Tuesday, November 1, 2016

So much for a change

To everyone who is calling for change this political season. Sorry, but I think you’re lying. You say you want to shake up the system. To change the way things are done in Washington. I'm calling bullshit. The President only has so much power - he (or she) can propose and advocate for the changes everyone says they want, but aside from some (hopefully) limited executive powers, real change happens in the halls of Congress.

I hear a LOT of people from both parties talking about how Congress is broken. Overall, approval ratings of Congress are so low that we’re reading them in decimal points. Negotiation and cooperation across party lines, which are pretty much essential for getting things done, have become symbols of weakness. The next Congress hasn't even started yet, and the incumbents are already bragging about how obstructionist they are going to be. Yet everyone keeps putting this collection of clowns back into the car.  They hate Congress, but they like THEIR Congressman/woman.

Consider this:

All 435 House seats are up for grabs. Incumbents are trying for reelection in 394 of those races. Only 5 of those incumbents lost in their party's primary, and just 24 races are considered to be even possibly competitive for the incumbent (according to Ballotpedia).

But what about the Senate, where everyone keeps talking about a flip-flop and “big changes” because the teeter-totter of control might switch by one or two members? There are 34 Senate races taking place this year. Incumbents are running in 29 of them, and in 20 are safe bets for reelection. But in 3 of the 9 races that are competitive, the incumbent is running against one of the 12 House members who decided to try for something bigger. House members also account for at least one of the contestants in each of the 5 "open" races."

So what it boils down to folks... we had 469 opportunities to make a change, and it looks like we're going to blow most of them.  Unless people go to the polls, forget about party lines and just say NO to every incumbent, come January, anywhere from 83-90% of the current crop of bozos will be coming back to dish up some more dysfunction.

Welcome to your change, America. This is your circus. These are your clowns.
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Something is broken, but it's not my foot

Peroneal tendonitis. That's a fancy word for "you twisted your foot and it won't get better if you insist on wearing flip-flops and ballet flats." After weeks of a mildly annoying achy foot, and an x-ray to rule out a stress fracture, that was the podiatrist's diagnosis. Treatment: a lecture on proper footwear and a prescription anti-inflammatory for a month while it heals.

And that's where the real problem started. The doctor prescribed a pill called Vimovo, twice a day. She gave me a few samples and said she was calling it in to a pharmacy in Acworth (I was in Midtown) that would mail me the 30-day supply. She said it was like Aleve, but wouldn't upset my stomach to take twice a day.

I've had issues before where an allergy doctor prescribed me a really expensive version of Flonase that wasn't covered by my insurance, so when I got back to the office, I went on to my health insurance website to check the coverage. 

Vimovo is not covered. And a 30-day supply of this wonder drug from a mail order pharmacy would cost me $1,916.98, according to my insurance company. Holy crap! So I called the insurance company to verify. Yep, it's not covered. Then I looked up Vimovo find out what was so great about this insanely expensive little pill. And you know what, it's not just "like Aleve." It IS Aleve. TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR ALEVE, WITH A COATING OF NEXIUM! 

So I called the pharmacy to cancel the prescription, because just hell no. The pharmacist tells me that they have a partnership with the company that makes Vimovo, and that I'll only have to pay $10 and the manufacturer absorbs what my insurance doesn't cover. What kind of bullshit is this?!?!? Now I'm sure that Horizon Pharma isn't taking a massive loss out of concern for my health - you can bet that they are probably making a profit on the drug at the $10 cost, which comes out to 6 cents per pill (and trying to get the remaining $1906 (or at least part of it) from SOMEBODY.  Probably my insurance company, who will then try to get it from me, or bitch about high costs and raise my/my firm's rates.  

To compare: the Vimovo pill would cost somebody who actually has to pay the market price about $64 per day for the month I need to take it. If I go to CVS and buy large-size bottles of generic aleve and prilosec (cheaper version of Nexium), I can take the exact same dosage of the same meds for about $1.20 per day.

I also found this New York Times article about Horizon, which bought the patent on the Vimovo from Astra Zeneca and  upped the price about by 1200% over a two-year period. Their other big money drug is a similarly overpriced combo of motrin and pepcid. And the company isn't run by PT Barnum, although CEO Timothy Welbert probably shares Barnum's views on the rate of stupidity among American consumers.

