Tag Archives: Tampa

Davis Island Picnic rainbow

Rainy Day Picnic

Hello!  I am so glad to be back; I have really missed being here, chatting with you.  Both of my surgeries went well and I’m about five or six weeks in to physical therapy.  The hip arthroscopy, which I expected to be shattering, was actually the easiest in terms of the surgery itself and the initial home recovery.  My biggest concern was getting home and up the stairs on crutches after being released (hip arthroscopy is a same day surgery around here).  That concern was seriously heightened by the trip home following the ovarian surgery.  I won’t be graphic but. . .so sick, so. many. stairs.  However, amazingly, for the first time ever, I wasn’t even the slightest bit nauseated following the hip surgery!!  That really does deserve gratuitous use of exclamation marks.   The long term lack of mobility and general inability to do for myself have gotten me down a bit at times, but overall it has been so much easier than anticipated.  The last three months have also allowed me to see, yet again, how amazing my family is.  I feel absolutely soaked in love and uncomplaining care.

To celebrate being back on my wobbly pins, and to kick off our twelfth wedding anniversary weekend, I thought I would throw together a Friday night picnic.  We were both going a bit stir crazy being trapped inside all day, so an evening in the out-o-doors sounded just right.  Things didn’t turn out exactly as planned, as you will see, but it was a pretty great night nonetheless.  Scroll down past the video to find links to the inspiration recipes, as well as to see the changes I made.  If you would like to see how the rest of the night went, click over to Jason’s video.

Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Changes I made: zest of 1 lemon added to dressing

Changes I would make next time: the only kale I could find at the shop this time was red kale.  Next time I would definitely hold out for lacinato kale, or switch to spinach or arugula.  I did not have three hours to massage the red kale into submission (the ten minutes I did put in just didn’t cut it)!

Farmer’s Market Cornbread

Sean Brock’s Cornbread Recipe

and, my version. . .

Cornbread before and after

Garden Cornbread

base-

5 Tbs melted, unsalted butter

2 cups of medium grind cornmeal (I used this)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 C goat’s milk yogurt

1 C almond milk

1 tsp vinegar

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 C corn kernels

1/4-1/3 C grated cheese (I used a firm sheep’s milk cheese whose name I do not know, but you could use just about anything you find tasty)

toppings-

1 pint (more or less) cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 red onion, sliced

basil, chiffonade (fancy way of cutting up; do what you want)

crumbling cheese (I used some cojita that was hanging out in the fridge)

directions-

  • heat cast iron skillet in 450 degree oven while preparing ingredients
  • combine dry “base” ingredients in medium bowl
  • combine wet “base” ingredients, stir into dry mix
  • add shredded cheese and corn kernels, stir until evenly distributed
  • removed skillet from oven, place on burner over medium heat (you will definitely want to turn on your fan)
  • pour base batter into pan, sprinkle with toppings
  • turn off burner
  • return skillet to oven, cook for 20 minutes
  • check for color (you are looking for a golden brown; the edges of your cheese will be picking up some color as well.
  • eat lots!

Davis Island Picnic plate

 

 

parfait2

catching up over chocolate-ginger granola with buckwheat

Hello again.  Given my record of inconsistent posting, it no longer even makes sense to apologize for/explain being away so long; I’m going to assume the privilege of an old friend and pick up where we left off.

We are in Tampa!  We have been living here for two and a half months now, and the change has been really good. In fact, aside from discovering new depths of incompetence in a certain government contracting company that shall remain nameless, and missing a few very dear friends, it has been a great experience.  We are roosting in a sun-filled apartment within walking distance of the bay.  A quick glimpse from our windows would easily fool you into thinking we live in a tropical jungle. windowview Every chance we get we stroll down to the water to watch sting rays, manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and dozens of fish whose names we don’t know.  Yep, in case you have been wondering, runners of Tampa, we are that annoying couple walking really slowly, hanging over the balustrade, soaking it all in, while you are pounding the pavement.  Give us time.  We may eventually become jaded to 70 plus degree November days, and seeing the sun glint diamonds off of the waters of the bay. . .but I hope not! doublestingray We spent a disappointing month shopping the local grocery stores to find them filled with really expensive produce that is often already going bad on the shelves, or, alternately, completely under-ripe and flavorless.  I’m not just talking one store, I’m talking every store (yes, I’m talking about you Whole Foods, Publix, Winn-Dixie, and Fresh Market).  We were throwing away a shameful amount of food because it was spoiling before we could use it. In the last two weeks I finally made it a priority to seek out some alternatives; the results were surprising!  There is a farm hidden away on a cul-de-sac in south Tampa where you can get fresh eggs, raw milk, fresh from the hive honey, and so much more, on the honor system.  I want to do a full post on this place soon, but if you are in the Tampa area and want to see for yourself, it is South Tampa Farm at 6101 s. 2nd st. Tampa, Florida 33611. there is a produce wholesale shop that welcomes retail customers (Sanwa Farmer’s Market) and a pretty cute veggie stand just down the road on Swann.

My mom came for a visit and took us to the 5th annual veg-fest, after which we went to a nearby power plant to see the manatees that collect in the heated waters at its base. famvegfest I had a whirlwind day at Disney with one of my very best friends and her kids, and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it more than any of the littles!  I have no shame in being an adult disney lover. . .the magic is real.  Thank you J.S. for sharing the nugs with me; it was wonderful being Aunt Brandy again for a day!

And, finally, I made a recipe I would love to share with you today.  Based on the fantastic Sarah Britton’s Chunky Chocolate Buckwheat Granola, this version is lighter on oil, and has a kick of heat courtesy of my spicy friend, ginger . parfait2

Chocolate-ginger granola with buckwheat

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup buckwheat (I found this in the bulk bins at whole foods)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 5 dates, pitted and soaked in 1/4 cup milk of choice or water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a blender combine dates and their soaking milk, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, ginger, and cocoa powder.  Combine until mostly smooth; thin with extra milk of choice if needed (warm before adding).
  • Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, mixing to evenly distribute.
  • Pour chocolate mixture over dry ingredients and fold until evenly coated.
  • Press evenly onto parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in oven
  • Cook for 30 minutes, check and turn/stir as needed if outer edges begin to burn.  As sarah b. says, tasting the hazelnuts is the best way to tell when this granola is ready.
  • Cool completely before storing in air tight container.

 

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Ch-ch-change!

You know how it is when you have something that is consuming all your thoughts, and you aren’t yet ready share it, but you can’t think of anything else, so you end up saying (or writing) nothing at all?  That is where I’ve been for the last several weeks.  But now I can finally say it: we are moving to Tampa!  As in, my husband starts his new job on September 3 and we are packing NOW!

I’m so excited to share this new experience with you as it unfolds.  If you are from the Tampa area, or have visited often enough/long enough to have favorite places and things, please leave a comment!  Jason and I will be utterly and entirely new to the area, and have everything yet to discover.