Monday, August 3, 2009

summer breeze, makes me feel fine

Greetings blogworld! I hope you had restful and relaxing weekends, and are excited to jump back into the workplace and tackle this week head-on (insert snarky sarcastic tone here).

In keeping with my weekend ritual, I followed the summer breeze down south where I spent some time in Austin this past weekend with one of my favorite girls, Elisa. If you've read my blog at all, you will know this is quite literally my home away from home.

My Uncle Chris took us for a mini-trip out to the lake on Saturday. While he picked up "Old Faithful" (the endearing name bestowed upon their amazingly dependable boat) from the boat shop, we occupied ourselves by laying in the hammock, lounging on the deck and perusing our current reads. The weather was unseasonable cool (anything below 100 degrees equates a cold front) and a gentle breeze blew as we enjoyed the sounds of the water rocking back and forth. I could have easily drifted off into a mid-day catnap as I lazed around in the hammock, but we had to take every opportunity to utilize Old Faithful so it was out on the boat we went.

kickin' my feet up, enjoying a little boat ride

We cruised around the lake for a bit, and apparently, I thought it was a stellar idea to test out my rusty water skiing skills.

lookin' fly in my x-large life vest, ready to tackle the skis

If you recall from the bachelorette party post, the last time I attempted such feats, it took roughly 6-7 embarassing tries for me to actually perform said maneuver. Well, that was all a distant memory, and I was ready to give it my all...which, when it was all said and done, clearly not enough. I should have called it quits on my 2nd go round seeing as though my swimsuit bottoms managed to end up around my ankles...but I'm no quitter.

I think it's safe to assume the face says it all

Swimsuit or not, I was determined. Unfortunately, determination alone couldn't carry me and I had to give throw in the towel and settle for a rather raucous tube ride.

this was most likely my 4th and final attempt at reliving the glory days (i.e. when I could water ski like it was as easy as walking)

Tubing was a little bit easier, and Elisa and I were pulled on a couple of wild rides. Things started off easy peasy, but when the figure-8 steering kicked in, I thought I was toast. I managed to hold on despite the rodeo reenactment, but I confess I have some may-juh sore back and shoulder muscles to contend with as a result.

feeling a bit more confident that I could at least hold onto a tube (as opposed to stand up on skis)

that's me on the tube, getting a pretty wild ride

a salute to a fine day at the lake

Once we wrapped up our lake shennanigans, we were off to pay a visit to the heeby-jeeby (aka HEB) to gather supplies for the night's menu. Why oh why are we not graced with HEB's presence up here in DFW? Does anyone have an answer to this mystery? We enjoyed the requisuite smattering of samples they always have on hand (fresh cherries, spinach dip, raisin bread, sushi, WINE, cheese, queso...seriously, I could easily consume a meal) and concluded our shopping trip with a quick run to the liquor store since we wanted to try out a new recipe.

The theme for the night's menu was cuban, and not to toot our own horns, but Elisa and I did not disappoint in the kitchen. Here is a look at the menu we created:

tequila-lime shrimp tacos w/sauteed peppers and onions
roasted sweet potatoes
black beans w/cotija cheese
sauteed plantains
margarita sunrise cocktails

While I took the lead on dinner prep, Elisa commanded the role of bartender to create the night's signature cocktail: the margarita sunrise. Six squeezed limes later, we reveled in the delicious fruits of her labor (pun intended) and were sipping on one of the tastiest cocktails I've ever layed my lips upon.

margarita sunrise, enough said

Meanwhile, I got the sweet potatoes roasting in the oven and the shrimps marinating in their tequila-lime bath. Elisa sauteed the plantains, I topped the frijoles negros with the cotija cheese and wrapped up the prep by sauteeing the onions, peppers and shrimps for the tacos. All in all, the dinner came together fairly easily.

don't be fooled, that's no banana. it's a plantain masquerading as a banana

a vessel of glorious black beans, quite possibly a perfect food

shrimps 'a sizzlin'

Since we were blessed with mild weather, it was a gorgeous night to dine al fresco. I think we all went back for at least seconds (as for me, it was thirds or fourths). In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than cooking for/with your loved ones in the kitchen. It beats dining out any day in my book.

cheers to a lovely meal and equally lovely company

Dinner was followed by a rather lackluster (on my part) game of Scrabble. I will admit that my lack of skill is reflected in my less than enthusiastic participation. Sunday included church, egg scrambles, mimosas and a whole lot of food network programming. 'Twas a perfect day!

*Shout-out to the newly-crowned Next Food Network Star, Melissa! You proved yourself time and time again, and deserve the title more than every competitor combined. You didn't win in spite of your home cook, stay-at-home mom status, but rather, you won BECAUSE of that. So to all you moms out there who might feel a little less accomplished because society fails to hold your "profession" in high regard, let this serve as a sweet sliver of validation. You can "hang" with the best of them!

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