Archive for the ‘Philanthropy’ Category

Pflugerville’s Mr Pfranks launched a KickStarter to keep their home-grown hot dog shop running. The couple served a total of 19 years in the armed forces, since then they setup shop selling all-beef hot dogs.

Yesterday they posted on their Facebook page:

After a tough day and some final prep we want to announce our first ever funding campaign. it is a Kickstarter and we would appreciate any help you can give to help us be successful!
It can be reached at www.512hotdogs.comwww.512hotdogs.infowww.512hotdogs.net and www.512hotdogs.co We do not take this lightly and we hope you can find it in your heart to support us in any way you can see fit. Family and friends (new and old) we ask you to share this everywhere you think it is appropriate. Help us serve our community and join us in our quest for customer service. We love and thank you all!

I love hot dogs and supporting local businesses, so it was easy for me to pledge to the cause.   Anyone can help out with a few clicks, share this post and pledge if you can!

If you live in the area, visit Mr Pfranks at 200 East Pecan Street in Pflugerville.


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Enter to win two tickets to The Big Chill!

It’s the coolest event in the hot Texas summer: the Big Chill! Join the Austin Food Blogger Alliance for a night to remember.

Dress up and cool down with chilly bites from some of Austin’s top restaurants in the beautiful Bullock Texas State History Museum. Chefs from top Austin restaurants—including The Carillon, No Va, St. Philip, Dolce Neve, Celtic Seafare, Nada Moo, Soup Peddler, Pleasant Storage Room, Swift’s Attic, Thai Fresh, Trace at the W, and Noble Sandwich Co.—will be creating special menu items for the event, with drink stations sponsored by Good Pop and Chameleon Coffee.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Meals on Wheels and More, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Meals on Wheels and More has served the Austin area for 42 years, nourishing and enriching the lives of people in need through meal delivery and other programs that promote independent living.

Event information:

Thursday, June 26 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Bullock Texas State History Museum
800 N. Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701

Total prize value: $130
Must be over 21 to attend the event.

Enter below to win now through June 15th, and don’t forget to follow along on Twitter and Instagram: #AFBABigChill



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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I had such a blast last year at Cupcakes & Cocktails with my friends in the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, and I’m doing it again this year. You can come too!


This year the AFBA is teaming up with several local sponsors and our host, Le Cordon Bleu in the Domain, to raise funds for the ARC of the Capitol Area. 100% of ticket sales and silent auction proceeds will go to the ARC so they can continue their mission in our community as “a non-profit organization, committed to promoting independence and choice by providing individualized services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities”.

Come out and mingle with food enthusiasts for a cause!

Tickets available HERE

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The Austin Food Blogger Alliance presents Cupcakes & Cocktails, hosted at Le Cordon Bleu in the Domain on July 19th. A fun evening with Austin’s food writers, bloggers, and enthusiasts enjoying cocktail inspired cupcakes while perusing the silent auction for that must have item of the night! This is the party I look forward to attending this summer.

Cupcakes & Cocktails will benefit The ARC of Central Texas, which is a non-profit organization, who is committed to promoting independence and choice by providing individualized services to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ticket sales and silent auction donations all go to The ARC of Central Texas.

Join us and purchase tickets today!

Cupcakes & Cocktails 2013

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Yesterday was a very long day for me. I was at the helm of one of eight bake sale sites raising funds for West, TX.

My Cub Scout Pack (145) comprised half of my team of volunteers at the Round Rock Market Days.  Big thank you to Sherri Arrington for providing the space for our tent!  The boys stopped everyone walking through the market with signs asking if they would visit our booth to donate to West.  It

austin bakes for west 2013 round rock 1

All of the goodies donated were drool worthy.  Here is what we had:
Midnite Chef: Ginger Molasses Cookies, Decorated Sugar Cookies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Butter Tarts
Let’s Bakery: Chocolate Cake Pops
Lori H.: Butter Cookies, Fudge
Bobbie and Bill H.: Vegan Cornbread, Chocolate Cookies *vegan item*
Dr. Kracker: Klassic 3-Seed Crackers
Sheri V.: Paleo/Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies, Paleo/Gluten-free Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Nancy W.: Banana Bread Mini Loaves
Kelley M.: Cake Push Pops
Addicted2Recipes: Nutella Peanut Butter Balls, Banana Nut Bread Mini Loaves, Pecan Praline Mini Bundt Cakes
Slightly Off-Kilter: Cookies
Savory Spice on 6th: Assorted cinnamons and baking spices
The Pie Society: Chocolate Fudge, Apple, Strawberry Rhubard, Pecan, Peach and Blueberry Mini Pies and Pie Bites
The Hill Country Cook: Black Bottom Cupcakes, Cookies
Kristy D.: Cupcakes
Kelsey E.: Chocolate Cinnamon Tea Bread, Assorted Cookies
Annie U.: Extreme Banana Bread

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My team raised $2,424 and I thank each one of you who came out to buy cookies and cakes at the market.  Together, with the seven Austin sites and online gifts, Austin Bakes raised $19,257!


