Life Lately, According to Instagram — February Edition

28 02 2014

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Ginger

14 01 2011

Yes? No, not me… the spice! Ok, y’all know I’d have to get around to it eventually on Food Fridays, right? Here we are! I happen to love this remarkable spice (good thing, huh?). It’s available in most markets year-round, so you can add it to dishes anytime.

It is a bit exotic, can be sweet, savory, and is so good for you! Sounds a lot like me, doesn’t it? Haha. But no, seriously, it’s been proven to help with nausea, thins the blood, is an antiinflammatory. It does all kinds of good. And my, does it taste good on some sweetened carrots.

Here are a few tips to help you choose, prepare, and use that wonderful spice!

  • Choose firm roots that are smooth, crack-free, and have a spicy smell.
  • You can also find pickled ginger, often served as a Japanese condiment, crystallized ginger that’s been cooked in sugar syrup, dried ground ginger in the spice section, and even ginger juice in some places. But do keep in mind that these might have a slightly different outcome than fresh ginger. For instance, dried ginger is a bit more powerful or crystallized ginger is a little sweeter.
  • You can store fresh ginger at room temperature in a dark place tightly sealed in a bag, or refrigerated for a bit longer.
  • Peel and remove the thin skin. Be careful, as the flesh underneath is quite delicate and flavorful. You might use a spoon or a vegetable peeler rather than a knife if you wish.
  • Freeze ginger, and then grate it for a finer spice, or mince by placing a small chunk in your garlic press. You can also always throw it into your food processor and pulse until it’s chopped as desired. Add some sugar if you wish.
  • Use your ginger in soup or stocks, stir fries, salads, veggies, marinades, and desserts.
  • If you are making a gelatin dessert, ginger has an enzyme that can break down and prevent your gel from setting properly. First blanch the ginger to destroy the enzyme, or use crystallized ginger. This enzyme can also curdle milk if you are working with milk in your desserts.

Ok, and now, for a delicious, and fancy looking simple dessert from ginger that is sure to impress your friends and family. Dip crystillized ginger slices (you can find these in most stores) or sticks in melted chocolate. Set on wax paper to cool in the refrigerator until sets. Serve after dinner with tea or coffee, in a simple snack bowl, or to garnish vanilla ice cream.

See, it’s not just for cookies anymore!





Sweet Iced Tea Second Anniversary

19 04 2010

If you can believe it, Sweet Iced Tea is celebrating our second anniversary this week.  My how time flies when you are having fun! Interestingly enough, the internet tells me that cotton is the traditional gift for second anniversaries.  I guess that is more related to actual weddings, but still, how fitting!

When deciding to pursue a creative outlet with a southern touch, we did not realize that we could possibly be more consumed by southern life.  Sure enough, southern life happily consumes us more each day, and all of the new friends, places, and food confirm our decision to begin blogging about the south.  Truly, we are happy to blog, happy to share the south we love with you, happy to hear your comments, and happy to have become so much more engaged in southern life. 

While there is so much of the world to see and explore, we often need a gentle reminder that our own southern back yard is just as beautiful.

This week, in addition to regular posts, we will feature some of our favorite posts over the past two years.  The posts will focus on specific southern states.  Additionally, we will post giveaway items from the featured state so that you, our readers, can enjoy a little more of the south, no matter your location.  We will also give away a book a day focusing on southern gardens and style. 

There is a lot to keep tabs on this week!

Thank you for gracing us with your readership.  We look forward to seeing you more and more.





Tales of a Southern Expatriate

16 02 2010

Well, dear friends and readers, Ginger here. I have some news.

Are you ready?

Here goes…

This Southern girl, born and bred, will, as of two weeks from now, temporarily be a West Coast California girl.

Husband has been accepted into graduate school, so we will be moving to the beautiful Monterey, California for him to attend for the next 2 years. We’re really looking forward to it, but fully expect (and hope) to be back a little closer to “home” and family after he’s graduated.

Now DON’T WORRY! Gracious Becky has agreed to let me still be her partner in crime and continue to blog about a life lived as a Southerner (maybe I can teach those California dudes and dudettes a thing or two about hospitality and fried food), I’ll just be 2,500 miles away doing it.

But hey, Southern is in the heart not location, right?

