history

THE BEACH AND THE PIT

Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Photo by Adrian Garcia.  This image is subject to LASDI© by Life As She Does It. Please do not reuse without linking credit.

Every year somewhere around the 4th of July, The Hubster and I go camping on our Annual Beach Date Trip.  It's only one night, but it has become a tradition I look forward to so much, that when we are leaving the beach from one trip, I am already talking about the next one to come the following year.

I am a girl who thrives on tradition; the history of things excites me.  I can't explain it.  I'm the one who buys a beat-up torn-down table because it is that way.  I've had someone ask me as I made a purchase like that how I was going to refurbish it, to which I replied, "I'm not.  I absolutely love the cracks and weathered appeal.  It tells me all about it's character."  The person looked at me like I was mad, and it made me smile.

Building traditions is like that for me.  I believe it creates the legacy we live in the present and the one we leave behind.  I don't think anyone is going to remember things I said or did in 100 years, but perhaps I can build traditions in our family that continue to be passed along from generation to generation and that may make a difference both now and long after I'm gone.

It is crucial to part of that legacy that The Kiddos and Grittles (GRAND Littles) see The Hubster and I make time for one another; that we still date each other.  It is vital to the lifeline of their own marriages and relationships.  Hence, the Annual Beach Camping Date Trip!

It's pretty simple, really.  We take our tent, which we set up in the back of the truck instead of on the sandy beach.  There has to be a thermos of wine and two plastic wine glasses.  We take along hot dogs and tortillas to wrap them in - and don't forget the skewers to hold them over the fire!  

Ah, the fire.  It's essential to a successful night, and I mean ESSENTIAL.  We go around the beach collecting wood and shells to create a pit for the fire.  We roast those wieners, sip our wine, look up at the stars, and listen to the roar of the ocean waves (and maybe a little Enya).

We play verbal games that remind us of how rich beyond riches we are.  We play "What's the Top-Five Most-Beautiful Places We've Ever Been" game, and "Top Three Favorite Restaurants", or "Best Family Vacay Memories".  We talk about our wedding, which by no coincidence, took place on the beach.  We never let any sad or unhappy memories interfere with our date - we have enough of those during our regular-life days together!  #Reality

One of our favorite games is something we actually do on our regular days together, but this time with a twist.  On normal days at dinner together, whether we are by ourselves, with The Fam, or with friends, we play "The Pit and the Peak".  This game is where everyone goes around saying the worst part of their day first (The Pit), and then to end on a good note they must say the best part of their day (The Peak).  

Since no worst part of any day is allowed to be discussed on this date, we call it "The Beach and the Pit".  This is where we sit around that fire pit we built in the sand, and talk about all of the best parts of our marriage - the things one has said or done for the other in order to edify them; the times that stand out to us in a great and fond way.  Now sometimes things are repeated from the same game the year before, and that is more than okay.   And there are the new moments from the time we left the beach the year before to the present that we talk about.

It is so easy for we, as mere humans, to cling to the bad.  It is, in fact, easier to place any good on a forgotten shelf if something bad occurs.  We all do it, really.  But life is too short to allow that to happen, so I will fiercely fight for the memories of the happy things - the good parts - even if it means I fight fire with fire by sitting around one and forcing those memories to the surface.  It is the best medicine for those regular days that bring reality back into play.

Do you have beat-up torn-down memories in your own history that tend to make you feel like you need a refurbished life?  Do you allow them to make you feel cracked and weathered or know that it builds character in you and can create a good-and-long-remembered legacy you can leave behind?  Does it make you look back and feel like a mad person or make you smile?

Real life is not always beachy and full of fun and games - trust me, I know.  But it is definitely what you make of it and what you allow it to make of you.  Don't put all the good on a forgotten shelf.  And mark out those times to remember the peaks - even if it means you must fiercely fight to do so.  And in order to see you are rich beyond riches, let the fondest pit be the fire.

beachdate

Go Bananas!

