John and I were lying in bed last week when I had a thought – I love Texas. I feel so incredibly blessed to call Texas my home. Texas is vast and it’s unique. It’s beautiful and it’s charming. There are things about Texas that you won’t find anywhere else. Texas is and always will be H-O-M-E. As John’s graduation date looms closer it becomes more apparent to me that we will be leaving our home. At this point, we’re not sure where life is going to take us and I’m soaking up what could possibly be my last Texas summer for the foreseeable future.
I’m so pumped to partner with Ozarka today to share with you what I love about my home; what I love about Texas.
Last weekend, I made a trip to see my parents. They still live in the house I grew up in. It’s nestled safely on 20 acres of beautiful Texas farm land. There are cows and goats and rows of the freshest summer vegetables around. It’s not often that I get one-on-one time with my folks so I was determined to soak up the day and celebrate it with a farm fresh fiesta. On my way into town I stopped by my favorite local summer spot – Cooper Farm’s Country Store – for a bag of fresh Freestone County Peaches. It was all I could do to not sink my teeth into one as I made the rest of my drive.
It was picking time when I got there. Dad and I headed out to the garden with a basket and nimble picking fingers. We chatted about the hard spring we had, the size of the zucchini, and the various ways my mom preserved each harvest. I joke that my dad was born with green hands, not just green thumbs. Everything the man touches flourishes and his vegetable garden is proof!
There’s nothing quite like picking vegetables for your meal. It’s a gratification born from hours of hard labor. Every time I enjoy a vegetable from my dad’s garden, I can almost taste the love. Once we cooled off from the heat with a bottle of Ozarka water, mom and I hopped to prep the cucumber peach salad for our farm fresh fiesta.
Cucumber Peach Summer Salad
First, we peeled and sliced 3 juicy Texas peaches.
Then, I cubed 2 medium sized cucumbers fresh from my dad’s garden.
Very thinly, mom sliced half a fresh jalapeño from the garden into very thin “discs”.
Next, we added everything into a large bowl.
We added 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds from Taste Elevated, 1 teaspoon Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce from The Jelly Queens, 1 tablespoon local honey, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the bowl and mixed it all together.
Then, we covered the bowl and popped in the fridge to chill for a few hours.
We spent the meantime doing what Texans do – sitting on the back porch, watching the critters roam and the listening to the birds chirp. It’s times like these that I just want to drink up every single bit of what is going on. I hope I always remember what it feels like to be home. My parents have always made our farm a safe space for my sisters and I. Even at 25 and married, I know that it’s still my home and it gives me comfort like none other.
Around noon we started to prepare our farm fresh fiesta lunch. I laid a picnic blanket underneath my favorite oak trees and arranged our spread. We had baby back ribs prepared with The Juicy Steak Beef Rub and Snow’s BBQ sauce on the side – Texas Monthly’s best in Texas!
For munching, there were plump fresh tomato and sweet onion slices from the garden and Paqui Very Verde Tortilla Chips for a healthy (unbleached) crunch. Ranch style beans were altered with a few dashes of Yellowbird 100% Jalapeño sauce.
The cucumber peach summer salad helped balance out the spicy BBQ notes by adding a certain fruity crisp to the meal. Ozarka Brand Natural Spring Water comes from three Texas springs and, like Texans, has a uniquely Texan fresh taste. So of course we drank Ozarka bottled water to help quench our thirst in the summer heat.
As we ate we laughed and reminisced on past gatherings. With a family as big as ours, we have plenty of memories, but we’re always in the market to make more. When it comes down to it, that’s what I love so much about where I come from. I love the memories of happy times and even more, I love the people who made those memories. Coming home again makes me realize that I am certainly from here, for here.
Have you ever had a “from here, for here” moment? What makes you love where you’re from?