Friday, May 24, 2013

Summer Sangria and Stevia Dark Chocolate Pudding

Gypsy Slow Down

Well here I am with a lot to do today but of course I'll blog first, no time like the present to procrastinate! I need to pack for our anniversary trip this weekend to Asheville (what! we are actually getting away for the weekend, so excited) and get my oil changed, which I really do not enjoy doing, and run errands. But it can wait.

The other day I was sitting at work
and I pulled out my day planner which I really hadn't looked at since the wedding. 

I flipped back to September and it was drawn all over; 
showers here, family here, church things there. 
And October was our trip and Witt's surprise party and my birthday and 
church things and busy busy. 
November was the same with new life and get togethers and of course 
December with Christmas fun and the holiday parties and then 
January with New Years and my best friend's bachelorette party 
and after that it just really took off. 
From the Super Bowl to wedding cakes and Easter to 
May with Mary's wedding and my sweet Grandfather passing away,
 it has been a full year since last summer.

 I'm so thankful. I love having a full life. 

But on the other side of things...
I feel so peaceful because June, July and August are stretching out bare 
and I know that things are slowing down for a time. 
I will fill them how I will for once and so it just feels like summer is a fresh start this year
 and a blank page. 

Gypsy Slow Down

One thing I love about Spring and Summer and where we live is, of course, eating outside. 
We had my grandparents over the other night and it was just so lovely to sit at the table under the trees with the cool breeze and the candles flickering and good conversation. 

I made a really good southwestern bruschetta.
 I used the corn salsa recipe that I posted a while back,
modified it and put it over pan toasted bread with tomatoes and avocados. 
And of course, white sangria, which turned out really good;
fresh and summery with mango, pineapple and green apple. 
We also had grilled chicken, caesar salad,
basil, tomato and mozzarella salad and oven roasted potatoes with rosemary. 
Pretty much my favorite foods. 

I have to take a few pictures of every gathering because I just do.
I want to remember these summer days in the little brick house.

Gypsy Slow Down

Gypsy Slow Down

I love having people over. I love planning parties. I know not everyone is that way, 
but to me it's just so much fun to cook and put things together.

And I have found that the key to having small get togethers,
 especially when you get home from work
at 6:15 and the guests will arrive at 7:00 like this night,
is to do everything in advance. 

Prep has made me look forward to having people over because I don't need a full day to cook.
 I can chop all the foods, marinade the chicken, cook the bacon and make things like the sangria and the dessert the night before. So all I have to do is run around like a mad person for a few minutes the day of, setting the table and putting on music.
Do last minute cooking.
Throw all the pieces together. 
And I can actually sit and eat appetizers and chat.

Ya'll probably know about that already, but it only took me three years to learn. 

Gypsy Slow Down

Gypsy Slow Down

Gypsy Slow Down

Gypsy Slow Down

For dessert we had stevia sweetened dark chocolate pudding with whipped cream and fresh strawberries that Witt's friend Dave had brought us. It must be the year for strawberries because these were so sweet and juicy. I may or may not have eaten the leftovers with whipped cream for breakfast the next morning. 

Southwestern Bruschetta with Spicy Corn and Avocado
Makes about 16 rounds

1 small onion, diced
4 tablespoons butter plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons diced jalapenos
2 cups frozen or fresh corn
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 avocado, diced
1 fresh tomato, diced
1 loaf hearty multi-grain bread, cut into rounds

Saute the onion and butter on medium heat until onion is soft. Add jalapenos and corn and saute for about 10 minutes, until corn is soft and browned, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and saute for about 2 more minutes. In another pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add the bread rounds, toasting each side. Remove from pan and top with the corn salsa, tomato and avocado. Serve warm.

Summer Sangria- serves up to 8

2 bottles dry white wine
2 1/2 cups sparkling water flavored with orange (I used 2 ocean spray no sugar added cans)
2 green apples, sliced
2 oranges, sliced
1 mango, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup rum
1/8 cup stevia, optional if you like sweeter sangria

Add ingredients together and let meld for about an hour. Serve cold.

Dark Chocolate Pudding with Stevia

1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate square
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup half and half
3 heaping tablespoons corn starch
1/2 to 1 cup stevia, depending on sweetness preference
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place chocolate square and heavy cream in saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for about 2 minutes until chocolate is melted. In separate bowl combine the cocoa, half and half, corn starch, stevia and vanilla and mix well. Add to the heavy cream mixture and cook on medium until bubbly and thickened. Serve with fresh whipped cream and strawberries.


A link to share because it's important, my sister posted this on her blog about her journey overcoming an eating disorder. I just thought it was so powerful.

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