Food Friday: Peach Sangria

August 29, 2008

I know that Sangria does not technically count as food.  However, since I already confessed that I might drink too much and we are approaching a holiday weekend, I decided to make an exception.

1 bottle (750 millimeter) white wine

1 cup peach puree

1/2 cup peach brandy

1 peach pitted and thinly sliced

4 slices lime

Stir together wine, puree and brandy in a large pitcher. Add fruit slices, pressing against the side of the pitcher with a large spoon to release some of the juices.  Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two hours (I don’t know what happens to it after 2 hours, but I can’t imagine it will last that long). Serve in tall glasses and garnish with a mint sprig if desired.

NOTE: the original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of sugar to be added after the liquid before the fruit.  I did not omit it so that there would only be five ingredients.  I think with the sugar it is just too sweet but you can add it if you would like.  No judgment.

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Tag, I’m it.

August 27, 2008

Last week my bloggy friend Le Petite Belle tagged me with this meme.  It is not a list of five… but it seems fun so here goes. 

A. Attached or Single? Attached

B. Best Friend?  Of course.

C. Cake or pie? Cake.  Big fluffy cake with lots of frosting.

D. Day of choice? Thursdays.

E. Essential item? lip balm

F. Favorite color? corn flower blue

G. Gummy bears or worms? Bears, but they have to be Haribo

H. Hometown? New York, which I realize is a state and not a town.

I. Favorite indulgence? Really nice wine and a pedicure every other Thursday.

J. January or July? Hmm, tough choice.  Probably July. 

K. Kids? None that I know of.

L. Life isn’t complete without? Fresh air.

M. Marriage date? October 7th.

N. Number of brothers and sisters? 1 brother.

O. Oranges or Apples? Gala apples, they are the best.

P. Phobias? Bug infestations, fires, not being able to get enough oxygen. 

Q. Quotes?“I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I do not believe I deserved my friends”

R. Reasons to smile? The sun is out, the air is clear and I am surrounded by people who love me in spite of my many flaws.

S. Season of choice? Fall.

T. Tag 5 people: Elizabeth, MikeHallie, Jeanie, and anyone else who wants to give it a shot.  

U. Unknown fact about me? I am a published author; in the second grade my haiku was chosen to be in the local paper.  I don’t remember much but I know the last line was “I touch the wet green grass”  apparently that is skilled writing for a 2nd grader. 

V. Vegetable? All!  I love veggies.

W. Worst habit? Going to sleep when I am upset or angry rather than dealing with the problem.  Oh yeah, and I might drink too much. 

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? This is a really random question.  X-ray’s I guess? 

Y. Your favorite food? I really like any kind of ethnic food; Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Greek.  I once had Nepalese food which was excellent. 

Z. Zodiac sign? Capricorn.

Friday night I went out with a  bunch of girlfriends to celebrate a good friends birthday.  A bottle of champagne and 6 pitchers of sangria later (for 7 women; don’t judge) we ended up at a bar singing and dancing along with a great regional band.  After we had screamed through a few sets it occurred to me that there are at least 5 (certainly more, but for my pourposes I will go with my 5) songs that all groups of women love and will instantly start dancing to.  They are:

1) Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond  – This is a great one to start off the night. No matter how few lyrics you know, everyone can sing back “SO GOOD, SO GOOD” which is usually accompanied by pointing back at the band or your friends.

2) Livin on a Prayer by Jon Bon Jovi (or JBJ as we like to call him)- This one almost always involves one friend taking the hand of another friend as she belts out “take my hand and we will make it- I swear” followed by a loud “Ohhhh, ohhhh, Living on a prayer” .

3) Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard- Very few people actually know all the words to this song, so the ones who do sing them very loudly.  The others bop their heads and wait for the refrain when they scream “Pour your sugar on MEEEEEEEH”  and “I’m hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet, yeah”

4) Laid by James – Women LOVE this song.  Most don’t get through the first stanza but almost everyone knows “But she only comes when she’s on top” at which point they give their friends a knowing look thinking they are certainly the only ones in the bar that share this little secret and in fact, the song was written about them.  For the rest of the song they just yell out the “weeee, eeeeee, eeee”

5) All Night Long by AC/DC –  Who doesn’t love this song?  Again, very few people know all the lyrics but I challengeyou to find girls who don’t love and identify with “knockin’ me out with those American thighs” especially as they down their 1000th alcohol calorie for the evening. 

What songs get you dancing?  What have I missed?

