We toward Clear water Travel Resort located at 2946 Gulf To Bay Boulevard in Clear water. Just about be 80 competitors (3 men and a women from each nation). Check the tires of your bicycle to find of alignment.
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So much of this life we live is about timing. When is the right time to change jobs, to change careers, to change cities? When is the right time to eat dinner? When is the right time to get to a concert so you’re not too early but you don’t miss too much of the fun? When should you book a vacation? This month? This year? When you have enough money saved up? (yes.) When is the right time to reach out to an old friend who you’ve lost touch with? When might they reach out to you?
When I was student teaching 3rd grade, we always asked the students to tell us what time it was, rather than telling them when asked. This lesson, which was fully integrated into the day, not just the math block, helped them learn to tell time, sure, but also helped them learn the value of time. When is lunch? In 25 minutes. How long do I have left to read? The rest of your life, hopefully, but for right now, 17 more minutes. Teaching them to make these little calculations will help them be on time, but it will also help them know when is the best time.
But how do we make timing decisions that are less about minutes and more about the right season of our lives?
I have a very dear, and very old friend who is currently living in Thailand with her husband. She and I quite literally grew up together, and as people are wont to do as they grow up, we grew apart. I don’t have a single childhood memory without her in it–she and I were inseparable, often found meeting in the middle of the street, barefoot, or choreographing a dance to Seal’s Kissed by a Rose in her parents bedroom. I saw my first movie, Selena, unsupervised by adults with her, much to both our parents’ chagrin. However, as time ticked on, so did we.
I thought about this friend often, keeping up with her life through Facebook and when I saw her family back home. But about a month ago, she reached out to me, asking about my life, talking about the past, and why we grew apart. It was so kind of her, and I’ve so enjoyed getting reacquainted, but most of all, the timing was right. Years later, when she found herself with her love in Thailand, and I was embarking on a new adventure with K here in Pittsburgh, we arrived at the right time to become friends again. And it has been awesome.
I’m a planner, big time and tend to take things at a running leap instead of one step at a time. I borrow trouble not only from tomorrow, but from next decade. Lately it has been a daily exercise in restraint to make myself live in the moment, be grateful for what I have now, and trust that timing takes care of all things. Little reminders like my friend reaching out from the other side of the world helps.
These noodles are probably a far cry from authentic Thai food, but they remind me of my friend nonetheless. They’re a little spicy, a little sour, a little salty–all my favorite things. You might be a little turned off by some of the ingredients (hello, fish sauce), but trust me. They’re as good as any take out and a lot faster too.
Start with the chili-infused vinegar. This is supposed to be used as a garnish, which I thought was weird, but it is so good.
In a jar, add vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, and some sliced red chilies (I used red jalapenos, but Thai chilies would obviously be more authentic). Pop the top on the jar and shake it up, then let it sit for at least an hour before serving.
Meanwhile, prep your stir fry situation. The best part about stir fry is that it moves fast, so it’s super important to have everything ready to go when you start cooking.
Garlic, ginger and scallions are minced, minced, and sliced on the bias.
Next soak your rice noodles in very hot water, until they are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on how hot the water is.When the noodles are soft, drain them and return them to the bowl.
Lightly beat 2 eggs and set aside. Mix up a quick sauce of soy sauce, fish sauce, honey and black pepper. Set that aside, too, and you’re ready to stir fry.
In a wok, add some vegetable oil and heat over medium high heat.
When the oil is very hot, add the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring often to ensure that the garlic doesn’t burn.Add the noodles and toss to combine and separate them. They should be nicely coated in the oil.
Push the noodles off to the side of the wok and add the eggs. Lightly scramble them while gently mixing them into the noodles. Next add the soy sauce mixture and toss to combine.
The whole thing should take no longer than 5 minutes. Once everything is combined, remove it from the heat and top with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve in bowls with a few dots of Sriracha hot sauce and the chili-infused vinegar on the side.
