And I made her this rocking card!
The slightly illegal part: spearmint & lemon mint right from her garden! They were carefully wrapped for transport... I must say that it very much reminded me of Kevin Kline in French Kiss when he's bringing back the grape vine.
The coolest crayons ever! They're big enough too that Finn can hold them and (hopefully) won't eat them. Plus, she included a recycled "drawing pad" made up of a million old blueprints.
You know who (YKW aka: the husband) and I went to Ireland and Paris for our honeymoon. I have to say that it was one of the best trips of my life. Ok, ok... so we were in Ireland when news that avian bird flu had made it to the island broke AND we were in Paris during intense rioting and demonstrations. There was an international incident involving my driving in Ireland and more disturbingly, with a questionable food item from a street vendor in Paris. I was sick in Dublin, Dave was sick in Paris.
He made a charming impression on my friend Severine and her family by attempting to speak french. It was sweet and really touched me. I even overlooked the fact that he KISSED my friend.
and her sister.
and her mom.
and almost her dad.
I guess during all the lessons, they neglected to point out the kiss, kiss is really just air kissing. It was charming and lovely nonetheless.
For the first time in our marriage, things fell apart around us and we still kept our humor. We were in Paris and couldn't go to the top of the Eiffel Tower because of the riots. You would think that Dave would be crushed (I had already done it on a previous trip), but he just smiled and said we'd be back and do it on the next trip.
I was bedridden sick upon our arrival in Dublin. He went sightseeing alone in a foreign country while I slept and located cold medicine and juice for me. He also got stopped by security at just about every flying opportunity
In conclusion I have a million lovey pictures of us kissing near the Seine. But, if posing (at the extremely strong urging of your new wife) with a chicken right after hearing the news about the BIRD FLU doesn't scream LOVE, then I don't know what does.
Love, I still think you're wonderful & marvelous. I can't wait for the next international incident and all those that follow.
Inspired a bit by my answer of needing to learn to keep things simple, I had a VERY simple spaghetti dinner for my friend tonight. She really needed a night to relax. I didn't take photos and blogging wasn't on my mind, but we had some yummy pasta, laughed, and talked for hours. Her company made my night, her understanding about Finnegan's "mama, mama, mama!" interruptions was appreciated, and her looking the other way at my not perfectly clean house made me comfortable.
So thank you Emily and thank you Sandy for reminding me that sometimes it isn't about making a big to do, sometimes it's just about the company.
There is a welcome letter, numbered gift certificates from a bunch of now defunct businesses, and a listing of sponsors.
So my dear Bunny, I concur that you will love my newest treasure. I will post about it tomorrow when the light is better and I can take proper photos.
Until then... you'll have to dream up what it might be.
- tequila lime shrimp
- vichyssoise with grilled, seasoned flatbread
- smoked chicken, brie, and mango salsa quesadilla (TO DIE FOR!)
- assorted veggies (grilled zucchini, cauliflower, green onions, celery, etc...) with a roasted red pepper, vidailia onion dip
- fruit salad of watermelon, pineapple, peaches topped with granola and fresh whipped cream
- insanely decadent cookies, mini cheesecakes in a bunch of flavors (I had the amaretto), and the Better than Sex chocolate torte with like 3 kinds of ganache.
Yep. I know this makes me a geek. Dave likes it too, so we're a match made in heaven. All I have to say for you haters is one episode of Praire Home Companion and/or Car Talk and you will be hooked too.
Where was I?? Oh yeah, so anyway. They have the MOST fun tool ever. It's a ROAD TRIP station guide. You type in your beginning and ending destinations and it gives you every station along the way. Where the hell have I been? This would have been perfect for our Georgia trip. Damn it.
Check it out for yourself.
Stay tuned for JANET'S BIG BIRTHDAY post coming later tonight. I promise lots of delish photos and loads of birthday finery to oogle.
These totally insane, lovely raspberry Villeroy & Boch Mankai Goblets found here at Amazon.All set up on our front porch with these incredible white string lights from Luna Bazaar found here.
Now on to the menu...
Appetizer: Roquefort Crudité Dip with veggies for dipping.
Salad: romaine with figs, toasted walnuts, goat cheese and a balsamic vinegrette.
Main Course: grilled shrimp on lemongrass skewers, chili lime chicken, served over wild rice with fresh grilled zucchini
Dessert: just picked strawberries (of course) macerated in a vanilla lime simple syrup and served with fresh whipped cream
All served with a fantastic Prosecco.
Wow, now that I'm done creating, I may have to make this happen. My mouth is already watering.
Today, dear readers, is the summer solstice. The longest day of the year and the official start to summer, well at least here. Down south, aka Australia, they're officially starting WINTER.
I have another post for later today, but I wanted to wish you all a HAPPY SUMMER, bright and early this morning. What are YOU looking forward to most this summer? Leave a comment.
