The letter F gets a bad rap. I mean, the poor thing will forever be associated with the worst grade possible. In its defense, I offer up three things I am loving this week, all of which start with the letter F.
As in Balloon Fiesta, one of Albuquerque’s crown jewels. As of the writing of this post, we’ve had phenomenal flying weather so far for this year’s Fiesta. I’m once again crewing for my friend Charity and her balloon, Blew By You. As usual, it’s been fantastic. The ballooning community is full of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and hanging out with them – not to mention the gorgeous balloons – is worth every bit of waking up when it’s still night time.
This year, I’ve had the additional fun of introducing Robin Hood to the world of hot air balloons. First of all, he gets major boyfriend points for his willingness to get up before 5 a.m. on multiple days. Second of all, as a new balloon crew member, he has knocked it out of the park! From being quick to heed Charity’s instructions to buying breakfast burritos for everyone, you’d think he’s been crewing for years. Most importantly, he’s enjoying the experience. Fiesta win!
Okay, I always love food. But recently, two items in particular have been frequenting my kitchen: Pigskin Pie and High Octane Bars. Pigskin Pie I invented back during my pie phase. I was craving Italian sausage one day, and before I knew it…PIE. I liked the result enough to make it a staple of my repertoire, but I only bake the pie during football season (hence the name).
Make or buy a double pie crust to fit a 9- or 10-inch pie plate. On the bottom crust, apply the layers in this order, with amounts to taste:
Grated mozzarella cheese
1 pound cooked, crumbled, and drained Italian sausage
1 red bell pepper, chopped
Chopped white mushrooms
Grated cheddar cheese (medium or sharp)
Sliced black olives
Grated parmesan cheese
Add the second layer of pie crust, crimp the edges, and slit it for venting. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.
High Octane Bars I owe to my friend Meghann’s mom. She served them at a party and I asked her for the recipe; she generously obliged, but the recipe sat in a binder for years before I finally dusted it off. I was trying to come up with a tasty and somewhat nutritious snack for Robin Hood to take on hunting trips, and that recipe practically grabbed me by the collar. The result? I’ve made three batches in one month. However, if you make these, beware: they are dense. It’s a lot like eating a Clif bar.
High Octane Bars:
2 C quick oats
1 C peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 C honey
1 C dark chocolate
1 C dried cranberries
1 C ground flaxseed
1 C vanilla whey protein powder
Mix all ingredients together and stir until blended. Spread mixture into an 8×8-inch pan and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Not just one but two of my good friends here in Albuquerque will be moving away soon. Talk about a wake-up call. I’ve been consciously trying to spend more time with each of them, because let’s face it – calls, texts, and Facebook are nice, but they’ve got nothing on actually sitting across a table (or counter, or couch) from a friend. Never, ever take quality time with friends for granted, because you never know when life will pluck them straight out of your zip code.
This is a huge lesson for me right now. I’m in a very cool relationship, and I’m having a wonderful time seeing where said relationship goes, but I cannot afford to neglect my friendships. It can be challenging, and requires some creative time management tactics, but it is 100% worth the effort. My friends help me grow; support me; and guide me when needed. We make each other laugh and listen to each others’ frustrations. Give that up? No way.
After all, I can’t eat all this Pigskin Pie by myself.