Eeeek!

In December, we did something unexpected.

SARAHmcCfinals-4122

Last time I checked, I thought marriage was something outdated and for other people.

SARAHmcCfinals-4387

And then I found myself in the middle of one!

SARAHmcCfinals-4025

And I didn’t really mind.

SARAHmcCfinals-4133

More photos here.

And, because I think there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to pat myself on the back …

Here’s my parents’ wedding in 1975.

SLW-Mac wedding

I cut my mom’s $10 flea market wedding dress in half, sewed an elastic into the new waistband, and layered it under my $3 Dress Code consignment find.

Voila! New wedding dress:

SARAHmcCfinals-3881

But my craftiness did not end there. I had not been planning on flowers, but my mom put her foot down. She said: Sarah, you’re going to look like a hobo walking through the woods on a regular day. You need flowers.

So, obviously, I had to make arrangements. But it was December in Massachusetts! I just could not bring myself to buy imported or dyed flowers. I went to the local craft store and picked up felt, pipe cleaners, and a hot glue gun. (It is not lost on me that all of those ingredients were probably imported and dyed also. Sigh.) I did some googling to get an idea of where to begin, and then I started cutting. Here’s where I ended up!

SARAHmcCfinals-4188

The gems in the flower centers are from broken bits of jewelry and spare buttons I found hanging around my apartment.

SARAHmcCfinals-4190

The boutonniรจre took a few tries, but I finally came up with something presentable enough.

SARAHmcCfinals-4211

Also worth noting, we had a hot chocolate toast mid-way through the ceremony. Inspired by Taza and the Mayans ๐Ÿ™‚

SARAHmcCfinals-4049 (1) SARAHmcCfinals-4073SARAHmcCfinals-4078

Oh, and there was [a cup]cake:

SARAHmcCfinals-4891

Obviously, this elopement would not have been possible without our excellent Justice of the Peace, Gayle Smalley, discovered through the magic of yelp. And the beautiful photographic memories would not have been possible without Andrew Kelly Photography, discovered through many years of mutual friends and mutual weddings ๐Ÿ™‚

Yay for marriage!

SARAHmcCfinals-5179

Expansion on Location: France

In October, I ate food in France.

IMG_9000

It looked like this:

IMG_9034

Crepes:

IMG_9035  

Pain au chocolat:

IMG_9060

Cafe au lait:

IMG_9061

Tapas:

IMG_9147

Yes, we went to a Spanish restaurant in Paris and it was AMAZING, as evidenced by the following …

Manchego with quince jelly:

IMG_9145

Grilled pulpo:

IMG_9152

Cuajada with honey and pine nuts:

IMG_9153

Nougat:

IMG_9154

Arroz con leche:

IMG_9155  

That whole meal reminded me of Bilbao, and I loved it. But, I was in France and had to acclimate.

So …

Croissants:

IMG_9158

French bread, jams …

IMG_9248

… pamplemousse and chocolat chaud:

IMG_9250

French onion soup:

IMG_9324

Croque madame:

IMG_9325

Fruit tart:

IMG_9407

Baguette sandwich on top of an ancient medieval church:

IMG_9451

Macaron:

IMG_9460

Amazing things:

IMG_9461

It was rough, but someone had to do it. Never let it be said that I can’t take one for the team.

What YOU said

Linner tonight was delicious delicious leftovers from chicken-pineapple skewer night (on one of my new cherry plates from mom):

IMG_0452

Remember the char (marinated to reduce carcinogens, of course)?

IMG_0453

Dessert was a special special treat.

IMG_0478

Before I left MA yesterday, I convinced my mom my mom offered to make Indian pudding so that I would have some comforting “mom food” to bring back to Brooklyn with me. I found this recipe online, and mom doctored it by replacing the whole milk with a mixture of skim milk, fat free ricotta, and nonfat evaporated milk; the sugar with a mixture of sugar in the raw and erythritol; halving the butter and using Promise; and omitting the half-and-half in favor of vanilla ice cream. For tonight’s dessert, I heated 1/2 cup.

I had my warm Indian Pudding with homemade vanilla frozen yogurt (plain yogurt, vanilla, honey) and a sliced strawberry:

IMG_0469

Word on the street is that a slice of healthy cheesecake also found its way into the evening ๐Ÿ˜›

On another note, you’ve all given me so many fun suggestions via comments over the past few days, so I thought it would be useful to give a little recap. Here’s what you said!

