Category Archives: Raves

Redemption

My husband can attest to the fact that I have really good memory. That skill can be a mixed blessing. When you need to recall something quickly, you’ve got it. On the flip side of that, you are challenged by not being able to simply forget things you’d rather see fade off into the recesses of your gray matter.

Back in November of 2007, I made my first attempt at Thai Chicken Coconut Soup. And the results were less than stellar. In fact, I recall sharing with the internets the fact that my kitchen (and my senses) were smacked upside the head by the intensity of a certain ingredient:

“The good news is that my kitchen smells like lemongrass.

The bad news is that my kitchen smells like lemongrass. And only lemongrass. And now all I can smell is…lemongrass.”

Yeah, so that didn’t go so well. But I’m a determined little bugger, and I never quite gave up on the idea of successfully executing this dish.  I’d revisit the recipe, toy with some of the ingredients, and try again. I just wouldn’t let it go. I couldn’t forget my earlier failure, and I was obsessed with getting this darn thing right.

Well, Peoples of the World Wide Web, I have finally done it! Today, I made the soup…and it was FREAKING DELICIOUS. The creaminess of the coconut, the brightness of the LEMONGRASS, the saltiness of the fish sauce, and the spiciness of the Thai chilis: everything just came together beautifully. I’m still planning to play around with some of the seasonings, but I’m pretty darn happy about how things turned out. Once I’m done with nailing down precise measurments, I’ll be sure to update this post to include the recipe.

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Lots of Random Stuff

Oh, hello there. Today I looked at this blog and realized that the last time I posted on here was, oh, sometime in JUNE?!!! Naughty, naughty blogger. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, but there’s just been so much happening around here lately that it’s hard to get myself to write about something. I just want to go on and ramble about all kinds of stuff. So, to shake the cobwebs off I thought I’d give a few brief updates about what’s going on at Casa Flamenco.

Zoe started middle school, and I’m proud to say that I didn’t cry. Go Flamenco Mom! And Zoe’s doing really well. She had a mini-meltdown in P.E. during the second week of school, but she’s been doing really well otherwise.

I submitted my application for my degree last week. Yes, the end is near! Sort of. But I am graduating in December. Next stop, graduate school!

We’ve tested out all the Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Mixes, following the no-butter instructions available on the Betty Crocker website. What do I think of the mixes? Well, here’s a hint: if Betty Crocker were a real person, I’d kiss her full on the mouth as a show of my gratitude. I might even let her get to second base.

I booked our family vacation this week. We’re traveling in October–to Disneyworld. I know, it’s not what I would typically plan for our autumn trip–I usually like to take the family to someplace more remote, a la the woods. But we got a free 3-night stay at a resort in Orlando, so we figured it would be a good time to hit some theme parks. Besides, Ayden’s never been to the Magic Kingdom. I suppose it’s about time we took him: I think it may be a law that if you live in Florida, you must take your child to the House of Mickey at least once.

A Passion for Pomegranate

I must have been about 8 or 9 years old when my dad handed me what I thought was a pretty weird-looking piece of fruit. I asked him what it was; and he casually replied, “It’s a Chinese apple. Wanna try it?” I watched as my father pried the piece of fruit with the little reddish purple pellets open, and I asked, “How do you eat those things? Are you supposed to eat THE SEEDS?!” Note: whenever a child thinks she is about to ingest seeds, images of a tree growing inside her instantly trigger a sense of terror/disgust. Dad dropped a few bits of fruit into my hand, and I nervously took a bite.

I have been hooked on pomegranates ever since.

I wait every year for them to come into season, and I scoop ‘em up by the bunch at my local market. The cashiers always look at them with some skepticism, and ask me the usual questions: how do you eat it? Aren’t they a pain in the neck to open? Don’t they stain your fingers, clothes, and anything they happen to land on? Well, they may be a challenge to open; and they may stain my fingers and clothing (sometimes); but they are so tasty, with that little burst of tartness that explodes when you bite into one of those little red gems.

Lately, when I can’t get pomegranates at the supermarket, I’ve had to make do with the occasional pomegranate martini. Which are delicious, by the way—those of you that can partake in alcoholic beverages of that variety may want to give it a try. But I digress.