- we drove the roughly 45 minutes home.
- went to the grocery store.
- ate dinner.
- gave Finn a bath (YKW).
- cleaned and de-stemmed EIGHT pounds of strawberries (me).
- put Finn down for the night (YKW).
- went back to the store.
- flash froze & bagged up 2 quarts of strawberries for smoothies at a later date.
- blogged Strawberry Fields Forever.
- canned 16+ jars of strawberry freezer jam!
- cleaned up the whole mess... well there are a couple rogue dishes to do in the morning.
That, my dear readers, is a full night, let me tell ya. OK. Without further ado, here is the strawberry jam making process. You need to FOLLOW the recipe to a T for which ever pectin you're using. We chose to do freezer jam simply because I have heard it keeps the freshest taste AND we have a wonderful lovely freezer in the basement thanks to the inlaws generous Christmas.
I used Sure-Jell and here is basically what we did...
- boil the jars (you can use the plastic freezer canning things too)
- mash the berries (do this in smaller-ish batches) - use 2 cups mashed
- measure the sugar - use 4 cups
- mix the berries and the sugar, let that sit for 10 minutes
- pull jars out of boiling hot water trying not to scald neither yourself or your husband who is only helping out because he loves jam
- put the pectin and 3/4 cup of water in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute, then pour into the strawberry goo
- stir goo and pectin mix for 3 minutes
- jar it up (leave 1/2 inch of space at the top for freezing), put tops & rings on
- let sit for 24 hours at room temp until set up, then put in the freezer.
It will keep for 1 year frozen, 3 weeks refrigerated. Allow to unthaw in the fridge before eating. We made 3 batches of jam and it's enough for the whole year plus a few jammy gifts for our grandmas and a select few other special peeps.
"Yes mam. I'll take EIGHT pounds of strawberries and a cute little boy in the monkey backpack. Can you box it all up for me?"
(That cutie is Jude, my friend Brittany's son, sporting the monkey on his back.)
More pictures to come of our great jam adventure!
Dinner tonight was really good. We make black beans and rice about once a month, but we're constantly trying different recipes and spice combinations, having yet to settle on one we really like. I think tonight, I've finally created it... mostly out of "Oh, I have some of this left over in the fridge to use up." What a happy surprise to have it turn out so incredibly good!
Here is what I did.
- Cook the rice. I made brown Basmati. It's our fave, but you can use white rice or whatever rice you have on hand.
- In a pan cut up a turkey smoked sausage and cook with a little water in the bottom of the pan. Andouille would be best, but it's a little spicy for Finn.
- In a separate pan, sautee one white onion until it is translucent and the raw is cooked out. at that point, add a dash (or 2-3) of Tabasco
- Add 4 cloves of garlic pressed and about a 1 inch piece of fresh ginger grated. Cook for 2 or so minutes until fragrant.
- Add in 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed + one half can of pineapple (tidbit size is good) *note: I would totally prefer fresh pineapple, but the canned works in a pinch.
- Add in a little (maybe 2 TB) of the pineapple juice and squeeze a quarter lime over the top.
- Add in cumin, oregano, basil, and black pepper to taste. You will need a liberal amount to make it work. Cook until the mixture is heated through.
- Then add the sausage into the black bean mix and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blend flavors.
- Serve black bean mixture over the rice.
It would work just as easily to go vegetarian and not add the sausage. It would also be fantastic with a crisp green salad. If you like bell peppers you can add those in as well when cooking the onions.
I got this email from my BIL this morning:
Heres todays bounty.... Open 7-7 Tues,Thurs,Sat.... $1.25/lb. We picked 8 lbs in approximately twenty minutes...
- He is a gardening GURU. Seriously. If I have a question, he has the answer.
- He introduced us to Keil's in Swanton... the only place I'm buying herbs and strawberries next year.
- I have been bugging the shit out of him about the "you pick" farms out that way for months... he has provided me with all kinds of info about where to pick what.
- I'm thinking of asking him to be a guest (gardening) blogger.
- And last but not least, he's a regular reader of So Wonderful, So Marvelous and he knew I was going to use this email and pics so he took arty shots like this....
"So, ummm Daisy? What are we supposed to be looking at?"
- Lose 35 more pounds before the end of 2008. (I'm down 15 already.)
- Plan (and take!) an end of summer or early fall trip for YKW, Finn, and myself. Some ideas so far: New England, San Francisco, Hocking Hills, Toronto, NYC...
- Introduce one new recipe per week to my cooking repertoire.
- Keep the house more organized & develop a cleaning schedule.
- Blog at least 5 times per week.
For a little added motivation... here is a picture of me in Sonoma at the weight I will be 35 pounds from now. I'd be really happy to be back there. The sooner, the better.