Monday, August 18, 2008

Great Photos!

Well, I have a dear friend who is a professional photographer and she came over last weekend to do what she calls a "lifestyle shoot" of the boys and their dad - a gift from me for Father's Day.  They came out beautifully!  Wow!  This isn't so much food related, except that she did get some shots of the boys in the garden but I couldn't resist plugging her here. - you can see the pictures under her blog it is the first Sneak Peek.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Perfect Sunday Morning

It didn't start out that way.  Both boys woke up on the early side today - 6:15 instead of the usual 6:45 or 7.  The younger one spent his first night in his new room and big boy bed!  Instead of whining and complaining I decided to do something fun with the little monsters.  We made some monkey bread, but I took the easy way out.  I used frozen pizza dough instead of making the dough from scratch (an adventure I took at Christmas time which I will never do again - too much work!).  So I set one kid up with a bowl of buter, the other with a bowl of cinnamon sugar and I rolled little balls of pizza dough.  First we dip a ball in butter, then roll it in sugar, then throw it into a bundt pan.  Bake at 375 for about a half an hour.  Yum!  The boys loved it, and I enjoyed it with my coffee.  I've got to get my camera together so I can start taking pictures, though there's not much left to photograph at this point.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We just returned a few weeks ago from a month long vacation on Cape Cod.  This is an annual journey for our family, one I've been making for every summer for my entire life.  My boys had an especially good time this year.  At 18 months and 3 years they both really enjoyed the beach, which was great since I am WAY pregnant and wasn't up to a lot of chasing after them in super humid weather...and it was SUPER humid!  Like Florida humid.  Yuck!  

I found it a challenge to eat locally while we were there, at least in terms of produce.  We were a bit early in the season for corn and tomatoes and all of that other great local produce that you get on the east coast in August.  So we were relegated to eating Stop N Shop produce, which was disappointing to say the least.  It was hard coming from California where we had been enjoying amazing tomatoes, peaches and berries for weeks.  I also knew that my garden here in California was producing lovely apricots, tomatoes, zucchini, beets, cucumbers, etc and that I was missing it.  Darn!  

The one local product that we got a lot of and really enjoyed was seafood.  It was fun going to the fish pier at 3:00 every afternoon to see the boats come in, then heading to the market there to select our dinner.  We had wonderful scallops and tons of lobster.  Neither boy was up to the challenge of tackling a whole lobster himself, but they both helped me eat the meat, and they ate a ton of clam chowder.  Maybe next year the older one will try his hand at cracking a whole lobster.

I arrived home to a totally over grown garden and baskets upon baskets of zucchini and cucumbers.  I've been pickling every since.  We now have enough pickles to last for a few years...or to give to everyone we know for Christmas!  The tomatoes are still going strong and we're eating lots of salsa (one form in which my husband and both boys will happily eat raw tomatoes).

I love summer!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Marmalade and Muffins

Last weekend I had a friend over to teach her how to can things.  She is also a big gardener but has never tried canning.  She brought over a huge cooler full of grapefruit from her tree and we combined them with my meyer lemons to make a really great marmalade!  We used a recipe from the SF Chronicle but varied the citrus.  We both ended up with several jars.  I still have a ton of left that I have to figure out how to use up.

Speaking of using things up our zucchini plants are going gangbusters in the backyard!  Everyday I go out to check on the garden and come back with at least two or three more enormous zucchinis.  Pretty soon I will be in the same situation with cucumbers and tomatoes but for now I am just trying to eat up the zucchini as fast as I can.  I've made chocolate chip cookies with zucchini, orzo with zucchini (both recipes from Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is a great read if  you are at all into food).  This morning I made a batch of zucchini muffins and a chocolate and zucchini bundt cake which used just one of my monster zucchinis total.  I made a few slight variations on the bundt cake: meyer lemon zest instead of orange zest for obvious reasons and I added chocolate chips instead of nuts because my husband is allergic and I will be feeding it to little kids.

My grandfather was a big gardener and my grandmother an excellent cook.  I was looking through a book of her recipes this morning and came across a number of zucchini recipes.  Tonight we'll be having zucchini casserole for dinner, and I might make some jars of zucchini pickles or relish.  

I am taking the bundt cake to share with our playgroup today.  Maybe I will make a big pitcher of lemonade too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Meyer Lemons

These are so good, but tough to use up!  I have a tree that just won't quit and we are about to start our second crop of meyers.  No complaints, just looking for ideas and recipes.  A week ago I made a big batch of marmalade which didn't come out so well.  I think I will try a different recipe and see how that does.  Next up, though, I will make some jars of preserved lemons.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Back Again

Okay I am back again. I took a long break there, but I am ready to post again. Part of the break was due to the fact that I found out I was pregnant in December with my third kid. Since I already had two under three I was tired going into the pregnancy, and the first trimester was a tougie. Now I am in the energetic second trimester and ready to go. My boys and I are currently sitting down with a bowl of CityMama's Pasta Carbonara, and watching Dragon Tales. I highly recommend the pasta, it took all of 15 minutes to make and is so delicious!  Haven't heard a peep out of either boy since I put it in front of them.  Dinner in front of the TV is a big no-no, I realize, but we've had a trying day and the mama needed a break!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Eat Down Meals...

Last night I made those Niman Ranch pork chops, but I decided to try it in the slow cooker instead, using up more of the things I had in my refrigerator, pantry and freezer. I sliced an onion, added a cup of white wine, a bag of cranberries, a quarter cup of butter, a few sprigs of rosemary, a small handful of sugar and salt and pepper and placed it all in the slow cooker, on top of the pork chops. I cooked it on high for about 4 hours. It turned out really well! The 1 year old boy ate a whole entire pork chop, his picky two year old brother ate one bite and their dad ate the rest. I was lucky enough to have been invited to a friend's house for dinner with all of the moms in my playgroup. We had a lovely evening without our kids or husbands around!

Tonight I found a package of chicken sausage in the freezer. I also had a few bags full of various types of bell peppers from my produce CSA. I decided to go the slow cooker route again. This time I cut up a whole bunch of the peppers and a few onions and placed them in the bottom of the slow cooker along with 3 garlic cloves, some thyme, salt and pepper and about a half a cup of red wine (the dregs of a bottle that I had frozen awhile back, rather than throw out). I put the sausage on top and cooked it on low for 8 hours. It turned out pretty well, but not as good as last night. I served it with buttered noodles, peas and pan roasted brussels sprouts. Once again, the baby ate everything in sight, including two helpings of peppers and onions, the two year old ate only noodles and peas, and I ate almost all of the brussels sprouts myself.

I am beginning to be able to see the back of my freezer now, and the produce drawer is nearly empty and ready for tomorrow's delivery. I love Eat Down Week because it forces you to get creative with your cooking, which can be really fun!