February Update

Life has been so great and fun lately! I thought I’d give an update for a little peek into busy life here on campus with school, soccer, and my social life.

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My friend Caroline and I went to Ramen Tatsu-Ya for dinner a couple of weeks ago. This ramen is incredible. I slurped up this bowl of goodness so quickly I could’ve ordered another one on the spot. I ordered the #1 Tonkotsu Original with Brussels Sprouts.

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Our first weekend back at school, there were tons of “Back to School Raves.” Of course we came decked in our sororities attire to the different frat houses. Remember, one must always #PartywithPiPhi.
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On the weekends, the weather has been delightful. I love to wake up on Saturday and run downtown to one of my favorite breakfast places, Blenders and Bowls. It’s about a 2 mile run and then I get my açaí bowl and *walk* back after breakfast past the Capitol. I love the view!

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I went to Uchiko for dinner a couple of weekends ago and my oh my, the food is absolutely fantastic. Every dish we tasted was amazing. I might’ve liked the dessert so much that I just had (….was dared) to lick the plate……… :)

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Some MLS teams came to play at our Texas Soccer stadium last weekend and it was fun to watch with my teammates from the stands. But it was weird being a spectator and not playing on the field. I got to see the view my family sees when they come to watch my games during the fall!

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For Valentine’s Day, my friends and I all dressed in black as a funny joke and had a night out on the town! It was so much fun! My best friends made the best Valentine’s!

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This is how you use chopsticks, correct???

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Fiji had a Studio 54 party this past weekend and the best part was getting to dress up. I seriously want to make go go boots a “thing”again. They’re so much fun!

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One last thing, hook ‘em always! This is the famous UT Tower that has served as the University’s most distinguishing landmark since 1937! A selfie in front of it is a must, even if I am a little sweaty after a quick workout at the gym!

xoxo,

Brinks

Girl Scout Cookies: Homemade Samoas

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It’s that wonderful time of year when the Girl Scouts are on every corner selling those delicious Girl Scout Cookies that we all know and love. I promised myself that i wouldn’t buy a box this year because I’m trying to be “good”…and because I have no restraint and can eat a box of Thin Mints in a day. Gosh.

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So, basically I decided to go around the fact that I wasn’t going to buy a box and decided to make my own! :)

I decided to make some Samoas and holy cow, they came out even better than the ones I’d buy from the Girl Scouts (sorry, girlies). My Samoas were practically on steroids because they were so big but hey, they were SO good.

Here’s the recipe:

For the shortbread cookies:
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coconut topping:
3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
15 ounces caramels (I just bought 2 packages of Werther’s Soft Caramels and it was the perfect amount)
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 package of chocolate almond bark

The How-To: To make the cookies, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk and vanilla extract. Finally, add all of the dry ingredients until the dough forms in the bowl. It will be very sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and then place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. After the dough has chilled, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch and cut the dough using two circle cookie cutters, one smaller than the first to make a “donut” shape. Place the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. The cookies will be lightly golden brown. Let cool and off to make to coconut caramel topping!

In a large pan, toast the coconut for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until the coconut becomes *lightly* browned. This step will make your house smell so good but make sure the coconut doesn’t burn! While toasting the coconut, melt the caramels with 3 tablespoons of milk. Once melted, pour over the coconut and mix together until combined.

Okay, now for assembly. Using a spoon, get the coconut/caramel topping and spread it over the top of the cookie. The mixture is quite sticky and will adhere to the cooled cookie easily. Do this for all the cookies. Then, melt the chocolate bark in the microwave. Spread the cookies out on parchment paper and then dip the bottom of each cookie into the melted chocolate. Then, place the chocolate-covered cookies on the parchment paper and let sit until the chocolate hardens. With the excess chocolate, place it in a plastic bag and then snip the tip of the bag so the chocolate can come out. Drizzle the cookies with the chocolate and voila! Homemade Samoas that everyone will LOVE.

I was never a Girl Scout when I was younger but I’d say I deserve some type of badge for this right???

Brinkles Sprinkles

Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is as much about the food as it is about the football and commercials. In my opinion, we balled out with our Super Bowl snackies. Emily and I were the hostesses with the mostesses (just go with it…?!) and made an awesome spread. Some stop bought and some homemade, we basically could have our own catering company…

Here was the menu:

  • Mexi-Corn Dip with Fritos
  • Tequila Lime Chicken Drumsticks
  • Jalapeño Poppers
  • Chips, Queso, and Salsa
  • Assortment of Desserts and Ice Cream

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Mexi-Corn Dip:

  • 1 12 ounce can whole corn, drained
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup  chopped white onion
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for a while then serve with Fritos! Warning, this stuff is addictive!

Tequila Lime Chicken Drumsticks

  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeeze lime juice (about 6-8 limes)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4.5 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 20)
  • 3 tablespoons oil (we used olive oil)
  • Orange wedges, for garnish

Combine the tequila, lime juice, honey, salt, pepper, chicken, and oil in a large plastic bag and let marinate for an hour.

