Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weekend in Pittsburgh

The big event down in Pittsburgh was Uncle Dick's 95th birthday! 

First full day in Pittsburgh. Woke up to two little fawns playing in the backyard. I could only get a pic of one of them.

Some of the family went to The Strip , some chilled out and prepped for the party at home, and we went kayaking in North Park.

My phone camera put weird halos in the photo.

Nothing like a snow cone on a hot summer day!

Mine was pina colada flavored. Looked like pee snow, but it hit the spot. 

Another thing we made to cool us down were creamy margarita pops.  Ok, it wasn't my idea. Our cousin David thought of it. But I assume that was the purpose in addition to fitting the Mexican themed party.

Even the baby enjoyed one.  We made her a special one without tequila. Come on, guys.

The recipe is from hostthetoast.com.

We modified the recipe for 24 popsicles and changed some instructions based on our preference. You can adjust for the number of people you plan to serve.

2 1/2 cups of lime juice (many say one lime yields 1/4 juice), plus some extra limes to put on the stick 
2 (14 oz) cans of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of tequila
4 tablespoons of orange juice (optional)
Kosher salt or margarita salt
24 (3oz) Dixie cups
Small popsicle sticks or crafts spoons
A pitcher or large cocktail shaker


1. Slice the limes into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Ideally, you want the lime slice to fit right inside the widest part of the cup so that it will cover the liquid entirely.  It's a little tricky. Basically, avoid having tiny lime slices or your pops will look silly with its creamy body hanging over the lime. Poke the popsicle sticks through the limes.

2. In a pitcher or large cocktail shaker, mix the lime juice, condensed milk, water, tequila, and orange juice. Using a container with a spout will greatly help you in pouring the liquid into the small Dixie cups.

3. Place the cups in a tray so it will be easy to transport them to the freezer. Fill each cup about 90% of the way with the "margarita" mix.

Place these lime pacifiers on top of the liquid in the cups. 

It's best to have no space between the liquid and limes. (We totally had spaces between the pop and lime...it just doesn't look as pretty.)

4. Freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight. We squeezed the pops out of the cups after they froze, but some of them ended up looking a bit...well, squished. The website suggested cutting the rim a bit and then peeling the cup away.  Sprinkle the tops with salt and serve!


The original recipe called for starting with the liquid mixture. I liked cutting the lime tops first because whatever ends you didn't use for the lime tops could be squeezed for the lime juice for the mixture.

After pouring the one virgin popsicle for the baby, we added tequila to the concoction and poured some of it-YES, not all of it. We saved some of the mixture and added more tequila to it (a stronger, more alcohol-y version) before pouring it into the Dixie cups.  We marked those stronger pops by dotting the popsicle sticks with a Sharpie. The ones with more tequila didn't freeze as well as the regular pops. We should have allowed more time for those pops to freeze. So be warned! Too much alcohol may lead to smushy pops- or they may not freeze at all! 

We didn't add orange juice to this batch.  The pops were REALLY tart. So I would add less lime juice and add orange juice next time.

We had Chipotle for dinner. Andrew also made his delicious carnitas.

Happy birthday, Uncle Dick!  Check out the photographer wielding a knife.

Sweet Maya hoping for someone to drop some tacos on the floor.

They had mustache tattoos on our fingers. I didn't; I am just a poser.
Cousin Rachel (yeah, half of Andrew's family is a cousin to me) left from Pittsburgh for her new life on the West Coast.  She will no longer be in NYC.  It's sad, but I'm also thrilled about her adventure ahead.

Aly gave baby Natalie a mustache on her finger and tried to train her to put the mustache to her upper lip.  Because it's a very important gesture for a baby to learn. 

The training started out shaky.

But she got it!

We had a classy game of Settlers of Catan. Actually, we played Settlers of Patron. Any time you stole a card from a player, you both had to take shots. The person in charge of pouring the shots was a bit heavy-handed. Thus, the bottle didn't last the entire game. Also, SOME people were not drinking their shots. I fulfilled my wifely duty of drinking Andrew's shot. So, as usual, he owes me. 

What a party. I wish I had taken more pictures. Of more people and moments. But what matters the most is that family got together and enjoyed our time with each other and Uncle Dick. We are grateful to be able to celebrate his 95th and hope to party it up with him again next year!
Maya, I feel you. I passed out on the couch a couple of times. That's what I do in Pittsburgh. Every Thanksgiving, there are photos of me on the couch. Sometimes on the floor. Alcohol is not usually the culprit. Honestly, I eat WAY too much with the family. Then food coma and older age come together to taunt and tease me and render me useless. I just can't hang anymore.  

On the way home, there were farms and cornfields galore. 

We stopped by a vegetable stand and bought half a dozen corn for $2. I feel like that's really cheap.  Is it not?  Whatever, do you know how exciting it was to buy corn right next to cornfields??  Maybe that corn didn't even come from those particular cornfields. But doesn't it just make the corn seem FRESH?

Andrew and I finally listened to "Serial" during this road trip. You know, that podcast that came out back in October 2014. The one everyone was so crazy about and discussing all over social media. I have to know what everyone thinks! Did Jay and Jenn do it? Or is Adnan just a charming murderer? Will someone revive their interest in this case and engage me in this mystery??

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