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Archive for the ‘tasties’ Category

Jon and I roadtripped to visit my sis, bro-in-law, and sweet niece this past weekend, and I just have to share some highlights.

For one, the 7 hour drive is actually quite pretty, so we don’t usually mind the long trip…that is, until we’re making the long trip back and have to fight the NoVa traffic. Still, we were amazed by the beautiful wildflowers lining the highways and always enjoy this cool rock formation in the “Sideling Hill” of Maryland:

Pink, white, and purple flowers everywhere!

C, our 2.5 year old niece, humored us with endless quotable quotes, and some were just so sweet!:

(Jon gave me a bite of his pancakes)
C:  “Look!  Jon is feeding Regan like a tiny little baby!”

(C was having a pretend picnic on her bedroom floor)
Me:  “What are you eating at your picnic?”
C:  “Ummm salad.”
Me:  “What else?”
C:  “V8.”

(Rachel was trying to get C ready for bed)
R:  “Charlotte, lay down so I can zip up your PJs.”
C:   (with an encouraging, mother-like tone of voice) “Mommy, you can do it from here.”
<after she zipped it up>
C:  “Good job!  See, you got it!”  (how old is this girl anyway?)

(Tony returned to the dinner table from receiving his residency graduation plaque)
C:  “Daddy, I was so proud of you!”  awws” from surrounding tables> <2 more seconds and C is back in the hallway running around like a crazy person>

(Rachel was helping C sign Tony’s Father’s Day card, which can record a voice message)
R:  “How much do you love Daddy?”
C:  “To the moon and back!  I love you, Daddy!”

(as Jon and I were walking to the car to leave)
C:  “Bye!  Be careful!  Check your tires!”  (thank you, mom)

Memorable moments:

C kneeling down in anticipation to watch Jon juggle the silly putty – seriously, you would have thought she was at the circus!

C going down the water slide  67 times and jumping off the side of the pool another 47.  (Good arm workout for me.) This girl is not afraid of anything and will jump into the water before you can say “go!”

Carrying sleeping C in from the car after a very long day at the pool.  Such a sweet life moment!

All of us eating wayyy too much ice cream at Jeni’s – yummm!

And the winner:  Charlotte eating a leaf off a bush at the zoo because “it looked like basil.”

Oh to peer into the mind of a child!

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It’s amazing what perfect weather will do to our dispositions.  We linger.  We don’t rush to get inside and on to the next thing.  Time slows down.  Days are longer, and experiences are savored.

All of those things happened this past weekend during our glorious summer days – not the typically sticky and suffocating hot summer days, but days with a warm breeze and sunshine that feels good on your skin.

Friends and I lingered over a patio lunch.  We lingered at the pool and didn’t even sweat that much.  We actually had to bundle up at Wolftrap (outdoor theatre) for the first time ever because the evening was so cool.  [Aside: I finally got to experience “There’s Nothing Like a Dame”, which people have sung to me multiple times since my marriage to Mr. Dame, and I never really knew what they were talking about.  I sure didn’t realize the song was so explicit (if you know what I mean), but they did a fabulous job.  See it here!]

On Sunday, Jon and I crossed off one of my summer list items and went strawberry picking!  To be honest, I’m not sure the strawberries are as sweet as I expected, but the experience was delightful and totally worth it (and we will have a LOT of strawberry smoothies this summer).

(tired of squatting!)

This team brought the entire family…and maybe only had one meltdown…

Jon and I found a quiet spot in the orchard and had a picnic.  How often are we really this far from cars and man-made things?!

This wasn’t even all of our epic outdoor weekend, but more on that later.

The challenge for now is – how can I soak in this slower pace of life, the lingering over discussion and time spent with others, even in the midst of our chaotic schedules?  And must it be sunny to slow down and enjoy things without just plowing through?

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1.  Looking back at my 2012 new year’s resolutions and seeing that I have actually done most of them!  We are running another 5k tomorrow morning, we went to the Newseum in DC when my parents visited, I’ve been resting/reading/reflecting more in the evenings, we’ve enjoyed our back deck and grill in this nice spring weather, and we finally had a neighbor over for some delicious mango ice cream the other night!  What can I say, I shot low with my resolutions this year because I rarely ever succeed.  The one I’m clearly missing the mark on, however, is “eat only one serving of dessert per day”….yikes!

2.  Making this awesome Indian butter chicken last night.  We used the boxed spices mix, reduced some of the butter (whoa, this is not a low fat meal), and probably used too few tomatoes, but it was still AMAZING.  I haven’t made that many sound effects while eating in a while.

3.  Enjoying a good, long story, and the sense of accomplishment with finishing such a massive book (and building arm muscles from holding the heavy thing on my commute).  I finished East of Eden this week (thanks to some friends for recommending) and thoroughly enjoyed this very dark story about sins of generations, what the lack of love will drive a person to do, the battle of good and evil, and human nature.  I’ve also loved using Good Reads to track my book list!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Tastes like summer

Despite the rain and chilly air the past several days, the past weeks have had more than a few glimpses of summer, and Jon and I have had a major hankerin’ for summery food.