Now when it comes to my health, I'll admit I've been pretty lucky so far (sound effect= one very loud knock on wood). Heading into middle age, I've had very few problems, I've have always been fortunate enough to have very good health insurance coverage, and like to think I'm reasonably intelligent enough to do the research about procedures, drugs and costs.

But you know what, I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority, and that lots of people are getting really screwed over by greedy pharmaceutical companies, greedy insurance companies, or doctors and pharmacies who are probably getting all sorts of kickbacks and fancy lunches for prescribing this stuff. 

We need to admit that the system is broken. We need to admit that we can do better. We need to look at most other industrialized countries who have some form of a national health system and have lower costs and better health outcomes (better mortality rates, lower disease rates, higher quality of care,etc.).

But for now, I'm  going to do the only three things I can do: vote for politicians who want to see the system change, stop by CVS on the way home, and buy a new pair of Sketchers.
Friday, September 16, 2016

Potlucks, picnics and family traditions

Feeding an army is something that we Southern women do well. So far this month, my church had an outdoor service and potluck picnic. Then I spent Labor Day hanging out with my family and brought dessert. Then last weekend was the Hunton family (Mom's side) reunion on Sunday. Suffice to say, it's been a busy month in my kitchen!

When I was little, the family reunion was a huge deal, involving descendants (mostly) of my great grandparents. They had five children, and my grandparents had eleven, which means that I have a LOT of family out there. The reunion is always held at the Marietta Campmeeting -- an old Methodist revival campground. As a child, it was a chance to play with dozens of seldom-seen cousins and drink lemonade from a giant metal washtub perched at the end of a 20-foot long picnic table that was literally packed end-to-end with fried chicken, ham and every southern side dish you could imagine.

The pic is my great grand-father (kneeling) and his brothers at a family reunion in the 1930s, me with my cousin Whitney in the late 80s, and the campmeeting church today.

Potlucks aren't about fancy food, or things that don't travel well, or that just don't "go" with other foods. It's all about pure southern comfort, and for that, here are two great models, and two great recipes that I've made for these recent events.

For the church potluck, it was corn pudding from Pat Conroy's cookbook.  My all-time favorite southern writer, that cookbook is as much of a treat to read as it is to cook from.  This particular recipe has become one of my favorites - it's not gummy or heavy, like the corn pudding most people make from a boxed cornbread mix. It's light, fluffy and absolutely delicious. 

Pat Conroy's Corn Pudding

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 12-oz bags frozen corn

Melt butter - whisk in sugar, flour, milk, eggs and baking powder until smooth. Stir in corn and pour into l2-quart casserole dish (spray with pam or melted butter first). Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes -- firm and lightly browned on top.

For the reunion, I pretty much HAVE to bring buttermilk pie. The recipe is from my Aunt Gladys, and I remember it from every family-get-together growing up. If you're not southern and think buttermilk pie sounds weird, just wait until you try this sweet and tangy custard.

Aunt Gladys' Buttermilk Custard

3 eggs
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
2 tbsp flour
dash salt
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
uncooked deep dish pie crust

Cover pie edges with foil so they won't over-brown and preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs, then mix in butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla and buttermilk. Pour into pie crust and bake 30-40 minutes until golden. Cool completely before eating (it's actually better the second day).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The day with the bluest sky

So fifteen years. Wow. That day when the world changed. A few weeks ago, I was searching in my filing cabinet for my eyeglass prescription, and as I pulled out the file marked "medical records," I happened to notice the one in front of it marked "maps."  As in about a dozen of the old-fashioned paper kind that haven't seen the light of day since I got my first iphone. Out of curiosity and a little nostalgia, I unfolded the first one, a streetfinder map of Manhattan that I bought for a weekend getaway with a boyfriend in early 2001. Seeing the World Trade Center buildings marked in tourist-attraction pink on that little map gave me a goose-over-my-grave feeling, and took me back.

Of course everybody who is old enough remembers exactly what they were doing that day. I was leaving my house late to drive to work (rather than take the Metro as I usually did) after an early morning meeting with a printer had been postponed. I saw the news about the first plane as I was getting ready to walk out the door. I stopped to watch, then saw the second plane hit before going into work. By the time I got to the office, the news stations were reporting that DC had been targeted as well, although the info was unclear.  My office was just three blocks from the White House, and we all stood together in a fearful huddle in the conference room wondering what was happening and what we should do. Eventually, we closed up the office and left. I gave my boss a ride home. The drive, which on a good day takes about 20 minutes, took about two and a half hours that day. Carolyn and I listened to the radio the whole way and tried to use our cell phones with little luck.

