Saturday, June 18, 2011

Essential Meals

I finally spent a summer weekend at home. Considering my unbelievable wanderlust of late, I thought that might turn into a bad decision. Much to my surprise/delight, I got to experience what I consider to be the 4 meal essential to a happy and fulfilling life:

Picnic Time
Late Night Free-for-All
and Family Dinner

(Warning: do not consume all 4 essential meals on the same day. You will die. Most likely of happiness)

1. Picnic Time

In continuous pursuit of an active, healthy lifestyle, K and I packed a picnic lunch, modified the words to the Flight of the Conchords song "Business Time" to "Picnic Time" and took to Frick Park with our Meijer Picnic Bag to enjoy the views and the food that we had prepared at midnight the night before:

Noodle Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing, and Coconut Milk yogurt.
Or, as it should be called henceforth, Noodle Doo.

The Noodle Doo was a Cooking Light recipe that we modified as we are wont to do (What free spirits we are!) It had asparagus, snow peas, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, and of course a spicy dressing with peanut butter in it. Colorful and light and portable. 
Coconut Milk Yogurt was not nearly as successful as coconut milk ice cream, which is my favorite thing in the universe right now. But still a nice balance to the spicy noodle salad.
Icing on the cake: We had lunch AND a show, thanks to some really intense dude doing Tai Chi on the hill we decided to sit on.  He took his practice VERY seriously. 

Why this is essential: One of the undeniable truths about me is that my level of happiness is directly proportionate to the amont of time I get to spend outside. This city is beautiful sometimes, and I spend too much of my time complaining about it instead of relaxing and enjoying the view. I have every intention of making picnic time a regular mealtime experience this delicious summer. Who's with me?

2. Late Night Free-For-All
After a day of being good, I gave myself license to be bad:
Salmon BLT and Cajun Fries at Lot 17
This was my first  time at Lot 17 in Bloomfield and aside from the terrible waitress, it was delightful. Salmon AND Bacon. We also had a mess of appetizers that we all split between us. Family style, because that's what we are.
I've done scientific research. Calories don't count after 10PM. So it's just a free-for-all.

Why this is essential: Nothing compliments a Saturday night out with KB, AJ, Sara, and Kenny like good food, many beers, tons of laughing, and probably some ill advised public singing.
I must have sang 9 duets at karaoke that night.

3. Brunch

I'm usually required to be awake, alert, and singing at church on Sunday mornings, which means I am up long before most of my friends.  I'll be honest, sometimes I get a little jealous that I always seem to be awake before everyone else. (I'll be even more honest, I'll probably never stop wanting to sing anything/everything I can). But this Sunday schedule sets me up perfectly to go straight from church to brunch. And brunch delights me to no end.
Mussels in white wine and garlic broth, Pommes Frites with remoulade, and Crab Beignets at Park Brugges
I realize that this spread is nearly identical to my post about Teresa's. I don't have any problem with that and neither should you.

I've heard so much about this restaurant and finally got to experience it with Bill the Thrill last Sunday.  Everything I hoped for and more! We also had a couple good beers, that I can't for the life of me remember what they were.

Why this is essential: I love the word brunch, firstly. A good portmanteau is fundamental to my communication skills, and "brunch" is pretty much the original. Secondly, this city has a smattering of places that offer great brunch options, and I want to try all of them. Thirdly, it's the perfect excuse to have a huge leisurely meal with one of my favorites.

4. Family Dinner

Hands down, my favorite new DNY tradition is Sunday Night Family Dinner. A group of us (usually consisting of me, KB, AJ, Kenny, Sara, and whoever else) gather at KB's apartment, conveniently located down the street from me, and all chip in to make an epic meal. I always over eat, usually overdrink, and never fail to enjoy myself. This night was taco night, and Kate (KP!) joined us.

I'm so happy KP got to join us! Not just for her skills in assembling Guac in a Jar, but also because she is warm and positive and beautiful.

Anyway, as a dry run for our impending Dewey Vacation Spectacular, Taco Night:

A whole table spread, complete with beef and tofu filling, roasted veggies, Guac in a Jar, spinach salad, and God only knows what else. I put the veggies and goat cheese on my taco. FTW.

Why this is essential: I'm becoming more and more dependent on these Sunday night gatherings as a way to ground myself. I don't want to speak for anyone else in the family, but it means a great deal to me to be a part of something this special. We make great food in great company. We talk about anything and everything. I feel supported and loved and listened to by every single of one them. 
Let's keep this tradition alive, kids.

The moral of the story is that I should never be surprised by how well my "family" treats me. No matter how far I wander, I always come back to home to open arms. 
And those arms are usually trying to feed me.

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