day of Yoga in your city if they don’t already have one. If you’ve ever been to Austin you can’t really be surprised that it was founded here. There are Yoga studios all over the place!

I’ve done yoga off of DVDs (either in the gym in high school or from the comfort of my own home) but I’ve never actually taken a formal class. When I visited and noticed how popular yoga is in Austin I knew I wanted to try it. FDoY was my chance to kill two birds with one stone – try a yoga class risk free and kill some time.

I love a long weekend just as much as the next person, but as someone who draws energy from being around other people I’ve had to work pretty hard to not go insane these past few days. So I when learned about this most amazing of events I kind of planned my weekend around it. Free Day of Yoga was today, Labor Day, but there was a kick off festival yesterday morning. I did both.

The Kick-off was in Tillery Park which is not within walking distance from my current digs so this was a perfect opportunity to experiment with riding the bus. The Capital Metro buses are only a dollar a ride. So that’s nice and cheap. The downside is that they are not NextBus tracked so there really isn’t a way to see in real time if your bus is coming. However, each bus stop in the city has an ID number and you can text that number to Dadnab and you’ll get texts back with the next 4 or 5 departure times for all the buses at that stop. Google Maps even lists the bus stop ID when you get transit directions online. If you’re at the bus stop you can also scan a QR code that launches a mobile site that does the same thing. My bus to the park was 4 minutes behind schedule but the one I took home was right on time. I’m not sure I’ll use the bus as much as I used public transit in Boston but I’m glad I’ve figured out how it works right away.

Tillery Park

I didn’t spend as much time at the kick-off as I had planned. I probably shouldn’t have gone right at 9am,but the first 100 people got a goodie bag and I wanted it!

2 coconut waters, 2 Kind bars, a sweat band, a pen, a magnet, some yoga coupons, and some vegan soap. Not bad.

2 coconut waters, 2 Kind bars, a sweat band, a pen, a magnet, some yoga coupons, and some vegan soap. Not bad.

I honestly would have stayed longer but I’ve come to learn that it can be humid in the mornings here until the heat of the day burns it off. It’s not oppressive or anything, but not comfy. As cute as Tillery was it was kinda buggy and once I had talked to the couple of vendors that had gotten there on time and set up I was ready to scoot out.

Tons and tons of studios all over Austin participate in FDoY. I narrowed it down to the ones I could easily walk to from my apartment. When I saw that Wanderlust was one of those I picked it immediately. My good friend that moved here in July has already been and reported good things. It also has an amazing website with a great story that I totally ate right up so I was sold.

Wanderlust

So today at Noon I rented a mat for $2 (I actually own one but alas, it’s in a U-box making its way to TX from MA) and took my first ever yoga class. It was a Vinyasa class, which to anyone unfamiliar with yoga is just one of many styles of practice. The room was slightly heated. I was so proud of myself for bringing a little towel. I became less proud as the class began and I realized I should have brought at least 4.

First of all the room was packed. We were very, very close to our neighbors. So close that at one point I kicked the guy behind me in the head. Yep, I kicked someone in the head today. I apologized as soon as class ended and he was pretty nice about it. But that didn’t stop me from feeling really bad. I also of course had some type of yoga savant to my left during class. She didn’t even appear to be sweating. I, on the other hand, have never sweat more in my whole life. Literally, beads of sweat all over my body. If you had seen me after you would have though I just got caught in the rain. The only thing that made me feel better in the face of Ms. I’m-so-great-at-yoga-pants was the man diagonal to my right. He was maybe 40, I don’t know. I’m bad with ages, but his hair was all gray so I’m gonna go with 40. He was pouring sweat like nothing I’ve ever seen. Seriously it was like a faucet. I swear there was standing water on his mat.

Sweaty silver-fox aside, I was really surprised by the number of men in the class. I guess I’ve always just thought of yoga as a predominately female activity. I’m not exactly sure where that comes from. Maybe because women tend to be more flexible. The class did skew female but there were at least a dozen guys in there. And they weren’t just tagging along with their girlfriends or anything. A bunch of them knew what they were doing. While I laughing on the inside at the idea that the instructor actually thought I could do a head stand, they were crushing it.

It was really busy in there today, I barely got a minute to appreciate the cute interior.

It was really busy in there today, I barely got a minute to appreciate the cute interior.

An hour later I emerged from the dimly-lit sweaty room quite damp but also really happy. I wouldn’t go so far as to say addicted, but I definitely want to do it again. Usually when I’m not good at something I don’t like doing it. However, today when I couldn’t do something, instead of being discouraged, my mind immediately went to “Can I practice this and get better?” Good news is there is a yoga studio in town that does “pay what you can” so I can take classes for as little as $5. And Wanderlust offers a 30 days for $35 special too. So I think I’ll be able to start incorporating some yoga into my life here in Austin which is exciting.

