Minted Blueberry Lemon Water

How refreshing is this? Blueberries, lemon and mint are the perfect combo on a hot summer day. It’s hot out there so it’s important to keep hydrated. This will make it easier to drink more water. Make a pitcher of it and drink it all day!

Do you have any fruit combinations that you would like to share? Would love to hear what you use to help you drink more water!

Ingredients

  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 sprigs of Mint
  • ¼ cup of Blueberries

Directions

1) Drop blueberries in a cup of cold water and use a fork to crush them in the water to release its flavor. Add 2 slices of lemon to the water and do the same.

2) Put the mint inside, garnish with a lemon on the side of cup and serve.

Makes 1 serving. 

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Banana Almond Smoothie

What better way to keep hydrated than to make yourself a smoothie, right? All you need are the ingredients below and a few minutes of your time. Once you make this simple smoothie, everyone around you is going to want you to make them one. It’s also healthy and good for you! 

What do you guys think? Have you tried this combo before?

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, peeled

  • 1 cup almond milk

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Blend all ingredients at low speed until smooth. Pour into cup and serve.

Makes 1 serving.

Shrimp Scampi

Who likes seafood? Who likes shrimp? I really like to make seafood at home because it has to be cooked right and I’m always skeptical if I eat out at a seafood place.

This is a great meal that you can make during the week. It takes about 10-15 minutes. It’s also light (depending on how much butter you use), filling and fresh.

The lime adds a dash of lightness and freshness. Yes, it feels like you’re by the beach eating seafood. Or at least you can pretend, right? Why not?

This is definitely one of my favorite dishes to make.

How do you like to eat your shrimp? What variations of shrimp scampi do you like to make?

Ingredients

  • ½ pound of your favorite pasta (I like to use spaghetti)
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • About 1 pound shrimp, peeled and washed
  • 1 lime
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1) Put pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes. Drain pasta after done.

2) In a large skillet, melt butter and olive oil. Saute the garlic, cayenne pepper, and shrimp until they brown a little. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Reduce to low heat, add wine and let simmer for a few minutes. Remove skillet from hot stove.

3) Add cooked pasta to a plate, pour the shrimp and the buttery garlic sauce on top, add cilantro, put lime on the side and serve.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Ground Beef Tacos

Who’s in the mood for tacos? I love tacos because they’re quick, easy and fresh. You’ll hear me saying those 3 words a lot because that’s what we all want these days, right? Especially in the summer!

I like tacos because everyone at the table can make their own taco! If someone doesn’t like tomatoes they don’t have to use them because there are other toppings to choose from.

I like to keep it fresh and simple but you can really put anything you’d like in tacos!

What do you like to put in your tacos?

Ingredients

  • ½ pound of ground beef
  • 2 cups lettuce, cut
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup red onions, diced
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups water

Directions 

1) Put ground beef in a heated pan, break apart the beef with a spatula and brown for about 10 minutes. Pour 2 cups of water over beef, close lid and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

2) Once the beef is done, put in corn tortillas, add toppings and enjoy.

Makes 4 servings (2 tacos per person).

Q&A With Kathleen Brady Stimpert

I’ve always been intrigued by the Blanton Museum of Art. The building, the artwork within, and its beautiful architecture. I’m also interested in everything that has to do with Public Relations and Marketing, especially at a museum. So I contacted the Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Blanton and asked her if I could interview her for my blog. She said yes.

Where are you from?

I’m from a small town in Louisiana called Alexandria. It’s a cultural desert so I left at the first opportunity that came along when I was 16. I applied to the art school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. They had a program for juniors and seniors in high school and I went there as a classical voice major. It’s based in Winston-Salem so my last 2 years of high school were spent there.

Where did you go after you were done with school in North Carolina?

I moved to Boston and went to Emerson College. While I was at Emerson, I began taking Art History classes. It was a huge game changer for me as I decided to focus on Art History. Then I went to Boston University after Emerson for my sophomore year.

How did you end up in Richmond, Virginia?

My parents had moved to Northern Virginia and they looked into VCU‘s art program for me. I was always interested in new experiences so I decided to move to Richmond, Virginia to finish college. This was extremely helpful in preparing me for New York later on in my life.

What brought you to Austin?

I graduated from VCU in 1996 and I wasn’t crazy about Richmond so I packed my bags and moved to Austin.

What made you leave Austin and move to New York?

I moved to New York in 1999 because I couldn’t find any arts related opportunities in Austin. So when I got to New York, I literally faxed 100’s of resumes to every gallery that was in the Arts Dealers Association guide. It is very competitive, as you know, so I was happy to take anything. I got a job at this one gallery but didn’t really like it. There was another gallery that was close that I was interested in and I would go there and see the shows that they put on. I eventually sent my resume to them and they called me and offered me a job at Forum Gallery.

What were you doing at Forum?

