Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. Anais Nin
Friday was our monthly Girls Games and Giving event. There were a few ladies who were there for the first time. I think one of the things I love best about this group is that, at almost every meeting, I walk away having made a new friend or two (or even three!). Our group was small and we had so much fun. We like to play Catch Phrase and if you haven’t played, it’s hysterical. Someone told me it’s similar to the game Taboo, but what it reminds me of is the show/game Password. Basically you have to get your team to guess a word without saying the word or giving any obvious hints (like “sounds like” or “starts with”).
The kicker is that the game makes the most horrible loud beeping noise – it’s basically a timer. The game itself is a round electronic widget that is about 6″ in diameter. Your team has to guess the word and the game has to be in the next person’s hands before the timer goes off. As you’re holding the game, the beeps get closer and closer together – Beep!……Beep!…..Beep!…..Beep!…Beep!…Beep!…Beep!…BEEP!..BEEP!BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPHONK. There you sit with the game in your hands looking pathetic. When the beeping starts to get really close, the person who is next line will often delay taking the game – because even if your team has guessed the word correctly, you CANNOT be holding it when the timer goes off. The best is if you pass it to the next person and the timer goes off immediately.
The charity chosen by our hostess was ALS – or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. What an awful disease. Essentially you end up with a body that doesn’t work and a fully functioning brain – trapped. Two of the girls in our club are cousins and they’ve had 5 people in their family who either died or are dying from this disease. It’s always amazing to me how I can so easily feel like I don’t have enough in my life; yet hearing about a disease like this really makes it clear how blessed I really am. The hostess showed us a before and after picture of the latest family member who has been struck with ALS – in six months she looked like she had aged 30 years. A good thing to think about when I feel like I’m somehow deprived!
I had this bright idea that I was going to can peaches this year. This was brought on by my friend and co-worker, Annie, who is this truly amazing woman – she can do anything. She’s an outstanding cook, baker, quilter, sewer, accountant, just name it. She brought in these peaches she had gotten at a local produce market. They’re called Colorado Mountain Gold and oh my goodness – I’ve never had such a good tasting peach. So I went to the market and bought an entire box. And before I could get them canned, we ate them all! I have three left. And now, sadly, they’re not available anymore. So, I’ll try again next year. But, I did use them in some very creative ways. Last weekend I made a salad with peaches, blueberries, and strawberries, and I topped it with a mint lime dressing that was used in a different type of fruit salad by my cousin Sue. It was outstanding. And even though the peaches were wonderful on their own, I also tried them alone with the dressing – yummers. And, it’s simple to make and keeps well. One thing I want to point out – I DO NOT like black licorace. In fact, I would eat something with raisins in it before I would eat black licorace. But don’t let the aniseeds in this recipe scare you. The flavor is so subtle and adds so much to the final product – I promise you it will be good!
Just a few simple ingredients. Those are the anise seeds on the bottom left.
Mix together the sugar, finely diced mint leaves, anise seeds, lime juice and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Cool completely.
Here it is still warm from the stove. If you’re going to make this a couple days ahead of time, you can leave the mint out when you boil it and add it in when the syrup is cool. Let it steep for a couple of days and it will have a wonderful mint flavor, and the mint pieces will stay bright green instead of losing their color (when they’re cooked they look a little like basil).
So good drizzled on fresh fruit (the last of the peaches!). For more intense flavor, soak the fruit in the dressing for a couple of hours before serving. So far my favorite combination is peaches, orange slices (from either mandarin or Cara Cara oranges), strawberries and blueberries.
Lime, Mint and Aniseed Dressing
1 cup water
3 tablespoons lime juice
3/4 teaspoon anise seed
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Combine all ingredients in a small heavy saucepan over high head, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and boil for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, and cool completely. May be used immediately after cooling or store in the refrigerator.
Alternative: Follow directions above, but do not add mint until mixture has cooled. Allow to steep in the refrigerator for at least one day before using. This method keeps the mint leaves a nicer green.