Thursday, July 25, 2013

Boy, Oh Boy!!

My little baby is now my little man. I can't believe it. I blinked and he wasn't an infant anymore. That is probably the biggest thing I hate about working. It feels like the days go way too quickly. Below are a year's worth of pictures starting with last summer when my little guy was fine chilling in the stroller. Yeah, that so isn't the case anymore. Now he ...

Summer 2012
Chills at his favorite pubs (summer 2012).
Models for his father (9 month pic. Sept. 2012).
Roots on his team!
First birthday lunch at mom's work (January 7. 2013).
And then, it starts! (Winter 2013)
Cecelia would have never done that.
 He quickly learned how to safely get down.
Art projects- G-Ma's mother's day bird house village project. (May 2013)
Wants to do what his sister does! (Milwaukee Art Museum, Father's Day 2013)
Date night with his sister (June 2013- 17 months).
Driving daddy's boat. (July 2014). First boat ride!
Taking notes on how to cut the grass. With a drink! (July 2013).
In the toy box! Rescue squad needed! (July 2013).
Never met an ice cream he didn't like. (July 2013)
Sand in unmentionable places!! (July 2013).

So there it is. My little baby is a little boy now. He can listen (when he wants) to get things or bring things. Finds eyes, nose, tongue, belly, and pee-pee (the easiest one for a little boy!). He wants to do whatever Cecelia is doing and keeps up quite well. He still melts my heart though. His changing table is on a dresser with a mirror. When I change him he grabs my neck, pulls me in tight and turns our heads so we are cheek to cheek to see eachother in the mirror. My boy... ... 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bakers in the house!

Start them when they are young, right? Everyone knows I have a "mini me" Cecelia loves to help me in the kitchen. This weekend we made cut out cookies. Yes, we have matching aprons! It's so much fun as she gets older she can actually do some of the kitchen tasks, cracking eggs, using the mixer, helping to "read (pictures and numbers)" the recipes... You'll notice her earrings. From her princess set. She's been wearing them for a week. With the hair, earrings and apron, she sort of reminds me of a 1950's housewife, no? (Don't worry. We aren't raising her to be a 1950's housewife!)

Helping stir the mango/strawberry jam.
Cookie Time!
Pinterest project alert. Old spice rack, now sprinkles keeper
 with great visual access for baker's creativity!
So many options!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Week with a CSA!!

So, we are doing a CSA this summer in addition to our garden. We started out just doing a half of a share because I didn't want the pressure of having to eat/process it all during the week. Long story short, we are know getting the full share every week (Saturday). I've gotten a lot of question wondering what the heck we do with it all. This post will have a good example of what to do with CSA stuff that doesn't resemble predictable vegetables (early summer in Wisconsin!) for a family of 4- two adults, 2 toddlers (who don't have the foggiest idea what I sneak into their bodies!).

This week's score included: parsley (curly and flat leaf), cilantro, kale, nettles, rhubarb, baby beet roots and tops, cabbage, mixed greens, and scapes. In addition, the Tree-Ripe Citrus truck was in our area on Tuesday, so I may have also gotten 25 pounds of peaches and 5 pounds of blueberries!!

Does everything need to be handled on the same day? No. I had all week! There is also time to do research! As always, Pinterest is a wonderful resource. My CSA board!  So here goes nothing...

Rhubarb - went into some delicious whole wheat rhubarb muffins. I made a double batch. We ate some and froze the rest in 6 muffins to 1 quart size ziplock to pull out during the school year. This is the third CSA with rhubarb. I've used this recipe each time as the whole wheat, oats, rhubarb... makes me feel like they are healthier!!

Blueberries- Coletyn ate them!

Baby beet roots/with tops - These aren't like beets you see in a store. The roots themselves were roughly the width of my pinkie and about 2 inches long. There were also two huge bunches of them!
  • beet greens joined the nettle in a meatloaf as a spinach replacement
  • beet greens and roots when into the kids' smoothies
  • beet greens were chopped, blanched and frozen in 1 cup quantities for future meatloafs
  • beet roots were washed in boiling water (only way to get dirt off) and roasted. After roasting, I turned them into a beet root pesto for my mother. I still can attest that beets taste like dirt. So in the food processor they went with some roasted scapes, lemon juice, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then I drizzled in the grape seed oil. Voila, pesto!
Scapes- more scapes- hmmm! Well, I still had two huge bundles of scapes (pictured below) left from a previous CSA that I had just been using in replace of garlic in all my recipes. Now, more scapes. The danger of a CSA. That's okay. I embraced it! I bought a gallon of red wine vinegar, bruised up the scapes and shoved them in. I'll let them sit for a few weeks, shake them when I go to do laundry, and bottle them nicely as Christmas gifts. Scape (garlic) infused red wine vinegar, anyone???

Blueberries- Coletyn ate more of them!

