Herb-Infused Cocktails, yum, yum!

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Divorce court went well. It was fair. I am thrilled. I began my celebration by enticing my senses at the Nordstrom Joe Malone perfume counter. In case, you are not familiar with this line, they sell single-note fragrances. You can mix and match them. Your sense of smell is tied to your palette. I use to work in fragrance there. I am veteran. I had olfactory flashbacks related to my duties as a forensic photographer. It is so important to take care of what your 5 senses are exposed to. I got the bluebell fragrance with rose perfume samples.

After that, I was in an aromatic mood. I had something called a corpse reviver cocktail, made with:

1 1/2 oz vodka

1/2 oz Green chartreuse

1/2 oz cherry syrup

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 egg white

some decorative drops of metromeastro bitters garnish

Combine and dry shake.

The corpse reviver has several variations, all of which are supposed to help you through a hangover. Since that was not needed, I was able to concentrate on the heady herbal overtones. Can I just confess how much I love to smell herbs in a cocktail? To me, a great cocktail should also remind me of my struggles with domestic herb gardening. I know, yet another reason to drink. Just kidding. I love feeling like I’m drinking a bouquet of flowers while smelling like rose and bluebell flora. I’m a woman.

After that wonderful retreat at the Opal bar in the Dossier Hotel, I went to Urban Fondue and had black truffle fondue (dipped grilled asparagus and bread in it) with a rosemary lemon drop martini. This will be the very reason I seek an urban apartment with a balcony, so that I can grow rosemary to drop into vodka. Oh my gosh, so yummy.

Infusing vodka, for example, is so easy. Just rinse the herb, pat it dry and put it into a bottle of vodka. I would probably add something besides just one herb. What about rosemary and strawberries? Basil and lime? Dill and lemon for a bloody mary mix? You can be so creative. Just give it a few days for the vodka to absorb the herbs and citrus.

There’s also simple syrup that you could use in a cocktail. Simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water over medium heat in a sauce pan. Add the mint, basil, or whatever herb. After the sugar has melted with the fresh herbs in there, pour the concoction through a strainer, or perhaps a clean flour sifter into a bottle or jar. You can add that to anything. I have to say, mint-infused simple syrup is incredible in southern sweet tea. However, you are the mixologist, and you might as well think of it as making your own perfume but for your stomach. You can have so much fun with this. Please comment on your favorite concoctions, if you’d like. I bet y’all are gourmets too.


Ice and Snow: A Race Across the Country

a view from the jump
My view from behind the camera photographing the 173rd Airborne Brigade static-line jumping out of Black Hawks in Italy.

Whoah! Polar vortex and driving cross-country to a sick child. I had to get my car back from Georgia and all by myself, of course. Those that knew of this plan behaved the same way as everyone that ever tried to talk me out of joining the Air Force.

(What?! A woman can travel across country by herself? Well, bless her little heart).

Screw them.

There are two things that I wish I could do to every human I’ve ever had a problem with.

  1. They need to go through basic training, so that I can pull up a chair and laugh at them the whole way through.
  2. They need to waitress (in a woman’s body).

Anyhow, I made it. Do you have any idea how motivating 90’s rap can be? Oh my gosh, it was so much fun jamming out to:

“Hypnotize” by Biggie Smalls

“Gold digger” by Kanye West

“Tricky” by Run DMC

“Christmas in Hollis” by Run DMC

“Walk this Way” by Run DMC

“Fight for Your Right to Party” by the Beastie Boys

“I Love Rock n’ Roll” by Joan Jett

You get the idea.

The Real Meaning of Divorce Cake

In the South, there is nothing sassier than a scarlet red petticoat.

Historically speaking, that is, and no, I do not have one. Physically, that is. I guess the modern equivalent would be wearing red cowgirl boots. I use to wear them obsessively, and one time I finally turned to a guy at the bar and asked him what he thought of those. He turned to me with the ghost expression of John Wayne and said, “why, I think when I see a woman wearing red cowgirl boots walking down the street, well, I say to myself. Now, that’s a woman that can handle her business.”  Yes! Yes! By all means, YES! That is exactly the kind of woman I know I am.

About five days ago, I made something called, “Lil’ Jim’s Puddin’ Cake.” This is an incredibly yummy cake from the Grit’s cookbook. The Grit is a famous southern vegetarian and vegan restaurant in Athens, Georgia where I attended the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art.  Gooooo dawgs! They just won the Rose Bowl, by the way. Anyhow, that is a DAMN good cookbook, and it is to the vegans that I always turn for their insatiably creative treatment of chocolate.

So, I made this cake from this wonderful cookbook, five days ago. I devoured a piece of it tonight while waiting for my future ex-husband to get off of the phone with his lawyer. We are in late night and early morning negotiations for our divorce. We’re supposed to go to court at 1pm tomorrow.

I have set out a piece for each of us, and what does this marauder I married do? He rejects the chocolate cake and eats store bought soup, instead. I knew it!!!

This man was NOT destined for me. All of that is bullshit. I made a big mistake, and all of my poor friends and family have been dealing with him, because they love me so much. What a humiliation. It’s ok, we have chocolate, here. Stay with me, people.

