Holiday Feasting:  Bacon, Pecans, & Blue Cheese Green Beans

Howdy y’all

First up on my Holdiay Feasting series of blog recipes is my favorite way to enjoy green beans. A few years ago I played around with a few recipes for green beans casseroles and created this deliciousness treat that has now become a traditional dish with my family. Seriously, bacon, pecans, and blue cheese! I had myself at bacon! This recipe is simple and relatively quick leaving more time for other recipes or the reason for this joyous holiday. Celebrating all that we are thankful for with our loved ones. 

Ingredients:

– 1 lb fresh green beans 

– 4 slices of bacon 

– 3/4 cup of blue cheese crumbles 

– 1/3 cup chopped pecans

– 2 cups of ice

Directions: 

  • Chop stems of green beans
  • Boil green beans
  • Fry bacon to extra crispy 
  • Drain green beans and shock in ice bath until completely cooled
  • Drain green beans and pat dry
  • Toss in pan with bacon grease 
  • Add blue cheese crumbles and allow to melt
  • Last stir in chopped pecans and bacon

Quick, simple, and delicious. 

 
 
 
   
  

Enjoy, 

Sydney Charming 

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What happened to the Golden Rule?

The other day I saw someone post a picture of a guy wearing a white suit in line at what looked like the ER. This poor guy must have been mortified because from the picture it looked like he pooped his pants. The picture was taken from behind so the guy probably had no idea it was taken. Why?

That’s what I asked when I saw the picture. Now the acquaintance that posted the picture has alway posted dumb things. Usually I ignore them, but this one saddened me. What happened to the Golden Rule? What happened to respecting another person’s dignity?

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Do unto others as you would have them do to you. In high school and college and volunteered and worked for a summer camp. Children’s Association For Maximum Potential Camp or C.A.M.P. Camp. A very special camp because we adapted all the activities so that children with disabilities could participate. It was an eye opening experience, to be a camp counselor, 15 years old, taking care of a child that couldn’t community their every day needs. Working with these children, taught me so much about dignity and empathy.

I remember my first camper was a 6 year old girl that had Angelman Syndrome. She didn’t talk, had difficulty walking and always appeared to be so happy. Those are some of the characteristics of Angelman Syndrome. Because of the disability she was born with causes severe intellectual development, I wasn’t sure what she could and couldn’t comprehend. Her parents indicated her mental age was equivalent to about a 1 year old. Stop and imagine this. Imagine being a 6 year old child, now imagine having difficulty walking, not being able to understand words, or any speech. Imagine waking up day-to-day, as a growing human being and possibly not having any thoughts on what’s going on around you and just following along as guided. Not being able to say I’m hungry, tired, full. It’s a very special life. You bring understanding, patience, and beauty to the world.

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One day my camper had an upset stomach and already leaked through two changes of clothes. I already sent her other clothes to be washed but I couldn’t let her skip her activities while we waited for clean clothes. She only gets to experience camp once a year. So I dug through my, trunk of clothes and dressed her in my clothes. They were a little big but she still got to have fun.

That was just my very first camper. Over the next few years, throughout high school and college, I had the privilege of taking care of many special campers. Each one taught me different things about disabilities, enjoying every precious life, and respect others.

Remember, no matter how educated, talented, rich, or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all about yourself. Integrity is everything. Do you feel like people treat you the way you want them to? Have you treated them with the same respect or better if they have not?

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HEAVEN’S VERY SPECIAL CHILD

A meeting was held quite far from Earth! It’s time again for another birth. Said the Angels to the LORD above, This Special Child will need much love. His progress may be very slow, Accomplishments he may not show. And he’ll require extra care From the folks he meets down there. He may not run or laugh or play, His thoughts may seem quite far away, In many ways he won’t adapt, And he’ll be known as handicapped. So let’s be careful where he’s sent, We want his life to be content. Please LORD, find the parents who Will do a special job for you. They will not realize right away The leading role they’re asked to play, But with this child sent from above Comes stronger faith and richer love. And soon they’ll know the privilege given In caring for their gift from Heaven. Their precious charge, so meek and mild, Is HEAVEN’S VERY SPECIAL CHILD.

by Edna Massionilla December 1981 The Optomist- newsletter for PROUD Parents Regional Outreach for Understanding Down’s Inc.

Reverb and Dave Matthews Band Bama Green Project

Have you read Laudato Si’’ ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME by Pope Francis? Applause if you have and completed it. I’m only at section 64 of 240 sections. Obviously I can’t speak too in depth about it. So far I under stand we should be more aware of our environment and help to care for it.