First, it was primarily administrative, then I got offered a sales position at Forum. After doing it for a while, I realized that it really was just a glorified sales job. Just by the turn of events, the PR Director left and the Director of the gallery asked me to take over this position. I enlisted the help of other PR professionals in New York and I just learned on the job. I had never written a press release in my life. I never thought PR would be something that I would pursue.

How did you end up at the National Academy Museum?

A job opened at the National Academy Museum for Director of Communications. The interview must have gone well because I got the job. There’s no better place to do arts marketing than in New York. I was engaging with so many people and it was so interesting but I needed a change. I needed to get out of there. I had been in New York for 7 years and in 2005 I ended up moving back to Austin.

So you moved back to Austin for the 2nd time. What did you end up doing here?

I found a job with the City’s Art in Public Places program. I worked there for 2 years and I liked it because it was new for me but I was doing lots of work that was not really of interest to me. When I saw this job at the Blanton I applied for it and I got it. It’s been wonderful because the museum, over the course of the past 6 years, has changed and grown so much.

What do you do as Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Blanton Museum of Art?

There’s the PR side of it, which entails writing press releases, doing outreach, and then pitching the press/media in hopes that they will cover the shows and exhibitions. Then the marketing side consists of getting the signage, brochures and collateral ready and up.

What suggestions do you have for people who want to get into PR? In a museum?

Identify people in the field and network with them. Continue writing so that you’re constantly honing your craft and so you don’t let that skill drop. Keep yourself open to all opportunities. I thought I wanted to be an art dealer and that wasn’t the right fit for me. Now I’m in PR.

Stay relevant, flexible and responsive to trends in culture. Social media is everywhere so it’s important to have a strong social presence.

Do you have any kids?

I have a 3 –year old son. The older he gets the more he’s able to understand art. The biggest change in my life is that I’ve gotten married and have had a son.

Are you involved with anything else in Austin?

I co- founded Austin’s Cultural Campus. It’s a pedestrian friendly cultural destination comprised of 6 museums, offering exhibitions, performances, shopping, dining, and more. I thought what’s a program that could benefit us all? We all help each other with marketing and we work to build awareness for all our museums.

Would you ever go back to NYC?

No, now that I have a son probably not. I still find it to be the most amazing city ever though.

What are your favorite places to eat in Austin?

Contigo, Hillside Farmacy, Foreign and Domestic, Salty Sow, East Side Café, Barley Swine and Uchi is the best Sushi I have ever had! My husband is a master BBQer. I’m not much of a chef but I love to eat!

What are your favorite things to do in Austin?

I like to walk around the lake in the Mueller neighborhood. I like to go to the Farmer’s market, do yoga, and I love having BBQ at friends’ houses.  

Do you have any pets?

I have a 14- year old cat named Rudy.

Born in a small town in Louisiana, Kathleen needed something that was much bigger and exciting and it looks like she got that and much more. Moving to North Carolina, Boston, Virginia, Austin, New York then back to Austin, Kathleen is not a stranger to travel. She said that her town that she was born in wasn’t “culturally diverse” and now she’s definitely cultured because of her travels, by working at a museum and currently residing in one of the most diverse cities in the nation.

Guacamole

Guacamole is so versatile! Everyone can make it their own way and it doesn’t take a lot. Add more of what you like and don’t be afraid to play around with it. Once you make it a few times, you’ll eventually find your favorite combination.

I like a lot of cilantro and lime juice in mine! The cilantro adds a dash of freshness to it and the lime juice really makes it for me and pulls all the flavors together.

If you’re not making homemade guacamole you need to start! This is the best thing you can make at home because you can control the portions of the ingredients that you put into it.

When I’m craving guacamole all I’m wanting is my homemade guacamole. Once you start making your own, that’s all you’ll be wanting all summer long.

How do you guys like to make guacamole? What other ingredients do you use that I have not mentioned?

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, peeled
  • ½ a red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, diced or torn
  • 2 small jalapeno’s, diced
  • 1 medium sized tomato, diced
  • 3 large juicy limes, squeezed
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips

 Directions

1) Add everything into one big bowl.

2) Pour the lime juice in and don’t be afraid to get in and get messy.

3) Pour guacamole into a smaller bowl and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

 Serves 1-2.

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Black Olive Pasta

I’m so excited to make one of my favorite pasta dishes for the 4th of July! This is so festive because it has the colors of red, white…and all you need to do is incorporate some blue around the table. My napkins have stripes of blue in them but really any pop of the color blue anywhere will work just fine!

A great side to the BBQ you’ll be grilling and if you feel like going vegetarian you’re going to want to make this in addition to your other favorite recipes and sides.

What are you making for the 4th of July?

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Black Olive Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bow tie pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup, diced, black olives

Directions

1)   Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Drain pasta into a large bowl.

2)   In a medium skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook smash them with a fork or use a potato masher. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky style sauce. Add black olives and cook with tomatoes for about 2 minutes. Transfer the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Add the basil leaves and mozzarella stirring while you add. Serve immediately.

