Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer on a Plate

This is my favorite cookbook. Growing up, my mom always made the basic family dinners... chicken and rice, steak and potatoes, spaghetti and meatballs, the 500 versions of meatloaf, pizza (takeout obviously- When I'm 30 years old and have two children asking for pizza on a Friday night, my chic whole wheat homemade pizza dough pizza with roma tomatoes and feta cheese won't stand a chance against Papa Johns- we can't all be Gwyenth Paltrow with personal fire pits in our backyards and children with a preference for tofu nuggets over dinosaur bites). I digress. This was the only cookbook she occassionally turned to before the great world of the Food Network invaded our kitchen with dozens of cookbooks to come. To this day, she still uses it more than any other cookbook especially in the summer, and this is the greatest meal of all time:

Beach Street Cajun Shrimp and Lemon Linguini.

Now I am actually not a huge pasta person. Hahaha. Ok thats a lie. But seriously, given the choice between pasta and meat I would always choose meat (more specifically my beloved seafood). My carb preferences are found in the most processed forms: fries, chips, and most of all good hot bread with dipping oil. When it comes to pasta, I always prefer the sauce or the topping. I'd rather have good bread to sop it up with. However, this is the most incredible pasta dish of all time. I'm not kidding you people. It is the most refreshing summer meal, and the most comforting reminder of summer when snow is on the ground. I requested this meal every time I had a bad day at school, every time track practice was freezing to the bone, every time I wanted a taste of sunshine. I never made it until last week, mostly because I was scared I couldn't do it exactly how my mom had prepared it, but I must say, I nailed it. And although I didn't even make it tonight, it's all I can think about at midnight, lying in bed, resisting the temptation to get out of bed and thaw my frozen shrimp immediately. I think I'll wait til tomorrow...

Happiness Means...
1. McDonalds. Love/hate. If you don't like McDonalds, I am willing to bet you actually mean to say "If McDonalds were healthy for me I'd eat that shit morning, noon and night, but by publicly denouncing it and avoiding it all costs because fast food is poison to my body, I am slowly trying to trick my brain into disliking it. Yes, in fact, I hate fast food. Fresh food is just so much more delicious!" God, the amount of money I would pay for doctors to invent a pill that magically gives you the same nutrients from fast food as a goddamn salad. Then I'd like to hear from all these fast-food naysayers. Ok, off my soap box. Sidenote: I have practiced the whole "ew fast food!" mind thoughts. No dice.

2. Sleeping in my own bed. I had an AWFUL sleep last night with boy. We switched sides and for some reason it threw everything off. Isn't that weird? Never again.
3. My mom. I haven't talked to her in awhile, but she's the best. I'll call her tomorrow.
4. Working with people I like. Of course there are some people I don't like, just like everyone. But there are a select few (ok so two really) who are like family. I spent most of my morning today just chatting about things going on in my life, in the world... great way to start the day. Grateful for these people.
5. Gypsy Weddings! For real, have you guys seen this show?? It is unbelievable these people exist! Boy and I wasted three hours learning about this last night. Check it out. Seriously now.

Goal for everyone else is to buy this book and see this show

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Make Lemonade

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work yesterday to pick up a few items. I had also just checked my bank account only to find that the balance almost matches my dress size. Since dress sizes generally don't go past 14, this is obviously not good. I had $20 cash and picked up a couple bottles of seltzer and debated- I kid you not- for about ten minutes on whether or not I really needed almond milk. I've never even tried almond milk, people. This is what always happens when I go to the grocery store. Most people agree they will walk in with a list or a couple things in mind and walk out with a hundred. I, on the other hand, go in for a couple things, pick up three bottles of sauces in the exotic foods aisle, a pomegranate, gluten free pasta, organic wine and 5 containers of Fage yogurt on sale. I cannot pronounce these sauces, I don't know how to eat a raw pomegranate, I have no gluten allergies, my wine preference is solely based on how cute the label is, and I still have 5 yogurt containers in my fridge. I am constantly intrigued by food trends and mysteries and end up loading the cart with food enough for a Mexican family with Celiac disease and a strong environmental awareness. Anyway. I put the almond milk away reminding myself that I don't really need it even though I wanted it. Then on my drive home feeling proud of myself that I managed to leave the grocery store without spending over $5, I slammed on the brakes. Lemonade stand. Two six year old girls, a box of chocolate chip cookies and a sign for $1 lemonade. There are few things sweeter and more summery in this world than lemonade stands, watermelon wedges, outdoor concerts, flag cakes, the ice-cream man, seagulls, lightning bugs (ok so there are a few summery things)... Guess what? I paid $10 for a lemonade and a cookie. And it was worth every penny to see the excitement on these little girl's faces when I placed a pile of $1 bills in their hands and told them to keep it for an ice cream treat. I walked away with with my Country Time lemonade mix, Chips Ahoy stale cookie, and the last thing on my mind was that almond milk. Now that is what I call money well spent.

Happiness Means...
1. It's 82 degrees outside and I am on my way to the community pool for the first time to relax and read my book. Finally a weekend home in DC :)
2. I had lobster for dinner last night with boy and two of our closest friends. We colored on the paper table cloths and wore bibs and drank lukewarm pitchers of Miller Lite on the porch of a crab shack. They actually ran out of crabs but the company was my favorite part anyway.
3. My new black maxi dress and vintage belt that was my moms. Sorry no pictures, but this might be my new go-to outfit. Simple and sexy.
4. Boy and I stayed in bed a bit longer today just laughing. I know, gag me. But really is the greatest way to start the day.
5. This afternoon our neighborhood is throwing a block party and shutting down the street for live music, bbq, beer, a MOON BOUNCE and a comedian (?). I think the families must have all pitched in for this stuff in an effort for our community to get to know each other but I am SO excited. As I've mentioned before, the area has a lot of younger families and young businessmen and women. Its great because the age range is pretty much between 23 and 32 with a few older men and women with beautiful gardens and dogs in their yards. Have I mentioned I love where I live? Now off on a walk to the market for fresh flowers before the pool. Oh happy day

Goal: Drink a little lemonade and not so many beers (thank you Tim McGraw)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh Hello!


