I partnered with Ozarka Brand Natural Spring water to show you some of my favorite things about my Texas hometown, share some great local Texas flavors, and an easy recipe for creamy Habanero Ranch Dip. All opinions are mine. #FromHereForHere
I’ve lived in Texas almost my whole life. I was born here and Texas is in blood. Literally. 7th generation. I love the beauty and diversity from it’s landscape to the people. I also love the rich flavors of it’s food. Texas is so big y’all that I’m still finding new places to explore and that includes my new little hometown of Sealy. I fell in love with it when we were looking to buy a little bit of land and relocate to a more rural area. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite things in this sweet little town.
In Texas wildflower and bluebonnet family photos are a yearly tradition. People schedule sessions with photographers and drive around scouting the best location. We walk out our front door. This is our neighbor’s front yard from this past wildflower season. Gorgeous, right? One of the things that made me fall in love with our neighborhood was that in the spring if you grow wildflowers in your yard you don’t have to mow, so all the streets are a sea of color.
Another thing I love about our town is the genuine Small Town USA square. It really is a community gathering place. The pretty gazebo is the heart of the park which holds the town Easter Egg hunt, the summer picnic and other festivities. It’s a great place to take the kids to play or for photos and I love that it is a reminder of a simpler time.
In my opinion the coolest thing in my hometown is Stock Yard Antiques and it’s one I didn’t even know I had a connection to. Stockyard Antiques is an antique store with some great vintage finds and it’s totally Texas because the building used to be an old livestock auction. The pens are still there. I mentioned it to my mom and she told me my Papaw used to drive hours in his old truck and trailer to take cattle to market there from the Beaumont area. This was before our modern interstates so I can’t imagine how long that must have taken. Now every time I drive by the antique store I think of my cowboy Papaw driving by the same place so many years ago and love that a little piece of him is in my hometown.
Texas is as rich in flavor as it is in stories and there’s some great local food artisans producing quality ingredients for any foodie to have fun with. Ozarka sent a “Chopped-like basket” of Texas flavors for me to experiment with. I had a great time trying them out and they’ve all been winners. Many of these are available to order so even if you’re not in The Lone Star State here’s my basket if you want to add some Texas to your own recipes:
- Jelly Queens an award winning Dallas and Austin based artisan food company that makes gourmet jams and jellies like the deliciously unique Black Garlic Rosemary BBQ sauce.
- Taste Elevated Their Sweet and Spicy mustard seeds are a delicious little burst of sweet and heat perfect for hot dogs or I think it would make a great rub for Mustard Chicken.
- Yellow Bird Sauces out of Austin has a great line of condiments like the Habanero Sauce I used to make the Habanero Ranch dip.
- Cookwell & Company has a delicious version of what I like to call the nectar of Texas- queso. I think the difference is in the blue cheeses and fire roasted tomatoes.
- Snow’s BBQ was named as the best in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine so this is a must try for your summer BBQ’s!
- Paqui Tortilla Chips are flavored with fire-roasted jalapenos, fresh cilantro and buttermilk. Paqui is the Aztec word for happy and you’ll be happy if you pair them with the Habanero Ranch dip like I did.
It’s no secret here in Texas we love our steaks. We made some beautiful ones for Fourth of July Weekend using Spice King’s Steak Rub (by the Jelly Queens listed above). We used the spice rub on the steaks and nothing else. I rubbed both sides of the steaks and let them rest for about 45 minutes to come to room temperature and let the flavors build. I then added the room temperature steaks to the grill and that’s how we got those nice grill marks. The steak rub was all those steaks needed. The rub added great flavor with just a hint of spice and it was a low maintenance way to get a delicious steak.
Go to any Mexican restaurant here in Texas (We have so many and I’m grateful for every one of them.) and you will be presented with a basket of chips and some sort of dip- salsa, green sauce, guacamole or queso. I am a connoisseur of all of them. Chips are a delicious vehicle for all of those dips and once you have one you can’t stop. Surely that’s not just me? Paqui Tortilla Chips were in my ingredients basket and they had a delicious corn flavor and Nacho Cheese seasoning that would pair with most any Southwest dip.
This Fourth of July weekend wouldn’t be complete without chips and dip to much on while we grilled. I used another of my basket ingredients and added a kick to ranch dip with Yellowbird Habanero Sauce. It was cool and delicious on a hot summer day so it’s great for summer BBQ’s but also would make a perfect game day dip. To make this easy creamy flavor packed dip:
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon Yellowbird Habanero Sauce
- ½ packet Fiesta ranch salad dressing mix
- Place all ingredients in small bowl and stir together thoroughly until blended.
- Serve with Paqui corn chips.
I am so proud of my Texas home and if you haven’t experienced it’s beauty firsthand I personally invite you to come on down. Texas is also a tapestry of flavor and these wonderful basket ingredients are just a snapshot of what awaits with Texas food. Whether you’re a native like me or want a little Texas flavor to tide you over until you can make it to The Lone Star State, I also invite you to check out these artisan food makers. Happy cooking y’all!