Category Archives: Food

The bees knees…

We are getting bees!!

It started like this:

Mom and I were driving home the other day when she asked me if that man in our alley was wearing a hazmat suit. I peered beyond her and declared it was a beekeeper!!

We immediately halted the car, rolled down the windows, and fairly mobbed him with questions. He is an Urban Farmer and beekeeper. He has a hive a few doors down from us and soon will put one in our yard!

He does all the maintenance and beekeeping while we get honey and bees!! My plants will have more bees and I can finally feel like I’m doing more for the vanishing bee population than just planting flowers.

Best of all my kids will get as-local-as-you-can-get honey for their allergies and they will get to learn about co-existing with these amazing time creatures that do so much for our food supply.

Oliver and I have already been setting out water for the neighborhood bees and we sit in the garden and watch them line up to drink. Their tiny furry bodies rest on the edge of the water pool as they delicately sip. Yum. He is super excited to have a hive of our own and has been telling me all about how to stay still when they land on you so they don’t feel threatened.

I plan to put up a page on the hive’s progress so keep your eyes out!

Update:

They are here!!

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The Sooky Foo Honey Company brought our lovely little hive early this afternoon!

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It’s so wonderful to see them out in the garden. Many of our neighbors have stopped by to see them and the dog has already been checking them out.

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Squee!! We have bees!

Type A Personality, meet motherhood.

I try very hard not to go overboard on the whole motherhood thing.  Most of the time I do an excellent job.  I let the children watch too much t.v., play too many video games, eat too much candy, send them off to do their own thing without playing with them all the time. I do my own stuff, yell at them, make them do chores for their allowance.  I don’t always make them bathe before it becomes perfectly clear they really need to.

There are a few areas where I have a tendency to take things too far.  Lunches would be one of those areas.

It started simply enough.  Back in the day when Marlena started school she hated crusts on her sandwich.  I hated cutting the crusts off.  I discovered large cookie cutters are fabulous for cutting bread slices uniformly.  So I began sending her to school with sandwiches shaped like the largest cookie cutter I had, a turtle.

Then things spiraled quickly downhill.  I began to get more cookie cutters.  Holiday themed, heart shaped, dinosaur shaped, you name it.  Then I had to cut the fruit with smaller matching shapes.  Then I turned into that crazy mom who sent her kids to school with incredibly detailed shaped lunches.

In order to regain my sanity I stopped sending lunches all together.  The kid got a school lunch account and that was that.  Until Oliver began going to school, this year.

He struggles with school and with mornings. He would much rather be doing his own independent little thing at home than being in a big noisy building with too many kids.  He needs a soft personal touch.  I started sending him to school with notes.  Just cute little love notes on plain paper.

Then when he had come home complaining of a particularly bad day of bullying and teasing I thought perhaps he would make it through the next day more easily if his lunch contained a note from his favorite video game character, Luigi.  So I printed a color picture of Luigi and stuck it in his lunch with a little blurb about being an amazing kid.

He loved it.

He loved it so much that he wanted another the next day, and the next, and the next.

Soon I was printing the notes on two sides of the paper using a template I designed on my mac in order to turn the notes into top folding cards.  I had coloring pages on the inside and a full color picture and message on the outside.  I began sending crayons tucked into his napkin.  I looked up coloring printables for Sonic, Mario, TMNT, and anything else he liked.  I began rotating the subject of the notes.

Tonight, I spent an hour creating a maze for Sonic the Hedgehog to go through.

Now I am officially that crazy mother who sends her kid to school with hand designed activity packets and crayons in his lunch.

Oh and best of all, he hates having crusts on his sandwiches too.

Mushroom Pate

We had some lovely vegetarian friends over Friday night. I was pleased as punch to have an opportunity to flex my vegetarian muscles and offer up a delicious meal, that didn’t consist of veggie burgers or baked portabella mushroom patties.

I made a homemade veggie marinara and served it over noodles for the main course, but the best part of the meal was a delicious mushroom pate served with crackers and pumpernickel toast points. Dessert was fruit and whipped cream over brownies. Yum.

