28 December 2009
27 December 2009
An Earth Girl is all about trying new things, enjoying the company of other Earth Girls and if not directly helping the earth, then at least enjoying it in an environmentally responsible manner.
Past Earth Girl Excursions have included:
1. Kayak Lessons
2. Volunteering to do maintanence work the Appalachian Trail for a week (I skipped out on that one - couldn't take a week off at that time... darn.)
3. Trip to Colorado for hiking and fly-fishing lessons (another trip I missed because I couldn't take a week off, although this one sounded much more enjoyable than the other one)
4. 30th Birthday Trip to Boston (more pedestrian commuters than in any other US city!). Included a fabulous culinary tour of the North End led by Jim Becker.
After much debate, we decided that for this year we would go camping at Garner State Park (had not been there in over 20 years). We each had a job assignment - Mom was in charge of reservations, Laura was in charge of activities and I was in charge of planning the menu. We would later realize that we forgot to put some one in charge of praying for good weather.
Finally arrived to Garner State Park (GSP) mid-afternoon. Site 408!!!!
Unloading took a while - hey, we travel comfortably!
Got the both tents set up.
The idea to bring along a second tent was Mom's - turned out to be the best thing we packed!
We were able to get the fire roaring, the stove hooked up and dinner started before the sun set. Dinner was pan-grilled salmon with broccoli. Dessert: s'mores, of course.
Looked like things were going pretty well. We had heard that there might be rain that night, so we tied down the rain flaps, pretty sure we would easily weather any storm thrown at us. Ha! Woke up at some point during the night to the sound of raindrops... in our tent.
Next morning we requested a shelter (for one night) and ate a delicious, energizing breakfast of eggs, sausage and coffee (Via packets from Starbucks were a life-saver).
Spent the day recuperating, washing and drying Mom's sleeping bag and throwing away that leaky tent. By the way, that tent had been purchased on our last camping trip to GSP... that might explain why it was not so rain-proof.
Friday night's dinner - delicious Chili made by Laura with cornbread made in the Dutch Oven.
This is why we don't let Laura cook very often. Sometimes the food turns out beautifully and sometimes, well... let's just say she melted her own shoe, while wearing it!
Rest of the trip went much more smoothly (no more rain!) and we all had a great time. The monarch butterflies happened to be migrating through GSP that weekend. I have never experienced anything like it before. Hundreds, sometimes thousands would flutter through at a time. Absolutely magical.
Hiked Lost Maples and it was absolutely stunning. So proud of Mom, she was a real trooper and did the tough, steep hike with Laura and me.
All in all it was a fantastic trip. Mom and Laura got to play with fire for hours on end, we were able to do some hiking in some of the most gorgeous parts of Texas, we ate some delicious food and just enjoyed spending time together. We came home dirty and exhausted, but none of us would have traded that trip for the world!
School started and things got a little busy. I have been cooking, just not doing a great job blogging about it.
My most recent adventure was the result of an impetuous, last minute Sunday Dinner invitation I extended to some dear friends. I wasn't too stressed because I knew I had most of the meal under control. Appetizer ... piece of cake - had a beautiful head of Romaine in the crisper, some tangy pepperoncinis and a delicious Balsamic Walnut and Blue Cheese dressing I picked up at Berry Town Produce (a farmer's market) in Hammond, LA two weeks ago. I also had the main course all planned out - a simple Italian dish. Seasoned chicken breasts browned on both sides, then topped with an artichoke ricotta cheese mixture, covered in an carrettiera sauce and finished off in the oven. Oven-roasted garlic broccoli would serve as a healthy side dish.
But what to do for dessert? I needed something I could (for the most part) prepare ahead of time and just add finishing touches to as the chicken finished up in the oven. But I also wanted something with that WOW factor. Long story short - after flipping through several cookbooks I found a recipe for a Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake that had to be made well ahead of time so it could be chilled. It also suggested serving it with Berry Coulis. I adore berry sauces, so that cinched it for me!