Monday, July 28, 2008

Andrea Norris a.k.a. Sarah Vallely or Who's Ribbon Is It, Anyway?

Here's how it began: A couple of weeks ago,Sarah and I were chatting on the phone when I told her that I was entering my Banana Trail Mix Muffins (which is an official blue ribbon winner this year, by the way)and my Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (which did not get the recognition they deserve)in the Barnstable County Fair. She said,
"Oh you should enter my peanut butter balls. They are so good, they are like 'crack', you can't stop eating them."
Considering I didn't feel right about entering someone else's recipe, I offered to make them and enter them under her name. She emailed me the recipe and was specific about the type of cornflakes and chocolate to be used.
I bought the exact ingredients and set out to make the peanut butter balls with ample time for hardening in the refrigerator. After dipping half the balls in the approved chocolate, I ran out and had to use another brand I had on hand. The night before, I taste tested to choose the best flavor, it was indeed the ones with chocolate Sarah had recommended. Thursday morning, the day to deliver the entries, I chose 6 of the most delicious looking and uniform balls, displayed them on a plate an wrote out the recipe embellishing the name to:"Chocolate Covered Crispy Peanut Butter Balls". My mother, Val and I delivered all of our entries to the fairgrounds for judging.
Val reported the winners on Sunday evening as she stood in the adult exhibit hall. Sarah's balls had won a blue ribbon! I was happy and annoyed. What the heck, my efforts delivered a blue ribbon to my friend. It's a good thing my muffins also won, or I would have definitely been a sore loser.
I refused to tell Sarah the news on a voicemail and made her play phone tag with me for a few days to get the info. The suspense was killing her. I had to make her suffer somehow.
"You won a blue ribbon, you bitch!"
"I'm sending out emails to everyone I know!!!!"
And she did. She copied me on all of them.
Those of you who know Sarah, probably do not know one of her deepest, darkest secrets. You all know her as a superstar runner and athlete. What you probably don't know is that she won the school home economics award her senior year in high school.
I've never seen her cook and I've never seen her drive (another Sarah mystery). I'm not sure she can do either one. However, I can attest to something for sure, those balls taste like 'crack'.

Chocolate Covered Crispy Peanut Butter Balls or
Sarah's Crack Balls

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups organic cornflakes
2 cups creamy peanut butter (not organic,Skippy or Jiff works best)
2 cups dry milk powder
2 cups powdered sugar
15 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (Nestle only)

Line two baking sheets with foil. Melt butter. Cool slightly. Combine cereal, peanut butter, dry milk, and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Mix in butter. Moisten hands and roll 1 tablespoon of mixture into a ball. Place on baking sheet. Continue with rest of mixture. Chill overnight.
The next day, melt semi-sweet chips in a double boiler over low heat. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and roll peanut butter balls to coat using a fork or a spoon. Place chocolate covered balls back on foil lined sheets and refrigerate until hardened. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy your 'crack'!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

City Guys At The Beach

Relaxing on the beach is one of my favorite summer pastimes. On Sunday afternoons, I often get together with some friends and we hang out on the Heights Beach in Falmouth, MA to enjoy the sun, surf and conversation. That is, until the "City Guys" show up.
A posse of 4-6 young men in their 20's-30's tossing a football and lugging large coolers always park themselves close to us, behind the lifeguard chair that sits about 10 feet away. They announce themselves in loud voices as if projecting on stage so that the rest of the beach going population can "enjoy" the performance. In a matter of minutes, we all know their silly nicknames and which one of them drank to much last night. That's about when "Sully", "Cheese", Whitey", "Fitzie" and "Dopey" started throwing the football around. Anyone else would have noticed the large sign mounted on the back of the adjacent lifeguard chair that listed the rules of the beach. Especially since the ball missed its intended target a few times and bounced off the sign. Maybe such rules don't apply to them. It's still a mystery to me. Anyway, for as long as I can remember, the sign has stated: NO BALL PLAYING. After the third errant pass that almost hit the lifeguard....

"Hey guys, no ball playing on the beach"
"We can't just toss it around?"
"NO. No ball playing."

Now the fun has to end. The entertainment is over. All seems quiet and we resume the conversation we started before this special presentation. But wait...
One of the city guys has climbed onto the jetty right in front of us. He is bear walking along the rocks that are covered in slimy seaweed. This is a dangerous act. One could slip and fall off bleeding with jagged cuts into the water below. We whisper and motion to each other to watch. Was the lifeguard going to...

"TWEEEEET!!!" a piercing whistle blew through the air.

Everyone on the beach looks over to the guard who is motioning for Fitzie or maybe it is Dopey (yes, it's definitely Dopey) to get off the rocks. Everyone that is, except Dopey. As the guard continues whistling and motioning, it is obvious that Dopey has not seen the sign that clearly reads: "DANGER:KEEP OFF THE ROCKS". Finally, as the guard jumps down from the chair and walks over to address the offense, Dopey realizes all the commotion is directed at him.

"Uh, sorry, man."

Once all his friends finish clapping him on the back, it's time for some refreshment. The city guys pull beers from their coolers and take a rest for now. Please don't make me tell the rest of the story. I sincerely hope all of you are smart enough to know. The sun, the ocean and alcohol make for a very unpleasant mix.

P.S. These events are all true but names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. To all of you "City Folks", please don't be offended. I know you are not all bad. I married a guy from Dorchester.