17th Century Swag

Sunday, October 26, 2014

When your dad goes to a deserted island with a democrat

I think I've figured out through the years that I have a pretty interesting dad.
First of all, he's a fun, hardworking, patient, humble, spiritual, loving and eternally supportive man.
Secondly, he's adventurous, and he's a risk taker.
And finally, he's a U.S. Senator.
See what I mean? Pretty unusual!

Ever since I can remember, my dad has loved reading survival books.
His library is literally full of them, and he's been fascinated with the idea of stranding himself on an island since he was a boy living on a ranch with his ten brothers and sisters in Snowflake, Arizona.
So a few years ago, when he asked for my mom's blessing in doing a solo-survival trip to the marshall islands for his 45th birthday... she agreed to let him go.
So he picked out an uninhabited island on google earth, and off he went with a spear, desalinization pump, machete and some salt and pepper (my mom forced him to take this... and he was glad).
My mom's other condition (aside from the salt and pepper) was that he bring a satellite phone and just check in at night so she knew he was alive.

We thought one week of solitude might have satisfied that reverse-island fever he developed,
but once he got home he knew this was an experience he wanted to share with my two youngest brothers, who, unlike the older three children, can't remember what life was like before congress.

So they pulled up google earth again, picked another island
(that was literally surrounded by shark-infested waters)
and off they went!

So then we really thought the itch had been scratched,
but my dad had another idea. He wanted to return to the island again.
This time, however, would be a little different.
Politically, he's very conservative, and he wanted to bring along someone who thought much differently than him.
My dad has always been known for reaching across the aisle,
which will become even more important after this upcoming election.
Whoever wins the senate will win in narrowly,
and if anything is going to get done it's going to take working together on some things.

So he invited Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico on a survival trip with him,
which to many politicians, would have been political suicide.
But you don't know my dad.
He's courageous, he's deliberate, he's calm, and he's wise.
And best of all, he isn't afraid to break precedents to do what he knows is right.
Whether that makes him popular or not.
Plus, I've never met a colleague of his that doesn't like him,
even if their ideals are on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
If that doesn't say enough about him, I don't know what does.

While planning the trip, my dad let Discovery Channel in on what they were going to do,
and they offered to send a crew to capture the week on film.
All of this footage has been edited into an hour-long show Discovery is calling
"Rival Survival"
that will air this Wednesday, October 29!
If you're in Arizona, it will air at 7 pm (if you have direct tv) or 10 pm (if you have cox).
If you live outside of Arizona, it will be on 10 pm ET.

Also, make sure to watch the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night to see my dad!
(and Amy Poehler!)

And to see some footage from the island, check out this video from the Today Show!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Easy peasy bruschetta

Okay, let's talk bruschetta!
I haven't been to Italy, but I do appreciate some fresh, delicious bruschetta.
So it may not be hyper-authentic (because I don't know the difference)
but I posted a picture on instagram of some bruschetta I whipped up this week
and had a few requests for the "recipe" ha!

First of all, what is bruschetta?

  1. toasted Italian bread drenched in olive oil and served typically with garlic or tomatoes.

There you go!

So here's my recipe.

