Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boo-boo-ies! And strawberries too!

When Buttercup was a toddler she used to call blueberries, "boo-boo-ies." This has kind of stuck and is a moniker we toss around quite a bit in our house.

This morning the girls and I decided to head over to Bauer Berry Farm to pick some of these:


It was a bit damp (rained last night) so we brought some Girl Scout sit-upons and an old towel. The weather really was perfect - cool and cloudy, but no rain. We brought two ice cream buckets and set to work.


It didn't take long to start getting a significant amount of berries in our bucket!


After awhile Buttercup got distracted by a nice big frog hopping around, and a little creeped out by several daddy-long-leg spiders crawling around the blueberry bushes. Daisy was quite the trooper and picked a lot of berries.

Then the girls thought we should ask if they still had strawberries for picking, and they did! So we consolidated our blueberries into one bucket and headed to the strawberry field. We ended up with a nice bucket of strawberries too.


In the end, both ice cream buckets were almost full, and now we have 4lbs of blueberries and 4lbs of strawberries. I think we need to get busy in the kitchen! I will probably freeze some of the blueberries... maybe make some freezer jam, maybe some blueberry buckle or cobbler or something. The girls were thinking about making smoothies. Yummy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Check out the chard!


This year I decided on a whim to try some swiss chard in the garden. I have a vague memory of my grandmother growing swiss chard in the garden, and sending some home with mom and me when we visited in the summers.

I bought this rainbow chard - the stems come in different colors, though it seems to be mostly white, yellow and magenta. It looks pretty though! (Don't mind the owl overlooking the chard - he's just hangin' out.. perhaps watching for chipmunks, maybe enjoying the sun, we're not sure. He's pretty demure).

So tonight I went out and gathered some chard. I cooked it very simply tonight because I was also making a veggie primavera that was a bit more... time-consuming I guess you could say. Anyway, I sauteed some onion and garlic in some olive oil, added the swiss chard, put in a bit (few tablespoons) of chicken broth, and then let it sautee for awhile. Seasoned with salt and pepper - it was wonderful! Now Mike wants to plant a whole raised bed of chard next year. I do think that perhaps I should have planted more!

I have to say one of the fun things about having a garden is that the kids are much more willing to try things. They stroll by the green onions and pull some of the tops off and nibble on them... they pull mint leaves and do the same. Well, Daisy is one of the pickiest eaters I know, and has already made it clear she does. not. like. spinach. I explained swiss chard was like spinach, and lo and behold... she decided to try it! Of course in her typical style, it had to be a small bite with a separate fork (God forbid the chard taste linger on her pasta fork!). As it turns out, she didn't like it ("blech!"), but hey, I give her points for trying.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!


Cupcakes... yummy! I made homemade vanilla cupcakes today, with vanilla buttercream frosting. Buttercup piped the frosting on most of the cupcakes, and we added some sprinkles and cute decorations. Fun!

Oh, and my search for a white pedestal cake stand is over - found this cute one at an antique mall in Indiana.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hello again, it must be summer!

Neglected blog? What neglected blog? Oh yea... this one. Well now school is finally out, Girl Scouts is taking a hiatus for a few months, Daisy is recovering from the flu (yea, that flu) and I have a little more free time.

I love the warm weather, I love sunny days, I love hanging out on our shady deck. Sunday morning I decided we all needed to have a pleasant, relaxing breakfast on the deck.

Sunday breakfast on the deck

I woke up really early, as I tend to do. It was a beautiful morning, so I went out in search of flowers I could put in a vase for the table. I don't have much blooming right now (need to remedy that! Hello, hubby, you need to set a date with the sod cutter...). But, as luck would have it, my peonies bloomed on Saturday, and I had some roses blooming. I made a nice little bouquet to add some cheer to the breakfast table.

I made my all time favorite french toast recipe (from a Cook's Illustrated cookbook) with cinnamon swirl bread, and cut up a bunch of fruit. Drizzled some warm maple syrup over the french toast.... mmmmmm.. it was wonderful!

Happy June!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Cookies

I realized my blog is a great way to keep a record of what Christmas cookies I tried out this year, and what I thought of them.

The other day I tested this recipe from a Taste of Home cookie cookbook I have - it's for peanut butter chocolate cookies. Oh my!

Peanut Butter Chocolate cookies

First of all, these are not bake 'em and eat 'em right away cookies. These take some time. They are a yummy soft peanut butter cookie with a peanut butter cream cheese dollop on the top. Okay, that right there is heaven. In fact, just hand me a bowl of that peanut butter cream cheese mixture...

So, then you dip the bottoms in chocolate - something you can't really see in the picture. The recipe called for melting chocolate chips for this. As I was melting them and noticing it looked like my chocolate was seizing up despite no drops of water anywhere, I remembered reading recently that chocolate chips often don't work for melting. Oh yea... that happened once when I was making chocolate fondue. Note to self: get melting chocolate next time.

Anyway, I added some half and half to the chocolate which solved the problem. The chocolate drizzle for the top was made with cocoa, and that worked well. Of course I am not so talented when it comes to a delicate drizzle. Mike, on the other hand, was channeling his inner Martha Stewart and did nice star-shaped drizzles on the cookies.

My verdict: these are amazing and absolutely worth the effort. (But they're also good without any of the chocolate!).

On Sunday I got it in my head that making some sandwich cookies with raspberry filling would be an interesting thing to try. I found a few recipes, but ultimately decided that I needed to use my mother-in-law's tried-and-true sugar cookie recipe. It's really the best! So I made some dough and tucked it in the fridge.

Yesterday I went through my cookie cutters, found several stars that worked well together, and here is the result:

Raspberry Stars

The girls call them American Girl cookies because they look a bit like the AG logo. I call them Raspberry Stars. These are yummmmy! Definitely will be making these again next Christmas. I was also thinking if I could find two heart cookie cutters that nested well, these would be fun for Valentine's Day...

Like I need more cookies! ;-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Peppermint Meltaways

peppermint meltaways

It's snowing here in Minnesota - light powdery snow, and we're supposed to get 3-6 inches. It's a nice day to stay inside and bake! I've started the day with these Peppermint Meltaways from Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine. Except that I felt it would be too much peppermint with peppermint icing and candy cane pieces on the top. Mike suggested chocolate frosting (reminiscent of Peppermint Patties, he says), so that's what I did. On the top I sprinkled these Andes' peppermint candy pieces.

Now, I'm not a huge peppermint fan, frankly. It tends to upset my stomach. So I'm not super crazy about the peppermint flavor, but otherwise these are pretty good!

Now I'm on to bake some peanut butter-chocolate cookies. That should be heavenly!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Tooth Pillow Gang

The Tooth Pillow Gang

The one in the front, 2nd from the right, Buttercup made herself! Nice to have a Girl Scout helping since her troop will be selling these. :-)

Just hangin' out

I can't really take credit for the idea of hanging the pillows - my co-leader is the one who had that idea - thanks, Shelly!