Black Fig Food

If You Carrot All….

By July 16, 2017 Food

Let’s be honest.  Carrots are not really anyone’s favorite vegetable.  No one ever yells, “Damn, I wish I had me a big bowl of steamed carrots!”  I am one of the guilty who keeps them in my crisper until they shrivel up and become easy to bend.  I would buy them in bulk because that is what I do when I tell myself that I am going to eat healthier.  Then, I end up just staring at them every time I open my fridge looking for leftover enchiladas or pizza or cake or…

The vicious cycle of carrot neglect has got to stop.  I am tired of having the red-headed step child of the plant realm glare at me whimpering, “…if you carrot all…, you’ll cook me and eat me and love me.”  Okay, damnit.  Okay…..fuckin’ carrots.

Carrot Idea #1

Carrot Hummus

Hummus is something I make just about every week for us to nibble on when we get hungry.  I do not use tahini in this particular hummus recipe because it tends to overpower the sweetness of the carrots.  It is a great appetizer to serve with baked pita triangles sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

4 carrots, chopped

1- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained

3/4 tsp chipotle powder

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp lime juice

4 sprigs fresh dill

1/4 cup olive oil

Boil carrots in a small saucepan with 2 cups water over medium high heat until soft.  Drain carrots into a colander in the sink then transfer them to food processor along with beans and the next six ingredients.  Fasten lid and process while pouring olive oil through the feeder tube hole.  Process until carrot mixture forms a spreadable hummus.  Serve with toasted pita chips sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Carrot Idea #2

Carrot Soup with Thyme, Raisins, and Pecans

I cannot believe I’m sharing this one.  This soup is a fantastic dish for fall but, I make it year round (often with butternut squash instead of carrots) because it’s one I actually DO often crave.  I’m not fucking kidding around….you will crave it too.  It’s that good.

6 carrots (tops removed), sliced

1/2 red onion, roughly chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 russet potato, peeled and sliced

13.66 oz. can coconut milk

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 cup chicken stock

Golden raisins for garnish

Pecans, crushed, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss carrots and red onion with olive oil on a baking sheet.  Roast in oven for 30 minutes or until carrots are soft.  While carrots are roasting, place potato slices into a small saucepan with water and boil until soft.

Process carrots and potato along with coconut milk.  Transfer carrot mixture (it will seem a bit gummy but that’s okay) to medium saucepan, add nutmeg, thyme, salt, pepper, and chicken stock.  Stir and simmer for 15 minutes.  If the soup is too thick, add a little bit more chicken stock.  Ladle soup into bowls and top with raisins and pecans.  Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

*Wanna make it vegan?….use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Carrot Idea #3

Roasted Carrots

Lastly, there is the simpler way out when you don’t have a lot of time to fuss with making dinner.  Don’t ever let me catch you admitting to that, btw.  Keep that shit yourself.  There is ALWAYS time to make dinner.

A few nights ago, I made a Date-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions and served it with a Chickpea, Spinach, and Red Pepper dish with, you guessed it, Roasted Carrots.  They added a lot of personality to my dish.  Roasted carrots are an easy side that literally takes 30 minutes or less to prepare.  Depending on your chosen regional cuisine, you can switch up the herbs and seasonings for your carrots.

Mexican:  cumin, fresh garlic, and chili powder

Italian:   fresh oregano, parsley, thyme, and garlic

Moroccan:  coriander, cumin, turmeric, fresh dill, brown sugar, cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse one bunch of carrots and trim tops.  Pat dry with paper towels.  I like roasting carrots with their skin so, I don’t normally peel them.  Place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, your choice of seasonings and herbs, salt, and fresh cracked  pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and drizzle with melted unsalted butter or Earth Balance.

 

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……That One Time I Tried To Follow A Recipe And My ADHD Took Over

By July 12, 2017 Food

….wait, that’s EVERY TIME I try to follow a recipe.  The process of recreating is done with full intention but then, it just goes completely into left field with my own directions.  I quickly lose interest in the ingredient list and steps to prepare the dish.  My college professor could have a 30 minute conversation with you about how I never followed his instruction.  “You have to learn the rules before you can break them”, he’d say.  I would reply, “How ’bout I just make my own rules right now (hence the damn B I got that semester)?”  It’s not that I think the recipe sucks the way it was written or developed…it’s obviously intriguing enough for me to want to try it, duh!  I just see so many other possibilities dancing all around the image….so, I end up all over the place except where the recipe wants me to be.  I will look at the picture next to the recipe (they are quite important for reference, btw) and I’ll start seeing other colors and ingredients swishing around…almost like I’m on a bad acid trip.  For the record, I have never done acid but, I can only imagine….