I thought I would share the pate recipe here, it’s easy to make, delicious, and healthy.

Mushroom Pate
Mushroom Pate

Scylla’s Vegetarian (not vegan) mushroom pate:

Ingredients:

Four cups chopped baby bella and button mushrooms
one clove garlic
one third yellow sweet onion
3/4 cup cheese (I prefer dubliner cheese)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Bread or rice bread crumbs
multi-grain crackers
fennel
sage
thyme
pepper
salt
eggs

Directions:

Set oven to 350°

  • Finely dice one third of a large sweet yellow onion and 6-10 cloves of garlic (smash each clove first to bring out the flavor, then dice).
  • Chop a mix of button and baby bella mushrooms until you get four cups.
  • Place about 1/4 cup of Extra virgin olive oil into a skillet and heat.
  • add a pinch of salt to the skillet.
  • Toss the onions and garlic into the skillet and cook until translucent.
  • Add about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar.
  • Add shopped mushrooms, cover with lid, simmer until mushrooms are cooked.
  • In a blender add a cup of bread crumbs, 5 or so mutligrain crackers (broken up), and all the spices (You have to guess on the spices, I did. I really don’t know how much of each one I added).
  • When the mushrooms are done, add the entire contents of the skillet to the blender.
  • Add 3 eggs and cheese.
  • Blend until smooth.

Place the blended mixture into a greased bread pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, approx 20 minutes.

Spread on toast, eat cold or warm, enjoy!!

Everything but the kitchen sink debate night stew…

It started as an evening at home with the family. Well, it started as a dinner party, but the intended party was pushed back a day due to headache. So I planned an evening of left over stew made with yams, carrots, beef brisket, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. (I made the stew in a crock pot, cooking the brisket over some onions and garlic with a little beer for 24 hours before adding the rest of the ingredients. It’s fall apart tender now.)

Add a little crusty bread, some apple slices, some beer.

This was my dinner plan. The family and some stew in front of the VP debate.

Then we added a lovely couple, they offered hummus as their contribution. Great!, said I, come watch the debate!

Then my mother, with an offer of beer reinforcements. Well, I can’t leave you to watch the debate alone! Come watch us yell at the t.v.

Then Lee added another, and I, another.

Suddenly, my stew pot, it looka verra empty.

How do I intend to feed so many hungry anti-Palinites?

Toss in more mushrooms, they fill tummies with fat free proteins! Luckily I have a pile of baby bellas from Costco!

Add some more carrots. Everyone likes carrots. If they don’t, they can fill up on hummus.

Beans, legumes, anything in my pantry that will fill a tummy and meld well with my original stew? Wait here it is… a can of organic lentil soup!!

Anything else?

Noodles!! Noodles are filling! Add some noodles!! Yay for noodles!!

Let’s see…. taste it…. hmmmm…. some bullion to make up for the sudden increase in water.

Still…. awfully paltry offerings. It’s just a bowl of stew after all.

Homemade cornbread!! That’s the ticket! Fresh, hot and yummy! That will fill some tummies!!

Into the oven when a pan of yellow and a pan of blue. That will feed the masses!!

Hmmm… Homemade apple pie…

for lunch.

Well, can you sit in a house filled with steamy apple pie fresh-from-the-oven fumes and not give in to temptation? Especially knowing how warm and gooey the pie is fresh from the oven? We certainly couldn’t.

I popped a pie into the oven for dessert, and it was finished less than 30 minutes after it had cooled. Why?

Cause it was yummy!!

First I found a recipe online, and then I took to making my personal changes to it. (I seem to have an aversion to following recipes in their entirety.)

First I chose 6 nice Macintosh apples purchased at our Farmer’s Market fresh this morning!

Then I peeled them!


Then I cut them into slices.


Then I placed the slices into the crust. (I used a pre-made crust, because I simply wasn’t in the mood to make my own. I always keep one in the freezer for when I lack the motivation to make one from scratch. Wegman’s has a particularly good and crispy one, so we used that.)


Next I added the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, butter, and flour.

