Boarding the Green Smoothie Train

I don’t do trends. That being said, a friend told me I should try green smoothies, so I’m giving them a whirl. (Thank you, thank you very much. I’m here all week.) I’m sipping one now, in fact. I think I finally found the right balance between the strong spinach flavor and good flavors. ha ha. Keep in mind, I do love raw spinach salads. You know, because you read my post about spinach for breakfast. For some reason, blended spinach tastes too oily to me. A throwback from my infant days? My first attempts went thusly: spinach, almond milk, handful of frozen fruit, tomato. Blech. 2nd day, spinach, water, apple juice concentrate, radish, avocado, tabasco. (In hopes of taming the spinach into submission.) Blech. Third day, spinach, water, BUNCH of strawberries. Perfect!

Strawberries: kapow

Next day, spinach, banana, water: Perfect!

Bananas: kapow!

Today was cantaloupe, banana, spinach, water, radish. Pretty good. The radish gives it a nice kick. I think I really needed to add more fruit than I was adding to counteract the spinach flavor. I could have used more cantaloupe, but it was perfectly ripe, so family members joined me in enjoying that orange mild goodness. It’s only been four days of green smoothies for breakfast, so I don’t have much to report by way of energy levels, lost weight or less intense cravings. Okay, maybe my craving for chocolate has gone down a little. Which is too bad, because I have a bunch in my spice cupboard. (That’s where I hide it.) I would like to have clearer skin, and that is purportedly one of the results of eating raw foods. Supposedly you can lose weight as well, but that’s probably more of a function of barfing because it doesn’t taste that great, imho.

Here’s a shot of an earlier version of green smoothie. I drank it down, but I didn’t enjoy it.

I do like the color green. I just don't want to taste it, necessarily.

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Get the Puck out of the Airport

I had a three-hour layover in Hartsfield-Atlanta GA airport when I was traveling to visit “Loretta”. I had plenty of time to eat lunch, but with my dietary restrictions, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find anything tasty and filling. Then I saw the Wolfgang Puck Express kiosk. Drinks lined up like large jewels, sandwiches wrapped and stacked like books, and SALADS. Beautiful, colorful salads. I found one that didn’t have croutons (gluten) and paid for it. I returned to my tiny corner of the airport to eat in peace.

First of all, I couldn’t get the dang lid off! It took me longer than I want to admit to snap off the tight plastic lid.

Second, I panicked when I realized I hadn’t grabbed a fork. Then I found the cutest, DIY assembly spork wrapped inside. It snapped together.

Third, I forgot to get a napkin. I didn’t want to drag ALL my luggage, my freshly opened salad, and my Coke back to the kiosk. (Every five minutes the PA announced stuff about not leaving your bags unattended.)

So I built my spork and started eating. EYE-ROLLING DELICIOUS FIRST BITE. I chose the Greek salad. Fresh greens, crumbled feta cheese, diced sweet peppers, red onion slivers, OLIVES (my favorite), a tomato garnish and a wonderful savory-tart vinaigrette. It was divine. Was it because I hadn’t eaten anything at all prior to 2 in the afternoon? Possibly. But I found myself splattering olive oil and dressing all over my shirt, chin, cheeks, luggage (remember, no napkin) and I DIDN”T CARE. I surreptitiously used my sleeve to take care of the more obvious splashes, but this was some serious salad action. The spork wasn’t the best eating utensil to use, since it frequently snapped back into the fold position, but it was better than using my hands. This salad was so good, and the vinaigrette so scrumptious, that when every bite was gone, I drank the dressing that was left over. Yes, I drank it like a red neck swilling moonshine, and I’m pretty sure I smacked my lips when I was done. If you ever have the chance to get a Puck salad, go for it, but for goodness’ sake, remember the napkins.

Tomato garnish made the salad extra yummy

Patriotic Sunbeams and the Jefferson Sandwich

I was most blessed to have the opportunity to visit my sister “Loretta” in Virginia, and especially to be able to visit Washington D.C. on September 10. Yes, the day before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

We had an amazing visit! Her kids loved the crayon rolls. (See previous post.)

Her husband, I’ll call him “JimBob”, made dinner that first night I was there. Too late I realized that I should have photographed the meal. My camera was right there too. Duh. “Loretta’s” coworker gave her FRESH brook trout from the Chesapeake Bay. “JimBob” baked it with a flavorful seasoning and served it with rice and mixed vegetables that were steamed to perfection. I had, *cough*, three helpings.

The next day we drove to the Washington D.C. Latter Day Saint temple. It was glorious. Afterwards, her ward Relief Society (women’s group) served lunch on the beautiful grounds. Enter the Jefferson sandwich.

Sadly, I couldn’t remember how to get the macro setting on my camera, so the photo is unforgivably blurry. But I will describe it to you in such a way that your mouth will water and you will feel an immediate need to drive to the grocery to purchase the ingredients.

