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Mary Helen
Austin, TX
I can Haas Avocado?
Interests: Mary Makes Good is a lifestyle blog featuring whole food recipes, DIY projects, natural beauty, and a parenting diary.
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These ones, right here. These are the cheeks dreams are made of. They are like ripe little peaches, all soft and fuzzy. They even smell good - well, when they aren't covered in yogurt or mashed potatoes. These cheeks lift up to share his smiles, and tremble when his happiness fades. These cheeks still boast the round plumpness of babyhood though they have lost a little volume in the last few months. He is busy transforming from baby to toddler. With every passing day he squirms and scoots just a bit further from me. Before I know it he will be running around without my help. Sometimes I think he feels the coming changes too, and is trying to keep them at bay. He has always been a very independent baby but now he protests any separation between himself and his mommy. He wants Mama when he's crying. He wants Mama when it's time for bed. He wants Mama just about anytime he hears my voice or sees me walk by. Now and then I have a moment where his desire for constant closeness strains me. I find myself wishing that he would just give me a break and let... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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This past weekend I watched my little sister, Caitlin, perform with her sketch troupe, Taken Seriously, in their debut show at The New Movement Theater. Cait is a natural born comedian. She came up with her first standup routine when she was just a wee tot. She would put her hands on her little toddler hips and deliver this long, storylike joke. Though her pronunciation was still a little hinky (an account of her being a baby and all) she never missed a line. "Standally" (Stanley), she'd say. "You're not opposed to do dat!" Now she's all grown up and taking her funny to a whole new level. Knowing she was funny, I expected to get a good chuckle out of her show on Saturday night, but it was way funnier than that. I spent half of the show doubled over with tears running down my face. It was seriously funny, and I couldn't be more proud of my sister for having helped write it. Taken Seriously is opening for Opposites (a really funny improv team) this Wednesday, 8:00pm at The New Movement Theater on Lavaca Street. If you are free, I highly suggest checking it out. Tickets are just... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Note: This post has been updated from last year's guide to New York style pizza in Austin. Click here to check out last year's post. Let's talk about pizza, specifically, New York Pizza. What constitutes New York style pizza anyway? Is it the thickness of the crust, the flavor of the sauce, or the type of oven that it's cooked in? The short answer is "yes". It's all of those things, but above all, it's a combination of textures and flavors that spells out comfort to anyone who grew up in or around New York City. I was born in Maine, but grew up mostly in Fairfield County, Connecticut and Yonkers, New York. All in all, I spent the majority of my life within an hour of "the city". As you might imagine, I ate a lot of pizza growing up. Apart from the occasional Sicilian or deep-dish pie, New York Style pizza was pretty much it. Everyone had their favorite hometown pizza places, but looking back, you could count on certain similarities in one pie to another. What is New York Style Pizza? First and foremost, comes the crust. If you ask me, a good New York style crust... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I'll bet when you think of Chickpea Flour skin care isn't the first thing that comes to mind. Falafel? Yes. Facials? Not so much. Though you might find it surprising, Chickpea Flour is actually a super traditional beauty ingredient in other parts of the world. In India, Chickpea Flour is called Besan, and acts as a main ingredient in an endless variety of facials and masks that promise everything from younger looking skin to the lightening of age spots and the clearing of acne. You'll also find Chickpea Flour going under the alias of Gram Flour. These recipes are based on the notion that Chickpea Flour contains vitamins and minerals that benefit beauty. Most of the articles you'll find on Besan make some pretty interesting claims, but the science behind them can be a little vague. After a little digging I was able to find a few nuggets of solid information on what makes Chickpea Flour such a popular ingredient for skin care. Chickpea Flour contains plenty of folate which is known to have anti-aging benefits. It also contains magnesium, which may help prevent wrinkles and fight acne. A hefty dose of Vitamin B-6, which is purported to help fight... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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On the list of horrible, frustrating, irritating things that can possibly happen, losing my camera's battery charger is pretty high up on the list. While I slowly search the house from top to bottom (It's gotta be here. It's just GOTTA.) I've been resorting to taking camera phone photos for my blog. Not that taking picture with your phone is the worst thing that could happen. Most of the time they are downright OK. It's just that I like taking pretty pictures, and I know that no matter how skillfully I tap my tiny little screen it's just not going to look as good as if I was shooting with my big camera. It's not the end of the world - but it does suck a little joy out of my life, which is never a good thing. It is especially frustrating when Farmhouse Delivery hooks you up with a massive box of gorgeous produce. I pulled an Instagram Takeover on their feed last weekend and spent an entire afternoon cooking and prepping tons of really pretty food. These mushrooms, for example, were sooooo pretty. Even the process of making them was pretty. It was a golden opportunity to flex... