May 31, 2010

Summer lovin

I love ...

The way cool rain smells when it hits the hot pavement.

Naps on the couch after pancake breakfasts.

Fudgy, chocolatey, buttery brownies that remind me of being little at my grandparents' house.

Summer rain from my porch.

Long weekends and mondays that feel like Sundays.

Homemade iced coffee.

Planning birthday cakes.

Flowers in my new garden.

May 25, 2010

The rest of my family

I've always said that I'm lucky enough to have two homes and two families: my actual blood family and home here in Indiana and my camp family in North Carolina. Both have made me the girl I am today.

In the most recent issue of Outside magazine, Mondamin, Green Cove's brother camp, is named one of five "Camps That Kick Ass" in the country. Hello, I knew this, but I'm so glad my favorite place is getting recognition besides the obviously-biased article I wrote in Jack and Jill. Blue Ridge Now did a write-up of the article in Outside magazine. Here's a short quote from the write-up.

More than 60 percent of the camp's counselors are former campers and many of Mondamin's boys are second- or third-generation campers, [Robert] Danos [activity director] said.
"We can tell parents who are shopping for camps when they ask how do you know these kids so well, it's because we've helped raise them," Danos said.

That literally made me almost cry. (OK, I'm very camp-sick right now considering the time of year, let's keep that in mind...) It's just so true. Camp helped raise me, from the ages of 11 to 23. I cannot wait to send my kids to camp there. It's this amazing tradition and this incredible amount of caring and sense of family. All of that is what makes camp the place it is. A home away from home and a second family.  

May 21, 2010

Pie...uhm Food...Catch Up

I've decided on a new name for my bakery: Piebelly.

I've been baking like a crazy woman lately. It relieves stress, and there's been plenty of stress in my work life lately. Chocolate chip and pecan-cranberry brown sugar cookies, strawberry rhubarb crisp, rum-soaked banana bread, hummingbird cupcakes, sugar cream pie, triple berry pie...

The triple berry pie I'm calling my best pie yet and so I'm sharing it after the jump. It's the perfect summer berry pie: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, though I'm sure you could easily substitute raspberries in there. I usually use flour to juice up my filling, but my aunt mentioned tapioca, so I thought I'd give it a try. Must've worked well, since the pie was so damn good. I also made some vanilla whipped cream, just softly whipped, to plerp on top. Delicious dessert for a few days.

In a way, this pie was also a 717 pie (the 717 being the magical yellow house that we lived in, with a fourth roommate whom we no longer speak of, in Bloomington for two years). The pie bird, a little guy with a hole in his beak that you settle in the center of your filling and then place your top crust over, was a gift from Samantha. The cheerfully purple-dotted pie dish was a gift from Marnie. Maybe that's why it was so good!

My weekend will be filled with rhubarb thanks to Smitten Kitchen. Moist and sweet rhubarb coffee cake and little rhubarb tarts. This has most definitely been the spring of rhubarb.

Music Catch Up

I've had The National's new but not really new (it's mostly covers, rereleases, and live tracks) album, The Virginia EP, for about a month now, but I just gave it a good listen for the first time today. Maybe it's something about my mood; Matt Berninger's melancholy voice makes me ache a little. Maybe the persistently rainy, gray weather fits the steady rhythm of the album. I don't know why, but I've fallen in love with them again. Check out their MySpace page. Particularly listen to "Slow Show," "Secret Meeting," and "Daughters of the SoHo Riots."

Mumford & Sons has also been making a steady appearance on my Recently Played playlist. They're a delightful folky rock band that sounds a little like the Avett Brothers, and somehow a little like Iron & Wine. The album, Sigh No More, sounds familiar the whole way through. I love the way each song steadily builds and builds, vocals, sweet harmonies, and guitar becoming more powerful and frantic. My two favorites right now are "Winter Winds" and "Timshels." You can find their album on their MySpace.

Sorry, I'm not feeling the YouTube videos directly on my posts today. Just do the extra work for these two bands. It'll be worth it.

Aaaaand festival season is here! What's on my schedule for this year? Well, Lollapalooza is looking somewhat unexciting this year. Their headliners make me a little sad. Lady Gaga? Really guys? I realize she's popular and that she has this wow factor about her, but last year the Yeah Yeah Yeahs headlined. The Killers. Kings of Leon. I saw Death Cab there a few years ago. These bands make real music. Don't get me wrong, I respect Lady Gaga for the fact that she can put on quite a show. She's an entertainer. But not someone to headline Lolla. We also have Green Day, whose new music I don't listen to. Nope. If I liked Soundgarden, I'd be excited for their reunion in Grant Park. Though, OK, now that I'm looking at the whole lineup again, I see lots of bands that I love, so maybe I'll wait until the schedule comes out and buy a one or two day pass. I do love seeing live shows in the middle of downtown Chicago, especially after dark, with the bright skyline as a backdrop. Magical, really. I'd love to go to Forecastle in Louisville though. That one should happen.

Happy music Friday kiddos!