April 26, 2010

30-Before-30: Visit the Fort Worth Botanic Garden

My parents joined us Sunday for a trip to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden as one of my 30 things. After lunch at one of our favorite hamburger joints - the Love Shack in the Stockyards - we ended up at the botanic garden on the day of the Japanese Garden Spring Festival, which meant bigger crowds but also a few special exhibits.
The botanic garden is run by the city and it truly lovely - I can't believe I'd never been before. There were native plants, roses, a giant iris area, plus the Japanese garden and more. We didn't even see everything - Matt, can we go back soon? :)

9 down, 21 to go...

April 25, 2010

30-Before-30: Use Yeast to Bake Bread

Homemade, fresh-baked bread seemed like a great idea for my 30 things challenge, but it has been the hardest task yet! After spending an entire afternoon letting it rise, shaping the dough, and baking the bread - we ate the delicious little loaf in a single evening.
The bread turned out fine and was just as good as I expected, but this is not something I plan to do again soon - too intense! I might try a beer bread though.
8 down, 22 to go...

30-Before-30: Make Hummus at Home

I am a big fan of hummus and wanted to try making my own for one of my 30 things. It was just as easy to make as I thought it would be and is something I will definitely make again, maybe with roasted garlic or red pepper - yum!
Tasty Tahini-Free Hummus
Shared on the fabulous Tasty Kitchen site.


1 can chickpeas, rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
juice from 1/4 to 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon of water
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
salt and pepper

In a food processor, mix beans, oil, water and juice until smooth. Add garlic and spices to taste.

Enjoy with pita chips, veggies, or as a sandwich spread.

7 down, 23 to go...

April 18, 2010

30-Before-30: Spend a Week as a Vegetarian

I know a few vegetarians so I thought it would be fun to try a week without meat as one of my 30 things. It really wasn't too bad to go without meat and fish, but I did spend most of the time eating out while at a library conference in San Antonio which was easier than if I had been cooking at home.
I've already had a sausage kolache and salmon today, but I'm thinking about giving up beef for awhile longer - we'll see.

6 down, 24 to go...

15/52 Photowalks: Lots of Librarians

The Bluebonnet Award Luncheon at the Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio.

April 12, 2010

30-Before-30: Bluebonnet Shots

I knew I wanted to add a bluebonnet photo session to my 30 things list after missing them last year by just one heat wave. Thanks to wet weather the bluebonnets are lovely this year. The photos below were taken in Carrollton near my parent's house.

5 down, 25 to go...

30-Before-30: Watch a Musical

Thanks to tickets from my dad's work, we got to take in a musical at Fair Park on Sunday with my parents. After a good lunch at the Angry Dog in Deep Ellum (too bad I'm trying a vegetarian challenge this week!) we walked around Fair Park for a bit, then watched the one-and-only roller-skating musical Xanadu live on stage.

It was the cheesiest musical ever, but it's always fun to get out and about with family and the tickets were free - plus I'm one thing closer to completing my 30 things list.

4 down, 26 to go...

April 8, 2010

14/52 Photowalks: Phone Book Sculpture

5th grade art on display in the library.

April 6, 2010

30-Before-30: Make Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

The first task from my food-related lists on my 30 things list, I used Ina Garten's recipe for Real Spaghetti and Meatballs to make a delicious dinner.

It's definitely labor-intensive, but the soft and juicy meatballs put the frozen ones to shame.
Real Spaghetti and Meatballs
From the Barefoot Contessa on Food Network.


1/2 pound ground veal and 1/2 pound ground pork - I used a pound of low-fat sausage instead
1 pound ground beef
1 cup fresh white bread crumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Vegetable oil
Olive oil

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup good red wine, such as Chianti
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped - I used two cans
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Serving
1 pound spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan


Place the ground meats, both bread crumbs, parsley, Parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg, egg, and 3/4 cup warm water in a bowl. Combine very lightly with a fork. Using your hands, lightly form the mixture into 2-inch meatballs. You will have 14 to 16 meatballs.

Pour equal amounts of vegetable oil and olive oil into a large (12-inch) skillet to a depth of 1/4-inch. Heat the oil. Very carefully, in batches, place the meatballs in the oil and brown them well on all sides over medium-low heat, turning carefully with a spatula or a fork. This should take about 10 minutes for each batch. Don't crowd the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate covered with paper towels. Discard the oil but don't clean the pan.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in the same pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan, until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper.

Return the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and simmer on the lowest heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve hot on cooked spaghetti and pass the grated Parmesan.

3 down, 27 to go...

April 4, 2010

30-Before-30: Watch a Comedian Perform

Working on the 30 things list - funny guy Michael Ian Black spoke at UNT's beautiful Murchison Performing Arts Center on Wednesday and was a hoot to watch.
2 down, 28 to go...