Like It or Love It.

Loving It.

What your girl Snap’s been loving as of late.

. . .

  1. The Toy Story Franchise. Toddler Snap has really taken to these movies, which we watch in succession nearly everyday. (Well, okay. Let’s be fair: We make it through the series about every other day.) Anyway, color me impressed, yo. Being a 90s kid, I sure as hell saw the original when it came out. But that was the only one I’d ever seen, until a few weeks ago. And let me tell you: they’re brilliant. So. Well. Done. They’ve also made me cry like a baby (or, more accurately, a postpartum mom). Toy Story 3? It’s perfect. How precious childhood–and life–truly is.
  2. All the Drinks. Okay, not all. But now that my body is back to being my own, I’m all about the iced coffees. And IPAs. It’s so nice to savor the simple things again: to sip artisanal drinks like only a hipster knows how.
  3. Our Stash. Two years of living in a pandemic will make just about anyone reevaluate their home. We’ve done our fair share of online shopping–our Amazon rewards are almost embarrassing at this point–but we’ve also utilized the things we have. In fact, I sort of unofficially proclaimed 2022 as The Year of The Used. Instead of buying more–more body products, more coffee mugs, more candles–I’m making myself dig inside forgotten drawers. There’s a surprising amount of goodies, from shopping trips long since past. It feels good to bring them back to life.

. . .

Wishing you some simple pleasures today, friends.

. . .

SnapDragon is an artist who enjoys driving her car with the windows down.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her Two-Bit Musings and more.

Like It or Love It.

It’s Gaming Time.

Dude. You need this game in your life.

Image borrowed from Amazon.com

All right, friends.

I am by no means a serious gamer, but this game is just too. much. fun.

In an age where co-op games are usually done via the internet, it’s a refreshing change to play one with a friend. In the same room. On the same team.

Revolutionary, I know.

My husband and I are absolutely in love with Overcooked.

(And Overcooked 2, of course.)

As a team, we act as short-order cooks in the craziest of kitchens.

We’re not just making burritos, but we’re doing it in outerspace. We’re delivering pasta dishes on a hot-air balloon. We’re baking pizzas in a haunted castle with The Unbread (yep, pieces of angry toast) trying to break down the walls.

It’s crazy.

It’s silly.

But it’s so much fun, and seriously challenging at times. It will push your communication skills to the brink, yo.

But most importantly, it’s a game that brings you and yours together.

Who’s ready for some fun?

. . .

SnapDragon is a thinker of thinks, singer of songs, and lover of life.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

Like It or Love It.

Slow Cooker: Bean & Barley Soup

Recipe provided from foodnetwork.com

While I’m obsessed with Food Network, experimenting in the kitchen has never come naturally to me. I’ve come a long way over the past few years, but still heavily rely on well-written recipes.

Also, I love the simplicity of using a Slow Cooker. Set it and forget it? Yes, please!

So when I saw Katie Lee make this Slow-Cooker Bean & Barley Soup on The Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. It’s hearty, flavorful, and easy! I’ve made it several times and recommend it completely.

You won’t even miss the meat!

Image borrowed from foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

1 cup dried multi-bean mix or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed

1/2 cup pearl barley

3 cloves garlic, smashed

2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

2 ribs celery, roughly chopped

1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt

2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, crumbled if large, optional

One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice

3 cups cleaned baby spinach leaves (about 3 ounces)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions

Special equipment: slow cooker
  1. Put 6 cups water, the beans, barley, garlic, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaf, 11/2 tablespoons salt, herb blend, some pepper and porcini mushrooms (if using) in a slow cooker. Squeeze the tomatoes through your hands over the pot to break them down, and add with their juices. Cover and cook on high until the beans are quite tender and the soup is thick, about 8 hours.
  2. Add the spinach and cheese, and stir until the spinach wilts, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and drizzle each serving with vinegar and olive oil.

This recipe has been updated and may differ from what was originally published or broadcast.

From Food Network Kitchens Making it Easy, Meredith, 2004

Like It or Love It.

The Answer.

The Answer, friends, is beer. Heavenly, handcrafted beer.

Now, before you refer me to my local AA meeting, I’m specifically talking about The Answer, a brewpub located in Richmond, Virginia. Also, it’s pronounced on-sir, after its founder An Bui, whose portrait proudly hangs on display.

An Bui, 2019. The Answer Brewpub. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved. (Except this is a photo of someone else’s art. Not sure how that works.)

This place is off. the. chain.

The Husband and I have visited over 150 breweries (and counting!) over the past several years, and therefore pride ourselves in having a weee bit of street cred.

This is my new favorite.

(Okay, okay, you’re right. Hill Farmstead is still Number One. But it still blew me away. I talked about this place all damn weekend!)

Blanton’s German Chocolate Cake Stout, 2019. The Answer Brewpub. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Sitting down for some tasters, I just had to try the famous “Joose” selections. I’m only sorry I couldn’t try them all.

Sample #1:

3 Scoops: Pineapple, Coconut, Strawberry: Sour – Ale

The scent of this alone is divine, like walking into an Anthropologie: sophisticated citrus you just want to dive into. The taste is a perfectly nuanced fruit explosion. Yes, you need it in your life. How far do you live from Richmond?

Drinkable Art, 2019. The Answer Brewpub. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Sample #2:

Triple 3 Scoops: Passionfruit, Lemonade, Mango:  Sour – Ale

This is yet another 5-star ranking from The Answer. Just as I was known in the classroom, I’m a harsh grader when it comes to beer. It’s gotta be exceptional if you want an A. And friends, this makes the cut and then some.

Triple 3 Scoops, 2019. The Answer Brewpub. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

While I could certainly go on about the other masterfully balanced brews we tried, I need to take a moment to tell you about the food! (emphatically pounds fist on the table)

If I believed in Heaven, it would be a magical place filled with Paul McCartney albums and Asian cuisine. To me there is nothing more flavorful and artistic. (I’m specifically referring to the food, but we can apply that to Paul as well. It works.)

This was my lunch:

Brussels Sprouts Heaven, 2019. The Answer Brewpub. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

The Viet Brussel Sprouts main dish did not disappoint. The mushrooms and red pepper medley danced so beautifully with the garlic sauce that I was momentarily distracted from the beer! (Oh, yeah. I also ordered veggie steamed dumplings but promptly devoured them before I could snap a photo. I like to eat. Sue me.)

I love my life.

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with The Answer. It’s fresh. It’s excellent. And it’s beyond worthy of a road trip.

Cheers!