Thursday, June 21, 2012

Swedish Daze

Last night "Waterloo" hung in the air as the Abba Tribute Band was wrapping up their final set. This week is Swedish Days and not only am I working for a third street vendor but I am also working mornings at TJs. It is a crazy work week but it is a fun crazy. As for food this week free burgers and my annual serving of swedish meatballs. All this Scandinavian fun might wear me out but I have to say I love festivals because I love street food. Last night I was inspired to make my own little dish with a street food flare about it. Today I had a bunless burger and tonight I had my annual swedish meatballs yum! What fun I love street food.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ice Cream makes everything better

In the middle of the night last night I was in excruciating pain, and this morning I was forced to call in sick to work because of said pain.  I was in bed for nearly another six hours after taking some tylenol with codeine and anti-nausea medicine.  As if that physical pain wasn't enough, when I woke up I found out that my family underwent quite a difficult circumstance today.  Details are a little too fresh to talk about at the moment, but I have to say it has probably been the single hardest thing my family has ever had to deal with.

All that said... I'm making homemade ice cream.  Well homemade Gelato and Coconut ice cream to be exact because when life gives you lemons you make lemonade and when life gives you hailstorms you make ice cream.  Not only will this comfort my soul it will offer a distraction from my physical, mental, and emotional anguish.

So anyway here it is what I did on possibly one of the worst days ever...   I made my own recipe for Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato (with fresh raspberries, yum) and Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Gelato

2 cups Whole Milk
1 cup Half & Half (to keep the fat content lower)
1/2 cup of sugar
3 oz of Dark Chocolate (I actually combined 72% and 55% dark chocolate).
12 oz Fresh Raspberries

1. Melt Chocolate into Half & Half until it looks like a pot of hot cocoa.
2. Add sugar and Whole Milk.  Bring to slight simmer and remove from heat.
3. Add Raspberries and chill for 3-6 hours.
4. After mixture is aged and completely chilled through add to ice cream maker and follow directions of your particular model.
5. Freeze until set.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

2 cans light coconut milk
1/2 cup of sugar
3 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder

1. Bring coconut milk to a slight simmer and remove from heat.
2. Add sugar and Cocoa, stir until fully dissolved.
3. Chill for 3-6 hours.
4. After mixture is aged and completely chilled through add to ice cream maker and follow directions of your particular model.
5. Freeze until ice cream sets.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream...YUM!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Life, people and work

"It is so nice to have a job in this economy."  How often do you hear this and think to yourself, ugh yeah you walk a mile in my shoes and see if you're grateful for this job.  I remembered feeling somewhat overwhelmed this time two years ago being a full-time nanny and looking for a job.  Which is where I ended up landing the gig at Trader Joe's.   When you're starting something new of course everything seems great, but then it sets in and when working retail full-time... well let's just say soon enough, it becomes hard to remember how to be grateful.  Lots of weekends, lots of long hours, and all for so little pay it really starts to mess with your sense of value and self-worth.

I have been struggling with this sense of value in my job because I have been working so much I don't hardly have time to breathe.  This also explains why it's been so long since my last update. Everything gets harder when you work two jobs (particularly two jobs that are both so similar --i.e. RETAIL!)

But, then I stop to count my blessings and remember all the awesome things about my life.  I'm not homeless... I'm not hungry... and I am blessed to have two jobs in a time when so many can't even find one.  What's even better is my jobs allow me to meet so many interesting and great people.

It's amazing how many times I will pass strangers throughout the week and they will stop me saying, "Don't I know you? Where do you work?"  Without fail when I answer Trader Joe's or my second job they will immediately follow up with, "That's right I remember, you helped me find [insert meat product, gluten-free item, or wine here]."  It may not seem like much to me to help someone find something they're looking for when they come in, and heck it may not even seem like much to me to shoot someone a smile, but really I have nearly hundreds of opportunities every week to brighten somebody's day.  So, I realized as much as I hate working so many hours for so little pay, my job has a very rewarding return that has absolutely nothing to do with monetary profit.