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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CC's first Christmas came and went about one month ago. Since Scott and I aren't religious Christmas is more of a family tradition than anything else, but one we still enjoy a lot. Being surrounded with people you love and piles of cookies is a good thing, right? Of course, along with Christmas comes some not so good things - things like excess and materialism and green-eyed monsters. I'm hoping to keep Christmas as family-centered as possible as CC gets older, but I can already see how easily the day can become focused entirely on what's waiting under the tree. Scott and I filled stockings for one another but didn't buy each other proper gifts. It's our way of keeping a lid on our spending while still participating in the gift-giving tradition. We bought a few things for Charlie's little stocking (a project which I began in haste on the morning of Christmas Eve when I realized I didn't have a stocking for him yet). It came out pretty well for being sewn in the car between Austin and Houston. We filled it with teething biscuits, an infant toothbrush, and several of his already-favorite toys. I know. We are seriously... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Psst. Have you heard? Crush-ins are so last season. The cool people are totally over them. Ice cream lovers in-the-know have developed a taste for frozen desserts with more unique characteristics. With the cupcake fad long dead, and a doughnut obsession well underway, will gourmet ice cream be the next national craze? One can only hope. Image courtesy of Ice Cream Social So where can sweet-toothed Austinites get in on a scoop of upscale ice cream? There are actually a number of gourmet creameries vying for position as the town's top banana. Gourmet flavors, crazy sundaes, and overloaded waffle cones abound. Here are a few places to check out if you are ready to take a leisurely stroll on the wild side. Dolce Neve, South First and Annie Street 1713 S 1st street | Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 10pm & Sat - Sun 11am - 12am The pistachio gelato at Dolve Neve is currently my favorite frozen dessert in Austin - and I don't expect to find another anytime soon. Somehow, some way, it tastes even more like a pistachio than a pistachio. If you haven't had it yet you are wasting precious time. Life after this stuff... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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CC can't really seem to figure out which side of the banana is the business end. Sometimes he enjoys mashing the fruit into his gummy little mouth, but most times he just like gnawing on the end. This gives you a brief glimpse into the messy life of a baby learning to eat solid food. It's sticky. It's slimy, and it's far-reaching. As if the sheer squalor of it all weren't enough to deal with, I am also racked with anxiety over where that banana has been. Bananas come from the tropics - so does malaria... and posion spiders. MY BABY!!!! (Plus there is the whole pesticide thing.) It didn't take long for me to determine that some kind of produce washing solution was in order. We really should be washing all of our produce more thoroughly anyway (at least according to this) so it was about time I made up a batch. I started out by sticking some orange peels in a jar of vinegar. I'd been seeing other people doing this lately and it looked... wait for it... appealing. Ba ha ha ha ha. But really, there is something really attractive to me about orange peels floating in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I really have a thing for orange colored foods. Sweet potatoes, carrot juice, nacho cheese... Whether you are talking about health food or junk food the color orange is usually a sure-fire sign that I'll like it. That's one reason why I make soup from root veggies so often. Besides my natural affinity to warm colored vegetables I find these soups to be stupid easy to make and extremely versatile when it comes to flavoring. I've made about a zillion variation on the basic pureed veggie and stock combo. I've added curry spices, cheese and broccoli, and even miso. It seems like every time I turn around I'm making an orange colored soup. This soup is a little extra vibrant thanks to some fresh turmeric. Turmeric not only adds a bright, sunny flavor to this soup, but is also valued for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. Between an ongoing lack of sleep and hours spent everyday hunched over a tiny little person I have my fair share of aches and pains. Add to that discomfort my battle with Austin's dreaded Cedar Fever and you've pretty much sussed out my motivation for making a batch of turmeric soup. I'm inflamed, baby, and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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Recently CC had a major developmental leap, making him much more aware and interactive. This makes him extra fun during the day. He laughs at everything, plays little baby games with us, and even claps his hands (sort of) to show us when he's enjoying himself. It's really wild to watch him discover his world. Just the other day he found his shadow. Talk about magical moments of babyhood. I just about melted as he started waving his little arms and reaching out toward his sillhouette. At night his new powers of observation are a little less fun. Remember how I talked about us having issues with sleep? Well, it won't come as a surprise to any of the fellow parents out there that our saga has continued. I mentioned that our first goal was to break him of the whole falling asleep while eating habit. Well, the good news is that it worked! CC rarely passes out mid-suck anymore. The bad news is that he has replaced nursing to sleep with wigging out to sleep. He now spends the last twenty minutes of wakefulness climbing my head, pulling my hair, and trying to gouge out my eyes. It's like... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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After the many indulgences of the holiday season (and there WERE many) I've been trying to make an effort to get back on the path to losing weight. So, salads. Salads were the key to my staying healthy during pregnancy, so turning to them once more seems wise - not to mention tasty. I find a good salad to be extremely satisfying. It can hit all the right spots: sweet, salty, crunchy, fatty, hearty... Of course, you can't just throw some lettuce in a bowl. A proper entree salad needs something more. Lydia over at The Salad Diaries has got the right idea. If you need a little salad inspiration head over to her blog or follow her on Instagram. I started following her a while back and find her passion for salad to be infectious - just what I need after a season spent letting my bad habits run amok. Anyway, THIS salad is a good one. I used a store-bought poppyseed dressing because homemade vinnaigrettes are not really part of my post-baby life at the moment. It's sad when you can't spare two minutes to whip up a salad dressing but there it is. Shit is getting real... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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I'm about to make some pretty mega changes to ye olde blog - or should I say blogs. You may or may not know it, but I actually have three blogs going under the Mary Makes brand. The first was Mary Makes Dinner, then came Mary Makes Pretty, and finally Mary Makes Babies. That's a lot of blogs! I'm about to pull a presto-chango move and tie them all together in one brand new blog behemouth called Mary Makes Good. You may have already noticed (if you pay attention to this kind of thing) that I've been changing my social media handles to Mary Makes Good for a while now. Apart from Facebook (which I'm having trouble changing) you'll see everything of mine transition to that name soon - if it hasn't already. If you are having trouble finding me where you usually do, look for @MaryMakesGood. So what does this massive blog merger mean for my posts? Well, it means that instead of being split up into three different blogs they will all live here under one roof in one big bonanza of over-sharing. I'll be going on about everything from blueberries to babies to decopauge from now on,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
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This holiday season was kind of a crapshoot for me when it came to DIY. It seems like every recipe or handicraft I tried went wildly wrong on my first attempt, so I found myself having to go back and try things over and over to get them right. I'm not really the most patient person, so when my first batch of coconut macaroons came out of the oven with puddles of condensed milk leaking from the bottoms I was ready to chuck them out the window. But then Scott came over and popped one into his mouth, declaring them fit for eating. Still slightly annoyed and utterly baffled by my macaroon mishap I went ahead with the rest of my recipe - drizzling dark chocolate over the sweet sticky nests of coconut. Then I sprinkled chopped almonds, sea salt, and cayenne powder over them and was pleased to see that despite their gooey beginnings the cookies had actually become quite pretty. Of course I still have to solve the mysterious melting issue before sharing a macaroon recipe with you all. For now, I'm going to point you toward my friend Rachelle's recipe over at Blinded by the Bite instead.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2015 at Mary Makes Good
It's funny that I worry so much when I really believe that there's no "right" way to do things anyway. I guess it's just such a huge responsibility and I love him so much I have a fear of failing him. So many feels!
Hi Rosalie, Thanks for sharing you experience with the girls. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in suffering through their tears. I am hoping we can find another way to get him to sleep, but so far it's not looking good so we'll probably end up having to sleep train him after all. I just don't know if I'll ever be ready. It's good to hear things are better on the other side though. Do they go down now without crying?
Thanks! It's amazing how being a mom can feel so natural one moment and so impossible the next!
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Disclosure: I was given a free copy of Texas on the Table to review from University Press, but I wasn't paid for this post or obligated to share it with you. My opinions are all my own. I read a lot of cookbooks. It's one of my favorite things to do, and recently a few publishers started sending me copies of books to check out - which for a book-nerd like myself is really pretty thrilling. I've probably received about a dozen books this year, but only a few really stood out. Texas on the Table is one of those few. It's a massive book, and packed with gorgeous photos. The book shares stories from Texas chefs and food producers, adding a rich background to each of the amazing recipes within. Most of the recipes aren't everyday fare, but they tend to focus on fresh whole ingredients, which is nice. These are the kinds of meals you might make for a holiday - or when you feel like spending a few hours in the kitchen fixing up something really special. Being short on time lately my choices for recipe testing from this book were a bit limited. There were so... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2014 at Mary Makes Good
I thought for sure my chunk would be the same way! He is enjoying food a little more now that we are trying the whole baby led weaning thing, but he's still not very enthusiastic. I think he'd rather play than be stuck in his high chair, so we just keep his "meals" short for now. Before I know it I'm sure he'll be packing away the food.
