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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Baby Shower Fun and a Recipe

This afternoon we hosted a baby shower for daughter in law Traci.  Emily and Amber organized the games, Amber ordered the cake, Emily made a very cute fruit salad baby carriage centerpiece, and I prepared the rest of the food. Our guest of honor, Traci, arrived just before two, and shortly after the other guests arrived and then the baby shower started.  We played the The Price Is Right - Amber had four items set out, and prices for each written on four separate cards, it was Traci's job, with the help of the guests to match the right price with the right item, they only managed to get one correct!!  The next game was guess how many Hershey Kisses are in the Dora the Explorer sippy cup, there were 37, the closest guess without going over was 35.  We then gave our guests 2 minutes to come up with as many words as possible out of Alivia's full name, the winner had over fifteen words - WOW!.  As guests arrived they were asked to cut a piece of yarn to any length they wanted, and for the final game each piece of yarn was measured around Traci to see who came the closest, and believe it or not, one guest almost hit the length exactly. We also asked each guest to write down their advice for the new mom in a pretty notebook, everyone had plenty of advice.
After games it was time to unwrap gifts, Traci received many nice items, and we all oohed and aahed over the cute little clothes, hats, hair bows, shoes, and other items for the soon to born Alivia.
Wow after all of that it was time for refreshments, we enjoyed the following on our menu:

Chicken Salad Finger sandwiches
Ham Wraps (recipe following)
Chicken Hot Wings
Veggies and Dip
Deviled Eggs
Pineapple and Cheese on sticks
Fruit Salad served in a watermelon cut to look like a baby carriage (very cute)
Pink Lemonade

Ham Wraps

8oz sour cream
8oz cream cheese
1 small can chopped black olives (drained)
1 package of tortillas
1 package of sliced ham
1 bunch of green onions (sliced thinly)

Mix together the sour cream and cream cheese, then stir in the black olives.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the tortillas, sprinkle over the green onions, lay ham slices on top. Roll up the tortilla, cut off the ends and discard, then slice the rest of the roll into bite size pieces.
We ran out of ham, so did some with dill pickles (my son Matt suggested dill pickles as he had wraps prepared with them before and said they were good), they were good.

Here are some pictures to enjoy:


The "baby" in it's watermelon carriage!

Measuring the yarn.

The little ones, oblivious to the party, did  their own thing.

Opening gifts.

The cake.

Oh what fun wrapping paper is to play in.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Juicing NOT! and More Recipes

I have a large amount of kale in my fridge. Before last Saturday I had never even eaten kale to the best of my  knowledge and certainly had never bought it before. But we were trying out a borrowed juicer and the juicing recipe called for kale, juicers use a lot of veggies to make one glass of juice so I bought two large bunches of kale.  As for juicing, what a pain, and what a waste, all of the fiber is made waste, although the juice is packed full of the nutrients from the veggies, it takes a lot to make a little. And then the machine, it takes a long time to slowly process the veggies through, then the clean up, this gets boring very quickly. There are 6 parts to the machine, it has to be entirely disassembled washed, dried, and put back together, I was so done with it after juicing experience number three. Thank heavens we were able to borrow a juicer, and I am sure it was available for borrowing because the owner to had tired of the work involved.  Much better to simply eat your veggies and enjoy all the benefits of the food they way God intended.

Anyway, what to do with all of this kale???? After a google search it seems that many people like sauteed kale with scrambled eggs. I like scrambled eggs and the idea of sauteed kale didn't seem bad so I made it and it was EXTREMELY EXCELLENT.  I used the leafy part from about 5 or 6 kale leaves and cooked them in a little olive oil, gave them a good stir around, covered the pot and let them cook for a few minutes. The kale greatly reduced in the heat and mixed very well with the scrambled eggs. And, kale has a great flavor, not to mention it is very high in iron and other nutrients so a good food source. And I am glad I enjoyed as I have quite a bit more kale to eat. Funny thing about kale, the stems are almost inedible, one website mentions saving the stems and using them in soups to cook out the flavor, but they take a long time to cook whereas the leaves cook in no time at all.  So be warned don't use the stems unless you enjoy inedible woody bits in your food, I had one very small piece of stem in my cooked kale I sat it to the side of my plate.

Along with my eggs and kale (makes me think of a book  by Somerset Maugham called Cakes and Ale) I had nutty brown rice. I modified a recipe for nutty rice burgers, keeping what I thought were the good bits, adding some chopped apple, and eliminating the bad such as bread crumbs, egg, and ketchup that I am sure were the binder to hold the mix into burgers.  I had no intention of making burger shapes.

So here is the Nutty Rice Recipe

1 lb of cooked brown rice (I had some bagged in the freezer, left over from a day I cooked too much rice)
1 onion chopped
4 oz chopped mushroom
2T olive oil
2 oz chopped walnuts chopped
2 medium apples diced

Cook the onion and mushroom in olive oil in a large skillet.  Mix in a bowl the cooked brown rice, the chopped walnuts and the diced apple.  Add the rice mix to the skillet, stir everything together. Cover the skillet and let cook over a low heat, you want the apple to cook down to a very soft, yet still together texture.

