Happy Memorial Day! I hope that you took advantage of any opportunities to thank a veteran today. No matter what sort of shady things the United States government may or may not be doing with our military, the soldiers deserve our gratitude. So here's my official shout out -- thank you, all you brave military folk! You rock!
Armed services appreciation aside, what's not to love about a national holiday turning a normal weekend into a three day span of relaxation? The Best Husband Ever and I certainly took advantage of this leisurely day. We slept through the alarm (yes, I couldn't resist setting one, holiday or not), lingered abed while the sun rose, then finally managed to roust ourselves to action. I worked out while he showered and read (The Integral Trees by Larry Niven, which he found decent but not spectacular -- the hubby is on a science fiction marathon, already having plowed his way through two and a half of the books he borrowed from the library on Saturday).
After showering and putting on some laundry, I was able to finally join my husband and our dogs back on the porch a mid-morning breakfast/snack (we had barbecue plans for lunch) and my own reading. Toting a spelt cake (like rice cakes, only with spelt!) topped with CocoaBanana PB and some banana slices as well as a mug of strawberry vanilla rose tea, I enjoyed the warm sun on my shoulders while reading my morning devotional. I soon moved on to read the next chapter in the book of Romans, which the Best Husband Ever and I are studying together. I rounded off the morning by chatting on the phone with my family in New Jersey, settling on details for my parents' upcoming visit. It was an exquisite way to start the day, as late as that start may have been!
For lunch, we headed over to my fabulous in-laws' for a Memorial Day barbecue. My father-in-law is a Vietnam veteran. While he did not regale us with war stories today, I have seen some awesome photos of him during his military years, as well as seen his army boots. What a fun artifact! He is currently a professional screenplay writer and novelist, and I'd love to one day read a book or see a film inspired by his years in Vietnam.
This afternoon, though, war stories were not on the menu. My mother-in-law barbecued up some tasty burgers, massive hot dogs, and a few veggie dogs for me and whoever else wanted to try one (I think I converted a few of them, especially my youngest sister in law, who has only had a single horrifying encounter with veggie dogs before). We also had a fantastic array of fixin's, fresh veggies, corn, chips, salsa, baked beans, and -- my favorite, and a new food for me -- grilled green bell pepper. In addition to the veggie dogs, I brough along peach onion salsa and homemade pumpkin hummus. I based the hummus on this recipe, but this is my version.
1 (15.5 oz.) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
7.5 oz. (half a 15.5 oz.) can of pumpkin puree
1/3 cup lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 T minced garlic
1 T tahini
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp cayenne powder
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix on high speed until the ingredients are fully combined. Add more lemon juice as needed if the hummus is too thick to process properly.
Makes about 1.5 cups.
I think my favorite part of the day was hanging out with my one and only niece (although now I also have a brand new nephew!! welcome to the world, little boy!). She showed me around grandma's vegetable garden, and then nabbed my camera and took an excellent set of photos, considering she's not even five years old! I can't believe how mature and articulate she is becoming, and at what a fast rate. She is such a sweetie pie! Can't you tell that we had some camera fun today? (she took this arm's length shot, not me!):
After showing her this picture, my niece looked at me and said, "I look funny." I think it's safe to say that I win for looking the strangest in this photo, though. Gotta love distortion due to super cheesy smiles. I'll have to watch how much I ham it up for the camera in the future, huh?
Speaking of beans (okay, I know I wasn't actually speaking of beans, but I did mention baked beans earlier, and there is a hummus recipe in this post, so can you cut me a little slack on that inaccurate and awkwardly crafted transition?), I've been on a bean-recipe roll. Last week I made two different kinds of bean salads. Can you guess what the secret ingredient in the salad pictured at the bottom of this post was? The ingredient in question is tart and summery, and I'll let you on it and a couple of recipes in my next post. Until then, get those magnifying glasses out and your thinking caps on and try to solve my mystery.