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Thursday, September 17, 2009

PUNCH you in the face ! ( it really will )

Punch. I know, I know, you think of spiking it at the school dance ( maybe that was just in movies) or a party at your Grandmas house. Well punch is making a come back ! Im not talking about your old run of the mill punch with pastel colored sherbet (a.k.a sorbet !) Im talking about punch that actually lives up to its name, and honors its fun, festive yet elegant reputation.

Sooo, todays recipe is for the best prosecco punch EVER !!! Just in case you havent been made aware of the joy that is prosecco, let me explain. Prosecco is, in a nutshell, Italys champagne. It is more affordable ( to a fault, if you know what I mean !) and absolutely delicious in its own right. It is not made in the strict traditional process that true champagne is, yet has many of the same qualities. Most grocery and liquor stores now have a decent variety ranging from dry to a bit sweeter and all very reasonably priced. It is great alone, but a perfect base for a light punch as well.

I made this to bring to a party last spring in Arizona ( which may as well be summer since it was HOT HOT HOT !)...It was a hit ! Among other comments I got a lot of " Its so hot out, I didnt want beer and couldnt think of what to drink... this punch is perfect !" , " not too sweet, refreshing, just right!" ... even guys were drinking it, just in a different glass !


1 bottle prosecco

peach flavored vodka( half of a 1 liter bottle, I told you it packs a punch !)

cranberry juice ( enough to make a ring out of and a splash into the punch as well)

one ruby red grapefruit ( cut in half, one half juiced one half sliced into rings)

1 liter bottle sparkling water ( anything from Pellegrino to plain old soda water will work)

This will make enough to fill an average size punch bowl.

The hardest part of this is making the frozen cranberry juice ring, unless of course you have an actual mold which I dont ! The idea here is to keep the punch chilled without watering it down. I simply poured the cranberry juice in a medium sized bowl and then rested a jar of something heavy right in the middle for the "ring" effect, place this in the freezer. Obviously you want to do this in advance.

When the juice ring is ready you are ready ( oh and if you used my method you may have to run just a bit of room temp water over the jar to get it out !) . If you are bringing the punch to a party, make it there, it is much easier and will be more bubbly ! Either way, put the beautiful ring of dark red cranberry juice in the bowl first. Then pop the bubbly and pour it on in, next half of the bottle of peach vodka, the whole bottle of sparkling water, a splash of the cranberry juice, and the juice of the grapefruit. Finish this by floating the grapefruit slices you set aside in the punch, these will add panache, slowly absorb alcohol and most likely end up a treat for someone special ! This punch is great ladled out into glasses alone, and also holds up well over ice.

Cheers !

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gotta Love the Kids

The kids are back! To school I mean, and we live RIGHT across the street from an elementary school ! When I say that I mean that I could throw a rock and hit the school, not that I would ever do that. When we first moved here it was one of the funniest things to me to just sit and listen to them when they were on recess. Since they alternate them all in shifts that means ALL DAY. It made me think back to being in grade school. Did we really scream bloody murder like that? I dont really remember doing so, but when I look at myself in the photo to the right I think I actually do see the glimmer in my eye of a child that could very well have it in them to scream bloody murder! Not the bad kind of bloody murder though, if that makes any sense. Just the crazy let it all out, obsessed with life, cant wait to get on the monkey bars bloody murder ! I wanted to get some audio of this for you but I was afraid to look like a creep, holding up my digital camera on the sidewalk near the playground ! Anyway, they were gone all summer and it was a little too quiet around here, so Im happy to have em' back ! So if you find yourself near a school playground take a second to listen to the perfectly balanced, loud and crazy anarchy . Think back to when you had that wonderful, scheduled in free time to go bananas just for the sake of going bananas. People actually scheduled this in for you. Why dont we do this anymore as adults? You gotta love the kids !

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Christmas Story ( long story, but I bet you laugh out loud)

I'll tell you when to start the music on this one if you dont mind...

So Im going to take a bit of a break and tell you a personal story. I know thats kind of what Ive been doing, but I mean that Im not going to continue from last weeks Tuesday post. I was reminded of this story recently and thought it would be a good one to share, and it is also keeping in the theme of Tuesday being a bio day.