"The Jefferson"

A fresh baguette, crisp lettuce, herbed mayonaisse, premium turkey (deli sliced, of course), whole cranberry sauce spread. This was the perfect blend of savory, sweet and tangy. The first bite was a satisfying crunchy chewy taste of turkey and sauce. Subsequent bites revealed the delicate flavor of herbed mayo. I believe it had fresh dill in it, among other tasty herbs. The mayo was creamy; the meat was fresh, the cranberry sauce was delectable. Thank you, lady who made the sandwiches. They were the perfect way to start our foray into the Capitol.

What an incredible day. On a whim and the chance for free parking, we visited the Pentagon Memorial. I wish I had words to describe the intensity we felt visiting that hallowed ground. My photos won’t do it justice either. Suffice it to say, we were among angels, both living and dead. Some of the visitors clearly had loved ones  who died there. The Memorial was tasteful and solemn, heartwrenching in its beauty and symbolism. And dear readers, it’s lit up at night. I simply can’t tell you what it felt like to be there and to remember being dumbfounded and horrified on 9/11 at the events of that day. I learned that I still have some anger issues, and I will leave it at that.

Many benches had fresh flowers.

Every bench has a pool of water.

Sunlight plays off the ripples on every wing

All 134 innocents are memorialized in stone and water and light

And let’s lighten the mood a little. After that memorial, we shopped at Macy’s and had vanilla Cokes at Johnny Rocket’s. Rode the metro and spied on possible terrorists. Walked, actually, HOOFED it, all over the National Mall. I never dreamed I would get to see all of the National monuments at this time in my life. Loretta spoiled me rotten. She also forced me to walk faster than I wanted, but that is a different story. I got to see the Lincoln Memorial, the WWII Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Capitol Building, the Smithsonian, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial and the reflecting swamp. (It’s under construction, oh well.) Then we attended a small ceremony at the Air Force Memorial and got to hear some of the back story on the design and funding of the Pentagon Memorial. It was apropos to end the day there. The moon was out; it was a beautiful night. My dinky camera simply could not capture the majesty of the Air Force Memorial, but we tried.

We watched the moon rise during the ceremony

With the possible exception of the war memorials, the monuments really come alive at night. (We didn’t see the WWII or Vietnam Memorials at night. Anyone else?)  The dark back drop combined with the illumination of spotlights renders these solid structures into molten, lambent sculptures. It’s breathtaking.

I shed many tears that day in remembrance of those who died at the hands of radical Muslims, but also for those who have died defending my life, my liberty, my sacred honor, my country, my parents, my lifestyle, my family, my home, my religion and my children. I honor them. I thank people wearing military uniforms whenever I get the chance. I put my hand on my heart when the man who calls the soccer game puts the scratchy recording of the national anthem on the broadcast system. I worship at my church. I teach my kids to be nice to everyone. I love my country, and I pray to God that He preserves us as we try to be worthy to call the country our own.

And I love a country that invents restaurants that make unbelievable food. For example, Cafe Rio.

Try NOT to drink the cilantro sauce right out of the cup.

The Three Sisters and I Really Should Be Sewing Right Now

But I am blogging instead. In the long run, I’m certain this is just as, if not more, important. So I have two sisters. I’ll call them Loretta and Bethilda. I am flying out to visit “Loretta” on Friday. I told her I would make these uber cute crayon rolls for her students. Find the tutorial here.

My daughter 'Tori' likes to push her finger through the camera's lens door. Thus the smudge.

But I am not sewing. I got caught up in the blogosphere; specifically, I was reading the Freshly Pressed blogs which are alternately interesting, liberal and/or awe-inspiring. So I left a comment, and then thought, “Gasp, I haven’t updated my blog in several days! What if somebody stops by?” So I decided I better update my blog. Except, it’s supposed to be about food, and not sewing projects, lest the three people who read my blog strictly for the recipes get offended and never return. So I had to find the camera and upload the photos from the soccer game et al in order to find a decent photo of recently prepared food about which to write. And that is how I chose the headline for today’s post.

Two of the Three Sisters

A friend of mine told me that the Native Americans planted squash, green beans and corn together, and called them the Three Sisters. To whit, I planted my squash underneath the bean poles, and they both did wonderfully well this year. Too bad I don’t like squash that much. I am chicken to plant corn, so that is why only two sisters are represented. Last night we had bacon and green beans. Mmm greasy. I loved it! This photo is from last week; it stood to reason that if veggies complement each other in the garden, they would also taste good together. I stir-fried the duo in olive oil and served with a liberal sprinkling of salt. The squash seeds are particularly lovely; they burst in your mouth like a buttery bubble.

So here is my updated blog post. I am now going to try and finish the crayon rolls. Eerily, my two sisters and I haven’t been physically together in about three and a quarter years. So only two sisters are yet again represented. Next month Bethilda is flying out to see me. I wonder which of the three vegetables I represent? I know. Probably the squash.