There is something about winter that delights me more than fall ever could. The dreary palette, the stillness, the promise of weekends cuddled on the couch fawning over Frances Ha. This is the first year I’ve been in town to see white cover my historic neighborhood, and it didn’t disappoint. J and I braved the icy roads and headed to The Square.
Q: While we were talking, you mentioned that this was the first Farm to Table dinner you have been a part of. As a chef, what does it mean to you have this kind of “fresh + local” movement in our area?
JD: Right now local is coming on strong in many cities across America. People are tired of being fed food that is shipped across the nation just to save a penny. They’re quickly realizing that the same produce in the store is actually being grown down the street from them. Educating people about this fact and showing them where to find it is priceless. People actually being able to eat the food from the farm they just took a tour of helps connect them with the land and the farm who grew. It means the world to me to be able to be the chef that helped bring it all together.
Q: What was the reasoning behind the dishes you chose to showcase for the dinner?
JD: I chose classical French cuisine because everything was being served with French wine. I was also classically trained in French culinary as well. I think the main reason though was because French cuisine was made to warm the bones in the fall and winter.
Q: What is your absolute favorite fall dish to make?
JD: I would say my all time favorite fall dish would actually be a very simple one. Tomato basil soup with heavy cream and a three cheese grilled cheese. I make it every year for my family when the leaves begin to change. It’s actually a tradition in our family now.
You can learn more about Chef Joey Dawkins and Wodafood here.
So it’s really hard to keep exciting things a secret, but I am committed to shooting a gorgeous farm to table dinner hosted by McKinney’s very own Lake Forest Farm in November. (I know. I know. GIRL SCREAM!) Today was the grand opening of their new Farm Stand, where you can purchase the best of our local fruits, veggies, flowers, etc. I am so excited to be a part of such an incredible addition of culinary greatness to our little big-little town. The organic and health scene is steadily gaining popularity in Texas and we seem to be surrounded by numerous produce stands, farmers markets, and restaurants who source the majority of their food locally.
happy chickens roaming about the farm
my dear friend and talented musician Wesley Ballard just killing it.
earth on tap is uh-mazing. i tried their orange + mint + ginger + grapefuit juice. yum!
lovely little greenhouse filled with aquaponics.
onions so fragrant they made you consider taking a bite.
gorgeous wooden boxes and colorful baskets filled the stand.
and of course they had flawless arrangements.
Le sigh. What an amazing place. What a great night. And we still have so much to look forward to!
Alone time. As I grow older I notice more and more that people don’t have much of this, and don’t desire much of this. The concept of not taking time for oneself baffles me. Time set aside to reflect, relax, and breathe is one of my most cherished activities and something I would miss terribly if it wasn’t within reach. I’m always reminded of the benefits long after my alone time is complete. I feel more rested, yet productive, effective and thoughtful. Sometimes I even feel more tolerant towards others, a desire to be kinder, more compassionate. In a society that’s ridden with codependency and the fear of alienation, there’s a bevy of bona fide reasons to give yourself the gift of being alone, psychological and otherwise. As you finish out this week, take an hour, three hours, or however many you can allot and enjoy the comfort of being with you. You owe it to yourself.
My alone time was spent…
repeating: peasants by houses
snacking: brie + pear + mustard seed panini (recipe soon!)
admiring: the art of alison cooley. swoon.
watching: the great gatsby! for the fourth time.
wishing: this cool weather would stick around for a while.
J and I live on a sleepy street near a flourishing downtown square outside of Dallas, Texas. Our 1940s home is modest for lack of a sweeter term (THERE SERIOUSLY IS ONLY ONE CLOSET OMG!), but it is where we fell in love and have made some of our amazing memories. For that reason, I fall in love with the little place a little more each day. Especially now since we have been using this space to slowly understand our differing interior aesthetic.
Our first project is our den, since we spend most of our time there. I wanted to go for a palette that would effortlessly combine my love affair for art deco + minimalism (seriously how does that combo happen?) and J’s taste for functionality + industrial type decor + nature. So I daydreamed a space with gold, mirrored silver, and dusty hues of blues and natural wood. And of course I wanted to share some of the pieces that have really inspired how we’re developing our interior.
It’s been and will continue to be a time-consuming and costly process, but it’s completely worth it. Hunting for deals, creating pieces ourselves and bringing our tastes together is surely going to make one of the most gorgeous and functional spaces yet! Stay tuned =]
If I was a more romantic writer I’d be composing beautiful sonnets dedicated to Fall. By the time our relentless Texas heat dies down I’m basically on my knees thanking Mother Nature for bringing crunchy leaves and cooler winds, and this year will be no exception. Although true fall doesn’t begin until September 22nd I have decided to make my fall resolutions list! Something I somewhat inconsistently have done since I was in middle school, because as I’ve said before, fall to me is truly the fresh start of the year. (I hate you New Years)
adorable paper courtesy of quill & fox
HAVE A MORE NATURAL DIET
I love the idea of being a vegetarian or vegan. Every stinkin’ time I see one of those foodie documentaries I become super dedicated and cut out everything that I’m supposed to, cause those health statistics really get to me. And I love + eat + sleep + breathe veganism for two weeks, and then my inner baker + chef comes out and I start making cupcakes or spaghetti carbonara. At that point I accept defeat and fall back into my old habits of eating big and heavy meals and judge myself after every meal. I was recently talking to my mom and she’s been on a Paleo-esque diet and has fallen in love with it. In the last 4 months she’s manages to lose almost 50 lbs. and she “hasn’t felt this good in a long time.” If it’s worked that well for my mom and she hasn’t gone completely crazy by now, it’s definitely worth the try. So starting today I am embarking on a 30-day Paleo trial. If I don’t dig the style or results I’ll attempt 30-days of vegan and compare. Regardless, I’ll be eating FABULOUSLY for 60 days. It’ll give me the opportunity to try different recipes and to practice portion control- something my German grandparents are (surprisingly) attempting as well.
BEGIN FRENCH LESSONS (AGAIN…)
I received the Rosetta Stone package to learn French for my birthday in May. I let my “busy” schedule interfere with my dream of learning that beautiful language and I’m SUPER disappointed in myself for not following through with it. I hereby commit to studying the software at least 4 times a week. If that means I have to cut down on my ANTM time, that’s probably a good thing. It’ll give me the opportunity to make some evening tea, have some time to myself, and to accomplish something I’ve been waiting to do for years.
50 DAYS OF YOGA (THANKSGIVING DEADLINE)
Starting today I will complete 50 yoga sessions before Thanksgiving! I have 83 days to complete this challenge, so in theory it should be a breeze. But as I said I’m inconsistent, so maybe not.
DEVELOP A HOME ROUTINE (CLEANING + LAUNDRY + DISHES)
Poor J. Poor, poor J. He literally is the only one who does the dishes in our house, and cleans, and he actually does his laundry. I admire him in so many ways, one being how he just accepts the responsibility of being an adult and gets shit done. (s’cuse my French) Last night I was sitting on the couch playing around on Pinterest, and realized I’d been hearing dishes clang and the water run for like 20 minutes (our home was built in the 40s so obv. we don’t have one of them fancy dishwasher thingys). I got up and hurriedly tried to make it look like I was doing something productive and he definitely didn’t buy it. I certainly need to pick up my slack (and all of my shoes) so by setting a weekly schedule of when I take care of things is sure to help. I’m a girl who like structure and boundaries and lists and stuff so laundry on the weekends + dishes M/W/F + vacuuming/sweeping on Mondays (before Under the Dome of course!)
So these are my goals. Hopefully habit-forming, with positive results. Wish me luck!