Makes about 4 servings. 

Q&A With Molly Siegler

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Molly Siegler is the Culinary Content Editor at Whole Foods Market, where she puts her knowledge and love of food to work by coordinating the creation of editorial culinary content like recipes for the website, email newsletter campaigns, social media channels and more.

I sat down with Molly last week to see how she’s lovin’ this city and all the things that come along with it.

Mary: Where are you from?

Molly: Winfield, Kansas

Mary: When did you move to Austin?

Molly: January 2013

Mary: What brought you to Austin? 

Molly: I was blogging for Food52 and through that I got an offer at Whole Foods.

Mary: What do you do as the Culinary Content Editor at Whole Foods?

Molly: I primarily direct recipe development, do different promotions for recipes, and I edit and publish the Whole Foods Market newsletter. We’re already working on holiday stuff!

Mary: You have a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. What made you want to go to culinary school?

Molly: I realized food issues in college and I was interested more about the people and not just the food. I love providing recipes for customers so I’m glad that’s what I get to do.

Mary: What was food life like at home for you?

Molly: We all cooked together and ate together. It’s not like my mom just cooked and we all came home and ate. We all helped and were a part of the process.

Mary: What is your favorite place to eat in Austin?

Molly: Contigo

Mary: What are your favorite things to do in Austin? 

Molly: Lady Bird Lake and really anything outdoorsy.

Mary: What suggestions do you have for people who want to get into the editorial aspect of the food industry?

Molly: Read as much as possible. Read tons of blogs and cookbooks. Get familiar with what’s already out there and the writing opportunities that are available. Know your grammer and writing conventions.

Mary: Do you have any pets?

Molly: Yes, I have 4 rescue cats. My goal is to start volunteering regularly with Austin Pets Alive.

What’s not to love about Molly? She’s a chef who gets to share recipes with the world at Whole Foods Market and she loves animals! Molly seems to be adjusting just fine in Austin, Texas with her new job, husband and 4 cats. It seems like this is the perfect place for her since she’s a foodie, has pets and loves the outdoors. Only time will tell all the exciting things that the future holds for Molly as she starts the next chapter in her life.

Sausage Spaghetti

This dish is one of my traditional, quick, go-to dishes when I need something in the moment and I need it to be hearty.

The vegetable combination really gives this dish its flavor and pulls everything together. I know you’re probably wondering where is the salt? I try not to use a lot of salt if I can. In this case, the pasta sauce that I’m using already has salt in it and so do the sausages. This much salt is enough in order for it not to overpower the other flavors in the dish.

When I think of Italian this is definitely one of the things that comes to mind. The vegetable combination really gives this dish its flavor and pulls everything together. What are some of your favorite ways to cook pasta? What kinds of combinations do you like to try?

Sausage Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 4 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 sausage links, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup pasta sauce
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

1) Put olive oil in a skillet and over medium heat with minced garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown, add the bell pepper and red onion.  Keep stirring the pepper, garlic and onions until they turn into a golden brown. Then add tomatoes with the sausages and stir around until the sausages began to brown. Once they brown, add pasta sauce, close lid and let simmer on low for about 10 minutes.

2) Put spaghetti in a pot of boiling water and cook.

3) Once the spaghetti is ready, drain and rinse with cold water.

4 ) Put spaghetti onto plates, ladle the sauce with everything over it and serve warm.

Serves 4 people.

Q&A With Chloe Chiang

Chloe Chiang is a 2011 UT graduate who has been in real estate for four years now and loves every minute of her job and the city that she lives in. Last week I sat down with Chloe to ask her a few questions about Austin, TX and real estate, two of her favorite things!

Mary: Where are you from?

Chloe: Born and raised in the Houston Texas area in Missouri City.

Mary: Why real estate?

Chloe: I enjoy all the different aspects of real estate. I never get bored and I’m always learning something new. It’s about being educated about everything in the city and around you. Plus, I’m my own boss. I don’t have any one telling me where to be or what to wear. I have a lot of freedom being a real estate agent. I set my own goals, not some company goal.

Mary: What are some of your favorite places to eat in Austin?

Chloe: Uchi, Uchiko, Food Heads, Eddie V’s and Ramen Tatsu.

Mary: What are you favorite things to do in Austin?

Chloe: I like going to the lake, music festivals, relaxing, watching TV series, working out, hanging out with my dog and happy hours.

Mary: What’s the one place you would like to visit if you could go anywhere in the world?

Chloe: Thailand! I hear the beaches and food there are amazing.

Mary: Do you have any pets?

Chloe: I have a 10lb maltipoo named Mia Bella.

Mary: What suggestions do you have for people who would like to get into real estate?

Chloe: Do your research. Pick a real estate company and interview multiple of them. Make sure the one you pick is the right one for you. They need to be good mentors and support you through all the steps that you take.