Sunday, August 31, 2014

Texas Hill Country Living

The nicest part about living in San Antonio is all the activities we can experience within a day's drive. We love visiting Fredericksburg and the wineries on Highway 290. Recently, we stopped in the little town of Blanco and enjoyed a nice day there.

First, we stopped for some BBQ at Old 300. It was amazing! The brisket was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the ribs fell right off the bone. My BBQ stuffed baked potato was a huge hit! They let you fix it up all by yourself. The interior is decorated cute and locals were coming in the whole time we ate there. On Saturdays and Sunday they have a special type of brisket made with Wugyu beef. We can't wait to go back and try it!

We then went down the street to visit and tour Real Ale. They are known for their Fireman's 4, which is a pale ale. Right now Real Ale is only available in Texas. The tour was fun and laid back. They give you tastings (and tour) for free! It is offered only on Fridays, but I highly recommend bringing a group of friends and hanging out. They have picnic tables outside and allow dogs. And their beer tastes good!

Next we ventured down Ranch Road 1623 (which leads to Fredericksburg) and stopped at Albert Ice House. We have been wanting to visit it for quite awhile. They had their windows opened, letting you know they were open. The bar inside was so cute and unique! The have a food truck outside that is ready to satisfy your hunger, cold beer to quench your thirst, and a dance hall for your two-stepping nights. Old Texas Charm was everywhere here. The owners take great pride in it! We signed our name on the Guest Log (an actual log!) and hope to see it hanging from the ceiling one day.

Another Sunday we ventured off in the opposite direction of Blanco, towards New Braunfels. New Braunfels offers two rivers for guests to float: the Comal and the Guadalupe. We have heard that the Guadalupe is the prettiest to float but unfortunately it was too low when we came. Make sure you look up the river levels before you venture down! It was so low we would have had to carry our tubes most of the way; not relaxing! 

We stopped at Texas Tubes to gather our tubes. They are located right on the Comal River. So you park, rent your tubes, hand over your keys as a deposit, and then take the stairs to the river! Then at the end of your float there is a bus waiting for you. It was very convenient. We wanted to be there early Sunday morning to beat the rush of people plus the hot weather and bright sun. Perfect timing. The Comal is about 2 miles long and it took us 3 hours to float. 

Two great things about getting there early: you miss the crowds and its peaceful. When we finished, a lady said their tube shop just put in 400 tubes! When we got back to Texas Tubes, it was all rowdy with kids blaring their radio and coolers full! Fun, but just not what were were looking for that day. The bad thing about being so early on a Sunday: you can't drink any alcohol until after 12 pm. 

We saw a lot of deer and turtles. Unfortunately I was too scared to take my phone on the trip, so all our pictures during the float are on a waterproof camera. I need to get that developed soon. Wear a lot of sunscreen and have fun!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chocolate Cereal (Paleo)

I have decided that if I want to continue blogging about our fantastic Paleo Meals I need to take some camera classes. Or at least invest in a good camera! Photos still don't do food half the justice they deserve!

Today I am going to share 'Against the Grain's recipe for Chocolate Cereal. This is my favorite snack and easy on-the-go breakfast. If I knew we are going to have a busy week, I will prepare this on Sunday. Warning: it does take a lot of time. If you have a dehydrator, it is a lot easier. If not, you can still use an oven. Just be expected to spend the whole day at home. Knock out some other chores while you wait on this to cook.

Chocolate Cereal

1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw pecan halves
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 cup honey
3 tablespoons raw coconut oil
2 tablespoon raw cacao
1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks (or more if you love chocolate!)

Place all the nuts and seeds in a bowl, add enough water to cover by 1 inch, and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Cover and let soak for 24 hours.

Drain the nuts and seeds and place on a paper towel to absorb the remaining water. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and pulse the nuts until they're the size of oats.

Place the honey, coconut oil, cacao, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat until the cacao has dissolved. Add to the food processor with the cinnamon and remaining salt. Pulse twice to combine.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and mix with the coconut with a spoon. Turn the mixture out onto 3 parchment-covered dehydrator trays, spreading into thin layers. If using an oven, thinly layer on a parchment-covered cookie sheet.

Dehydrate at 120 degrees F for 24 hours, turning the granola with a spatula twice. The cereal may feel a little sticky but it will crisp up after cooling.
Place in the oven at 170 degrees F. Use a wooden spoon to prop the door open to let any extra moisture out. After 2 hours, carefully stir the cereal. Dry for another hour with oven door cracked open. Turn the oven off, shut the door and dry for another hour.

Transfer cereal to a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled, stir in the chocolate chunks.

We have found that storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge helps it keep longer. Feel free to add any fruit into it as you would like! I love raspberries with mine. Rob loves to add coconut milk to his. Enjoy!