Pea, Pesto, Farro, and Lemon Salad

This is such a beautiful photo and delicious description from the website of Sacla Italia…there isn’t a damn thing wrong with this recipe.  There is something wrong with me.  And so it reads…..but then I go….

Image from Sacla Italia site

  1. Put the farro in a bowl, cover with cold water to soak for 15 minutes (“Got it! I’m doing great so far!”)
  2. Carefully peel off and discard any stringy bits from sides of sugar snaps (“Fuck that…ain’t nobody got time for that.”)
  3. Drain farro and tip into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to boil over medium heat (“Mmmmmmkay, but I wanna eat farfalle today! Let’s just double up on complex carbs.  Get that to boilin’ too!   HELL YEAH!”)
  4. Cook for 20-30 minutes until soft – go by texture rather than timing (“al dente, bitches!”)
  5. Drain well and leave to cool (“Lunch is in 30…I better put it in a stainless steel bowl and throw it in the freezer!  How cool would it be to mix in a little of my homemade pesto sauce into the farro and pasta first!”)
  6. Wipe out the saucepan (“Donnnnnnnn’t need it anymore.”)
  7. Boil sugar snap and podded peas in salted, boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until just cooked (“Nah man, I’m just gonna put the pods in a ziplock bag and nuke them for 1 minute then shock them in ice water.  Sweet!  I found a bag of frozen peas to throw into the salad before serving!”)
  8. Drain and quickly run under cold water for 30 seconds to stop cooking and cool down (Nottttttttttt doing.”)
  9. Drain again, shaking off any water (“Donnnnnnnn’t care.”)
  10. Put Sacla’ Pesto, lemon juice and 2 tbsp of oil in a mixing bowl (“Pesto is already chilling with the carbs but, I’ll make a vinaigrette with the lemon juice, a bit of white wine vinegar, finely chopped fresh garlic, chopped fresh cilantro, and olive oil.”)
  11. Add farro, sugar snap and podded peas and stir until everything is combined (“Dumping the pods and frozen peas into the already chilled bowl of farro and pasta.  What the hell…I’ll add the lemon vinaigrette too.”)
  12. Loosely toss in the rocket (“Rocket is arugula but I think I also want fresh basil, dill, and grilled peaches in this salad.  I need a contrasting color for fuck’s sake.”)
  13. Season to taste and divide between salad bowls (I’m gonna serve it in a big bowl with grilled chicken on top.”)
  14. Drizzle with rest of the oil and tear a few basil leaves over the top (I beat you to it with the whole basil thing, Duder.  But, I’ll also add pine nuts because they are Italian AF.”)
  15. Scatter with lemon zest and Parmesan or Pecorino, finish with a grind of pepper (“I’m not gonna use the zester because every time I do, I think of that time I couldn’t afford a pedi and used my microplane on my feet and then had to throw it away because the thought of using it again on food grossed me hella-out…desperate times call for desperate measures, yo…uggghhhh..so no lemon zest OR cheese.”)
  16. So, my salad looks sorrrrrt of like theirs….doesn’t it?….shut up.

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I’m Breaking Up With My Microwave

By July 9, 2017 My World

I remember the day my parents bought their first shiny new microwave.  Of course, it was a few years after everyone else had purchased their own.  We were always behind the times; with our fashion, gadgets, and home appliances.  Getting that microwave was a symbol of being one step closer to the Jones’.  Looking majestic as fuck, it was placed on our kitchen bar counter that served as a pass-through into our dining room and I was just tall enough to reach its door handle.  The “Beast”, as I called it, rested inches underneath the wall of shame which adorned my shitty report cards.  The good ones never made it on the wall for two reasons:  1) there were none and 2) putting my smarts, or lack thereof, on public blast was meant to motivate me to do better next time.  Whatever…

This huge chunk of metal could do so many things with our food yet, we never utilized it in all of the ways it was meant to be used.  My mom never cooked a twenty two pound turkey as its side sticker “chart of cooking times” suggested.  It was only used to reheat my parents’ coffee and zap “macaroni-n-cheese in a cup” every day after school.  Then, why in the hell was there always a colony of mystery food splashes stuck to the sides and top of the inside?  It was and, to this day, IS never fun cleaning a microwave.

