Scones for brunching

Well friends, I made up for the prior weekend’s purposeful antisocial agenda by emerging from my cocoon as a full-fledged social butterfly this weekend. Celebrating a friend’s birthday at The Foundry, treating Lydia’s cousin to a one-night version of the Dallas Experience (drinks overlooking the skyline at NYLO followed by late-night early morning Velvet Taco), hot dogs behind home plate at a Rangers game, North Park shopping and a Teavana splurge followed by Rusty Tacos with a visiting Fort Worth friend, Sunday brunch with Lydia and our loverly friends…whew.

I’ve also recently become a tad addicted to Instagram as of late so you can even see the discrepancy for yourselves.

Last weekend:

jennifer lawrence vogue

This weekend:

the foundry - chicken scratch dallas

the rangers ballpark in arlington

flowers

strawberries and cream scones

Which leads me to the below recipe, found at Sarah Bakes Gluten Free Treats. It was pretty delicious while, like all things gluten-free/vegan baking, pretty trial and error. For example, I subbed Bob’s Red Mill baking flour for her flour blend in an effort to be financially and time efficient (read: cheap and lazy). This led to more of a cupcake-like batter consistency than cookie-like, resulting in a first round of very flat, wide wanna-be “scones.” Using only about 2/3’s of the called for coconut milk and adding in a little more flour definitely helped the next time around!

gluten free vegan strawberries n’ cream scones

  • 1 3/4 cups Sarah’s gluten free flour blend (Or in my case, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose baking flour)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup So Delicious unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (For me: 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced (Even more is better!)
vanilla glaze
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons So Delicious barista style coconut milk french vanilla coffee creamer

They ended up being a pretty big brunch success, and testing two batches means I get to start my mornings all week long with baked sweetness I can actually eat. We also enjoyed White Peach Gin Fizz cocktails, which fit my gin phase and peach craving quite nicely. So nicely in fact, that I forgot to take a picture in all the excitement of actually drinking them so you’ll just have to take my word for it or try the recipe out for yourselves…

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Hannah Arendt

So I’ve had a wicked cough for about 2 months now, not exaggerating. It took me 4 weeks to actually visit the doctor, and then for the last month I’ve been changing antibiotics about weekly trying to conquer this seemingly little bug. I haven’t been able to have a drink or work out for WEEKS. And the antibiotics make me feel worse than the cough itself. This past weekend I spent helping my boyfriend move and sleeping. So much sleeping. Just TRYING to get myself rested up and back on top.

The only thing social you can do when you feel terrible is see a movie. So I saw two. The first was The World’s End. This was obviously the boyfriend and his friend’s choice. It’s just as terrible as it looks. Kind of funny, but ultimately pointless. But the second was the film Hannah Arendt.

It was fascinating. Hannah Arendt wrote about the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a former Nazi general. Stemming from her coverage of the trial she studied what she calls the banality of evil. She argues that the worst evil is committed by small people, who commit the evil without thinking. This general says that he never personally caused harmed to any Jewish individuals and that he holds no hatred in his heart for the people. He was simply following orders. His job was to get the people on the trains, he paid no thought to where they were headed – where he was sending them. The fact that a small percentage actually survived the train rides, was not his concern.. it wasn’t his department. Arendt wrote about the trial in a series of articles in The New Yorker leading up to the release of the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Eichmann was viewed as the epitome of everything evil, so her report viewing Eichmann as a rule-following idiot resulted in death threats and lost the respect of several close friends. Despite the outpouring of hate, she stood by her opinion. The film was fascinating. There was a lot that I didn’t pick up on, but nonetheless my roommate and I are completely fascinated with Hannah Arendt and this banality of evil. The book is definitely on my to read list, and I highly recommend heading to the theatre and catching this one!

Focusing on the weekend

nice weekend

When life’s ends start feeling a little harder to keep tied together and work me is feeling extremely overloaded, I fall into a pattern of wishing away the week and pushing all my hopes for crossing off personal to do’s to the weekend. This might be a great coping mechanism for some work-life balance if I actually used my weekends to do those things…but majority of the time, my weekends look more like an exercise in laziness and procrastination to make up for all the work-related drive and productivity. Essentially, I crash.