Preheat the oven for 375 degrees. Remove the chicken from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drip back in the bag. Reserve the excess marinade. Place the chicken on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake until cooked through and golden brown. It’ll take about 40 minutes.

While the drumsticks are cooking, transfer the marinade to a saucepan and boil over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a serving platter and immediately brush with glaze. Garnish with orange wedges. Enjoy!

Jalapeno Poppers

  • 10 Jalapeños
  • 1 cube of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound pound bacon

Cut the jalapeños in half, length-wise. With a spoon or knife, remove the seeds and white membrane. Smear the softened cream cheese into each jalapeños half. Wrap the jalapeño with bacon slices and cook at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. It’s all done, it’s that easy! Yum!

Chips, Queso, and Salsa

We just bought our favorite chips and salsa from the grocery store and picked up some queso from Torchy’s!

Dessert and Ice Cream

We went to Whole Foods and picked up some mini tarts from the bakery. We got some key limes tartlets, fruit tartlets, chocolate turtle cheesecake, and raspberry chocolate triffle. We also picked up a pint of Lick Ice Cream in the best flavor: Honey Country Honey and Vanilla!! Lick is a local ice cream shop here in Austin that has the craziest and fun flavors. This flavor is pretty tame for thier standards but is so delicious. If you’re at Whole Foods, pick up a pint!

We ended the nights in food comas on the couch watching the game. It was great! Hope everyone had a wonderful Super Bowl Sunday like I did!

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I finish class on Monday’s at 2 o’clock. I walk myself home and plop myself right down on the couch just in time to watch my three favorite shows on Food Network (Giada at Home, Barefoot Contessa, and Pioneer Women). It’s quite possibly my favorite part of the day.

Well, these cookies were a direct result of seeing Ree Drummond from Pioneer Women making them on the episode I watched. I thought to myself, “I have all the ingredients, I want a sweet treat, my friends love my baked goods…therefore, I’m making cookies.” And so it was decided. And since I’ve never used browned butter before, I was sold.

Now, I’ll write down the recipe here on my blog but honestly, The Pioneer Women has the recipe all nicely typed with pictures explaining detailing everything so clearly that I’ll just provide y’all with the link HERE.

But whatever recipe you refer to, these cookies are the bomb.com. Basically, they’re a simple update on the classic chocolate chip cookie and they are soooo chewy and melt-in-your-mouth. These babies rank up there as some of my favorite desserts (which is saying a lot).

IMG_6770 IMG_6768 IMG_6767_2Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 Sticks) Salted Butter
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (additional) All-purpose Flour (rounded Tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons (heaping) Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or Chocolate Chunks)

The How To:

Melt a stick of butter over medium heat. Allow it to melt and then continue cooking it for 3 to 4 minutes, continually stirring with a spoon. The butter will bubble up and then turn a caramel/golden brown color. At this point, take it off the heat and transfer everything (even the brown solids at the bottom of the pan) to a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool COMPLETELY. For the other stick of butter, allow it to come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees*.

Cream the softened butter together with the brown sugar and regular sugar until it’s all fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and scrape the sides of the pan to make sure everything is all combined.

Now, pay attention. This next step is important: With the mixer on medium-low, very slowly drizzle in the cooled melted butter, making sure to add all the darker brown solids! MAKE SURE YOU POUR IT IN SLOWLY. Make sure everything is combined and then move to the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, coffee granules, baking soda and salt. Stir together and then add to the wet ingredients. Add in the chocolate chips. Taste the dough, let’s real, it’s the best part. Put the batter in the fridge for 15 minutes and then scoop out by the tablespoon. Then bake 9 minutes and oh my goodness, you’ve got yourself one heck of a cookie. I recomend serving it with some milk or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (maybe make an ice cream sandwich if you’re feeling extra naughty!).

Brinkles Sprinkles

This or That: January

Shoe Party

Shoe Party

1. Sloths and sorority rush. 2 things I wouldn’t put together but my oh my, sorority rush as told by sloths is genius. And very accurate. 

2. I know that basically the whole world has these shoes in a number of colors but I’m still smitten with them. All black attacking is the way to go. 

3. How to chose the right bangs for you. From a person who has had bangs their entire life, I like this a lot. 

4. These are my signature cookies and if you make them, everyone will LOVE them. S’mores cookies, bam.

5. A little kid singing with Bruno Mars. Gets me every time! 

6. Went here for dinner the other day with my friend, Caroline. It’s the absolute best and I want to go back right now. Right. Now. 