We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

Yes! I love volunteering! I found a pretty cool organization called Reverb, that I recently volunteered for. They are definitely making some moves to change the impact music tours have on our environment. Austin is know for live music and amazing concerts. So Reverb coming through helps with band tours help our community greatly.

REVERB is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2004 by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Adam Gardner of Guster. REVERB creates and executes comprehensive, custom programs to green the tour itself while engaging concertgoers to take action for the environment.

Pretty cool huh? I had the opportunity to volunteer with them for the Bama Green Project for the Dave Matthews Band 2 sets tour, at the 360 Amphitheater Circuit of the Americas. Some of the things they do consist of setting up Eco Villages, encouraging recycling, providing bands with aluminum reusable water bottles to refill, switching the tour busses to biodiesel, just to name a few. But so much work and planning goes into these tours. The volunteer coordinator explained to us that our volunteer t-shirts and the merchandise were designed about a year in advance. Organic merchandise, shirts made out of recycled materials.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden was the local organic farm they partnered with. As a volunteer, I helped sell these awesome water bottles, made from recycled materials, before the concert started. The money that was raised selling the water bottles was donated to Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Then the monetary value of organic produce from JBG was donated to the Austin Food Bank. So much done for the local community!  Oh, and by volunteering, I got general admission into the concert. I highly recommend volunteering with them when they come through your town.

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This Is My Confession

Big girls don’t cry right? If only that were true! So I wrote about PMDD in The Fear of Falling Apart II, and how it can bring me to tears. Of course, life must go on, and I can’t let it define me. Even though I can be in an incredible amount of pain, sometimes I have too much going on to stay crying about. How do I pull myself together and look put together?

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Let me introduce you to my best friend for that, Confessions of a Concealaholic by Benefit. The current kit I have was a little dismembered by one of my Godsons that wanted to color.
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It’s s adorably packaged like a diary. Inside, there’s a mirror! Perfect if you’re using it on the go.
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There’s also a booklet, detailing how to use each product, creatively written like journal entries.
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My knowledge and use of make products is not very vast, but this takes me from a blotchy-eyed mess to a glamorous bright eyed beaut.
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My questions for y’all:

Has anyone else used this fabulous miracle? What did you think?

Any other recommendations?

8 Central Texas Day Trips For Kids

******Wow! The first time I posted this summer fun list was two years ago. Now these two munchkins are teenagers going into high school! (They are also both taller than me!) So far, every summer, they still ask me to take them on at least one YO Adventure. *****

First Day of a new school year is less than a week away for most Central Texas schools. There’s still plenty of time to take your family on a few adventures! The past two years, majority of my spare time was spent adventuring Central Texas with my baby Sister and Godson.

Catherine and Dominic are just about the same age, just a few months apart. As they we coming into their preteen age, they started developing the own attuides. So, to get them out of the house and back down to earth, I started taking them on day trips. Dominic is fan of Drake, and around the time we started these adventures “Y.O.L.O.” was a popular phrase. While taking pictures of our trips, they started posing as a “Y” and “O”, calling them “YO Adventures.” Aren’t they cute?

Well here’s a list of a some of our “YO Adenventures” in the Central Texas area. Most of these places are inexpensive and only need a day to conquer! Don’t forget to pack bug spray, sunblock, and stay hydrated. Have fun and use  #YOAdentures if y’all post pictures. Our instagram is  @YOAdventures

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Jacob’s Well: Wimberley, TX

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Enchanted Rock- Fredericksburg, Texas

*hiking

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Glass Bottom Boat Tours -San Marcos, Texas

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McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, Texas

*swimming, hiking, and camping

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Canoeing – Austin, Texas

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Kayaking -San Antonio, Texaimage
image Fiesta Texas – San Antonio, Texas

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Sea World – San Antonio, Texas

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Barton Springs – Austin, Texas

Taste Texas: Castroville: Haby’s Alsatian Bakery

A deliciously delightful Texas must stop, Alsatian bakery on the drive home. I’ve mention plenty of times before that I am from the city of San Antonio, but my Mom’s family’s hometown is D’Hanis, Texas. Located slightly southwest of San Antonio, a beautiful Texas country side drive down Highway 90. 

 Some thing else I may not have mention, I went to elementary school outside of the city, in the first charming small town going down 90, Castroville. St. Louis Catholic School, now we’re talkin’ real small town, schooling. When I attended, there was only about 100 kids in the entire school. So one class of about 15 to maybe 20 students for each grade level. Yep, I had the same classmates every year. Well, one of my favorite Texas bakeries, was just down the street and around the corner from my school. (Actually, everything in this town is basically down the street and around the corner.) 