My most vivid memory of the day came later in the afternoon. After hours of watching the news unfold on TV, I decided to walk to the convenience store down the block for some diet coke. I'll never forget that walk, because it seemed so surreal to me that a day of such horror could be so perfectly beautiful. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping in the park I passed by, there was a little breeze, and the sky was a unbelievable, travel-poster-worthy shade of blue. It felt like a day for picnics, or celebrations, or a glass of wine and watching the world go by on a sidewalk cafe. It just seemed so peaceful and pretty, and yet eerily quiet and somehow so WRONG.

Ultimately it was only the first of many surreal moments that followed over the next few weeks. Seeing tanks and armed soldiers on DC street corners. Driving on the highway past the Pentagon and seeing that horrible, gaping hole. Hearing the stories of friends who had close calls, or who lost their own friends and loved ones. Fifteen years have passed, and it seems like those sad days are at once a lifetime ago, and not so very long at all.

At the time, I remember Rudy Giuliani offering a prayer at a Ground Zero memorial service. And while I can't say that I think too highly of him today, he chose the perfect sentiment for that moment -- the "Francis of Assisi" prayer, which remains beautiful and necessary to me in this crazy world that we are still in:

"Lord, make us an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life."

Friday, September 9, 2016

Steph's Top 10: Movies I Love

Every once in a while at work, my boss or I will make a movie reference when we're talking to the younger members of our team. Most of the time, they’ll say they have never seen the movie in question, so I joke that I'm going to make a an educational list of movies they really need to check out. 

Well, here it is. But these aren’t really the serious films that I appreciate because they make some sort of statement about the world, or are marvelous examples of technical craft. These also aren’t the action films or cheesy disaster movies that are just plain fun to watch (Pierce Bronson v. volcanoes, The Rock v. earthquakes). These are just movies that I love and find myself watching over and over again.

In no particular order other than how they popped into my mind at 5:00 am when I can’t go back to sleep. I’ve been wanting to start making Top Ten lists, but I just couldn’t narrow this one down.

The English Patient. It’s such a haunting, lovely book, and Anthony Minghella picked up the mood perfectly to make a stunningly beautiful film.

A Fish Called Wanda. John Cleese makes an surprisingly adorable romantic hero (bonus points if you know where his character's name originated). Add Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Palin to the mix, and you've got comedy perfection. Just don't call me stupid.

Pulp Fiction/Kill Bill. I just couldn't pick between my favorite Tarantino films, but either way, Uma Thurman is pretty freaking awesome.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Yes, it soft-pedals prostitution and Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi is offensively racist from a modern perspective, but oh, George Peppard is adorable.

Sense and Sensibility. While I love P&P, Elinor Dashwood is the Jane Austen heroine I identify with the most.

Much Ado About Nothing. Possibly the most accessible Shakespeare. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson at her most luminous. And Benedick and Beatrice are pretty much the model for every rom-com couple since 1598.

Grosse Point Blank. Like The Breakfast Club, this is pretty much microtargeted on my generation. Nobody shot anyone at my 10-year reunion, but other than that…

The Thomas Crown Affair (the 90s remake). Smart and sexy as hell, and after 20-something years, I still want EVERY SINGLE OUTFIT Michael Kors designed for Rene Russo.

An Officer and a Gentleman. I’ve seen it a million times, and I still go mushy at the end when he sweeps her up in his arms. Every damn time.

Steel Magnolias. When I’m old, I will be Clairee. If you’re a woman in the South, this movie pretty much has a quote for every situation in life.

The Breakfast Club. This is high school. And it's everything.

Almost Famous. Sex drugs and rock 'n' roll through sweetly funny, rose-tinted glasses.

Hope and Glory. WWII-era London from the viewpoint of a 10-year-old boy. Who knew the Blitz could be so funny.

Dangerous  Liaisons. Deliciously, viciously, elegantly mean. Glenn Close and John Malkovich are super villains in 17th century clothing who wield words as weapons.

Chocolat. Juliette Binoche livens up a stuffy little French Village in the 1950s. And yes, that is Trinity from The Matrix in the shirtwaist and pearls.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Colds and comfort food

I've got four posts that don't actually include recipes in some sort of draft form right now, but I've managed to catch a late-summer cold. I'm heavily under the influence of various pharmaceuticals and not feeling very coherent or creative at the moment, so I'll share a few more easy, quick dinners. And a cake, because even when I feel like crap, I have to get off the sofa at some point during the day, and I had strawberries in the fridge that needed to be used.

