Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going to the Beach with the Family

What does it take to go to the beach with 18 people from 3 different states?

Lots of planning, 

and baking

And caffeine to drink
(Without this last one, I couldn't even think ;)

 And stacking

Loading the car.

Don't forget lunch, before we get very far!


A much needed break

Than another day driving, for goodness sake.



Get organized

Head to the pool with the girls and guys.

Happy Vacation Everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Homemade Peanut and Almond Butter

I am trying to eat, cook, be healthier.  So on recommendations by my cookbook researcher extroidinaire sister and a gift from my mom, I found a couple of cookbooks that help you make convenience foods at home.  Think breakfast bars, peanut butter, granola, etc.

Several of these recipes called for the use of a food processor.  Since I "loaned" my now 14 year old food processor to my sister several years ago, I figured it was a good enough reason to go shopping for a new and improved model.

Fabulous! Step one complete.  I decided to dive head first into the wonderful looking nut butter recipe.  Once ingredients were gathered, I set my team to work.

We needed to shell the peanuts so we would have about 3 cups.

It was a lot of work but we persevered.  We ended up using two full bags.  Then the peanuts and almonds (that I added) had to roast in the oven for a little bit and then put into the processor.
Then the fun began. Grinding and pulsing the nuts broke down and became butter.
It was really neat to watch the nuts become powder and then become a paste.
We added a splash of oil,  and honey. Then, voila!
Peanut/almond nut butter!

The verdict was a little mixed.  The almonds left a drying taste and I didn't puree enough so end result was a little gritty.  We have decided it is great for baking!  I will attempt this recipe again with a few modifications.  Worth it!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

People Watching

Have you ever sat alone by yourself and just watched people walk by?  You really ought to try it at least once. There are several locations that work well for this hobby:  a busy park on a sunny day; a mall around any major holiday (including back-to-school shopping); and a convention hall.

Find a place that is close to the stream of foot-traffic, but not in the way.  You want to attract as little attention as possible. Now don't start reading or texting.  Just sit and watch.

You will see people of all ages: from babies in strollers to elderly couples walking hand in hand, and all ages in between.  The teen set usually has some electronic gadget in use while barely avoiding bumping into things and people around them.

The young moms are pushing full strollers.  The stroller is not fill with a child but the things that have been shoved at mom for her to carry.  I silently cheer if she has some sort of beverage attached in some manner to the stroller for herself.  The one who should be in the stroller is usually being carried by the equally tired mom.

I have seen more experienced moms.  She is walking way behind the kids, who range in ages from 8 to 15, on her phone while subtly supervising her flock in front of her.  Every once in awhile, the mom is in the midst of the pack of kids, enjoying the chatter and camaraderie.

The empty nesters are usually single walkers.  They have a goal and they are not strolling, they are on a mission.  Get the errands done so they can get back home and prepare the house for which ever child will be visiting next.  A list is visible, either in hand being checked or tucked into the top of a purse or pocket for easy access.

The grandparents are easy to spot.  They are doing their best to keep up with the toddler running from candy store to toy store to the rides in the middle of the mall.  The grandparent (who has lost all ability to say "No") is toting 59 packages, boxes, fast food meals, and drinks.  She is tired, but loving every minute.  After all in a few more minutes or hours, she can send the little one home and sleep in a peacefully quiet house for the next two days.

While watching these people and making up background stories for them in your head, where do you fall?  What are the people who are watching you thinking?