A Taste of Summer, Wainright Style

Taste of SummerThe last time I technically wrote on here, it was sub-zero temperatures and my toes were frozen. I had just ordered a new parka so my nose would hopefully no longer have icicles forming on the inside (seriously).

But now–oh now. It’s summer!

There is beauty in every season, but there is something extra special about the flavors that can be found in summer, yes? Peach juice running down your arm, corn silks stuck in your teeth, watermelon seeds flying out of your mouth, and that oh-so-perfect texture of the inner seeds of fresh green beans popping inside of your mouth.

So I’d like to share with you a few new favorites that I’ve discovered in this most wonderful season for food.

First things first–this quesadilla is pretty much life-changing. (It was inspired by leftovers from this amazing new loaded baked potato salad that gets an honorable mention.) Full confession: this past week, I had one for lunch four out of five days because they are easy to prep, quick to make, and do a great job of filling you up!

Taste of Summer Bacon Chive and Cheddar Quesadilla

Bacon, Chive, & Cheddar Quesadilla
You’ll need the following. Just eyeball it all. 
Wheat flour tortillas
Center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Chives, diced
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

I prepare the bacon and chives in advance and keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to make my quesadilla. Then I throw all the ingredients in between two flour tortillas and pop it in the microwave for about 1:30. Fancy, I know. But trust me–it’s delish. 😉

P.S.–If you’ve never made bacon in the oven, you should really do yourself a favor and try it at least once. Just preheat the oven to 400° and lay the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake on a lower rack for 15-ish minutes, depending on the thickness of your bacon, and use tongs to transfer it to a paper-towel lined plate. Voila–throw the foil away.

Taste of Summer Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa
Originally from a Kroger advertisement

2 C. seedless watermelon, diced (be kind to yourself and get this already partially cut up)
1 C. cucumber, diced and seeded
2 TBSP. sweet red onion, finely minced
1 TBSP. cilantro, finely chopped
1 TBSP. fresh spearmint, finely chopped
1 TBSP. lime juice
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (our preference = Tabasco)
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Chill covered for 1 hour.

Makes 3 cups.

Throw that on top of your bacon, chive, & cheddar quesadilla and thank me later. Careful–your tastebuds might explode with happiness. It’s really good with just chips, too.

Taste of Summer Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie
originally found on cincyshopper.com

24 Oreo cookies turned into crumbs via a food processor
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 C. peanut butter (creamy)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 C. powdered sugar
8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (+ another tub just to eat or add on top)

Preheat oven to 350°. Place cookies in food processor and pulse until ground into small, fine crumbs. Add melted butter and stir with a fork to combine. Press into a pie pan and bake 7 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely.

Combine peanut butter and cream cheese and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in whipped topping and blend until completely incorporated. Pour into cooled crust and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill before serving.

Serves…8? If they all want just a bite.

 

So, in between your drum corps shows, VBS’s, pool parties, and late muggy nights with friends this summer, I hope you’ll find time to get your hands a little juicy and make your tastebuds smile.

Sunflower

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Lessons from the Wizard of Oz Pit

This past week I had the privilege of playing in the pit for my high school’s production of The Wizard of Oz. The only other time I’ve ever played for a musical was when I was a sophomore in high school and guess what the musical was…yep. The Wizard of Oz. It was incredibly fun to relive such an enjoyable experience. I have very fond memories from the first production, which at the time I thought was so over-the-top, but my-oh-my, LCA has come such a long way in the past 9 years.

The first time around, we had a fabulous cast, but from what I can observe from the yearbook, Toto was a…poodle?!

wooOld

This time, we had a flying Glinda and two professional dogs straight from Broadway or somewhere famous…unbelievable!

So, without further adieu–lessons I learned from the pit of the Wizard of Oz:

  • Always, always, always beware of flying apples.
  • You can’t always just click your ruby red slippers to go home.
  • Being Glinda the Good Witch’s theme can be a little annoying when she gets stuck in mid-air. (Ab-Eb-F-D-G-Db)

Glinda the Good Witch
[Full Disclosure: This pic is not mine. I stole it from FB–one of my friends was tagged.]

