This past weekend, I drove our older daughter to North Carolina to start her sophmore year of college. I have to admit that while I was looking forward to our 48 hours of one-on-one time, I was not looking forward to the nearly 750 mile drive to our destination.
We had done the drive before, but it was my husband at the wheel so I can’t really count that as personal experience with the route (translation – I was either blissfully sleeping or reading a magazine in the passenger seat!). No, this time we went Thelma and Louise style, just me and my oldest braving the highways and byways of our great country.
Here are some of my thoughts on the trip.
Mapquest lies. Add traffic, traffic and other assorted traffic, together with normal breaks for gas or the restroom and Mapquest’s optimistic 9 hour trip length winds up as 12 hours. And that’s just the first day of the journey. I am breaking up with you, Mapquest.
Three lane highways feel especially small when you are trying to make time.
Best not to enter the Jersey turnpike hungry – it won’t end well unless you are a big fan of Cinnabon.
Also best not to stop at the Jersey turnpike service area around Exit 8A on a Saturday afternoon in late August because apparently EVERYONE will be there too.
Delaware’s rest stops require exiting on the lefthand side of the highway which was a little unclear at first. Not so sure I am comfortable with that, because when I am done “resting”, I don’t like merging into the FAST lane, even if you give me a long entrance ramp to get my speed up. That’s just scary, Delaware.
Our daughter has excellent taste in music and her iPhone is loaded with lots of options. After hearing it a few times, you too might like “No Church in the Wild” by Kanye West and Jay Z, especially if you ignore some of the lyrics. I’ve added it to my workout playlist.
Why do people pass you at 100 mph in the right lane? And why do others like to weave and cross two lanes at a time? They clearly have no manners.
You can relive the past. When I told her I was blaring Michael Jackson’s song, “PYT” on my cassette (yes, cassette) player the day I drove back to college my sophmore year, she said “Oh, I have that”, so we blared it once again. The magic of technology! (Why I remember these little details about my life I have no idea).
You can survive the discovery that you’ve misplaced your license mere minutes before you are set to depart. Although you and your mother search furiously in vain for this license, you still feel comfortable driving because you’ve ordered your replacement license, you have a copy of your passport with you and most importantly, your Dad says, “it’s ok”. And since it’s always good to have a spare, you are so happy when the license turns up two days later in the wallet of another family member who shall remain nameless, but his name is Dad.
There is ALWAYS a wait at The Cheesecake Factory, no matter what time or what city.
It’s impossible for your eyes not to feel like they will fall out of their sockets after 9 straight hours of driving.
The first cup of morning coffee tastes better when you’ve worked for it.
And lastly, if you time it right, you don’t need the code to get through the gate at the storage unit facility. Just put the pedal to the metal and follow the truck ahead of you.
One of our daughter’s favorite foods is the avocado. She loves to eat them in ALT’s, by themselves diced up and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, mashed on toast and of course in guacamole. She particularly loves them in salads tossed with another of her favorite ingredients, pomegranate seeds. The combination makes for a very pretty salad!
I thought that in honor of her, I should make something this week that celebrated the glorious avocado. It was serendipity that the Food Network aired a show that had a recipe for Guacamole with Pomegranate seeds. I thought I would whip up a batch to eat while I was watching the Emmy awards!
I have to admit that I like a very simple guacamole. I usually wing it and just use avocado, red onion or scallion, lime juice, maybe a little jalapeno and some salt and pepper. I love the flavor of the avocado to shine through and don’t like it overpowered by garlic or cilantro. The resulting recipe below is a modified version of the original from Food Network and I hope you have occasion to give it a try sometime soon! Perhaps a Labor Day party?
You can find fresh pomegranates at Whole Foods – they are just reappearing after a summer hiatus. Or you can find packaged seeds at most markets these days.
Oh, and one more thought about the weekend. It’s definitely a little different the second time you drop your child at college as I am sure some of you know. While there weren’t the tears of the first drop, it struck me that saying good bye is becoming more familiar and the distance from childhood has lengthened just a little further. And that just strikes a little bit deeper, I guess.
Good luck to all the children, younger and older going back to school in the coming days. I hope you all have a great year ahead!
Happy Labor Day and let me know what you think in the comments!
The easiest way to remove the seeds from the pomegranate is to cut it in half and thwack the back of it with a rolling pin or a wooden spoon while holding it in your hand (It is hard to do that, hold the rolling pin and take the picture so mine is shown in the bowl, but you get what I mean!). The seeds come out quite easily and they are fresher than the package. Just don’t wear white while doing this job!
Such a pretty fruit, the pomegranate. Lovely to use, cut in half, to garnish a cheese plate as well.
A pic of the guacamole with some chips…
A solitary chip with its healthy portion of guacamole…
Another shot of the finished product…
Isn’t it a pretty salad combination? Perfect holiday colors, but you can enjoy it anytime you have some pomegranate seeds and fresh avocados on hand. How about adding some blue cheese?
Adapted from Nancy Fuller's recipe on Food Network
- 1/2 small red onion, minced
- 2 scallions, minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
- 3 ripe avocados
- Juice of 2 medium limes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- Seeds from 1/2 medium pomegranate (about 1/2 cup)
- In a medium bowl, add the onion, scallion and the chile. Split the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop the avocados into the bowl along with the lime juice and salt. Mash everything together to your desired consistency (I like to leave some chunks of avocado in my guacamole). Fold in the pomegranate seeds.
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
If not serving immediately, store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap pressed to the surface of the guacamole - this will prevent air from getting in which will cause the guacamole to discolor.
Loved the post and the recipe Valerie! Every parent should take a long road trip with each of their children, it is great time spent!
Thanks, Kris! And I agree – you can learn a lot in the car! Hope to see you soon!
Delightful travelogue and innovative recipe!
Thank you, Mary Jo!
Val, You just made my day. That was laugh out loud funny as well as poignant. My own much shorter drive to Maine was greatly enhanced by 80’s hair band music. No, not in 1982, but this past Monday. Who knew my way too cool eighteen year old son liked Journey? We sang at the top of our lungs, which kept my tears away.
Thanks, Betsy! I am so glad you enjoyed the post – I figured a lot of people could relate to the humor. I am going to take a more leisurely route next time!!!