Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cocktail of the Month: Beergaritas

You may recall that February was the month I started working again. It was, shall we say, a little hectic and thus called for a no-nonsense, workhorse of a cocktail.  And let me tell you this. The beergarita did not disappoint.

In theory, these sounded completely disgusting. In practice, these were completely delicious. And they are the least fussy cocktail in my repertoire.

You may be familiar with beergaritas already. They are all over the internet, Pinterest included. Some call them Texas margaritas, some call them ghettoritas. I know a woman named Meg from our Germany days who brought these to many a party and called them Megoritas. Call them what you will; I think you'll agree there's nothing highbrow here.

And sometimes, that is just what a hard day calls for. If tough days call out for a glass of wine, the really hectic ones call out for beergaritas.

As with regular margaritas there are thousands of variations on the basic idea of adding beer to a margarita-like drink. The ratio of beer to tequila varies widely. Most agree that frozen limeade is necessary. The Deen brothers would have you add orange juice, as would I. 

We experimented with a few different factors and came up with our own favorite ratio.  But the components here are so strong--each one vying for attention--that chances are you might need to adjust to suit your tastes. Will you favor a more beery flavor or more tequila? Something sweeter or something more sour?

If you like margaritas as much as I do, I can assure you you will enjoy discovering your perfect, personal beergarita recipe. Use mine as a rough guide in getting started.  

12 oz beer (we liked Corona best)
8 oz tequila
1 12-oz can of frozen limeade
4 oz orange juice
extra ice, optional

Dump everything in the blender and give it a whirl, with or without extra ice.  If you like frozen margaritas, add the extra ice so you'll get a slushy drink. If you prefer things on the rocks, leave out the optional ice. The frozen limeade will of course still make things a bit slushy, but not too slushy, so you can still easily enjoy over ice.

We ended up doing both inadvertently and liked the results.  The Gutsy Dad loves the strong taste of limeade; I was happy to cut it back a bit with the added shaved iced.

As a final note, we stored leftovers in a tupperware and whirled them up again the next night with freshly shaved ice. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Music Mojo: G. Love Reconsidered

It's Monday morning, and back to reality for me.  The Gutsy Dad is back to work after two weeks off (the kids were on vacation during that first week), but I've been working these past two weeks as usual.  It's been awesome to be able to head off to my work obligations leaving the kids in his care.  This past week he did most of the ferrying around to preschool etc as well.  We made a great team.

Now we're back to the regular routine: he is up and gone before dawn.  On good days he is home in time for dinner, and we have more good days than bad.


Did anyone else go through a G. Love & Special Sauce phase in the 90s? Anyone still in that phase?  I feel like G. Love was a good gateway into funky music for those of us who are (were) more staid.  Edgy enough for us to feel, well, edgy listening to it. But not so edgy as to be totally vulgar, offensive, or valorizing guns and the oppression of women. (Pardon me while I step back down from my soapbox.)

Anyway, I've recently rediscovered G. Love (without the sauce). Somehow I missed the 2006 release of his album "Lemonade," which I've been listening to a lot lately, along with his 2011 "Fixin' to Die." As it turns out, he hangs with a few other guys I like: Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter.  

I really appreciate an artist who can evolve with the years and who can continue to put out good records whatever the genre. Someone who isn't as obviously a creation of the industry.  I wouldn't have predicted it in the 90s, but G. Love seems to be versatile like that.  Here's a sampling of my recent discoveries. You'll notice a huge difference in style between the first two songs and the second two.

In my running mix I've been digging:

Thanks and Praise (featuring Jasper)

Ain't That Right

The kids and I are enjoying these in Jay Jay:

Rainbow (featuring Jack Johnson)

This is a family favorite.  Madelyn requests it in the car when we drive home from preschool.  "Mommy, play my home song!" Then she sings along (in a twang): "I buh-lieve that it's time for me to come home!" This is also my favorite of the videos. (The kids crack up at the chicken at the beginning every time.)

Speaking of home and silly chickens, here's what I get to look forward to when I do come home. Three little chickens, mine all mine.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cocktail of the Month: Mango Ginger Champagne Cocktails

While these were a perfect fit for Easter, the truth is we've been enjoying these off and on for a few months. I credit my mom for finding the original recipe (from Sandra Lee) and my dad for being the mix-master on these. 

