The weather has cooled down quite a bit here in South Texas. The Gulf moisture finally got shut off and humidity is low. Highs in the mid-80s and lows in the low-50s - I'm loving this weather!!
This has inspired things like baking granola, going to football games and enjoying hot drinks!
I found a recipe for granola bars in Food Network magazine over the summer. I've been meaning to make my own bars for years and this specific recipe for a few months now. I finally took the time. I wasn't sure what to expect because I couldn't fathom that making granola bars was as easy as the recipe said. If it was that easy, wouldn't everyone just make their own? (Ok, maybe not in a society where you can pay a bit more for pre-chopped veggies...) They filled the house with warm, autumn scents as they baked. I was patient to let them cool completely before gently cutting them into bars (they didn't come out as pretty as a pre-packaged bar). When I tasted one, I was shocked. They were AMAZING! They tasted just like Kashi granola bars....nay, BETTER! How did I make this?! Usually I'm underwhelmed with my own cooking because I'm critiquing it the whole time I eat it. Meanwhile Mike is like "THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN [insert store bought version]!!" But these were fantastic. Pretty much addicting. Today I bought ingredients to make the same kind, but with dark chocolate, as well as Pumpkin Spice granola bars.
Ever since we first moved into our house last fall, we've been threatening to go to an Alamo Heights football game. High school football is huge in Texas, of course, and Alamo Heights is our "home team". We went to the homecoming game a couple weeks ago. I went to a local boutique, "The Spotted Mule", to get us some Alamo Heights Mules spirit gear. We were able to walk to the stadium and the weather was fantastic. Let me tell you, I've been to plenty of high school football games during my times as a cheerleader. Granted that was for a very small school, but I swear this game was only slightly less of a production than an OU game. Wow. Three cheer squads, what seemed like 400 football players on the sideline, giant flags, a dynamic marching band complete with fuzzy hats and capes, even a group of guys similar to the OU Ruf/Neks (minus guns). I was in awe pretty much the whole time. I had a hard time focusing on the game because of all the other side shows. It was mind blowing. I couldn't wait for halftime! Sure enough, dance teams from both schools performed. The opposing team's dance team had ladders that they did a routine with. Alamo Heights' dance team did a clog (tap) routine which included having many men/male students carrying countless panels of flooring onto the field before they performed and then removing them afterward. A mom sitting near us told us they usually do a couple clog routines each season. In the end the right team won and we even had time for gelato on the way home! :)
Something I've enjoyed doing over the past couple months is using Yelp.com. If you're not familiar with it, it's a website that can be used to access and/or post reviews about different businesses. The most obvious and popular use is for restaurant reviews. I love it because I can use it on my iPhone and find great local places near me when I'm out and about. I can also "check-in" wherever I am and the when I log on at the computer it will remind me to write a review. You may have noticed the Yelp box on the right side of my blog. There you can see some of my recent reviews. This resource has been very helpful since we're in a new city and don't know many people yet.
Through Yelp I kept hearing about a local coffee shop called "Olmos Perk" which is located in Olmos Park. (Think "Central Perk" from Friends!) Anyway, they make AMAZING oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and their Tiger Spice Chai is a force to be reckoned with. My first time there, the barista recommended that I get a hot drink next time since they do 'latte art'. I was excited to see this, but it was still hot as heck so I told him I'd have to wait until it cooled off outside. Last week Mike requested that we go there as he had a bit of work he needed to do and the coffee shop would provide a nice setting. When we got there I saw they had pumpkin spice lattes. PERFECT! It was cool enough for a hot drink and I could get a yummy fall drink. The picture even showed a pumpkin as the latte art! When I ordered my drink I requested the pumpkin art specifically (I think it's usually whatever the barista thinks of at that moment). As you can see, he did a great job! This place rocks!