Archive for the ‘Finding Fun’ Category

Yacht Rock Playlist

sohlson posted this Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

YachtRock_Small

The Yacht Rock period was a golden era between about 1976 and 1986.  It was characterized by roller skates, tube tops, boardwalks, feathered hair, episodes of Three’s Company and of course,  sunset sails on a yacht.  (Didn’t everyone have a yacht back then?)  Oh, and it’s also a hilarious television show.  We suggest you pour a glass of Riunite on ice and get ready to feel easy like Sunday morning while you enjoy our Yacht Rock playlist.

Weekend Flats – Austin

sohlson posted this Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Horny Toad loves weekend getaways, and we bet you do too… so for the next 5 months we’re picking a city we like to visit and giving you the insider’s scoop on where to eat, drink and be merry.   This month we’re taking you to Austin, Texas, which happens to be an amazing Spring Break destination thanks to all college kids departing for sandy beaches and all the good music arriving for South by Southwest (SXSW).

Of course you need the right travel clothes for your weekend getaway.

Enter our Weekend Flats Instagram contest and consider yourself outfitted.  All you need to do is hashtag a great photo you’ve taken of one of your favorite weekend destinations with #HTlovesweekends @hornytoadactivewear until 3/31/13.  Even better, the entry with the most amount of likes by the end of March will get a $150 Horny Toad giftcard- so tag your friends!

Without further ado, here’s the scoop on Austin:

1. The Horny Toad Shadowstripe Pullover is the perfect thing to pack for a weekend in Austin. It’s beautiful and feels light as air thanks to the linen/cotton yarn its made from and it actually seems to get a little better every time it’s worn. Layer it over a simple tank or wear it under a lightweight jacket. Dress it up or down – there’s really no going wrong with this one.
2. Eat like a Texan. Boggy Creek Farm is one of the nation’s first urban market farms and provides “hyper-fresh produce for Austin since 1991.”  Market days are year-round, every Saturday and Wednesday from 8-1.
3.  The earthy, lightweight PDX Cotton Scarf transports your travel clothing from everyday to elegant and worldly and can pull an outfit together like no one’s business.
4.  Franklin Barbecue – Arguably some of the best bbq in Austin.
5. Like fresh air held together by organic cotton yarns, our Airbrush Short Sleeve Men’s Shirt is the über-ventilator welcomed by hot-weather enthusiasts everywhere. It’s lightweight and breezy and exactly what you want when the mercury and humidity rise but your yen to look and feel cool holds steadfast.
6.  Austin Texas Bike Polo Social Club.  If you’re a bike enthusiast (or a polo enthusiast!), ’nuff said.
7.  SXSW – The South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals are March 8-17, 2013. They’re a convergence of original music, independent film and emerging technology. And totally not to be missed.
8.  The Mean Eyed Cat is a Johnny Cash tribute bar.  We’re pretty sure he’d approve.
9.  For our money there’s no finer example of casual elegance than 100% pure linen.  Our Lithe Short promises to keep you looking and feeling cool as a summer breeze your Austin adventure.
10.  Get in on a beloved Austin pastime and find yourself a good game of horseshoes. 
11.  It might be hot as asphalt in August, but you can keep your cool with the right pair of shorts. The Easystreet Short is made from debonair linen and hard-working cotton that manages moisture, wears like iron and gets better with every wash.
12. Whether you’re traveling with your best friend or just miss him, Red Bud Isle Dog Park will give dog lovers the fix they need.  It’s a 13 acre off-leash dog park situated on a peninsula surrounded by Lady Bird Lake in Austin.  Don’t forget your Chuckit!

 

For Weekend Flats updates, be sure to sign up for our emails.

 

International Dog Biscuit Day

sohlson posted this Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Today might be National Margarita Day, but tomorrow marks another landmark holiday:  National Dog Biscuit Day.   We almost closed the office to observe these important occasions, but then there would be no First Annual Horny Toad Dog Biscuit Taste-off.

Here’s how it went: we baked two different and bought three different kinds of dog biscuits.

Then we arranged one of each in a straight line in the backyard.

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Then we released the hounds, one at a time.  Each dog got the full array to choose from.

We waited to see which biscuit each dog would pick first.

And were shocked and pleased to see that the unanimous winner was one of the homemade varieties!

Here is the recipe, courtesy of Whole Foods Market:

Horny Toad Winning Dog Biscuit Recipe

1 peeled banana
1 cup oat flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dried parsley
3 tablespoons peanutbutter
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 300° F.  Thoroughly mash banana in a bowl with potato masher or fork.  Mix in oats, oat flour, parsley, peanut butter and egg and stir well to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Roll mixture into 24 balls, using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each; transfer to a large parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.  Use the back of the spoon to press each ball into a 1/2″ thick coin shape.  Bake until firm and golden brown on the bottom, about 40 – 45 minutes.  Let cool completely.  Treat your best friend lavishly and store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge.

