Balsamic Strawberries With Basil Whipped Cream

Balsamic Strawberries with Basil Cream

When I first opened this month’s HEB Primo Picks package, my first instinct was to roast something.  I roasted cauliflower and later broccoli, but neither felt worthy of a blog post.  And then my mind shifted to desserts… Balsamic desserts.

Central Market Oil & Vinegar

While roasting all of those veggies, the thickness of the Central Market balsamic vinegar was noticeably different than what you can typically find in the grocery store.  It was slightly reduced, a closer resemblance to the balsamic I brought back from Italy last month.  This was my motivation for reducing it further.

Sliced Strawberries

How visions of roasted veggies turned into a balsamic reduction mixed with sliced strawberries and olive oil, topped with basil whipped cream, I’ll never know.  But what I can tell you is how much I loved this combo.

As part of the HEB Primo Picks team, I received compensation to sample various Primo Picks products. The opinions in this post are completely my own and based on my experience.

Germinated Rice With Shrimp & Veggies

Germinated Rice with Shrimp

I just can’t get enough of germinated rice lately.  It has such great flavor and chew that it barely needs any stuff to make it unbelievably tasty.  But even though it doesn’t need a ton of stuff, I needed a ton of stuff {veggies} after weeks and weeks of non-stop-ness.

Zucchini & Asparagus

I picked up my three favorite grain-mixin’ veggies {asparagus, zucchini, squash} and decided to let them all play a part in a single meal.  And then I added shrimp.  Lots and lots of shrimp.

Sauteed Shrimp

And what came together was a dish you could scoop into a big bowl a few nights in a row and still wish there was enough leftover the night after!

I Made Cheese!

Homemade Goat Milk Mozzarella

Ever since watching Francesco make cheese in Italy, I’ve been dying to attempt homemade goat’s milk mozzarella.  I found this recipe, utilized Amazon Prime to order rennet and citric acid, and procured some local goat’s milk.  I mean… why not?

Homemade Cheese Curds

I read the recipe over and over.  And still I quartered the recipe, confident that my lack of patience would create a cheesy disaster.  And at one point, it did.  I misinterpreted what the half gallon of salt water mid-way through the recipe text would be used for and didn’t quarter it (why wasn’t this listed with the ingredients above?!}.  My cheese looked beautiful, until it didn’t.  I had a gooey, queso mess on my hands.

Homemade Cheese

I managed to salvage a bit of the cheese by draining, reheating, and leaving overnight in the fridge.  And what I had the next day was some seriously delicious, flavorful, almost-the-right-texture mozzarella!  A permanent mental note of my mistake has been made and I will definitely be making this recipe again the next time I need a cheese fix.

ACL 2014 Tunes & Eats

ACL 2014

Before I was even able to unpack from Italy, it was time to pick up Emily from the airport for ACL weekend!  I squeezed in a little work on Friday {Em was a good sport and came to work with me}, we ate lunch at St. Philip {yumm!}, and then we were off to Zilker Park to meet up with Justin and Heidi.


Day 1 consisted of CHRVCHES, St. Vincent, Foster the PeopleBeck, and a huge surprise.  When we met up with Heidi after St. Vincent, she showed up with VIP wristbands to the Samsung stage where, not only were we able to watch bands play from the top of the stage, but were treated to bbq, vodka/ginger beers, and air conditioned bathrooms.  We couldn’t, and still can’t, thank Heidi enough for sharing this experience with us!


On the morning of Day 2, I took Emily and Justin to one of my favorite brunch spots, Olivia, where I gorged on a bison burger sans bun and the best french fries in all of the land {seriously}.  We sipped brunch cocktails while we planned out our day and then walked over to the fest.


Day 2 was insanely crowded.  We began at Poliça, rushed over to Samsung to see Lana Del Ray from above, crossed the park again to see Interpol, then hiked back to Samsung for the Foster DJ set and Eminem.  It’s amazing that we all managed to stay together.  It’s even more amazing that Heidi pulled us aside to introduce us to Mark Foster and Isom Innis of Foster the People!


Day 3 started out much the same as Day 2.  We brunched at Josephine House {another favorite of mine} with Emily’s cousin.  Polenta and grits was my breakfast of champion choice.

Josephine House

But by the time we made it to the fest, we lost half our crew.  Emily and Heidi were beat, so Justin and I peeled through the slightly-less-crowded crowd to see Real Estate and Spoon.


After Spoon, I trekked back to my place to get ready and pick up Em for Uchiko dinner, where we topped off an amazing weekend with an even more amazing meal!


If you’re curious about any of the bands listed above, most of the names are hyperlinked to the YouTube videos of my favorite songs.

Til next year, ACL!