Wednesday, July 27, 2011

L.A. Caviar

I haven't written very much lately because I've been busy traveling, packing, unpacking, doing laundry, trying to play catch up, and working to keep our plants alive in this heat! Meanwhile, Kraut has been busy traveling, packing, unpacking, doing laundry, trying to play catch up, mowing the lawn, and taking care of me when I was sick with another stupid sinus infection!!!

After Germany, we took a trip up to Michigan for the 4th to visit my best friend and to escape some of this crazy summer heat we are enduring down here in Memphis. It was a really nice trip. We went to the beach in Grand Haven, watched the musical fountain and fireworks, and attended a couple of cook outs. When the question came up of what to bring, I told her to leave it to me!

When I got married my mom made me a handwritten cookbook with a lot of her recipes and one of them that is perfect for bringing as a side or dip is "L.A. Caviar". In this case, L.A. stands for "Lower Alabama", and it is actually my Aunt's recipe that my mom really likes. I've also heard people call it Cowboy Caviar, but regardless of the name, the fact is every time I make this dish its a hit. I've made it for a get together at our house, brought it to a work potluck, and we took it 2 to cookouts over the 4th. On each occasion I've had to give out the recipe. So, it only makes sense that I post it here for anyone who wants it in the future! It is super easy to make and only requires you to be able to chop. Plus, you don't have to worry about heating it up or about it spoiling if it sits out for a bit. Football season is right around the corner....did someone say tailgate?

L.A. Caviar (courtesy of my Aunt Nadine)

3 (15 oz) cans plain black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/4 cup chopped orange pepper
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes or quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine peas, onion, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, oil, and sugar
2. Season with salt and pepper
3. Marinate for 12-24 hours before serving
4. Serve with tortilla chips (or you can just serve as a side, I can definitely eat this with a spoon!)

This is easy, healthy, yummy, and pretty too! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What its Like to Travel with Me

I'm a kind of a goofball. Ok, thats an understatement, I'm a HUGE goofball. However, traveling with me is never dull. I can comfortably say that I often provide some comic relief and I'm pretty good at laughing at myself. Thank goodness, because if I didn't I'd be getting my feelings hurt on a regular basis when my friends laugh at some of my dumb moments. Case and point....we were at my best friend's house the other weekend and I ended up sleep walking from the couch, upstairs, to her room where I put her dress on over my clothes and woke up in her bed. Don't ask, because I have no answer. Anyway...when I travel, I think its important to have a good time, and that includes taking lots of funny pictures. Actually, my thing is getting everyone to do a statue imitation when possible, or just taking funny pictures. On our recent trip to Germany, I got everyone including my mother and father-in-law to do at least one imitation. We got some good ones for you to see:

This is Kraut's youngest brother and he was willing to be the first as we toured Berlin. What a good sport!

Then it was Kraut's turn.

Then we got Kraut's middle brother to do one the next day at the palaces in Potsdam (which is just outside of Berlin).

This looked like a good one for Kraut and I to try while waiting outside one of the palaces. Kraut was having some trouble balancing though.

Here is Kraut's dad's version. Not sure he has the hang of this yet, if only I could find a statue to superimpose behind him!

I'm pretty sure this picture reiterates what I said earlier about being a goofball.

Here is Kraut's mom. This picture was funny to try and take. The boys were all giving her directions at the same time on how to hold her fingers, and the result is that she looks like she is hitchhiking.

Here is me washing my hair at the Zwinger in Dresden.

Hamburg....Kraut's dad did pretty good on this one!

I didn't want Brussels to be left out. I actually did a much better imitation than this photo shows, but Kraut was taking forever to take this picture and I was starting to get a little ancy and embarrassed lying there while people walked by staring.

The picture above and the following pictures are just random things I wanted to share. This one was in one of the palaces in Dresden. They made us try to fit these slippers on over our shoes to walk through. It didn't work very well with sneakers, so I just shuffled around instead of walking. Kraut slid around like a speed skater. Wish I had video for you!

The above picture was taken in the plaza area near the Brandenburg Gate. These ladies appeared to be American. They were wearing these colored wigs while riding around in this float waving at people and saying hello. They have to be much goofier than me....and somehow that makes me feel better about myself.

When Kraut spotted this car he immediately said we had to take a photo for one of our Memphis friends. She is from Malaysia and dislikes things that fill the Asian stereotypes; specifically she hates Hello Kitty and making the peace sign for photographs.

Check out the embroidered Hello Kitty seats!


When Kraut's brother spotted this lovely pink car in Hamburg, he liked it so much he wanted to "hold" it. As a side note...Kraut works in the car industry, and there was soooo much car talk on this trip between him, his brother pictured above, and their dad. I know they are all very passionate about cars, but I didn't go to Europe to check out the cars!

I was much more interested in the bikes than the cars. Everyone bikes in Germany, and I would love to be able to do that. Not just because I enjoy biking but also because I would want a Kettler cruiser. That has such a nice ring to it, and who wouldn't want a bike named for them?

Here is a picture of the SAP office we passed in Hamburg. We passed one in Dresden too, but I didn't snap a photo of that one. We use the SAP system at my work. So while Kraut was checking out cars all over the place, I was seeing this....I guess you can never truly get away from the office!

I will leave you with this one from Brussels. Belgium is known for their cartoons, most recognizably the Smurfs. They have comic murals all over the city, and there is a specific comic strip walk you can take. We only saw 3 or 4 murals, but given my infatuation with statue imitations, I'm guessing no further explanation of this picture is needed!