Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good morning cherries & smoothies

Another beautiful summer week gone by there has been a lot of pool splashing, lots of sock cutting and sewing, some slow crochetting, quilt thinking, a little cleaning and good reading. Also forgetting to do a few things like blog and avoiding a few other things (basement clean up). If you're in need of a really good book to read this summer The Help is incredible.

The cooking has been good around here, we have made stuffed vegetables but I'm not sure how to explain that recipe because I made it up. I'll try to have a post on it next week. I did bake cherry muffins this week (some preferred the starwberry & rhubarb muffins). They did go nicely with the morning smoothies. We're big on fruit smoothies for breakfast especially in the summer when there is more variety for sweet fruits.

The smoothie recipe is 2-3 cups of cut cantelope, 1 peach peeled and sliced, 4 or more strawberries, 1 banana and ice cubes. Blend till smooth and enjoy. I apologize that this recipe is vague about the quantities but it's all based on what we have and how many will be drinking the smoothie. If you have cherries throw in a few without the pits instead of the strawberries. It's a good morning boost.

The cherry muffun recipe was modified from Cucina Nicolina here's my version.


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup unbleached flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 vegetable oil

1 cup soy milk

Mix together 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp water and 1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups of cherries pitted and chopped (or frozen if you have them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl mix sugar, oil, soy milk and baking powder mixture. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix. The batter will look lumpy and thick. Fold in the cherries. Fill each cup of the muffin pan 2/3 full. Bake till golden brown for about 20-22 minutes. Enjoy!

The first picture in this post is a smoothie with bagels cream cheese and cantelope with jello. We just cut the cantelope in half and then mixed the jello according to the directions and poured it into the cantelope. Let the jello firm and then cut into slices. Refreshing and fun!
Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Strawberry Muffins Remake

Some time ago Amanda had a Strawberry Rhubarb Muffin recipe and I thought it looked yummy and gave it a try during the craziness last week (or maybe it was the week before). There aren't any pictures of these muffins because I accidently deleted them. They were definitely approved. Unfortunately I haven't seen much rhubarb around lately and haven't made them again but I'm looking forward to them again. Here's our version and they are dairy free and egg free.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a cup mix 1 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1 1/2 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup dairy free margarine
In a cup mix 1/2 cup soy milk with 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar (let stand for a few minutes and it will look like it's curdling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup sliced strawberries

In a large bowl mix baking powder mixture and all liquids. Then add dry ingredients and mix. Next fold in the rhubarb and strawberries. Spoon mixture into muffin pan about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
I'm thinking next time cherry muffins hmmm:)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On the upkeep

As I mentioned a few days ago a lot has been going on here the past couple of weeks. Anything from some baking, some cooking, lots of freezing. As well as organizing closets, cleaned the hallway finally (phew!) and some furniture assembling and painting.

1. There has been plenty of dirt and water play to keep the whole gang occupied. I read or heard somewhere a while ago that kids don't play in the mud much anymore. I thought what a shame. Dirt and water are a couple of the most basic things that keeps all ages in my family occupied (and yes even me).

2. Since this has been my first year with the csa it's been great but I couldn't keep up in the beginning. Luckily things are getting consistent. We have enjoyed the kale chips. I was really happy that those were a hit.
With the other vegetables that I can't get to right away or I get too much of I just remind myself freeze it. So far I have cauliflower frozen and now some celery and carrots. I usually freeze them on a tray first then transfer them to a bag.
I'm hoping they will be great for vegetable stock or shepherd's pie this winter.

3. This stool was in need of some paint
It made a great horse :)
Hope you to had a good weekend!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Time Lapse

Ok it's been a solid week since I posted anything, stopped in to say hello, visited other blogs or responded to comments. I probably could have least wrote a post and said I'll be back in a week but truthfully the days just escaped me.

We have been avoiding humidity inside with cool air or at a local pool. I can't decide which crochet project to begin so I put one back and picked up another. Closets have been cleaned organized and sorted finally. A pile of remaining clothes and many socks remain in the hallway. Dirty laundry was easy to upkeep it's the clean laundry that was haunting me because it was everywhere but now it can be put away. Also started bringing together the art studio but it is not even close to done. Hopefully some time soon there will be pictures.

