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Mary Helen
Austin, TX
I can Haas Avocado?
Interests: Comfort food, healthy cooking, and ethnic cuisines are my obsessions. As a cook, writer, and culinary instructor these worlds collide in my kitchen on a daily basis.
Recent Activity
Have you ever wondered how to get yourself a freelance writing gig? Perhaps you are dreaming about turning your blog into a book but you aren't sure how to make it happen. Maybe you just bought a shiny new camera and need some help figuring out how to use it. These kinds of questions (and many more) are about to be answered by fellow food bloggers at The Byte of Texas Conference later this month. The two-day conference is featuring panels on everything from SEO and monetization to finding your voice and Texas food culture. The schedule is pretty dang impressive, but what's even more exciting is the food! Conference eats include lunch from Whole Foods, dinner at The Salty Sow, and a breakfast taco brunch! There is even a whole panel dedicated to beer and cheese pairing. One thing is clear: Austin bloggers know how to eat! I'll be speaking on a panel about publishing, sharing my own story about how I landed a book deal for Mary Makes Pretty. Addie Broyles (Austin Statesman), Adam Salamone (Harvard Common Press), and the ever-adorable Hilah Johnson (Hilah Cooking) will be joining me, each sharing their unique perspective on authorhood and the... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Mary Makes Dinner
It's more than just a race! There are several events going on during the Fit Foodie Weekend, and I have tickets to give away for three of this weekend's most popular events. Fit Foodie 5k - Saturday Morning The big race is happening Saturday morning at Mueller Lake Park. The best part of this race (if you ask me) is the finish line. Here's the scoop on the mini food fest that will be waiting for us there: Delicious bites from award-winning Chef David Bull of Congress Austin, beer samples from Stella Artois and Stella Cidre, refreshments from Bhakti Chai and Cuvee Coffee, tasty hummus from Zilks Foods, wines from Cupcake Vineyards, bites from Punchbowl Social Club, The Carillon, Dang Banh Mi, A-OK Chinese, and How Do You Roll? Not to mention Executive Editor of Food for Cooking Light Ann Pittman will be serving up tasty chipotle pork and chicken tacos directly from the Culinary Demo Stage. - Fit Foodie 5k Race Weekend Sunrise Yoga - Sunday Morning Refresh and revitalize with Sunrise Yoga. Awaken your mind and body during a sunrise yoga session, led by Tom Leverett of Del Sol Yoga, where anyone from beginner to intermediate levels can... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Mary Makes Dinner
If I had to describe myself based on a defining skill, I'd have to say that I'm an idea person at heart. Nothing really gets me going like a good brainstorming session. My husband shares the same over-active imagination. We've spent many a road trip engineering make-believe business plans, inventing impossible machines, or dreaming up imaginary characters and stories. When it comes to food, coming up with new ideas can be trickier than you might think. Thanks to the internet, it seems like almost everything has been done before. So when I come up with something new, I try to stay away from Google while I'm working things out. Nothing takes the winds out of my sails like finding out that my great new idea has been done umpteen times before. This soup, for example, was a fairly simple thing, but its newness gave me a thrill. I steamed the squash, pushed it through a food mill, then whisked it together with chicken broth and miso paste. I tasted it, then decided to add a little salt and a splash of sesame oil. Developing this recipe wasn't rocket science, but with my belly full of warm soup I felt kind... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Mary Makes Dinner
A little ways back I talked about my decision to stop eating an exclusively vegetarian diet. This wasn't an easy choice for me, and I've spent a lot of time struggling with how I felt about making that change. One thing that helped me feel better about it was making the decision to stop buying factory-farmed meat. If I was going to continue being carnivorous, I wanted to do so in a way that I felt was still somewhat environmentally and ethically conscious. The trouble is that buying ethically raised meat can get expensive - really expensive. Just take a look at the price tag on an organic grass-fed steak next time you visit the grocery store. Scott is in retail and I'm a writer. While we're far from paupers, we're not super wealthy either, which makes eating well within a reasonable budget kind of tricky. I shopped around, and considered a few different options before making a plan. Wheatsville, a local food co-op here in Austin offers surprisingly reasonable prices on ethically raised meat and poultry. Becoming a co-op member can save you even more. Another option I entertained was going in on a cow-share. If you've got the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2014 at Mary Makes Dinner
Hi Shrie, Scott and I were actually talking about this the other day and wondering whether or not it would be an affordable solution for us. Id love to get the contact info for your dog walker. Thanks!
Toggle Commented Aug 26, 2014 on My Dog is a Jerk at Mary Makes Babies
I was a little nervous about the whole thing. What if I dropped him? What if I slipped? What if my nudity somehow traumatized him? These were my fears as I filled up the tub, but as soon as his little feet touched the water they were erased. His face... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at Mary Makes Babies
Last week the folks over at Ulysses Press hooked me up with a copy of Mason Jar Salads and More: 50 Layered Lunches to Grab and Go . At first glance, I thought the concept was a little silly. I mean, do we really need to put EVERYTHING in mason jars? But when I read the introduction it made me stop for a moment and consider Juliana's reasoning. It actually makes perfect sense to pack salads ahead of time in glass jars. First off, salads in jars are visually appealing - which really helps boost morale when you are looking at a whole week of salads for lunch. (We all know that we'd really rather be looking at five giant sandwiches - at least I would.) Packing the ingredients tightly, and in a thoughtful order, helps keep the ingredients fresh and crisp, a challenge for salads made ahead of time. Jar salads also provide a clever solution for the problem of portable dressing. Rather than carrying around an extra container or stashing a bottle of dressing at the office, you can layer the dressing into the jar on the very bottom where it won't soggy up the greens. So, after... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2014 at Mary Makes Dinner
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... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at Mary Makes Dinner
The Diagnosis After almost three months of drama it has finally been established that little Charlie-Boy had not just one tongue tie - but two! That means that the frenulum (that little flap of skin that holds your lip and tongue to your mouth) is too short for him to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Mary Makes Babies
Haha! Why YES I AM a graphic designer.
