Monday, April 1, 2013

A Glorious weekend, a picture overload, and a lot of made up words.

I got an email on Saturday that was going to change my weekend. 

An invite to go strawberry picking.  I love strawberry picking so much.  I'm sure the owners of the farms think anyone that goes to pick their own are such suckers.  It is terribly hard work.  But they are so cheap and my friend found a farm that grows berries that taste like they are from California.  I am not the only sucker though.  My friends are too and got to my house early so I hired them to shell garbanzo beans for no pay.  I pretty much won the "friend game".  They shelled those babies while I sipped iced tea and fanned myself by the window.

The work is hardly rewarding, it took about 30 minutes to shell a big bag of the garbanzo beans and after shelling you get about a cup and a half of the beans.  Raw, they taste more like a pea but once steamed, they develop a "beanier" taste.  I'm very technical with my culinary terms.

The friends we went with swear by Spivey Farms in Plant City (I think that is where it was, I was along for the ride and everything looked like Plant City- I don't know anything about geography). 

They give you those quart containers to measure how many berries you pick and pay at the end.  We brought big Tupperware containers to dump our strawberries as we picked and each person reported how many quarts they'd picked for our grand total.  Each quart is .50 so we paid about $30 for the amount we picked. 

Why do I pick beautiful people to be my friends?

And to be called a "grand total", you must have a "grand" amount.  Drumroll please...61 quarts, thank you.  We went a little overboard.

I hulled and bagged about 3/4 of what I brought home and kept the rest fresh for lots of strawberry recipes and of course, what I wait for every year....strawberry vodka.  It's amazing.  Like better than amazing.  Mix a little (or a lot) with some lemonade and you've got yourself a pretty great night.  To balance out the vodka though strawberries on top of my oatmeal for the next few days sounds pretty stellar too. 

Easter was fantastic.  Judging from my friend's Facebook updates, it looked like not one person in Tampa stayed inside to celebrate.   The day itself was such a gift.  I got a little ambitious with my barista skills after my heart artistry last week and tried to make a bunny.  Too bad a bunny doesn't look as much like a heart as I thought.  I settled on it being a stone rolling away and called it an Easter miracle anyway. 

My parents joined me for worship so I didn't have to attend church alone on Easter Sunday and I pretty much cried the whole time, it was such a beautiful service.  I go to an incredible church, I can't stand it.  If anyone ever wants to go with me, I'd looooove it.  There were so many people yesterday the lines for communion were off the chain.  What an awesome problem.

I grew up in the most beautiful neighborhood in Lutz.  Living now in ghetto city, it's like a sweet breath of fresh air going home and some friends I grew up with volunteered to host our families for Easter lunch in their beautiful home on the lake we have so many memories in. 

It was a potluck and everyone brought something.  Everyone was really sweet and omitted butter from some of their recipes for me which was amazing.  I brought a layered salad that looked like it took a lot more time than it did (maybe 6 minutes to put together). 

Superfood Salad:

2 cups of cooked barley
1.5 cups of cooked black quinoa
5 salad peppers (I used the yellow ones for color)
5 cups of chopped kale
1.5 cups of fresh garbanzos or regular ones (edamamme would be good too)
Cherry tomatoes (I used yellow and red)

One tbsp of olive oil
1/3 cup of orange juice (I freshly juiced mine for extra Martha-points)
three minced garlic cloves
one tsp of salt
freshly cracked pepper (I have a squeezy pepper grinder and gave it about three squeezes)
1/2 of rice wine vinegar

The grains were seasoned with salt while cooking.  I didn't use broth to cook them in but I'd imagine that would have made them tastier.  I put the kale in a big bowl and massaged the dressing onto it for about one minute.  This is a crucial step.  Kale is slightly bitter when raw but becomes fabulous while being massaged, much like me.  Then I just layered the ingredients as I went along into a trifle dish.  There was some dressing left at the bottom of the kale bowl that I poured over the top once finished.  It was light and very reminiscent of Spring.  Layered salads are my jam because you can use whatever you have around and it makes for a super impressive presentation. 

Such a relaxing day filled with laughing and catching up.  My friend recently completed her first marathon so I asked her a million questions while she was trying to eat which I'm sure she appreciated.  Can I please be put under hypnosis and run one?  That way there is no anticipation and I still get to say I ran one.  I'm afraid of pain. 

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