Chili Cook-Off

cgray posted this Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Tradition says: For prosperity, eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day.
We say: For good vibes and happy tastebuds, have a chili cook-off with your coworkers the week before New Year’s.

There were many delicious entries, including a vegetarian curry chili recipe.  As usual, it was a difficult call… here’s the winner, based on its explosion of flavors that, in some circles is considered palate searing, while in others is thought of as pleasantly spicy.

Stewed beans and cornbread.  Who knew complete satisfaction could be found so easily?

This recipe comes from our creative director, Jason.  It probably won’t surprise you to hear he’s from Texas.

Irwin Chili

4 lbs flank steak
2 tbsp flour
2 lbs center cut pork chops
1 tbsp cumin powder, crushed oregano leaves
3 cups chopped white onions
½ cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
4 medium tomatoes, chopped (or use a 14 oz can diced tomatoes)
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or olive oil)
4 cans (7 oz size) chili salsa
4 chilis roasted green chilies Anaheim variety (or one 10 oz can diced)
2 tbsp mild New Mexico ground chili powder
2 tbsp medium New Mexico ground chili powder
2 tbsp hot New Mexico chili powder
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 quart water
Salt and garlic salt to taste

Instructions:
Coarsely grind 2 lbs of flank steak (they can do this at the market). Cut remaining 2 lbs flank steak into 3/8” pieces. Toss the steak with the flour. Cut pork into ¼” squares.
Cook steak and pork separately in a large, heavy kettle. Stir frequently until meat changes color.
Combine meats in large kettle.  Add cumin & oregano and cook ½ hour, uncovered.
In a 2 quart sauce pan cook onions and celery in 2 tbsp olive oil for 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, roasted chilis and garlic.
Add tomato-chili mixture and water to meat and stir. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours until thickened.
The last ½ hour should be just under a simmer. Stir now and then. If necessary, add water for desired consistency.
Add salt to taste.
Makes 1 ½ gallons.
I recommend cooking a day or more in advance – it’s better after sitting a bit. We like to top it with chopped onion and grated, sharp cheddar cheese. I also usually serve stuffed jalapeños. You can make these by halving pickled, whole jalapeños.  Remove the seeds and chop up some of the pickled carrot (in the brine) with softened cream cheese.  Add some of the pickle juice to blend. Wash and dry the jalapeños halves and stuff with this mixture.

Wish We Were There

sohlson posted this Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

When was the last time you sent someone a postcard?  When was the last time you received one?  It feels good, right?  In a digital world, there’s something so refreshingly personal about a handwritten note.  We’ll make you a deal: send us a postcard from one of your everyday adventures and we’ll send you one back – with a code good for 20% off your next www.hornytoad.com purchase!  Please remember to include your mailing address so we know where to send our reply.

Mail your postcard to:
Jason, Courtney, Chelsey & Safia (a.k.a. The Creative Team)
c/o Horny Toad Clothing
15 W. Mason St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Secret Family Recipes

sohlson posted this Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Without a secret family recipe or two in the mix, holiday fare is just regular food dressed in extra butter and cranberry sauce.  You know what we mean – in every family there’s a dish or two that gets busted out just a few times a year and is so crazy good you plan your entire eating schedule around it. Here are three of ours – and feel free to pass yours along… we can’t promise to keep it secret but we can promise to do it justice!

Courtney’s Mom’s Amazing Coffee Cake
This recipe was given to me by someone I worked with about 25 years ago. I made it for Christmas for family and friends and got so many requests the next year that it it became a Christmas tradition. The most I ever made at one time is 25, all mixed by hand. After a couple of years of doing this, I ended up having to have elbow surgery because I developed tendinitis in my elbow from all of the repetitive stirring!! I ended up getting a KitchenAid mixer after that.  I still make coffee cakes every Christmas… just not as many! – Courtney’s mom

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Batter:
2 cubes softened butter
2 eggs
2 C sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 C sour cream
2 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Topping:
5 T brown sugar
1 C chopped walnuts (optional)
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together butter & sugar until creamed. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract & sour cream. Mix together. Add flour, baking powder & baking soda. Mix together by hand (or on low speed if using mixer) until blended.

Pour half of batter into greased springform pan. Top with half of topping. Pour in remaining batter; top with remaining topping. Bake at 350 for 1 hr. 20 min. Let slightly cool in pan then transfer to cooling rack. When completely cool sprinkle with powdered sugar.