The noodles themselves are delicious. They’re slightly salty from the soy and have a nice bite from the garlic and ginger. The fish sauce, which is completely undetectable, I promise, gives it a nice earthy background that would be missed if it were left out.
When topped with a couple of spoonfuls of the chili-infused vinegar, though, the dish sings. The vinegar is slightly spicy and obviously very tart, but when applied to the noodles it makes the dish balanced. Vinegar as a garnish sounds odd, I know, but it adds just the touch of acidity that this dish needs.
The noodles are just as good cold the next day, with a little touch of vinegar and a dash more of soy sauce to loosen them up. Also because I can’t help myself. Soy sauce is my life.
This super quick meal is easy enough for a weeknight dinner on the go. If you’re looking to shake up your routine, this is the way.
And remember (I’m looking at you, Hatsie), timing is everything! Maybe today’s the right day to do that thing you’ve been waiting on. I don’t know what that thing is; maybe it’s joining a gym, signing up for that class, cleaning out your closet (oomph), or reaching out to a friend, but whatever it is, just maybe today is right.
Here’s the recipe!
Thai-Style Noodle Stir Fry with Chili-Infused Vinegar
For the Chili-Infused Vinegar: Ingredients
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (found in the Asian Foods section of most grocery stores)
1 tablespoon white sugar
3 red chilies, such as jalapeños, or more to taste. If you can find Thai chilies, that would be best!
Slice the chilies, seeds and all, very thin. Add them to a jar. Add the sugar, fish sauce, and vinegar. Secure the top of the jar and shake very well until everything is mixed and the sugar has dissolved. Let sit for at least an hour.
Serve with Thai-Style Noodles.
For the Thai-Style Noodles:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fish sauce
A couple of turns of your black pepper grinder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 scallions, trimmed and sliced on the bias
1 inch of ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 eggs lightly beaten
8 ounces wide rice noodles, cooked according to package directions, and drained. These also can be found in the Asian Foods section. If you can’t find them, linguine or fettuccine would work as well.
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Chili-infused vinegar, for serving
Sriracha hot sauce, for serving
Get all of your prep work ready. The garlic, ginger, and scallions should be ready to go, your eggs should be beaten and set aside. Mix together the soy sauce, honey, black pepper and fish sauce in a small bowl and set that aside as well. Make sure the noodles are cooked and drained and have them at the ready.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large wok over medium high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the garlic, ginger and scallions and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the noodles and toss to coat until all the noodles are separated and coated in the oil, about 1 minute more.
Move the noodles to the side and add the eggs, scrambling them lightly as you mix them into the noodles. This should take about 1-2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and toss to combine.
Remove noodles from the heat and serve in bowls with chopped cilantro on top and Sriracha hot sauce if desired. Garnish with a few teaspoons of the chili-infused vinegar.
I made you a salad, but instead of lettuce, spinach, or other greenery, I used toasted crusty bread. You’re welcome. Panzanella is a Florentine salad that traditionally combines stale, soaked bread with tomatoes and basil, olive oil and vinegar. Bread that is considered too stale to enjoy by itself is either soaked in water and squeezed dry or soaked in oil and vinegar until it came back to life. It’s like croutons, but with the old adage waste not, want not, in mind.
For me, though, all I hear is “bread salad.” A salad with all my favorite flavors and ingredients all soaked up by crusty bread? That is a winner. This salad takes all the traditional components of a great Greek salad and throws toasted crusty bread in the mix. The bread soaks up all the flavors from the dressing and the vegetables and because it is toasted prior, it maintains a crunch. No one wants soggy bread.
It’s the perfect side dish to any Summer meal, but I enjoyed it with my Baked Greek Chicken Meatballs and plenty of Tzatziki sauce. Oh, did I also mention it’s incredibly easy to throw together, and that most of the components can be made in advance? This is Summer, folks.
Let’s make salad!
Start with some veggies.
