Mary Helen Leonard, author of The Natural Beauty Solution and professionally trained culinary instructor, shares recipes, projects, tips, and stories about living a more natural, handmade, and creative life with her family in Austin, Texas.
Disclosure: I was compensated by The National Honey Board for working at the events mentioned in this post. Thanks for your support!
Do you love honey? Want to learn about how it's made and how you can use it for food, wellness, and beauty? Than you should come out to one of three free upcoming events put on my the National Honey Board! I'll be there - which is reason enough. Don't you think? (Insert winky emoji here.)
I will be making fresh batches of Honey Grapefruit Scrub at upcoming events in Seattle, Washington D.C. and Austin on behalf of The National Honey Board!
Discolosure: I'm acting as a brand ambassador for the R3 Prevention Summit 2014. I'm not being paid for this post, but I'm receiving free admission to the summit and to related VIP events. My opinions are my own.
I spent Thursday night under a canopy of oak trees, in the company of friends, and enjoying a meal made from fresh local ingredients. The R3 Prevention Summit Preview Dinner was held at Eden East, the farm to table dinner club over at Springdale Farm. The space is simple and beautiful, with a carpet of straw and wooden tables lit by candles and gas lamps. It is decidedly romantic, but the communal tables make the mood better suited to groups of friends than a pair of lovebirds.
We were treated to a five course meal, each small plate arriving one at a time. The pacing was very very leisurely, so if you go there, don't expect to eat and run. I wasn't aware of this, but a normal dinner at Eden East takes between two and three hours. The portions are also on the small side - another thing to keep in mind when planning your evening there. When dinner takes two or three hours to eat, you don't want to arrive on the brink of hanger.
Our night started off with cucumber vodka cocktails served from Eden's airstream trailer bar. While we waited for dinner to begin I chat with fellow bloggers, and got to know some of the editors from Prevention Magazine. We were also given the scoop on programming for the Summit. There are going to be some really great panels there, including plenty of cooking demos and tasting stations. There is even going to be a cook-off!
Healthy cooking is just one of the many topics that will be presented at The R3 Prevention Summit. There is programming scheduled on mind and body, fitness, beauty, and more. Speakers include Andi MacDowell, Callie Speer, and Sonya Coté. You can check out the complete schedule and list of speakers for R3 Prevention Summit on the event's site.
Now, on to the food! Lamp light doesn't lend itself awfully well to food photography, so my pictures aren't too great. <sad trombone> The dinner started with a Grass-Fed Meatball over mashed potatoes, with a wild mushroom sauce. That was followed with an itty-bitty Bibb Salad topped with crunchy almonds and radish.
The next dish was my favorite of the night: slices of roasted butternut squash and pickled golden beets with a smoked tomato chili sauce (which tasted like an amazing reincarnation of sriracha) and a little dollop of pecan butter. There's definitely something to be said for smoking tomato. This dish left me inspired to finally try my hand at homemade sriracha, using smoked tomato as the star ingredient.
The last dish I tried that night was a small filet of golden tile over bok choy. I found the bok choy to be a little on the bitter side, but the saffron shrimp stock it was sitting in had a great aroma. A pear spoon cake was served for dessert, but unfortunately I had to head home to feed my little guy before it came out.
Eden East does a lovely job of presenting local ingredients with a gourmet, supper-club kind of vibe. If you are prepared to spend an entire evening having dinner, and if you are an enthusiastic about locally grown food, I would suggest checking it out. It was a treat for me, as these days I don't normally have the extra time or cash to splurge on a three hour dinner. With those constraints in mind, I don't see my husband and I picking it for a date night anytime soon.
I've been invited to participate in the Fit Foodie 5k Race Weekend this September here in Austin. Of course, for me it will be a bit more like the Slightly Chubby Foodie 5k Walk. While I did my best to keep fit during my pregnancy with loads of walking and swimming, it's been well over a year since the last time I attempted to jog.
But even as a imperfectly fit foodie, this race is pretty appealing. First of all, it's short! I can walk the whole thing, and if the temperature is right, I'll push a stroller to legitimize my slothful pace. There's also a cocktail party the night before and a mini food-fest at the finish line! On top of all that, there will be chef demos, fitness demos, boot camp, and yoga! It's a whole weekend of eating, drinking, and working off the fun.
The Fit Foodie Run also benefits a great cause. 10% of tickets sales go to City of Hope, a leading research center for cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases.
Here's a rundown of the weekend's events:
Friday September 12
Light Up The Night VIP Cocktail Party
Saturday, Septermber 13
Fit Foodie 5K
Love TX Chefs Experience
Meet Citizen of Hope, Alison Sweeney - Book Sale & Signing
Sunday, September 14
Sunrise Yoga & Brunch
Power Systems Obstacle Course & Bootcamp
You can sign up for the whole weekend's worth of events, or register for events individually. Whatever you choose, use the discount code, MARYDINNER to take 10% off!
I will be competing in the Austin Mac n' Cheeze Takedown competition on March 9 in Austin, TX. Historically, I'm a Food Experiments girl, but this year my favorite competition is not coming to Austin. Sad, I know. Anyway, I am thrilled about the theme for this year's Takedown, and I can't wait to show up and kick some cheesey ass.
What will I be making? So far, Ice cream has been my food competition hero, so you can pretty much bet on it being the theme for my entry this year. But how will I translate cheesey macaroni into a frozen dessert? Just you wait and see.
Tickets are $15, which includes plenty of mac n' cheese to chow down on and a chance to vote for your favorite entry. (Me, duh.) Hope to see you there!