To reward myself for a job well done, and truly start my Austinite transformation I stopped by Daily Juice and got a juice for lunch on the way home. (I grabbed one called Pineapple Popeye, it was so yummy. Green drinks my friends, they’re where it’s at!)

Pineapple Popeye

I may not be used to filling my weekends with solo-activities but I think I did a decent job. Moving here was all about trying new things, challenging myself and living a happier, healthier life. I think this weekend was a solid start.

Have you tried anything new recently?

Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Farmer’s Market

Chronologically speaking, this post should be about how I’m settling in, my first week on the job, signing my lease, ect. But that’s just going to have to wait. I’m having a beautiful Saturday and I’d rather talk about that. Maybe I’ll feel more reflective tomorrow. We’ll see.

So, since I only have a few friends in Austin and they are all out of town this weekend, I had a quiet Friday night and I ended up getting up pretty early this AM (7) and I was able to go for my first outside run here in Austin. 78 degrees at 7:15am is something I will have to get used to, but all in all it was a good run – super pretty along Town/Lady Bird Lake (aka, a damned off section of the Colorado River, we can discuss how it bothers me that it’s a river, but it gets called a lake another time).

I had intended on following my run up with breakfast and then heading straight down to the pool to layout before the triple digit temps rolled in come afternoon. But, while I was drinking my coffee I looked out my windows and noticed this:

Window View

 Obviously, I wanted to know what was going on with all the tents, so naturally I pulled out my iPhone. First I Google Mapped since I hadn’t the foggiest what the name of the green square was.

Google Maps

Turns out it is called Republic Square Park. If you’d like to be a nerd like me you can click on the hyper-link and read all about it, cliff notes, it might be a little square of mostly dead grass, but it’s been there a long time and is kinda a thing.

From there I googled “Republic Square Park August 31st” and came to learn that what I was gazing upon from my bougie temporary home was none other than the set up of a Farmer’s Market that runs 9am-Noon every Saturday. Let’s start with how it’s a year-round Farmer’s Market. I get it, I’m in Texas and it is warm here, but my poor New England self thinks of a Farmer’s Market as a May-Oct phenomenon. It’s not as shocking to me that it’s warm enough here year round to grow things, it’s the idea that it’s warm enough year round to shop for them outside.

It gets better, this particular Farmer’s Market is one of four that happen in Austin each week organized by the Sustainable Food Center. Definitely click on that link. If you know me you know that essentially as soon as that page loaded I was going down to that market. The pool could wait.

Saturday morning Farmer’s Markets already give me the warm fuzzies because I have such fond memories of going to them with my Mom growing up and picking out things for us to have that weekend and upcoming week. We always grabbed a basil plant at the start of the season…and usually another one in the middle since green thumbs don’t really run in our family (yes, my Mother and I are capable of killing a small potted herb in less than a couple months…it’s not our fault). In fact, while I was at this Farmer’s Market, I texted my Mom and she was at ours back home at the same time!

The next thing I loved about this is that it is solidly organized. It has to be at least 51% farmers (not that I don’t love the baked goods and jams and organic soaps…). If you forget cash, the info tent is equipped with an ATM. I almost never have cash but the other day at Whole Foods I happened to get $20 cash back. It was like divine intervention or something. What really impressed me was this statement though:

Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. SFC envisions a food secure community where all children and adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food.

If you’re on EBT or WIC you can use that to buy produce. I’m sorry but that’s cool. My Dad informed me that our Farmer’s Market at home is the same way, so maybe this is common. But if it is I think it should be more widely talked about. I’m not gonna go all out on this, but everybody know the packaged crap that you’re not supposed to eat is the cheapest. So I’m super on board with supporting an organization that is trying to help people make the right food choices regardless of their finances.

Farmer's Market

I’m totally a sucker for all things local. I blame my tenure in Somerville and Jamaica Plain. I totally drank the local kool-aid, but it’s fine, becuase everyone in Austin drank it too so I fit right in. I gave the whole market a walk around and decided that I wanted to make sure I bought things from several different vendors. I wish I remembered which ones so I could give them probs. But I totally didn’t write them down. whomp. whomp.

I think I did pretty well. for $12 I got everything you see below:

Veggies

That one bushel of kale alone comes out to more than a gallon sized ziplock’s worth of greens. I though that was a pretty good deal. I certainly would not have been able to get all that for $12 at Whole Foods. (Not to rag on Whole Foods, because I love it there and I went there later today and got the rest of things I need to whip up some really yummy stuff this week.)

