What I Read: July ’14

The Language Hoax: Why the World Looks the Same in Any Language by John McWhorter: I picked up this quick read on a whim at the library and I’m so glad I did! McWhorter explores why the human experience is not shaped by language and demonstrates that any language can be used to express any sentiment. Instead, he argues that grammar cannot inform culture but rather it is culture that informs vocabulary. It was a fascinating read-especially since so many of those linguistics and Spanish classes in college highlighted how language was different.

The Serpent’s Promise: The Bible Retold thru Scienc by Steve Jones: Another non-fiction book! As someone who loved her historical Jesus course, this book was totally up my alley. Jones re-imagines many traditional biblical stories using the modern context of science – which, of course, brings it’s own magic to creation, evolution and human biology. While not going to convert any Bible thumpers, I found this to be an incredible eye-opening take on the confluence on some of these powerful belief systems.

Getting Things Done by David Allen: Alas, a work book. While I see the value in his system, I do feel like this book was written for more high powered executives. I do see adding some of these techniques into my professional and personal life but am not sure I can commit to the whole shebang.

What I Watched: Saving Mr. Banks, Mystic River, The Great Gatsby, Can’t Buy My Love, Muppet Treasure Island, Beowulf, Marvel’s The Avengers

Bocadillo de jamon

This isn’t really a recipe but we had a planned tapas night fall thru so I had several homemade baguettes, queso manchego and jamon iberico on hand. Clearly, I had to make a few of these for lunch.bocadillo de jamon

The crispness of the baguette, the creamy cheese and the slightly salty jamon made for the perfect lunch. If only it came with a one way ticket back to Madrid. I’d gorge myself on bocadillos, soak up all the sun in Parque del Retiro and waste away in the galleries of the Prado. One of my classes was very near the Prado, I spent so many afternoons wandering there and will never forget the power this van der Weyden. Most of the time, I lose myself in the mundane business of living but every once in a while, a bite of something delicious will bring back that shimmering fall.

Dinner for Two – Week 1

This is a new idea I’ve been toying around with lately-I’m always so interested in what other people eat for dinner day in and day out. Plus, I’ve been craving some regularity with meal planning lately so this might give us a break from constantly trying new stuff and let us stick with some tried and true favorites.

Here’s what was for dinner for two, last week!
7/21 Monday- Cincinnati chili (recipe coming soon but OMGZ so good)
7/22 Tuesday- grilled chicken, super rice and collard greens
7/23 Wednesday- pasta with fresh tomato sauce
7/24 Thursday- Corn Chowder Salad
7/25 Friday- salmon burgers with oven fries

Overall, I am really missing our CSA this summer-it is a much bigger struggle to get in veggies and I loved how it made me stretch my kitchen skills. Otherwise, I stick to my usual recipes and favorite foods.

Lavender Vanilla Lemonade

So, I have a problem with Penzey’s Spices. I walk in and I just get sucked into it’s vortex of amazing-ness, which is how a big old bottle dried lavender came home with me (last summer). I have been trying to come up with a way to use it and when I saw this ‘recipe’ I knew it might just be ticket. This was an incredibly tart and such a refreshing glass of lemonade. I just wish I could get more without juicing so many lemons!

lavendar vanilla lemonade~the comyn space

You’ll Need:
1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
2 heaping tsp dried lavender
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and sliced open
1 1/5 cups fresh lemon juice, about 8 lemons

lavendar vanilla lemonade~the comyn space

You’ll:
Bring the water, sugar, lavender and vanilla bean to a boil in a small sauce pot. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, juice those lemons! I used a strainer for the seeds, that really helped! Strain the flavored simple syrup and mix with lemon juice. Allow to cool and serve of copious amounts of ice.

Any other creative suggestions to use up the remaining lavender are welcomed! Otherwise, it might waste away for another year!

Brew Review~Sweet Water 402 Extra Pale Ale

Let’s get in our way way back machine to revisit this brew shall we? I was in Atlanta a long while ago but was lucky to have one one these over dinner. My little sister went to college in the South and basically the first thing out of her mouth was ‘you have to Sweet Water!’ and it does not disappoint. This extra pale ale was crisp and refreshing while maintaining a very hop forward, West Coast style. It’s a must try if you can get your hands on it!

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Stround’s Run State Park

[Admin note; I've decided I need a summer break so things will continue to be quiet here]

A few weeks ago, the mister and I decided we needed a break from the city and drove down to Athens Ohio for the day. This continues to crack me up – we get so much more green here than we did a year ago in Chicago! Every friend who has come for a visit always remarks ‘It is so GREEN in this city!’ which it is. Still isn’t enough I guess!

I got us lost, of course, we ended up getting into the park through the back entrance, which is a 4 mile long gravel road! We ended up spending the morning canoeing on the lake, which was a blast! We were planning on hiking so we didn’t have a dry bag so this is the only picture, the phones stayed on dry land!

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Hungry, we found our way into Athens proper for lunch and drinks at Jackie O’s. We both got burgers, which were amazing and sampled a few different brews you can’t get in Columbus. We even filled up a growler to bring home!

20140715-123356-45236080.jpgWe then walked around Ohio University’s campus for a bit and took in the oldest institute of higher learning in the Northwest Territory where I regaled M with my fourth grade ‘History of Ohio’ facts. It was a great day trip and I’m sure we’ll be back to the Hocking Hills soon!