autumnal feast: lake forest farms | part two

Here are some more images of the beautiful dinner put on by Lake Forest Farm. Still reeling from the beauty of the evening, and the delicious treats that were served by Chef Joey Dawkins of Wodafood.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 You can learn more about Chef Joey Dawkins and Wodafood here.

autumnal feast: lake forest farm | part one

There are few things I love more than good food and wine coupled with good conversation. This past Saturday I was fortunate enough to be a part of the fall edition of Lake Forest Farm’s local + organically sourced dinner. Hours upon hours of careful planning and coordination went into this evening; which you’d never be able to tell upon seeing the smiling faces of all the contributors. The ‘fresh and local’ mindset is slowly but surely coming to DFW with community-focused farms popping up all over the map. It’s a great time to be living in NDFW, folks.

Hosting Farm: Lake Forest Farm

Chef: Joey Dawkins

Contributing Farms (Produce):  Sky View Farm, Sunny Side Up Farms & Stonebranch MicroFarm

Contributing Farm (Beef): Truth Hill Farm

Bread: Village Baking Co. 

Wine: La Cave Warehouse

Music: Wesley + Cristina Ballard

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I’m so thankful for these new friendships and the amazing opportunity to work alongside them.

Here’s to many, many more.

family session: ballard vibes

While enjoying the great farm stand opening of Lake Forest Farms  I got to spend some time with some darling friends and their tiny little man. Wes and Cristina Ballard are two incredible human beings, exceptional parents, and super super super talented vocalists. Cristina is a trained opera singer from Mexico and Wes basically plays whatever instrument he feels like and can croon with the best acoustic singers out there. Together they make beautiful music so ethereal you’d mistake it for angels casually harmonizing on gold foiled clouds filled with crème fraîche (I’m not exaggerating!). They’re amazing. They’re also so amazing that when I asked to take a couple of photos of their triumvirate of beauty, they turned into instant models.

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Can’t wait to see more of this gorgeous family and their music! Side note: I’ve heard them cover Set Fire To The Third Bar by Snow Patrol + Martha Wainwright several times and it never fails to give me goosebumps and teary eyes. The moment they have a video of this, I will be sharing it with you all. Whoever and wherever you are. Have I thanked you for stopping by? Thank you.

a local gem: lake forest farms

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.

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happy chickens roaming about the farm

IMG_5624-1my dear friend and talented musician Wesley Ballard just killing it.

IMG_5676-1earth on tap is uh-mazing. i tried their orange + mint + ginger + grapefuit juice. yum!

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lovely little greenhouse filled with aquaponics.

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onions so fragrant they made you consider taking a bite.

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gorgeous wooden boxes and colorful baskets filled the stand.

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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!

the fresh start: fall resolutions

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)

fall resolutionsadorable 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!

getaway: or stop trying to plan out every detail of your life you big dummy

I’m typically an over-analytic planner, but I’ve surprised myself lately and found that the best memories are made on a whim. That’s exactly what happened earlier this year when J + I made a last minute venture down to our dear friend Jordan’s family ranch just outside of Austin. We had no real plans except to raid The Czech Stop on our way there and back. It was a glorious April weekend in Texas. We lazily chatted over coffee in the mornings, while afternoons were spent exploring the wooded acreage and gathering wood from Mesquite trees for an aromatic evening fire. My best friend Alyssa joined us for a day during our getaway and hers is the gorgeous face sprinkled through out these photos. (Love you dearly!)

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home

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It was a rejuvenating mini-trip that left us smiling the whole way back to Dallas. I’ve kicked myself for every previous trip I badmouthed because of “poor planning”. I seriously needed to slow it down and take a massive chill pill. That weekend was exactly what I needed, and I’m so thankful for our friends and the joy these little experiences have left in my heart.

Also: Colorado in 3 days. THREE. DAYS. Trying not to mentally plan out everything with this getaway has been tough, but worth it I’m sure.