FAST-FORWARDING TO TODAY:  After starting my kitchen face-lift project, I began to covet the space where our microwave sat.  I thought, “How lovely would a coffee and tea bar look right there…”  I immediately googled ways on how to live without a microwave and came across  10 Reasons To Get Rid Of Your Microwave.  I freaked.  I thought to myself, “If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?  How will we enjoy our Orville Redenbacher’s Simply Salted popcorn?  How will I reheat my coffee when it gets cold in my mug?  How will the kids warm up leftover pizza?”  These were all legitimate questions that needed answering!  I mentioned getting rid of it to my oldest daughter, Bennie, and she lost her shit…just like she did when I began buying, what she called, “mom bread”.

MOM BREAD /mom bred/

noun

the healthy whole wheat or multi-grain bread parents switch to when they are going through a “let’s feed our family healthier and organic food” phase.

Was I being unreasonable to take away something we all thought we could not live without?  After opening it’s door this morning and getting hit in the schnoz by a smell combination of popcorn, spaghetti sauce, and glazed doughnuts….I decided it was time to break up with my microwave.  We don’t even BUY GLAZED DOUGHNUTS!  As for solutions to adapting without it?  Here they are…..

Warming Our Coffee

I am crushing on this stove top Turkish Coffee Pot simply because it will solve my cold coffee problem!  Copper just so happens to also be an accent color for my kitchen.  GO ME!

Making Popcorn

I am going back to that ol’ school way of making popcorn on the stove!  It will teach us all about patience and give us endless possibilities of flavor combinations.

Thawing Meat

Like…we should all know how to do this safely…mmmmmmkay?

Steaming Vegetables

Snatch up a veggie steamer basket!  You can set your vegetable on the steamer and then place it inside a large pot or Dutch oven with about a 1/2 inch of water and bring to a simmer.  Easy, done, and time to Bro-Fist-Bump someone!

LASTLY, REHEATING LEFTOVERS:  Remember what I said about patience?  It’s a beautiful thing, I hear.  I HAVE to learn about patience because hello…laundry!  I can slow down and enjoy the actual process, or ritual if you will, of reheating leftovers.  You will enjoy your food that much more because the taste and nutrients will still be present.  ANNNNND, I get to use my mom’s vintage bakeware on the reg!

So, when it is time to break up with someone…ahem…I mean, something,  brainstorm ways you can live without it!  I promise, it won’t be the end of the world.

 

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My Arugula Pesto Addiction

By July 7, 2017 Food

Hi. I’m Ruthie and I’m sort of addicted to arugula.  Lately, I have been mixing all sorts of green herbs and lettuce varieties together into salads; fresh basil, mint, thyme, parsley, tarragon tossed into spring mix, spinach or straight up arugula.  The peppery taste of arugula is fantastic with just about anything.

Basil is usually the herb I use when making pesto but, I have recently decided that in order to make enough pesto for pizzas, I would pretty much have to turn a few tricks to afford all the basil needed to do so.  Not happening.  I suppose I could grow some but, I would kill it.  I would kill it fast.  I am good to keep my own children alive, I don’t need the stress of keeping herbs from dying.  I COULD also go for the jarred variety but, I want to know exactly what is going into my pesto.  Alas, I discovered I can use parsley or arugula alone to take basil’s place and spend a fraction of the cost!  This arugula pesto recipe is tasty served on top of fried eggs, rubbed on portobellos before grilling, spread in sandwiches or hummus pitas, mixed into tomato soup, or used as a pizza sauce.  The recipe makes about 2 cups and can be stored in your fridge for up to a week.,,,but I doubt it will last that long.

Arugula Pesto

1- 5 oz container of fresh arugula

1- 2.25 package of pine nuts

4 cloves fresh garlic

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1/2 cup olive oil

Place arugula, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper into a food processor.  Lock on lid and process while pouring olive oil into the feeder tube hole.  Process until arugula mixer almost forms a paste.  Add more olive oil if needed.

*For lacto-vegetarians, add 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan before processing mixture.

For Pizza

Spread pesto over raw pizza dough.  Top with favorite toppings and bake until crust is crispy.

Arugula Pesto Tomato Soup

1- 29 oz can tomato sauce

1- 13.66 oz can organic coconut milk, milk solid only (reserve coconut water for other use)

1/2 cup Arugula Pesto recipe

fresh thyme and oregano, roughly chopped

dash of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  With a wooden spoon, stir sauce to incorporate all ingredients.  Cover with lid and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

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Four Salads for the Fourth of July

By July 3, 2017 Food

Take any one of these salads to the July 4th cookout you were invited to, and the back yard will get sexy the second you walk in….

