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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

First Camping Trip of 2018: Point Lookout State Park

This picture encapsulates much of our experience during our first camping trip of the year, at Point Lookout State Park.  We managed to schedule our inaugural 2018 adventures for the peak weekend for loblolly pine pollen release; it was everywhere.  When we arrived, late Wednesday night, we couldn't see the ground or surfaces around us well enough to make out the thick layer of green (though we could see it flying past like a mini sandstorm in the sweeping arc of our flashlight).

In the end, it could have been worse in terms of how much sneezing we did, oddly enough.  And we still had fun!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Copy Cat: Naked Juice's Kale Blazer (Hello, Vida!)

So yesterday, this happened:

Thanks to my mom throwing in for my birthday present, we are now in possession of the hippest of all hippie machines:  the Vitamix Pro Series 750.

Yes, I tried to rationalize getting the lesser one, but I kept coming back to this one line in the ad copy for the Pro Series:  "40% quieter run volume..."  And there were the reviews... and the 10 year available extended warranty (done).  So... yeah. :)

Since I am still unable NOT to anthropomorphize and therefore name every single thing that comes into our home, I am happy to introduce you to Vida.  (No, she is not named after a girl who grows up in a mortuary wishing to be Jamie Lee Curtis and ended up with a morbid fear of bees; she is named in honor of my great Aunt Vida, thankyouverymuch.)

Vida got a short test run last night for a couple of light "night cap" fruit drinks, but this morning was the real test!  So, without ado, I give you....

Sunny's Copycat Version
of Naked Juice's Kale Blazer

4 big handfuls of kale
1 big handful of spinach
1/3 cucumber, cut into chunks
1 celery stalk (with leaves), cut into chunks
1 very large tangelo, peeled* and sliced horizontally
1/2 (very large) Gala apple, cored and cut into chunks
1-inch piece of peeled ginger, cut in half
1 small lemon, peeled* and seeded and sliced horizontally
3/4 cup coconut water

Put all ingredients into the blender & process on Smoothie setting (or whatever setting works best for your blender).  This made enough to fill a quart mason jar (the picture shows less because, yeah, I had already wailed on it by the time we got into the car!)

This tastes almost exactly like the Kale Blazer (retailing from $2.99 to $4.99, depending on where you buy it!) with several minor tweaks that I prefer:

  1. It's less sweet
  2. It's a little creamier (I think I put more spinach in there)
  3. It has a slight bit more "kick" (I think I put more ginger in there, too)
  4. It (obviously) has more substance/fiber to it.   You could strain it if you don't like that.
** I used a technique on the lemon and tangelo called "supreming" rather than just peeling them.  Even though these tangelos peel like Sumo oranges (the skin is just not even really attached to the pulp inside), there is still some pith there, and while kale and celery both are bitter-in-a-good-way, I was afraid that it would get out of control if I didn't eliminate all the white stuff from the lemon & tangelo.  You can see how to supreme citrus fruits here on the Joy of Cooking blog.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hiro and the Pretty Pretty Day

Couldn't have been a prettier day to take Hiro out for a test... float?
Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Laurel, MD

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Blog that Wanted to be a Real Boy

So if you suddenly decide your play blog should grow up to be a real blog, there are a few things you really need.  And Justin's birthday gave us an excuse to procure one of them today.  Meet the newest member of our family, Hiro.  He's a GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition.  We are still just in awe of the quality.  Sadly, we didn't realize until we got home that there was no adapter to attach Hiro to the new tripod we got for him.  But there has been plenty of other fun to be had while we learn how to play together.  He will be behind the scenes from now on, mostly, but will have a byline in every post!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fierce Fierke Pickles

For the past two years, I have enjoyed the most perfect pickle EVER at Stones Rising, thanks to the pickling genius of Eric F.  This year, he graciously consented to give me his recipe.  This weekend, I made my first batch of what I will now call my Fierce Pickles.  He said I should feel free to "add more peppers," so of course... I added the rest of the Tabascos that Justin and I grew and then froze, ditto for a couple of habaƱeros, ditched the jalapeƱos in favor of some serranos, and left in the poblano, just because I like the flavor.  I also added a TON of garlic, and lots of onions.

I didn't ask Eric what process he used, so I just winged it... chopped everything up, sprinkled with a bunch of sea salt, threw it in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge for about 3 hours, mushing it around a couple of times.  Then I dumped it all in a colander and rinsed it very, very thoroughly.

I then packed it all in jars (this made 3 quarts perfectly), heated up the brine made with Eric's recipe, and ladled the boiling mixture over the vegetables.  These are just refrigerator pickles, as I didn't process them, but the jars sealed up tight and now I am going to have to discipline myself not to taste-test an entire quart before they're done!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ethiopian Experiment #1

Today I finally tried my hand at making Ethiopian food at home.  Which is brave, on many levels, not the least of which is that Justin and I just got over a bout of intestinal ickiness.  But we picked up some boneless butterflied lamb leg yesterday and spent today ferreting out all the fun "extras" needed.

I wanted to try to replicate our favorite meal from Bete in downtown Silver Spring: the vegetarian platter with lamb tibs. I got worn out before I got around to making the beets, and I decided just one lentil dish was sufficient, and I left out the green been and potato thingie because this was just plain enough food... but otherwise, it was most of the same stuff.

Part of the fun was finding two versions of niter kibbeh, the spiced clarified butter so ubiquitous in Ethiopian cuisine. We also did some Google gymnastics to find alternative names, and managed to find nigella seeds and black cardamom.  The collards and the cabbage with carrots were the surprise scene stealers.  The red lentils, I'm gonna have to play with the recipe for them.  The one I followed called for an inordinate amount of water and then for draining them... but they still just wound up kinda watery.  The biggest issue with everything will be simple to fix next time though:  nothing was spicy enough!  But... here's how I made it all this time, with planned tweaks for next.