Mediterranean Nachos

I've mentioned my undying love for Smitten Kitchen before, and this is one of my favorites. As usual, I like recipes that leave me a lot of wiggle room.  Once you make the beans (an I usually cut this recipe in half) and pile them on some pita chips, you can get creative with the toppings.  You can make Deb's salad and tahini, or maybe some chopped tomatoes and feta, or just a few dollops of that Skinnytaste tzatziki I'm crazy about. And if you use canned chickpeas, it comes together in about a half hour, which makes this dish even more awesome.

Pasta with Lemon, Spinach and Goat Cheese
This one originally came from Martha Stewart Living. I add 2-3 tablespoons of grated parmesan to the sauce - I think it gives it a bit more flavor. Also, I figured out a great trick -- place your chopped spinach in a colander, then once you reserve your cup of pasta water, dump out the pasta into the colander and let it sit and drain while you make the sauce. It will wilt the spinach just a bit.  Also, you can substitute grilled chicken for the walnuts and it's really good too!

Strawberry Cake
This was a Pinterest win for sure. Not too sweet, slightly lemony and full of fresh strawberries, this is a great cake for summer picnics, sick days on the sofa, and even for breakfast (not that I've ever done that) :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mexican Salad - fast and slow

So it's been a busy couple of weeks, and when I have a lot of stuff to do in the evenings, my first instinct is usually to grab fast food or takeout. When I lived in Virginia, the fast meal of choice was often Cafe Rio -- a west coast-based quick mexican chain. Their chicken salad is out of this world - a fresh flour tortilla, baked with cheese and filled with beans, cilantro lime rice, shredded chicken, romaine, pico, guacamole, tortilla strips, cotija cheese and tomatillo ranch dressing.

Since I'm now 500 miles away from this bowl of absolute deliciousness (and Willy's salads, while good, aren't quite the same), I've perfected a way to make my own version that is easy to make, reheats well in the microwave and can be somewhat healthy (if you skip the cheese and rice). The shredded chicken is super-simple in the crock pot, and is great for burritos, enchiladas, or anything mexican-inspired.

Cafe Rio Copycat Chicken

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup fat-free zesty italian dressing
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 small can diced green chiles
1 tsp chipotle hot sauce or chipotle powder (or to taste)

Place chicken breasts and chiles in slow cooker Whisk spices into dressing and pour over chicken. Toss to coat. Cook 4-6 hours. About an hour to a half-hour before serving, shred chicken in the pot with two forks and continue to cook.

Added bonus - you can re-create the tomatillo ranch by chopping up and blending two tomatillos and a fresh jalapeƱo pepper into a bottle of fat-free ranch dressing!
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Veggie Overload!

As mentioned last week, my veggie bin is an overstuffed monument to good intentions. 

Every time I think I have a handle on it, I'll do something crazy like making a spontaneous after-work trip to the DeKalb Farmers Market (how much do I love that place).Of course, I overbought. :)

So with wonderful things like tomatoes and zucchini in high season, here are a few of the things I'm making this week to use up some of the goodies in the drawer.

Zoodles with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese
This is about as easy as it gets. If you don't have a spiralizer gadget to make zoodles, this actually does taste just as good with diced zucchini. And if you want to bulk it up a bit, it also works great tossed in with some cooked rotini and a splash more oil and vinegar for a hot or cold pasta salad. 

how to make it (per serving):
1 smallish zucchini, spiralized or diced
1 mini sweet pepper (red, yellow or orange), finely diced
2 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
drizzle of olive oil

Saute the zucchini and pepper together with a little bit of olive oil until the veggies start to soften and brown. Sprinkle with sugar and drizzle vinegar on top. Continue cooking until veggies are slightly browned (less if you like more crunch). Stir in goat cheese crumbles and serve immediately.

