Monday, July 30, 2012

Roasted Peach Lemonade and MY BIRTHDAY!

To be honest with you I usually dread my birthday like I dread paying my bills.  For some reason though this year was a good birthday!  Maybe it is because it is my last birthday in my twenties, or maybe it is just preparing me for the big 30.  Shutter, shutter...oh boy, doesn't that sound old?  I can't quite put my finger on why this birthday was so many things went right though, and so many people made me happy.  I am just going to go ahead and list my reasons that my 29th birthday was a winner:

1.  Everyone was nice to me.  Even people I didn't know wished me a happy birthday...including 2 handsome men who happened to overhear someone else wishing me a happy birthday. : )

2.  Facebook is not all evil.  Every few minutes a new notification would pop up on my screen saying someone else had wished me a happy kept me smiling all day long!  Plus, this year I decided to respond to all my happy birthday greetings by saying thank you in a different language...which provided extra hours of amusement and education for me...seriously I learned a ton of new ways to say thank you and pronouncing them was very entertaining.

3.  I ate good food.  I made a bunch of cinnamon and Mexican chocolate scones and brought them to work...they were good, and more importantly people ate them all up!  Then I was treated to lunch by my sister and ate with a bunch of awesome people.  Then I got taken out to dinner.  It was good. : )

4.  My niece gave me a card she picked out with my Mom, and bought me Mary Poppins on of my all time favorite movies!!!!   My Mom said she was very picky about my card and when my Mom read this one out loud she was sure it was the one for me!  Awwww...she is the best!

5.  All day long I felt loved and received emails, calls, texts, Facebook messages, and more calls...even though 1/2 those calls were work related I still appreciated them. : )

6.  At midnight I went online and looked at tickets to a cousin's upcoming wedding...for the last few weeks they have been pricey, not at good times, and lots of stops on the way....however this time they were $100 cheaper, perfect times, and direct flights!!!  YEAH....Bought my ticket!!!!  Happy Birthday to me!

7.  My Mom bought me some pretty sweet gifts this year.  A really swanky wristlet purse wallet thing, some really cute glass birds...they aren't crazy birds, but cool Anthropologie like birds, an awesome teal sweatshirt, a really cute tray thing, and more!  Good job Mom!

8.  Everyone who knows me knows that I detest gift cards as presents...only because they seem so impersonal.  However, this time my 2 little sisters and Marine brother all chipped in and bought me a way too generous gift card.  On top of the card there was a stack of sticky notes that read like this:

1.From Mimi, Gunnar, and Karmel
3.THIS is a lens for your camera since I still haven't bought my I returned my Sony NEX since it took horrible up close macro shots and made food look no bueno...I am just going to use the money to actually buy my camera instead. : )  THANKS YOU GUYS!  You are the best!

9. Everyone I love was able to call or contact me in some way, including my brother who is at training camp...he has restricted phone rights and was somehow able to text me during the last minutes of my birthday!  Unexpected but awesome!

10.  My Godson and his adorable sister even called and left me the cutest message telling me "Happy Birthday Auntie Dags" message ever!

Now last year on my birthday I posted a recipe for roasted peaches with mascarpone ice cream...This year I am going to stick with that theme and share with you a recipe for this delicious roasted peach lemonade I just made.

I had so much fun making it I decided to try roasting other fruits and adding them to lemonade....winner idea!  Well, I really only roasted mangos, but decided that you could probably go ahead and follow this basic concept for any flavored lemonade...roasted strawberry, apple, plum, nectarine, pineapple...oh boy!

1. Roast the fruit of your choice 
2.  skin and puree said fruit
3.  Add to your favorite lemonade recipe
4.  Serve over ice with a fancy garnish
5.  Or freeze into Popsicles, or process in ice cream maker : )

I imagine if you don't want to use cane sugar you could always swap it out with agave, honey, or maple syrup.  Of course it would taste different, but still delicious.

fuzzy pictures from the camera phone : (

Roasted Peach Lemonade

Step 1:  Make the Lemonade

In medium saucepan boil the following until sugar is dissolved.  Allow to cool a few minutes.

1 cup sugar
1 cup h20

In large pitcher mix the above with the below:

1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 cups cold water

If too sweet for your taste add more water.

Step 2:  Roast the peaches

4 medium -large peaches
1 Tbs sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice and pit the peaches.  Place in pan skin side down.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Roast in oven 20-25 minutes until skin comes off of the fruit easily.  Remove skins and place in food processor.  Add about 1 cup of the prepared lemonade and puree until smooth.  Add to rest of lemonade and stir to combine.  Chill, and stir again before stirring.  Please note - the peach puree will separate and settle as it sits in the fridge.  No worries just whisk away! : )  Serve over ice.  Some people found the lemonade too thick - I didn't, but if you do please dilute with more water, vodka, or rum. : )

Monday, July 16, 2012

Survivor and a re-post/revamped Kitchen Sink Cookies

During these last few months I have been working with the local parishes to run a monthly event for Young Adults called "Theology on Tap".  For those of you unfamiliar with this program, it is where Catholic Young Adults meet in a bar and listen to a talk pertaining to our Faith.  So far it has been going really well, and the response has been awesome!

