Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm Off!

You may recall, not to long ago, I was whining about not having a summer vacation yet.  Well...that's about to end.  We are off shortly for a week vacation with the family.  I'm so excited.  I'm looking forward to a week of family fun and relaxation.

We are headed to Port Austin.  If you want to know where that is..hold up your left hand, palm side facing away from you.  Touch the tip of your thumb.  That's where Port Austin is located.  (It's so cool being from a state that looks like a mitten.

Don't know if I will be blogging while I'm gone or not.  Kind of depends on the whole Internet situation.  But I promise to share the high points along with some pictures of the boys, when I get back.

On to loading up the car!  Have a great week.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tap, Tap, Tap

Both my daughters have been dancers all of their lives.  Krissy started dance lessons at 4 and Caity started when was 3.  I cannot speak the praises of this activity enough.  They both truly loved dancing.  I rarely had to "make" them go to dance....ok, neither of them were that excited about ballet, but tap, jazz and anything else, they loved.

It also gave them a certain quiet confidence that is so important for all young women.  They had a place to shine and challenge themselves.  In high school they were able to transfer their talents into musical theater.

The greatest gift from dance was simply that it kept them busy during those years when teenagers can often get easily distracted and into trouble.  Honestly, between dance, theater and choir....they didn't have a lot of spare time.

Maybe I need to rephrase that last paragraph...the greatest gift from dance was the sheer, unadulterated joy I had watching them perform.  There are simply no words to express how wonderful it was seeing them kick it up on stage.

At the conclusion of high school, I fully expected their dance endeavors to end.  To my surprise, that didn't happen.  During college, they both found opportunities to continue to dance and to this day they still both take classes.

Caitlin has even taken it a step further in becoming part of the Detroit Tap Repertory Company.  This is a local group of women who's dedication to the art of performance tap is amazing.  Their leader, Denise Caston pushes them all to new levels of skills.  In fact, Cait has never been challenged as much as she is right now.   The fact that she had a baby 4 months ago, might also play a role.

Through Caitlin's involvement in the Detroit Tap Repertory, she participated in the Motor City Tap Fest last week-end and last Saturday night, we went to Orchestra Hall to see a performance of the All Star Faculty.   It was a great show with some amazing talented tappers.  There are so many different tap'd be surprised.

As part of the evening they presented a special award to Miriam Nelson.  Miriam has a vast history of stage and movie tap dancing credits to her name and if you go to You Tube you can find some clips of her dancing in her hey day.  What was so amazing to me is that Miriam is 92 years old and she looks phenomenal.  She still taps and Cait even took a class from her over the week-end.  She has a grace and style that one can only hope they have at any age.

For me...the investment I made in the girls and dance is still reaping some wonderful benefits.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garden to Table

Wendy over at Greenish Thumb is hosting her first Garden to Table party and I for one can't wait to participate.  Here's what I started with:

A whole lot of basil and a handful of freshly picked grape tomatoes (which I forgot to take a picture of).  

My first step was to make a small bowlful of pesto.  Pesto doesn't photograph real well, but here's what I ended up with:

I decided I wanted to use this batch in a pasta and I didn't want to have to go the store, so my pasta ingredients had to be in my fridge or pantry.  Which was actually was a bit of a challenge.  

I started by frying bacon that I had chopped into small pieces.  I removed the cooked bacon and drained most of the fat from the pan.  I then added diced onion and diced tomatoes and sautéed them until they were tender.  I added some leftover peas I had in the fridge to warm them up a bit.

I cooked up some fettuccine, saving about 1 cup of the cooking water.  I tossed the fettuccine with the pesto and some of the pasta water until it had a nice covering.  I then added the onion, tomato and pea mixture and the bacon bits.  Gave it all a good toss and here's what we had for dinner last night:

It was delicious and considering I made this up, I feel pretty good about it.  I am going to have to come up with a name for this pasta.  Any ideas??

The little grape tomatoes were particularly good. They were actually sweet.  I'm sorry that that plant is almost done for the season.

This was a great idea Wendy.  So glad I get to play along.  If you've got some recent harvest you want to share, make sure you come join the party.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Weekly Question #12

I hate and despise the smell of vinegar.  Ugh.  It truly makes me sick and causes me to run from the room.  I never cook with it.  If a recipe calls for vinegar...any kind, I won't make it.  Occasionally, a balasmic type can be hidden in a dressing so that I don't notice it...but any other way, YUCK YUCK YUCK.  And the worst kind is malt vinegar.  How in the world do people eat that on their french fries.  Gross!!

Now to this week's questions: 

Is there a smell that you hate?  What is it? 

(and don't say any of the obvious ones related to body functions as everyone hates those smells. They don't count.) 

Can't wait to find out if there are any other smell haters out there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks Movie Review

Dinner for Schmucks

Grade: B-

You many have noticed the movie reviews have dropped off a bit recently.  That's because I've become what they call a "recession widow".  My other half, has been traveling every week to a job in the Atlanta area.  We now only have week-ends together and we have to cram everything into two days and movies have fallen off the list of things to do.

We did manage to fit one in on Saturday evening and believe it or not we opted for Dinner for Schmucks.  Not exactly high brow, but I do love Steve Carell. 