The perk to being in downtown Round Rock is the splash park!  Guess who got to play in the water?


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cardamom_bakery spiced ginger molasses cookies

Spiced Ginger Molasses Cookies

Austin Bakes for West 2013

My sign!

nissua-freshly baked

Bread with dried currants and cardamom


A week from now I will be at the Round Rock Market Days in the updated heart of Round Rock taking donations for baked goods to benefit the folks in West, TX following the terrible disaster on April 17th. This is part of a large-scale city-wide bake sale on May 4th. Look for volunteers at these locations:

Bee Cave: Whole Foods Market Bee Cave 12601 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave, TX 78738

Austin Bakes will be in the outdoor dining area outside the storefront.

Central Austin: Foreign & Domestic 306 E. 53rd Street, 78751

Austin Bakes for West will be set up in the restaurant parking lot.

Central Austin: Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew 6610 N Lamar Blvd, 78757

Austin Bakes for West will be set up in the restaurant parking lot. Look for kolaches made with Stiles Switch sausage at this sale site!

Downtown Austin: Whole Foods Market Lamar 525 North Lamar Boulevard, 78703

Austin Bakes for West will be on the northwest side of the storefront, in the outdoor dining area.

East Austin: Springdale Farm 755 Springdale Road, 78702

Austin Bakes for West will be outside the farmstand.

Northwest Austin: Whole Foods Market Gateway 9607 Research Boulevard, #300, 78759

Austin Bakes for West will be outside the storefront.

Round Rock: Round Rock Market Days 221 E. Main St., Round Rock, TX 78664

Austin Bakes for West will be in the sanctuary (main building) of the church.

South Austin: Crema Bakery & Cafe 9001 Brodie Lane, Suite B, 78748

Austin Bakes for West will be outside the bakery. Crema will be donating 10% of bakery sales that day to Austin Bakes for West.

*   ~   *


I have a long list of items I want to bake, time is my only restriction as to how much will be baked!

Ginger Molasses Cookies
Decorated Sugar Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin/Chocolate Chip
Vegan+Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookies
Lemon Poppy seed mini Bundt cakes
Chocolate mini Bundt cakes
Finnish Pulla
Butter Tarts
Spoon Cookies
Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies

At least I can get a head start on the cookies by preparing the dough in advance, especially the Ginger and Sugar varieties that require chilling. I’ll have to pick and choose off this list, but I truly hope to get most of these items baked, maybe not in great quantity of each.

What do you think? What is your favorite bake sale item to bake or buy?

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One of my worst fears has come to pass for local families, and at the worst time of the year.  Early today an apartment complex caught fire, several families with children lost everything.  Can you join me in making a donation or spreading the word to those who can make a donation to help save Christmas for these families?  One of the schools affected, Forest North Elementary PTA is taking donations of any kind but for those not in the area who want to help can do so on their website.  Alternatively, contact the Austin Disaster  Relief Network – 512-331-2600 or donate online.  News story is here.

I realize you probably have every charity in the world contacting you for help.  My dear readers, if you can spare anything for these kids I would be very grateful for any assistance you can give to our neighbors.  Thank you and have a blessed holiday season!

Now a recipe for you and your family on this chilly Austin day…


The fall back plan in my kitchen is pasta.  I can make fresh or dried pasta and any little stragglers of food in the fridge can be used to dress it up.  Even if there’s no tomato sauce, like today, I use some canned diced tomato and tomato paste instead.  Look for tomato paste infused with roasted garlic, whatever you make from the pantry with it will be pleased.

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 15oz can petite diced tomato
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste (with roasted garlic)
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Greek Seasoning (Victorian Epicure)
  • 1 lb 90% lean ground beef
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry rubbed sage

Start with the pasta.  Brown the meat in a large skillet and break apart as it cooks.  Season the meat well with salt and pepper.  Add the onion and carrot, garlic and herbs.  Stir to distribute and pick up brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomato, paste and about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to dissolve the paste.  Cover and simmer gently until ready to serve and the pasta is al denté.

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.   Remove from heat.

Serve with Pizza Toasts and a side salad for a comforting meal with your family.

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… is to help someone in need.

There’s a lot of crazy stuff happening in the world today, greed need not be one of them.  I have more than I could have possibly asked for.  Healthy children, a home, a job, and a new network of friends (online and off).  Don’t send me anything this year, your gift is needed in the hands of a person who has lost hope, job, or family.

2012 flipped my world by about 720º.  I’d have to say this weeping heart of mine got a final tugging to cause the unstoppable desire to help others in late 2011.  That was the time of the wildfires in Central Texas and I wanted to help raise money, not just make a donation, to help neighbors in need of everything that was left to be consumed by flames.  I could not imagine losing everything I had, that’s when I noticed how much had accumulated in my house, the life built, the stories to follow.