Half a red onion, sliced very, very thin, 1/2 an English cucumber, sliced in half-moons, 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved, 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin, and about half a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained well and roughly chopped. Those are our salad vegetables. Kalamata olives are obviously traditional, but I forgot to buy some like a dope. Don’t do that.
Toss all the vegetables together and top with a 1/2 pound block of good feta cheese that has been cubed. Throw that on top, but don’t toss yet. The more you toss, the more the feta will break up, and I like big chunks of feta instead of crumbles for this salad.
Feta cheese is my life.
Next, mix up your dressing. In a jar, combine 1 clove of grated or very finely minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, salt and pepper and 1/4 cup good olive oil.
Put the top on the jar and go to town. Shake it up until the dressing is well emulsified. If you are serving right away, go ahead and pour the dressing on top of all the vegetables and feta cheese.
Meanwhile, toast your bread. Cube up half a loaf of your favorite good, crusty bread. I used an olive oil boule from my bakery, but a baguette or ciabatta would work just fine. Toss in a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt then toast under high heat for about 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the bread slightly cool then add to the salad bowl.
Give the whole thing a good toss, making sure that the vegetables are evenly distributed, the dressing is coating everything, and the bread has started to soak up all that deliciousness.
Serve right away so that the bread remains crunchy. This would be divine as a side dish to any burger night, or make it a Greek feast and follow my lead. This is Summer’s bounty and bread is holding it together. Get on board.
While this salad is designed to remain crunchy and toasty, don’t be afraid to eat leftovers the next day. Sure, the more the bread sits, the more it soaks up all the liquid, but if serving it right away gives it more of a crouton texture, serving it the next day gives it a traditional panzanella vibe. The bread is soft but not mushy and it has soaked up all that dressing, tomato, cucumber, briny goodness. I can’t decide which way I enjoyed more!
And there are giant chunks of feta cheese. So, if you weren’t sold before, you should be now.
Here’s the recipe!
Toasted Greek Panzanella For the Vinaigrette: Ingredients
1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put all the ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid. Place the lid on the jar and mix it well until the dressing is creamy and emulsified. Store in jar for up to a week.
For the Panzanella:
1/2 red onion, sliced thin in half rounds
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin in half-moons
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced thin
1/4 cup roughly chopped marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 boule or french baguette, cut in half and cubed
1/2 pound block of good feta cheese, cubed
In a large salad bowl, combine the vegetables. Toss together. Add the cubed feta cheese and the vinaigrette. Gently toss to combine.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread cubed bread onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and toast until golden brown, turning as needed. Remove from the oven and let them cool slightly. When cooled, add them to the salad bowl.
Toss gently to combine so that the vegetables are evenly distributed and the dressing is coating everything. Serve immediately alongside your favorite Greek dish!
We do birthdays big in the Haley family. As kids, this was expected; we had “birthday week,” a tradition I was happy to carry with me far beyond childhood. Birthday week included our favorite breakfasts before school, a cookie cake, a meal wherever we wanted, our dinner of choice from my grandmother, and other various celebrations. As a seven-year-old, this was fantastic. As a twenty-seven-year-old* this is even more fantastic. I completely reject the notion that as one gets older, one’s birthday means less.
*I’m 26, but the law of rounding means I’m much closer to 27 than 26, but I’m holding on for dear life. Not going down without a fight. Hence the asterisk.
The good news for you, or anyone else that I am moderately familiar with, is that I do not limit my birthday excitement to my own day. I enjoy celebrating other’s big days just as much, maybe even more so. I just love the merriment of it all–I love taking a whole day (week) to tell one person how much you appreciate them and are happy that they were born. Embarrass them with your excitement–make them feel like they’re seven again–sing, a lot. This is a great thing we do as humans, celebrate each other.