Don’t get me wrong, my weekends start with Super Yoga Palace and include plenty of fun with as many of my favorite people as I can get, so it’s not like I’m completely useless. But those pesky life administration tasks like responding to my jury duty request and returning the Walmart goods that have been sitting in my room for over a month just don’t seem as important when I actually have time to do them. Case in point, my house.

My roommate and I came into the new place with a lot of big ideas and quite a clear vision for the welcoming, stylish place we would create. Somewhere along the way we reached a “liveable enough” stage, though, and never quite got around to some of the more ambitious projects that include making a bar cart, turning a ridiculously heavy wrought iron table top into wall decor and hemming curtains.

DIY is just not naturally in my DNA, even though I love the idea of it. But after another gratifying yoga practice followed by a delicious brunch at Sundown at Granada and seeing Girl Most Likely with my sister, I’m ready to branch out a little and turn on the focus. My reward? A long overdue housewarming party next month!

While I’m figuring out the difference between flat and satin paint, I highly encourage you to watch this clip from Girl Most Likely. The movie had its pros and cons overall, but this scene alone is a strong candidate for the ‘best things I have ever seen’ list. You’re welcome.

 

Living for the weekend

Although we expected nothing less from my favorite golden child/brother, this past weekend was absolute wedding/family/friend bliss. To top it off, I got some much needed beach time! My feet have never craved sand so badly in my whole life. The wedding was the epitome of simple elegance. Combine that with great music, flowing wine and a family of crazy dancers, you have an al dente recipe for a jolly good time. I haven’t gotten over how much fun I had. Reconnecting with cousins, aunts, uncles and getting to reunite with my soul sista from Spain.. all just magical. Watching my brother so in love and saying his vows to his new wife, was simply everything. And not to up the jealousy scale, but I also got to enjoy TWO morning runs right next to the water. It was still early, so the water was completely still like glass. If there was ever a time to try walking on water, that was it. It looked solid, quiet and peaceful…just begging for a cannonball if you ask me. 

At Tiffany’s, we always stress living every day to it’s fullest and living intentionally. This past weekend was the kind that tempt you to be someone who “lives for the weekend.” I, personally, hate that expression. I hope to never be someone who is just getting through Monday- Friday afternoon. That’s FOUR and a HALF days of living that you’re skipping over. Sure, you might be spending a large majority of that time sitting at your desk working away, but there are ways to soak up that day to day time. And, your’e in luck, I’m going to break down some little things I do for myself everyday. [get excited… ;)]

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Mornings. If you wake up and rush to get to work, you’re missing out on some valuable enjoyable time. For instance, in the mornings I go for a long walk with my dog and either listen to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning (guilty pleasure) or take a book with me and listen to some tunes. Now not everyone can read and walk, or have a dog to walk for that matter, but surely you’re catching my drift. I love that peaceful time when the temperature hasn’t gotten to hot and my neighborhood is still relatively quiet. I also just love coffee. I only have about half a cup or so a day, but I love every sip! So I am always sure to have my coffee in a cute mug, and sip on it while I get ready in the morning. By the time I get to work, I’m already in a faaaabulous mood. 

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Work monotony. Sometimes, work can get a little monotonous. So, to keep me happy during the day I’ll listen to a TED Talk, a new playlist on Spotify and take short little breaks throughout the day if the task at hand is too boring. 

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Post work release. Once you’ve been cooped up all day in an office, I think it’s so important to get moving sometime before you go to bed. You’ll boost your endorphins and you’ll sleep better. This could be going for a run, walk, bike ride, a yoga class or even heading to the gym (if you’re into that, I’m jealous. Gyms bore me to tears). 

All I am saying is, it’s silly to just “get through” the weekdays to get to relax on the weekends. Enjoy the routine of a weekday and find ways to make each day a relatively good day. Maybe for you that’s cooking a delicious meal (you’re welcome to come over ANY time) or getting in bed earlier to snuggle in your covers with a good book. Find your little bit of happiness each and every day. 

