BBQ Taste-off: La Barbecue vs Franklin vs John Mueller Meat Co.

This summer a friend of mine finally decide tosolve one of Austin’s little mysteries: who actually has the best barbecue in town? Is it really worth three hours to wait in line for brisket? Really? Let’s be honest. Peter, who is ever the entrepreneur , finally set it up, priced it out and got us all together for a little friendly backyard barbecue taste-off. We all paid $35 for brisket, ribs and sausage from each of the three Austin barbecue beasts: Franklin, La Barbecue and J. Mueller. Oh and there was a keg to wash it all down. While all three were sweaty, juicy, meaty goodness, there was a clear winner for each category. Here is how it went down: we each got a huge plate, each piece had a colored toothpick. No one besides Peter knew which toothpick belonged to which meat house. Whatever tasted the best, we put the that toothpick in the winner’s cup. It was pretty unanimous about the brisket. Hands down we all agreed, the blue toothpick was indeed the tastiest.

BBQ-tasteoff Flyer

Big BackyardDSC_0518 DSC_0514 DSC_0515The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

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DSC_0526Lucy joined the party, what a lucky dog!

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DSC_0529And the winners were:

Brisket: La Barbecue

Ribs: Franklin

Sausage: La Barbecue

I have to admit, I thought Franklin was going to take the cake, but side by side there was no competition for me as far as brisket was concerned. Everyone else agreed too. You can read another review of the event here. And if you don’t have time to wait three hours in line, I recommend the free beer and El Sancho at La Barbecue.

Ridiculously Colorful Cookies and an Exciting Announcement!

I have some exciting news! I am now contributing to an amazingly creative site Brit+Co. ! It was started up by a fellow Longhorn and I couldn’t be more giddy to be creating some fabulous content for this fun site. That being said, if you have any fantastically colorful or delicious recipes or DIYs you’d like to see, please let me know! I want to hear from you.

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My first original piece for Brit+Co. are these Ridiculously Colorful Sugar Cookies . They are perfect for your next spring soirée!

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Want to find out how I took this to…

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These little cuties? Just click here for the full tutorial!

Happy spring everyone!
Enjoy!

How to Make Juice Without a Juicer: Carrot Ginger

I’m not a huge juice drinker, hence why I don’t have a super expensive juicer. But juicing is all the rage. So I’ve tried different juices with friends… I’m not really into crazy juice fasts or fad diets. I really prefer to actually chew and eat my meals. Go ahead, call me a foodie, but there is something about sitting down to a meal that brings me the utmost pleasure.

I have yet to find a green juice that tickles my fancy, but I did fall totally in love with Snap Kitchen’s Carrot Ginger Elixir. After trying a few other carrot ginger juices here and there, I decided it was time to make my own!

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I love a good ginger drink, I think that’s why I love this particular juice so much. I made my juice extra ginger-y but you can adjust that according to your tastes.

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You’ll need:

2 cups chopped and peeled carrots (about four large carrots)
2 cups cold water
4 tablespoons chopped and peeled fresh ginger root (about one three inch piece)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (the juice of half of one small lemon)

Yields approximately 16 ounces of juice.

Kitchen supplies:
Blender
Pitcher
Cheese cloth
Runner band

You can find cheese cloth in the baking or kitchen supple aisle at the grocery store for $2-$3. I have used this method to make iced coffee before with great success! I have not tried it yet, but I think you green juice lovers will be able to use this set up too.

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Start by peeling the carrots and ginger.

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Give everything a good chop!

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Put everything into the blender and add the water.

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Now squeeze in the FRESH lemon juice. It must be fresh, muy importante.

Blend for three to four minutes. You want everything to be as smooth as possible.

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Cover the top of the pitcher with the cheese cloth. Attach it tightly with the rubber band. Make sure it’s secure or the weight of the pulp will cause it to fall and you’ll have to start all over.

Pour the content of the blender over top the cheese cloth.