Let us go back to last December I think... yes definitely last Christmas Im sure. Ok, so Devin was going coming home with me for the Christmas holiday for the first time. He had been to NJ with me many times already, just not for Christmas. Which, even as I write this, seems weird for me to be emphasizing since my family has never been religious. My mothers side of the family is Jewish and my fathers is Episcopalian. Maybe their parents were religious to an extent but in our hearts my immediate family just never was. Either way we always had a Christmas tree and a menorah in the house during the holidays. Some may think this to be superficial, being that these are symbols of religion, but if you knew us at all you would realize it was only that we couldnt resist being festive. Anyone who doesnt feel warm and fuzzy inside when they see a lit Christmas tree makes me a little nervous and very sad !

Point being, I was really excited for Devin to be coming home with me. Especially since on top of not being religious in nature, he really isnt one for the holidays ! So I was hoping our non- denominational, lazy, over-eating, movie watching, present opening, coffee and Kahlua on Christmas morning De Vesty family fun could turn him around ! So when we woke up at whatever ungodly hour it was leave for the airport in Phoenix these were the things going through my mind. Now I am someone who would rather be running to the gate and almost miss the flight rather than sit in those awful airport chairs for the 2 hrs early they claim you need to be there. Devin on the other hand is a plan for the worst kind of guy. Interesting combo. It works though somehow.

So of course our ride picks us up right on time, there is no traffic at all and we get there super duper early. Again, its really early, like maybe 6:30 AM by the time we get there. Barely awake we walk towards the gate thinking about whether or not coffee makes any sense at this hour. We decide to go sit down a minute and decide then. As we are approaching the gate I think, out of the corner of my eye, that I recognize a guy I used to date. It had probably been about 5 years since I had seen him and now, at 6:37 AM before my first cup of coffee was not when I felt like making small talk. Holy s$%t, he is carrying a baby ! I mumble to Devin to steer the other direction and find seats. He was confused but I explained it all to him as soon as we sat down. Well I didnt explain that it had ended badly, mostly meaning this guy had screwed me over big time. Boyfriends dont want to hear all that ! Anyhow, of course I spied a little and a clear picture developed that he was married and had a baby now and they all looked very happy. In all honestly I was happy for him. It was so long ago and we had both moved on, but that STILL didnt mean I felt like schmoozing at this early hour. Devin and I sat around for what felt like forever waiting to board. Oh and yes, this does mean we were all on the same plane, sorry forgot to mention that. The ex and his family were sitting just left of the gate door facing forward. So I knew when we boarded I would have to be stealth. More and more time goes by, and it seems like we should have boarded already. Great, now I have to pee. The bathroom was only right there. I could do it. Well, Devin was worried I was cutting it too close, again, not a risk taker in these type situations. So I waited. But then sooo much more time went by that I couldnt take it anymore. I told him I was going and that if worse came to worst I would meet him on the plane.

Off I went. I was in and out of that bathroom in record time. Barely dried my half washed hands and ran the hell out of there. When I could see the gate I noticed Devin was in line and literally next to go through the door to the sky way. So I ran my ass to the line, right past the area the ex and his family were sitting, in my peripheral I could see them. I made it up there and the man behind Devin was very nice and let me go ahead of him. Perfect ! I cant remember exactly what I said, but I know I made a cocky comment to Devin about how my timing wound up just right and how he didnt think I could do it. For some reason I was proud of this feat. Well the guy who had let me into the line, the nice man, he started mumbling something to me... I couldnt make it out. He started doing these weird eye signals to Devin. And then to me. It got really confusing. Then it seemed like he was looking kind of down behind me, I started to think he was nuts ! Then his patience of our non understanding started wearing thin. After a little more of this he finally leaned in to me and said " Ms., you have toilet paper coming..." He didnt even need to finish his sentence and I knew ! He tried to go on about how the same thing had happened to his wife once and he couldnt let it happen to me... he was probably just being polite ! So I turn to try and look but it was difficult, so Devin literally took me and turned me around so my back was just to him and assuming it was just a bit of paper he tried to grab it.Well, have you ever seen the bit when a clown pulls all the colorful scarves or ribbon or whatever it is out of his mouth and it seems like it is never ending? Exactly. It just kept coming. To this day I have no idea how I had so much of it in there !