Food in Your Hair (and other non-edible beauty-inspired ways to use food)

  • Oatmeal face mask (Susan)
  • Grape-vanilla smoothie body wash (Krista)
  • Cocoa bean body scrub (Lara)
  • Mayonnaise hair mask (Coco)
  • Avocado face mask (Sophia)
  • Strawberry shampoo and banana conditioner (Christina)
  • Coconut oil shampoo/conditioner (Anne K.)
  • Lemon juice hair highlights (Vani)
  • Chamomile tea hair rinse (Mara)

Things You Would French Toast

I dare someone to give one of these a try (especially the s’mores — I bet that could actually work very well). Report back if you do it! What sounds best to you?

Chopped out

I’m not even going to try to be witty tonight because all I can hear running through my head is a repeating loop of chop this, chop this, chop this. I never want to see another knife or another veggie again. (I will probably change my mind tomorrow, though.)

Anyway, we had steak salads for lunch made with leftover steak from Saturday night’s grilling:

IMG_0376

Also in the salads: arugula from the garden (10 million times better than from the store — it’s super super hot and spicy), green onions from the garden, chives from the garden, romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, feta, and drizzles of balsamic and herby olive oil.

IMG_0380

Dessert was a teeny bit (like 2 tbsp) of leftover carrot cake oatmeal with extra pineapple, apple, cinnamon, and cardamom:

IMG_0387

Mom and I forged on throughout the afternoon to make enough food for 30 armies to send to my dad’s house: chicken cacciatore, beef-kielbasa-barley stew, and pumpkin grapenut pudding. Mom was in charge. I followed her commands. Chop this, chop this, chop this. At some point, I had a minor breakdown and abandoned the kitchen in favor of a nap on the porch bench. I am not made to be a sous-chef, nor am I made for large-scale food prep.

My dad came over around 7pm to collect the goods, and mom gave him detailed serving and reheating instructions. Dad, I expect a full report as you eat these things!

Sarah Whiting (aka Ting) and her friend Nora came over for dinner. I completely forgot to take people pictures, grrrrr. But I did take food pics. I made chips from the stale whole wheat roll-ups and guacamole from two avocados, black bean and corn salsa, fresh tomato, fat free sour cream, fresh lime juice, and cayenne.

IMG_0393

We ate it all very quickly (a significant portion is sitting in my belly now). We also enjoyed more Golden Star sparkling white jasmine tea spritzers (1/3 tea, 2/3 plain seltzer).

The main course was chicken-pineapple-onion-green pepper-kielbasa skewers. I’m pretty sure I spent hours skewering these things. John started them off in the stone grill outside, but they weren’t cooking fast enough, so we finished the job inside with a quick broil in the oven. Ting and Nora brought an awesome pesto-bean salad with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. The plate:

IMG_0404

The skewers may not have been able to finish outside, but the sweet potatoes did, however, do quite well in the stone grill with perfect char.

IMG_0398

Dessert was fresh watermelon:

IMG_0405

And pizelle cookies:

IMG_0408

Dinner with the girls was so fun — Ting and I needed the chance to catch up, and we had some very interesting conversations, not the least of which was my mom’s recounting of her competitive bodybuilding days. And like I said, I’m exhausted. And stuffed. I’m heading back to NY at some point tomorrow, though I don’t know my exact schedule. And I’m too tired to deal with the bus schedule right now!

I can’t think of a question. What question would you ask now, and how would you answer?

Beachy keen

Ack, today has gotten away from me — it’s just been action-packed with laziness ๐Ÿ˜›

Before I get onto today’s food, though, look at what I found last night hidden in a cabinet behind some dishes!

IMG_0284

This was perfect since we were all pretty stuffed from the big grilled dinner but still in the mood for something sweet. I split the Hershey’s truffle and the Newman’s bar into three pieces so that mom, John, and I could all take part:

IMG_0286

To be honest, though, that chocolate bar was weirdly sweet. I like my dark chocolate to be somewhat bitter — the extra sweetness kind of gave it a fake chocolate taste.

For breakfast this morning, I made us all carrot cake oatmeal:

IMG_0294

For the three of us, I used 3/4 cup dry steel-cut oats, 2 cups water, 1 egg, 2 shredded carrots, 1 shredded apple, 2/3 cup fork-crushed fresh pineapple, and lots of cinnamon. (I put a giant spoonful of freshly ground almond butter on top of mine, too, in case you missed it.) I also made about 1/2 cup each of healthy cream cheese icing for the side to be added on at the last minute possible — I wasn’t trying to have any more chemical reaction disasters taking place in my food!

