In April of 2010, I was a grad student living in Northern California. I shared a rickety old apartment with one of my best friends. It was really close to BART – so close when the train passed the glasses on our shelves rattled. But it was home and we loved it.
That year we went bar hopping, maybe a little more than I should admit. But we were young and single. We worked hard and played hard. And, we did it together.
While going to San Fran and Berkley was fun, our neighborhood bars were close, the beers were cheap and the music was loud. Needless to say, we were regulars. The town’s DJ, fondly known as Diamond Dave, had been around so long he was a legend. He still is.
Groups from the city made special trips to dance to Diamond Dave’s rendition of Sweet Caroline. His performances were debauchery at its best. Eighteen-year-olds flashing fakes could often be caught fist bumping next to white haired ladies grooving away. Twenty-one-runs frequently took shots beside parents out on the town. It was crazy. It was silly. Little did we know how life changing one of those nights would be.
Julie met Paul near last call. I didn’t see it, but it must have been good. Giving out her number was not a regular occurrence. What I did see was the way she bit her lower lip as she told me about him the next morning. I saw her post kiss blush – oops I means sugar rushed flushed cheeks after her first dessert date.
In many ways it was a slow love affair, the kind that simmered and grew rich with time. But looking back, things were decided long before the “I love you’s” and “will you marry me’s.” I should have seen it the first time I caught Paul watching Julie. He was all peaceful faced and smiling eyes. He looked like a man who had come home.
Some weeks ago I mentioned a bachelorette party and promised to come back to it. Life is a little hectic these days and it took longer than I’d planned, but here it is folks – my good friend, Julie McAvoy (aka JuJus) will be a Fox in less than a year.
Yes, she’s already a pretty foxy lady as it is. But, soon she’ll have the name to prove it. This summer I had the privilege of celebrating her happiness with her before the big “I DO.”
There wasn’t any Sweet Caroline belting and bar hopping. This wasn’t that kind of bachelorette party. But, there was food. There was hiking. There was hot tub dipping, box munching and picture taking. There was story telling, wine drinking and Jell-o shooting. It was a whirlwind of laughter and love. I’m so glad she let me be a part of it.
(Box munching is a crazy Fox sister invention which requires an empty beer box and very flexible hamstrings. Full directions are at the end of the post. Proceed with caution.)
Sweet Potato & Pork Tenderloin Tacos
The bachelorette party crowd was a mix of vegetarians and meat eaters. Creating a menu which satisfies both camps can be difficult. Typically, either the veggie lovers must pick around animal carcass or meat eaters are forced to do without. This entrée is not an either/or. It’s an assemble your own affair perfect for mixed company.
Greek Yogurt Coleslaw
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small red onion, finely sliced
2 scallions, finely sliced
1 poblano, minced
½ cup Greek yogurt
¼ cup lime juice
1 TBS honey
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chipotle powder
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, carrots, onions, scallions and poblano. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, lime juice, honey, cumin, chipotle powder and salt and pepper.
Toss sauce and slaw together until full combined. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Can be made up to one day in advance.
1 tsp chili powder
1 TBS garlic powder
½ TBS cumin
½ TBS smoked paprika
3 TBS lime juice
1 – 2 pounds pork tenderloin
Whisk together spices and lime juice. Completely coat pork tenderloin in marinade and wrap securely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cooking. Can marinate for up to one day.
Note: Wrapping the tenderloin in plastic wrap helps the meat more quickly absorb the marinade. If you are worried about the juices leaking, place the wrapped tenderloin in a large Ziploc bag.
Grill pork tenderloin on medium high, until center temperature registers 160 degrees Remove from grill and allow to rest for at least five minutes before carving into thin slices.
Sweet Potato Fries
2-lbs sweet potatoes, washed and sliced into sticks ¼-inch thick
1 TBS smoked paprika
½ TBS cumin
½ tsp chili pepper
2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Position oven racks so they are evenly spaced. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and spices. Arrange in an even layer on the baking sheets, making sure to give each sweet potato stick room.
Note: Giving the sweet potatoes room is incredibly important. Sweet potatoes have a much higher water content than regular potatoes such as russets. If they are too close together they will steam rather than brown.
Bake sweet potatoes for 20 minutes. Flip each sweet potato. Rotate bottom sheet to the top rack and the top sheet to the bottom rack. Bake for another 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are crispy, but not burned.
Pork tenderloin slicesa
Sweet potato fries
3 avocados, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Set each ingredient out in a bowl or on a plate. Gather the crowd, form an assembly line and have at it.
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The rules are simple. Tear the top flaps off an empty cardboard box, such as a beer box. Without touching your hands, knees or butt to the ground, bend over and pick up the box using your mouth (lips, teeth and tongue are all acceptable). Each player gets a turn. Those who can’t pick up the box are out. A thin layer of box is then ripped off, lowering the height of the box. The remaining players try again, ripping off layers of box until no players remain or the box is completely flat.