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This Weather

So, about the time I started getting excited about soups, stews and hearty meals, the weather in Central Texas did it again—it turned to high temperatures, leaving me confused about what I should be eating. I want to be eating pumpkin soup, roasted veggies and veggie chili, but it just doesn’t seem right drinking pumpkin spice lattes while wearing a tank top and flip flops.

The dilemma reminds me of some of our Christmas holidays in Texarkana growing up. Usually it is really cold come Dec. 25, but every once in a while, there’s a small hiccup in the weather order and Santa brings tropical weather along with his sleigh instead of snow.

Our family tradition was to light a fire and read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, followed by playing the Chipmunks Christmas record and opening our annual present of pjs and a board game to play that night. I can recall a few Christmas Eve’s when my parents said to Hell with saving on utilities and cranked the air conditioner up so we could carry on our annual fireplace traditions.

I’m not quite to that point yet, but I do feel like I’m having to postpone my fall loves—warm sweaters, leather boots and hearty meals—for the time being.

You can ask my family—I love holding on to traditions. But as things change—going to El Paso for Thanksgiving—and don’t change—the summer that would never end—I guess I’m just going to have to go with the flow. Another few months of summer salads certainly won’t hurt my fitness plan and at least the weather has been warm enough for my workouts.

What are some of your favorite fall traditions and have you been able to enjoy them this year?

Put Another Candle on My Birthday Cake

So, I turned another year older last week. Some people dread that day as they get older, but I take it with pride—I got to live another year? Beats the alternative! As we’ve noted, my parents came to Austin to celebrate with me.

The delicious birthday cake my mom made me.

We went to dinner at Technique Restaurant, the local culinary school’s training kitchen (review to come soon). When we got there they pointed us to a table and in the center what did we find? A beautiful pink cake!

My mom is a pastry chef instructor at North East Texas Community College in Mount Pleasant, where she teaches students all about baking breads, cakes and other desserts. So she surprised me with a homemade cake. And what I mean by homemade is not what most people mean when their mom makes them a cake!

This view shows the pretty buttercream ruffles.

This layered cake included vanilla, red velvet and then another layer of vanilla with red raspberry filling and buttercream frosting between each. Butter cream frosting also coated the outside in a beautiful design that reminds me of a pink, satiny dress.

Our waiter told us everyone in the back admired the cake as it was cut and we sent him with a piece of cake of his own. As we walked out of Technique two women stopped us to tell us how gorgeous the cake looked.

Everyone enjoyed the cake, me included, and I’m still eating leftovers!