Getting Emotional

This weekend we celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday with a big party complete with dinner, drinks, and dancing.  The party was not a surprise- but there were several surprises for him this weekend.  The main surprise was one of his best buddies- who also happens to be his son in law (married to my sister)- flew in from Anchorage, ALASKA to surprise him.  When they connected and embraced, my dad and Ryan (brother in law) both got teary eyed (as did I).  It was a beautiful moment that took place in my family’s garage.

My dad has said over and over that he gets more emotional each year.  I am beginning to realize that is the case for me as well.  I think that every year that goes by gets more “real” because we begin to realize the magnitude of special moments.  These include celebrations, time with friends and family, and seeing little ones grow up.

We realize that we may have a birthday EVERY year, but we only have one 60th birthday.  Or we look back over those 60 years of life and realize that we don’t have 60 more to live.  We cherish the memories, friends, and opportunities we have been given and our hindsight is 20/20.

Last month we celebrated my son’s birthday.  I was emotional about him “getting older” but what hit me hardest is I only have 14 more summers with him before he goes to college.  Now, I realize that may sound ridiculous to you (and my husband made me very aware of this fact).  But for me, realizing I have a limited amount of time left- a count down of sorts- made me sad.

I think that is what adds to the emotion equation:

grateful for the past memories + knowing we don’t live forever= emotions

Good, bad, or ugly… emotions are meant to be felt, embraced, and a wonderful reminder to be grateful for whatever you have experienced and what memories are still to come.

love, brooke

CRABS

I love crabs.  Particularly blue crabs.  I grew up crabbing in Beaufort, SC on a 900 (!!) foot dock to the intra coastal waterway.  We could catch a MESS of crabs and shrimp off that dock.  I think that is my where my love for “catching” began.

Fast forward 20 years, and my parents have a (shorter) dock off the coast of Georgia that has become ripe for catching crabs.  Last year, we learned we could catch them and I gained a new nickname- The Crab Whisperer.

crab-whisperer

There is something exhilarating about corralling those feisty little creatures with their quick, sharp claws.  They really want a chunk of your finger/hand and you really want them safely in a 5 gallon bucket ASAP.  I want share ten easy steps to YUMMY blue crabs.

Step 1- Location

Find a place where crabs live- preferably with a dock.  Buy or borrow a crab trap to use.

Step 2- Set the Trap

Fill the bait section of the trap with either fish guts or raw chicken (glamorous, I know).  Secure the bait, throw the trap in the water, and tie the rope on to the dock.

crab-baiting

Step 3- Check the Trap

In my experience, the most crabs are caught around low tide (less water means the crabs can find the trap easier).  Technically you can check the trap every hour or so, but I usually let it go for 3-4 hours.  Set it and forget it.

Step 4- Remove the Crabs from Trap

This is by far the hardest part of the crabbing.  The trap is cumbersome and you have these aggressive little beasts desperately trying to stay away from you (aka not leaving).  The easiest tactic is to grab a helper and dump the crabs out together.  This can be dangerous too (I have the bruises on my arm to prove it).  You can also use tongs to remove them.  This is easiest for a small amount of crabs- but individually battling those little tyrants can also be exhausting.

crab-bucket

Step 5- Cook the Crabs

My preferred cooking method is boiling them.  I get a GIANT pot of water boiling and when its roaring, I pour the crabs in… careful not to over load the pot.  Once the crabs start floating to the top, they are cooked.  Pull them out to cool.

Step 6- Clean the Crabs

This is by far the grossest part of prepping crabs.  I will keep it simple.  You have to pop the top of the crab off and clean out the innards/lungs and wash all the crap off.

Step 7- Sautee the Crabs

This part is signature to my crab cooking.  Melt butter in a large skillet, dump in the cleaned crabs, then sprinkle them with Old Bay (my choice in seafood seasoning).  Cook on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The butter will start to caramelize and be super yummy.

crabs-cooking

Step 8- Eat the Crabs

Eating crabs can be tricky but with some practice you can become a pro.  You need a good crab hammer to bust open the claws.  My favorite meat is the “lump” crab meat near the back swimmer of the crab body.  You don’t need a crab cracker to get to that meat.  As an accoutrement, I recommend pouring the browned butter from the sauté pan into a little ramekin so you can do some crab dippin.

ENJOY!

learning, brooke

 

FINALLY

I write things in my head.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  DAY.  but very rarely post them.  I write FB posts that never get posted.  I write blog posts that never get shared on the internet.  All in my head.  Well, FINALLY, I have decided to start sharing them.

I’ll be honest.  I am scared.  Like “I-want-to-go-throw-up-really-quickly-SCARED”.  I am scared what people might say (negatively) about what I have to say.  Scared that I won’t stick with it.  Scared that I won’t like to see my thoughts on paper.  Scared that I might embarrass myself (or others).  Do you see the theme word here?  Yes, scared.  Well, I am tired of being scared and ready to be outside of my comfort zone.

Someone really smart once said that major growth happens when you are uncomfortable.  Well, let’s just hope for my sake and the potential of this blog that something (positively) major will happen.  Here goes nothing.

love,  scared brooke