When life gives you basil…

Make Pesto!

SLR_07_000-basil SLR_07_001-processer SLR_07_004-lunch


Easter weekend greetings

Laguna Gloria
This Easter weekend, I took Friday off and Graeme and I spent a tranquil afternoon at the The Contemporary Austin: Laguna Gloria. We talked, prayed and meditated on the beautiful gift of Jesus’s sacrifice and reflected on the lenten journey we had experienced for the past 5 weeks. Then, we returned home to prepare the Good Friday feast: homemade garlic herb bread, lamb/beef meatballs in tomato mint sauce.


winter update


This is a bit of a ‘here’s some random things from around the house’ post. We’ve taken our 2012 New Years resolutions to heart and really thrown ourselves into our jobs and new life here in Austin, which means…more doing, less blogging.

We have been making more friend dates, testing out restaurants and cafes around the city and enjoying lots of time outdoors. And with the sun shining through the window–I know this is going to sound silly–seeing my computer screen requires use of the sun shades on our windows during the day. This means my blogging energies are nearly depleted by the time it’s dark enough to sit at my computer. And of course, the days where it’s cloudy or rainy are so few and far between that I spend a lot of my free time reading, eating or chatting on the balcony instead. And thanks to my book club I have been more motivated to read. And thanks to my awesome mobile phone, I’m even more liberated from my computer to do things like web browsing, skype calling and emails. Ah, the life in a sun-drenched state.

But, alas, when Graeme permits, I take some photos of our life to share with you here!


This is an adaptation from a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers/cooks.






We bought this floating shelf several months ago and it finally has a home! Graeme can now read in bed (with lamp, not shown) and not disturb Amanda. A beautiful marriage-saving solution 🙂


Who would have thought I’d wear all these over a 24 hour period? Only in Texas…


This is an example of trying to use everything from our Greenling box. In the pan: beet stalks and greens. Not too bad, actually, however I wouldn’t order it again.


Some autumn highlights

kaiser rolls


Graeme tried making kaiser rolls instead of his usual bread loaves. It worked splendidly.

purple beans

We were a bit disappointed that these beans turned green once they were steamed. But, at least they looked cool in our fridge!

deep dish "Chicago" style pizza

Graeme made this fantastic Chicago-style pizza. We would definitely try this again with guests. He actually cooked the crust in a skillet.

Turkish kilim rug

We bought a rug!

A very happy Amanda, because her flower finally bloomed!! Thanks, Julie for the bulb and Mama Dyck for the gardening tips.


Around the house: 3 months in Austin

We are feeling much more settled in here: plants are perking up after transplants, our furniture arrived (more photos to come) and we’ve had a series of dinner and dessert guests.

asparagus fern

This is the plant we bought ‘in honor’ of Terry’s bday!

tea tins

I’ve spent free time getting back to those projects I’ve been preparing for: tea storage! It comes as no surprise to those of you who know me that I’m a paper collector and I’m proud to say that I’m finally putting that to good use. We’ve framed some pieces, used some for stationery and I’m using some to cover these sealable tea storage containers that I bought, just before the supplier went out of business! Great timing!!

tea storage

My brother is now happily married and I inherited a few bouquets of flowers and hundreds of candles from the wedding reception.

We have reflected on all the wonderful things we’ve been able to do in the last year. And cherished the thought that one year ago when we began thinking about ‘what’s next’ we could never have imagined all that God has provided to us. We are really loving our new city, feeling inspired by the projects we are developing desires for and are making friends quite quickly. We’ve found a church we think we will make home, we love our apartment (though, not always loving the poolside parties on weekends) and we are finding a groove and schedule that works for our energy levels.

We hardly drive the car (I bike to work most every day), our groceries are within a 5 minute bike ride and living downtown has provided us easy access to many fun, free, outdoor summer events.

Although I feel that our life here isn’t nearly as photographically interesting as the Europe portion of this blog attests, we have spent way more time outdoors, hanging out with new friends and cooking! Which brings us to our next post…stay tuned.


“Is it always this hot in May?”

thai stir fry pork

We’re finally getting into a food rhythm here at the Coo-Don house and it feels good. I recently acquired a bunch of new cooking books and tools (Thank you, friend!!) and have been expanding my idea of food prep, ingredients and how to build a pantry. We’ve made a very successful loaf of no-knead bread, banana lemon loaf and vermicelli pork stir-fry (above).

Our new patio table gets lots of use for dinners and throughout the day on weekends. Our chairs easily move in and out with our meals and reading needs.

I’ve cashed in a few “Christmas coupons” for fresh flowers as the ranunculus are regulars in the flower shop.


Our pool has played host to a rowdy bunch of sun-loving neighbors; we hope this trend slows as the ‘summer weather’ continues. Likely? Probably not…

We are hosting our lovely German Sheppard pup, Zoe who has been extrememly hard to leave in the mornings and very excited to see us in the evenings! Her need for regular walks fits very well into our current schedule. The question is: will we be just as thrilled about having the hairy bundle of joy after 4 weeks?? She’s already chewed up our DVD case, Graeme’s slippers, a candle!, a fancy bar of soap!! We bought her a new bone today.

Zoe Cooley