This is very yummy with nice explosions of sweet apple in each bite.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday Morning MishMash

A busy few days have passed. Early on Friday morning my dad had his right hip replaced, this is a major surgery and recuperation is not much fun but is well worth doing as once healed you are good as new again.  Dad had his left hip replaced eleven years ago, so he knows exactly what to expect, and we all know that in a few months he will be pain free, able to walk and bike ride again with enjoyment and generally have a whole new lease on life. Please keep my dad in your prayers.

At the end of August grandson Henry turned four! Hard to believe he has grown up so quickly, he is a delightful boy and a good big brother to Patrick and Charlie. As Henry's birthday fell on a Sunday this year Amber and Brad decided to double up on celebrations and little baby Charlie was baptized, following we had a birthday/baptism celebration with good food and lots of cake!! I was very annoyed with myself when I realized during mass that I had left the camera at home and would not be able to take any pictures of Charlie's baptism. I can not tell you how annoyed I was with myself!!!!
Henry wearing his new shirt and hat and checking out a new book.

A personal superhero cup cake for the birthday boy!
The blue frosting was greatly enjoyed!

Me with baby Charlie, he  needed a rest after all the excitement!

Recently we visited The Fort in Fort Wayne, the day we went they were reenacting a battle between the British, the French, the Native Americans, and the Americans at the Fort, I was a little confused on exactly what battle it was, although it took place in the 1700's.  The day was pleasant, the costumes fabulous, and the battle reenactment very exciting.  This past weekend The Fort celebrated 200 years and did a reenactment of the siege of 1812.We went but I did not enjoy this visit as much, partly because there was a large turnout of public so it was crowded, we missed the morning battle and the afternoon one was not for several more hours and although there were things to do and look at there were not enough things to occupy a several hours wait for the next battle.
The modest bakery woman.
Cone sugar, a byproduct of rum production.
Patrick posing with some British soldiers.
A pleasant parade of soldiers.

A view of The Fort

Part of the battle! Exciting stuff!!

When we had visited a few weeks earlier I purchased a couple of wooden cooking spoons from a booth, I really liked the spatula and ladle so was glad to find the booth again this weekend and I purchased two more spoons.

Saturday morning was the Grabill Days Parade, daughter Amber, and her son's Henry and Patrick participated in the parade so Dave and I went along to cheer them on. Amber represented her employer, Great Clips, she and a couple of other ladies she works with and their children all wore Great Clips shirts, except one girl who got to dress up as a giant bottle of shampoo, they won first place for a commercial entry and get a trophy to put in their shop.

Dave and I at the parade, modeling our new tie-dye!

Healthy breakfast!! Recently I purchased some Kefir, something I had heard about but never tried, well let me tell you it is pretty good and pretty good for you as it contains many pro-biotics.  I like it best with some muesli. I put 1/3 cup of muesli in a bowl, pour over a 1/2 cup of kefir, add 1/3 cup muesli, I let this sit a few minutes then mix it up and add a sliced banana - I really like this for breakfast.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Dyeing To Have A Good Time and a Recipe

All the shirts hanging out to dry

Yesterday on my way home from work I stopped into Hobby Lobby to pick up a tie-dye kit. The kit came with an instructional DVD, it was very useful and we learnt several ways to tie-dye. I washed the shirts and shortly after Amber and the boys arrived and the craziness began. Amber watched the DVD and then we were off to tie-dye. What fun!!  We had planned to have the boys help, but the dye is rather permanent and they ended up being spectators.  After tie-dye and clean up it was time for a snack.  The boys wanted warm milk and a Hob Nob biscuit so they were quickly taken care of.  Dave had brought in a watermelon and canteloupe from the garden and wanted me to cut them up.  Soon we had mountains of fresh sweet melon to munch on, grandson Patrick is a melon head fanatic, he stood on the kitchen chair with his fist clenched around large chunks of watermelon, watermelon in his mouth and juice running down his chin and tummy, he then said, "Grandma I LOVE watermelon", imagine that, I would never have guessed :) 
This afternoon I came home and rinsed out all of the tie-dye shirts and removed the rubber bands to reveal the designs. We are very pleased with the results and plan to make more colorful shirts!!!

Here are some pictures:

The boy who loves watermelon!!
Charlie's "bullseye"
Patrick's shirt, and soon to be born baby Alivia's shirt. Both done with the pleated effect.
Henry's "swirl"

And, now for a recipe!

A delicious pot of vegetable soup I made on Wednesday evening.

