21 June 2011

Fighting for Justice and General Good Times

All right you ruffians. We've been boning up on our outlaw-bustin' skills with episodes of the Lone Ranger and we're ready. We seek danger and adventure like a chicken pecks seed.

Off to rustle up some good times on a little road trip. Keep the home fires burnin' ... we'll be back after two shakes and wink.

Hi-Ho Silver.

18 June 2011

Lookie Here!

Guess what, kids? Mama's in a Yahoo article! They contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if they could use one of my photos for a kid-friendly snack piece they were writing. Turns out they liked the rainbow fruit-kebabs from Lucette's party. Neat, no?

Funny thing is, it's not even one of my best photos. I just set the plate on the table, adjusted the camera settings a smidge and took a snap. A good reminder that sometimes the fun things in life are those that just happen without a lot of fuss. 

17 June 2011

A Well-Balanced Diet

You've been eating your Kale Chips, right? Since you've been so good, I think you need to round out your diet with a little fruit. Nevermind the vehicle in which it's delivered, let's just focus on the fruit part of it.

Do you have this cookbook yet? Rustic Fruit Desserts is one of my all-time faves. It is utterly gorgeous in it's presentation and every single recipe I've tried has been praise-Jesus-worthy. This "Stone Fruit Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake" is helping us celebrate the end of the school-year tonight. I'm thinking we're going to have a gooooood time.

16 June 2011

Board Game Afternoon & Roofing Intrigue

One more day to go 'til summer officially starts for my school children. They've almost done it. In the meantime, a no-homework night calls for an pre-dinner game of Stratego. A fine way to pass the time if you are looking to fill an hour ...

... or if you are just trying to distract yourselves from the roofers that have been pounding above your heads for three days and mistakenly began to install the wrong materials while you were out for the morning. It's always a surprise to come home and find an orangey-beige roof instead of the charcoal-brown you anticipated. "No, Edgar, I'm sorry. I really don't think I'll be fine with the orange. I'll be 65 years-old when this roof needs to be replaced again. I am going to have to hold out for what we ordered." Poor Edgar and his crew. The end of the week will eventually come. It always does ... and that's a good thing, isn't it.

14 June 2011

Operation Healthy Snack

It seems as though everyone I talk to lately is simply fed up with their bad-eating habits. I can fully relate. While I have a good measure of happy-hippie-granola-girl in me (I grew up in a college town in the Pacific NW, 'nuff said.), I pretty much love anything made with butter. I can contentedly eat a dinner of grilled asparagus and eggplant with a side of quinoa ... and then wolf down half a pie on command. I'm a bit beastly like that.

So. I think I am going to start doing some "healthy snack" segments. No, I'm not going to give up my pie (have mercy!), but healthy snacks can go a long way in encouraging good eating habits through out the day. 'Cause a girl 'gotta eat, right?

On today's docket is Kale Chips. Have you heard the buzz about Kale Chips? Super tasty, an entire bunch costs about a $1.50, and all you do is wash, dry, oil, and salt. Good deal, right?

• Kale Chips •

Strip the kale leaves off the woody stem and rip into eat-able pieces. Rinse and dry well (salad spinner works great!). Place in large bowl and add 1 T. olive oil and 1/2 - 1 t. salt. Now dive in and massage those kale leaves 'til they are all shiny and coated. Place on two parchment lined baking sheets (you want them spread out so they crisp and don't steam). Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

As Jane says, "Mmm, mmm. They're so good I's can't stops eating them!" Try 'em and tell me what you think!

13 June 2011

Those Eyes Know Mischief

This past weekend I was able to take some photos of some friend and their puppies. Dexter was such a crack-up. Can't you see the personality behind those oh-so-innocent eyes?

11 June 2011

The Naughty Homemaker

Every now and then, I like to rebel against myself just a bit. It's my version of shocking behavior.

So you see, I don't normally like my tea or coffee in any form but black. But lately? I've been zesting up my beverages with a little drizzle of Lemon Cinnamon Syrup. Just a little kick to shake things up a bit.

Feeling a little punchy, yourselves? Wanna' be the Thelma to my Louise? Boil up 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and toss in some lemon peel and cinnamon sticks. Once at a boil, simmer for a few minutes and cool. Keep in fridge and use sparingly ... it's very concentrated. 

Wouldn't it be good with blended ice, strong coffee, and milk? What the heck. What if we were really naughty, ditched the milk, and used ... heavy cream??? Bwwwaaahaaaahaaaa ... Come on girls, tell me what crazy concoction you'd mix up with it. I'm just sure you like a little spice in your days too ...

