#1 You see that lush green plant cascading down the wall in my profile pic above?? WELL, I’m now a bigger fan of it than I already was. It’s called Creeping Jenny (Jeremy calls it Creepy Jenny) – and my two pots of it made it through the winter with absolutely NO BABYING. I’m amazed. Now, it is not doing the cascade thing yet – the older vines died off, but there was a little bunch that stayed green throughout the cold weather…and now it’s taking off and growing back again! I think it’s just the cutest – I love drapey greenery! *I do live in the South, so I can’t speak to how Creepy Jenny would survive, say, any arctic blasts from further up north. But it’s worth a try, even if you had to bring your pots inside during the winter!
#2 For years and years and YEARS (at least 15 years), different friends of mine have tried, quite unsuccessfully, to get me to enjoy sushi. I have dined with the Sushi Masters, shall we say, and still it was just weird to me…so-so at best. Definitely nothing I would crave later, like my friends do. Fortunately, Jeremy had the exact same experience with sushi and we formed a united front against the wiles of the devil sushi. “Yes, we will go eat at a sushi restaurant with you, Keli and Kevin, but we will not partake. We will order shrimp tempura or sweet & sour chicken instead. In your FACE!” Or, you know, something like that. 😉
BUT for one weird, wonderful moment back last fall, right before Kevin and Keli left the country for FIVE YEARS, I decided I’d give sushi one more try. They were about to travel to the land of Much Less Sushi, so they had one last hurrah at Asia Garden and invited me along. (I had actually dreamed about sushi not long before that – and how K&K, plus Ashley and our friend Sasha were still trying to persuade me to try it again…one more time. I was inspired.) Jeremy was at work that day, so he didn’t get to join us…but I ordered my sweet & sour chicken – and promised to taste theirs.
And somehow, it wasn’t so bad! It was kinda…um, good, in fact. I found myself enjoying sushi. It was a feeling I didn’t think I’d ever feel. 😉 I’ve been thinking of it off and on ever since. But Jeremy and I don’t eat out that often – and when we do, we choose something that appeals to both of us. Since Jeremy is still firmly ensconced in the No Sushi camp, my first real chance to try sushi again was earlier this week when a few friends got together for a girls’ night out. I was a little overwhelmed by all of the menu choices, but when I saw that there was a Mango Roll, it was pretty much game over. 😉
It did not disappoint! I was startled by my enthusiasm…over sushi. And even swapped a few pieces (slices? what’s the right term??) with other friends – I enjoyed their selections, too! I think Jeremy is a little dismayed by my newfound taste for this fishy delicacy. I know he suspects I will drag him to Asia Garden soon. 😉
#1 I am a recovering big-meat-a-phobe. Maybe it was the pressure of not messing up a $30+ investment, or the intimidating size of a whole turkey, or having to retrieve the giblets…whatever it was, my comfort zone ended at whole chickens. That all changed Thanksgiving 2014. Our Florida visit was earlier than usual, so our then-family-of-four were all by ourselves for Turkey Day. I didn’t want to let them down, so I decided to make the traditional meal for our small gathering. Being the perfectionist that I am, I spent hours researching the best way to ensure turkey success. I settled on dry brining, a technique that involves rubbing down the thawed bird with generous amounts of salt, sugar and spices and allowing it to rest in the refrigerator overnight. It was THE BEST turkey any of us had ever had. Half Pint was just 15 months old then, and I think she ate as much turkey as I did.
#2 You didn’t think I was going to tell you that story and then not share my recipe with you, did you? Shame on you! Here’s the mixture I used just this week on a turkey for my parents’ visit:
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
2T rubbed sage
2T dried thyme
1T black pepper
Rub this mixture all over the outside and inside of your rinsed and dried thawed turkey. Place in a large roasting pan, cover with foil and allow to marinate for 8-24 hours. Bake as you normally would. Serious deliciousness!! Don’t wait for the holidays to try it!
#3 I bet you thought maybe this one wouldn’t be about turkey.
But it is.
Don’t you dare throw that turkey carcass away!! Put it in a large stock pot or your crock pot, cover with water and slow cook for at least 8 hours. You will have the best turkey stock in the world! Strain off the liquid, refrigerate, skim off the fat, and freeze for future awesomeness.
#1 I’ve recently become a fan of Snapchat. I admittedly thought it was only a silly little app that teenagers used to send less-than-savory photos back and forth with each other. My friend, Sarah (a master snapper), convinced me otherwise. Although I don’t completely know how all of the aspects of the app work, what I do know is stinking hilarious. You can switch faces, people! Exhibit A…
Of course, you all probably knew that because you don’t act 100 years old about technology like I do. All I know is that it makes my eyebrows look on point. Exhibit B… Basically, me and all of my six friends (of which I regularly snap with 3, two Mangoes included 🙂 ) just send silly snaps throughout the day, usually applying filters to our innocent kids or dogs, or making silly videos with hilarious filters. Also, if you ever see a picture of me looking bright eyed with poreless skin and no forehead wrinkles, it is most definitely not filtered. (Lies) Look me up…I’m cuscomama 😉
#2 Ya know, I’m a fairly decent cook. My pal, Ann Marie, once told me that I was like, “Grandma’s cookin’ good.” #goals, right? Here’s the thing. Allllll that changed when I got the kitchen unpacked up here in the mountains. The Andes have really thrown me for a loop, y’all. I’m talking, I can barely make a grilled cheese. And Pinterest gives a girl high (<– ha! See what I did there?) hopes! I would say a good 75% of recipes I find on Pinterest aren’t Cusco friendly. Baking is pretty much out of the question unless it comes from my high altitude cookbook or doesn’t require any raising agent (I haven’t had a decent brownie in six months!). So is any recipe that calls for the least bit of exotic spice, cream of anything, or super complicated things like, ya know, lemons (we only have limes here).
Well, last week I had had enough. This beautiful place up in the clouds has defeated me for the last time (yeah, sure)! I decided that we would have some teammates over for dinner that didn’t include breakfast items or pizza. I needed a win, and quite frankly I also needed a nice Southern meal. I planned, shopped, and started cooking on Wednesday for our Thursday dinner. I’m talking Thanksgiving style production here. You guys…it was perfection. We had poppyseed chicken casserole (thanks for the recipe, Rosemary!), green beans, mashed potatoes, and cucumber/tomato/onion salad, aaaaaand key lime cheesecake. It was the first time I had made a full on dinner since we’ve been here. We only have two cans of cream of chicken left, but I already know exactly how they’re going to be used-in the creamy, chickeny, poppyseedy goodness.
#3 I’m just going to say this: Don’t expect perfection when you go get a haircut and highlights…in your second language. At first my hairdresser tried to do it 80’s frosting style with a cap. He put plastic wrap over my head and tied it under my neck and I looked like the queen of England going out for a horse ride. Then he (tries to) put this insane, thick, rubbery thing over the plastic wrap but it kept sliding off. So I freaked out and was asking Yésica (my Spanish teacher) what on earth he was doing. He hadn’t even looked at my pictures. So he looked and was like, oh that’s such-and-such. We were apparently using the wrong word for highlights.
But it still ended up pretty O.K. in the end, thankfully!