 Vegetable Soup

3 large carrots
2 medium onions
1 stalk of celery
half a small cabbage sliced
4 smallish potatoes diced
A handful of spinach
1 quart of vegetable broth
A pinch of basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put a little olive oil in the pan, add the onions, celery and carrots, cook a bit, add everything else, add one quart of vegetable broth, cook until veggies are tender.

I like to add a large spoonful of plain yogurt to my bowl of soup, it makes the broth kind of creamy and adds a nice tangyness, Another way I enjoy it is to add a little mint sauce (basically mint chopped up in a vinegar/sugar mix) it too adds a nice tangyness to my bowl of soup.

Anyway, no guilt eating this soup, healthy, low cal, and extremely tasty.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

String Theory and Contentment

Well if you give two little boys a ball of yarn (string) my theory is that they will be kept busy for some time as they make a master web and wait in excited glee for their Aunt Emily to come downstairs to be caught in their trap!!!!  There are frequent mutterings of, "I'm stuck", or "Help me Grandma", but all in all web building and trapping is great fun!! We will need to de-web the family room before we leave for story time at the library.
Trapped in their own web
Monday was Labor Day, Dave spent the day working in the yard, mowing, cleaning up the vegetable gardens, cleaning out the cow shed, and generally enjoying himself driving the tractor around and putzing.  I did some household chores, sewed a new skirt, and then Emily and I decided to go into Fort Wayne to enjoy the River Greenway paths.  I walked the Greenway for two miles, Emily jogged most of it. We decided to return to the car by a different route so we walked back through the West Central historic neighborhood and then downtown back through Headwaters Park. It was a warm day, but so pleasant to stroll along the Greenway by the river.  Here are some pictures of downtown Fort Wayne:

The former Electron Building, now offices for a group o f  attorneys.
The former City Building, it also housed the police department and had holding cells in  the basement,  it is now home to the Historical Museum.  Today school children enjoy a trip to the basement to check out the kind of spooky jail cells. Isn't a lovely building? very gingerbread. The museum does host an annual gingerbread house competition each December.
The Allen County court house, a beautiful building.  Inside is more that 15, 000 square feet of scagliola - faux marble, there is also a wonderful rotunda to gaze up into.  The court house is well worth a visit to enjoy the sites, perhaps not so much fun if you have to appear in court, although the court rooms are pretty spectacular too.

The former Lincoln Tower, now Star Bank, a great example of Art Deco architecture, it was built in 1929 and opened for business in 1930.  The main lobby is rather awesome, again worth a quick visit.

After returning home from our walk Dave decided it would be nice to roast a chicken over the fire pit, I can tell you the chicken was very good, I enjoyed a leg with some butternut squash and brussel sprouts, Dave had potato salad and creamy cucumber salad as his sides.

The chicken chef

Me, enjoying a later summer evening!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dinners Ready and a couple of recipes.

Last night Dave and I had a very pleasant dinner together. I made Dave Italian sausage and I fried it up with some sliced Yukon Gold potatoes, green peppers, and onions from the garden.  I then made a Greek salad, as we have an abundance of cucumber from the garden and tomatoes so this seemed liked a good way to use some of them.  I then made myself a "pizza"  I used Lavash Thin Bread for the crust, it worked very well.
And to top it off we enjoyed a bottle of wine from Armenia made with Pomegranate, it was wonderful.

Here are the recipes:

Greek Salad
2 long cucumbers or 4 short
2 tomatoes
1 cup of black olives
1/2 lb of feta cheese crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Pinch of parsley 
Pinch of mint
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and quarter the cucumbers slicing lengthwise, then slice into bite size pieces. Dice the tomatoes. Mix the chopped cucumber, tomato, black olives and feta cheese in a bowl. Pour over olive oil, red wine vinegar, parsley, mint and salt and pepper, toss around a bit and then serve. This is a very refreshing salad and a nice addition to a summertime meal.

Lavash Pizza with Walnut, Leek, Blue Cheese and Tomato

1 Leek
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tomato diced
Blue cheese, crumbled
Pesto sauce
1 piece of Lavash Bread (I used spinach Lavash Bread it has a beautiful green color)

Slice the leek and gently saute in a little olive oil.  Brush the lavash bread with pesto sauce, sprinkle the walnuts and tomato on top, add the sauteed leek, add crumbled blue cheese. 
I put the oven on to heat to 400, when it reached 350 I popped in the pizza and took it out about 6 minutes later. The lavash bread made a perfect crust, it was light and crispy and held the toppings well.  The above ingredients are my most favorite toppings for a pizza.

Greek salad, served in a bowl our oldest son Matt made in high school pottery class.

The Armenian Pomegranate wine, a sweet, bold wine with  an amazing  lingering aftertaste, it went extremely well with the foods prepared for dinner. I will definitely purchase more of this wine!

Dave's dinner cooking up nicely, I added just a little olive oil to the pan  for the vegetables. 

Spinach Lavash Bread - give it a try it is a very good. And don't you just love the color?

YUMMY YUMMY, my finished pizza.

Dinner is served!