 

PS.. hello MATT

Celebrating new beginnings

Rusty Taco DallasRusty Taco MargaritaRusty Taco MenuRusty Taco DallasRusty Taco Dessert    

Like a crazy person, I insisted on cramming my move into a busy work week topped off with a “weekend jaunt,” as the boyfriend called it, to Austin. But even though I fell off the blogging map last week, my absence is responsible for plenty of upcoming posts as I settle into my new house and recharge from the weekend’s activities.

Only thanks to the fact that I have very nice friends, I am officially in my new M Streets home with boxes and furniture stacked throughout. After only 2 broken dishes and one bout of mild panic when I thought I lost half my closet in the move (now found, thank goodness), a new stage of life has begun – one that involves doors to close (revolutionary after loft-life, I tell you), waking up to sunshine and chirping birds in the backyard, running through the tree-lined neighborhood (it’s an option anyway) and most importantly, plenty of quality time with a girl who makes me think, hears me out, calls me out and dances without shame with me to High School Musical while deep cleaning every crack of said house.

We celebrated Day 1 at our favorite Rusty Taco. Between the shaded patio, $2 fresh tacos, clever t-shirts, frozen margaritas and swirls, which they call “splashes,” this is completely my go-to for a casual afternoon and solid yet cheap food. Are there better tacos out there? Some might say yes. But where else can you get an entire delicious meal and drink with absolutely zero pretentiousness for less than $10? And bonus, turns out my new place is just 5 minutes away from Rusty’s! You know where you can find me all summer…

Adventures in Quinoa

gluten-free, dairy-free, mostly sugar-free apple crisp dessert recipe

Somehow my busy weekend managed to feel slow-paced, which brought some much needed de-stressing to stop my lungs from attempting to squeeze my sternum right out of my body (…too graphic?). After some sunny, windows-down drives listening to my 90’s Pop Pandora station and admiring the buildings through downtown Dallas, I settled in for another one of my favorite stress-busting activities – baking. I put in a DVD from The OC: Season 1 and got to work.

While apple crisp is commonly a fall dessert, the lemons in this recipe make this a refreshing dish. Plus the fact that it’s gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free (okay, so there’s maybe just a tiny bit of optional honey) make it a light treat that also happens to be relatively healthy.

healthy, vegan apple crisp dessert

Ingredients

  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 2 small lemons
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour (Ex: Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour)
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg and salt
  • Oil spray

Quinoa

Combine rinsed quinoa with the water, vanilla, honey, one squeezed lemon juice, its lemon zest, olive oil and a dash or two of cinnamon. Bring to boil, cover and reduce to simmer. After 15-20 minutes, test-fluff the quinoa. If it’s still a little wet / clumpy, just recover, turn to low and let sit until dry. When ready, turn off stove and leave covered.

healthy dessert recipe

Prep

Very lightly coat pan with oil spray. Peel apples (I only partially peeled mine to get a little mixed texture from the apple skin). Thinly slice apples – the thinner, the easier they’ll cook through. Fill the pan halfway.

Dust with a handful of flour then with nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Squeeze a little of the second lemon and sprinkle a pinch of salt over the apples.

Mix cooked quinoa with flour then sprinkle the mixture evenly until all apples are covered. Spray one light coat of oil over the top.

Bake

350 degrees until top is crispy and edges are starting to brown (25-35 minutes).

healthy apple crisp recipe

Enjoy!

A clean home is a happy home (and a happy Lydia)

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I’m ordinarily a pretty neat person – with the exception of the clothing tornado that happens each and every morning I get dressed. I like to have a place for everything and consider organizing a great hobby. When my room is a mess, I feel like a mess.