Today is my Mom’s birthday, and in true Haley fashion, all of the stops have been pulled. This is the first birthday I’ve been able to actually celebrate with her really since high school and I am so thankful that I get to join in the fun. There will be dinner, there will be gifts, there already was a cookie cake, and so much more (that I can’t mention because she reads this and it’s asurprise). Above all of the sugar and wrapping paper and sprinkles, what really matters to me is that she knows how truly wonderful she is and how lucky everyone is to have her around. She’s the strong, funny, independent, smart, and wise woman that taught me most everything I know and who I strive to become. She’s the voice in my head, she’s the reader for whom I write, and today is her day. It’s a good one, too.
Speaking of sprinkles, I have some. In the height of Summer, I bought an ice cream maker, invited my parents over for dinner, and made homemade vanilla ice cream. I put in chocolate chips and toffee pieces and a pinch of salt because I had just made those loaded cornflake cookies and couldn’t stop thinking about them. And today, because it’s a birthday, this ice cream is topped with sprinkles. Nothing says party like sprinkles.
Let’s get started.
Ice cream is pretty simple, provided that you are prepared. This preparation includes an ice bath.
Place a bowl over that ice bath and add a cup of heavy cream.
Place a fine mesh strainer over that bowl. Set this whole contraption aside.
Now, separate four eggs, you’ll need the yolks. Whisk them slightly and set those aside too.
The last thing you’ll need is some sugar, some whole milk, another cup of heavy cream, and a heavy pinch of salt.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the cream, milk, sugar, and salt and whisk on medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture begins to steam. Do not boil!
Once the mixture is steaming, remove from the heat. Grab your egg yolks, you’ll need them next. Using only 1/3 cup at a time, slowly whisk some of the warm mixture into the egg yolks. Whisk constantly, and continue this until about half of the cream mixture has been incorporated into the egg yolks. You’re tempering the eggs so they don’t cook when you add them to the hot milk/cream. Science!
Pour the yolk mixture back into the sauce pan and return to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon and a clean trail is left when you run your finger across the back of that spoon. I used a candy thermometer as well, and cooked it until it reached 165 degrees, checking for consistency as the temperature rose
Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it through the mesh strainer into the cold cream. Discard any solids. Add vanilla extract and stir until cool, about 5 or so minutes.
Now, that right there tastes like melted ice cream and I think it would be heaven spooned over a warm brownie. I’m not much into cold ice cream on hot baked goods, but cool ice cream sauce over hot baked goods? I’m very into that.
Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Meanwhile, make sure you’re ready to go with your ice cream maker. For instance, the bowl of mine requires at least 12 hours in the freezer before use, which would have been a real bummer if I hadn’t known that and consequently had to wait a day for homemade ice cream.
After the mixture chills, pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
When the ice cream is beginning to come together, add your chocolate chips and toffee pieces. Serve immediately for a soft-serve consistency or transfer to a air-tight container and freeze until solid, about 4 more hours or overnight.
Here’s a confession: I’m not an ice cream person, but even I can’t resist homemade ice cream. It’s so rich and creamy and in my mind, miles away from the stuff you buy at the store. Unless you’re in Texas and you’re buying Bluebell. It’s the best.
This ice cream was sweet, had a little salt kick from the toffee pieces, and a welcome crunch from the frozen chopped chocolate chips. Add a healthy amount of rainbow sprinkles and some more chocolate chips and dessert (or afternoon snack) is served.
Make this if you want to hold on to Summer for a little while longer. Make this if you’re celebrating a birthday. Make this if you have a new kitchen gadget and want to try it out. It’s not quick, it requires some planning and organization, but the outcome is so incredibly delicious, you’ll impress even yourself.
And most importantly, Happy Birthday Mom!
Here’s the recipe.
