Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I'm Playing Catch Up

... after being away from the internet for 3 days over the weekend.

30 Days of Blogging Day 10 asks What is the Best Trip of my Life?

When I was between husband 3 and 4, I went on a family (my parents, my brother, his wife at the time, his two kids and me and my 3 kids) vacation via motorhome from Arizona to northern California by way of San Diego, (the zoo, Sea World, the beach) to LA and Hollywood (Disney, Santa Monica, Hollywood Blvd) Malibu, San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf, Lombard St, Ghirardelli Chocolates).

Even though the motor home was 40 ft. that many people in tight quarters was bound to have some issues. But I will always remember that trip as it was the last one we were able to do as a family. We had such a great time, saw SO many things and ate some amazing food. The pictures and souvenirs and memories made this an unforgettable trip.

Day 11 Wants to Know My 10 Favorite Foods

I'm going to change this up a bit and add in my favorite things to drink too. I did this post on a 10 Things Thursday last year so I'm resurrecting it again for Day 11...

1. Seafood ~ This includes but is not limited to lobster, crab, shrimp, Mahi Mahi, salmon, and sea scallops. I can and do cook shrimp and scallops here at home, but enjoy eating out for lobster and crab. When we lived in MD we used to go to Annie's for brunch where they have a killer cream of crab soup. And don't get me started on the places to go for fresh crab, YUM! Yet one more thing on my list of why I miss Maryland...

2. Mexican Food ~ The real authentic Mexican food I haven't been able to get since we left Arizona. I have gotten pretty good at substituting things when I make a dish here at home, but so far the ONLY place we have found even somewhat close is a little restaurant in Odenton, MD called Pachanga Grill. Their food is the  closest to all we left in AZ. And let me tell you we have searched everywhere we live to find good and authentic Mexican food. When I cook at home my favorite thing to make is Green Chili Chicken Enchilada's with sour cream and queso fresco...YUM! Add home made salsa, guacamole and a Mexican Mojito and call it a meal. 

3. Fried Chicken ~ My Momma's recipe with a cajun twist, LOL! My Momma taught me how to cook many dishes, my second mother in law is Cajun and I learned to make quite a few dishes from her. I still remember them, how to cook them and have shared some of these dishes with many friends. The Cajun twist to Momma's chicken is adding just a little cayenne pepper to the seasoning and then frying it in crisco in a cast iron skillet. Spicey, brown and oh so yummy.

4. Gumbo ~ Chicken or seafood, it doesn't matter as long as it has that deep dark roux and spicy flavor that just won't quit. Add in a little Boudin sausage and you got a meal fit for a king! I am SO looking forward to cooler weather so I can cook up a big pot of Gumbo and rice...

5. Spiced Apple Cider ~ Around the holidays sometime beginning in mid fall, I'll drag out the crock pot and whip up a batch of spiced cider. I make mine from fresh apple cider, unprocessed when I can find it and then add cinnamon sticks, cloves and a little brown sugar. Simmer for about 6 hours, and then drizzle home made caramel sauce in the mug before adding the hot cider. Top with fresh home made whipped cream and you can't go wrong.

6. Mulled wine ~ A few years ago I believed I had an allergy to the sulfates in wine and wouldn't drink it to save my life. Then I found I could drink Mead and figured I'd try the wine again. If I did have an allergy, I've either outgrown it or it doesn't manifest any longer. I am happy to report I LOVE WINE! A couple years ago I ran across a bunch of recipes for Yule celebrations and many of them included a mulled or spiced heated wine. I was skeptical at first, and asked every one I knew for their favorite mulled wine recipe. I got a ton of responses and set about reading each of them. Many were pretty much the same and a few were more challenging than I figured I was up for. I did find one I fell in love with and now I try to make at least one kettle full each Yule. 

7. Coffee ~ Hi my name is Vickie and I am a coffee addict... LOL! Not just any coffee either. It MUST be Starbuck's Verona blend. I go out of my way each payday to buy 2 pounds (sometimes 3) of this blend for home brewing. Then I set the coffee maker up each night before going to bed so I can either have it already for me if I know what time I'm getting up or I can just push the brew button on the way through the kitchen as I'm taking the fur babies out first thing. Jimmy drinks his with some half & half and I use either Amaretto or Cinnamon Vanilla creamer. I will also confess to having an addiction to flavored coffees, and right now the fave's of those are Kahlua and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Pumpkin Spice (staying with the season here).

8. Chocolate ~ Yes, I am a chocoholic too. But here again I must be the difficult one in the family. I prefer dark chocolate, and sometimes the darker the better. 

9. Red Velvet Cake ~ Not everyone likes Red Velvet cake, and I'm OK with that. But if I have a choice for any type of cake I'd like to have for a celebration or just an ordinary day, I'll vote Red Velvet all the time. I'm not even sure exactly *why* I love it so much, but I do and when I see it on a menu as a dessert choice, I'll cut back on my entree just to get a piece of cake... 

10. Tea ~ Even before I worked for Teavana I had an affair with tea... I just didn't know all the health benefits associated with this heavenly brew. Now, I've been called a tea snob. That's more than alright with me. I will not use tea bags, nor the Kcups for my Kuerig. When I make a cup or pot or pitcher of tea, I use only whole leaf tea, and the water and brew time is monitored as well depending on the type of tea I'm making. I have a couple favorite blends and flavors, Six Summits Oolong has a very subtle raspberry flavor to it and I've grown attached to one called Hot Cinnamon Spice. Perfect for the cold winter nights.

And lastly, Day 12 wants to know My Favorite Childhood Book?

This one is easy and I can only say when I read it once, I read it many times again. For a while there I could almost recite it from memory. 

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