Yet apparently when my roommate goes out of town for the weekend, I become a 13 year old boy with no care for seeing the floor of my room. So I spent the first half of the weekend making a huge mess for myself. That macaroni and cheese pot from Friday night that I regrettably finished all on my own? Feel free to soak till Saturday when I muster up the energy and courage to tackle you. The living room became both my closet and kitchen. Consequently the second half of the weekend I spent cleaning. I came home on Sunday morning [feeling a little rough from too much fun on Saturday night] and couldn’t believe the mess I had created. A few hours of elbow grease later, my apartment now has the oh so sweet aroma of bleach and Windex. Not that this did much to help my headache, but the clean smell is delicious nonetheless. My clothes are back on their hangers and sanity is back in my head.

It’s amazing what organized surroundings can do to change your attitude on well, everything. It energizes you, makes your hair less frizzy and I’m pretty sure I lost weight – okay, maybe that’s excessive. But it really does play so much into how I feel. This whole week has just felt kind of messy. As a result, my dog had shortened walks and my Finding Tiffanys blog posts were lacking. I feel that clean surroundings are part of my 2013 vow to live and eat healthier. Furthermore, when my the items in my life are in place and organized, it’s setting the stage for me to live. And not spend 30 minutes looking for my keys.

I would also like to add on a completely different note, that this weekend I found the jeans. The jeans I’ve been looking for since 1989. Skinny jeans that don’t make me look like a Jonas Brother,  fit around the waist, and are comfortable enough to sit criss cross at work. Thank you Urban Outfitters and your $39 BDG Jean sale, you made this jean seeker incredibly happy.

Making the Most of a Rainy Day

weekend outfitcompany cafe gluten free french toast stickscompany cafe greenville dallasproject rebrief

Can we all just agree that today was the shortest Saturday ever? I can’t believe the day’s nearly over. It’s been grey and misty in Dallas today, the kind of day where you just have no choice but to pull up the covers and and sleep in. Of course, one of the side affects of turning into an adult is now “sleeping in” only gets to me to about 9:30 a.m. tops.

I fought off a near-debilitating combination of laziness and boredom to find some comfy clothes and brave the Texas ‘cold’ for a working brunch. Now cozied back up in my apartment, I may be making a trip downstairs soon for some prosecco to keep me company for a night in with Project Re:Brief, a documentary pictured above about how a couple advertising professionals revisited their most iconic ads from the sixties to create engaging digital campaigns for today’s world. I might even go really crazy and throw in some Netflix. Look out, Dallas…

Today also solidified my previous suspicions that Company Cafe is my favorite brunch restaurant in Dallas. At some point I’ll have to branch out and try out the rest of the menu, but so far their pancakes, brisket tacos, breakfast tacos, gravy and as of today, french toast sticks are all amazing. And it’s all natural and gluten-free! Not just gluten-free, but great tasting and gluten-free, which is easier said than done. My post allergy-diagnosed diet is having me live wheat-less for a little while, so this is particularly good news for my carb-starved soul. Don’t worry, I’m no food critic and I know it, so you don’t have to fear some elaborate, overly descriptive story a la Yelp-style is going to ensue. Just know it’s amazing, and you should go. Plus, you’re supporting local farms and food suppliers, many dedicated to great social causes like Impact Foods, a gluten-free granola company that donates food packs to children for every bad of granola sold. Food that tastes good, makes you feel good and does good…how can you say no to that? (Plus, all their servers at both locations have always been nice, helpful and down to earth. Okay, okay…I’ll try to stop raving now.)

P.S. Lucia was amazing. I’ve fully bought into the hard-to-grab reservation process and high price tag after last night’s meal. Go there, too.

Inspiration: Media high + Finding freedom

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I have had the kind of work week that makes me incredulous that my job is actually considered a job. I got to go to digital media conference in Dallas for two days, which basically means I got to learn (yes!), hear different perspectives on the industry I love and meet new people. For an introvert, it’s amazing how exhilarating it is to walk up alone to a circle of people I’ve never seen before and not only make unawkward conversation (always a win), but also some new friends.