Barefoot Contessa's Panzanella
Ina Garden is my ultimate foodie crush. I love just about every one of her recipes I've tried, but this may be my favorite. I could just about live off this stuff. It's that good. I like to make it with grape tomatoes cut in half, and I usually go a little lighter on the peppers and capers. One shortcut I often use are these frozen garlic cubes, that I usually get at Trader Joe's. I keep a package or two in my freezer at all times. They work anywhere you need fresh minced garlic, and they really taste fresh, not like the nasty old-sweat taste of the jarred stuff. They also make frozen basil... if you don't have fresh basil to toss in with the salad, just add a cube or two to the vinaigrette in this recipe and it works fine. Also, while frying the bread as directed is amazing, it does soak up quite a bit of oil. If you want to be a little healthier, you can mist the bread cubes lightly with an olive oil mister and bake them in the oven at 300 degrees, stirring once or twice until the bread is browned and crunchy to your taste. Also, if you want protein over delicious, toasty, garlicky carbs, you can skip the bread and add a can of drained, rinsed chickpeas for a different take.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Finding Frogs

Over the past few weeks, I've been cautiously dipping my toes into the world of online dating. And let me tell you... it's scary out there folks. 

I actually met my ex-husband online, which I suppose isn't a stellar recommendation, since he turned out to be a boil on the butt of humanity (there's a Steel Magnolias quote for pretty much every situation in life, isn't there?). But I have friends who have met perfectly charming guys who became perfectly lovely boyfriends or husbands, so figured I'd give it another try.

While I have tentatively struck up conversations with a couple of guys that do seem nice, I'll share some initial observations:

1. Maybe I'm just getting old (OK, probably), but I have a sneaky suspicion that a lot of these men are shaving a few years, if not decades, off their ages. 

2. Manitoba does not qualify as "within 50 miles of Atlanta." Although if Trump wins, I might reconsider.

3. Screen names that end in "4U" AND mention a body part or sexual position are actually kind of a turn-off. Ditto screen names that include "LUV."

4. If every last one of his pictures include images of fishing, dead animals, motorcycles and NASCAR stadiums, I'm just not sure we're going to have that much in common.

5. While they're probably judging my boobs and my butt, I'm judging their grammatical and spelling choices.

Bonus. Professional wrestlers need not apply.  Especially those in metallic hot pants and a keffiyeh. I'm not kidding. Really. And keep in mind the age range of my dating profile. I need eye bleach.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

How Girly-Girls Hunt

The excitement of the hunt, the thrill of the chase... for me it's antique hunting, and it's definitely an inherited trait. One of my mom's favorite things to do was to browse around junky antique stores. She and my cousin Becky would roam all around Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee to every antique mall, regional show and out-of-the way junk shop they could find -- and I was usually happy to tag along. The first piece of furniture I bought for myself was a 1920s chifferobe for $145 -- a staggering sum to me at age 19!

When I moved into my first apartment, Mom was there help fill the space with some fun pieces like a stained glass window panel and a vintage typewriter. And she kept bugging me to pick "something" to collect, so she'd have something specific to hunt for me. For her, it was English chintz china, in a specific pattern. She might buy other things that caught her eye, but that was her "hunt" - every store she went into, she was on the lookout for a new piece. When I'd go to antique shows or shops around DC, I knew her pattern, and the one Becky liked, and would keep an eye out.

Mom wanted something to be looking for for me, preferably china or glass, but I didn't have a clue... I was in a smallish apartment with a teeny-tiny kitchen. And knowing my Mom's tendencies for going overboard and being extremely generous, I wanted to pick something hard to find, so I wouldn't get shipments by the truckload!

Looking around my apartment, I noticed some pink depression glass candlesticks that my high-school bestie had given me when I moved away. And a second pair I had bought with Mom and my aunt at a flea market in Mobile. So I called my mom and said my collection was going to be "pink depression glass candlesticks." There! I had picked something so specific, there was no way I would be inundated! That Christmas, I got two more sets of pink glass candlesticks. Plus eight pink wineglasses, a pink glass candy dish, a pink glass platter and some miniature pink glass cordials. Oh dear...

Thus began my love of depression glass. Over the ears, I've expanded my color palette, and tried to limit myself to one pattern per color. Still, I've got two jam-packed china cabinets full of sparkly stuff proving that yes, I am my mother's daughter in so many ways.

Last month, I was finally able to make it to a depression glass show held near my house, and despite endless temptations, walked away with just two small pieces in my chosen pattern, and the guest pitcher set above, that I just couldn't resist. Isn't it cute? I've got friends coming into town this month and crashing in my guest room/office -- maybe they'll be thirsty!
Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Week Full of Yummy (and healthy)

The vegetable bin in my fridge... the place where good intentions go to die. Especially in the summer, when a trip to the farmer's market holds endless temptations. But life gets busy, and after work, a trip to the gym and errands here and there, too many days I come home and cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do. 

