Friday, November 7, 2008

It's "Happy Hour Friday!"

It used to be when my children were little, that the ladies of the neighbor-hood (our very own Desperate Housewives) would convene at the end of the block in front of my house to enjoy our own version of happy hour, as we celebrated the end of another week. With Margaritas or wine concealed in red plastic cups, we would lounge curbside, regaling each other with tales from our hectic week, as we perused catalog pages, freshly retrieved from our mailboxes.

Discussion varied from getting the baby to sleep through the night, what was for dinner, potty training, and handling temper tantrums. I'm not sure if we ever came up with any solutions to these life's problems, but it sure felt good to share and lend a sympathetic ear. Now those problems seem so inconsequential compared to the struggles our older children face today. Infancy and toddlerhood, while exhausting to parents, only helps prepare us for the greater challenges that lie ahead.

Sadly, the moms no longer gather on the sidewalk, as our children are all big enough to play outside unsupervised, have sports practices, or sleepovers with friends, but the tradition of "happy hour" still lives on. Sometimes we join each other at the kitchen table, and sometimes we just enjoy the time with our spouses, but we continue to celebrate week's end with a festive mood, good drinks, and good eats.

Mothers, no matter the ages of our children, need to take time to unwind with our friends, so invite the girls over for a Friday afternoon libation. Use the opportunity to complain, lament, or begrudge, but just for a little while, then enjoy each other's company, smile and tell some jokes, because someday, these days too will be but a memory.

Wickedly Strong Margaritas
Unless you want your children to see you dancing on the table, please enjoy only ONE!

2 shots (2 oz) of premium white tequila
1 1/2 shots (1.5 oz) of cointreau or triple sec
the juice from one lime

Place ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour into salt-rimmed highball glass over ice.

Rockin' Guacamole
Luckily for us Californians, avocados are almost always in season. Each week I pick up a few from the farmer's market.

2 large Haas avocados
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 C chopped cilantro
salt to taste
juice from half a lime

Occasionally, I will add a fresh tomato or diced jalapeno, but my Mexican friends tell me this is not "authentic." My favorite way to remove the flesh from an avocado is to slice it in half around the pit, remove the pit, then carefully make cross hatch marks with a knife all the way down to the skin. Then I use a spoon to scoop out the neat squares I have cut and place them in a bowl. Add sliced scallions, chopped cilantro and lime juice. Taste. I like salty guacamole, so I will usually add a large pinch of salt, but use your own discretion. The lime juice mimics the sensation of salt on the tongue, enhancing the flavor, and also prevents browning. Serve with tortilla chips, or vegetables for dipping.

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