I’ve purchased a few types of pomegranate juice at the health food store, but the flavor seems a bit, well, off. Sort of muddy, I guess. When the folks over at POM Wonderful offered to send me some of their juice to try, I jumped on the chance. I’d seen it at Publix, but was reluctant to pick it up because it was more expensive than the other brands I had tried, and I didn’t want to spend the money on it, only to be disappointed later (Hey, we’re living in some tough economic times, and I’m a bit of a high-maintenance gal—I try to save a buck where I can so that I can spend more money on shoes. Or makeup). I figured why not? I don’t have anything to lose with free juice, right?

So, the POM people came through, and a case of the stuff arrived at my house, along with lots of interesting literature about the health benefits of pomegranate juice; additionally, there was some info about medical research and POM 100% pomegranate juice. In the studies cited, regular consumption was found to improve cardiovascular, prostate, and erectile health. Not only that, but it is an antioxidant powerhouse, surpassing red wine, grape juice, blueberry juice, cranberry juice, green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E in its antioxidant punch. More information about the research studies can be found on POM’s website. It all sounded good, but how did it taste?

We flew through the case; and Flamenco Dad, Zoe, and I loved it. The flavor was spot on: tart, not too sweet, and fresh-tasting. It didn’t have that muddy, dull flavor of some of the others pomegranate juices I had tried in the past. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I do. Now I’m buying it every week to store in my fridge, and I drink it once every day—and I am working it into my grocery budget.

*Note: I do not receive monetary compensation for product reviews—I’m just here to share my opinions about products both good and bad.

Not Bleak At All

I’ve been doing a TON of reading this semester. Reading two or more books simultaneously has proven to be a challenge, but so far my sanity is still intact. I think. What have I been working on? Take, for example, the following:

bleak-house

Bleak House. Nine-hundred and eighty-nine pages of Charles Dickens at his best. I know not everyone out there is a Dickens fan; but if you are, then get thee to a bookstore or library as fast as you can and pick up this book. When I saw this book at the university bookstore–I was buying my textbooks for this semester–I panicked. But I am proud to say that I read it from cover to cover, and I adore this novel.

I just rented the BBC interpretation of the novel (starring Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock), and I’m enjoying that as well. Oh, how I love the Victorians!

Rediscovering a Childhood Favorite

I took Zoe and Ayden to Barnes and Noble (a.k.a my second home) to spend some of their Christmas booty, and we let out a collective cheer when we found this in the music and media section of the store:

schoolhouse-rock

Like many other children of the 70s, I sang along to my Schoolhouse Rock favorites every Saturday morning. Now in my late 30s (cough, cough), I still remember many of my favorites. Disney released this DVD, which–as the cover indicates–includes every SR song ever created. My kids and I have been singing ever since picking up this little gem. And it does my heart good to hear my kids singing “Interplanet Janet,” “I’m Just a Bill,” and “Conjunction Junction.”

Holy Chocolate Chips, Batman!

Yum!

Yum!

Every now and then I’ll find a recipe online that is just outstanding. I gather up ingredients and give it a go; and all the components work together harmoniously to create magic. I decided to try a chocolate chip cookie recipe posted by Ginger Lemon Girl. I am not exaggerating when I say that these are some of the best cookies–GFCF or not–that I have ever eaten. In my life. And believe me, this mama has eaten more than her fair share of cookies.

The batch I made with the kids did not last but 2 days in my house. Before the kids return to school on Tuesday I’m going to make some more. Hopefully they’ll last long enough to make an appearance in their lunchboxes.

Is This Normal?

There may be something wrong with me: I have developed an unnatural attachment to a gift  my very special Santa gave to me. Behold, the shoes:sofft-corine1

You can’t hear me, but I’m squealing with delight over here. Cue the girly giggle noises! I know that they don’t look like the most practical shoes in the world, but they’re remarkably comfortable; and as a bonus, they make my giant canoe feet look dainty and feminine. Sweet! I also received this, which makes my hair smell good enough to eat. I’d say that I was a pretty girl girl this year, because Santa really hooked me up.