You could say I have been scattered. Discovered maggots in the trash can outside and said they must go. Yuck! My first thought was NO WAY you are NOT HERE TO STAY. I quickly went in and did a google search and the upside is that they can be killed with boiling hot water, bleach, rubbing alchohol or salt. The bleach or boiling water were not practical and I actually am running low on salt so alchohol it is that killed them all.

Now something way less disgusting. I have been baking or cooking on and off. We have been enjoying our first year with the csa and love going to the farmer's market but it was hard to keep up in the beginning. The csa began while we were painting, packing and moving. I had hopes this summer of doing a weekly csa post of what I was going to do with the veggies but that has not worked out either.

Slowly things are coming together I will post again later today or early tomorrow with more positive energy along with a recipe or two and some pictures.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chocolate dipping

Every night I go to bed and the dishes are clean the kitchen picked up and nothing in the sink. By the time I wake up in the morning after listening to the hustle and bustle there are dishes in the sink, a stain here and there, finger prints on the fridge. What has been going on? Lots of chocolate chip melting and pretzel dipping

These were actually done in the afternoon. They prepped and did it all while I worked on other things.

Jimmy land I couldn't keep our hands off of these. A fun treat made by our kids that we couldn't help sneaking.

There have been a few other chocolate treats such as chocolated dipped strawberries. But my favorite are the chocolate covered cheerios . I sometimes find a plate of these in the freezer.
The most amusing find was one morning after I woke up and found this in the fridge.
I love notes like this. Gianfranco was inspired to make his own doughnut since he can never have the store bought kind because of food allergies. It's a chocolate covered bagel with sprinkles.

Yummy and impressive. My favorite part of this process is the recipe planning and then going ahead and making it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Playroom or Reading Room

This weekend cleaned up another room. This one is for the kids. Half is a playroom and half is a reading area. I always think it's kind of funny to have a room set up just for toys and games. The pictures were taken late at night when the house was quiet.

In the second picture I left this shelf completely open for pretend play it's been a dumping ground, a kitchen set up, a place to drive or a place to set up blankets and pillows for dolls. I love how an empty white shelf can be so versatile. I never know what I'll find.

The next part of the room is the reading room for most of the kids books. (They have some books in their rooms. ) Up untill this weekend they were in the closet.

Love that there are empty shelves for more books as they grow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Back in the kitchen...

Instead of cleaning and sorting I have been back at it in the kitchen. Can you blame me when all these beautiful freshly grown goodies come in?

Last summer my friend Love introduced me to garlic scapes. They make a great pesto just put cut up garlic, fresh basil and olive oil in blender. This may have to be done in batches. Then it can be spread on bread or mixed with mayonnaise, pasta or rice . Now I just have to find the ice cube trays to freeze some of the pesto.

It also made a great pizza last night. Spread a little on the dough and sprinkle with cheese and bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Last week I mentioned this recipe for Marinated Cauliflower Salad it was a Marthta Stewart recipe my csa gave us but I modified it because we didn't have any capers and we like less mustard and less olive oil and there was only red wine vineger in the cabinet.

1 head of cauliflower sut into small florets
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of chopped red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Blanch cauliflower. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch cauliflower for 2 minutes or until tender. Drain and transfer to bowl. In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, onion salt, pepper, mustard and olive oil. Pour over cauliflower. Add chopped parsley and toss gently to coat. Can be served warm or refrigerate for later.
I made this ahead for dinner. Great summer salad

I was not quite as successful at this last recipe. I guess I have to show you the good and bad. A while back Grace sent me a really good Banana Oat Muffin recipe. The other night I thought great I'll use up those ripe bananas. Well I must not have been paying attention because I never put any oatmeal in it all and I mixed oat flour with water. Why I don't know. I'm going to try this again soon and pay better attention.
The moral of this story never try to bake before dinner when hungry and tired.

Enjoy the day!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cherries and More....

Hoping everyone had a Happy Fourth of July! There has been quite a bit of kitchen activity going on.

Last year I was determined that this year I would buy cherries and freeze them They are not organic or locally grown just straight from the supermarket but still juicy and tasty. After washing the cherries Jimmy and I cut out the pits because there hasn't been a cherry pitter in sight. By the time I order it online it will be a little too late. Once they were cut we put them on cookie sheets and into the freezer they went to freeze in pieces. Once they were frozen they go into the storage bags to be frozen for later.