    

Last week my Mom and I were driving through town and stopped by. We ended up sparking a petty good conversation with the friendly staff and customers. “The meat market down the street, Dzuiks, how do you pronounce the name?” Everyone pronounced it differently. “The ‘D’ is silent.” “No, the ‘Z’ is silent.” “I’ve always pronounced it with a ‘J’ sound.” I guess next time I’m passing through I’ll have to stop by for some deer jerky and ask the staff. 

 Haby’s Alsatian Bakery! Castroville is a French-Alsatian settled town. Founded by Henri Castro, in 1844. A lot of the original settlers from Alsace, influence is still visible today. Haby’s has an assortment of fresh baked pastries. So delicious, light, fluffy, and sweet. They also bake cakes for every occasion. Oh, the oatmeal raisin cookiesare my favorite! 

 

A Family Tradition: Quinceañera

I remember turning 14 and my mom asking me if I wanted to have a quinceanera. (These extravagant birthday parties take about a whole year in advance of planning.) “No thank you,” I replied. I was a really shy kid. A crowd of people watching me attempt a dance. Nope.

 One of my cousin’s recently had her Quinceanera in our family’s hometown of D’Hanis, Texas. Emily has grown into a beautiful lovely young lady. I remember there was quite a big scare when she was born. Her mother is my second cousin. (It’s weird cause she looks much like my mom but she’s family so that makes sense.) Anyway, my cousin Donna went into labor at just a mere 25 weeks of pregnancy. I remember Emily was so tiny. There was neonatal experts taking care of her.

 She made it through and now she’s 15 years old! I’m not really close with her but a birthday celebration is a huge milestone and it was amazing to see who she has become.

 She was surrounded by her parents, and school friends. She still seems kind of quiet and shy, just like I was.   Quinceaneras usually have a Mass at church, then a dinner followed by a waltz and then a dance for everyone to join in. While the finally set ups for the dinner were taking place we were entertained by some mariachis and a little dancing. I had to leave before the dance to get back up to Austin but again. I love getting celebrate and see how lovely of a little lady Emily has grown into. 

Fear of Falling Apart II: Living with PMDD

It’s absolutely life crippling! The overwhelming rush of anxiety, the excruciating pain that brings you to tears and the depressing thoughts that consume you. As soon as it starts I wish it would stop. Heck, I wish it would never even start. 

Today, I’m trying second by second to pass the time. I started trying to organize my clothes, so that I can take some for donations to flood victims. Here I am, two hours later with barely any progress. I have to keep stopping because the cramps back pain fell like someone is stabbing me with red hot iron rod trying to brand me. Lay down, stretch, cry, get up move a few pieces of clothes, feel a surge of pain, feel like passing out, fight tears, sit down, lay my head in my knees, fight more tears, hug my legs so that I’m in a fetal position, give up, lay down cry and repeat.

So what is PMDD? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Say what? Premenstrual? Isn’t that PMS? The answer is yes, but it’s much more severe. The cramps and back pain, the emotional and behavioral symptoms are intensified.

Relationships with friends, family and loved one are often damaged. My family has learned to be understanding and supportive. They help me by asking about my diet, giving friendly reminders to consume plenty of calcium and vitamins. I’ve lashed out a few time or broken down in tears with them. They’ve prayed with me and help through it.

Ugh relationships! I know I sure have jumped the gun on scaring some away. The anxiety creeps in and takes over. I wanted nothing more than to be hugged and comforted through this time. Usually it comes across as me being needy, because I’m not ready to reveal what I’m actually going through. “Oh hey, btw, I have PMDD it’s like PMS but a million times worse. Now hug me and don’t let go until it’s over but watch what you say to me please.” Even my best friend now still gets frustrated because I bottle up a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking and lash out little things I normally wouldn’t mind.

I don’t like that I have to go through this every month. I especially don’t want to burden anyone else. It’s 10 days! 10 days that will eventually pass. I forget how intense it can be until the next month rolls around and I am back on the floor uncontrollably cry because of the pain and emotional waves I’m feeling. It seem to have amplified with some of the recent stresses I’ve felt. My best friend helped me discover I’m very expressive with my thoughts, in my writing about things, I wouldn’t otherwise say out loud. We’ve worked on some of my communicating what I’m feeling through writing. Making writing therapeutic and sometimes a way for getting that turmoil out. It has helped us both. As you can now understand some of my more personal articles have been working through these things and more like letters. My friend has often read my writings and told me they had no idea that’s what was going on in my head.

