So I left a little part of me behind this week. No, don’t go grab the tissue box (unless that was enough to get you going), I left a part of me behind in a wonderful way.
I visited Austin, Texas- one of the places on my top ten list. Never been before, but always knew I’d belong there. Live music, outdoor adventures, free spirits and a country influence…oh, did I mention cowboy hats and boots? Yeah, that may have swayed me a little as well.
It was everything I imagined it to be and more. And the weird part is that people had such a hard time understanding why I was going in the first place. Do you know someone there? Are you attending a wedding? You do know a real city- Chicago- is a few minutes away, right?
Some places just call to you- I’m looking at you Denver and Paris.
And my friendship with Chi Town has never really been a close one. We’re like those two friends in the group who only hang out when the group is together, but would never do something as a pair- we just don’t click.
This is a trip I will never forget in a place that felt more like home than Chicago will this summer. Austin taught me much. Among those insights include:
- Why I’m called a flatlander – it’s as literal as it sounds, don’t look too deep.
- That food trucks do exist- they are not just fantasy mobile treat shops that serve up mindblowing creations…they are real…amen!
- How real fries are supposed to taste- and that it’s okay to eat a new kind every day while there…a shout out to my truffle, sweet potato and cilantro fry friends.
- All 6th streets are not created equal- do not expect yours to bring as much joy.
- That concrete is not a color in mother nature’s palette- hello greens and blues.
- That car taxis are way lame- people, horse and boat taxis are where it’s at (well, except when you’re sitting in the back of a people taxi that swerves through traffic as brazenly as those surrounded by metal and that run on gasoline).
- Exercise doesn’t have to mean a treadmill and a stopwatch- treading across a creek and stopping to watch the sun through the trees on a hike is what it should be.
- Real cowboy boots are priced according to fabulousness- and fabulousness is expensive.
- The radio is overrated. I would be waiting all day at bars around me to catch one beat of the glorious sounds pulsating from every nook and cranny in Austin’s night life.
- Heat doesn’t always equal frizzy hair and sticky clothes. Dry heat partners with good hair days. Ladies of the Midwest, this is no joke.
- Weird is cool. Enough said. And this should be implemented everywhere.
- There is nothing… and I mean nothing sexier than a man in a cowboy hat.
Thanks to my cowboy for a trip of a lifetime.
Turns out pecans are also very Texan. They’re everywhere. As are peaches. I was far too busy demolishing root beer floats and mango ice pops to stop for too many warm desserts (hey, hydrating is hydrating), but I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without giving a nod to Austin.
Alas, a little warm, a dollop of cool and a little crunchy. Let’s get it rollin’ y’all.
Map out the way to refreshing satisfaction in your mind.
Pack a fresh cut with crunchy crumbles.
Whip three shades of white into one.
Drizzly, creamy, crunchy and juicy. That about covers everything ever needed.
Summer on a spoon.
Roasted Peaches with Pecan Crumble, Honey and Goat Cheese Cream
This classy summer dessert is simple and fabulous. Fresh peaches get a sweet and crunchy topping that mimics the craving for a crumble, but in a portable and personal portion. This means less sharing required. The goat cheese in the whipped cream adds a tangy flair that pairs so well with the pecans and honey. Lightly sweet, this crowd pleaser screams for a patio full of loved ones to feed.
- 4 small to medium fresh peaches, sliced in half and pit removed
- 2 T flour
- 1/4 C brown sugar
- 2 T salted butter, chilled
- 1 C chopped pecans
- 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
- 4 tsp goat cheese, softened
- 1/4 C powdered sugar
- couple drops of vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375 and place rack in center of oven. Line a pan or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and grease it lightly with butter.
- Mix together brown sugar, flour and pecans and cut in butter until combined and crumbly.
- Top each peach with some of the crumble mixture. It’s ok to pack it in a little so it doesn’t fall off while baking.
- Place peaches cut side up on the prepared foil.
- Bake in preheated oven until peaches are tender throughout- about 30 min.
- While baking, whip the cream until it becomes airy and light. Then whip in the powdered sugar, vanilla and goat cheese and set aside.
- When peaches come out of the oven, place on serving plate and drizzle with honey and top with cream. ***Depending on how sweet your peaches are or how sweet of a dessert you want, you can add more honey on each peach or increase the amount of powdered sugar in your cream if desired to achieve a sweeter product.
- Dive in!