(Cue the music)

So just take a minute and go back to the scene when I leave the bathroom... Think slow motion. There I went, proudly out of the bathroom door briskly walking at first, then jogging and finally running through the airport all the way to the gate and into line. Who knows how long that beautiful, hilarious, unbeknownst to me, flowing tail of toilet paper really was...So poor Devin politely rips off what hes got and we are standing in the sky way awkwardly, laughing nervously, not knowing what to do. So I hold out my hand for him to give me the tissue because it seems hes done enough for me already and he leans in and says two things... 1. "Just to warn you its a little moist" and 2. "I didnt get all of it" ! OMG could this get anymore ridiculous? I played it off like I wasnt embarrassed but of course I was, when I got on the plane I went right to the bathroom and handled the remainder of the tissue issue ! While I did that I thought of how much effort I put into not talking to my ex and meeting his family. Instead I went running past them with toilet tissue streaming out at least a foot behind me with a smile on my face. Is there a bigger idiot on this planet? I could have used the coffee and Kahlua I spoke of earlier right about this time !

Im pretty sure thats my most embarrassing yet entertaining story to date. Im not sure its as good in writing, but Ive had many a person rollin over that one in person !

Ah, what a wonderful world...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Only in America !

Remember a while ago the President had a meeting in Arizona and the news showed a man who came to attend slinging a gun? Well turns out the night before this meeting he was in Tempe, Arizona at the Faithful Word Baptist Church listening to a sermon by Pastor Steven Anderson. The story of this pastor and what he has been preaching broke last week.

This church is on Southern Avenue, a street I have driven on many, many times in my years in Tempe. I think I can even picture the church itself. We all know looks can be deceiving, but never in a million years would I have thought that such extreme, fundamental hate could be lurking inside. Its all especially surprising because though Arizona does tend be a more conservative, red state, Tempe itself is quite liberal. It is an independent Baptist church. Pastor Anderson does not have a college degree ( nor do I , not judging), but I guess that isnt a requirement, typically people in positions like his have come up through Bible College and start their own church. In his case since the church is independent
he was " sent out by a totally independent Baptist church to start it the old fashioned way by knocking on doors and winning souls to Christ. This is the scriptural way" . This quote is direct from the website of the church ( This website also has a list of audio clips from many of the pastors other sermons, very interesting.

In this clip you can hear a small portion of the sermon... ( if you pause this one at 1:39 its pretty priceless)

All that being said, Pastor Anderson has some serious convictions, and he uses the Bible to back them up. Quoting scripture to defend why it isnt wrong to pray for President Obama to die of natural causes every night when he goes to bed. This pastor also had a situation this past spring with border patrol supposedly harassing him and eventually physically harming him. Anderson claims the incident was unconstitutional, I believe it is being investigated but inconclusive for now . He also was against President Bush and the war in Iraq, so I guess we cant call him a racist. Darn ! Just kidding, the one thing I will give this guy is that he seems genuine. I know that must sound strange amid such and awful story, but I do have more respect for someone who I believe is acting on behalf of their true feelings regardless of how incredulous their behavior may seem. Most of what we see today are people saying and acting one way but having ulterior motives (fear), and hidden agendas ($) . Like some of the politicians against health care reform claiming to be so concerned with our elderly and small business owners when we really all know they are just worried about the relationship with big pharmaceutical companies. I mean since when have republicans ever been for small business, why should we believe that is such a huge concern of theirs now? Anyway, dont get me wrong, I am not supporting this guy at all, I might just have one little tiny iota of respect for the way he is standing by his own words. He knows exactly how he feels and seems so far to have no qualms talking about it. He has a right to express himself and is utilizing this right louder and more often than most, the unfortunate part is that people are listening.

Below CNN s Rick Sanchez reporting on the connection between Anderson and the man with a gun at the Presidents meeting in Phoenix...

This is Michelangelo Signorile of Brooklyn, a graduate of Syracuse Universitys school of journalism, gay rights activist and among other things a Sirius satellite radio talk show host, here he is interviewing Pastor Anderson...

I guess it shouldnt be surprising that where there is hate, there is more. I mean this guy is just full of it ! Now I dont consider myself religious in the conventional sense of the word, but I think I might start doing my own kind of praying that Pastor Anderson, and anyone as toxic as he, be delivered from the nonsensical, deep hatred that is most likely inhibiting them from truly enjoying the pleasures of life. For all of you Baptists out there, dont fret. Unless youre actually talking about apples, one bad one does NOT spoil the bunch !