7. Rain in the upcoming forecast here in Austin. Good thing I just got these babies (in military red) for Christmas! 

8. My recent go-to lunch spot in Dallas. I’m telling you, it’s delicious…go once and you’ll be hooked! 

9. Ummm, why am I just now finding out you can customize a pair of Ray-Bans? Have to protect my eyeballs…in style. 

10. Vogue’s 73 questions with Victoria Beckham. As if I couldn’t love her even more… 

Counter Cafe

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I went to lunch this afternoon at Counter Cafe. What I thought was going to be an average but tasty lunch proved to be so much more. I had heard/read tons of good things about Counter Cafe’s food but particularly, their hamburger. When I got it, all my expectations were blown away. Everyone, I kid you not this simple hamburger is one of my new top 5 favorite meals EVER. This medium-rare patty on a sourdough bun with cheddar cheese, bib lettuce, ketchup, bacon and jalapeños really made me the happiest girl on the planet. So simple yet so unbelievably delicious and juicy. The food gods were sure looking down on me today, that’s for sure.

Counter Cafe has weird hours (only open 7:30 am-4 pm!) so make sure you think about that when going! If you’re in Austin and haven’t been, get on over there! Their breakfast and everything else on the menu looks so good that you really couldn’t go wrong with anything. But as for me, I highly recommend the hamburger. I promise you’ll thank me.

Brinks

Pantone Color of the Year: Marsala

The vote is in: Pantone’s Color of the Year is marsala. I’ll tell you right now I am not overwhelmed by excitement with this color but upon thinking about it more and more, I like it. Not love it (yet) but like it. I can see myself popping a bit of it into my wardrobe every now and then. Only time will tell!

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Be it a gown, a shoe, a nail polish, or a jacket, say hello to marsala!

Kazy’s Gourmet Sushi

My love affair with sushi started in high school when my best friend, Rachel, took me to go get Reikyu Sushi & Bar in Mockingbird Station here in Dallas. Ever since, I have absolutely loved it. When I came home for Christmas break, my dad and brother raved about this place called Kazy’s and said we just had to go. I didn’t know much about this place before going but when I arrived I was floored. Kazy’s Gourmet is one of my new favorite restaurants in Dallas.

It is more than just a restaurant, however. This is an unsuspecting place one drives by all the time in the side of the road but always ignores it, until now. Kazy’s is not only a Japanese market with a newly renovated area to eat, it is the wholesale provider for most Dallas area restaurants that serve sushi, sashimi, and all that jazz. So when you arrive, you are guaranteed to get the best of the best and it will, of course, be super fresh. Second best characteristic about Kazy’s: the prices. Everything is so cheap. You can get a wide variety of uniquely crafted rolls for $2 to $4 when the same rolls would be close to $12 in the restaurants. Bam. If that didn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Daddy, Davis, and I went for an afternoon lunch. We ordered a bit of everything to share and were so pleased when it all came out.

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If you’re in the Dallas area and want some delicious sushi, stop by Kazy’s (9256 Markville Dr. Dallas, TX 75243). Y’all, you won’t regret it!

Glittered Champagne Bottles

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Sparkle Sparkle Pop Fizz Clink! Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Goodbye 2014, hello 2015! I hope everyone has fun evenings planned…be it going out or staying in, have a lovely time!

Yesterday Emily and I got together for a bit of New Years crafting. We’d seen these glittered champagne bottles on Pinterest and being the crafting girlies we are, we decided to try it out ourselves. It was so simple! And my goodness, tonight these bottles will be the showstopper in pictures and at a party.

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For this craft, all you need is glitter, mod podge, a brush, and bottles of whatever you have on hand! Emily’s family had two bottles of Moscato but I think it would be perfect to do champagne bottles to toast to the New Year! Anything is absolutely wonderful!

All you need to do is paint the bottles with a thin layer of mod podge and then doast in glitter to cover! Touch up any spots you missed then allow the glitter and mod podge to completely dry and then bam! You’ve got a festive treat! It was so so so easy!

Here’s a quick tip though: make sure your layer of mod podge you paint onto the bottle is an even and thin so when you put the glitter on it, it would run down the bottle from the weight of the glitter. And make sure you do this over newspaper or in our case, a craft cloth, because there will 100% be glitter everywhere after you finish. Which isn’t a bad thing if you ask me….!

Happy New Year Everyone! xoxo.

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Christmas cookies! Possibly one of my favorite things about the season. It’s basically just another reason to bake which I’m all about. I made these cookies while in Knoxville while visiting some friends. These cookies are really easy and make a ton of cookies so you can share them with everyone (…or not, up to you).

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Rolled Sugar Cookies 

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In your mixer, beat the butter and shortening then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat again. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Cover and chill at least 3 hours (it’s best to chill it over night).

After the dough has chilled completely, work with a quarter of the dough at a time (place the rest in the fridge while you’re rolling out the cookies). Roll the cookies on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. (Tip: the thinner the cookies, the better they hold their shape while baking in the oven. This way they won’t puff up to something that doesn’t look like the Christmas tree you meant it to look like!) The more flour the better, this way your cookies won’t stick! Cut into the desired shapes with fun cookies cutters. We used Christmas shapes! Place on a pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until done. This makes tons of cookies…3-4 dozen!

We iced them with a simple icing made with powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Add milk to the powdered sugar until you get the desired thickness and decorate with tons of sprinkles. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before attempting to frost or the icing will just melt off the cookie. Just a tip! Enjoy!