My mom always made fresh strawberry pies in the summer, and with this easy recipe, I got some major “oohs” and “ahhs” from the boys who ate it. (Recipe below)

Jon surprised me last weekend with this delicious grilled meal of chicken and veggie kabobs.  Perfect weather, nice summery grill smell, good food, good company.

After 2 rounds of homemade vanilla ice cream with our fab garage sale find, we decided to branch out and try for mango ice cream.  You cannot go wrong with a can of mango pulp.  Ever.  My friend who loves to cook Indian food introduced me to mango lassis a few years ago (drink made basically of yogurt and mango pulp), and I thought – surely you can turn this into ice cream!  YES, YOU CAN.  AND IT IS AMAZING.  (Recipe below)

What are some of your favorite summer fares?

Fresh Strawberry Pie – recipe from my mom

Buy or make a deep dish pie crust.  Bake and cool.  (wayyy better homemade, even if it looks messy; here’s a good start)
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 T strawberry jello (1/2 small package)
3T cornstarch
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled, washed & dried
1 cup water
whipping cream (as you can see above, I made almost equal parts pie and whipped cream – you can never have enough)

Mix sugar, water and cornstarch and boil until thick, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and add strawberry jello.  Stir.
When almost cool, add strawberries.  Stir well and pour into baked and cooled pie shell.  Serve with homemade whipped cream.  (Refrigerate)

Mango Ice Cream – adapted from here 

2 cups sweetened mango pulp (very cheap at our favorite Asian market)
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar (can be less – just taste and see what you like)
1 T lime juice

Whip the cream with a hand mixer in a chilled bowl.  Fold in mango pulp, sugar, and lime juice.  Put in ice cream maker and make per directions.  Eat, and try to contain your excitement.

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When it comes to ice cream, mint chocolate chip is always my first choice.  I eat it with brownies, girl scout cookies, turn it into ice cream cakes and pies, eat it in winter/summer/for breakfast/by the spoonful or bowlful…it’s just the best.

Sometimes I try to branch out, but I always turn back to the best.  I am hesitant to say, however, that I just discovered a very close match; believe it or not, this new flavor has trumped mint chip for the past few weeks…

Jon loves mocha ice cream and brought home this bit of heaven several weeks ago:

Mocha ice cream with big chunks of cookie dough and cookie crunch swirl – love.

I usually want some ice cream dessert for my birthday, so a few weeks ago, I had the great idea of using this ice cream to make the godfather of all ice cream pies.  Never again will I use a dinky, store bought oreo crust.  Those are just weak.
Instead, I used the crust from this recipe.

Heat 8 tbsp. butter and brown sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Mix with a crushed package of chocolate wafer cookies (these are the best we have found, but they’re never on sale), then shape the crust in a greased 9″ pie plate (press down, using the bottom of a pyrex measuring cup).  Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake until set, about 15 minutes.  Once it’s cool, add an entire container of softened ice cream (works fabulously with the new fave mentioned above, but you can use whatever flavor you like) and smooth out.  Freeze until ice cream is hardened, then pour on as much Hershey’s fudge as you’d like and distribute across top of pie.  Freeze again until completely frozen.  Add whipped cream or cool whip if you’d like, but we enjoyed this perfectly without.

Since it’s frozen, it’ll last a few weeks – if you can resist eating it all at once.

YUM.

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Buffalo Everything

One thing I am thankful for is that both Jon and I love buffalo anything:  wings, sandwiches, buffalo pulled pork (made it this week – yum!), homemade pizza with buffalo sauce instead of pizza sauce…

I chastised Jon for buying a gallon of Frank’s hot sauce from Sam’s club a bit ago.  Now, my guilty pleasure is getting a pedicure on a Saturday; Jon’s is going to Sam’s club without me and finding the largest container of anything and bringing it home to show me the deal he got…

…in less than a year we have consumed almost the entire jug.

YUM.  No complaints.  (and zero calories!!)

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Minority Report

The two times since moving to the DC area that I have truly understood what it feels like to be the minority:

Jon and I visit a huge Presbyterian church down the road, not realizing it’s a congregation of thousands (yes, multiple thousands) of Koreans.  The welcome team was on us in a flash.  What, do we stand out?

Jon wants to visit the Asian grocery store next to our gym to look for some funky desserts.  Seriously – I thought I saw one American, but even she was speaking an unrecognizable language.

It’s amazing what a melting pot our nation’s capital is.

BUT let me tell you what’s even more amazing:

TWELVE ounces of beautiful raspberries for $1.99.  That’s the package that’s probably 12×5 inches in size.  That’s huge.  I feel like I’m on Supermarket Sweep.

Large avocados for 79 cents.

Big carton of strawberries for $1.79.

Bags of kumquats for practically nothing. (seriously, a party in your mouth – they’re so tart and delicious)

Will this grocery store full of cheap and fabulous produce take precedence over our once exciting trips to Sam’s club?  Totally blows Sam out of the water.

What a treat we just discovered!

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