New Jersey Trip: Day 2

Kent and I were up before everyone else on Friday morning, a common theme for the whole trip, since going to bed late never means that he's going to sleep in the next morning. Maybe when he's a teenager, he'll learn how to do that. Anyway, we saw Mom and Bill for a little while in the morning before he headed off to work and she headed off to a few appointments, and then Kent and I had a morning alone.

I was incredibly thankful that we were in a cooler climate than Louisiana, because at 9:30 in the morning, it was still cool enough that we could go for a walk in the neighborhood to the local produce stand/turkey farm. We bought some fresh veggies to cook later that weekend, as well as something I couldn't resist after trying one in June: cider doughnuts. And we had to have something to drink, so we got chocolate milk, and we sat outside on their picnic table next to the goat pen.
The goats were bleating at us (or whatever that sound is that goats make) while we ate, so we went to visit them after we had finished our doughnuts and apologized for not bringing them anything to eat.

Here's Kent petting Goat #1.

Goat #2

Mom and Boy, with sugar on Boy's face

Kent wanted to watch a movie when we got home from our walk, and I was so tired that I acquiesced. I searched Mom and Bill's DVD collection for something new to Kent and settled on Lady and the Tramp. Ten minutes and a phone call to Bill later (they have a lot of equipment), I finally had the DVD playing, complete with sound, no less. Kent fell asleep lying on me about halfway through the movie, and I nearly fainted from the shock when he let me put him right down for a nap. I guess he was tuckered out from all the travel and his late night, because a self-imposed nap at 11:30 a.m. is unheard of for my little guy. I scrounged up some lunch while he napped and waited for Mom to get home so we could get some grocery shopping done.

After Kent woke up and ate some lunch, we headed out to buy provisions for that night's dinner, coconut beer shrimp. My grandmother used to make these shrimp every once in a while, and her best friend Harriet would come over to help since it's not really a job for just one person. We'd all sit around and devour the delicious shrimp, then count how many tails each of us had left on our plate afterward. I don't think I ever ate more than 6, though my dad and grandfather and possibly my uncle could put away 10 or 12.

I've been craving these things for a couple of months, but I wasn't going to go to all that trouble for just myself. I knew Mom and Bill would be a good audience, and they also have a deep fryer. I felt pretty good throughout the day, especially after our quick afternoon dip in the pool with Mom, so I decided to do as much as I could by myself and let Bill take care of the odds and ends of getting the rest of the meal together. I made some Asian slaw that I knew could sit in the fridge for a couple of hours, and then I started getting things together for the shrimp, including mixing up the spices and the dipping sauce and laying everything out in an assembly line.

I went ahead and did a full recipe, which was about 40 shrimp, though I didn't count after we brought them home from the store. The shrimp get seasoned first, then go into seasoned flour, then go for a dip in the beer batter, then roll around in some coconut before they all meet up again on a cookie sheet to sit and wait to be cooked in small batches. "Labor-intensive" doesn't quite cover it. But was it worth it? Abso-freakin'-lutely.

Here's the cookie sheet of shrimp waiting to get cooked. I really should have taken a picture of them once they were finished and all golden-brown and crunchy, but I was too busy eating them. Remember how I used to eat 6? I had 9 this time, even though my dinnertime appetite is much lower than usual right now. The dipping sauce, consisting of orange marmalade, mustard, and horseradish, is really what makes them wonderful, though I'm sure Mom thought they were plenty good, and she didn't partake of the dipping sauce. Kent had most of one shrimp, after he pulled it out of the batter. Oh well. Everybody else liked them.

Kent went to bed fairly soon after dinner, and I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to make a phone call to Jack, who was getting ready to fly up the next morning. I mumbled something to him about some stuff I needed him to bring, including a sweater for chilly mornings and Kent's potty seat, then went right to sleep.

Next up: BEACH DAY!

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I have sooooo been waiting for your blog posts. Thanks for the great pictures. I have your freckles and Kent's sugar face set as the background on the computer! So we need to talk about coconut shrimp!!
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