Fresh ginger makes all the difference here.  I was worried it would overwhelm the flavor of the cocktail, but it really doesn't. The flavor profile is really nicely balanced: a little tangy mango nectar, a little bit of perky ginger, a little rummy, and a little bubbly.

Mango-Ginger Champagne Cocktail
2 shots mango rum (I assume this means about 3 oz total; we used Malibu brand)
2 shots mango nectar (I assume this means about 3 oz total; we used Looza brand)
1 tsp freshly grated ginger

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add rum, nectar, and ginger. Shake gently and then strain, pouring into a martini glass. Top with champagne. (If you are making more than one drink, and I certainly hope you are,  work in batches. Grate the necessary ginger first. Mix and pour the drinks one by one, but wait until you've strained the whole round before topping each with champagne.)


(I know, I know. I still owe you February's drink.)

April Round-up

I'm not going to let myself go back (too far) to play catch up. It makes me sad for all the wonderful memories in March and February that I've neglected to report here, but I'm in need of embracing an "onward" sort of attitude these days. Note to Gutsy Self: just because you didn't blog about it doesn't mean that it didn't happen or wasn't meaningful.

So, scrolling through some April photos, here's what caught my eye today.

Easter Day.  Dinner & drinks. People in various states of casualness.  The Gutsy Dad almost always changes his clothes right after we get home from church.  I tend to slip on flip-flops and carry on in my church clothes: who has time to change? Things I love in this picture: the heron carving above my kitchen sink that I found years ago while visiting my sister-in-law (before she was my sister-in-law) and her family when the GD and I were still just dating.  My parents' dog Charlotte lounging on our kitchen floor. The glimpse of Tilly's favorite toy in the background in the playroom.  My birds from Lake Constance on the wall.

I am completely in love with my own children, and I am not ashamed to be proud of them.  Their hearts, their spirit, their creative minds, their quirks, their beauty. Here they are before our Easter service with flowers to decorate the children's cross. 

A favorite birthday present.  My mother asked, laughing at me a bit I think, "You really want a beach cart for your birthday?" HECK YES and thank you!  This thing is awesome. 

She still falls asleep everywhere and anywhere.  Here she is during story time, sleeping on the Gutsy Dad. Ali Edwards once wrote a beautiful blog post about her family dog, parts of whom appeared in almost every family picture. This is one thing I love about my own photos. Our two loyal and lovable fur kids always manage to get parts of themselves in the photos.  Here we feature Tilly's back under the GD's arm and Zephie's rump by Maddie's elbow. 

I've been meaning to write about the physical beauty of our church.  It is my style. Of course, it's not necessary for a church to be beautiful for me to love it, but it certainly makes church all the more enjoyable. This is the church's playground. I would have LOVED this swing set/arc as a kid.

 Perfect blue skies for Easter. The sanctuary was filled with lilies and blue hydrangeas. Perfection. They didn't need to tell me twice when they mentioned we could take the flowers home with us after the service. I currently have a GIANT hydrangea potted plant on my dining table.  It must have 15 blooms on it with more to come.  I need to get this thing in the ground.

I made a frozen key lime pie for Easter dinner.  (Ina Garten's recipe.)  Since it uses egg yolks but not the whites, I channeled my Nana and made meringues with the whites. 

I love that my parents were game to join in our weekly "Five of Us" photo on Easter Sunday.

Time to Adjust

I miss blogging. It has been over a month, and I feel like I've lost touch with part of my own little world. I don't think this is because I count on any sort of readership, rather I think it is because blogging helps me feel like I am keeping up with my own life. It gives me a way to retain some memories of things as they are happening.

Clearly I've been away from the blog for too long. The posting format has changed, and I find myself typing onto a foreign screen.  I haven't been "timelined" on Facebook yet, and I can assure you that when I do, I will whine about getting used to that new format as well.

Now would be a great time for me to insert the popular phrase:  First World Problem.  How lucky I am to be sitting here typing away on my laptop complaining about format changes to free social media.

Okay, team.  I think I had better post this thing.  I need to reacquaint myself with my own blog and return for some updates.