It's been six months since the husband and I did the unthinkable: packed up our lives and moved back east.
It's been seven months since the last blog post, so there's a lot to fill you in on.
From my previous post, you could see that 2015 was not particularly kind to us, but we survived and we are stronger for it. Long story short: the treatment I was going through for endometriosis finally wore off, and it turns out that it was all for naught. The pain picked up right where it left off, leaving me feeling more helpless, angry, and guilt-ridden than before.
Around the same time, other threads started to weave their way into the picture. It soon became evident that despite our love of the city of Portland and the culture of the Pacific Northwest, our future there was not to be (at least for now).
My heart still aches, and my dreams still take me back, but as I write this, I'm looking out on the city of Philadelphia.
We both grew up here, but we decided to look upon this move as a new adventure and not an old return.
To capture the love, passion, and new outlook on live that we discovered in Oregon, we both got our first tattoos. His, an outline of the state of Oregon and mine, after much deliberation, an arrow pointing northwest. Aside from the direction, the arrow holds a lot of significance for me in this move: an arrow must be pulled back in order to launch forward.
So here I am, back in Pennsylvania, moving forward in my career, my marriage, and my health.
More on all that later; first, I'd like to share my favorite way to start a new day, and a new chapter--and how my family kicked off our Easter Brunch: a Bloody Mary bar.
In our family, the Bloody Mary is the customary opening act to several holidays and other special occasions. Since I was notoriously repulsed by tomatoes until one winter evening in 2014, I had a lot of lost time to make up for.
(I think I caught up on the morning of my wedding, when my only demand was to keep my glass full of the good stuff)
Much to the family's delight, I put myself in charge of the Bloody Mary bar for Easter Brunch. I spared no expense, putting most of my efforts into homemade mix and cayenne-spiced candied bacon.
I did keep the mix simple, as it was my first attempt and I was serving a larger crowd (I made the following recipe x 2), and was pleasantly surprised with the great taste and depth of flavor. Quality ingredients are always your best tools for success, but especially so in recipes like this.
BLOODY MARY BAR inspired by FoodieCrush
- 64 oz tomato juice
- 4 T prepared creamy horseradish
- 4 T Worcestershire sauce
- 3 t celery salt
- 15 shakes Frank's Red Hot
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1:1 kosher salt + celery salt mixture, for the rim
- Various pickled vegetables, cooked proteins, herbs, citrus, and cheese to garnish
- Mix together the tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, Frank's, and black pepper in a large pitcher. Adjust seasoning and heat level to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve (overnight is best).
- Assemble drink: rim 8 ounce glass with celery salt mixture (use a wedge of lemon or lime to wet the glass for best effect and extra flavor). Fill glass with ice, pour over 2 ounces of vodka and top with Bloody Mary mixture. Garnish with skewer full of pickles and protein.
- Drink. Repeat.
Now that I have a good basic Bloody Mary recipe under my belt, I'm excited to experiment with fresh tomatoes in the summer, make some vodka infusions, and to create some more fun drinks with the leftover vodka. Any suggestions?