Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I found live basil plants at WinCo on Monday. I bought two, and put the in mason jars with water on my kitchen ledge. They are supposed to keep producing lots of nice basil for me to use, but I doubt they will last that long. So, last night I made pesto. I spread the pesto (the leaves were thin, and one bunch made only a tiny amount of pesto) on top of polenta, topped that with fresh mozzarella, and then topped the whole thing with tomato sauce that I made with extra garlic. I baked it for 30 minutes at 450, and it was sooooo good! I also made asparagus sauteed in browned butter,balsamic vinegar, and a splash of soy sauce. For dessert we had a Piedmontese Hazelnut Cake. Good stuff! I know some people hate cooking (which I totally get) but for me, it is like an art. I love creating delicious food, mixing flavors and textures the way an artist mixes colors. I love to see my family enjoying a meal I have made, and I like the fact that my kitchen is almost constantly in use. I still enjoy eating out, (we have a great Asian restaurant named Super Pho here, and I love that place!) but I enjoy cooking even more!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
- I used to have a Holly Hobbie nightgown (being a child of the 70's) that had a rainbow on it and the saying "After the rain, the rainbow." We are seeing a lot of that this time of year-sunshine, then a down pour, and then gorgeous rainbows. I took the first picture this afternoon after a hail/rain/thunder shower. One consolation for all of the rain!
- Stuart demonstrating his "I know I am in trouble but maybe if I look cute they will ignore it" look. This is a look we have been seeing a lot recently. This afternoon he climbed up on a dresser and emptied the top drawer on to the floor. I happened to have my camera close when the farmer discovered the mess, and knew the look was coming!
- Estelle modeling the fairy outfit her Uncle Craig and Aunt Lisa just gave her. I was blessed to marry in to an awesome family. My family, while getting along well, was not very close (my extended family, that is), and I always regretted that. The farmer's family is very involved, and my children's aunts and uncles come and see their plays, take them to movies, come and hang out with them, take them fun places, and are very much a part of their lives. I love it!
- Daffodils brought home by my sons! Spring is really coming, and I LOVE having fresh flowers in the house again.
- I am leaving tomorrow to spend three days with my sister in Washington. I am grateful to the farmer for letting me get away, and really looking forward to a few days of just hanging out with my sisters! That is all until I get home and unpacked!
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
I have been reading through the Little House books with Evangeline and Estelle. I remember reading these books as a child, but they were never my favorite books. I only read them once, and really remember very little about them. I did not read them to my older children. However, this time around, I LOVE these books! The things they went through, the hardships they faced, and the fact that they witnessed so much of our nation's history make them a really good read aloud. I typically loathe books that are "inspirational". The characters can be so insipid, and flat. You know, the books that have a moral message and so every conversation and event serves to further drive home that moral point-can we say "contrived?" That said, these books are totally inspirational! The Ingalls family is so kind to each other, and willing to serve each other, and willing to work to make things happen. They are content with what they have, even if it is very little. We are reading Along the Shores of Silver Lake right now, and the family has just been told about a college for blind people in Iowa. They know it will be expensive, but really want for Mary to be able to go. Laura resolves to become a school teacher, and a good one, so she can help earn money to send Mary to college. The girls are content to receive simple gifts for Christmas, and spend many hours making gifts for each other. Totally inspiring, and yet you get a good sense for their real characters as well. They are all likable, yet not perfect. I am sure fault could be found with the books, for example, Ma hates Indians and will not be swayed from her opinion. But that was an honest part of our nations history, and so it has made a great springboard for discussions whenever we read about her dislike. The days have been rainy and grey here, and so we are reading by candle light, which seems like the best way to read these books. We have also made a few recipes mentioned in the book, and the girls have loved that! We still have Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and Farmer Boy to finish, and then we will be looking for another series to go through!
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
So! Today is the second day of Lent, and the first Friday during Lent. During Lent, Friday is a day set aside for penance, abstinence, and fasting. No eating between meals, no sweets or goodies, no meat. And, wouldn't you know it, yesterday I made a cake. Not just any cake, but the best apple cake I have ever eaten, and I love apple cake! This cake has one pound of butter, eight eggs, a pound of sugar, corn meal, almond flour, and two tablespoons of vanilla in it. It is quite simply, the best thing I have ever eaten in my life. It sits on my ledge, surely knowing how badly I want to eat a piece with my afternoon latte. It probably even hears my inner dialogue, in which I try to justify eating just one tiny little bit. After all, today is my sister's birthday, a day for celebration, and surely that includes cake eaten whenever! You would think that this giving up something I don't really need would be easy, especially in light of the gifts and graces I have been given. But is is not easy, and I am weak. I am used to giving myself what I want, even if I do not need it. This is one of the blessings of Lent. I am given a chance, if I will but take it, to grow in holiness, to gain greater mastery over myself, to lose a bit of my selfishness. And, that is the heart of the matter for me. So often times, I do not want to grow in holiness, gain self mastery, or grow less selfish. I just want the cake! Or the shoes, or the book, or the candy, and so the list goes. This is what has been revealed to me in my battle with apple cake temptation, and perhaps this shall be my Lenten prayer: That I would desire to gain holiness above all things, even darned good apple cake! By the way, the recipe is at thewednesdaychef.com which is one of my very favorite cooking blogs.