texas adventures + cousin christina’s apple oatmeal

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Hey everyone! I am back in Iowa after a lovely few days with my cousins. I had a great time down in Texas, and am so thankful to have such a wonderful family :-) Tomorrow I leave for cross-country camp, but I thought I would share a few thoughts about my trip before I embark on another adventure!

Texas was…different, of course, but I felt so welcome at my cousins’ home that it felt like home. My cousins live in Ft. Worth, Texas, in a historic neighborhood. Taking walks through the neighborhood, I felt like I could be on Summit Street in Iowa City (except the sidewalks are wider, which is perfect for companion running!). Their house is quaint, full of color and life. I bunked in Vivian’s room, which is painted a bright, awakening, warm orange.

My days in Ft. Worth were filled with wonderful food (more on that later), playing “deer” with my little cousins, going to yoga class, chatting with Christina, journaling (a great outlet for me since I wasn’t blogging), reading Eat, Pray, Love, grocery shopping, playing Loopit, visiting the Science & History museum, and visiting other Texas relatives. Overall, it was a very relaxing trip, and a much-needed change of scenery/routine.

One of the highlights of my trip was going to Bikram yoga with Christina. Bikram yoga is “hot” yoga involving a certain sequences of asanas, or poses. The studio is heated to around 100 degrees (I suppose we could just do the class outside in the Texas heat?!), and the classes are 90 minutes, with half of the poses standing & half of the poses sitting. These classes (I went to two while I was in Texas) were awesome. It was a cleansing experience, and it made me challenge myself in ways I have never done before. The poses, the breathing, the heat, they all helped me focus my mind. I just felt so good when I was done! I am now in the search for a studio similar to the one I attended in Ft. Worth.

Another highlight of my trip was, of course, the food! Christina is a fab cook, and it was fun to share my appreciation of food with her. None of the dishes she makes are complex & complicated, which fits my style very well :) Here are some of the dishes that made my heart sing: cheesy scrambled eggs, whole-wheat English muffins with Smart Balance & dark honey (or with Justin’s All Natural Maple Almond Butter..ooohhh my SO delicious & sweet natural Jif PB), lime & cilantro marinated salmon, apple oatmeal, corn quesadillas, and peach iced tea. Eating in Texas was so simple. Christina really paid attention to what we were eating, making sure to get a little of everything at each meal; I appreciated that! Christina also made “snacky” lunches, which could include: crackers, cheese, ham rolls (slices of ham rolled up), yogurt, fruit (fresh & dried), and nuts. It was fun for me to not have to cook anything while I was there; it was fun to be a true house guest :)  Now, that food was just made by Christina. We also dined at some delicious restaurants! I hit myself over the head because I did not take ANY pictures (not a single one!) of my food adventures. Gosh darnit. I’m sorry for the lack of visualization! Anywho, the first restaurant we went to was called La Familia, and it was what else? a Mexican restaurant. You could tell right away when you walked through the doors that this was a restaurant that really cared about its customers, its food, and its traditions. Everything there was freshly made every. single. day. And pure, natural ingredients were used! The food did not disappoint. As you sat down at the table, fresh chips & salsa was brought to your table, as was fresh, chunky, yet smooth, guacamole. The menu was so expansive, I didn’t know what to order! Enchiladas? A quesadilla? In the end  I ordered chicken tacos with a side of rice & beans. Simple is best :) Before the main dish was brought out, you received a small cup of bean soup. This bean soup was salty, delicious, and refreshing. Soon, I mean, very soon after that, the chicken tacos sat in front of me and I was ready to dig in! Mmm! They were fantastic. Thick, flour tortillas wrapped up sweetly marinated chicken breast. Flavorful rice and the BEST refried beans I have ever had accompanied the tacos. The beans were creamy, buttery, salty, smooth. They were topped with cheesy goodness. So dang delicious! After that Mexican meal, I was sastisfyingly full :) Another of my fav restaurants we ate at was a quirky vegan (yes, vegan, not vegetarian!) joint that served just about everything. There, I ordered a Hot Hummus Wrap with a side of fresh watermelon. The whole-wheat wrap was served warm and filled with creamy hummus & tahini dressing, avocado, carrot, broccoli, olives, bell peppers, black beans, and corn.  A great lunch accompanied by great company & conversation with Christina.

Ahhh, recapping my Texas adventures feels great. I had a wonderful stay, and enjoyed talking with Christina about everything! It was so nice to have some girl talk ;) I can’t wait to visit again! I brought back so many foodie ideas. This morning I attempted to recreate Christina’s cheesy scrambled eggs for my dad and I. They were good, just not the same! I’ll need to practice a bit more to get the hang of it :) The scrambled eggs were served with whole-wheat English muffins (butter with raspberry & rhubarb jelly for Dad, maple almond butter and Maranatha PB for me), coffee for Dad and a glass of milk for me. A lovely breakfast! But, today I’ll be sharing one of Christina’s breakfast creations: apple oatmeal. This oatmeal is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted…it’s almost yogurt-y, filled with cinnamon, banana pieces, raisins, and walnuts.

Cousin Christina’s Apple Oatmeal

1 package Quaker Lower Sugar Instant Oats, Apples & Cinnamon

1/2 cup organic oats

1 cup plain Silk soymilk

Mix ingredients together and microwave for 2.5-3 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Add in: chopped walnuts or pecans, bananas, raisins. Enjoy!

I hope y’all enjoy the week, and I’ll be blogging upon return from XC camp!

Abby


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