IMG_0295

Cascading icing:

IMG_0298

After breakfast, we pushed off toward Wareham, a little town near the Cape where my mom bought a marsh-shack (though she calls it the “little house”) a few years ago. It’s just a few teeny rooms, but mom and John are working on completely gutting it and making it liveable — it will be a nice renovation project to keep them busy for, ohhhh, the next 25 years or so. While John did something with tools and ladders and some cementy compound in the “bathroom” (which now boasts a toilet that flushes — yayyyyyy!!) mom and I went for a walk on the “beach.” Here she is looking for pretty rocks:

IMG_0301

More scenery:

IMG_0305

IMG_0306

My dad was nearby on the Cape with my stepmom at my step-grandma’s house, so he came over for a visit post-walk. We had brought some goodies from home for entertaining purposes, so alongside our afternoon tea (unpictured), we each had a slice of random rhubarb pie that my mom made yesterday (with my assistance, of course).

IMG_0307

I’m not going to give a recipe for the pie since it was SO random (part of the fridge clean-out mission), but it included all of the following and more: part-skim ricotta, verrrrrrry iffy fat free ricotta (it was gone enough that I wouldn’t eat it straight, but mom was convinced that it would be fine for cooking), eggs, garden-fresh rhubard, dried Asian dates, a way beyond ripe avocado, 1/2 banana, erythritol (my mom is diabetic-ish, and this is her sweetener of choice because it doesn’t have a wretched aftertaste like splenda), and a crust made of pre-cooked whole grains (a blend of every grain under the sun that mom made last week in hopes of using them for a batch or seven of kitchen sink muffins).

IMG_0314

I wasn’t sure how this pie would be given all of the iffy ingredients (my doubt says a lot because you know how lenient I usually am with food iffiness!), and the taste didn’t knock my socks off when I tried it right out of the oven yesterday. I have to admit, though, that it was pretty tasty today after a night in the fridge! I guess mom knows what she’s doing after all.

IMG_0320

After pie, we also shared a package of Anna’s ginger thins and rye crackers with seed butter I made yesterday:

IMG_0328

The seed butter came about because, during fridge clean-out yesterday, I came across a ramekin full of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and sea salt that my mom had been saving since we made everything bagels together when I was home in March of 2008. Yes, she’d been saving these seeds for 14 months. I just could not handle the thought of them taking up space in the fridge for another 14 (or 28 or 42 or 56, etc.). We soaked the seeds in warm water to dissolve and eliminate the salt and then toasted them, along with some pepitas that mom had around, to dry them out. All grinding took place in the coffee bean grinder, but I think I over-toasted because the finished product was pretty bland. I immersion-blended it with a couple tsp of miso paste and about 3 tbsp of almond butter to add “depth,” and that helped quite a bit. Mom has plans to doctor it further with Ghirardelli cocoa powder — no complaints here!

After tea-time, dad headed back to step grandma’s house, John returned to compounding the bathroom with ladders and tools, mom pretended to do some work paperwork, and I took a nap. When I awoke, it was nearly time for dinner! We droveout to Turk’s Seafood in Mattapoisett. My mom has been raving about this place to me on the phone for months, so I was excited to have the chance to experience it first-hand!

IMG_0331

I love beachy seafood restaurants, and this one fit right into that category. The atmosphere inside was very casual (though, sushi is also available if one feels the need to class it up) and boisterous. The food even came on paper plates! We started with edamame to share:

IMG_0335

I ordered the broiled haddock and crabcake with roasted vegetables:

IMG_0337

It was delicious (even though “thawed in the oven” may have been a better description for the veggies than “roasted”). I chopped the fish and crab cake and mixed it all up with the veggies and that mango salsa (back right) and quite enjoyed every single bite.

IMG_0349

After dinner, dessert was on the agenda, of course. We backtracked slightly to hit up Kool Kone, another fun beachy establishment, for ice cream (and we turned on the heat in the car to get in the mood!).

IMG_0351

I had a small cup with a scoop of black raspberry chocolate chip frozen yogurt on top and a scoop of chocolate peanut butter cup on the bottom.

IMG_0353

Some blurry pb cup chunks:

IMG_0356

Phew, that brings us to the end of this marathon post! It’s been a very exciting food day that somehow involved a lot of doing nothing. Not a bad combination if you ask me ๐Ÿ˜›

What is your favorite beach food?