Thursday, July 23, 2009

Panas Making

Ah, panas. What's that, you ask? Well, let me try to explain. It's a German tradition and our family has been making it every year that I can remember since I've been little. Everyone gathers at my grandparents house one day in early spring for the fun. And my grandpa has a ball, let me tell you.

First the gross part. You start off with several hogs heads - and yes, these are in fact sawed in half. I know, I know...

The heads are thrown into big, black kettles and are simmered for a few hours.

Once cooked, the heads are removed from the kettles and the meat is stripped from the bones. Nothing is left behind, in fact - I won't go into detail here...

The meat is then ground via this old fashioned food grinder. (This was my favorite part as a kid...)

The cooking liquid left in the kettle is strained to remove any small fragments of bone remaining and then the ground meat is put back into the liquid in the kettles.

Then the fun really begins. A flour/corn meal/salt/pepper mixture is added to the kettles.

And someone has to stir....

and stir...

and stir...

until the mixture begins to thicken. The old method for stirring used to be via a 2x4 and lots of elbow grease, but luckily someone got smart and got out the drill and drill bit. Nate tried his hand at the mixing and complained afterward that his hands HURT.

One must fight off the moochers (my grandma) who like to dip in and taste test. :)

Once the panas reaches the desired consistency, it's time to put it into containers and let it cool. Good thing my grandpa keeps all these beer flats...

The finished product. Isn't it pretty?

Everyone gets a box or two to take home. My parents cut theirs up into bricks and freeze it. The best way to cook panas is to slice it about 1/4-inch thick and fry it up in a pan. It's wonderful for breakfast, IF you're well aware of what's in it and don't care, as is the case with me. :)


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sheryl Crowe at the Arch

I spent last night sweating it out in the wonderful humidity that St. Louis is known for... All to see the FREE Sheryl Crowe concert down at the arch. And I have to say, she put on a great show! I wore as few clothes as possible and it wasn't all that bad, really. After the sun went down, there was a big reprieve from the stickiness.

The concert was a part of the many All Star festivities that are happening in town this weekend, all leading up to the MLB All Star Game on Tuesday evening. MLB donated $1 million to Stand Up To Cancer, so Sheryl, along with Elvis Costello, kindly gave a free performance to all of us St. Louis residents.

I decided to ride the metro down to meet my girlfriends and I was expecting it to be super crowded. I mean, all these people had to get there somehow...

But surprisingly, I got a seat and everything! Not sure how all these folks got downtown, but apparently it wasn't by metro.

The stage was setup just above the arch steps overlooking the river.

Since I just had my point and shoot...and since we weren't that close to the stage, the best I could do was get a picture of Sheryl on the big screen....

She seems like a down to earth, nice person. But I guess that would be true...she is from MO you know!

I was telling my friend Kara we do all these things together all the time--not to mention sit right next to each other at work every day--and I don't have a single picture of the two of us together. Well, that's changed now!

I was obviously warm in this picture. Notice the nice pink hue to my skin. I know, lovely. After Sheryl and Elvis did two encores, they shot off some fireworks too. It was really a nice know, for free and all. And I do like Sheryl's music. I have her latest CD, in fact.

And the perfect ending to the evening? On my way back home I stopped at Fritz's (right before they closed...whew!) for some frozen custard. No better way to cool off from a humid evening...


Friday, July 10, 2009

Long Time, No Talk

Well he-llo there! I'm beginning to wonder if this blogging thing is for me. It's been what, THREE MONTHS since my last post!? I think that says it all....

As I'm sitting here listening to a very loud episode of Entourage reverberating up from the man pit (the guys are having an Entourage marathon), I figured what better time to redeem myself from my lack of posting?

Let's see, what have we been up to? Nate's parents visited at the end of May and we did many fun things! We went to the wineries one Saturday afternoon and just happened to see the blessing of the vines. Did you know they did that? I didn't. There was quite the crowd that followed the priest out to the vineyard to watch.

We all went to the Cardinals game one evening - and sat in the 16th row! Let me tell you, the game is a totally different animal from that close. LOVED it!

While Nate was playing golf with the guys, his parents and I visited the MO Botanical Gardens one day. It was absolutely beautiful weather and many of the flowers were in bloom. We had a nice lunch and then strolled the gardens.

These were the coolest purple flowers. I'm going to have to hunt for some of these next season.

This is part of the Chihuly glass exhibit that was showcased at the gardens for a long time...and it's now a permanent part of the garden.

Over Father's Day weekend, we were able to travel to Sacramento to see Nate's sister, brother-in-law and the kids. We had lots of fun playing outside and swimming in the pool.

My most recent adventure was traveling to Springfield for my friend Anne's bachelorette party. She's getting married on August 1st. We made jewelry during the afternoon and went out to a local piano bar that night. Definitely a good time!

I hope you enjoyed the clif notes version of our last couple of months. Maybe I'll be back again soon to tell you about my girls weekend in AZ, the Haslag family tradition of panas making, and then continue documenting our honeymoon adventure.

Fingers crossed!


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