Friday, October 29, 2010

Menu for the week

Paella/Salad
Ancho chicken tortilla soup/Salad
Gemelli with roasted red pepper sauce/Salad
Moroccan spiced red lentil soup/Salad

Breakdown:

Kroger/Aldi $50
Costco $11
Super H $7

Have a happy and safe Halloween... See you back here on Monday with some pictures from the weekend.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More reflections

A couple more reflection pictures to share. To see the first set of reflection pictures go here.
Sometimes this is what it takes to get all of us in one picture...


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Like mother, like daughter

Although the daughter and I don't have much in common physically I can say with certainty that she sure likes to do the same things I do. Case in point...
She drew her own laptop computer... Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the "page" that she was working on... Priceless

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oximoron of the day - Homemade poptarts

Homemade pop tarts? Really? I have never been a fan of pop tarts... They are way too sweet and god knows how much fat is in one of those things. But I came across a recipe for homemade pop tarts on Smitten Kitchen and I wanted to give it a try and shake up a little the school snack arsenal.


They turned out delicious. A hit I tell ya! Not everyday they share with each other ;)

I made the cinnamon sugar and the nutella ones but she gives other great ideas on her blog...You can make them and store them in air tight containers for up to a week. Yum!





































Mama likes them too...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Raspberry preserves

I bought so many raspberries in season that I decided to make some delicious raspberry preserves. I will be using it on my next linzer torte. I am also dying to make some raspberry jam bars... Doesn't it sound amazing! To make the preserves I used the basic recipe on the fruit pectin packets ( I bought a couple of those packs at an after season sale).
One more thing I want to make with the remaining raspberries (which I froze) is raspberry sauce for ice cream or pound cakes, Yum! Check out this recipe, I will be giving it a try very soon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Menu for the week

Homemade pizza with eggplants and artichokes hearts/Salad
Italian wedding soup/Salad
Shrimp and polenta (instead of grits)/Salad
Grilled paninis with fontina, pears and harissa/Salad

Breakdown:
Aldi/Kroger $ 34
Trader Joes $10
Costco $23
Super H Mart $13

Ouch, restocking purchase... But I feel good about it. I bought lots of red peppers ($1.50 per pound...What a steal!) which I will be roasting and freezing.

We are still getting lots of tomatoes from our garden so I will be making gazpacho and tomato sauces. Of course, supplies were needed for that too.

It will be a busy weekend...

Have a great one friends!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cream of butternut squash

I am not completely sure how we got a butternut squash plant (we think a seed may have been included in one of the cucumber seed packets that we bought in earlier spring) but the best thing is that we have grown this beauty...
Too cute to eat, right?...But we did anyway. I made the most delicious butternut squash soup. So perfect for when the weather starts to cool off... or not. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds discarded, washed, and reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
 
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, grease the sliced surface of the squash and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

In a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, add the remaining olive oil, onion, celery, and carrot, then season with a pinch of salt. Saute until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Scoop the butternut squash flesh into the pot and stir. Add 4 cups of the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Turn off the heat and using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until very smooth. If necessary, add more of the remaining stock to create desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
I like to serve it with a little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper (a dollop of Greek yogurt is really good too)
It is not fall until I make this delicious soup. It is a staple for sure...

We have grass! - Backyard update

No more sink holes! Before the grass could be laid out we had to fill in some really nasty sink holes... Oh, what a beautiful level plain.

And finally, we got grass! The kids were so excited, they jumped, ran and rolled.


So, what do you think friends? What a difference, right? (see before pictures here). There is so much more that needs to be done to our backyard (grandpa are you listening?, we need your green thumb help!). I am happy with our first step, though... We have a  grassy spot for the kids to run around! Next on the agenda: creating a hedge for privacy (we are thinking English Laurels or Hollies, any thoughts?) and planting some flowering bushes (azaleas, camellias, gardenias?) please feel free to comment with any ideas... But we are going to take our time... Not by choice, It is just the way we can do it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pictures from the weekend

Hi everybody, I hope you had a nice fall weekend. We enjoyed every minute of it around here. We especially loved doing one of our favorite fall activities... Apple picking

We started the day early to avoid crowds and get the best picks... We lucked out... The place was pretty much to ourselves
We picked 30 plus pounds of apples... I'm making all kinds of goodies. More apple posting coming...
Look! It's me! I am in a picture... I need to start being less of a camera hog. Also, did you notice a toothless child? She's lost the 2 front teeth, So funny!



We finished up by getting some warm apple cider and an apple stick. A lovely way to spend the morning for sure.
If you are up for more apple posting be sure to check back soon. I am making all kinds of goodies and I want to share pictures and recipes with all of you (remember... 30 lbs of apples!) The house is smelling so good right now.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Menu for the week

Soupe au pistou (Provencal vegetagle soup)/Salad
Rigatoni alla Sorrentina/Salad
Green lentil soup/Salad
Poulet Saute Chasseur (chicken with tomato and mushroom sauce)/Roasted broccoli/Rice

Breakdown:

Aldi\Kroger $26
Costco $15

To continue with the theme I am adding a couple of French dishes to this week menu. We are even going to give a try at making our own crepes... So daunting since I don't have a crepe pan... Wish me luck... If it works I'll be doing a posting about it.

And since a post is not complete without pictures here are some of the delicious meals we got to enjoy in our last trip (some of them paired up with images of the towns where we enjoyed them)... You knew this was going to happen... Drooling warning friends, don't say I didn't warn you :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I want to remember - Île-de-France

Day trips from Paris are so much fun. In less than an hour you can be strolling in the gardens of king's country homes. No only the Palaces are beautiful but the towns that surround them are too. Ok, here we go, first up Fountainblue


After lunch a little fun around town

Versailles requires more than a day... Their gardens are so vast... You could easily spend the day just walking around the garden


Are you starting to get that M is not too fond of taking pictures? Case in point, this is so typical of him. 
This is not so typical... A rarity in fact
Ah, a family picture! It does not happen nearly as often as I like
Paris highlights coming soon...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breast cancer awareness month


Friends, I need to interrupt originally scheduled programming (AKA pretty pictures of France) to ask for your attention to this very important matter. As you know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year I have decided to do the 2 day walk. I will be walking in honor of my mother-in-law Linda Sand. She is a 9 year breast cancer survivor and because of good treatment she is thriving. My hope with this effort more remarkable women like her get the chance to thrive... For a very long time. Please make sure to visit my website and make a donation to sponsor me as I walk with many others for the cure. Your donation, no matter how small, counts. Go here to learn more about the 2 day walk and here to make a donation. Thank you so much in advance for your support.
PS. If you would like to make a donation in honor of someone dear to your heart make sure to include the name on the donation page. I will be writing all of the names on my t-shirt the day of the walk.

I want to remember - Alsace

Beautiful Alsace Route de Vin, First stop Eguisheim

After a very typical and delicious lunch we headed to Colmar

La Petit Venise... So lovely

Can you tell the proximity to Germany by the look of these towns? In a half a hour we could have been in Freiburg, one of my favorite towns in the Black Forest!