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate and Toffee Ingredients
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
Heavy pinch of salt
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped
1/2 cup toffee pieces
In a large bowl, make an ice bath with water and about 10-12 ice cubes. Nest a smaller bowl on top of the ice bath, then pour 1 cup of heavy cream into the bowl. Place a fine mesh strainer over the cream and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, add remaining cream and milk. Add sugar and salt and cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and milk mixture is beginning to steam. Do not boil. When mixture is steaming, remove from the heat and, gradually, add warm mixture to egg yolks 1/3 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Continue adding warm milk mixture to the egg yolks until about half of the milk mixture has been added and the egg yolks are warm to the touch. Add the yolk mixture back to the sauce pan and return to medium heat.
Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until the mixture reaches 165-170 degrees and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and a clean trail is left when your finger is run across the back of the spoon. Do not boil! Remove mixture from the heat and pour through the mesh strainer into the cold heavy cream. Discard any solids. Add the vanilla extract, then stir the mixture until cool, about 5-7 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
Churn ice cream according to your manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream has come together but is still soft, add in your chocolate chips and toffee pieces. When finished, transfer to an air-tight container and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight until firm. (Or serve right away for soft serve!)
I think pizza is the most amazing food. First, what doesn’t taste good on bread? Nothing. Second, What doesn’t taste good on bread with cheese on top? Nothing. Third, Pizza is the best. Fourth, I want pizza. Fifth… I’ll stop now.
Want to know what else makes pizza the perfect food? Everyone likes it! You can have pizza in it’s purest form, with cheese only, or you can add truffles truffles with gold leaf truffles on top. None of that is real, I don’t think, but you get the idea! Pizza is the every-man food.
It’s also really simple to make. If you have a kitchen bigger than a square foot, and any counter space at all, by all means make pizza dough from scratch. Make it all the time! You could be eating pizza right this very second. If you are like me, and you don’t have any of those things, and the last time you made homemade dough, your kitchen and your hair looked like a hurricane just blew through, you can buy pizza dough pre-made at the deli counter of your grocery store.
For this round of pizza making, I decided on Mediterranean flavors. First, I cleaned, trimmed, and roughly chopped one package of button mushrooms.
Then I sauteed those roughly chopped mushrooms until they were tender and set aside.
When the mushrooms were done cooking, I started building my pizza. I spread the pre-made dough as thinly as possible on a baking sheet.
I used prepared pesto sauce as the base of the pizza to go along with the Mediterranean theme, and because I adore pesto.
And finished with some feta cheese crumbles and fresh torn basil.
I baked the pizza for 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven until the dough got golden brown and the cheese was all bubbly and delicious.
The dough wasn’t spread as thin as I would have liked, because it was pretty elastic and kept trying to get back to center (aren’t we all?) so this turned out to be more of a Sicilian style pizza, but because it’s still pizza, and pizza is the best, I wasn’t complaining.
The pizza was fresh tasting and salty in that Mediterranean-flavor way. I loved the thin layer of pesto as a base so the toppings, and, let’s be honest, the cheese could really shine. The dough had a good flavor, especially since I had no control over how it turned out. Basically, this was pizza. Pizza is perfect. This is perfect.
And someday, when I’m all grown up, I’ll have a counter top where I can knead dough like a real cook and make delicious homemade pizza. Until then, or until I find some ingenious way to turn one of my surfaces in this apartment into the perfect dough-making spacce, this is the next best thing. And it was a really good thing.
Here’s the recipe:
Mushroom and Artichoke Pizza
1 package of whole button mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
prepared pizza dough (either from the store or from your capable hands)
4 tablespoons of pesto (prepared from a bottle or from your capable, er, food processor)
1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese
a few leaves of fresh basil, torn
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and saute chopped mushrooms for about 7 minutes, or until they are tender. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes at the beginning of cooking, but don’t salt until they are almost done. If you salt mushrooms at the beginning they will release their juices too early and you don’t want these too wet.
Spread prepared dough onto a non-stick baking pan as thinly as you’d like. Spread the pesto over the entire surface of the dough. Add mushrooms and artichokes.
Add the mozzarella cheese then the feta and torn basil.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Slice and enjoy!