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Month: July 2022

Gazpacho with Coffee Glazed Bacon

Love tomatoes, colorful peppers, and cucumbers? Gazpacho is the combination of all those combined in an iconic Spanish cold soup. Try it for a great way to chill on hot summer days at lunch or supper.

This recipe elevates the spicy, bright and rich soup with coffee glazed bacon and sour dough croutons. You may even say that they all become best friends in your mouth! After all, what isn’t better with bacon on it?

Just save some of that morning coffee and see what happens!

Gazpacho topped with Coffee-Glazed Bacon

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Course brunch
Servings 10



  • 1 organic or hothouse cucumber
  • 1 each red, orange, and yellow peppers (cored and seeded)
  • 8 plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 32 oz organic tomato juice
  • ½ cup rice or white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup Texas EVOO
  • tsp kosher salt
  • tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sour Dough Croutons

  • 4 slices sour dough bread cut into 1" square pieces
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Coffee Glazed Bacon

  • 12 oz bacon
  • ¾ cup strong coffee
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of pepper and salt



  • Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell pepper, tomatoes and red onions. (Add the garlic to the red onions)
  • Pulse each vegetable separately in a food processor
  • Combine in a large bowl and add tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Chill in fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Sour Dough Croutons

  • Toss with Olive Oil and bake at 375 for 6 minutes.


  • Cut the bacon into narrow strips about 3 inches long
  • Heat the pan and place the bacon in the pan, cooking until no longer raw.
  • Pour in the coffee and maple syrup. Add salt and pepper. Cook until the coffee completely evaporates from the pan and bacon is dark and carmelized.



To Serve: Pour into individual bowls and top with croutons and bacon.

Zucchini Brownies

If you have ever raised zucchini you have probably had this happen:  You walk into the garden and discover the gargantuan of all zucchini that was previously hidden under a leaf!
So, what to do?  Here’s an idea that is a crowd pleaser and healthy at the same time:  Zucchini brownies.
Moist, with just the right amount of chocolate sweetness – you will surprise the folks you share them with when you share the secret ingredient.
The icing is great, but my friend Karen prepared it sans the icing and served it to rave reviews.  So, you choose – to ice or not to ice!

Zucchini Brownies

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 24


  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp Adams vanilla (can use up to 1 tbsp)
  • 2 cups Texas flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla.
  • Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly in to the prepared pan.
  • Bake 25 - 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched.


  • Melt together 6 tbsp cocoa and butter (or margarine, but I always suggest butter)
  • Blend together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares.


Adventure Ready

Texas is a plethora of adventures waiting to be explored. Rivers, lakes, hills, forests, and trails all await our discovery. Being physically ready to tackle a hike, navigate a river in a kayak or enjoy a day walking the beach, simply makes it more enjoyable.

Below  Jessi Oehler shares with you some key exercises that you can do in your own home for a few minutes a day thereby developing muscles ready to tackle a fun outing.

5 Rounds

10 – 15 squats to bench or chair

5 – 10 push ups to bench or chair

10 -20 Alternating Lunges

10 – 15 Knee Raises

View the video below for a demonstration

Meal Prepping

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • Chicken Breasts - Number dictated by # of Meals
  • Whole Pork Butt or Shoulder
  • Low Sodium Canned Black beans and corn
  • HEB prepared Pico
  • 2 - 3 Veggies of choice


  • Baked Chicken: Dice raw chicken breast, season with your favorite seasonings and place in oven on 375 for 20-25 minutes.
  • Crockpot Pulled Pork: Place pork butt or shoulder in crockpot with 1/2 bottle of BBQ sauce. Cook on high for about 4 hours
  • Pico: Combine low sodium canned black beans and corn with HEB prepared pico. Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Roasted Veggies: Chop veggies of choice and place on a baking sheet. Season with your favorite herbs. Can toss with a little EVOO if desired. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 10 - 15 minutes.



RV Kitchen Essentials

Being prepared makes hitting the trail so much easier and faster.  Whether you are a tent camper or RV’er, having a list of basic items assures you’ll be ready to take off for adventure!

Megan Traeger shares her list of staples she keeps in her RV.  If you are a tent camper – you might keep a plastic box  stocked with essentials.

Happy Exploring!