I lost someone early in 2012, in an unexpected way that still affects me.  They’re not dead, just …gone.  I wanted help, but didn’t know what I needed.  Everything else was here, there was only a void to distract us from the daily work that had to be done.  Having ridden the emotional roller coaster for months I was tired, plain tired, and needed to find a plug for the void.   I found volunteering by using my passion for baking as a stuffing for the void.  The more I gave, the smaller the hole in my heart.  I’ve not only been baking for a great local charity, I’m also involved with Cub Scouts with my son.  My kids often accompany me on the birthday cake runs for Bake-A-Wish.


One of the Bake-A-Wish cakes

Through online networks I’ve learned about other organizations that could use your gift instead of me.  This isn’t a plug for them, I’m not being paid for this, I’m merely sharing what I’ve learned this year.  Soles4Souls, about a dollar is enough to send a pair of shoes to a child in need anywhere in the world.  Twenty dollars can furnish a flock of foul to hungry families at Heifer International.  Local charities, like SFC – Sustainable Food Center, is trying to raise funds for a new building where they can educate the public about growing and cooking their own food.  One of my culinary idols, Jamie Oliver, has of course the Food Revolution underway, all you have to do is sign a petition (i.e. free)!  The farm girl in me would like a barnyard, but my home owner’s association might have issues with that, instead you can sponsor a displaced farm animal at Farm Sanctuary.  Lastly, water is the key to human existence, give the gift of clean water to those without it.

I would love an ice cream maker but my heart will graciously thank you for any of the aforementioned donations instead.

What is your favorite charity?

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I made some Carrot Muffins and Chocolate Cookies for the bake sale organized by Lazy Smurfy.  I hope there was a good turn out!  It was nice to meet some of the writers behind redhotvegans.com!

I also met Liz from Farm Sanctuary.  Liz is looking for walkers this Saturday (Oct 27th), as of this writing they have 83% of their $5K goal.  If you don’t want to walk, sponsor someone who is!  Go here to register or donate today.  There is also a need for vegan bites at the end of the walk at Pease Park, if I can swing it I could make more of those yummy carrot muffins for the walkers.

 …the donations you raise help us rescue, feed, administer urgent care, and provide permanent homes for farm animals!

If you are in Austin and want to help, please click on the links.

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…. yours truly!

I’ve been eyeing Melissa Joulwan’s cookbook since reading about it here and on her blog The Clothes Make the Girl.  Now I have an autographed copy!  Thanks Melissa!  I donated a box of Spiced Ginger Molasses Cookies to the silent auction that was paired up with a gift certificate to Easy Tiger.

My friend and I enjoyed mini cupcakes dressed in flavours inspired by cocktails.  You could text in your vote for the best cupcake and see the results on the projector screen during the event.  Oh, yes I should tell you more about the event!  But first, here are three of the tasty bites competing for numero uno cupcake.

Black and White Russian Cupcake

The Black And White Russian topped with a marshmallowy meringue and chocolate covered espresso bean.  This handsome little guy was the first one I tasted.  It was a moist chocolate cake and all together a good cupcake, however it didn’t scream cocktail to me.

Black Cherry Pomegranate Martini Cupcake

Something that reminded me of a trifle was the Black Cherry Pomegranate Martini, it even came in a mini martini cup!  This looked like a cocktail the most, it got my design award.

Steve’s Special Cupcake

My official vote went to the Steve’s Special Cupcake, Guinness chocolate cake and Irish Whiskey spiked frosting.  Just delicious!  I’ve never had a better cupcake.  If you are looking for a recipe try this one on Smitten Kitchen.  Might not be the best thing for a kid’s birthday party, these would be great for a groom’s cake though!

The event was a benefit for Bake-A-Wish Foundation.  There was hardly a dry eye in the room as we listened to the presentation about the impact Bake-A-Wish has on so many children and elderly lives in Austin.  I can sympathize with those kids who never had a birthday cake.  I was a farm girl way back when, we lived off the land and last time I checked birthday cakes don’t grow from the ground.  I recall my 16th birthday.  I said “My favorite cake is Black Forest, could I please have one for my birthday?” A Sweet Sixteen is supposed to be special and we didn’t have a cake that night.  Granted, we did have an apple pie Mom made using frozen apples from either our trees or my uncle’s.  Mom makes a mean apple pie, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

I want to give someone a birthday cake that they want to have but might be too afraid to ask for it.

Let the kids have some cake on their special day!

I don’t know how much the Austin Food Blogger Alliance managed to raise for Bake-A-Wish, but every dollar counts.  If you missed the event or you are reading this from afar, you can donate directly to the non-profit at www.bakeawishaustin.org

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