It’s given me a much needed refresher on work life this week and reminded me that I’m lucky to be where I am right now, even though I don’t always remember that. Maybe I’m an optimist (okay, I know I’m an optimist) but when I think back on the different phases of my life so far, no matter how much I struggled or thrived during them, my rose-colored glasses are definitely on. I don’t usually think, “wow this sucked” or “I regret doing this or doing it this way;” for the most part I think, “I’m so grateful for that time because ___.” It helps shift my perspective to tell myself how I’m going to look back on this time of my life and really appreciate it…so I better be appreciating it now!

Feeling ‘free’ has been a bit of a theme for me this week, as you might pick up on from my pinning spree below. These photographs and quotes have been reminding me to take a deep breath, rest a little then get out there and embrace life. I’ve been in a resting phase for a little while now, trying to avoid too many social plans, etc. Now I’m just ready for all that the very busy month of February has planned for me, starting with this weekend: Valentine’s/couples dinner at the very hard to reserve Lucia in Bishop Arts (!), freelance work and celebrating life with friends at a big post-church brunch. Can it just be Friday afternoon already?

Pinterest

Stewpot

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Aside from my weekend routine of dog parks, yoga, and a cappuccino addiction, I really only have one interesting thing to share from this weekend.

A few months ago I read about an organization called The Stewpot. They were featured in an article by the Dallas Observer showcasing their art show they recently had at the Dallas Library. The Stewpot is an organization dedicated to helping the Dallas homeless get back on their feet, and art classes are just part of that. What was so beautiful about this art show was the unexpected (or should it be expected?) talent among the group. The Dallas Observer blogger, Betsy Lewis, described her reaction to one artist in particular’s wall of art work, Charles Williams:

Then I arrived at a wall full of work by an artist named Charles William

I kept saying, out loud, to no one in the room, “holy shit” and “Jesus” and, again, “holy shit.” I even wrote down “holy shit” in case I might forget it later. I know nothing about this person but I know he has mastered, MASTERED, Cubism.

Charles William Faciall Velietta Dickens RogersAs an obsessor of all that is creativity, this obviously caught my attention. I read on to discover that The Stewpot offers services such as helping individuals apply for social security checks, obtain birth certificates, and overall guidance to help acclimate their ‘clients’ to a new job and living on their own.

Around the same time I stumbled across the article, I had been feeling pretty selfish. My mind constantly revolves around where I’ll go next in my career, how I am going to afford Europe in a few months, and where the next coffee shop is opening up in Dallas. Me, me, me, me. I used to enjoy this. As a single 20 something, this is the time in my life I am allowed to be pretty selfish. But I wasn’t sure if I was giving proper thanks to where I was and what I had. If I was always looking to what’s next, how am I supposed to make sure I am appreciative of the today?

All that to say I was compelled to sign up to volunteer. Unforunately, apparantly everyone has these same thoughts around the holiday season so they were pretty booked for weekends through January. So I had to book pretty far in advance, but finally the weekend arrived!

Initially, I was kinda freaked. When I got there there were a bunch of ‘clients’ walking around and I  had no idea where I was going and it was still dark outside. I couldn’t help but entertain the idea of getting back in my car to my warm, cozy and inviting bed. Luckily a fellow lost volunteer found me and together we navigated the unfamiliar “bad part of Dallas” to find where we were supposed to be. After a brief orientation, I was assigned the task of walking around and filling up water cups with a pitcher. Frankly, I was nervous. I don’t think this is unusual. I had no idea what types of personalities I was about to encounter. Plus, I was nervous I would spill the water – waitressing was never exactly my forté.

In the end, I had a great time. While walking around filling water, I chatted with many of the clients and found so many of them to be warm, kind and genuinely good people. The volunteers were no different. They were engaging, fun, and again, genuinely good people. The place where the meals were served was called “The Bridge.” It felt like a campus. They had one huge hall for sleeping, a library, computer lab, showers and lockers. In my opinion, by Stewpot respecting and keeping “The Bridge” clean, their clients have equal respect for the place they call home and those that make it possible.

The best thing that Stewpot is able to provide this group is a feeling of community and safety. The provide it, and they do a great job.

For more information on Stewpot and how you can get involved, check out TheStewpot.org.

xo L