Monday, June 27, 2011


There nothing particularly fancy about limeade, but it's certainly refreshing on a hot day. If you add a bit of rum and give it a quick buzz in the blender; it makes an easy cocktail. Add as much water or lime juice to meet your taste.

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup sugar
2 quarts of water
Mint or Basil (optional)

In a saucepan slowly dissolve the sugar into a half cup of water till it becomes syrupy. Set aside.
Place a strainer over a bowl. Roll and then juice the limes until you have about a cup of lime juice. Six large limes should provide you with a cup of lime juice.
Add the sugar syrup, lime juice and water to a pitcher or glasses. Chill and serve.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Major League Baseball

On Friday night we attended a Chicago White Sox baseball game at US Cellular Field on Chicago's South Side. US Cellular Field, like many ballparks in America, now offer multiple veggie friendly dining options, such as veggie burgers and veggie dogs. Peta recently released their top ten list of veg-friendly ballparks. Though Cellular Field didn't make the top ten we didn't have a problem finding plenty to eat. Before you head out to the ballpark this summer check out Soy Happy. Soy Happy promotes veg friendly concessions at major and minor league parks as well as other venues. On their site they maintain an up to date 'venue reference guide' that shows which teams and ballparks have veggie friendly snacks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Harry takes a Holiday

Where would we be without Florida? The Sunshine State is America's top vacation destination, home to NASCAR, Disney World and St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. The place where Ponce de Leon and Jack Sparrow, and millions of Americans have searched for the Fountain of Youth. Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral, SeaWorld, the Florida Gators, the Everglades, the Keys, South Beach, Hemingway, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffet, Crockett and Tubbs...

It would seem then, like the perfect place for the Boy Who Lived to have a theme park dedicated to himself. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features remarkable recreations of Hogwart's Castle, the Three Broomsticks, and Hogsmeade Village. It's as if various pieces of the Harry Potter universe disappeared into a Vanishing Cabinet and were magically transported to Orlando, Florida. The attention to detail is striking. Though you might be roasting in the Florida sun, and surrounded by more muggles than you can shake a wand at, when you step past the Hogwart's Express and look up at the crooked and snow capped rooftops of Hogsmeade you do feel like you've been transported somewhere else, right down to Moaning Myrtle chatting away in the lavatories.

Jenni and I and the boys spent the better part of two days walking around Harry Potter, which is inside Universal's Islands of Adventure, clutching frozen Butterbeers and buying Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bots Every-Flavour Beans. We purchased wands and t-shirts in Dervish and Banges, sent post cards from the Owl Post to our friends back home featuring Hogsmeade postmarks, and ate breakfast and lunch at the Three Broomsticks. While there my son Jack didn't hide his disappointment upon discovering his Elder Wand didn't allow him to cast spells on his brother. We toured the castle and took the exciting and nauseating Forbidden Journey, rode the family-friendly Flight of the Hippogriff around Hagrid's Hut, but skipped the daunting Dragon Challenge.

I can say as a Harry Potter fan that the park was absolutely stunning, if a little small. There is no end to the number of attractions that could be added if JK Rowling ever needs the money. How about a ride that features the Night Bus or a roller-coaster that takes you through the Department of Mysteries. Instead of fireworks they could project the Dark Mark into the sky at the end of the day. I couldn't help but wonder while listening to all of the British accents around me why they didn't build a Harry Potter theme park somewhere in London, or Blackpool. But I suppose even Harry Potter needs a holiday once in a while.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Shores Resort and Spa - Daytona Beach

The pool at the Shores Resort and Spa - Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach (Daytona Beach Shores)

There's nothing like being on a beach first thing in the morning. The air is filled with salty smells and sea sounds. The sand feels cool beneath your feet. Only a few people were out when the boys and I took an early morning stroll: vendors getting set up for the day, joggers taking their morning exercise, a silver haired granny with a surfboard clutched in her hand (not pictured) walking through the surf, looking for the right wave. It's hard to imagine that this beach served as a race track for nearly 50 years.  

Hogsmeade Village

Hogsmeade Village at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Islands of Adventure - Universal Orlando Resort)

Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Islands of Adventure - Universal Orlando Resort)