Travel Tuesday: Marfa, Texas #DeliciousLife

 

marfa

 

A couple weeks ago after a couple of weeks of eating and drinking (Culinaria’s Restaurant Week met with Dream Week and San Antonio Cocktail Conference)- I decided to jump in my car and head to West Texas. The wind in my hair, the 90’s station in my car, and the open road before me. I set sails to travel sans anyone and with my full self, aka a solo trip to Marfa, Texas.

Traveling alone- let’s look at this for a moment.  Traveling alone brings up some questions for me like, who do I borrow the toothpaste I forgot at home from? Or-who is going to giggle at that crazy man walking around without pants on the street corner by that cute little coffee shop? What about scouting for the best place to eat dinner- you know *that* place, the one that the tourists don’t go to? There is a part of me that misses having a partner-in-crime when I travel alone. And there is always that extrovert part of me that says “why the hell am I doing this, I’d rather be with my best friend?” However, I love challenges and I also truly believe you cannot appreciate anything fully without living it’s contrast- #fact

All that being said, I don’t leave town much, let alone leave town with the purpose of being alone. Yet sometimes we all need to unplug no matter how much you love something or someone, it’s healthy to step away and look at the big picture- check-out to check-in, if you know what I mean.

The last time I truly travelled solo was about ten years ago, I really roughed it for a long weekend on Nantucket. I remember the details of that trip more than most of my other travel adventures, as I had little to no interaction with people, just me and my thoughts, and the ocean, of course. As a woman, heck, as a person this is a big thing to actually learn about yourself, the lesson of ‘I can be alone and I don’t need people to have a good time.’

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago- Marfa, Texas. A land full of… Well, it was definitely odd and there were no distractions. In fact, there wasn’t really much happening, but what was actually happening was so purposeful it stuck out. I felt like the entire trip was a movie in slow motion and I was a character that was out of place but quickly finding that was actually my place. I know, I am getting pretty deep here on a food blog- but my point is quickly coming in- I discovered that feeling of being alone- completely naked (no, not literally) in a small town in the middle of the desert with lots of art galleries. Let me assure you all- that Marfa is far from roughing it-The grey adobe homes look bleak from the outside yet are actually full of color, art and life when you open them up, at least most of them. Marfa is a true hidden gem- it looks like someone very intentionally placed each item around this little Western town and then sprinkled fairy dust on everyone and said “now, go and just be you, don’t work too hard, just be you.” In fact, that is the part that astounded me, no one is in any hurry- and not very much is open, not even on a weekend. The places that are actually open as the locals say, are only open “if they feel like it.” The most infamous pizza place in town happened to be closed and the coolest little juice place (The Squeeze)  decided to be closed this particular weekend also. I did find a cool little food truck, The Food Shark which had a stellar hummus.  For dinner and brunch, I went to Cochineal. Yes, I went twice, it was that good. Oddly for this trip eating, drinking and socializing were not on my top 3 list of things to do- (Gasp!). I brought a pile of books, my journal and really plotted out my year and my goals, soul filling types of stuff. Marfa is *that* place, a place that is seemingly incredibly sleepy, but can give rise to such inspiration, if you allow it to do so, funny how that works.

May you be inspired to travel alone or with the company of others, I hope you get out and enjoy a place like Marfa- a quiet destination with limited distractions.

Cheers to living a Delicious Life,

Emily

Founder of Defining Delicious

The Best Meal WE Can Give Our Children

Yes, I’m a mom. No, I aint perfect. In fact, I relish in the fact that I am far from perfect. I’m me. I try my best to be a mama who is kind, makes healthy snacks, plans fun events, plays, laughs, throws random dance parties, shows and lives what love is through example. Yet, I sometimes react in ways that aren’t ideal. Sometimes…I loose it. I get grumpy when I’m tired, I get really grumpy when I’m hungry and hide your cat when I’m tired and hungry. Yikes. I wish I could take back those moments when I lost my cool over spilled milk, or didn’t answer that sweet question because I was too busy texting a friend some nonsense, but I can’t. To be honest, I think my flaws make me more human and someday my children will look at me as a person they can relate to rather than a robot they feed rubber carrots to only on holidays.

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Lately I’ve been into eavesdropping on conversations between parents and their children. I’ve been hoping to learn some new tricks, and I’m nosey  curious. I have found more often than not, people talk to their children like they are dog poo. I get it, mamas and papas, I’m stressed beyond stress too and heck if you were to hear me sometimes I might sound like a bit** on a broomstick also. However, I’ve been thinking… All this talk about what we feed our kids, how much T.V. they watch, if we breast feed or not, and I still think all those topics are important, but what’s more important is how we talk to them, especially in public. Let’s take a deep breath before going for the public rip down. Let’s close our eyes for a second, take a long breath, and pause for a second before totally loosing it over a lost bathing suit or spilled goldfish. Because at the end of the day, we will erase all of our efforts in giving our children great foods and a healthy upbringing if we verbally poo on their heads. For those of you reading that don’t yet have little stinkers grabbing cheese sticks out of your shopping carts, you take a breather before judging us, please. You try having your 5 dogs in your shopping cart and ordering a half a pound of honey turkey from the deli then we’ll talk. Perhaps, instead of your  best death glare, go over to that stressed parent and give them a your best loving smile? Maybe that bit of support will spread like melted butter and make the world a happier place? I don’t know, but I’d like to be a part of that cause. Because I think the best meal we can feed ourselves, our children and others is respect with a side of kindness.

 

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I’ll follow my own advise.

 

50 Ways To Feed Your Mother (Lover, Wife, Sexy Lady, Amazing Goddess).

If you’re like me you are the bread n butter of your kitchen. I love to cook, it’s my passion and my creative outlet.  And I’m really good at it.  But like most things we love, a little space is nice too. And if you’re like my husband, you may need a Mother’s Day re-do. Perhaps, you forgot to make today as special as your wife wanted. Or maybe you thought it was a special day but it ended in tears. Either way, let’s give all the Moms out there a few more gifts. How about, 50 meals!? No,don’t get your boxers in a bunch, not all at once, 25 for now and 25  for later. I say, let’s sprinkle them throughout the year.  As always, we at DefiningDelicious.com have the bar set quite high.  No hot dogs and burgers stinking of lighter fluid and wrapped up in cheap buns.  These ideas are food-lover worthy but they’re perfect for your partner who might not be a chef like you.  Bookmark this page and when you’re tired of being the James Beard Award winning chef that you are, cut and paste from this post and email the meal that you want to your partner. Note: there are a lot of, “click HERE’s” in this post. I wanted to give you information and ideas without being 50 pages long, I hope you enjoy. This is my gift to you and your partnership. Happy Mother’s Day! And thank you Pinterest for some of meals-piration.

1. Make something. Anything!  Even if it’s cold cereal it still counts as something, just don’t forget to clean-up. (Don’t worry ladies, we’re just getting the ball-rolling, gotta start somewhere, right?)

2. Toast and cheesy eggs are a simple, yet tasty step-up from the cereal meal. For a great tutorial on how to scramble the perfect eggs click HERE. If your feeling fancy, try poaching them. I swear you might ‘get some’ if you succeed or even try.

3. Frittatas are a simple healthy step up from cheesy eggs. Stir Fry some veggies (those colored things in the fridge, probably towards the bottom) start with onions, a dab of butter, and then a couple handfuls of chopped veggies. Add 6 whisked eggs, some grated cheese and voila you have a gourmet meal in an insanely small time-frame. You may even have time to take out the trash or change a poopy diaper or both.

4. Tuna Melts – Grab a can of tuna from the pantry, dice some onions and red peppers, add some salt and pepper, put it on top of an English muffin. Slice a ripe tomato and add some cheddar cheese on top. Put it in the toaster oven and you’ve got a great meal.

5. Sauteed Fish: and some boxed rice (again, baby steps). Coat a pan with olive oil on medium heat, put a nice piece of salmon or white fish in the pan, cook for about 4 minutes on each side (thick-cut fish may take longer) add some spices and fresh garlic and serve. HERE is a great tutorial.

6. Turkey Burgers – Simple.  Mix ground turkey, a couple handfuls of feta cheese, crushed garlic, some spices and cook on the stove or grill. Don’t forget your favorite buns (pun intended).  Seriously, the buns are as important as the meat.  Get high quality buns that match the meat in deliciousness.