NOTE: You can use a bundt pan too, just shave 20 minutes off your cooking time – and double the inside cinnamon/sugar layer if you don’t want to miss out on any sweetness!

 

Chelsey’s Mom’s Yam Wedges
When I was a teenager, my mom started making these yam wedge “fries” that were irresistible. I started making them as an adult, and over the years I’ve altered the recipe for optimal texture and flavor. It’s pretty much all my friends ever let me make for group dinners year-round. As you’ll see, part of the recipe calls for a mortar and pestle for crushing whole spices, but I used to improvise with a saucer and the backside of a spoon. That is, until a few years ago when I had a roommate who loved them so much she bought me a beautiful wood mortar and pestle. I’ve even officially earned recognition for this recipe amongst my family; on holidays it’s my thing to make— I successfully recipe-jacked it from my mom, which she’s totally fine with! I’ll share it here and you’ll see it’s everything your tastebuds want— sweet, salty, savory, spicy, soft, and crispy.

Yam Wedges
Yams (the kind that are orange inside. I try to buy one yam per person I’m feeding if I want to end up with leftovers, which I always do)
Olive oil
Whole coriander seeds
Whole fennel seeds
Coarse sea salt
Red chili flakes
Oregano

Cut the yams into small pieces. I usually cut them into what looks like 3-D triangles, maybe about and inch long. This maximizes surface area for a good ratio of spice-coated outside to soft inside. Put them into a big bowl and coat generously with olive oil. For the amounts of spices, I always start with 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and sea salt, and then a little bit less than a tablespoon of the chili flakes and oregano. Crush them all together in a mortar and pestle until you don’t notice many whole coriander balls still intact. Sprinkle the spices over the yams, and stir it around. You may want to do another round of spices until each little yam piece is speckled with spices. Coat a flat pan (or two or three) with more oil, spread the yams out across the pan so that each piece is touching the pan (if they are heaped atop each other they won’t get crispy). I bake them at 375 degrees, checking on them and stirring every 20 minutes or so. They can be done in as soon as 40 minutes. I know they are done when I can pierce through the biggest piece’s center like a soft piece of butter.
***I almost forgot to add— a few years ago my friends and I discovered that dipping in them in plain Greek yogurt added a whole other dimension to eating them. I highly recommend it!

 

David’s Family Tamale Extravaganza
Oh man… every year we make tamales.  It takes 3 days of cooking, but the basics ingredients are:  meat, chili or cheese, beans, masa (made up of corn meal and lard basically) and corn husks.  We’ve been doing it since I can remember.  At first it was just our extended, large Mexican family but over the years with people moving and dying, it’s now our close family and all of our friends.  We have about 70 people at the house.

First you have to make the meat…basically just boil meat with garlic and salt.  Then we make the chili: boil dried chilies (New Mexico or Anaheim), then blend the chili with garlic, salt, tomato and oregano to make it thick.  Then cook the meat in the thick chili, which makes it super tender.  That’s the first two days.  To actually make the tamales we put an assembly line together along a long table or two.  The first person spreads masa onto the corn husk, the second person puts meat in the middle, the third person rolls the husk up, the fourth person wraps them in wax paper and the fifth person stacks them in a pot.  The tamales are then steamed for an hour or so and taken out to cool.  We usually make close to 100 dozen (100lbs of meat + 100 lbs of masa).  All the while we are eating/drinking/laughing/yelling.  Best time of my life.

 

Spirits of the Season

sohlson posted this Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

For knitters, picklers, jam makers, wood workers and other crafty types the holidays are no biggie.  People who make cool stuff year ’round and without the threat of a looming gift exchange, we tip our hats to you.  For the rest of us, let’s fly our DIY flags high!  And may we all sip a few festive drinks while we wrap, bake, and merry make.

Boston Bog (as featured on our awesome Toad Traveler canteen)
ice
1/2 measure cranberry juice
1/2 measure apricot liqueur
1/2 measure ginger syrup
1/2 measure fresh lemon juice
orange peel garnish
Instructions:  Add rum, apricot liqueur, ginger syrup, lemon juice, cranberry juice and ice to the canteen and shake well.  Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with the orange peel.

Homemade Irish Cream
1 cup half and half
4 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 2/3 cup Irish Whiskey
1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso powder
2 Tablespoons Chocolate syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Put all the ingredients into a blender and mix ’til smooth.  Store in fridge in a pretty bottle for as long as it lasts.  Mix with coffee for an assault of unapologetic deliciousness.

Jamie Oliver’s Mulled Wine Recipe
2 clementines
peel of 1 lemon
peel of 1 lime
1 cup caster sugar
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg
1 whole vanilla pod, halved
2 star anise
2 bottles of Chianti, or other Italian red wine
Jamie’s Instructions:  This is dead easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’ve got your own favorite spices, then feel free to add those to the pot too. Let everything cook away and warm up gently so the flavors have time to mingle with the wine. I like to leave my mulled wine ticking over on a really low heat and just ladle some into glasses as and when guests pop in.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavor base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It’s important to do make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.

