Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we were having coffee today I would urge you to celebrate National Iced Tea Day with me. I know the national days can really be a bit much, but this one is a winner. I have so many iced teas from which you can choose. I personally am very hung up on White Strawberry alternating that with Peppermint Butler iced tea. I love the refreshing zip of each of these. The white strawberry has a fruity and light taste that is good to guzzle on hot days like this. The Peppermint Butler has real candy canes in the mix, so it delivers a wonderful minty punch that feels like a cool (brief) breeze. Please have a seat while I prepare a couple of unbreakable pitchers of iced tea to take with us to the pool.
We are meeting again this week in the pool at my condo village. The sun is scorching and the pavement will burn your feet, so take a dip to chill yourself before we drink tea and exchange stories. I want to hear about your writing projects and your life. I hope both are going well. I know some of you are working on novels and longer works of fiction. I also tip my hat to those of you who write micro fiction, which is mighty hard to do well. I try it a bit in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. This week I wrote a poetic verse that did not rhyme, but once again touched on dystopia and doom. There is a pattern, and it has nothing to do with Sue’s pictures. I do notice some others with depressing responses, so maybe it is a way to deal with our world politics. On a lighter note, I am having a good time writing weekly tea reviews, which are completely apolitical. In fact, I think tea and coffee parties are a wonderful way to take a break from the current situation while just savoring the moment. My Tuesdays are dedicated to tea and all the wonders and benefits of drinking it, until further notice. I include the offer from Adagio above in case you want to chill your belly and chill your emotions at the same time. Camomile is a sedative and calming tea, being offered free with any purchase made today.
I will skip world politics, since it is being covered everywhere. I just want to say the Mike Bloomberg has proven to be my hero, which I would not have suspected. His personal financial support for the Paris Accord makes a fabulous point….We CAN do it. I think people will step up all over the world in response to repression of science, so maybe it is not the worst thing to have these obstructionist crazies on board. They expose the terrible status quo. I remain optimistic.
Here in Tucson I am making salsa today with the fresh produce haul I procured this morning. I am roasting tomatoes and Poblano chiles for use all week. The house and the back yard smell like chiles, which does stimulate my appetite. When we return from the pool let me make you a couple of tacos with this smoky goodness. I like to roast the veggies and use them in many ways later in the week. I have been on a vichyssoise kick, and have found all kinds of cold creamy potato soups. So far I have done them with asparagus, and with corn, and a classic potato slightly flavored with one jalapeño. The variations are endless, so I am experimenting with all kinds. I think the Poblano will be a great addition. All of them are broth, potatoes, leeks, heavy cream, and something. It is hard to ruin, and easy to serve. I took corn vichyssoise soup shots to my colleagues at work this week. It was very popular. I will tell you more about my new job next week, since I have been rattling on for a while here.
Thanks for stopping for some iced tea and sympathy this weekend. I appreciate Emily for hosting this movable feast each weekend at her blog, Nerd in the Brain. Please join us for digital beverages and a chat.
If we were having coffee I would tell you that my quiet, at-home routine will be suspended this week. I have signed up for TenWest, a Festival to mimic South by Southwest in Austin. There is a plethora of educational, social, and artistic content offered. The week-long event began last night. The first event I will attend is a big concert in a local park very near my home. During the week my plans include a couple of workshops on podcasting, one about 3D printing, and a symposium about our special city of gastronomy designation. I may attend the final concert and the TED talk also, even though they are past my regular bed time. This will be a great week of learning and entertainment for me. My schedule rarely gets this crowded, but this will be worth the effort. I look forward to learning a lot. I should have lots to share with you next weekend.
I can offer you coffee, or all kinds of tea again this week. I am lingering over iced roiboos tropics while we savor a heat wave here. Summer is still with us, which means my big stand-off with tidy muse has not yet been resolved. I am still wearing shorts and summer dresses. It was 94 yesterday, so there is no rush to get out the winter gear. I have promised myself that the big clothing purge will take place when I do the seasonal switch of my wardrobe. I have inquired about giving my friend and neighbor some of the jackets..but that does not really count. I am still just procrastinating…in flip flops and shorts. This too will pass.
Please help yourself to soup shots. On the buffet you will find white demi tasse cups and saucers. Serve yourself from the wide selection of soups. We have sweet pepper cream, corn bisque, tomato basil, minestrone, gaspacho,winter squash and ginger, with all your favorite toppings. Add sliced green onions, crispy fried shallots, croutons, nuts, or grated cheese to complete your composition. Although it is still warm, the produce season is leading us into winter. A light meal featuring all these different seasonal delights is a great way to share this fall weather and our news. Who doesn’t like soup? Enjoy the sensuality of the season with all the colors, tastes and aromas. Hang out and tell us what you have been doing.