The first one is a new recipe I serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and the other three are tried and true dishes I make time and time again.  They are simple, refreshing, and perfect ideas for that last minute “what am I going to bring!?”  Make one or make them all!

Tomato and Avocado Salad with Za’atar Dressing

3 ripe avocados, cut in half, scored into small cubes, and scooped out

2 cups fresh mini heirloom tomatoes, sliced in half

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 bunch fresh arugula

juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp za’atar

1 tbsp local honey

1 tbsp olive oil

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Serve the first four ingredients onto a large platter.

Combine lime juice, za’atar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until thickened.  If it is too thick, you can add a small amount of water to thin the dressing.

Drizzle za’atar dressing over salad and serve.

  Watermelon Salad

This delicious salad is super easy to prepare and can be put together once you arrive to the party.  I would take a pretty platter to display the beautiful cut outs of watermelon.  If you are in a hurry, you can also just cube the watermelon and serve it in a bowl with the other ingredients sprinkled and drizzled on top.

Sweet Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad

Another great summer salad, the sweet cantaloupe mixed with the salty feta and crunchy pecans will be a fast favorite!  It can be presented on a platter (just like the watermelon salad) or tossed into a bowl.

Bloody Mary Shrimp Ceviche

This is one of my ol’ catering go-to’s I would serve to larger crowds and parties.  It makes a hefty amount and is so damned tasty!  You can A) omit the vodka if your party is kid friendly OR you can B) leave it in and serve it only to the adults.  I would go with plan B…. in which case, you will want to up the 1 to 2 shots of vodka to about 1/2 cup…tee hee.  Be sure to serve it in a smaller bowl inserted into a larger bowl with crushed ice in between them.  This will keep the salad cold and prevent food poisoning.  Gotta keep that shrimp on ice!

 

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Indoor Breakfast Picnic With Izzy: Spring Onion Pastry and Fried Eggs with Mexican Chorizo

By July 1, 2017 Food

Being a mom is fucking rad.  I just love my three little humans who are so different from each other.  They keep MY life interesting in that I get to spoil them each in creative and various ways.  When I am back home in Texas for a week or so, I do my best to carve out a little “one on one” time with each kiddo so they don’t suspect I have a favorite among them….because, I don’t.  My seventeen year old, Bennie, is elated if she and I spend an entire day on the couch with ice cream and popcorn, binge watching Netflix.  My thirteen year old son, Max, is perfectly happy with a hug/slap on the “back of the head” combo and a trip to the convenient store for lime chips, a big ass coke, and witty conversation.   Izzy, my eleven year old, is usually wide awake at 6 am; always the early riser, always the early bird. Yesterday, we got to enjoy a delightful little breakfast picnic on our living room floor while the other two were sawing logs until their growling tummies woke them for lunchtime.  Our feast of fried eggs topped with Mexican chorizo and a simple Spring onion pastry set the tone for a pretty awesome day.

Spring Onion Pastry with Herbs and Za’atar Dressing

serves 4

The fried eggs and Mexican chorizo are pretty simple to prepare.  I cook the chorizo in a small saute pan, covered with a lid, for a few minutes, then set aside until my eggs are fried and ready to plate.  This way, I can keep the chorizo separate from the eggs for a vegetarian-friendly breakfast.  Puff pastry is perfectly fine for vegans as it does not contain eggs or dairy.  Serve with sliced oranges or your favorite fruit and everyone will be happy!

1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (vegan friendly)

2 to 3 spring onions, washed and patted dry

a few sprigs of fresh dill and thyme

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning (I use Penzey’s)

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Olive oil for drizzle

2 tbsp za’atar

1 tbsp local honey

2 tbsp olive oil

juice of 1/2 lime

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Unfold thawed pastry sheet onto a baking stone.  Slice spring onion in half length-wise and gently place on top of pastry along with dill, thyme, and seasoning.  Drizzle with olive oil then add a pinch of salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Meanwhile, add za’atar, honey, oil, lime, salt and pepper into a small mixing bowl.  Whisk ingredients together.  Set aside.

Remove pastry from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Drizzle with za’atar dressing and serve.

 

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Dream Tacos

By June 25, 2017 Food

My dreams are always either about food (a new recipe idea that will make me the most brilliant person alive) or murder (MY murder) at which point, I either wake up googling said idea to see if it has been done before or I wake from having a panic attack.  What in the hell do our dreams even mean?!?!?!