7. Eggplant Parm:  A simple recipe HERE

 

8. Sweet Potato Burgers I know it’s vegan, but give vegan a chance. You might like it, and it will make your sweetheart’s soul sing that you tried. (photo credit: lunchboxbunch.com)

 

9. Tacos: Depending on where you live, you may be able to get great homemade tortillas at your grocery store.  Get some taco seasonings, ground meat or beans and sliced tomatoes, onions and fresh lettuce.  If you’re feeling fancy make some fresh guacamole (HERE is a great recipe). Make it special by making a margarita or a mojito (HERE are some ideas).

10. Leftovers: We don’t want you hurting yourself with all this cookin’.  I’m quirky about microwaves.  I don’t have one and I don’t like them so I won’t recommend you use one either but however you reheat I encourage you to improvise.  Add a little twist to your leftovers to spice up your evening and to score extra points.

11. Meatloaf – Central Market has a great ready-made loaf. Or try THIS recipe. I still remember making this with my mom when I was a kid. So, add the kids (not to the meatloaf) in on the fun and serve with potatoes and frozen peas.

12. Portobello Burgers – Look in the pantry for something called, “balsamic vinaigrette.” Coat the mushrooms with said vinaigrette and put it in the fridge for a bit. Heat up that grill. While you’re waiting for the grill to warm up, saute some onions. Grill the mushrooms, add the onions and some cheese like feta or Tilamook cheddar.  I recommend you avoid American cheese.

 

13. BBQed Corn with a side of steak. You’ve been working hard.  Go ahead, you get a steak pass.

14. Make your own pizza but make one for Mom too.  Tell her to enjoy a bath and or a book while you and the kids go to town with some pizza dough some sauce and veggie toppings (again, those colored things at the bottom of the fridge).

15. Chicken Divan:  I love Paula Dean, HERE is one of those creamy comfort food recipes

16. Meatless Meat Balls: A friend of mine, Ellen, writes this great blog, The Hip Vegetarian, with quick and easy meatless recipes. This one is great, and even includes some grape jelly. Click HERE

17.  Make your own sandwiches for dinner but don’t forget to make one for Mom. I love a roasted turkey sammy, with provolone, avocado, and a bright-green smear of pesto.

18. Make dessert while your love is making dinner. I think this one counts. It’s so fun to cook together, get messy and include the kids if you can. Even if its a box of Ghirardelli brownies.

19.  Pasta and Sauce. Just some pasta from the pantry and some sauce on top. If you want to get a little fancy add some herbs for a homemade twist. Or  if you’re feeling like you got some mojo, try THIS  recipe for a creamy tomato and chicken pasta. It’s from one of my favorite blogs, In Sock Monkey Slippers.

20. Mac N Cheese try THIS recipe.   If you’re in a pinch make Annie’s but add some broccoli and fresh grated cheese, everyone wins.  I recommend you do something unique with this dish because just Mac N Cheese out of the box isn’t going to score many points.

21. BLT’s:  Add some avocado and pesto ( are you catching my pesto whiff, yet?) for an upgraded version.  I add it to almost all of my sandwiches.  Save some bacon for meal number 22.

22. Buy a rotisserie chicken and you can make three meals! That’s right three. First night, try a Cobb Salad. Shave off about a cup of chicken add it to a bed of lettuce, some fresh tomatoes, an avocado, hard boiled eggs (read how to HERE) and those leftover pieces of bacon.

23. Night 2 of rotisserie chicken- BBQ pulled chicken sliders- de-bone the rest of the chicken. Put one half away from lunch tomorrow and the other half for dinner. In a pan, add the chicken and a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, cook until melded together and you’ve got some slider meat!  Most grocery stores carry mini slider buns.

24. Meal 3 of Rotisserie Chicken, Chicken Salad Sammys – I add crushed walnuts, sliced grapes and some mayo, fresh herbs if you have any and you’ve just made three meals out of one chicken!

25. Halfway there.  Make another meal on the GRILL, it still counts.

 

 

A few hints to makes these meals true gifts: don’t forget to clean-up. Let me be clear, ALWAYS clean-up after making a special meal for your love. It doesn’t count if your sweetie has to clean-up your mess after enjoying her so-called gift. But the good news is you get to make a mess. I repeat, “make a mess but clean it up.” We all win.

Check back soon for the next 25! I didn’t want to overkill a good thing.

Thanks for stopping by and if you are what you eat, be Delicious.

 

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