08 June 2011

A No-Fuss Fancy Treat

 This basic biscotti recipe is a winner. Very simple and a good canvas for any yummy goody you want to add. (I drizzled w/ melted chocolate, but wouldn't lemon peel be divine?)

Biscotti is a classic accompanyment to tea or coffee and, since they freeze so well, nice to have on hand to serve to a last minute guest. (Or in my case today, to finish baking when the guests arrive!) Just make sure you are going to be home for a bit. While easy-pease, these treats require a bake, a cool, a slice, and a rebake.

No-Fuss Basic Biscott

Mix well:
• 1/2 c. canola oil
• 1 c. sugar
• 1 T almond or anise extract

Add in:
• 3.25 c. flour
• 3 eggs
• 1 T baking powder

If you wish:
• lemon peel, chopped cranberries, dates, pistachios, almonds.

Divide sticky dough into two lumps and fashion into squashed logs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 - 30 minutes. Cool for a bit and slice. Place back on the baking sheet and bake at 325 for about 8 minutes on each side. (Bake less or more depending on how crunchy you like your cookie!)

07 June 2011

Just a Little Bit of Order

Years ago I picked up a great tip from a friend. She kept one bin in the laundry room for the sport of the moment. Soccer? Once those shin-guards and uniforms come out of the dryer, toss them in the bin. Brilliant, no? That way, there is no fumbling about for the needed items when there is 10 minutes to suit up, load up, and hit the road.

We are in swimming mode right now. As soon as we come home, I march straight to the laundry room. Into the washer go the soggy suits and towels. The caps, goggles, lotion, shampoo, detangler all go right into the bin. Straight from the dryer, the towels get folded and into the bin and once the suits are done air-drying, they get plopped in too.

Time for swimming? No problem. Everyone hits the bin and finds just what they need. Ahhh. I'll never have a fully organized house, but I do love the little isolated bits of order. It's finding success in the small things, right?

(PS - Know what's in the bottom bin? Mate-less socks. Every couple weeks I'll paw through and match 'em up.)

03 June 2011

Evening Fuchsia on the Patio and Confessions of a Wanna-Be Gardener

A couple of years ago, Pops banned me from potted or hanging plants. Apparently he has not yet cultivated an appreciation for dried, crunchy plants swinging in the breeze or adorning our patio. Humph. I can hold my own when I shove something in the ground, but freestanding? Not so much.  Seems as though you have to water them regularly, or something demanding like that.

Nevertheless, I have covertly begun to sneak a few pots back into our lives, as they are so welcoming ... if one can keep them alive. I'm doing pretty good so far!

However, when my sweet sister-in-law gifted me with a stunning hanging fuchsia, I was gripped by terror. It was so gorgeous. All I could think was how sad it would be when the happy blooms succumbed to a premature death due to my ineptitude and neglect. Even with regular watering, this poor beauty would surely be doomed. But then, I got a grip. That and my mom told me about these magic pellets from Miracle Grow that you sprinkle on the plant and last for 3 months! Shazaam! I can do this!

In the words of the fab Jennifer Hudson, "It's a new dawn, it's a new day, and I'm feelin' goooooood ..." (cue sassy jazz music).

02 June 2011

I'm Coming After You, Summer

I'm told that some people in this country are already having berry weather. Oooeee, I'm jealous! I do love me some berry goodness. Pies being the top of my list, but jams, crisps, and straight from farm to mouth all rank up high on my list of culinary pleasures.

Since we are still waiting patiently (not really, but I like to pretend to have this virtue) for our sunny days to come and kiss our sad little green berries, I'm still dreaming up ways to content myself. (My pineapple is almost gone.) Today was berry syrup. Perfect on some quick morning pancakes (Do you have buttermilk? Use it!! I like to do half buttermilk and half regular).

For your syrup, start by making a simple syrup in a saucepan. (Traditionally, this is 1 part water and 1 part sugar. I do about .25 - .5 parts sugar.) Once mixed, toss in some frozen berries (fresh, if you have it!). Stir and simmer on stovetop 'til thickened and bubbly. (If you go low-sugar you may need to mix up a little cornstarch w/ water and add to the syrup to help it thicken.)

So good. And so fast. Bring it, Summer!

01 June 2011

Too Busy Not to Pray

"It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables ..." Acts 6:2

Page one of my summer study. Is it my task, my duty, my privilege, my joy to "serve tables"?  Why, yes! But ... not at the expense of time and response to His word. Convicting.

What's been convicting you lately?