A few days ago, I had a dream of making the most simplest vegan tacos for my mother and brother.  Long story short, my mother has been deceased for over 18 years and my brother has not been able to walk, chew, or swallow since the day he had a near fatal stroke in his brain stem eight years ago.  But, in my dream, my mother was radiantly alive, and my brother was just as he was before he had the stroke.  Grilled sweet corn, garlic-y guacamole, sliced blackberries, pomegranate seeds, and fresh tomato salsa stacked into corn tortillas….all for two people who could not eat it.  The simplicity of the tacos was absurd yet, I was so afraid to present them to my loved ones.  Did I dream of making these tacos for them because I knew, in reality, they could not tell me truthfully if they were awesome or shitty?  Do I have a fear of failing to please others?  Do I need to plan a trip to see my brother?  Geeeeeeeees…..someone TELL ME!!!!!

Meanwhile….back in the kitchen, I tried out these crazy tacos and uhmmmmm….they are pretty fucking delicious!  Thanks, dream??

Dream Tacos

serves 4

5 fresh tomatoes on the vine

1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 jalapenos, if you would like it spicy

1 heaping tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp kosher salt

juice of 1 lime

1 bunch fresh cilantro

4 ears fresh corn, husks removed

chili powder for dusting

2 tbsp olive oil

4 avocados, peeled, seed removed, then smashed

1/2 tsp garlic salt

juice of 1 lime

fresh cracked pepper

fresh blackberries. sliced into small rounds

pomegranate seeds

chopped cilantro for garnish

8 corn tortillas

Broil tomatoes, onion, and jalapenos on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are charred.  Remove from oven and transfer into food processor along with cumin, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.  Process to your desired consistency.

Rub corn ears with olive oil and chili powder.  Grill until charred.

Combine smashed avocados with garlic salt, lime juice, and pepper.

Using a large knife, carefully cut kernels from cob.  Heat tortillas over open flame.  Place corn into each tortilla then top with guacamole, salsa, blackberries, and pomegranate seeds.  Serves 4

 

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Things I Love and Loathe

By June 22, 2017 My World

Every month, I see other bloggers posting about their “Favorite Things”, “Favourite Things” (from my UK gals) or “Currently Crushing On…” and I’m just like….  “Bitch, don’t you just loathe SOMETHING?  ANYTHING?”

I see, taste, and do things on the reg that absolutely have me saying “OMG, that is awesome!”  But, I am not gonna lie.  I also experience some things that just down right make me wanna hurl or roll my eyes.  Let’s be honest.  Not everything is amazzzzzziiiiinnnnnnngah.  So here it goes…

Although it is humid AF right now in Georgia, I LOVE being surrounded by beautiful shades of green and quenched wild mushrooms growing around mi casa.  With such gorgeous surroundings, there is a bit of uncomfortable sweating that happens.  I’m not talking about a light perspiration (as most women should experience),  I’m talking about full-on sweat!

I LOATHE boob sweat.  And stay calm, these are not my boobs.  You would know they were mine if they resembled two 18th Century leather gunpowder sacks hanging from an old nail in your great great great grandpa’s shed.  As fabulous as this looks, it is not my favorite thing to deal with.  I avoid it at all costs.  I don’t exercise.  I don’t go to the lake with friends.  I don’t even like walking into Walmart on a Sunday because of that “swamp cooler/lake sweat” odor billowing off of everyone around me.  Yes, I LOATHE summer.  So, dear Autumn,  please get here quickly?! Thanks.

Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Non-Dairy Ice Cream…can I just take a moment to express my love for it?  I LOVE it so much that I bend my spoon every time I go into it way too hard.  It is the closest thing to real ice cream, in my opinion.  Who doesn’t love cherries and chunks of dark chocolate mixed in with frozen almond milk?  I am addicted, ya’ll.  With the amount of money I have spent on pint after pint after pint of this delicious sorcery, I could have bought myself a more sturdy set of silverware.  I LOATHE my cheap ass silverware…but, you know, I gotta pick my battles.  And, ice cream wins every time.

I LOVE this installation by artist Lucy Sparrow!  An entire convenient store full of your favorite treats and snacks are all handmade felt products.  I have got to get a can of Spam!  You can find her Sew Your Soul shop here.

I LOATHE removing wallpaper.  I have only had to do it twice in my life and that is fucking enough!  Having endured this hideous Ivy print on my kitchen walls for over five years, I have always thought it ranked right up there with country blue hearts and roosters.  It finally had to go but, I am pretty sure my damn patience left as well.  Your battles, Ruthie…your battles….