  • The saying that the piano is a crutch? Totally true; however, in this case, it was so much more than a crutch–it was my wheelchair.
  • When in doubt, leave it out.
  • Sometimes Lion can’t get his belly zipped–and it’s hilarious.
  • A dog on the stage always steals the show.
  • If you really want to live on the edge, eat bacon right before a performance where the dog is staged right next to you. My hands wreaked of the best bacon in the world (from Saul Good) even though I had washed them. Considering I was starting to drool a little myself, I was really concerned that Toto might get a whiff and dive on top of me like that dog in the Beggin’ Strips commercial.
  • Timpani make the coolest scary sounds! (Well, next to a bow on a cymbal.)
  • “Who else would wear ruby slippers with those socks?” Who knew the Wicked Witch was so aware of fashion?!
  • I still hate fire in any shape, form, or fashion. Pyrotechnophobia came into play even in a school musical. Thank you, Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Light is good–especially when it gets dark, but take heed lest your light blinds someone in the audience.
  • Stand lamps make exceptionally wonderful hand warmers for those with the circulation of a 94 year-old lady such as myself.
  • Playing recorder during the Scarecrow solo never gets old.
  • The yellow brick road is more like a road block to some.
  • Sometimes it’s necessary to practice fingerings for “The Cyclone” on a pencil in the doctor’s office waiting room. Other times, it’s more appropriate to practice a piccolo part on your lunch break in your car in the Pizza Plaza parking lot. (Because why would I risk damaging everyone else’s ears with high pitches when I could risk damaging my windshield?)
    Piccolo Wizard of Oz Car Cyclone
  • The Scarecrow may not have a brain, but he has some awfully wise words. Case-in-point…
    Dorothy: “How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”
    Scarecrow: “I don’t know, but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?” 
  • 3 hours a day for a week is an awfully long time to hold a flute/piccolo/recorder and be intensely mentally engaged–especially when you haven’t played in a real ensemble in well over 3 years and have had a record busy week at your full-time job. BUT OH SO WORTH IT!
  • I think I should’ve been born in 1939 considering how much I love the Jitterbug.
  • P.S.–I love real jitterbugs, too. And crows. (Even though in real life, I hate birds.)
    Jitterbug Crow
  • “Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable.” So true, Mr. Wizard.
  • The more I’m around dramatic people, the more dramatic I become. You should’ve heard my normal conversations by the end of the week. Oh my. Every time I opened my mouth, I would think, “Who iiiiis this girl talking?”
  • Thank God for alternate fingerings.
  • I can’t look at Mrs. B. Ever. Her faces are far too hilarious and draw tears every time I look up–especially during the 29th repeat of “Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead!” when she has thrown her head back in misery and is still conducting!
  • The little boy in the front row the second night was a smart one–he plugged his ears every time I had to hit that High Ab on piccolo in the Stars & Stripes Balloon Ascension quote. Good call, my friend. Good call.
  • “I already played this once. Can I go home now?” (Jenny references a Friends episode on our third round of the show). I don’t think this is technically a lesson, but it was really funny and I didn’t want to forget it. 
  • Life would be a whole lot more convenient if I could eat a sandwich during rehearsal. Unfortunately, I don’t just play one-handed boom-chicks during vamps.
  • There are some experiences you just don’t want to end and when they do, you feel like Dorothy as she sits and watches the yellow brick road being ripped up after the show.
    Dorothy Yellow Brick Road rip

Oh you sweet Ozian orchestra, you were delightful to play with. Thank you for putting up with my out-of-shapeness. And to the cast–extraordinary job. What a joy it was to see you use your talents to make much of the One who gave them to you.

Wizard of Oz Cast[This one isn’t mine either. Another from FB where a friend was tagged.]