When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and both bottles of wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.

Hot Apple Pie
2 oz Tuaca
hot apple cider
whipped cream
cinnamon stick for garnish
Instructions:  Pour the Tuaca and hot apple cider in an Irish coffee glass, top with whipped cream and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Eggnog Food, Network-style
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites*
Instructions, courtesy of the Food Network:
-In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
-Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
-Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.
* Raw Egg Warning – Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

Have a killer holiday drink recipe?  Please share!

 

Unflappable Customer Service

sohlson posted this Monday, November 19th, 2012

There are a couple of things you should know.  The first is that we’re upping our online customer service hours for the holidays.  That means if you need something – anything – Horny Toad-related, our customer service ninja badass Ian will probably save the day.

If you’re like us, you read a statement like this and your mind naturally wanders to the question:  “Anything? Just how unflappable is this guy?”

We thought we’d save you the trouble and “live chat” him ourselves.  Here’s how it went:

Toad Customer Care: Good afternoon, thank you for contacting Horny Toad, how can I help you?
Visitor: Hi!  I wanted to let you know that I did not get 3 compliments the first time I wore my Horny Toad shirt.
Toad Customer Care: I’m sorry to hear that.  You are definitely welcome to send it back for a refund if you’d like.
Visitor: Oh, wait, just saw the guarantee, 1 compliment the first 3 times?
Visitor: Okay, Well I’ve worn it three times and I’m not sure if I really got any compliments.  Someone at work said it was interesting and that the fabric felt amazing, but those aren’t really compliments.  Or are they?
Toad Customer Care: That’s up for you to decide.  You are more than welcome to send it back if you aren’t satisfied.
Visitor: if I send you a photo of myself in the shirt, will you tell me how it looks?

At this point Ian walked around to the front of the office where the pranksters were sitting.  Which leads us to the second thing you should know:  the internets are not private, people.  Once he got suspicious, all he had to do was glance at the IP address from the messenger and he knew it was an inside job. Busted.

Welp. You can’t win ‘em all.

But in case you need some stellar (and very patient) Horny Toad customer service, here’s when to find the person we’re now calling Saint Ian:

11/19-12/22
Monday – Friday 9am EST – 8pm EST  M-F / 6am PST – 5pm PST
Saturday 12-4 EST / 9-1 PST

You can call 888-865-8623 or hit him up on the live chat via www.hornytoad.com (like we did).

Anacapa Island

sohlson posted this Monday, November 19th, 2012

Last week we joined the Channel Island Restoration crew for a day of work at Anacapa Island.  We like to think of it as a doing good/finding fun cocktail smoothie.

We headed out early in the morning on a work boat packed to the brim with supplies.  Trying our hand at whale calls and dolphin chatter sure is a sweet way to start the day.  (There were a few dolphin and seal sightings but, despite our efforts, no whales.)

Once we arrived, some of us were put to work pulling invasive ice plants.  These are often interspersed with native grasses we  hope to save.

And some of us were put to work planting native species grown in the island’s own nursery.

It is amazing to experience an ecosystem that is so fragile yet so resilient.

Really, we couldn’t ask for a better hard day’s work out of the office!

Plus, it gave us a chance to put our Cipher Pants to the test.

Hey Pumpkin

arasch posted this Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Today we celebrated the pumpkin in all its forms.  Baked pumpkin, curried pumpkin, carved pumpkin.  Pumpkin in chili, in pie, in beer, in ice cream, in whoopie pie.  There was no form the pumpkin took that we did not embrace.

Wildly delicious as it all was, there were a few faves.  We especially loved Nina’s pumpkin chili, Joanna’s pumpkin chocolate chip cookies
and Courtney’s traditional killer pumpkin pie (recipe below).

Pie crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter – chilled/cut into cubes
1/4 cup ICE water
Granulated sugar for dusting
Combine flour and salt in large food processor. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pulse in water, one tablespoon at a time, until mixture begins to clump. Pull from food processor, form a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Pie filling:
1 can of pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup half & half
3/4 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
Combine all filling ingredients and mix well. Pour mixture into pie crust, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour, checking frequently. Pie is done when center feels solid but still wiggles. (It will continue to cook once you remove it from the oven.)

Once our bellies were full of pumpkin goodness we took to the back yard to make some pumpkin art.

Work in progress

Champion pumpkin carvers

Homage to the king

Final product

We hope you enjoyed the last day of October as much as we did.  Now… bring on the snow!