This is the story of a young financial analyst (Paul Rudd), seeking to advance in his company.  Through some very savvy moves, he comes to the attention of the company president.  Now, all he needs to do to cement his rise to the corner office, is participate in their monthly "bring an idiot to dinner" event.  He opts to not participate in this dinner(per the influence from his girlfriend)...but when he literally runs into Barry (Steve Carell), he feels it's preordained to participate.

Carell does the amazing job being ridiculous and annoying, yet somehow finding that part of the character that is also sympathetic.  It's the same thing he does almost every week on The Office.  Just when you think you can't stand any more of Michael....he does something kind or endearing and you forget how awful he can be. 

Paul Rudd is a good counterpart to Carell's craziness. He is a good every man and his face can convey quite a bit of emotion.  It's easy to believe his sympathetic transition as his relationship with Barry to develops.

There were some laugh out loud funny moments in this movie.  There were also some significant "squirm in your seat" moments and a few times...they went a little too far. 

This movie is worth seeing just for the depiction of Barry's hobby.  The whole mouse taxidermy scenes are just hilarious and once you understand the is also quite endearing.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie, but I would recommend it more as a rental.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Word and Weekly Question #11

My dear, wonderful friend Judy, is in the midst of reading Eat Pray Love.  One of the small moments in the book, they discuss "words".  In particular, words that describe a city.  For example, in the book Rome's word is "Sexy".

This got Judy thinking about her word.  This motivated her to email her friends, asking them what their word might be.  We continued this conversation last night as four of us "girls" got together for dinner.

The conversation has now fanned out to more and more of our friends.  And now, I want to spread it out to my blogging friends. 

What word would you use to describe you life right now?

My word was Passion.  Not the obvious kind of passion (although that's a good one too), but passion as in finding one's passion.  I have a strong desire to spend my time doing things I love...things that make me happy.  And I am searching for my life's passions.  Hopefully, that makes sense.

Now it's your turn.  You might want to think about it a little bit, but put some thought into "Your Word" and share if you want.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tomato Pie

I made a mini version of this the other night and it was delicious.  My grape tomatoes are coming in like crazy, so I used them and some of my fresh basil.  I didn't peel the tomatoes either, cause you really can't peel a grape tomato.

This recipe is super easy and I found this recipe on someone's blog and I can't remember whose it was or I would give them credit, cause I did not make this up.

Tomato Pie
 1 deep dish frozen pie shell (I used one of the Pillsbury refrigerator pie crusts.)
4-6 peeled & sliced tomatoes (depending on size)
3/4 cup of mayo
2 cups Parmesan/Reggiano cheese (or you can use swiss, Gruyère, or Mozzarella, whatever you prefer)
15 basil leaves
salt & pepper to taste
a dash of oregano

Peel & slice your tomatoes.  Lay the tomato slices on layered paper towels to drain for at least an hour.  (Optional: remove the tomato seeds if you have a texture issue with tomatoes.)
Mix mayo, cheese, oregano, salt & pepper in a bowl.
Place a layer of tomatoes in pie shell.
Spread half of the cheese mixture over your tomatoes. Then layer in half of your basil. Repeat the layers.   
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Let's Play "Going To College"

Growing up...Barbies were the thing.  My sister and I used to play Barbies a lot.  While I would want to pretend we were going to a party, Deb would want to pretend we were going to college.  Which meant we spent the entire time....packing.  Not my favorite way to play with my Barbie & Midge, but as my sister was older it meant she got her way most times. 

Not surprising at all that Deb went into Education for her career.  We should have all seen the handwriting on the wall for that one.

Well, once more I've got to play "Going to College".  This time it's for real as Stinky leaves for Michigan State in 22 days. 

Earlier this week I hit Bed, Bath and Beyonce (a family nickname for that store) and got:
  • quilt (black and grey...very masculine)
  • sheets
  • blanket
  • waste basket
  • laundry basket
  • first aid kit
  • some plastic dishes, glasses and silverware
Cait bought him a bunch of basic white towels for his birthday.  So that's checked off.

I found these at BB&B and I think one of these would be a good idea:

So now comes your part...HELP.

I haven't taken a kid to college in quite a few years...and I've basically forgotten what else he needs. 

Any suggestions??   I can use all the help I can get.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to Spend a Summer Afternoon

Despite all my recent whining about no vacation...I have to admit that I got to spend the day celebrating one of America's favorite summertime activities.

I'll give you a hint.

Aren't they fierce looking?  Now all the locals will already have the answer...but here's another hint for the out-of-towners.

And finally, the pure giveaway hint.

We had a great time including lunch up in the Tiger's Club, which I didn't even know existed until today.  Here was our view from our table.

As you can see by the scoreboard, the White Sox just killed the Tigers today.

Hence, we opted to enjoy the loss from the comfort of the air conditioned club.  It takes a little off the full game experience, but when there's nothing to cheer about and it's 90+ degrees...who cares.  Besides, the chance of me ever getting in there again are pretty slim.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekly Question #10

I haven't done my Weekly Question in quite awhile.  Kind of got off track, but today I got to wondering about vacations.  See, it's already August...and I haven't had a summer vacation yet and it is really starting to bug me.

We do have plans to go up to Port Austin, but it's not until later in the month.

In the meantime, help me live vicariously through you...

What have you done or what are you going to do for your summer vacation this year?

Please share.