Prior to our hemp filled days in Seattle, D and I spent a some time on the Olympic Peninsula along the Washington coast.  In addition to being the home of some wonderful hiking, beautiful landscapes and breath taking sunsets; it forms the banks of the Dungeness River which is full of beautiful native Dungeness crab.   In honor of all of the yummy crab I ate, here is my favorite five ingredient recipe for crab cakes.  Making them with rice may sound funny, but using brown rice makes them a little healthier and they are extremely easy. 

 

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup instant rice, uncooked (you can use brown or white)

2 eggs

2 cans crab (6 oz each) drained or 12 oz fresh packed lump crab meat

2 tbsp seafood seasoning (if you use Old Bay for your seasoning you will want to use a lot less, as it is very salty)

Bring broth to boil in a small saucepan.  Stir in rice; cover.  Remove from heat; let stand five minutes. Fluff with fork.

Beat eggs lightly in a medium bowl.  Add rice, crab meat and seasoning; mix well.  Refrigerate 5 minutes.  Shape into 8 patties*. 

Cook on a well greased** medium sized skillet five minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through.  Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

* 8 large patties work great if you want to serve this with soup or salad as a meal, but small ones make great appetizers. 

** you can use butter, oil or a cooking spray.  I think butter probably works the best but cooking spray is fine and saves on fat/calories if you are counting them.

As fate would have it, the one weekend I make it ALL THE WAY out to Seattle…was Hempfest.   I am not going to get too up there on my high horse and judge the massive number of Hempfest attendees.  I went to my first (and last) Grateful Dead concert at 13 and spent more than one August weekend wandering around Reggefest in Vermont.  But while trying to push my way though Hempfest 2008 to see the sculpture park overlooking the Seattle Piers, I noticed that there are 5 very specific people who attend Hempfest.  They are as follows:

The second time arounder: This is the person that LOVED the 60’s so much the first time, they have decided to give it a go the second time.  They can be found wearing tie-dye t-shirts with “Impeach Nixon” buttons and their Birkenstock’s have seen at least 4 presidential administrations. They are probably retired with a 401K that supports their trips to Bend, Oregon and actually own a hybrid because they bought it way before it was cool.

The first time arounder: This is the person who admired the 60’s so much they have decided to reclaim the “Make Love Not War” generation as their own.  They think Phish is the new Dead and may genuinely believe they are the first generation to “think green”.  They can be found wearing ‘vintage’ t-shirts and cargo shorts and have Nalgene bottles attached to their hemp belts. They somehow managed to travel to Seattle so they are either paying for their pre-packaged sushi rolls with their fathers credit card or have a job as an assistant bank manager.  They drive VW GTI’s or Subaru’s with roof racks… of course.

The girls WAY too young to be attending Hempfest alone: These young ladies can be spotted from a mile away as they all have on the exact same outfit/costume.  It consists of a padded bra like tank top, short shorts and wedge flip flops.  Their age is instantly given away (apx 14) by the poorly applied pancake make-up, charcoal eye liner and cherry red lipstick obviously applied on the bus, the train or on a bench… anywhere but in their parents house.  They are carrying a back pack that they used first as a prop to convince mom or dad they were going to a  friends house and later to store the clothes they had on when they first left home.  They don’t drive anything but a bike and the money they are spending on leis made of polyester pot leaves and hemp bracelets was earned by babysitting or received in a birthday card from their grandmother.

The parent/ child duo :  This parent took one look at the 14 year old girls walking around on their own and thought with self satisfaction “my child may be at Hempfest, but at least I am with them”.  This is the same “cool” parent who may smoke pot with their child or allow their child’s friend to drink in the house, believing they won’t test their boundaries or experiment with dangerous drugs if they are allowed to do the mild stuff at home.  They have somehow convinced themselves that they have created an ‘open enviornment’ and can trust their kinds to be honest with them.  With no disrespect…. they are in for a very rude awakening.

The politician: This person has managed to convince themselves (and is now trying to convince those around them) that Hempfest is NOT an excuse to walk around a major metropolitan city stoned but rather a political and economic movement.  They believe Hempfest is about equality and economics, freedom and civil liberties.  They can be found wearing a t-shirt that says “Hemp is a Plant, Bush is a Dope” and handing out pamphlets on the medicinal qualities of Marijuana, the tax revenue the government could collect if it were legalized and comparing the effects of pot smoking to alcohol consumption or tobacco inhalation.  This person is very serious and should NOT be laughed at.

Bloggers Note:  Towards the end of Hempfest D and I took a quick walk around a park near where it was being held.  Never in my life have I seen a mess more disgusting than the amount of trash, litter, food and bodily fluids I saw scattered about the park.  It was horribly disappointing that this group came together, in theory, to show their support for a plant and could not respect the area in which it was held enough to use a trash can or a port-a-potty.  I don’t know how the rest of the city felt, but I would certainly not want them in my home town.

