Yesterday was my 25th birthday- does this mean I should be hitting my quarter-life crisis- you know, if ideally I live to be the nice ripe age of 100? I mean, in the past few years I graduated from art school, realized I wanted nothing to do with it, took a year off, started going back to school to be a registered dietician and now I'm trying to be a full time food blogger. Maybe I have been going through a quarter-life crisis. At least I feel like I'm finally getting to the other side of that hump.
When I was younger and going though my angst-y, awkward teenage years in middle school and high school I remember consistently feeling sad and disappointed on my birthday because my friends or classmates didn't remember and decorate my locker with balloons and confetti and cards etc (no idea if they still do that now but that's what girls did in my high school). Mind you, this was before Facebook so you weren't automatically notified of your friends' upcoming birthdays and it was an actual skill that took effort to remember special dates such as birthdays. I wouldn't tell anyone my birthday was coming up and I also didn't tell people it was my birthday the day of and then- surprise- found myself lonely and unhappy when people didn't somehow remember. I'm pretty sure this is a byproduct of being an only child- you somehow think everyone's life revolves around you and if they don't remember then it just ruins everything.
My god, I was so young, selfish and egocentric.
I'm pretty sure I'm still all three of those but maybe a little less selfish and a little less ignorant about people and life. These days I don't selfishly expect people to just remember. I'm still incredibly egocentric though so instead, I make sure to excitedly remind my friends that my birthday is coming up. I plan and organize my own parties to hopefully make it a fun and relaxing day for everyone. I no longer rely on other people to do things for me so that I can have a fun day. I make sure it's going to be a fun day no matter what and this year was just that kind of day!
I wanted to invited lots of people so rather than going to a bar or restaurant which might require reservations and a specific time to be there etc (not to mention spending money) I decided to organize a birthday- style picnic at Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
It was a relaxed event with everyone sitting on blankets and food and covered alcoholic beverages spread around and the weather was gorgeous! It got a little chilly later in the evening but we just wrapped ourselves up in blankets. I was so happy that so many people were able to come!
While I made a lot of different foods for the party, one thing I particularly wanted to make, which I haven't done in a long time, was sangria. My family has our own recipe and while I often find sangria from restaurants to be too sweet, too carbonated or some combination of the two, I love our recipe. It's easily adaptable based on personal preferences too.
2 Bottles (1500ml) of Red Table Wine (I used inexpensive bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon I got from Trader Joe's)
3/4 Cup Brandy
1/2 Cup Sugar
Chop apple and slice the orange and lemon into 1/4 thickness and add to a large pitcher. Add sugar and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and muddle slightly. Pour in brandy and wine. Cover pitcher and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.* Top with club soda when you are ready to serve.
*It can be used immediately but I find the flavors combine better when they've been mixed a day ahead