Toggle Commented Dec 12, 2014 on CC vs. Solid Food - Round One at Mary Makes Babies
Hi Jennifer. He mostly sleeps in his crib - which is still in our bedroom. On desperate occasions he lands in bed with me (often for his last sleep of the night when he wakes at 4am or later.) we have also tried letting him nap on our bed since he seems more content there. Trouble is no matter where he naps it never lasts long. That is unless I let him nap in my arms! Sigh.
Thanks for telling me I'm cool. Take THAT, haters. Ha ha. Anyway, yeah I figure he's got to learn to like at least some of this stuff sooner or later. I've found that even as an adult I have to try certain things over and over before I discover a preparation that I like. Brussels Sprouts, for example, never did it for me until I had them blackened with teriyaki and jalapeno. Go figure.
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2014 on CC vs. Solid Food - Round One at Mary Makes Babies
Good way to look at it! I try to remember that I'm fortunate to be able to decide when I want to stop nursing as so many mamas have their bodies decide for them. I've always wanted to get to 18 months, but now that I'm living it I'm not so sure.
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2014 on My Bittersweet Milky Shackles at Mary Makes Babies
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I've been missing my blog lately. So often I get a thought in my head and instead of letting it worm itself out through a quick post it lingers - trapped in my brain like a cat stuck inside a bedroom. I go about my daily work, taking care of the baby, working on edits for the book, testing recipes, writing for The Natural Beauty Workshop, and all the while I can feel it - a pair of furry little paws thumping away at the door. Let me out. Let me out! LET ME OUT! So I decided to take a little break from my break and write a blog post (or three). Today's subject? Gratitude. Turkey Day is coming and it's one of my all time favorite holidays. It's going to be a little hectic this year with thirteen guests and one time-challenged host, but I'm sure it will all work out. I've asked my family to go heavy on the contributions so that Scott Bobleo and I can keep our end of the deal as simple as possible. We're making a turkey with all the trimmings but leaving sides, desserts, drinks, and hours d'ourves in the hands of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at Mary Makes Good
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Well, folks. It's time to throw in the towel - at least for a few weeks - as I work on finishing up the manuscript for my book. (In case you haven't heard, I'm writing a freaking book!) Life is just a touch TOO busy between work, book-writing, and baby, so I'm taking a little break. I'll be back with new recipes and updates on the state of my culinary world just as soon as I'm able to get my head above water. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram where I share (or maybe overshare) bits of my daily life. I have a pretty serious crush on Instagram, by the way. It's like blogging, only miniaturized. Think of it as my fun-size blog. If you'd like to stay in the know as far as the book is concerned, I would LOVE for you too sign up for my book's mailing list. I'll be sending out newsletters on pre-orders, workshops, and maybe even a book tour. See you later, alligators. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at Mary Makes Good
So it finally happened. I went outside my front door half topless. I didn't realize until I came in and sat down after taking the trash out that I had never rearranged myself after CC's last nursing session. Whoops. At least I don't think anyone saw me. Speaking of motherhood, I heard a pretty inspiring story recently about motherhood (and life beyond) from Troy Ball, the founder of Asheville Distilling Company. Troy has three boys, two of which have special needs. She ended up putting her personal career ambitions on hold to care for her kids for over a decade. Then she stumbled upon Moonshine. Curiosity and that old ambition cropped up and propelled her into the world of craft distilling. I was invited to a media tasting where I got to sample two varieties of Troy and Sons Moonshine as well as their Blonde Whiskey. Everything is made in small batches using heirloom grains. The spirits were tasty, and it was nice to hear from a woman who has found success and independence after a decade of full-time motherhood. I sometimes wish I had put my own career on hold so that I could focus just on CC, but... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at Mary Makes Good
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Disclosure: The giveaway below is sponsored by World Vision, a Christian charity. World Vision provided me with a set of spoons to photograph and keep and is supplying the second set to be given away. I'm on a diet right now - a strict diet, and I have a lot of feelings about that. Rather than prattle on and on, I'll sum it all up via haiku. Nutrient dense food A bottomless appetite I would kill for pie Are you feeling me? I know you get it. I'm dreaming of pizza, but instead I'm eating this kale salad here. Yeah I know, another kale salad. I promise to branch out to other greens as soon as this baby stops sleeping on my chest six hours a day. Until then, kale. Lemon Cashew Ceasar Salad with Roasted Squash Makes about four servings Ingredients 1 bunch of organic kale (because I think organic kale tastes better) 1 acorn squash, sliced and seeded 1 tablespoon cooking oil/fat (I used bacon fat because paleo - but any fat or oil will do) 1/2 cup cashews (either raw or roasted will do fine) 1/4 cup almond oil (or another healthy fat - virgin olive would... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2014 at Mary Makes Good