Five Moments of Silence

August 19, 2008

I had planned on writing a few posts about my vacation when I returned today. However, when I started my morning routine with a cup of coffee and NPR.org, I saw that writer, journalist and fellow blogger Leroy Sievers lost his battle with cancer this past weekend.  Living with this ferocious disease is something that has hit very close to home for me at different points over the last ten years.  Leroy’s honesty, candor and approach to living with cancer allowed his readers to step inside a very private fight and cheer him on.  He managed to make us laugh and make us cry as we sent our best wishes, our hopes and our prayers to him. If you want to read some of his posts you can look at his blog called My Cancer and if you are feeling up to it, send his wife a message.  In the meantime, I want to take a few moments of quiet silence:

For Leroy

For the people who loved him

For the thousands of people who fight the same battle day in and day out

For the people who love them

For the men and women, the Doctors and Nurses, the lab techs and friendly faces who help those battling the disease fight a few more days.

Sharing is Caring

August 18, 2008

I first found La Petite Bella when she commented on another blog I read.  It was one of those times when someone says exactly what you are thinking and all the sudden you feel a lot less alone.  We started e-mailing and it turns out we have a lot in common  including a very similar sense of humor.  As I have said before;her perspective on life, love, marriage and the world around her never cease to amaze me.  Go check out her blog, you will not be disappointed. 

 

Sara makes me want to share. She’s the kind of person that you feel so comfortable with, that you reveal more information about you that you initially intended, only to feel absolutely comfortable with the idea of opening up to her once you know her better.

Unless of course she really is a middle-aged man sitting on his couch pretending to enjoy writing things in fives and telling people his name is Sara.

But anyway, in honor of how Sara makes me reveal information with her comforting spell, here are five things that you don’t know about me, that I should probably keep to myself because of their embarrassing nature.

  1. When I was about to get my first kiss at 12, as I was closing my eyes and starting to pout, I changed my mind. I ran to the door of the room where I was, with my eyes still closed, and of course did not get far because I ran into the wall. I ended up with a huge bump on my forehead, and the guy I was trying to run away from helped me get up. He obviously did not try to kiss me again.
  2. I have a slightly unhealthy addiction to underwear. Pretty underwear. But it’s underwear, nonetheless. Why would I spend so much money on pieces of clothing that only my husband sees? ha! because when I am home, I like to walk around in it. All the time. (my husband constantly complains about this, since there are a few windows in our house with open curtains.)
  3. In middle school I used to do bad things in school on purpose so I could get detention and hang out with the bad boy I had a crush on, who lived in detention. (he was also like 5 years older than me, because clearly I have a thing for older men)
  4. When I met my husband I lied about my age. I told him I was 19, when I was really 15. I also told him I wasn’t a virgin (also a lie) because I figured I wouldn’t have a chance if I told him I was 15 and untouched. I thought it would put too much pressure on him. I told him before he kissed me. So I guess he’s still a pervert. (He was 23) What can I say? I wanted a college man.
  5. You know how for Christians, hell is the worst thing that could happen to you? Well, for me that would be camping. Camping is my hell. I’ve never been there, nor do I want to be there, and I will do everything in my power to never end up in a camping situation.

And that is it, peeps! I could go on, but I better keep it at five so Sara doesn’t call me from her vay-cay to ring my neck and inform me that her blog’s name is “If I had to Pick Five” for a reason. Plus, should I really subject you, innocent readers, to more things I should really keep to myself?

When I first started blogging I struggled a lot with how much personal information I wanted to share about my friends and family.  Then I had a few bad days and I turned to this blog as a bit of an outlet.  After I posted some of my feelings and stories about my family I panicked.  Jennie was one of the wonderful bloggers out there who offered her support and kind words and it meant the world to me.  Please check her out over at Trim and Fashionable; and while you are there… read her story about how she named her blog.  It is hilarious. 

Several months ago I noticed someone commenting on several different blogs I browse. Her name was Sara and she seemed so nice and intelligent in her comments. I was intrigued by the title of her blog If I Had To Pick Five, so I clicked over to see what her blog was all about. After I read several entries, I realized she had BY FAR the most clever idea for a blog Iʼd ever seen. I love it! We emailed back and forth a few times about undergarments, running, and just life in general, and I quickly found out that she was one of my favorite bloggy friends. Sheʼs so easy to talk to and so supportive and encouraging to people sheʼs never even met! The world would be a better place if we could find more like her.
 