In the winter months Tucson is lucky to be served by the Santa Cruz County Food Bank. The excess produce from the big produce wholesalers in Nogales is shipped to Tucson and sold. For 60 pounds of produce we pay $10.00. This boon to our budget is very welcome, since fresh fruit and vegetables make up a big proportion of our diet. My partner had to work today (Saturday), but he called me while he was out on calls to let me know that the food distribution had started in the neighborhood. The scheduled start was Nov. 3, but they had produce, so they began today. What an excellent October surprise this is!!! The truck was full of squash, coconut, tomatoes, cucumbers, two kinds of sweet chiles, and watermelon. I give away as much as I can to neighbors, and then get to work roasting and processing it before it goes bad. I will be charcoal grilling vegetables for a few hours today. I love the smokey flavors it imparts to all the dishes I make with them. If you stay for a while you can taste some tomatoes fresh off the grill with some pesto I made this week. I promises to be a very delicious day.
If you want to join this international coffee drinking, weekend sharing soiree just click here. Add your 2 cents. Let us know what you think.
In September Arizona agriculture is peaking with abundance. There are crops that grow well in serious heat, like melons and okra, that are finishing the season. Many more crops enjoy the long slow slide into winter that we have and will be ready soon. The grapes for wine are soon to be harvested, the apples in Wilcox are being picked, and some date varieties are now starting to be ripe and ready to eat. There are a large variety of squash being grown around Arizona that are never seen in regular grocery stores, and you can even get fresh squash blossoms to prepare. More vendors come out in the cooler weather as more customers show up to shop and dine at the food trucks. We like to go for unusual gourmet finds as well as for entertainment. We see people we know and sometimes take the dog. It makes a good outing and supports the local farmers in the process. Today we came home with some very special smoked salsa homemade by smoking all the vegetables on mesquite wood before combining them. We bought a baby blue Hubbard squash..a mini version of the giant winter squash with the rich flavor. I got some cayenne, garlic and some extra hot jalapeño chiles because our own chiles in the garden are ripe and ready to go to become salsa at home. I will use the little green tomatoes, the garlic and the chiles to round out the flavor and make different levels of picante for different tastes. We are drinking fresh apple cider today from Wilcox. The little lemon cucumbers will make a sparkle in salads and the light colored pickling cucumbers are good straight up why themselves as a snack. We did not get dates because I have a few I need to use from last season before I start on this year’s. I don’t mind paying extra in order to put the mooney right into the hand of the person who grew or made it.
How is the farmers’ market scene where you live? Are you able to get to one on a regular basis? I like both the specialty prepared foods and the fresh produce. They both serve the local farming community and let us have some extra special meals enhanced by products and produce not to be found at standard grocery shopping outlets. When I travel I make it a point to attend a local market if at all possible. I think they are growing in popularity and in variety of available products. Some have musical entertainment. It is fun to meet the farmer and know your food is as fresh as it can be.
The port of Nogales, AZ is the main entry point for Mexican produce to enter the United States. There are tons of fruits and vegetables traded daily at the peak of the season. Each winter the wholesale warehouses hum with activity. The nature of the wholesale produce business requires that losses must be accepted when the goods can’t be sold or moved quickly. The 3000 Club in Santa Cruz County has created a wonderful program to stem waste at the border, and provide fresh healthy foods in neighborhoods that need more access to fruits and vegetables. They partner with churches and other facilities that have large parking lots in Tucson. The volunteer crews load semi trucks full of produce that is at peak ripe condition and send them to the parking lots where anyone can buy 60 pounds of produce for $10. This Market on the Move is saving people money, but what I like best is the distribution of fresh foods to those who might not otherwise buy or try it.
I enjoy the challenge of filling my box (Since there are only two of us at home, I do not overfill it.) with the selections of the week, then making tasty dishes with them. This week I went too late to score any tomatoes, which are always popular. Tiny watermelons were limited to two each. They look precious, and are fun to have in November. Zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, and golden bell peppers were the featured crops on special. I decided to juice the cucumbers, roast or grill the peppers, and make soup with the squash. The Market on the Move is like the show Chopped on Food Network, in which you prepare dishes from what you find in the basket. I try to recruit some help from my neighbors as soon as I get home. My friend Mindy has just returned from Philadelphia where her son in law is a fancy chef. She passed along a roasted bell pepper soup recipe while I convinced her to take some home. The chef makes his soup with roasted peppers, a tiny bit of stock and cream cheese. Mindy and I decided that this was very fine, but we are going to use mascarpone since we have no allegiance to Philadelphia. If you have some good ideas that relate to bell peppers or squash I am very interested right now. If you live in a city that offers this sport, the ingredient challenge, I urge you to try it. For $10 you have little to loose.