Get Active Outdoors in Austin #FromHereForHere


This post was sponsored by Ozarka Water, however all opinions, recipes, and enthusiasm are my own.Hi How are You Mural from AustinI love living in Austin, Texas and, with the exception of a few boomerang moves, I have called this little place (well, now a BIG place) home my entire life – not many folks can say the same! Sure, the live music scene and hipster vibe has made this town trendy and it’s also the place to be for high tech, politics, and a good food truck fix.   However, the opportunities for being active are what I appreciate most about being right here in the ATX. The weather is wonderfully warm and the sun seems to never stop shining on the abundance of parks, lakes and local events where I stay active. And, there are so many local businesses that make products #FromHereForHere (like Ozarka Water) that keep me hydrated and fueled up for my healthy fitness journey.

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  My neighborhood has over 20 miles of hike and bike trails to run and explore . . . 

#FromHereForHEre Trail Run in Austin

My house is sublimely sandwiched between two bodies of water. Three miles one way is Lake Travis, the largest reservoir of the Colorado River and home to swimming, boating, scuba diving, and even legal nude bathing in the Hippie Hollow park area (we all want to #KeepAustinWeird). Another three miles down the road the other way is the return of the Colorado River at Mansfield Damn before it turns into downtown’s Lake Austin (more recently renamed Ladybird Lake).

I like to paddle board toward downtown for miles or until my arms tire out . . .

Paddle Boarding Lake Austin

#FromHereFor Here Jet Ski in Austin


Some days I get my motor started by taking the jet ski out . . . 






Or, sometimes I just relax and sit in a chair while my son enjoys after-dinner fishing while our dog standing on guard . . . 

davis fishing with lucy

And, if the water sports in Austin weren’t enough, there is every type of endurance sporting event imaginable – my favorites are probably the Spartan Race in nearby Burnett at Reveille Ranch and the Fit Foodie Race.

Of course, being so active in Austin requires the proper hydration and snacks! And that’s where I can count on Texas to treat me right again! There are so many beverages and foods #FromHereForHere that make it heaven for the adventurous, healthy foodie like myself.

Ozarka Water  by Lake Austin

jennifer ozarkaWith the heat and amount of physical activity I do in the summer, I always concerned about getting enough water. At the top of my cooler you’ll find Ozarka ® Brand Natural Spring Water, sourced from three nearby springs, this water has a uniquely Texan fresh taste! It’s so easy to stay hydrated with this clean-tasting, crisp water that’s available in convenient single-serve bottles and for Ozarka® water delivery at home.

Gotta have that Ozarka ® Brand Natural Spring Water! I try to drink an ounce per pound of my body weight, even more if I’ve run far or worked out hard!

All these outdoor workouts in in Austin makes a girl hungry So, I came up with a super easy nut recipe using a few local ingredients #FromHereForHere . It’s perfect to pack up in a snack baggie for on-the-go munching at the lake or post run!  My Habanero BBQ Almonds use Yellowbird Sauce (a peppery condiment that puts the whoowhee hot yum on EVERYTHING, Sweet & Spicy Mustard Seeds from Taste Elevated that add in interesting mustard sweet-heat flavor and BBQ Sauce from Snow’s BBQ Sauce (named best in the state by Texas Monthly staff).

Habanero BBQ Almonds

To make, heat skillet to medium- high over stovetop. add 1 cup raw, unsalted almonds. Toast, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoons habanero sauce, 1 tablespoon moist, jarred mustard seeds (with sauce) and 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Cook over medium-low for an additional 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Makes 1 cup.

JElly Queens Spice Kings Grill OzarkaI also found some new local ingredients for my grilling creations — I can’t wait to try them! The Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ Sauce from Jelly Queens  is an umami bomb of flavor! I first learned about black garlic about a year ago as an ingredient, but have never seen it used in a prepared artisan product – this stuff will send your taste buds out of bounds!  They also make a fab-looking Steak Rub that will be so on fleek crusting up my flat iron!

Chips Queso Bean Salad OzarkaWhen I’m packing a picnic lunch for the lake, my recipe for Mom’s Best Black Bean, Avocado & Corn Salad is ALWAYS a winner – in fact, the California Avocado Association even named it the winner in the July 4th All-American Recipe Contest in 2014! But add some local love to this salad, I take along Queso con Salsa Escabeche from CookWell & Company  (built around a blend of blue and cheddar cheeses!) and Paqui’s  Tortilla Chips (“better for you” tortilla chips named after the Aztec word for “to be happy”). The family and I are snacking happy until the sun sets!

What do you love most about your hometown? Do you have any must-try local food products? Do you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer


I Know ‘Jack’ About Sauce – My Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite Recipe

As the end of October nears, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for one of the most sensory-overloaded food experiences of my life (to date) – the 2004 Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue. This annual event, held in Lynchburg, Tennessee, features barbecue teams from all over the globe who come together to smoke, season and sear their best recipes to the delight of more than 25,000 spectators. Let me tell you, this shindig isn’t about tossing some hotdogs and burgers on the grill; it’s an epicurean extravaganza that is serious, serious business. I figured that out early on the first morning when the big rigs rolled in and started setting up some epic-sized barbeque pits. Plus, you’ve got to be a state or national champion just to get an invite!

Now, the particular year I was lucky enough to sample my way through what is fondly called “The Jack,” I was a guest of the famous whiskey distillery. Apparently they took a liking to my Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite (keep reading to find recipe below) and said, “come on down!”  I have to disclose that I am not a huge whiskey drinker, but it is pretty darn good in a recipe – just wait until I share my whiskey onion soup recipe!

Part of the barbeque boondoggle included a seat at the prestigious Kansas City Barbeque Society judging certification course, definitely the most gut-busting class I’ve ever taken.  I learned all the important details of upholding my responsibilities as an official  BBQ judge including spotting the various barbecue cooking methods, the nuances between regional barbeque flavors, and a deeper appreciation for the three main criteria of BBQ judging – appearance, taste and tenderness.

As you can imagine, this job required a lot of meat sampling. I feared falling short of the official oath I had just taken, so I made sure to polish off every last morsel of meat. Let me tell you, I was as stuffed as a turkey on Thanksgiving, but I did finish, finally waddling away four hours later with my official KCBS judge’s badge and certificate suitable for framing

kansas city barbeque society judge badge

KCBS Credentials! Wonder what would happen if I walked into Rudy’s or Salt Lick with by badge? Oh, and that’s ole Jack Daniels in the b&w photo.

The next day, I was actually still so full that I had to pass on my judging assignment. Instead of wallowing in my failure as a carnivorous critic, I hoofed it around the festival and watched the various teams battle it off tong to tong, slop mop to slop mop. After nearly a full day of this moderate exercise and inhaling the delicious smells, my appetite thankfully returned. Dashing back to the judging arena, I made it just in time for the ‘dessert’ category – all things are definitely made better with Jack Daniel’s Whiskey!

Now, next time you’re firing up the ‘cue, whip up a batch of my Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite, the perfect sauce for beef, chicken, pork or whatever you’ve got grilling!

Apple Honey BBQ Sauce with a Bite Recipe

  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 2/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Melt butter in large saucepan, add oil. Raise temperature to medium and sauté onions until caramelizing and golden brown. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 40 minutes until thickened.