This last week we were fortunate enough to have a really awesome priest come and speak to us.  Father Norbert is a gifted orator, and really knows how to reach people.  Since our theme for the summer is "Reality TV" this topic he spoke about was Survivor.

Father said that just like winning the show Survivor in order to Survive this life you need to form alliances.  You form these alliances by finding similarities with people and forming bonds.  He also said that it is important to not only form alliances with people who are just like you because that will not make the best team.  If you are all hunters but nobody is a cook how will you eat?  He also stressed the importance of  teamwork.  If one player is injured the rest of the team pulls together and picks up the slack.  It is vital that the team works together as one body to move in the best way and win!  Just like a three legged race, you need to learn how to work together in order to move in the most efficient way!  It is also important that you are all working towards the same goal, because if not you will fall apart.  This goal should be heaven, and the food that we eat to sustain us and get us there is the Eucharist.  Boo yah!  Great talk Father Norbert!

Now the reason I am bringing this talk up is because it reminded me of these cookies.  There are many elements to this cookie, they are all different, but they all work together and produce the best tasting cookie ever.  Maybe you are the coconut, maybe you are the chocolate chips, maybe you are the raisins...I hope you are able to find your missing ingredients and become the best cookie possible!

Kitchen Sink Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup ground old fashioned oats (grind in food processor)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds (optional to toast them, which is way better)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until well blended. Add oats, chips, coconut, raisins, and walnuts, and stir until well blended.
  4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons or with a 1 ounce ice-cream scoop about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with the bottom of a glass to flatten cookies evenly. Bake until golden, about 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Survived the road trip and a guest post about homemade Tomato sauce!

Dear Readers, Friends, and Countrymen -

I have lots of pending posts coming up with some new fabulous stay tuned!  After my last post about road trip snacks I assume it was fairly obvious that I went on a road trip and have now returned.

The last day and a half has been a whirlwind of insanity, and I am pretty sure I am going to go ahead and swear to never take a road trip again!  In a quick summary of events this is what went down:

1)  Drove 20 hours in a car with 5 people, including one little girl with extremely smelly feet

2)  Listened to The Hunger Games book on tape...if I hear "she said"..."he responded"..."she asked" one more time I think I am going to enter the Hunger Games myself and show them whats what.

3)  Ate Greek Food in a convent with nuns and the family of my sister's boyfriend...and they were on high alert for a bobcat on the loose...who knew there were bobcats in Alabama.  P.S. I changed my mind about Alabama - it really is quite lovely!

4)  Had to search far and wide for an emergency tarp for the truck bed because it started raining.  Asked a lady at the grocery store if they had tarps, she asked what a tarp was...really.  One hour later tarp was acquired, hit the road.  It stopped raining.  Go figure.  P.S .  Alabama has a thing against tarps, they don't sell them.

5)  Stopped to get gas in Louisiana, saw a mini van full of Buddhist Monk kids with shaved heads and orange togas walk around the gas station...wasn't sure if they were meditating or planning a robbery...we booked it out of there just in case.

6)  Arrived home at 7:00am, napped for an hour. Then decided to go to work in a complete state of deliriousness...yes, everything I say sounds funny to me, and my sister is sitting next to me giggling as if she ate a plate of special brownies...don't get high, just go on road trips.

7)  Decided to start our "detox from vacation junk food" by making a tasted like we fed it to the sink instead.

8)  To top it all off we ordered bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches from to work and realized they forgot to put the eggs in we had a bacon and cheese sandwich...great, just great...knew I should have stayed in bed.

9)  As an added bonus they decided to paint today inside the office, so now our state of insanity has hit an all time high.

10)  Ate a bag of leftover yogurt covered pretzels for lunch...yes, this is what the day after a vacation should feel like.

photo from Kirsten O'Leary

Oh, and the main point of this post is to let you all know that this week I have a guest post and recipe for simple tomato sauce up at my friend Maggie's blog: Ten Thousand Places.  Maggie has been blogging for more years than me, and blogs about everything wonderful under the sun from Literature, fashion, movies, poetry, food, and faith.  She also makes delicious jam and you can buy it from her shop Jams by Mags.  If you are returning from Vacation like me, and really don't want to be home I highly recommend buying some of her jam to cheer you up!

Thanks for letting me do a guest post Maggie, and welcome to any of her readers!

Eat your heart out and don't road trip,  : )