Monday, June 30, 2008

CSA Week 3: Can't be BEET!

We were on vacation this past week, which presented a bit of a problem: we were in danger of missing our CSA pickup! Gasp! So, we left a little early, and went to the Sunday pickup instead of our normal Thursday pick up. We hit traffic on the way home, and believe me, I was sweating that we might have been too late to pick up. But we arrived with about half an hour to spare, and got our veggies. Unfortunately, it was raining, we'd all been cooped up in the car all day, and we still hadn't eaten dinner and it was already nearly the boys' bedtime so we skipped the you-pick stuff this week. Ah well, since it's a short week (we'll be picking up our Week 4 distribution on Thursday), it's just as well.

Here it is, in all it's glory:

So here's what we've got:

A bunch of kale
3/4 lb spinach
A bunch of bok choy (I'm not sure if I should try something else or go with the recipe I loved last time. Anyone have a bok choy recipe they care to share?)
Two heads lettuce
1 bunch beets (we chose golden beets rather than regular beets)
1 bunch small onions (anyone know what those are or how to use them?)
2 lbs squash (we chose three different varieties: summer squash, whatever that green thing is in the middle (anyone know??), and patty pan squash).

Not too overwhelming, and includes a bunch of things I've never tried before (golden beets, some of the squash, and kale). So it should be a fun cooking week!

As always, if you have a recipe to share using any of these ingredients, leave a comment!

Random unrelated thought: Can I mention once more how much I absolutely adore Kourtni on So You Think You Can Dance? I just watched last Thursday's show (which I missed when we were out of town), and in her solo, she danced to one of my very favorite Ani DiFranco songs, Fire Door. She was beautiful, the song was beautiful. She may just convince me, after so many seasons of never voting, to pick up the phone and vote for her. Why is she always in the bottom three?

Kourtni, I love you!

Pushing the tomato season

I'm desperate for the tomato season to start. Is there anything better than fresh tomatoes? Those things they try to pass off in the supermarket as tomatoes hardly fulfill my craving for this delightful fruit. But I'll admit it: I cheat. I buy hothouse tomatoes from Maine. I get grape tomatoes from California. I'll even resort, in the dead of winter, to those mealy faux-tomatoes at Stop and Shop.

So in our last CSA pick up, you may recall we got PURPLE scallions that I was pretty excited about. And what is the best thing to make with scallions? SALSA! Yes. Shh, don't tell the tomatoes growing at the farm, but I cheated on them. I just couldn't wait. I mean, I had the scallions, I have cilantro in my herb garden that is huge and already flowering. Thank goodness for those greenhouses in Maine, getting me my tomato fix.

I make a very simple, fresh salsa. All raw, very bright, uncluttered flavor. I make it with nothing spicy so my boys will eat it. It is one of the few relatively healthy foods they'll eat, so I keep it plain and find it's still outstanding. However, if we get some hot peppers later this summer in our CSA share, I'll probably toss some in for TK and I to enjoy. Here's the recipe:


Tomatoes (any kind...I've even made it with halved grape tomatoes)
Diced jalepenos or other hot peppers, or tobasco sauce (optional, I usually omit so my kids will eat it).


You may notice this recipe lacks quantities. Can I say it's all to taste? Well, I'm going to! But, I'll try to give some hints here in the directions.

Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze out seeds. You can use your finger to squish some out, or even just gently squeeze the tomato. You don't have to perfectly get all the seeds out. In fact, if I use grape tomatoes, I don't even bother seeding them. You just don't want your salsa to be drippy with seeds.

Dice the seeded tomatoes.

Finely slice the whites (or purples in my case) of the scallions. Reserve the green part for something else! I would say as a rule of thumb, if you're using medium sized tomatoes, you'll want to use one scallion for every two tomatoes. Or more or less, depending on your taste.

Chop some cilantro leaves. How much? Oh, it depends on how much you like it. I use a few sprigs for each tomato, then add more if I feel like it needs it.

Mix the tomatoes, scallions, and cilantro leaves, then start adding the salt. I use a salt cracker (actually, I let my boys add it), so I just keep tasting. It does take a bit of salt, and I don't like my food very salty. I've made it with very little salt, but I find it's the salt that really makes the flavors of the salsa pop. So be guided by your own taste buds on this one.

Eat immediately. We rarely have leftovers, but you can store it for a day or two. You'll probably have to drain off some excess water if you keep it in the fridge overnight, but it still tastes wonderful.

Random unrelated thought: We're getting BIG BOY BEDS delivered tomorrow. We have some dinosaur comforters the boys picked out, and some new pillows. We'll see how it goes. They haven't been sleeping well at night in their cribs, so hey, maybe the beds will actually improve things. Ha! Famous last words...

I stop posting for a few days...

...and my stats take a nose dive! What, you all expect me to have NEW posts??? You don't just keep rereading my old news??

Well, we're back from vacation, so prepare for the onslaught. Or as much of an onslaught as I can sneak in. My house is a mess, we're getting big boy beds delivered tomorrow, the boys aren't sleeping well post-vacation, we're all vaguely sick. You know, the normal complaints.

But on the plus side:
  • We got to do a lot of swimming while we were on vacation. It only took about a day before N-man was willing to get more than his feet wet.
  • The boys went on their first pony rides, and the "pony" turned out to be a full-sized horse!
  • We had cake and ice cream for dessert every lunch and dinner.
  • N-man only fell out of the bed 2 of the 3 nights we were there. B-man only fell out once!
Anyway, we had fun, but it's so nice to be home. Time to run out to the grocery store...we don't have anything in the house. The boys are flipping out that we have no milk. This morning they stirred Ovaltine into their water! Ick!

