March 21, 2013

Pesto Quinoa Salad

Spring happened today. Actually, that was just a calendar thing. It didn't feel like spring today. But last week it did. That's when the sun came out to play, and when I started craving fresh summery foods. Like salad of random veggies and grains (not lettuce!). And basil. And garlic+nuts+oil+basil, which gives you pesto.
That's also when I took my container of aforementioned foods outside to lunch. Context: Out of the 15 buildings in my office complex, no one is outside eating, ever. There's just smokers by the smokers' doors. Then there's me: the strange girl who grabs a towel out of her car, finds the opportune spot for soaking up sun and plops down in the middle of the grass.

Oh, and my date for sunshiney lunch was Patti Callahan Henry's new book, And Then I Found You, which arrived that morning/a few days after I had written a story about it for Village Living. To keep this spring theme going, the plot is centered around the first day of spring, the day that the protagonist placed her daughter for adoption. The kind of book I liken to emotional candy, I ended up finishing in two late night sessions and getting excited whenever I came upon a Birmingham reference like Highlands Bar and Grill or Vulcan or the field by Mountain Brook Elementary.

March 14, 2013

Mini Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

In some ways this story starts with brown bananas and mini chocolate chips in my pantry, with a limited time frame for baking and a personal delight in all things miniature.

But the more important story is bigger than that.

It's a story of the Knowles' hearts for their son and brother, the one they have yet to meet. That will change soon. They will bring him home from the Bahamas. But they know not when that will be.

It's a story of a house full of junk, literally, contributed by friends, and how the money it raised, several times the amount that was hoped for, helped pave a way for the last steps of this process of choosing someone and whatever he carries.

And it's a story of a small body of people journeying with the family and, on a Saturday morning, with the junk. Some lifted, some priced, some bartered, some cashiered, some bought, some baked.

And it's a story of a bigger body, the ones who came because they saw a sign or piles and piles of stuff in multiple yards, the ones who came to buy a couch or whatever treasures they could find, the ones who came to support friends or to take a Saturday morning stroll through the neighborhood (or both!), the ones who went home with clothes or books, or just a mini loaf of mini chocolate chip banana bread....or muffins or cookies or pecan squares or brownies or oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies.
Yard sale, adoption awareness, community gathering, bake sale — all from an overflowing fountain.

March 7, 2013

Ham Party Sandwiches with Roasted Red Pepper

Party ‘wiches is in the house tonight
Everybody just have a hammm time
And they gonna make you lose your mind
Everybody just have a cheeese time

In the midst of writing this post, I realized just how trashy pop lyrics are. And I couldn’t go on writing my awfully horribly terribly cheesy version of “Party ‘Wiches,” fifth grade change-the-lyrics-for-a-project style. LMFAO like doesn’t even use real words half the time: gonna, drank (as a noun), reppin’ (whatever that is?), zeppelin (like Led Zeppelin?), shufflin’—what?

If I still have your attention after all that blabbering about nothing, these sandwiches will wow a party. They are served hot 'n toasty. They are cheesy. They have a touch of sweetness. There's butter involved. I don't even really like ham, and I find the taste a treasure-filled delight.

It's one of those recipes that has circled potluck circuits millions of times, so I added some roasted red pepper (they are so funky to roast!) to do something unique for the blogosphere and add a touch of pretty to my picture. But the pepper really didn't add that much to the taste, so don't bother with it unless you just feel like it.

One last round of horrible lyric editing just came out below. You don't have to read it, unless you just want all the more fodder for poking fun at me.

One more ‘wich for us, another round
Please fill up my plate, don't mess around
We just wanna see you eat it now
Now you wanna be, you're hungry now