Must pack in the kitchen of the airstream:

  • S’mores ingredients (if you want to skip out on extra packing, buy the Keebler’s fudge stripe cookies. Chocolate and graham crackers in one.)
  • Kreutz Pancake mix (with mixin’s like fruit or pecans or chocolate chips)
  • H‑E‑B trail Mix (everybody can grab their flavor of choice and they come in resealable bags!)
  • Pasta (probably the most versatile thing I carry. I can add red sauce or just olive oil, or I can add cheese and taco seasoning. I can cook a cup of it or cook the whole bag and save the rest for leftovers.)
  • Cereal (for those mornings that we need to quickly pack up. Our kids will typically pour cereal into a cup, and some milk and a spoon and take it to the truck for on the go breakfast.)
  • Hot sauce and Tortilla chips (no further explanation needed. We do love grabbing salsas or queso when we stop at different places to try their stuff.)
  • Tortillas (another versatile item. I can make breakfast tacos, or quesadillas with leftover chicken or beef from the night before. Or I can heat them up, add some butter and sugar and call it dessert.)
  • Bread (I don’t skimp on my bread so I always buy Dave’s Killer Bread. I have yet to NOT find it when traveling!)
  • Fritos and bean dip (this is a don’t ask don’t tell snack.)
  • PB/J (sometimes you make sandwiches for your kids. Sometimes you just make them for yourself. I’m also a huge fan of packing Justin’s peanut butter packets for hiking snacks. And jelly will be used at breakfast sometimes too)
  • Granola (we buy the Bear Naked cacao and Cashew butter bag. I can eat this for breakfast, snack, or dessert. I typically will toss it with some Greek yogurt.)
  • Dried fruits (hours in the car can lead to useless snacking. Might as well eat some dried mango or banana chips!)
  • Pita chips (clearly can be used with some hummus. But the other day I had tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. I used the pita chips as my base for all of it and they were perfect bite sized bruschettas.)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper grinders
  • Coffee (we love that when we travel we can find some really great and unique roasters throughout the country.)
  • Milk (for cereal and kids)
  • Creamer (for coffee to deal with kids)
  • Eggs (I usually only pack half a dozen for space saving.)
  • Peppered Bacon from Granzins (sometimes I’ll make this to go with pancakes, or in breakfast tacos. One time I threw it in cabbages that we were taking to a potluck. Or I can smear some Nutella on it for dessert. Best bacon I’ve ever eaten!)
  • Butter
  • Sandwich condiments 
  • Lunch meat and cheeses
  • Fruits (we eat a ton of fruits so this is a revolving door. It’s especially fun to get local produce that is native to an area.)
  • Hummus
  • Bell peppers (slice them up to throw in a omelet. Slice them up to dip in hummus. Or slice them up to sauté for dinner.)
  • Sparkling waters
  • Pound of ground beef 
  • Shredded Cheese (another thing that can be added to a ton of things.)
  • Sausage (use it for breakfast, snacks, or dinner.)
  • Large Greek Yogurt (at home I hardly buy the big containers of yogurt but on the road we always have one in the fridge.

Quick and fun breakfast
Banana split breakfast
Cut banana in half, scoop in yogurt instead of ice cream
Top with fresh fruits and granola
Sometimes I’ll add some chocolate chips or sprinkles to the girls.

On the run lunch hack
I always buy paper food boats. That way if we are in a pinch, I can throw a sandwich and some goldfish and some fruit gummies in a tray and call it lunch for the kids. In the adults trays I may cut up some bell peppers and scoop in some hummus to take in the car. Easy clean up.

Dinner suggestion
When planning your dinners be mindful of how many dishes you are getting dirty. I like to simplify and try to stick to one pot meals if possible. I’ll load the ingredients into a paper bag to keep them all together in the fridge. This then becomes my trash bag as I cook.

After dinner space saver
If I know I’m making chicken or beef and may possibly have extras, I’ll cook all of it and then put the remainder of the cooked meat in single compartment meal prep containers (from H‑E‑B) to keep in the fridge. I can reheat the meat the next day and add it to lunch as a quesadilla or to top a salad.



Grandma’s Cucumber Salad

It’s Summer in Texas, Y’all! One of the first crops in the garden in cucumbers.

This recipe holds a special memory of staying with my Grandma on her farm and walking out into her huge garden to pick veggies for supper. (Dinner is the term for lunch on the farm).

Since her farm house wasn’t air conditioned, this cool cucumber salad was literally an elixir for the heat. I love the creaminess of the sour cream and the tartness of the vinegar in this recipe. If you keep greek yogurt on hand, you can also substitute for the sour cream.

Organic, hydroponic or cucumbers from your garden don’t need to be peeled. I use a mandolin that can be adjusted for thickness. My grandmother sliced them razor thin; I tend to go slightly thicker.

Also, Texas sweet onions can be substituted for the red – you just won’t have as much color. My friend, Cathy, adds pimientos for color.

Keep a couple slices to place on your eyes for a quick spa treatment!

Grandma's Cucumber Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes


  • 2 large cucumbers, sliced thin
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper


  • Combine cucumbers, onion, vinegar, honey, sour cream, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 20 minutes or so.



  • If you use organic cucumbers, or pick them from your garden, you don’t need to peel.
  • I use a mandolin to slice the cucumbers, but a food processor will work as well.
  • Greek yogurt can be substituted for the sour cream.