I offered this man chocolate. He wants me to back pay him for mortgage and car payments where I did not live and for a car I did not have possession of. Nope. He wants full legal, but not physical, custody of our child. Nope. Why, yes, that IS a scarlet red petticoat you spy under my pajamas. I’m coming back. To life, that is. If there’s anything a southern woman can stand for, it’s self-preservation and the protection of their spawn.

In my mind, I am Scarlett O’Hara walking into the lion’s den at Meli’s party while wearing, yes that’s right, a scarlet red petticoat. All I have to say is thank goodness for lawyers. Let’s not worry about how they make their money. Let’s talk about this cake.

I noticed in this cookbook that the cakes have apple cider vinegar, instead of eggs, and coffee and liquor, instead of tons of butter and milk. That’s right, folks. The BEST cakes have LIQUOR and espresso. It’s in our history books too.

My future ex and I even toured a southern plantation in New Orleans before we got married. The original owners of the home grew cotton. The women were not allowed to drink alcohol, but they sure did soak their fruit in it. So, it was customary to have huge vases of fruit soaking in liquor and to imbibe at the end of each meal. The women would have their liquor, by God! And, to that I say hell yes! You poor things. I’m hoping you also had a beautiful scarlet red petticoat. We shall have our liquor!  We shall have our divorce! We shall have our espresso! Women’s rights, here we come!

I haven’t quite retested my own recipe for this more than once, because I would not change a single thing. I suggest you call the Grit, or buy their incredible cookbook. After all, them and the Last Resort Grill have the best dessert counters in all of Athens, Georgia. I am already handling a divorce and do not want to open myself up to plagiarism. Don’t worry. I’ll get the hang of this soon. Depending on how court goes tomorrow, I may be talking about herb infused liquors next time we shall meet. Yes, I was being serious there.

Culinary School- A New Mission

Hells to the yeah! I start culinary school in February. Not only is cooking a passion of mine, but my toddler gives me a standing ovation when I make a yummy delight for him. Who doesn’t want more of that?

Another thing I want to accomplish is to concentrate on special diets (probably on weekends), like ones that are helpful for autistic children and adults, like my own. I’m thinking this will also turn into a culinary blog. I want to test some low glycemic recipes, as well. Diabetics really need tasty alternatives to high sugar food. There aren’t that many cookbooks for diabetics in comparison to, say, french food. I’ve tried a lot of low glycemic recipes, and, I have to say, they were really bland. I want to use my juicer to make beautiful sauces, and use fresh herbs to entice even the most stubborn autistic child or adult into eating something healthy. I experiment everyday. There are jobs where I could work in a test kitchen, or catering. Have you ever heard of a low glycemic catering business? I haven’t. Why not? Diabetes is an epidemic. Surely, we can change this, right?

One of the other perks is that the GI Bill is saving me from being homeless. Thank you, Basic Allowance for Housing! Things are looking up, and I’ve been kind and easy going with my future-ex. Here’s a few selfies from yours truly.

The Elf on Her Shelf

What is the path to becoming a toxic person? How does it build, exactly? I’m thinking it’s different for everyone, but with a few common strands intertwined. What does it look like? I know the picture. It’s an little mischievously havoc-wreaking disaster of a creature. I’ve discovered that I am the elf on the shelf this holiday season. I just need the snazzy outfit. The devilish red suit with, like an obnoxious candy cane, the pointy toes, the impish grin. So untrustworthy, so dreadful.

I’m going through a divorce. My heart hurts, my soul aches, and all that woeful stuff is piled on top of me like so many layered confections typical of this time of year, but without the tasty delight. How do these poor, divorced souls with children survive this? The image of a train T-barring a smart car comes to mind. On the positive side, it’s kind of awesome that being in such a heightened state of stress triggers my fight or flight and causes me to lose weight.

I think there’s some hope here, though. After all, I survived basic training. I made it out of the military alive. I learned so much, experienced even more. My mind became more complex and able to conduct a symphony of stress. It tests you, like nothing else can, except for parenthood.

For me, living with my future ex-husband while in the throes of our divorce is driving me towards a path of becoming a very toxic and damaging person. I recognize this and want to put out this fuse. Fire. It makes me feel like my brain is on fire. I mean, physically feverish. If that’s not a wake up call I don’t know what is.

The symptoms of this life experience are like the web of shattered glass in the frame that my son broke at my mother’s house recently. Somehow, the pieces are still holding each other in place, miraculously intact, after this object’s devastating event.

Let’s make a plan, a mission- Operation Divorce Medicine

Here’s the list, my ideas on how to fix it:

  1. Say something nice to him on a daily basis without kissing up.
  2. Show him how much I love our son.
  3. Breathing excises, maybe meditation.
  4. What the Sam Hell is going on here? Oh, wait…
  5. Do a chocolate eating tour with a friend this week (Portland’s finest!).
  6. Try not to stress eat.
  7. Make yourself wonderful food. Take care of your soul and all your senses.
  8. Write in your blog journal every. single. day… if you have to.