I have a feeling that dairy would be most people's first choice, especially with all the great resources out there right now for living gluten-free. I often feel like a weird foodie for not getting more excited about cheese. My Dad is a huge cheese lover - the stinkier the better - but I tend to adore the bread more than the butter. But then the two are so symbiotic! What's bread without butter - or pizza without cheese?
Please do! It might just convert you to a kale zealot.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Sweet & Savory Kale Salad at Mary Makes Dinner
Their salad was definitely an inspiration. I've seen a few variations of this around town.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Sweet & Savory Kale Salad at Mary Makes Dinner
Thanks for the link, Tracy! That looks yummy.
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Everything's Peaches n' Cream at Mary Makes Dinner
Thanks, Skye! The overripe banana trick works for pretty much any banana-based dessert. Oh, the possibilities!
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Banana Pudding Ice Cream at Mary Makes Dinner
Someone has got to crack the gluten-free cookie code one of these days! In the meantime, might I suggest eating this in a gluten-free sugar cone? That's probably the next best thing!
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Banana Pudding Ice Cream at Mary Makes Dinner
Thanks!! I was pretty proud of this one!
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Banana Pudding Ice Cream at Mary Makes Dinner
Hi Essie. The cookies will soften a bit in the ice cream, but the texture is still a nice treat when you come across a bite of cookie. The Cool Whip will start to melt as soon as it comes out of the freezer so it's important to work quickly while you are layering and packing the ice cream up. I hope that helps! If you make a batch, please let me know how it comes out. I'd love to hear your experience and maybe even see a photo if you take one!
Toggle Commented Aug 19, 2014 on Banana Pudding Ice Cream at Mary Makes Dinner
During the past few weeks of being on a gluten and dairy free diet I've been asked several times which is harder to give up. Considering that I can't eat a proper pizza either way, I have a hard time answering with any enthusiasm. When pressed, I'll admit that I do have a preference. If dairy and gluten were both dangling over a cliff and I could only save one... The thing is I'm not really that big of a cheese eater. Apart from pizza and ice cream, I could definitely live without dairy. It would be really nice to eat a sandwich though, or some spaghetti, or a plate full of dumplings. While I haven't found any substitutions for bread, I have found something to satisfy my ice cream cravings. NadaMoo sent me a couple of free pints on National Ice Cream Day - which just so happened to land at the end of my first week on this diet. By that time I was already pretty broken up over the prospect of an ice creamless Summer, so while it wasn't exactly Jeni's, it did hit the spot. Thanks, NadaMoo! The Chocolate Almond Chip is my jam. I even... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at Mary Makes Dinner
What is it with dudes and sectionals? Scott also wants the most enormous couch possible and even laments our living room for being too small.
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2014 on Holy Shit. I'm a Grown-Up at Mary Makes Babies
Free Dog! Ten year old collie-mix, great at waking up babies, snubbing cats, barking at thin air, and being a jerk. Would prefer to live with a single, unemployed person with no other friends, pets, or family. Obsessive types A-OK. Home should be located in the middle of nowhere, far... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2014 at Mary Makes Babies
Charlie discovered splashing tonight! At first I thought he had slapped the water by accident. The surprised look on his face sure made it seem that way. Then when he kicked his legs I thought he must be getting upset. Tub time wasn't always his favorite thing. But no, the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2014 at Mary Makes Babies
Who has the best kale salad in Austin? This is a debate that I never would have expected myself to weigh in on. Kale is one of those vegetables that people love to love - maybe too much. While I can get down with kale now and again, I'm always a little suspicious of those who purport to LOVE kale. Kale is your favorite? Really? I mean, it's OK and everything, but compared to pizza, kale is practically inedible. Besides, it's kind of bitter, and hopelessly chewy. If anything, kale is an underdog in the world of greenery. Roast it or toast it, and I'll chomp it down. Smash it and thrash it, and I'll drink it up - but kale salad? Yeah, never been a big fan. That is, until I tasted The Soup Peddler's Kneel Before Kale Salad. So sweet! So tender! So enjoyable! Maybe I do love kale salad after all? I must, because here I am sharing this recipe with you - a recipe for a salad that I just can't stop eating. Sweet & Savory Kale Salad Makes about four 1-cup servings Ingredients 3 cups raw kale 1/3 cup pepitas (or sunflower seeds) 1/3 cup... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2014 at Mary Makes Dinner
Well, peaches sans cream, really. I'm on my second week being gluten and dairy free, and while it's really not so bad, I do miss a few things. For example, I could sure go for some peach cobbler topped with a fat scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's peach season, after all. A couple weeks back Scott Bobleo and I took Charlie on his first road trip, venturing out to Fredericksburg, Texas in search of peaches. Peach season in Texas is pretty spectacular. Imagine bushels upon bushels of of extra sweet and tart peaches, bursting with juice, and tasting like you probably imagined peaches should taste as a child. They are really that good, and one of the many reasons I may never move out of this state. I'm a sucker for bargain bins, so when we spotted a 1/4 bushel box of slightly malformed peaches for $16.00 I lost my senses and snatched the thing up. Never mind that I barely have time to shower lately. Now I had to find time to peel and cook 1/4 bushel of quickly ripening peaches. I do love a good challenge. With Scott's help we managed to peel and pit the entire... Continue reading
Posted Aug 6, 2014 at Mary Makes Dinner
Thanks! He is a sneaky lil' devil, but we're getting there!
Toggle Commented Aug 5, 2014 on Jinxed at Mary Makes Babies