She asked me to do a guest post for her on Food Friday, so I obliged since apparently the thing I like to think about most is food. I seriously love food, you guys. Iʼm participating in a summer Whip It Up challenge, which has been so fun. Feel free to visit the Whip It Up headquarters if youʼd like to read about some really wonderful recipes.
 
What I really want to talk about today on Food Friday, however, is my From Scratch club. My friend Stephanie learned how to make tamales a while back and offered to let a few of us come over to her house to make them with her. We went one Saturday morning and had such a great time that we formed a club! Because we have several sets of hands at our disposal, we try to only make things that are from scratch or require a lot of chopping. Itʼs a good opportunity to try those really complicated and/or sophisticated recipes you might be too scared to try on your own. We limit our group to four because any more than that would make for a crowded kitchen. I encourage you to try it out if you enjoy cooking!
 
My favorite recipe so far from that club is Spaghetti with Ricotta Meatballs.  Oh my word.  You have to try them.  Trust me.
 
 
Thanks for letting me post on your site, Sara!  Hope you had a nice vacation.

No Woman’s Land

August 13, 2008

Many of you may remember Mike one of my earlier posts.  He is a great husband, a great dad and a great friend and very nicely agreed to do his own “If I had to pick five” for my first guest post.  You can check him out over at I Got Nuthin’.

I’m Mike from I Got Nothin’, and I’m happy to be sitting in today for my work wife. Er, former work wife. It’s not like we divorced or anything. Heck, I’m not even sure it’s a legal separation. Whatever it is, I don’t like it. Work isn’t the same since we parted ways. But thanks to the blogosphere, we can stay connected. And, today, that gives me the chance to give you a look into a place where most of you probably never see. That’s right, today you’re going to meet “Five Guys You’ll Find in the Men’s Room.”
 
There’s always a talker. Ladies, you aren’t the only ones to go to the bathroom in pairs. We do it, too. And, the most annoying thing ever is standing in front of a wall of urinals with your buddy on either side of you wanting to continue the conversation he started before you went in. I don’t want to talk while I’m doing my business, thank you. I don’t care how important it is. And, the most annoying thing about a talker? When he sees you aren’t complying with his need for conversation, he’ll start asking questions to get you to talk. Shut your trap, talker. Please.
 
Even more annoying than the talker is the looker. And, there are lookers. It’s crazy. You’re standing there, again, along the wall of urinals, and you can sense the guy on the side of you trying to take a peak at what you’ve got going for you. It’s crazy, but it seems guys (present company excluded) always have to compare, and I’m not just talking about power tools. I’ve never understood this. Because, I gotta tell you, if I ever have the desire to look at another man’s penis, it’s not going to be while he’s taking a leak. I’m sorry, but it’s not.
 
The guy who wants you to look, however, is hands-on hips man. There’s always one guy in there that, how shall we say it?, is, well, gifted. And that’s fine. Really it is. But he shouldn’t brag about it – verbally or otherwise. But, hands-on hips man is so confident in his size and ability that he literally stands in front of the urinal with his hands on his hips and his back arched a little bit to get the job done. He obviously doesn’t need any hands-on assistance, which is fine, but when the hands go on the hips in an obvious sign of superiority, you almost hope he’s got a talker next to him.
 
You always feel a little sympathy for stage fright man. He’s the poor guy who is standing there and standing there and standing there and nothing happens. All guys have suffered through this at one point in their lives. So it’s like there’s a code. You don’t say, ‘aw, don’t worry, bud, it’ll happen for you.’ No, what you do is flush for him – when you arrive and when you leave. See, the sound of running water helps stage fright man. And despite the lookers and the talkers, when you’re lined up against a wall of urinals, it’s a brotherhood.
 
One step below stage fright man is self-conscious man. This is the guy who just doesn’t feel right about the urinal. Whatever it is, he’ll wait to get into a stall, even if there are urinals open. Something scares him. Maybe it’s stage fright in an unfamiliar place. Maybe it’s being stuck next to a looker. Or maybe he’s making a conscious effort to avoid his friend the talker. Whatever it is, he’s got to go, but he’s only going in a stall.
 
So, there you have it. What else? I got nothin’.

 Tomorrow I will be heading to Seattle for a few days vacation.  While I will be touring vineyards, checking out a rain forest and trying not to complain about what the humidity will be doing to my hair; some fabulous guest bloggers have agreed to fill in for me.  Please come back to check them out.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  And ladies… you may even learn about a place we just don’t normally think about.