So, as a by-product of this little adventure, next week, I’ll be blogging and Tweeting each day from the road. We’re seizing the opportunity to take that great American road trip cross-country (pray hard for The Bluebird, and for poor husband’s nerves, as I tend to have to stop a lot, if you know what I mean — I mean, I am a girl, you know).

We plan to take our time, stop in tons of cute little towns, and of course take pictures and videos galore.

Our bags are (almost) packed, our cameras are charged up. We’ve got snacks and iPods, and Mad Libs. !!!! Won’t you come along?

P.S. – If you’re a fellow Southern expat, check out Becky’s guide to Southern dining outside of our dear ol’ South. Here’s to discovering much more!





NaNoWriMo

1 11 2009

No, I’m not speaking in tongues. And no, it’s not a new technology that you have to keep up with. (Though I wouldn’t blame you if you thought that. I did too the first time I heard of such a thing.) Quite the opposite. NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth is a month long writing “contest” focused on getting us all to do that thing we all always mean to get around to, you know, someday, when we have the time, when we’re not so busy, or when we go on vacation, or when the mood or the story or the words strike us just right. You know? Get around to writing that Great American (Southern) Novel. But they rarely do, do they?

nanowrimo header

I first heard of NaNoWriMo in 2007. Newly married, living in a new city, knowing no one, and a little overwhelmed, to be honest, this mission was just what I needed. I heard of the project, beginning November 1st, in late October, so with not much time to worry, or anticipate just how difficult this might be, I embarked. Armed with only an 8-year old laptop (perfect, by the way… as there was zero temptation to browse the internet when I was supposed to be writing my 2,000 words a day), I began the project with a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the span of only 30 days.

Remember that part where we were talking about how we’ll all get around to writing that novel, someday? Well, see, as we all know, even as Southerners who take it slow, that someday rarely comes. And even if it does, we stress ourselves out to much about quality to get out more than the first few pages.

So NaNoWriMo’s mission is simple. Just do it. And do it fast. Quick. Jump right in like that freezing cold lake the first of spring and just swim. For 30 days. Sure, when you get out, your numb, can barely think straight. And hey, yes, your fingers can barely move (wow, didn’t realize how well that metaphor was gonna work out), but you have something. And no, that thing is not usually the Great American Novel (though if you’re lucky, you’ve got the makings of the beginnings of a thought of one). No, you’ve got… the perfect cocktail party anecdote. Just try not impressing your friends when you casually mention, “In my first novel, I explored the character named Joy.”

And even if you’re too shy to tell anyone, you have written a novel. How many people can say that? Well, I’ll tell you how many more people can say that as of November 30th. About 15,000 of them. And you can be one of them.

So, I tell you all this to say, that this year, I’ll embark again. To be honest, the first year, I bored even myself by about the third chapter. Last year, I actually really related to my characters. And this year, I hope to be the next Dostoevsky (albeit, a Southern Mr. Fyodor).

So, in these high hopes, I’m giving fair warning to you, all our dear SIT readers (and to you, my dear friend, Becky, to whom I shall be indebted through all of Christmas season), that I will be a slacker this month when it comes to cooking, cleaning, sleeping — anything but writing will take a hit. Waking up early, staying up late, all but ignoring my dear in-laws as they travel far to risk their lives as I prepare Thanksgiving dinner while distracted on the final twist of the deeply dimensional, yet not overly contrived characters. Yes, dear friends, while someday I hope to share with you, and the world (excuse me, Random House, are you listening??) my Great American Novel, for this month, I pray you’ll forgive me while I ignore you, dear cyber friends, in pursuit of this goal. And in exchange, you can berate me, mock me, chastise me for the rest of time if I don’t finish (how’s that for motivation come November 27th when I’m certain I can’t write another word?). That is, unless you’d like to join me?

P.S. – For those of you who are not crazy, I’ve “banked” a few articles to automatically post thanks to our beloved WordPress publishing feature, so you won’t be totally left devoid of all Ginger POV (that’s point of view, for those of you non-writers — look at me being all cocky so far) this month. You can look forward to some savory doughnuts, a little Athens love (of course), a tribute to one of my inspirations, Flannery O’Connor, and of course, a few Tuesday Tips. Cheers!