It happened again: lots of living and not much blogging. This summer has been adventurous and at times, delicious. I am grateful for the milestones we celebrated and the simple moments we savored. When I look at these photos I remember unexpected treats from this past season; wishing all of you those reminders of the good times. I sense a reflective autumn coming on.
Second food swap (first in our area!) boomed with bounty. The special aspect of a summer swap is that those with gardens bring their freshly harvested abundance. One day I will have a patch of land with a garden, but for now my swap items are kitchen creations and confections. My items this go around were meringues and black raspberry shrub drink mixers. Everything was “swapped up,” and I returned home with more than I could have ever imagined! The camaraderie is almost as delicious as the goods. I now refer to Food Swaps as “Food Christmas.”
Last month I participated in a community food swap for the first time! Mary has been diligently working to connect our region with the Food Swap Network (read all about it on their site). These photos were taken when I joined her at City Market for the Indianapolis Food Swap. My swap items were riffs on previous recipes made and documented on this blog: Honeycomb Brittle and Porter Candy Apples. I made three types of honeycomb brittle (lavender, toasted almond, black raspberry) and chocolate stout lollipops. At first I was nervous that no one would want to swap for candy, but as you can see I had nothing to worry about. I have been enjoying my swap loot ever since, and now because of Mary’s efforts, Northeast Indiana will host its inaugural swap this weekend. I can’t wait to see what swap-chances await; I hope people will swap for cold-pressed black raspberry shrub drink mixes…
I come from a long line of reuben lovers, so trust me when I tell you that if you love a reuben, you must treat yourself to the Zingerman’s Roadhouse turkey reuben called “The Dexter.” Pit-smoked (onsite) pulled free-range turkey (from the nearby farm in Dexter Township), thick sauerkraut and baby swiss along with house-made russian dressing and house-made rye bread. On the side, I chose Sea Island Fries: hand-cut, twice cooked sweet potatoes served with spicy mayo. It all washed down so nicely with tart (Michigan) cherry soda. Salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami: my taste buds danced happily to the consonance of flavor! Also pictured is the amazingly comforting pit-smoked pulled pork, served with mustard coleslaw and choice of house-made bbq sauce.
One fun aspect of keeping a blog is meeting other bloggers with similar interests and being inspired by their unique perspectives. I have been following Joann’s blog, Chickypea, for a year now and enjoy her simply designed posts, playful watercolors, and thoughtful touches to whatever topic she is documenting. Earlier this month I contacted her to see if she was interested in making a few “cozywalls” watercolors for me, and look what she delivered! I can’t decide on a favorite, because there is something charming about each of them. What do you think?
About Joann: My love of fine arts started when I was a child. I adored drawing everything in bold bright colors, most of the time not paying attention to realism. Then transitioning to the academic world, everything had restrictions. What I could create, how I should create it, and how long it should take. Even years later as a Sr. Graphic Designer there are so many guidelines to heed, so I started doing illustrations, watercolor, DIY projects, and created a blog, Chickypea, to revisit the childlike curiosity I had in my youth and to design with no holds barred.
About her process: My process starts with research and mood boards. It’s a nice way to collect all your thoughts and if you are doing work for someone else it gets everyone on the same page. Then I start sketching. Once I have ideas that I like, I transition to either fine art tools or digital programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator. For this project, I tried to keep the process as freehand as possible to achieve a hand made look.
To contact Joann about projects, email her: email@example.com
Thank you, Joann, for being so swift and sweet to work with! I am also thinking about including “interview” posts on the blog now… we’ll see.
Shiny Brite ornaments were the most popular Christmas tree ornaments made in the 1940′s and 1950′s in the United States. I have an original box set that my grandma gave to me when I had my first apartment, and Christmas tree, of my own. Those ornaments hark back to the time when she and her sisters were the age that I am today. I always keep an eye out for them in antique stores, and it makes me wonder what will evoke memories of Christmases past when I am in my eighties.
It is easy to feel homesick around the holidays, because it’s often a mile marker for realizing that things are never going to be the same. For others, the times seem more joyous and precious than ever, and I need to keep that in mind. I am just missing people right now, but on New Year’s Eve, I’ll raise my cup to the shiny nostalgic memories and hopes for unexpectedly brite futures.
Can you believe that there are people in the world that prepare and freely gift delicious home fresh pies at least once a week? Oh, humanity! Mary’s been chronicling her pie adventures over at my 52 pies, and this week I was the fortunate beneficiary. As if her friendship wasn’t enough, she hunted down an amazingly food-friendly recipe with me in mind and brought it to my doorstep while I was still in my pajamas. We had a most pleasant visit over breakfast while sharing stories and pie, and her timing couldn’t have been better. You know someone cares for you when they take the time to scrape whole vanilla beans and soak cashews overnight. For specifics about the dish, READ HERE. I must try making that cashew cream for myself soon – there’s a parfait cup waiting.
Those two! I cannot imagine my life without those women. Sometimes it’s funny to call them women, because we met right around the time we turned into teens. I am usually the one to bring up the fact that we are aging, but this time when we reunited, I felt completely opposite. Maybe it has something to do with happy and healthy futures? I am encouraged and just generally glad to have these special relationships.
So what do you snack on in the hot summer air? We had produce munchies and these totally addictive roasted chickpeas that Mary makes. I told her that I even prefer them to Chex Mix! Light summertime eating in the backyard is a fresh way to spend time chewing the fat without literally chewing the fat.