Photo Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_hat#/media/File:Carmen_Miranda_in_The_Gang%27s_All_Here_trailer_cropped.jpg

Photo Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_hat#/media/File:Carmen_Miranda_in_The_Gang%27s_All_Here_trailer_cropped.jpg

I know this is going to come as a shock to anyone reading this so brace yourself: Most people think I'm crazy.  I know, I know - SHOCKING!  Now I don't think that means incapacitated-crazy, or lobotomy-crazy (well, perhaps), but extremely eccentric-crazy, or largely unconventional...and they are right!  Oddly enough, I am very old-fashioned and nostalgic to antiques and history and the things that give them (and me!) character as well.  I know those two things don't always connect, but it's what makes me, me.

With my history comes the fact that I did not grow up affluent; in fact, we were raised to accept and appreciate hand-me-down clothing, sharing a room, and liver and onions for dinner because it was cheap.  My favorite lunch when my parents were out working was to smear ketchup on a piece of bread.  To me, that was a rare delicacy, and even if I was hungry, I would painstakingly chew every bite until it melted in my mouth because it tasted so good.  I suppose I was a foodie before my time!

That history makes up who I am today.  Though I am quite certain my palette is much more refined (organic ketchup on rice bread?), I still have a little panic button if I see that the "staples" of the pantry are dwindling.  I am one of the most frugal people I know.  It is part gift, part skill.  I can shop for all the healthy food that will restock my pantry without paying a mortgage to do so.  And I do.  I also don't like to waste.  Not anything. So I will freeze just about everything; leftovers, bread, tortillas... I don't know if that is the frugal side of me or the unconventional side of me, but either way, it has saved us from a pinch a time or two!

So!  Where is this frugal / unconventional She history lesson headed, you ask?

BANANAS.  Yep.  Bananas.  Not like me-being-crazy bananas, but real, wholesome, packed-full-of-potassium bananas.  Most people love them.  I do.  The downfall of bananas is that they go black QUICK.  Now, that doesn't mean they're bad to eat, necessarily, depending on how mushy or firm you like your banana, but it does mean fruit flies or gnats, or sticky counters or bowls.   Every grocery trip, I buy organic as-green-as-I-can-get-em bananas.  But rest-assured, they turn yellow and then black before we can eat them all.  What to do with the bananas so that the history in me doesn't let them go to waste?

At the risk of sounding like Bubba Gump, there are LOTS of things you can do with bananas!  Banana bread, banana cookies, banana pancakes, banana smoothies.  But the question is: do we want that every day of our lives just to keep the bananas from going South?  Of course not!  The solution?  FREEZE THEM.  That's right.   "She must be crazy" you're saying to yourself.  Well, I established that early on in the post so you can't say I didn't warn you.

I put my bananas in the freezer to keep.  They turn black almost immediately, but trust me, they are still usable for a very long period of time.  I devote the entire top shelf of my freezer to leftover bananas.  They don't go to waste and they are there for healthy, delicious snacks or recipes.  I posted a couple of my favorite below, so if you're a banana-lover, feel free to indulge.  I even included one strictly for serendipitous purposes and the nostalgic sake of the story above - banana ketchup!!

Our past makes us who we are for our future.  My living legacy is as important to me as the one I leave behind; that not only means my faith or how I treat people, but the little things in life that make me rich...REALLY rich.  I don't have to have a lot of money to tell you I'm one of the richest people I know - even if I AM bananas!

THREE-INGREDIENT HEALTHY BANANA COOKIES (quick, easy, healthy and DELICIOUS!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips. Using a spoon, scoop up the batter and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

ROASTED BANANAS WITH BROWN SUGAR WALNUT GLAZE (Good for a side dish or a dessert!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice $
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large firm ripe bananas
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, and set aside.
  • Cut bananas in half lengthwise. Place banana halves, cut sides up, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes. Drizzle sugar mixture evenly over banana halves, and sprinkle with toasted walnuts. Bake an additional 3 minutes. Cut each banana piece into thirds crosswise. Serve bananas with frozen yogurt; drizzle with any remaining sugar mixture.

BANANA KETCHUP (I love to baste my chicken with this stuff before grilling!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño from (about 1 small jalapeño)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large bananas)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Water, as needed

Directions:

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened. Add garlic, jalapeno, ginger, turmeric, and allspice and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in bananas, vinegar, honey, rum, tomato paste, soy sauce, and salt; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer ketchup to a food processor or blender (processor is better if you have one) and process until smooth. Thin out with water as needed to reach a ketchup-like consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks.