Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Paddle Faster, I Hear Banjo Music!*

MrWurdi and I spent Memorial Day weekend in the mountains of northern Georgia with some friends. We stayed at a fantastic cabin named Wild Blue Yonder and I want to go back and live there. Despite a forest fire that made the view a little hazy, the scenery was gorgeous! A bike ride to Helen, GA provided some wonderful opportunities for oohing and ahhing at the sites as well as a bit of photography. I'll be updating this post later with some photos from the trip and a few more details about them.

At I Paid For That, I'll be posting about our service experiences on our mini-vacation. Who would have thought you'd find gourmet foods and nice wines in the heart of redneck country? Not me. I was pleasantly surprised.

More later!

*The title of this post comes from a t-shirt I saw that made me laugh so hard I nearly wet myself.

The Meals
As I mentioned in I Paid For That, I did all the cooking for our weekend in the mountains. For the folks who'd be arriving after 5 hours on their bikes, I put out a variety of store bought snacks from the amazingly well-stocked local grocery store and gourmet meat shop but did make one snack myself. It was a complete experiment but it ended up being pretty damned tasty. I took mini pitas, split them in half and put a mixture of blue cheese, chopped dates, and prosciutto on them, then tossed them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. The Windmill Old Vine Zinfandelwas great with this. Just to recognize the wine, here's a picture of a windmill we saw on our bike ride to Helen, GA.

It turned out that one of the folks didn't care for blue cheese so I ended up doing a quick revision to the dinner plan. Since I had two pork loins, I stuffed one with blue cheese and chopped dates; the other, I seasoned with rosemary and garlic. I also made garlic and rosemary red potatoes, broccoli, asparagus and baked artichoke hearts with parmesan cheese. Crusty bread with herbed olive oil and a baby greens salad with blue cheese (for those who wanted it), toasted pine nuts, and a red wine viniagrette were served with the meal. The wine was Yalumba Shiraz Viognier. Nice. For dessert, I'd made two cobblers: blackberry and cherry/apple. These cobblers are remarkably easy to make and not high in points for those doing Weight Watchers. I'll post the recipes later.

I wanted breakfast to be easy so I decided to do two "make the night before" kinds of breakfast bakes. The savory one was a combination of turkey sausage, egg, and cheese. The sweet one was a baked french toast. The fruit had already been cut up so it was super easy to just get up the next morning, turn on the oven, make coffee and chill on the deck and enjoy the view.

Lunch was in Helen, GA at the Old Bavaria and I blogged about that at I Paid For That.

We went back to the gourmet meat shop for steaks to grill for dinner. I seasoned them and the guys did the grilling. Everyone loved the salad and potatoes from the night before so we had more of those and more crusty bread to finish out the meal. Dessert was this absolutely drool-worthy cheesy-pastry kind of dealio that one of the other gals made. It was my one request for someone else cooking something that weekend.

The Views
I'm a huge fan of the beach. I love the sand and the water and the carefree beach spirit. I've discovered that the mountains have a different spirit and it's one that encourages me to explore my own. I'm sure there'll be more on that later. One thing I noticed is that I wanted to capture the beauty of everything around me. I took a few pictures and want to share them.

The mountains were so flippin' beautiful. Unfortunately, there was a forest fire that afternoon and by afternoon, the view was kind of hazy.

Here's a little pond we saw as we blazed down the rural highway.

These flowers were blooming on the side of the mountain. I have no idea what they are. If you know, leave me a comment and tell me. Please?

At the base of the mountain where our cabin was, there was this lovely little pond with a mini waterfall and some gorgeous flowers.


I have hostas in my front yard. Until this trip, I never realized how pretty the flowers were.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Screaming Beans

There are some sick and twisted people out there in Internetland.

It would probably take a team of psychiatrists many years to figure out why the Screaming Beans amuse me as much as they do. Are you a sicko, too?

Check out Screaming Beans.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Red Wine Haiku Review

I like haikus.

I like wine.

Imagine my delight when I found a blog that caters to both interests. Lane Steinberg reviews red wines in the form of a haiku. Obviously, reviews of only 17 syllables can’t be that detailed; in fact, some are rather cryptic. However, most of the haikus are perfectly succinct in their adoration, loathing or amusement.

Two of my favorites from The Red Wine Haiku Review are below.

Royal Zin Cuvee Royall Zinfandel 'NV' (California)
This wine is a slut
Only one thing on her mind
And she's good at it

Bella Sera Pinot Noir 2005 (Italy)
Cheaper than bagged dirt
It's actually delicious
Faith in life restored

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Random Thought #7: Edible Worms

I just realized of the four posts I've made so far during the month of May, two of them reference edible worms. That's 50% posting about gag-worthy stuff. This post makes the third. That's 60%!

That's disgusting.

I promise not to post about edible worms for at least the remainder of the month.

Steve! Don't Eat It!

I love to read. I'll read just about anything. In my travels over the Internet, I've been entertained, informed, aroused, angered, saddened and disgusted. Occasionally, there is overlap in these emotions. I recently read some interesting blog posts at The Sneeze where the author, Steve, has archived his experiences with ordinary life and with ordinary food.

Steve has a delightfully foul mouth and a talent for turning regular words into comedic content. I've just started checking out his blog when I have a few moments to spare but I like it. I like it a lot.

Aside from the regular food items, Steve has also experimented with odd, supposedly edible, items from the grocery store shelves. He's tasted potted meat, pickled pork rinds, Beggin' Strips, breast milk, natto, cuitlacoche (I gagged a little bit just reading his description), and silkworm pupa. As a child, and not knowing any better, I tried silkworm pupa. I didn't vomit. I didn't understand what I was eating. You can read all about Steve's adventures in gastronomical derring-do with disgusting foods at Steve, don't eat it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Haiked Up

Pretty, yellow skirt
Does not match my beet-red face.
Breeze? Unexpected.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Nobody loves me, everybody hates me...

When we were kids, we were told to share.

As young adults, it was the extremely brave and/or foolhardy who ate the worm from the tequila bottle.

So, what happens when we're middle-aged? How do we embrace our pasts, remain young at heart, and show the world that we remember our manners and we're not intimidated by booze-soaked creepy-crawlies?

We share the worm.

Hell, let those wimpy-ass college kids swallow the bugger whole. It take real guts, real middle-aged guts, to break it in half to share with a friend. My dear friends, CaveBtch (let me know if that's right) and (remains un-named until I have permission or an alias), shared this special moment together while close friends and curious onlookers observed.

I apologize for the quality of the picture. It was taken facing the sun with a camera phone while straddling a picnic bench. Beer and/or tequila may have been involved. I had to act fast or the moment would have been lost forever.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I Paid For That?

I don't know what I was thinking. I haven't had time for this blog, let alone another. Still, I felt the need for a specialized blog. Since one of my frequent blogging subjects is service or a lack of it, I've started a blog titled, "I Paid For That?"

I'll still write here and plan to do that much more often but for now, check out the new one!