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Archive for July, 2011

A New Year

It’s my 27th birthday today, so for me, it’s a new year. And, because I didn’t share any half-year resolutions at the beginning of July, like I did last year, I thought I would do a little of that today. Here are a couple things that are on my mind as I head into my 27th year.

– I think it’s finally the year to record some of my songs… i.e. not on an iphone

– Stop avoiding routines and make better use of my time

– Watch less TV and go on Facebook less

– Remind myself more often of my two favorite sayings: perfection is overrated and there’s no such thing as a mistake

– Be a better friend

– Do more little things for Ryan to show him that I love him

– Keep working on getting our financial house in order

– Find a better workout routine (note to self: see second bullet point)

– Watch more old movies

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Bethany 2011

Ry and I just got back from a trip up to Bethany Beach in Delaware.  It was so nice to have a whole week off… we spent the days lounging around, heading into town for coffee or dinner, checking out the farmers markets, and we made it down to the beach every once in a while, too. My parents came up for the latter part of the week. Here are some pics from Ry’s birthday dinner. We went to Catch 54 in Fenwick Island— great food, even better view.

We made a routine of walking off our dessert calories with walks on the beach at night. Here’s a pic of the ‘rents just around sunset.

The pic of me and Ryan is slightly frightening so I’ll refrain from sharing it… note to self: messy “beach hair” does not look good on everyone. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for making the trip up to DE and thanks for John and Peggy for letting us use the condo!

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I wanted to share a new song I’ve been working on. The idea for the song is one I’ve had for several years, but for whatever reason, however the creative process works (or doesn’t work sometimes), the right way to do the song didn’t come to me until a few months ago. Because I’d been busy with other music obligations, I’m just getting around to polishing it up. Here’s a rough cut.

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Can you believe this guy? How cute is he?!? I found this pint-sized, yellow colander at the Seasonal Cook today. At $19.95 it was a sweet little splurge, but I figure it’s a tool that will not just be handy in the kitchen (it’s just the right size for straining a can of beans), but it will also be a piece that will look great on the table. Double-duty, I couldn’t resist! And, it will go perfectly with my everyday plates and my vintage, coca-cola crate.

Whoever said retail therapy doesn’t work is very, very wrong. I’m not exactly sure which ailment I’m treating with this colander, but I can tell you it sure is working! This little guy just makes me smile. Happy Friday, everyone!

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I thought I would share a recipe for how to make homemade ginger tea. When I first heard about ginger tea, I thought: how hard can it be? I don’t need a recipe, I’ll just whip some up using my general kitchen know-how. Well, that resulted in a cup of tea that was—well, it wasn’t tea— it was just warm water. Bleh. It turns out that making ginger tea is not hard; it’s just not made the way you’d think it would be (e.g. pouring boiling water over herbs, flavors, etc.). The process does take a little bit of time— it’s not a single-serve kind of recipe. But, it’s worth the wait, especially when it means you can have a big batch of ginger tea in your fridge for the week!

Ingredients

10 cups  Water

1  Medium-sized piece of ginger root

1/3 cup  Sugar

 

You want to start with raw ginger root, like the one pictured above. Depending on how strong of a ginger taste you want your tea to have, you can use all or just a portion of the root. For my taste, I chose to use about 3/4 of a similarly sized piece of ginger root. I used a vegetable peeler to peel off the majority of the peel. Because you will eventually discard the ginger, you don’t need to peel it perfectly, but you do want to keep in mind that you want to expose as much flesh of the root as possible so that the water can seep into it.

After you’ve peeled the root, cut it into very thin slices. Add the slices to 10 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it’s boiling and the ginger becomes very aromatic, you can take the mixture off the heat. Now, the steeping process begins (this is what makes this recipe long!). You want to let the mixture steep for about 30 minutes… longer if you want a spicier, more robust flavor. I recommend tasting it along the way, every 10 minutes or so, to gauge your preference for flavor. The mixture will get darker the longer it steeps and you’re ideally going for a nice, light golden color— like the the color of a light, green tea.

Once you’ve gotten the tea to a flavor that you like, strain the mixture into a pitcher.

See that pretty golden color? That’s what you’re going for! At this point, the tea should still be warm but not hot, so it’s the perfect time to add sugar. I used about 1/3 of a cup, which I consider to be a just a tad sweet, perfect for an afternoon treat. For a healthier version, skip the sugar all together, and for a super-yummy, indulgent version add more sugar until it’s just short of a syrup. I poured my fresh ginger tea over some ice cubes and added a few blackberries from the farmer’s market.

Ginger tea is terrific on it’s own, but I also found myself adding it to my morning cup of green tea as a sweetner. And, Ryan has found that ginger tea makes a good mixer for vodka!

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It’s July! My favorite month of the year! And, also a time when I like to talk about new beginnings— see this post. And, in the spirit of my last post about doing more music related posts, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to the video-schmideo feature on wordpress which should allow me to share videos, especially ones of my performances— few and far between though they may be!

I was very happy to be able to play a song at my good friends’, Jenn and Brodie’s, wedding recently. You can read more about them  here. They picked Blessed Assurance, a traditional hymn, for me to play during the lighting of their unity candle and communion. After playing around with the song for a few weeks, I finally decided on an arrangement that I felt would flatter my voice as well as compliment their ceremony.

I apologize for the quality of the picture— Ryan filmed the song on a whim (and I’m so glad he did!), so he didn’t exactly scope out the best seat in the house or bring a tripod or anything. Nevertheless, you’ll get the idea. It’s a bit faint in the beginning but it’ll pick up!

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