Feeling like a smug little yogi this morning, I left the house in the dark for yoga at dawn. Unfortunately for me, this picture of zen-like bliss was interrupted when I tripped over this.
A menacing fallen tree branch in our walkway. Lovely. Remember, it was dark at the time. This graceful near-fall left my wee toes scratched, bleeding, and swollen. After a few choice words with branchito here, I made a swift recovery and was the first one to the studio. The instructor unlocked the back door. There I stood. I’m not exactly sure what “creepin’” means except in reference to dodgy men, but something about the way I was at the backdoor in the dark screams creepin’ to me. Hai!
Front-yard fall and creepin’ behind me, I enjoyed a wonderful hatha yoga class to start the day. I feel fantastic. Somehow yoga challenges me in the way I most need to be challenged in the moment. The instructor asked mid-pose whether I have some German heritage. Ja. Not sure if his question was brought on by my facial features, upper-back tension, or punctuality. Combination, perhaps? Anywho, the sun crept in as class came to an end, and I was cooked spaghetti. Swollen toes and all. Guten morgen!
Last weekend was equally wonderful and much more action-packed than my hatha-fied morning. My brother, mom, dad, and friends descended upon the our household in the name of Texas football and pumpkin-cinnamon Longhorns. Donning our finest burnt orange (an unflattering color, but it’s all in the name of school spirit), we gathered at our house for a pre-game party before heading to the Rose Bowl to watch the Texas v. UCLA football game. Care to guess where I went to college?
And care to guess where my husband, parents, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandfather, and grandmother went to college . . . ?
Right. You probably got the idea like two pictures ago. Or two months ago, given the
excessive Texas references around here. Oh, come on. You love it. Right?
Now that you know where our allegiance lies, you can imagine how pleased we were to beat UCLA in Los Angeles. And while our team looked strong on the field, I have to say that our pre-game brunch spread looked equally tough.
And that’s only part of the spread! Velvet Husband and my brother made some mean migas to go with our favorite tortillas. And for some reason, I flirted with insanity and made my own cookies & cream ice cream with coconut milk and crushed cookies. Then promptly forgot to serve it. No matter. Ice cream keeps, and Velvet Husband is rather pleased with this chance windfall to our freezer/him.
Without further ado, let’s break down our pre-game brunch menu that saved us trips to the concession stand.
Banana Bread (Vegan)
Heaven in loaf form. It’s not bread. It’s cake.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Cookies (Vegan)
These cookies are not only adorable — they’re delicious. I brought them to an election party last year in the shape of donkeys and elephants, I made gingerbread men at Christmastime, and now I have officially ushered them into the world of Texas football. And yes, I used the extra dough to make a few footballs. Cute, or what?
- 3 cups white flour
- 1 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup earth balance butter, almost melted
- 1/4 cup mild molasses
- 1/2 cup 100% pumpkin purée
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, earth balance, mild molasses, pumpkin purée, and vanilla. Mix well. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture to the bowl of liquid ingredients and mix well, kneading with hands when it becomes too difficult to stir. Add second half of the dry ingredients. Mix and knead well until dough is perfect consistency for rolling out. Dust a pastry cloth or mat and rolling pin with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough and cut with cookie cutter. Arrange cookies on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 350 degrees, careful not to over-bake. Remove and let cool. Enjoy!
Seven Layer Dip with Chips
My mom used to make this game day essential when I needed to bring something “Texas-y” to school in Moscow or Jakarta. It can easily be veganized, but I treated our guests (and my wallet) to the traditional ingredients.
Layer the following ingredients in a large casserole dish:
- refried beans mixed with taco seasoning
- fresh salsa
- sour cream
- cheddar cheese
- sliced olives (I recommend black olives, even though that’s not what you see above!)
Yes, I was busy! So, how did it all go? Smashing, dahling. Everything but the ice cream worked. Note to self: one must serve ice cream if one hopes people will eat it. I wondered at the reception of the black bean burgers in a room full of meat-eating family and friends, but like Mama Pea had advised via twitter, they were total crowd pleasers. Unfortunately, I failed to take many pictures, but it’s only because I was flitting around enjoying myself so much!
We also served:
- Freshly squeezed orange juice (I supplemented with store-bought stuff, but I had to use the juicer!)
- Champagne — hello, mimosas!
- Beer (I didn’t think people would drink beer at 9 am, but I was wrong! Kudos to Velvet Husband for foreseeing this need.)
- Texpat Guacamole
- Migas and tortillas (breakfast tacos) courtesy of Velvet Husband and Velvet Brother — thanks for your hard work, guys!
After brunch, we headed to the Rose Bowl and watched Texas win. Lots of cheering, chanting, and excitement. Perfection.
After our satisfying win, we ate dinner at one of my mom and dad’s favorite golf clubs. The manager brought my parents a special dessert to celebrate their 43rd anniversary this week! Happy 43rd Anniversary, Mommy and Daddy! And I thought three years was impressive.
Remember how I said I felt like cooked spaghetti after my yoga class? Well, now I’m officially sore, sore, sore, sore. Never underestimate the power of yoga to work your mind and body!
What are your favorite things to make when serving a crowd?
Do you enjoy watching football? Football isn’t my favorite spectator sport (tennis takes the cake for me), but I love getting behind my team. I love everything that comes with football — fall, family, friends, and of course game day parties!