So, until I figure out how to get paid to LOVE products and blog about them, I might as well share everything I genuinely LOVE and LOATHE.  I am all about YIN and YANG, Ebb and Flow, errrrrr whatever….

 

 

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Gen-X’er Like An MF’er

By June 18, 2017 My World

Over Memorial holiday weekend, Brandon and I dug through stacked boxes in our garage to locate my old VHS tapes.  I was on a mission to find three magical tapes marked 120 Minutes.  That’s right.  Those three tapes were hours and hours of the coolest alternative music videos from MTV’s Friday night show which aired between 1986-2000.  Instead of going out on Friday nights only to be crammed into the backseat of a car, drinking Mad Dog 20/20 bought by someone’s big brother, and cruising Polk street downtown, I chose to stay home and watch all of the newest and coolest videos…..because, clearly, I was the epitome of cool.  I didn’t need to (as my own daughter calls it, today) live that “teenage life”….I had a date with Crockett and Tubbs THEN 120 Minutes.

There they were…intermingled with my mother’s collection of Master Classic Disney movies.  I remember her telling me, “One day these Disney movies will be worth a lot of money.”  Could that have been true?  My brother must have been hip to that idea too by taking and pawning them back in the mid 90’s for extra cash.  My mother and other brother combed every pawn shop in town one Saturday afternoon to retrieve them.  What were they, the equivalence of the fucking Hope Diamond?  Understanding their importance to her, I kept the tapes under lock and key all these years, fearing she would haunt me if I threw them away.  No thanks to my storing skills or lack thereof, they withered  with time.  After seeing the cracked and dusty cases, I knew there was no way in hell I could sell them on E Bay for $15,000 each.  Plus, what kind of a douche bag would I BE to sell them, knowing how much they meant to my mom?  So, I shrugged my shoulders, grabbed my VHS tapes, whispered ‘sweet sorry’ to Disney and closed the bucket.

That afternoon, Brandon and I watched over 4 hours of  recorded videos.  The tape lagged in places and the wave of sound was as if it were ducking in and out of water but, I didn’t care.  I let out a squeal at every other video, “OMG, I haven’t heard this song since junior high!”  I am grateful for YouTube and Spotify to have access to all of my favorite music from my generation but, on that particular day, the sights and sounds of Peter Murphy, Xymox, The Cocteau Twins, and The Jesus and Mary Chain were not blaring from a YouTube app on my phone.  They were on my fucking TV screen once more after all these years.  A slew of memories came rushing into my mind and, just like that, I was proud all over again to be a Generation X’er.

The go-to playlist I listen to while I am in the kitchen cooking on any given day is this one right here.  My Catch-All-Coolness Spotify Playlist is almost 19 hours of kick ass songs (some you’ll know and some you won’t) I want to share with you.  If you don’t have a Spotify account, well, it sucks to be you.  If you do, hopefully, these tunes will take YOU back somewhere familiar and nostalgic.  Have at it!

Now….shall we watch some John Hughes films today?

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Mastering the Art of Starting Over: Julia Child’s Chocolate Souffle

By May 21, 2017 Food, My World

There is something about the rain that transforms me completely.  For some reason, it has always been a signal from mother nature for me to stop, smell, breathe in, and listen.  I admire it as a symbol of self-renewal.  The other day as rain began to pour down,  I stopped what I was doing, stepped outside holding my morning java, and sat on the porch.  Well…yeah, I first set my phone camera to a ten second delay….duh.

I was greeted by a small lizard who scampered off the second he detected my presence.  I pretty much didn’t wanna hang out with him either so…off he went.  The rain came down hard in sheets of warm water, destroying any and all web work of spiders from the day before.  I wondered if that pissed them off.  That whole feeling of having to start over resonated with me too.  But, isn’t that what the rain does?  It washes away the old and gives one the chance to feel renewed?  I, then, thought about all of my ‘having to start overs’ and smiled.  Like…having to bake a souffle over and again until the bitch rose properly (Julia Child, YOU piss me off), having to rewash a load of laundry because it sat for two days in the washing machine drum due to my pure laziness, or, having to go cold turkey again after wrecking a five week stretch on a no-sugar diet by making out with three Snickers bars…okay, that actually happened.  You get my point.  Our little set backs are a good thing.  We feel frustration.  We feel defeat.  We become reacquainted with that word ‘patience’.  We feel determination.  We start all over….except for the whole cold turkey thing… I have to eat this chocolate souffle first.

*I used almond extract instead of vanilla and added a dust of Matcha Green Tea powder along with the powdered sugar. 

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