So this afternoon, I've had a cooking bonanza, and made a few healthy things that I can take to work for weekday lunches or eat on the quick in the evening.  These are some of my tried-and-true recent favorites that I hope you'll enjoy... I know I will.

Sheet Pan Tikka Masala
Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite foodie websites, and this one from Deb doesn't disappoint. One thing I like about her recipes is that there is usually a lot of room to improvise and substitute with what you have on hand.  For this dish, I used chicken breast tenderloins cut into chunks instead of thighs, and since I had some Penzey's vindaloo spice blend, I added a 1/2 tsp of that. I marinated the chicken, potatoes and cauliflower in the spice-yogurt mix (fat-free yogurt to keep the calories down), then added some sliced red onion before cooking. This is so good, you don't really even need the chicken. I could just eat a plateful of the veggies - the cauliflower is to die for!

Greek Chicken Poppers
These chicken meatballs come together quickly, and the zucchini keeps the chicken from drying out in the oven. I grate about 1/4 cup of onion into the mix instead of the chopped green onions, leave out the cilantro (I'm one of those people with a genetic disposition to hate the stuff) and add 2 tsp of Penzey's greek seasoning. They don't look all that pretty, but with some tzatziki on top, they taste great!(this one from Skinnytaste is fat-free and delicious)

Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet
This is a really easy, flavorful dish. I usually cut the recipe in half, and use turkey kielbasa to make it healthier -- you may need to up the olive oil a bit if you find the cabbage sticking to the pan, as the turkey sausage adds flavor, but doesn't render as much fat as the regular kind (which is good thing in the end). Also, you can use any light vinegar if you don't have rice wine vinegar - maybe reduce the amount a little bit though.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to the Blog

So this blog has been a bit of a start-and-stop for me, but here I go again... it may be sporadic, it may be random, but hey, it's my party, or so the song says. Expect a little bit of politics, a little bit of house envy, a whole lot of recipes, and maybe more. Life is a journey, and I'm enjoying mine more than I have in a long time, so hopefully I'll have exciting, or at least interesting and perhaps funny things to share.
Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bourbon Citrus Slushies

My introduction to bourbon came at my first UGA football game as a college freshman, poured into plastic cups of Coca-Cola. While the stadium was technically "dry," the smuggled-in liquor flowed freely. A suspicious police officer might check a frat boy’s blazer or look for a flask-shaped bulge in the pocket of his dockers (khaki or bulldog red, of course!), but no cop in the 1980s deep south was ever going to look under a girl’s dress. Those  big-skirted Laura Ashley monstrosities came in handy for hiding a flask or two. And while garters seemed classier, they weren’t terribly practical... bandage tape worked much better for keeping that flask in place! :)

Growing older, my appreciation for bourbon has become a bit more, um, adult. My go-to drink is bourbon and ginger ale with a slice of lime, and when presented with a fancy cocktail list, I'll usually go for the bourbon-based ones. In Atlanta, 1821 Bitters has an apple cardamon shrub that is particularly tasty with bourbon and ginger ale... 

On vacation last summer, I mixed up a batch of Garden & Gun’s Bourbon Slush Punch for a lazy afternoon with friends. And while we all thought the combo of citrus, bourbon and strong tea was a winner, we decided the recipe was a tad too sweet, and began to adjust accordingly. Working with what was on hand, we added some ginger ale. The next day we made a new batch, and adjusted a little more.  I’ve tried it a few times since, and a couple of weeks ago, I think I hit slushy perfection. 

And what's even better - you can keep the base in the freezer and make them one or two at a time. INSTANT BOURBON SLUSHY! NO BLENDER NEEDED! I may just be a genius. :) 

How to make it:
  • 2 cups strong tea
  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • One large container frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • Diet ginger ale (ok, it doesn't have to be diet, but it makes me feel better)
Mix the first five ingredients in a tupperware bowl with a tightly sealing lid. Freeze completely. When you want a slushy (or two, or six), drop a few ice cubes in the bottom of a tall glass (to help your drink stay frozen longer). Use an ice cream scoop and fill the glass loosely with the frozen punch base. Top off with ginger ale and enjoy frozen slushy, boozy goodness.