Since I had done so well I decided I could afford 2 Migas Breakfast tacos from the Tacodeli tent! ($4.50)

Breakfast Tacos

I’m totally on board with the Breakfast Taco thing. I don’t understand why I haven’t been eating tacos at breakfast all along!

I’m planning on making this Farmer’s Market a serious staple in my Austin life. I’ve already decided I’m going to need to get a bike to allow me to explore things in a wider radius and more easily do grocery shopping. Now I can add this to the list of reasons I really need one sooner rather than later.

Right now I’m really looking forward to the squash I got. I’ve never had summer squash that was yellow and green! Winter squash was already out, there were the cutest little butternut squashes. I’m already pinning some hearty soup recipes to take advantage of those if it ever gets cooler here.

What are your favorite Farmer’s Market Finds?

No, I’m Not Vegetarian, I’m Winning Weight Watchers

winning at it. See my fave thing about it is that it’s based on points. So it has, like, built in gamification. I literally sit around trying to figure out how much I can eat and use almost no points. (mostly because I need those points for alcohol, but that’s another story). And when I find something that’s super yummy and low in points I get a feeling similar to how I imagine athletes feel when they score or something. I wouldn’t know how that feels as I’ve always been an asthmatic uncoordinated mess, but I think it must feel the same.

But the real way to win at WW is to eat fruits and veggies because those are 0 points. Zero. Yeah. That’s like getting the other team to forfeit. It’s awesome. So I’ve been eating a lot more of them especially as snacks. But they’re kinda pricey. Then I found Boston Organics. And now I get produce just delivered to my house. Seriously, the coolest thing ever. Because in addition to saving my lazy ass another trip to the grocery store because all the bananas have gone bad, it also forces me to try new things, which I suck at.

http://www.bostonorganics.com/

However, now I’ve got all these people asking me if I’m going vegetarian or vegan. It’s honestly offensive. I freaking love meat (that’s what she said) and I think I make that pretty clear. And I really like dairy so the idea of willingly giving that up sounds way to much like giving up sight or something. Don’t get me wrong I have plenty of veggie and vegan friends and it doesn’t bother me. So when I try to explain that I’m not trying to be either I don’t want to offend anyone. I kinda just want to be like, listen, I’m not vegetarian I’m just winning at Weight Watchers. What’s it to you.

It’s the Super Bowl, Wear Your Stretchy Pants

There are a good many reasons why I love Super Bowl Sunday. I’m a Advertising major so I get to nerd out all day on brand new commercials made with huge production budgets that might spawn whole new brand images or spiral down into a fiery pit of lost investment.

I also love football. I admittedly prefer college to professional but as it’s already been over a month since I last saw my Dawgs play I’ve transitioned.

However, the commercials, the game, even the half time show will all play second fiddle to what is really the main event. Eating.

The Super Bowl is in my eyes the best eating day of the year. It is better than Thanksgiving. That’s right I said it. I hear you foodies yelling blasphemy. But let’s think about it. Thanksgiving is lovely. Turkey. Mash Potatoes. Stuffing. But it just does not hold a candle to Super Bowl food.

This year, it’s just me and my roommates. Our poor college TV isn’t large enough to host a party, but you’d never know it by the spread we’ve got planned. We’ve already placed the order for wings (three different varieties including Mustang Ranch, Teriyaki, and Buffalo courtesy of our local http://www.wingsover.com/ establishment). We’re making Tostones (fried plantains for all of you not blessed with a half Colombian, quarter Spanish, quarter Puerto Rican roommate), mini pigs in a blanket, cheese fries (made with waffle fries because then they look like little fences, D-Fence!), and my Famous Football Dip!

Just try and tell me that that menu doesn’t best Thanksgiving! Oh wait, are you wondering what my Famous Football Dip is. Well I will share it with you, because I’m just that nice.

Ingredients:

Package of Cream Cheese (soften)

Salsa

Can of Hormel No Bean Chili

Cheedar Cheese

All you have to do is layer the ingredients in that order in a 9x9in pan, throw it in the oven at 350 degrees and cook it until it’s bubbly. Astonishingly simply, mind-blowingly delicious.  I suggest serving with Scoops tortilla chips. The chips are really just a vehicle for the dip. I’ve seen people just it with a spoon. And by I’ve seen people, I mean, I am people.

The Super Bowl is a true American holiday. It has it all: commercialism, violence, and trans fats. So put on your stretchy pants and celebrate the athleticism of other people with me. Cheers!