True to my word, I've disappeared. I figured I wouldn't be posting daily like a lot of bloggers, and its not even because I'm too busy, but more often than not its because there aren't enough minutes in the day as it is SO I'd rather be outside or away from the computer since I'm behind one all day every day. That's not to say I don't waste HOURS on end reading a million blogs, but sometimes its a nice escape reading about what other people are doing around the world. Anyway, no apologies but I haven't truly disappeared! The last time I posted, I received truly tragic news that a close friend died in a horrible freak accident. The entire week was pretty draining and emotional... I actually had to work a wedding the day after I got this awful news, and every happy little thing about the event was so bittersweet because all I could think was how my dear friend would never experience any of it. I woke up every morning that week sort of nauseous and with a headache, so that didn't help my mood either. Long story short, it was a tough week. Boy and I went to the funeral two weeks ago and it actually ended up being one of the best times I've ever had with friends. I can't even describe the love we all felt being with each other. I was shocked at how many of our college friends came- people were standing along the walls and outside the church, and afterwards, the reception site ran out of food and beverages in just a few short minutes. It was truly as a funeral should be- a celebration of life. Since that weekend, I've felt so incredibly grateful. I went home last weekend to visit my family (sans boy) and had an amazing time doing nothing much at all. I spent the afternoon all day on the beach with my two best friends from home and spent Father's Day at the Golf Club where my brothers and my sister and parents all dined on a delicious brunch. During my time home, I went for a nice long bike ride to the bay by myself...

...and literally just sat by the water with no one around just overwhelmed by how amazing my life is. Thank you Lord for allowing me a life anyone would envy but no one else has.

Happiness means...
1. This picture

2. These jeans... my next jean purchase will surely be these babies!
3. Fresh cherrystone clams. Dad gave me a bushel fresh from the bay and I cooked them the next day back home in DC for boy and I... Saute garlic, red pepper flakes and shallots in a bit of olive oil. Pour in one cup of white wine and boil. Toss in 30 clams or so and cover. Check periodically until all clams open up (ten minutes or so- after five minutes, toss around a bit so no clams are stuck under each other). Amazing and super easy. Boy had over linguini, but I had them by themselves and drank the broth like a soup. Delish!

4. Jersey farmers markets. I always stop at one farmers market on my drive back to DC and stock up on jersey tomatoes, corn (which I grilled last night for dinner with old bay butter mmm), shallots, romaine lettuce and cucumbers. Doesn't get any better.
5. My flowers are growing! I spontaneously tried my hand at gardening a couple weeks ago, and by gardening I mean after five minutes of weeding and trying to uproot roots (no thank you) in 100 degree weather, i tossed some bulbs in the ground which should have been 8 inches underground, and tossed some dirt over them. Ok, so I may have "planted" 20 of them and only 3 are sprouting, but thats pretty successful for such laziness!

Goal: Start getting into my workout routine again. I had tendonitis so I've been off my feet for 3 weeks now and it's put me in such a funk. Its a cruel thing that it takes 3 weeks to get in shape and only 1 week to get out (or in my case 5 weeks to get back in shape after one week of straight dessert). Now, outside for my run!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Today I am really sad. Sorry this post is not a happy one...

Boy is away in New York this weekend and I can't wait for him to come home already. He left Thursday morning and will be back tomorrow. Last night he called around 2AM with terrible news. This was one of our close friends in college. I hadn't talked to him in months, but just hours before the accident I bbm'd him and I still have the conversation on my phone. He was gone about 6 hours later. I can't stop thinking about this. I don't have a lot to say right now, but I just can't get over that I literally just talked to him. You really never know how long you have on earth, and now more than ever I feel so grateful for the possibilities of tomorrow and the God-given ignorance that we never know when it could all be over.

I'm thankful for...
1. Knowing Jimmy. When I started dating boy Junior year of college, Jimmy was one of the few fraternity brothers I knew at the house since Freshman year, so I usually ended up hanging with him when boy wasn't around. He was always so friendly and sweet. He was also one of the six people (including boy and myself) that would stay up until 6AM dancing in a fraternity basement and walk to breakfast at the diner before FINALLY going home. Most of all I'll never forget his smile. Its probably the most genuine and beautiful smile I've ever seen, which is sort of funny because "beautiful smile" usually goes to a woman. But Jimmy smiled with his whole being and it always made you feel welcome. I miss him already.
2. Tears. Sometimes you just need to cry.
3. Silver Linings. I'm not sure you would call this a silver lining, but boy is actually in New York this weekend for an annual barbecue his fraternity hosts in honor of a brother that passed away very young from sudden heart failure. Thank God he is with all his friends through this tragic time and they can grieve together and cheer each other up.
4. Boy. He has such a kind heart. I can't wait to just hug him. In fact, I'm thankful for hugs. They can mean so much more than a kiss sometimes.
5. Today. Because tomorrow is never certain.

Goal Tomorrow: Spend the day pampering myself and walking around alone with my journal. Today I've felt so introspective I feel like there are so many feelings I want to remember.

Disclaimer.... I'm really sad. Sorry this post is such a downer.