Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

We're in our living room watching "A Capitol Fourth" with Sutton Foster, Christopher Jackson (of Hamilton), and others, and will later flip back and forth with the Macy's fireworks on NBC--our traditional July 4th activities!

We're not much for celebrating (being too cynical for most jingoistic patriotism--especially this election year!--and too averse to hot weather to for beaches and barbecue), but this year saw us do more than usual.  On Saturday, we attended a wonderful lakeside picnic at the summer home of one of Bud's kung fu buddies.  There was a lot of tasty food--pasta salad, baked ziti, roasted corn, my Tex-Mex chocolate sheet cake, lasagna, various catered Indian curries and dishes, a fresh fruit salad (complete with cored and halved cherries!), this great couscous salad with pine nuts and dried fruits (I hope to get this recipe later), etc etc etc--and we all had our fill.

I talked with various other guests--two women owned horses and compared notes with Sis, one couple had a new 10-week-old baby, others went to a private school that Mama and I have our eyes on, one dad had left our kung fu school a couple of years ago and had stories to tell.  A nice group.

Best of all, the kids got to hang out with some of the older kids (from 14-18 years old.)  They went swimming in the lake together, playing on the standing paddle boards and the water trampoline.  The kids were like fish!  And, while there were life jackets to be had, they didn't need them.  Mama and I sat on the dock in the shade watching them, the ducks (Mr. and Mrs. Mallard), the Canada geese, the Red-Shouldered hawk screeching overhead most of the day, the various birds flitting back and forth, and the sun glinting off of the green water while the trees swayed in the light breeze.  It was a beautiful day.  Later, the kids made music together inside, each showing off various piano pieces and singing karaoke together.  Then they hung out upstairs, exploring the nooks and crannies of the old house.

After the party, we stopped for ice cream at our favorite local place.  The lines were long, but it was worth the wait.  Black raspberry.  Coffee.  Cherry Vanilla.  Toasted Almond.  A chocolate milkshake. Mmmmmmm!

Then we went to play putt-putt!  It was a lovely little course surrounded by shrubs and a stream.  It wasn't kitschy, just some good old fun.  We were pretty wiped after that, grabbing some burgers on the way home that night.

On Sunday, Mama and the kids went to NYC for dim sum with the grandparents, while I went to lunch to celebrate the birthday of Mama Teacher.  Then, we spent the evening together watching "The Great British Bake-off."

Today, we celebrated Mama's birthday belatedly by going to see Finding Dory at the fancy theater with the reserved and big reclining seats.  It was a cute film--especially those otters and the two whales.

Which brings us full circle to the 4th of July tv shows right now, while real fireworks are going off in yards around town.

Happy Independence Day!

And may we continue to be the land of the free . . . . with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

And so we finished more of our list in one weekend:
  1. Putt-putt golf
  2. Celebrate 4th of July--we've been invited to a picnic.
  3. Celebrate Mama's birthday--we're doing it this coming weekend!
And let's add to the movie list 
    4.  See Finding Dory

From “ Field of Greens” cookbook:

Couscous Salad with Apricots, Pine Nuts and Ginger

1 cup instant couscous
1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoon vinegar (I usually use some kind of fruity vinegar, but basically anything works)
8 dried apricots thinly sliced
2 tablespoons dried raisin, cherries, currents, cranberries (whatever you have around)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
2 Tablespoon pine nuts

Pour couscous into small mixing bowl.  Mix water, orange juice, olive oil and vinegar in saucepan and bring to boil.  Stir in dried fruit, ginger, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; immediately pour over couscous and then cover bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.

Bring small pt of water to boil and drop in red onion for 15 seconds.  Drain.

When couscous is ready, fluff it with fork and then add pine nuts and onion.

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