Easy Peasy Five-Ingredient Bruschetta:
Tomatoes - as many as you think you can eat. Chopped into small pieces.
*If I'm just eating bruschetta for lunch, I'll use two medium/large romas, but I can't wait until my cherry tomatoes are ready from the garden!
Mozzarella Cheese - also cut into small pieces. No measurement for this, it just depends how much cheese you like! I do about 2/3 tomatoes to 1/3 mozzarella.  I found a round, squishy hunk of this at the grocery store in the fancy cheese section. I'm also hoping to learn to make mozzarella soon from scratch!
Basil - once again... no measurement (sorry, you're dealing with a rogue chef here). I bought this at the grocery store and for a serving for just myself, I used probably three basil leaves ripped into tiny pieces. Some people like a lot of basil, but I am not one of them. I just like enough to make it taste fresh and fancy!
Bread - Okay, I'm not a fan of the really hard crouton things people put bruschetta on.. they are so difficult to eat and they hurt the top of my mouth! So if you're like me, just buy a loaf of pretty bread (any kind, really) from the grocery store, slice and lightly toast it if you're eating immediately and want it warm. I used a garlic flavored sourdough bread and it was great! Garlic bread also avoids having to rub garlic on the bread (authentic bruschetta usually has this) that can (and will) give you offensive breath. Beware.
Balsamic Glaze - This, friends, is the secret ingredient! Our pal who owns Sauce here in Mesa tipped us off that this is one of Sauce's favorite ingredients. It's shipped in from Italy, and boy is it delicious on bruschetta! I drizzle this on top of the bruschetta, or I just add about 2 teaspoons to the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil combination before putting it on the bread.

*Order this glaze here

Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and glaze, scoop onto the bread,
and there you go!
Seriously so good and so fresh.
*pesto lovers can also spread pesto on the bread before adding the mixture

There are plenty of more intense ways to make bruschetta that involve a few more ingredients like garlic, onions, and olive oil, but this recipe works great for me!

And in case you're wondering where my all-time favorite bruschetta comes from...
once again...

It will change your life.
Definitely more oily than mine, but that's probably why it's so delicious!

And one final thought,
I think bruschetta should be made into more of a taco shape because even on soft bread,
it's so hard to keep the tomatoes and mozzarella from running away from you!
Please say I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Happy cooking/eating!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our weekend in review

Gosh, I love weekends!
And this weekend was a good, busy one.
Here's a quick recap:

Alexis goes to step aerobics
(not a joke)
Alexis goes on a walk with Lizzie and her baby
Alexis makes lotion
Alexis makes carrot cake cookies
Alexis makes way too many trips to the grocery store
because she keeps forgetting certain ingredients
Alexis mails a birthday package
Alexis wonders why shipping is so expensive
Alexis looks at what she did Friday morning and considers that she may be a grandma
trapped in a 23-year-old body

6 PM
Jason returns from Atlanta
Alexis is relieved
Alexis is worried Jason contracted Ebola
Alexis watches for symptoms
Jason seems to be okay
Alexis still not convinced

Jason and Alexis carve pumpkins
Alexis wants to make Cinderella's carriage
(since that was made out of pumpkin too!)
Jason obliges
Alexis paints the details while Jason inserts golden pretzel window supports
Alexis insists on drapes, because privacy
Jason creates drapes out of paper towels
then steals two decorative pumpkins for the wheels
Jason decides against using two yams as horses
because who wants to build a stagecoach platform
Aint nobody got time for that

The pumpkin carriage is complete!

Alexis tries to pose like a princess

Alexis pretends she's a photographer and takes family photos

Alexis uploads photos and races to Gilbert to film a wedding
Jason meets up with her at the reception and purposely begins dancing like he's in a boy band
just to embarrass her
She's used to it by now
Alexis films sparkler exit and is stressed to the max because a grandpa was walking in front of the couple THE WHOLE TIME
Alexis gets over it and goes to bed

Alexis wakes up and looks at the clock
Alexis freaks out
The alarm didn't go off and she and Jason are supposed to be at church NOW
to practice a song they're singing in sacrament meeting in 30 minutes
Alexis and Jason get ready in a whirlwind
all while singing come thou fount of every blessing
(with gospel-choir style riffs by Jason)
to warm up their voices because they don't really know the tune or the words of what they're supposed to be singing
Alexis and Jason arrive just in time for the sacrament
Jason frantically tries to learn his notes
and Alexis wonders what he's doing as he looks at the music
because he doesn't read music
Oh well
Thanks to a prayer and a deep breath it all worked out

Alexis thinks a nap sounds pretty nice!

Looks like he beat me to it :)

Hope your weekend was a memorable one!