I have a trip coming up. It is work related and I will be in classes and seminars and such for the majority of the time I am there. However, it is in sunny California! I can't say that I am not excited about it, that is just not true. But, I also feel extremely guilty about it. It really struck me when the four of us were discussing it over dinner. The debate over who I would take if one person could go, was a bit excited. But really, who doesn't like a good discussion on the best way to stuff yourself into a carry-on bag. The debate was really pointless though. Mom wins. Mom always wins. During the course of our relationship (which is coming up on 10 years), we have never taken a proper vacation all by ourselves. Sure, we have gone on plenty of day trip adventures. Taken little weekend trips together. But never have we gone somewhere relaxing and quiet, without anyone else to worry about. It is time. Laying in the sand. In a hammock. A king sized bed. In a jungle tree-house. A tent in the middle of the forest. Sipping on something tasty. Full belly. Unplugged. Just me and her. R&R of the highest order. This is where I've been.
To my fellow Indiana folks, I am sure this scenario is nothing new. "Ahhhh, today was an awesome day. I think I would like a beer." "Oh shoot, we are out of beer. I know, I'll have a glass of wine" "Well shit, out of wine." "Maybe a cocktail?" "Oh good god, you have to be kidding! We are totally dry!" No big deal, right? Just hop in the car and go get some more. Well, it's Sunday, and evidently at some point in our amazing states history we decided that Sundays are not for drinkin'. (reason 10,578 to move far away). I suppose I could take a scenic drive to the border and hit up the first Ohio Wal-mart I see, but I was really in the mood for relaxing. Wait, what's this I see. Covered in dust at the back of our lowly bar? Yes, yes. I can do this. "Here, drink this." (yes, I made L try it first) "What the hell is it?" "Just try it. Is it good?" "Yeah it is. But what is it?" "Just my new cocktail!" Saved by common mixers! Ingenuity, I gots it! *For the record, I am not an alcoholic.
*had a naming session. this won.
2oz triple sec // 1 1/2 red vermouth // juice of 1/2 lemon // soda water
Fill glass with ice, add triple sec and vermouth. Top with lemon and soda water. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh basil.
Summer is not over! We repeat NOT OVER! Or maybe we are just delusional. The impending sweater and unnatural greenhouse tomato season is upon us. Gotta pack it all in! Ridiculously long bike rides. Picnics. Bonfires. Campsite reservations! Summertime, we can't quit you.
1 >> tiny friend.
2 >> menu planning.
3 >> late summer dinner.
4 >> J and James after their 68 mile ride.
5 >> Finn and Winky in the pool.
6 >> boys and their fort.
7 >> a delicious cocktail on our back patio. perfect end to our weekend.
This recipe was born from the idea that we wanted to make a favorite summer salad into portable finger food. During the summer, we like to entertain. A lot. So we are always trying to think of creative ways to utilize our time. Who wants to spend the night in the kitchen when there is fun to be had, and mischief to make?? Panzanella skewers are perfect for a night with friends. They are quick, easy, the ingredients couldn't be more seasonal, and they look impressive. Did I mention they are delicious??
1 Loaf Sourdough or some other tasty bread. Slightly charred on a grill or lightly toasted. Cut into 1″ cubes // grape, cherry and yellow pear tomatoes // basil leaves // sweet pepper, cut into 1″ squares // fresh mozzarella balls (hehe) //1 small shallot, minced //1 1/2 tablespoons caper, minced // 2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil // 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar //1/4 tsp. garlic powder //1/4 tsp. Kosher salt // Cracked pepper to taste
*Special Equipment- Skewers. Lots of them.
Mix together shallot, capers, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper
in a small bowl. Roll bread cubes in the mixtures and skewer in order:
Pepper, bread, tomato, cheese wrapped in basil leaf. Repeat until you
I once wrote a song about how my life never seemed to slow down, and how much I adored it. I spent almost all of my time in a van on the highway, going god knows where. It never mattered. It was as if I had to pack in as much as I could every day, and if I slowed down, even for a second, I would miss something I could never see again. I slept, moving. Fast forward. Kids. It's worse. Now the fear of slowing down is two-fold. Not only do I not want my boys to miss anything, I also have a fear that if I slow down it will send us all into a spiral of routine and obligation. I know it is mostly irrational, and if I am going to maintain not only my sanity, but my health, I should probably breathe once in a while. I knowthat most of the world's amazing things will still probably be there tomorrow. Or god forbid, we have to wait until the weekend to see them. For now, I should probably find a quiet spot to sit, and rest my eyes.
Outside, sitting still,teaching myself things I should already know. This is where I've been.
They are out there. Taunting us. A million tomatoes and only a few here and there have turned. We are talking green tomatoes. As previously mentioned, we take our tomatoes pretty seriously 'round these parts, so if we are going to sacrifice a beautiful, ripe tomato, it had better be good.
There are many different things you can do with green tomatoes. You can pickle 'em, make chow-chow, jam, mince meat, chutney and fry them. The latter is our favorite. During peak tomato season, J and I have been known to have fried green tomatoes in lieu of a meal. We both grew up eating them and look forward to this time of summer (mostly summer's end) when we get to enjoy a favorite food.
This a no fuss recipe. Sort of a modified version of the way grandma did it (grannies don't use measuring cups) and we wouldn't change a thing. Enjoy.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes (we used a few different varieties) // 2 eggs // 1/2 cup flour // 1 cup corn meal //
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus additional for sprinkling after fried // 1 teaspoon paprika // freshly ground pepper // oil for frying
Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick (since they are firm you want them to cook all the way through).
Combine flour, corn meal, salt, paprika and pepper in a shallow bowl or baking dish. Whisk together.
In a separate dish, beat the two eggs.
In heavy bottom frying pan (cast iron is preferable) heat 1-1/2 inches of oil to 350 degrees.
Meanwhile, dip tomatoes first in the egg and then in corn meal flour. Tap off excess and fry, on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Serve warm.
** We think these are best eaten with green Tabasco, but any hot sauce will do.
And thus concludes another whirlwind, fun packed, ultra mileage, profoundly hot, and waaaay too short summer vacation!
As promised, we spent the last few days trying to pack in a few more adventures before we had to find the hairbrush and clean all the Lego pieces from the backpacks. Back to school is here, and this year is a doozy. Middle school and Kindergarten!
Our weekend was filled with marshmallow making, marshmallow roasting and eating, backyard campfires, friends, movie watching, swimming at a water park, exploring, and finally, ice cream at Ivanhoe's. It really was the perfect end to our summer.
1 // homemade marshmallows roasted over a backyard fire.
2 // special order cupcakes. chocolate // salted caramel