I captured this picture of myself trying to fight the awful thoughts going through my head and the physical pain I am feeling. No filtering, this is me at, what I think is my worst reflection of myself. I have been cry all day. Thoughts normally that would never cross my mind anxiously build up. “I am home alone. My dog is my only friend. I’m hurting so much right now and what if I pass out and nobody knows. Where is my friend. Why isn’t he here. Am I doing something wrong? I haven’t let him get to know me because I keep so much thoughts hidden inside. When will this pass? What if he doesn’t like who he thinks am I. I feel like I’m about to pass out. What if he doesn’t really know me. Is this a panic attack? I need to tell him all this stuff now. Understand that this passes and I will be back to my sarcastic busy self soon. Busy self, I have so much I have to do. Am I too busy? Am I not giving enough attention to all the people I care about? I can’t move. My back hurts so bad. I need to sit down.” All this within seconds, on repeat in my head. Whatever hormones I get an excise of during this time, that makes me feel like there’s an emotional and physical storm happening to me, I strongly dislike you!

It’s been so hard living away from all my loved ones. Writing, taking hikes, and working on recipes help when I can pull myself together. There are days were just turning in bed feel too much to bare. Sometimes I wish to be able to move back and be around all of my family and close friends. Then, like right now, something happens that helps me be at ease. Scrolling down Facebook someone posted Psalm 55:22.

“Cast your cares on the Lord & He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.”

I know I’m not alone and God is here with me. This is temporary and I will get through it. Until then I have to remember to redirect my thoughts to prayers and just talking with God. I pray for all the ladies, and their loved one, out there going through the same thing. Have patience and peace you’ll get through it. I pray for anyone that has long term anxiety, depression or chronic pain. I know that is a different monster to battle than what I face. Just breathe and even though I may not personally know you, know that I understand a little of what you’re going through and I’m praying for you.

Taste Texas: San Antonio: Casa Rio

It’s the Riverwalk. It’s family. It’s delicious Tex-Mex food. It’s tradition. What else do you think of when you hear someone mention San Antonio’s Casa Rio? 

My mouth waters, my stomach hungrily grumbles, I feel all warm and fuzzy and I think of the countless memories eating there with my family.  I’ve mostly eaten on the patio, so I picture those iconic vibrantly colored table umbrellas along the river walk. Centrally located, it’s so easy to find. Commerce, “you know right by that big red sculptor, but go down stairs along the Riverwalk.”  If you’re from San Antonio you probably given directions like this.  My grandma and I usually order the Regular plate: “A Favorite Since 1946 – Cheese enchilada, tamale, chili con carne, mexican rice, and refried beans.” Did you read that? Do you see the picture? It’s so much food! Oh glorious Tex-Mex food!

The restaurant was established in 1946. Making this one of the oldest restaurant and businesses on the Riverwalk. They host private events and with their historic space and catering. They even have river barge dinners. Next time your on the Riverwalk of San Antonio, stop by enjoy the atmosphere with some delicious San Antonio Tex-Mex and maybe a margarita while the mariachis serenade you.  

Visit Casa Rio

Rain Rain Go and Play: 7 South Austin Rainy Day Pick-Me-Ups

Rain, rain, rain. The Austin weather forecast has been flooded with rain everyday. (See what I did there?) My family, recently, came to visit and of course it was raining the whole time they were here. We didn’t let it damper our weekend. So what is there to discover in Austin on a rainy day? Well grab your umbrella or poncho and try these seven places!

1. First stop Chi’Lantro:– mhmm! Korean BQQ and Mexican infusion. Austin favorite for their mouth watering Kimchi Fries. 

2. Hula Hut:– it’s nice and pretty during the summer months to sit out in the sun with friends and enjoy some refreshing beverages, but it’s also just as relaxing on a rainy day. A little therapeutic, indulging in some chips and queso, sipping on a piña coladas, while listening and watching the rain fall on the lake.  

 3. Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds:– wall-to-wall of costumes, vintage clothing, and ascessories. So much fun looking around! You’ll probably leave with something you didn’t know you want but don’t need.

  

4. Uncommon Objects:-whew sensory overload! Wall-to-wall and floor to ceiling of antiques furnishings and just like it called Uncommon Objects.    



 

5. Gordough’s Public House:-This one was my family’s favorite! Donuts for buns!!!

  
  
  
6. Allen’s Boots:– With all the food in this list, you have to have some nice comfortable cowboy boots to walk it off. Don’t forget, just because we are in Austin (it’s a little weird), we’re still in Texas. They have such a gorgeous selection.

  
  
 
7. Lick Honest Ice Cream:– My favorite ice cream shop in Austin and San Antonio. Simply delicious! All local, Central Texas, ingredients. This time, I got Texas Sheet Cake, Goat Cheese Thyme & Honey, and Pecans & Cream. My sister had the Roasted Beets & Fresh Mint. My mom had the Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt