Since moving to Texas, our family has developed our own special Valentine's Day tradition. The boys wake up early in the morning to a red balloon-filled living room and we eat a special breakfast on red glitter heart shaped plates. Then we load up in the van with our bikes in tow and all of the picnic essentials and off we drive to Austin for a day of bike riding around Lady Bird Lake.
This year I decided to try the Puffy Apple Oven Pancake from my favorite cookbook that I got for Mother's Day last year called Family Meals, Creating Traditions in the Kitchen by Maria Helm Sinskey. It was absolutely DELISH!!! I thought I would share it with you.
2 Fuji apples (or other baking apples)
2/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. cinammon
2 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
4 large eggs
1 c. whole milk (I used 1%)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. unsalted butter melted and cooled, plus 4 Tbs.
confectioner's sugar for dusting
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core, and slice apples. Saute apples in 3 Tbs. butter over med-high heat in an overproof skillet (cast iron rocks!). Brown apples slightly, turning as needed.
2) In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, sugar, and salt.
3) In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and 2 Tbs. melted butter and process just until smooth. Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.
4) Pour batter into hot pan over apples and immediately transfer to oven (***Make sure your kids see it at this stage!!)
5) Bake until puffed and golden, 15-20 minutes. (***Make sure your kids see this as it comes out of the oven. It's a huge, puffy, souffle!)
6) Dust with sugar! And enjoy!
Fast forward to the middle of the day and here we are at a park in Austin, starting our picnic lunch. For those of you from Humboldt, you'll appreciate this! This one day in Austin is a little bit like "coming home" in that Austin and Humboldt have a lot of similarities. The bike trails are filled with avid exercisers, moms pushing baby strollers, young men throwing frisbees for their dogs. And there is a youthful, laissez-faire attitude about the place that makes us feel at home a little bit. And the real treat for the day is a bike ride up to Whole Foods' Headquarters/ Flagship store where we stock up on co-op style, yummy "weird" foods you just can't find in good 'ol boy territory; San Antonio.
Abram is about to devour this parmesan-goat cheese cibatta roll. And he loved the terriyaki-marinated-grilled sweet potato spears.
Turns out that Austin was hosting a huge "Kite Festival" on the same day. The roads were blocked with policemen for pedestrians and bike riders and the whole place was PACKED with people on the ground and every kind of kite in the air. I didn't take many photos of the magnificent sights because capturing it all on camera and doing it justice is beyond my expertise at this point.
Crossing a bridge, stopping for a photo op.
Baby Abram stayed asleep for most of the day on Papa's back in the Ergo. Otherwise, he was happy as a clam on his bike taking in the new sights. (Tom was a hit too! He got many comments that I overheard like..."Oh look, how sweet! Theres a baby on that man's back. What a dad!")
Water turtles in the lake
Here's the THREE of us...Riley, Mama, and baby #3 (5 months gestation) in there.
Water turtles sunning on the log
This pretty much sums it up. It was a great day had by all. And as soon as we got home, Riley asked, "When is Valentine's Day going to be again?"