Monday, July 26, 2010

Sunday Dinners

So I've decided to incorporate a new feature on this blog entitled: Sunday Dinners. This may or may not be about dinners and/or on Sundays, but it will be a post about food in some fashion or another. I realize that the pursuit of food is a big part of my life and I don't talk about it nearly enough.

This Sunday's menu was a typical one around here: something new from the latest edition of Bon Appetit, something from last month's issue, an old favorite, and something totally crazy.

I chose a lamb kebob with mint pesto from the August edition, and changed it up just a little since I thought I had coriander seed but didn't, and roasted the vegetables alongside rather than on the skewers. This was absolutely delicious, and that mint pesto held up beautifully against the lamb and really made the dish.

Alongside I served this pasta salad with green olivadafrom July, and an Asian cole slaw from my recipe book of long ago. For dessert, I tried twice to make a German chocolate cake from scratch and apparently succeeded on the second try, but since I don't like coconut, I'll have to take everyone's word for it.

I'd like to say we paired this all with a nice wine, but we ended up going through seven bottles of various and sundry reds--none of which were the same, so perhaps that was the failure of the evening but no one ended up caring in the end for those seven-bottle reasons.

Friday, July 23, 2010

More thoughts on the spill

I've been doing a lot of thinking since Tuesday's discussion on on the oil disaster, and as the first raindrops of Tropical Storm Bonnie start falling outside, I can't help but think of it more.

We're not expected to get much from this storm here in Tampa because the bulk of the wind is headed straight toward the spill and no one knows exactly what that means. Or at least not many are speculating on record.

And that's the sort of thing I learned from Tuesday's call--this is an unmitigated disaster, meaning no one really knows what is going on. While the focus has been on capping it (as it should) and getting billboard money for tourism (ridiculous at this point) much of what is going on remains unexamined.

We spoke to an official from the NWF, Jaime Matyas, who is helping with the efforts to save the wildlife. Remember when I said that while we were on Palm Island we saw much more wildlife in the water than ever? That wasn't my imagination-- the methane in the water is sucking up all of the oxygen making it impossible for sealife to survive in these "dead zones" and pushing many species inland.

A blogger that I have met in real life, Trisha Haas from took these photos around Pensacola Beach a few weeks ago. While the tar balls are frightening, to me that mysterious algae is more troubling. Is it from the dispersants? A by-product of something? Is it helpful or harmful and what happens when a fish eats it?

There are others trying to document the wetlands and mainstream publications trying to document BP's corporate recklessness.

But I think it's our job to document, report, talk, write and help as well.

There isn't an anchor organization that is leading up the clean-up efforts. There are just a lot of individuals and small charities working on a great big problem.

For me, I will be volunteering for the NWF's Coastal Volunteer Surveillance Team. At first I didn't think I was qualified, but I have eyes and I care--the only qualifications that matter.

And I will also be writing and posting and sharing and yelling.

Because the more information we get out there, the better.

(If you missed the talk, you can read the transcript here.)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Haircut

Some 3 year-olds can look like Dora....

Mine looks like Doris Day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Let's talk about this mess and what we can do about it

Tomorrow I'm going to be co-hosting a talk over on regarding the oil spill crisis and what we as Gulf coast residents or just plain concerned humans can do.

If you are interested, please join me and many others for this open discussion at The Motherhood at noon, July 20th. It's free and open to all.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home again

I'm really not good at blogging while on vacation.

I have the best of intentions--I pack up the laptop with thoughts of writing in hotel rooms after long days of travel, but truth be told the computer rarely makes it out of the car. I think I turned it on once in the last 10 days.

But when was prose going to fit in on a 3500 mile road trip with four kids across fourteen states? Zactly. By the time my head hit interstate sheets, I was fast asleep exhausted from driving for 12 hour stretches.

But I wouldn't have done it any differently. We headed out last Monday and went to Chattanooga for a first stop on the way to Detroit. I was thinking of the Chattanooga Choo Choo or some touristy equivalent, but the boys decided they wanted to see a Lookouts game so we headed there instead.

We finished our trek to Detroit the next day and spent the next couple with my Dad doing Detroit things like lunch downtown at National Coney Island and the Science Center. We ate dinner at Hockeytown before taking in a Tiger game which was grrr-eat! (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

On to Akron, Ohio so we could be front and center for LeBron's decision and feel the collective pain of the city. (Actually, that was pure coincidence as we visited my sister and her beautiful family.) We had fun visiting the Football Hall of Fame and I started to get the distinct feeling that sports was going to be the dominant theme of this road trip whether I planned it that way or not.

Next we drove out to Long Island for big family doings. Very fun. Then it was back south by way of Washington D.C. and South Carolina. We got drenched at the Washington Monument but it didn't seem to matter.

People say I'm crazy to spend 24/7 in the car for a couple of weeks with my kids.

But I just got to spend 24/7 with my kids for a couple of weeks, and that is crazy good.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Movie night

Simply to enjoy an evening out and not for review purposes, I actually got tickets from a radio station last weekend for a sneak preview of Despicable Me.

So the kids and I braved the rain and crowds for Twilight, and saw this funny movie. It was considerably better than Saturday's trip to Toy Story 3 where 2/3 of the family had to be carried out to the car in fits of sobs. (I was one.)

Here is our review set to go on Whoa Momma next week:

“Mom, that was sooo funny!
~A. age 6

“That was so beast.”
~M. age 10

At least these two critics were unanimous: Despicable Me is a very funny movie.

Although not in theaters until July 9, we got a sneak peek of the new animated film starring Steve Carrel recently, and it certainly was a big crowd pleaser to the packed theater.

The story is about a fading super villain trying to commit the world’s greatest crime and out-do his younger up-and-coming nemesis. Seeing his opportunity with three young girls (Miranda Cosgrove) selling cookies, Dr. Gru adopts the orphans and finds that he may be outmatched when it comes to parenthood.

The movie earns its PG rating with a few derrière and toilet jokes, but overall it’s pretty harmless. It starts off a little slow, but the laughs come soon enough, especially when we meet Dr. Gru’s “minions,” who look like little yellow Tic-Tacs, but are much funnier.

It’s a bit Addams Family-esque, (Dr. Gru looks like Uncle Fester with a Boris and Natasha accent) but the dark parts are fleeting and replaced with jokes and slapstick stunts. The plot was a touch predictable, but it is a fun story and the 3-D effects and animation are impressive.

That, and Steve Carrel is beast.