Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Live to Eat: Beat the Heat...with food of course!

The last few weeks San Diego's weather has been unimpressive and then suddenly came the heat.  Not just any heat, but the "I've melted into my seat and can't move" kind.  If you're anything like me then hot weather equals a loss of appetite and all you want for dinner is a popsicle. It also got me that I live closer to the equator with summers full of hot days (as opposed to the central coast where most days are in the 70s), I'm going to need more than just popsicles to sustain myself.  There must be some foods that are refreshing and yet supply those necessary calories.  So I put together a list of just that.
photo credit: The Adventurous Rabbit
At the top of my list is gazpacho.  Gazpacho is a cold Spanish soup that is usually tomato-based although there are many variations. I first had gazpacho when I traveled to Barcelona.  That was seven years ago and I finally found a San Diego restaurant (Costa Brava) that serves a gazpacho as good as the one I had in Spain.  It's also relatively easy to make since there's no cooking involved.  Here's the link for the recipe we tried tonight:  (I recommend adding chunks of cucumber after blending)

Next on my list is a Caprese salad (or sandwich). This one is really simple yet the flavor combo is pretty amazing.  It involves sliced fresh buffalo mozarella, sliced tomatos, basil leaves and balsamic vinagrette or salt, pepper, and olive oil  If you prefer a sandwich stick it on a ciabatta or baguette.

Also easy on digestion are green salads.  One of my favorites for summertime is topped with fruit (raspberries, mandarin oranges, green apples), goat cheese (or you can also substitute feta or blue cheese), almonds or walnuts, and raspberry vinaigrette.  Any of the salads really are good for hot weather: corn or other vegetable salad, fruit salad or ambrosia, egg salad, tuna salad, potato salad.
Smoothies are pretty much a given for hot weather.  I like to blend up orange juice, mixed frozen berries, frozen banana (if I have bananas that start to brown I put them in the freezer with smoothies in mind), and ice.  Once in a while I'll add plain yogurt to make it a little creamier.  I worked at Jamba Juice for a few months so I've gotten the knack of how much to add of each ingredient down pretty good, but my advise is add more banana and ice to thicken and more juice to thin.

I'm still trying to refine a watermelon cocktail recipe.  I did have one made according to Bobby Flay's directions that was quite refreshing!  As my grandpa informed me, watermelon is good for reducing one's temperature when feverish, so it makes sense to ingest in hot weather.
There are some Middle Eastern dishes that are pretty satiating - tabbouleh, hummus and pita, mast-o khiar which is a Persian cucumber yogurt dish that I like over rice or with dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves).

Already cooked seafood is good too, like shrimp cocktail. The less oven use the better!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

DIY: Spray Paint Texture How To

To get the texture you see first spray paint the canvas with a solid color (blue in the pictures).  Wait for the paint to dry, about 20-30 minutes (it should give you an estimated time on the spray paint can).  Then cover the panel with a lace or fishnet stocking/tights.  I used a pair of lace stockings that had a flower pattern.  It is important to make sure the holes are not too small in whatever pattern you choose.  Stretch the stockings over the canvas until you are satisfied with the pattern and placement.  Secure the stockings in the back with a rubber band or clip. As you can see I placed the canvas on a plastic bag to keep it flat (because of the rubber band in the back it was tilted).  Then spray the second paint color (green in the pictures) either very lightly for more of a tie-dye look like in the hummingbird picture or completely coat for a more defined lace look as in the picture below.  Wait for spray paint to dry before removing the lace.  The lace may be somewhat stuck to the canvas, but it should easily peel off.  After you've finished the background texture you can then spray paint a stencil on top or whatever you would like!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Adventurous Rabbit survived her first backpacking trip!

This trip was primarily to test out my gear in preparation for joining Cameron on the John Muir Trail in August.  The trail we hiked is a section of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Caliente Wilderness.  Right away I learned the importance of proper weight placement in my pack.  The weight was too low and the straps dug into my shoulders.  We stopped for lunch and I had Mountain House Macaroni and Cheese that tasted a lot like Easy Mac, but much more filling.  After we remedied the weight issue we continued hiking. The trail was hot with limited shade and wind.  The countless bees provided motivation to hike faster past the wildflowers. After hiking about 6 miles we took a side trail to where a creek would have been earlier in the season and set up camp.  My dinner consisted of Backpacker's Pantry Pesto Salmon Pasta which was surprisingly good.  I was exhausted and ready for bed right after dinner. I can't say I slept well.  Even though I had a pad under my sleeping bag I felt the hardness of the ground.  We got an early start and made great time on the 6 miles back to the car.  I was also cursing obnoxious flies that kept buzzing around my head the entire way back.  Although I was pretty sore by the time we were done, it was a great experience!

*for more information on backpacking and hiking check out Cameron's blog:
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