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Squeeze the pulp in the cheese cloth. You’ll be surprised how much extra juice you can get out of there!

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Now you’re ready to drink up! I think carrot ginger juice is best served extra cold.

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I think this is a great way to make juice at home without a juicer. What’s your favorite juice?

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Have you tried out the new Vine app yet? Click to see this fun video I made of carrot ginger juice!

Follow me on Vine at Natalie Paramore!

Garlicky Hummus with Tahini

Have you ever tried Grandma’s Hummus? Well if you have, then you’re in on the secret. It is the BEST hummus ever. Seriously. Try it (if you haven’t already) and you’ll understand.

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I’ve made hummus before but this time it was totally different. My roommate and I can nosh through an entire container of Grandma’s Hummus in one sitting. No joke. So I finally decided to try my hand at making a homemade version of this deliciousness. I *think* the secret is tahini. I used it in this recipe and it turned out amazing!

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For this recipe, you’ll need:

3 (15 ounce) cans of Chickpeas
1 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice- Must be fresh!
4-6 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of tahini paste
3/4 tablespoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of kosher salt

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I learned a trick from Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum, peel the little skins off of the chickpeas. What a genius! I didn’t even realize there were little skins on canned chickpeas. It worked though! Peeling those skins off really did yield a creamier, smoother hummus.

Let me be honest, it took me forever to peel the skins off. Ok maybe not forever but it did take an hour for me to peel 3 cans of chickpeas. I got caught up on an episode of Homeland while I did it though. Peeling chickpeas is pretty mindless so you can dedicate your full attention to deciphering the chaos that is Homeland.

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Blend everything together in a food processor, reserving 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 tablespoon of paprika for later. Blending times will vary depending on your food processor. You may need to stop and stir everything or give it a tiny splash of water to help everything blend smoothly. The hummus will be thick so it may not blend smoothly through the processor, that’s ok. Give it a taste test and see of you would like more salt or lemon.

Once the hummus has reached your desired consistency, remove and plate. Mix together the remaining olive oil and paprika and spoon over the top of the hummus. It will give the hummus that vibrant orangey, red look.

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Serve with veggies, pita bread, on sandwiches or just eat it with a spoon. Yeah, it’s that good.

What is your favorite way to eat hummus?

Crispy Kale and Chickpea Salad

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m still getting in the swing of things at home and work. I’m so thankful for a 2 day work week. Needless to say, yesterday after I painfully forced myself go to the gym and grocery store, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking. Lucky for me I have an awesome roommate who let me indulge in her super healthy dinner.

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She braised some kale with a touch of olive oil, a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and salt & pepper to taste. She topped it with chickpeas that she also braised with the same red pepper flakes, olive oil and s&p.

She cooked these on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until slightly crispy.

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I added a handful of craisins that my mom sent me home with after the holidays. Roomie topped her salad with some rotisserie chicken.

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Super easy, über healthy weeknight dinner.

Sometimes you just have to let someone else do the cooking!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet Hash

Good Morning! Are you waking up craving a hearty breakfast as much as I am?

Sweet potato breakfast hash is the perfect amount of fill you up carbs with a touch of sweet. I love to eat mine with sriracha to spice it up!

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 For this recipe, you’ll need:

1 medium sized sweet potato (just under 1lb)

1 egg

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

Sriracha if you like

Makes one serving

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 Start off by peeling the skin off of the sweet potato. Use a vegetable peeler (affiliate link) and you’ll be peelin’ potatoes like a champ!

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 Next, dice the sweet potato into one centimeter cubes.

Saute the sweet potato cubes with olive oil over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, may need longer if you’re using more potatoes. Add the garlic salt about half way through. Cooking the potatoes slowly will prevent them from burning and the give them that perfect crisp.

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 Make  little room in the middle of the pan once the potatoes are finished cooking and cook the egg to your desired temperature.

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 Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sriracha.

Happy Saturday!