Kale- As soon as I saw the Kale I knew what I wanted to make. I have this to die for recipe for kale soup. Thank you and well, of course, Pinterest!! I replaced the italian sausage with these chicken sausages below. Thanks Woody! And I may have also made a double batch. We ate it for a meal then I froze the rest in meal size portions for winter lunches at work. I hate packing lunches!!

In the midst of all this, I also decided that instead of just using the rest of my freezer stash of stock (yes, I make our stock... it's so easy) I needed to make a huge stock pot of more stock. Jason wanted salads with chicken breasts on them for his lunches for the week, I had root veggies that were on their way out in the fridge and I didn't have enough stock in the freezer for my double batch of soup. So, chicken breasts on the ribs, water and cleaned out the herbs and roots veggies that were close to turning.. bam. Stock!

Stock and soup. Dual burners!
Blueberries- Coletyn... who wants to change a diaper!

As I was cleaning out the fridge for making the stock, I found a quart of milk that was about to expire and some left over roasted chicken scraps. Hmmmmm. What could I do with those?? Add them to two quarts of the stock I just made and voila (not really voila but I needed a dramatic effect- see recipe!) 19 pint jars of cream of chicken soup ready for the freezer for the winter crockpot meals. Sans the BPA of course! I've always wanted to make these, I've just never seized the opportunity. Thanks to Once a Month Moms for the recipe!

I love these twist top Ball plastic jars. The lid interlocks
 with the bottom of a jar on top. Makes
 stacking in the deep freeze a dream!
Stock left for freezer, next recipe and soups ready for freezer!
Parsley- I put parsley in everything. It always isn't enough. 
Cilantro- Jason and I really don't like cilantro. I think we had one to many bad cheap restaurant salsas. I  gave it to some friends.
Mixed greens and cabbage went into salads all week long.

Peaches- we of course ate a few pounds (Cecelia sometimes two per meal) and I also used them in kids' smoothies with the baby beets. I also put a few peaches, blueberries and coconut milk in the blender and used these zipzicles I've been waiting to use. Cecelia loves them. I also just so happened to have a bottle of strawberry wine hanging around and a few sprites. Sangria anyone? Yes, that was finished to the last drop!

Peaches still... I also made a pork marinade and we had peaches on the grill. With what was left, (probably about 15 pounds) I blanched them for about 30 seconds, ice water bathed them and slipped the skins right off. I could then quickly cut off pit, add a little lemon juice, mash and store in 4 quart size freezer ziplocks. 2 will be for peach applesauce in fall. I made strawberry and blueberry last year. They were spectacular! I am feeling peach preserves for the other 2 quarts. I'll decide later!

Blueberries (those that Coletyn didn't eat) were flash frozen on jelly roll pans then after frozen put into two gallon size ziplock bags. Freezing them this way allows me to be able to take the quantity I want out of the bag instead of having too many or not enough. Don't worry, I am feeling the need for a whole freezing vs. canning post in the future!

All this just in time for Saturday to roll around and a whole new box of veggies. This time, some are getting a little more familiar (as in they look like what we have in the back yard!) I think I am officially done having to get veggies at Woody's (I was supplementing a bit here and there!) until winter! Boo yah!

Hungry yet?!

Cucumbers, green pepper, cauliflower, purple cauliflower, green beans, dill, kale, swiss chard, kolarabi, sage, thyme, pickling cukes!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer 2013

On the first day of summer vacation, Cecelia and I made a chart of everything we wanted to do this summer. No, not everything is on there but we fit a lot!!

Here is our midpoint checkin. As of July 12th! Not too shabby!

This one is funny. I refer to it as white trash zoo. It rained last week so we ran some errands. The Dollar Tree and Petco are right next door to each other. I let Cecelia pick out any two things ("Anything momma, really?") she wanted. Then we got peach rings and took them next door to the white trash zoo (Petco). Hey, you get a better view than at the zoo!! Someone likes turtles!!

Needless to say, we are all enjoying our summer vacation!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Brother and Sister!

Brother and sister!! Since I knew we were having #2, I've been waiting for the day that Cecelia and Coletyn could "be" brother and sister. I know in two years, when they are fighting, I am going to roll my eyes at this post but...I love watching them interact like siblings. Cecelia is so very patient with him. Coletyn wants to do whatever his "Ya-Ya" is doing. It's precious. We have definitely been having a great summer. 

Cecelia feeding Coletyn and a little singing!

Sharing ice cream at Hoyt. July 2013
Cuddling on pillows!

Cuddling together- kind of!

Reading books in wagon. July 2013
White trash zoo.. Petco. July 2013
Coming home from up-north. Cole fell asleep going
through Zoo Interchange and Cecelia the Hale. So close to home!
Loving Daddy's boat! On Winnebago. July 7, 2013
4th of July Parade 2013

Reading at the library.
Butterflies at the Museum.
Playing on the new patio.

Shopping with mom!
Taking a walk!

Playing with that stupid box, still!