I used a half cup of vanilla sugar (which is sugar with several vanilla beans, opened of course, sitting in it. After a week or so, you get quite a yummy sugar.) I sprinkled the half cup evenly over the surface of the pie.

I did that same with 3-4 tbsp. of flour, cinnamon to taste, and clove to taste.


Then I splashed about a tsp of vanilla extract over the pie.

Finally I cut up two tbsp. of butter and spread it evenly over the pie.

Then I put the top crust on, sprinkled it with about a tbsp of vanilla sugar, sliced a few slits into it, and added a few apple peels to the top for decoration.


Into a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes, and then…. Voila!



Can you smell the appley wafts?

We were pushed past the point of self control after the pie had wafted it’s fragrance for about fifteen minutes. We gobbled it up. Monkey and Otter even ate some! There is no pie left for dinner. 😦

Guess I’ll have to make another one. 😉

Popcorn balls..

Popcorn balls! An easy to make classroom treat! (Warning: Do not eat these at home if you intend to keep your teeth!)

I am making popcorn balls for Monkey’s class. They are celebrating their 100th day in school with a popcorn party. Lee and I have about 10 pounds of gourmet popcorn available so I thought I would make some sweet chewy popcorn balls for the party.

They are simple, they are easy, and boy, eating one almost made my teeth fall out of my head.

The ingredients are simple.

12 cups popcorn
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 package flavored gelatin

You boil the sugar and syrup, add the gelatin, and then stir in the popcorn and shape and let dry. After making the popcorn, it really only took about 10 minutes to make 13 small popcorn balls.

However, they are all sugar. They actually made my teeth hurt. I am not kidding, the first bite was good, until I started to chew and began to notice pain in my back teeth. Yeesh! I am committed to bringing them to this class party, but next time I will be researching the hippie peanut butter version.

I did discover you can pop plain popcorn in the microwave. All you need is a paper bag, a handful of kernels, and two minutes. It made the popcorn preparation a little easier, though popping 12 cups is no joke. (Make sure to remove the unpopped kernels before making the balls, otherwise you really will have no teeth.)

The end product tastes a little like popcorn, a little like Jello, and a lot like sugar. Hopefully the children will have a less discerning palate, or my sticky treat may go the way of the Dodo.

Actually, I think I am going to throw this batch out and try making popcorn balls with marshmallows. They should taste better, be healthier, and not send all the children into sugar shock.

Shudder

Solutions…

I love Cream of Wheat!!

I decided, after my not so helpful doctor’s appointment, to proceed with my life as though I were anemic and ill. I started going to bed earlier, and happily discovered that Cream of Wheat has 50% of your required iron per serving. I ate it for breakfast and dinner day before yesterday and breakfast yesterday. I actually have color in my cheeks again! I have energy again! I went to the grocery store yesterday and shopped, I cooked dinner, I actually participate in my life for the first time in a week!

I am so relieved. I was beginning to look forward into the next three months with a growing despair and horror. I couldn’t stand the thought of being too tired to handle the basic responsibilities in my life. Thanks to the aforementioned cereal, I am happily engaged in work and home life again.

It is still very odd being out here instead of in Denver. The weather is cold in a clingy, biting way that I have never really felt before. It’s almost as though the cold is suffering from an attachment disorder that forces it to try and climb inside you and be absorbed. It’s impossible to get rid of, and it seeps in through all the windows and doorways. It comes with a lovely morning frost that is slowly killing off my roses, and paints pretty images on my lawn. It is the worst by Monkey’s school because it is in a swamp. I send her to school each day in a long wool coat with a sweater and hat and mittens. I make her promise to wear her little mittens so her baby hands aren’t bitten by frostbite when she plays at recess. She acquiesces with a shiver and doesn’t even try and argue.

The holidays are pretty out here. I see lots of huge inflatable christmas characters and lights all over the place. There is still a lot of green. All in all, I miss home. I miss Roby and Heather’s magical christmas display, and my parents little tree, and indifferent cold.

We are supposed to brave the city this weekend to go see “the tree”. I will let you know if we made it or not.

Happy december!!