I'm hoping to have frozen cherries for smoothies and fall/winter cherry pies. I'm thinking cherry flavored fruit leather could be an option.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thankful Saturday

Thankful for a few small moments this Saturday. It was an up and down day. It has been especially challenging during this move and a lot of testing. Several days of uncooperation at various times. Sophia was in need of one on one time at the farmer's market with mom today. -Thankful for the fresh veggies and some uninterrupted Sophia time.

People usually ask or assume that it's hard when my kids are home especially in the summer. I say nope. We don't do any camps in the summer. This year we have no vacation plans. There are no scheduled activities or crafts. Summers are family time and much needed rest. The only regulation I have is that there are absolutely no rigid scheduled events. -Thankful for summer days.
So what do we do? Anything else. There has been a lot of water play and lots of dirt. There was hole dug so deep that Jimmy made them fill it again in case someone fell in. -Thankful for the nature outside.
But in the end everything turned out ok. I was running a little behind with dinner so I suggested drawing outside. It's nice to see what comes about on that blank paper. During their drawing time a white spider caught their eye so their was some investigating going on there. -Thankful for that the paper, markers and pencils that got us through till dinner.
I'm also thankful to all of you for coming back to read my blog and leaving such nice comments. I apologize for not responding but have read your comments and followed the links.
In response to a couple of the comments:
-The laundry detergent has been coming out clean and I have been happy with it. There isn't much of a scent. For a little extra stain fighting I have been adding a couple of drops of Biokleen Bac-Out to the load of laundy.
-I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the turnips and beets so almost everyone will eat them.
-As for Friday's moment my rock climber started climbing when I turned my back to watch the younger two. My exact words were "If you go up there I can't come get you. " Inside I thought Oh God please don't fall. Oh God please don't fall. Once he was up there I asked "How are you getting down?" Slowly he descended. I turned around for part of the time and thought Oh God please don't fall. Oh God please don't fall." True parenting while sweating.
Wishing you a long and restful weekend !

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cauliflower Inspired

On Wedneday read Val's post from Collecting the Moments and it sounds like she needs some cauliflower recipes. I was inspired to write a post on just some cauliflower recipes we use around here that I hope come in handy for anyone out there.

1. Freeze it for later. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes then freeze it. Whenever I freeze fruits and veggies I place them on a cookie sheet and freeze it for a little while so they stay whole ant then put them in a bag.

2. For anyone who has A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg the Carmelized Cauliflower With Salsa Verde is yummy. The cauliflower is tossed with olive oil and salt and then cooked in the oven. While it cooks mix the dressing. For anyone that's familiar with this recipe I omitted the jalapeno and cilantro and it was still tasty. (I just didn't have any in the house that particular time.)

3. Cauliflower n' Cheese not mac n' cheese. Instead of pasta use cauliflower when making mac n' cheese. Makes a tasty side dish.

4. Breaded cauliflower. Forgive me on this recipe because it's a made up one and it's been a while since I made it. I don't have exact measurements. So here goes.

1-2 eggs
bread crumbs
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
oil for cooking

In one bowil mix eggs and milk. In another bowl mix bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Cut the cauliflower into large pieces then drop in egg mixture. Then roll in bread crumbs. Place coated cauliflower in a dish till ready to cook. In a pan heat oil for frying then drop cauliflower and cook till golden brown.
This tastes really good over pasta.

5. Nonna's Cauliflower Salad This recipe is my mom's. Here I go again with recipes that are made up.

Cooked cauliflower
1-2 stalks of celery chopped
small jar of green olives rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
white or red wine vinegar( optional)

After cauliflower is cooked and cooled down place in a bowl and add all the ingredients. Toss and serve or refrigerate for later. Another tasty side dish really.

6. Marinated Cauliflower Salad from Martha Stewart This last one I got from our csa and they recommended this recipe. It looks tasty and yes I love cauliflower salads and soups. The only variation I should note is that I'll pass on the capers because I never seem to have any.

Enjoy your bounty!

Loads of natural laundry

There still seems to be quite a bit of laundry around here but at least it gets cleaned daily. During the move we made the switch from store bought gooey detergent to homemade laundry soap. I still can't believe 1-2 tablespoons cleans some very big loads of laundry. I have seen this recipe around the blogs and a friend suggested adding some oxi clean. So here's our version.
Homemade Laundry Soap
1 cup finely grated Fel Naptha Soap
1/2 cup borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/4 to 1/2 cup oxi clean (optional)
Mix and keep in an air tight jar. Use 1 tablespoons for regular loads and 2 tablespoons for big loads.
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