Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Week of Christmas

Hello,

I know I have not done very well this week with posting!  I have been thinking of posting but with my mom's birthday, Christmas and then getting ready to leave to return back to NYC for practice, it was all a bit much, plus it was more 6 day official break and before that I was not really on break but actually home in NoVa in between exams and I had to study, take a take-home exam and do two mini projects.  However, I am now back in NYC just playing basketball and hopefully continuing my internship in January and also applying to jobs!  Yesterday was the first day fo practice back and it was brutal! We had a double (which means two practices in one day - it went about 5 hours and I was in the gym for over 8 hours because of rehab and just eating in between the two) and my back went out at the end - still really stiff today is going to be tough even with practice being in the afternoon, but we have a lift afterwards so that is going to be brutal.  I was definitely scared for yesterday, but hey I survived (mostly)!

So I arrived last Friday night, very late, after my marketing exam and got to eat some of my mom's amazing perogies - Polish potato dumplings!  They are so good!! We made some more a couple days later (pics below).





 My mom likes to make pierogies whenever we have leftover mashed potatoes.  So of course, after Thanksgiving she made a ton with my Aunt.  Luckily, my dad forgot about them so there were still a bunch in the freezer once I arrived in Austin on the 20th.  I definitely ate most of the remaining perogies and then we went out to eat one night and because there was so much meat, none of us could eat any of our sides (including mashed potatoes) so we were able to make a a couple dozen more!  Now I will post a a link to a recipe here (we use it to make the dough, and we don't make the sauerkraut filling and for the potatoes we literally use mashed potatoes and maybe add some cheese and chives), but before we had our pierogie presser, there really take a long time! My mom and I once spent an entire Sunday making pierogies because you have to close the seams with a fork and make sure nothing could get out!  It is a long tedious process but with the pierogie press, it only takes about two hours now - which is still a long time!  

As I may have mentioned, food is really important to my family.  I literally plan my day around what I am eating (learned that from my dad) and whenever our family goes on trips, it is completely planned around which restaurants we want to visit and so on.  So of course, when the four of us got together in Austin we had to visit several famous Austin places.

The first place we went was that Saturday morning, bright and early because we were headed to a funeral about an hour away, and stopped at the Kolache factory! Now, Kolache is probably not the right name for these pastries, my mom likes to call them Punchkis - but basically they are like a donut with filling in the middle, but they are everywhere in Austin (the best though is right off the highway coming from Dallas to Austin - not sure what the name is but I want an excuse to just do that drive to have them again)! The photos below are from the internet, I was too tired and hungry to take photos, but it is a drive through place but literally is the image below:



One night we ate at the County Line.  It is a great texan bbq place!  A lot of food, and it was my first time trying Texas bbq and I must say it was good but very different from what I am used to on the east coast!


This trip was definitely not for a vegetarian (which I used to be). At the County line I tried three different bbq meats (sausage, pork rib and lean brisket).  I loved the sausage and the other two were pretty good as well!

On my mom's birthday, we were running errands - mailing gifts to the family at the last minute and we happened to see a Whataburger.  Now I lived in Dallas this summer and tried to experience as much texas food there is, but I never really knew about Whataburger until my last week when I got to meet one of my incoming teammates for the NYU basketball team.  I never got to try it, but my teammate kept saying its better than In N Out burger.  So on Monday, I finally got to try it!  Now, I got a cheeseburger and I thought it was mighty delicious - not sure if it was better than In N Out burger but I would say at least comparable and I would also argue that they are different burgers.  But boy was it tasty! I didn't get a picture of the actual sandwich because I snarfed it - I was hungry and it was delicious!

Then that night, for my mom's birthday, we went to Steiner Ranch Steakhouse!  I think it is my parent's favorite place to go (right now) in Austin, since it is pretty close to our new house (we live off of Lake Travis) and has delicious food and an amazing view!!  We got there right after the sunset (there was a little orange still on the horizon) and so the view was mostly of darkness and lights but you could see Lake Travis and I could see what my parents liked about it!

As I said above, this past week was not meant for any vegetarians.  My dad and I split a 32 oz steak (not sure which cut) called the Tomahawk at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse and o-m-g so good!! This is where all the leftover mashed potatoes came from fyi!  We also had steak fondue and calamari for appetizers and then so much meat! It was super delicious.  Again, no pictures of the food but my sister happened to get two pictures of the bone the meat came off of (and yes one of them is my mom chewing it...)

I love my mom! I did not get to post on her birthday, but I am so blessed to have her because she is just such a great role model and I can't imagine growing up without her! Love you mom!

All in all, delicious food.  My mom cooked rack of lamb for Christmas Eve dinner (a tradition in  our family) and then grilled filets for Christmas dinner, with ton of popovers!  All in all, good family holiday - though we had our drama, sister fighting, but I am so happy we could all be together in Austin (even though it was warmer in NYC for most of the days). I even got to meet some of our new neighbors!  That is what I love in Texas, you know your neighbors and everyone is so kind, not that they weren't in NoVa (definitely are not in NYC) but it was more like acquaintances from afar. I rewatched We Are the Millers and the Heat with my family.  I also spent most of the break just curled up in this amazing fur blanket (not sure if it was real or not... I hope it was faux but my mom bought it so no idea... but so comfortable) either on the couch or in our cinema room just watching tv and catching up on all the blogs that I had not read in over two weeks! I had over 200 posts to read through (not that I had too but I wanted too) and I finally caught up! I hopefully will never let it get that ridiculous again...but I do need to go through pinterest soon!  Meredith, Zeus and I just snuggled a lot, that is when Mer and I were not unpacking all of our boxes - I had so much because I am a hoarder and can't let go of anything... I made a little progress though this week thankfully... but I don't like to let things go, especially clothing because you never know when it could come back into style.  But sadly, the fun ended and the day after Christmas I had to pack and then wait to leave for the airport.  Luckily, Mer, Zeus and I just curled up on my parents' bed and watched Scooby Doo (the cartoon) and just relaxed but then before I knew it I was on the plane heading back to NYC.



Zeus even gets his own leather recliner in our cinema room!  Such a cutie! 
Boy do I love him (and miss him so much)!...hopefully next year I will have my own doggie to bring with me to Christmas!

So that was my Christmas break, and now I just get to wait for school to start again (January 27 or is it the 28?) and play basketball - and it will go by really fast thanks to all our games and traveling but I do miss Austin.  I think that if I get a Spring Break (depends on if we make a post season tournament) I will go back to Austin to relax, even though I was kind of planning on going on a road trip with one of my besties (but she got a full time job so not sure if that is going to work out now) or with my mom to Las Vegas but I think I will just want to relax and not move.

I think I will share another post about the week I spent in NoVa, but it will be much shorter than this one because I think I am just going to share some photos from visiting the DC temple with my older sister and her family and one of my really good friends (L).

Thanks for reading!
With joy,
A

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