More soon, so don't desert me again!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


More predictions, more embarrassing myself.

My votes for the bottom three:

Comfort and Chris: Judges didn't like them, I didn't like them. But that's probably because Chris is the one dancer on the show I really don't like. Sorry! Comfort...I think she's cute and fun, but I'm still voting bottom three for them.

Chelsea T. and Thayne: Not their fault, but I thought that Phil Collins song was terrible for the quickstep. It made it feel like they were dancing so much more slowly than they actually were. Again, boring. I picked Chelsea for my top 10 list, but I'm beginning to regret that.

The third spot is more of a questionable one for me. I'm in love with Kourtni, but I'm not in love with Matt and their dance was interesting but didn't totally connect for me. Of course, I'm a big fan of NOT-Mia Michaels, so I appreciate a different contemporary choreographer whenever possible. Courtney and Gev were also cute but somewhat forgettable, especially because they danced their rumba second on the show. They're adorable, though, so I'm not too worried about them.

So, I'm taking a bit of a risk and putting Jessica and Will as my choice for the bottom three. There were mistakes in their routine, it didn't all look smooth or easy, and I can't be the only person in America who is getting annoyed at how the judges gush all over Will. OH MY GOSH, HE'S THE BEST DANCER IN AMERICA!!! Really??? Really??? I mean, he's really good, but I find the way everyone plays him up extremely off-putting. And I'm still mad from week 1 that Rayven got voted off instead of Jessica. Oh no, I didn't forget that, stupid judges, voting off one of my favorites in the very first week!

My predictions for who's going home: Chelsea T and Chris. Yes, I guess Chris every week. Eventually I'll have to be right. Right?? He's not going to win, is he? Come on, third time's a charm!

My predictions for who I'm completely in love with: Twitch. And Mark. And Joshua. And for the girls, the trifecta of misspellings: Katee, Kourtni, and Kerrington.

Let me know what you think...who do you love, hate, think is going home. Or just vent about how annoying Mary is, or gush about how awesome Cat is. That's always welcome here!

Monday, June 23, 2008

All kinds of food pics

I'm sticking all these recipes in one post, so those of you who are disinterested can just skim it. Or just peek at the pictures, some of which are surprisingly bad. Hey, we were in a hurry to start eating!!

We started out this CSA week with a big winner: Garlic Scape Pesto. I followed the recipe given there. Well, mostly. Oh, heck, you know I made a few changes:


7 garlic scapes, chopped into approx. 2" pieces
Fresh parsley (I'd guess about 2 tablespoons chopped, but I didn't chop it since it was just going into the food processor, so I'm really not sure)
3/4 cup olive oil
scant 1 cup Parmesan cheese


Put the garlic scapes, parsley, and olive oil into a food processor and process until smooth( doesn't turn out perfectly smooth).

Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve over pasta. I choose gnocchi since it's a favorite with my twins. The pesto turns out very thick, so it was a good match to a heavy pasta.

A quick note about this picture: the sauce turns out to be a delicate green, and I just couldn't get it to show up on the camera. Either the overhead lights or flash blew-out the color too much, or without extra light, it was too shadowy. I took this picture standing near the window, holding the plate at about a 45 degree angle to catch the right natural lighting. All so you could appreciate the green color! Of course, then I was so worried about my food falling off the plate I ended up not getting a great picture anyway. But the color is pretty, isn't it?


Served with the pesto, we had Garlic Scape Bread. Basically it was garlic bread where I used minced garlic scapes in place of garlic powder.

Looks pretty, doesn't it? Well, it wasn't garlicy enough for me. I'd add some extra garlic powder in additon to the scapes if I made this again. The delicate garlic scape flavor was wasted on garlic bread. Oh well. I mean, it was slightly garlicy buttery bread, so it was still yummy, but this won't replace my normal garlic bread recipe!


Here it is, my first big CSA failure. Garlic scape soup. The recipe is all the way at the bottom of the page listed, if anyone wants to waste their garlic scapes on this substandard meal. It was gritty and unfinished tasting. TK and I thought it was a good soup might have been good with some chicken and rice or veggies added. But as it was: uninspired. It doesn't even look good:


But no worries, things quickly turned back in a positive direction. We went strawberry picking with Snickollet (and her kids and friend), plus both moms and baby of Two Moms and Baby. Taking my inspiration from those delightful strawberries and the latest CSA haul, I threw together this salad:

The salad contained spinach, lettuce, radish, purple scallions, hard boiled eggs, and sliced strawberries. What made it really outstanding was the homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette dressing. I followed the linked recipe, except I subbed about 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme for the tarragon, and I forgot about the sugar (oops! That was an unintentional oversight, but I didn't miss it...)


And one last recipe, Roasted Spring Turnips, Snap Peas, and Garlic Scapes.

I found a recipe at a neat blog about eating locally (on the West Coast, but hey, we've got the same stuff here on the East Coast!) and followed the recipe pretty closely. I loved the lemon zest, and I used a lemon pepper herb mix. The garlic scapes were my favorite part as they got a little crispy in some parts and slightly carmelized. Lovely!


So that's it. For now. Well, I've got to get started on dinner...more CSA inspired creations!

The things kids say

The kids have been saying some really funny things lately, so I thought I'd share just a few.

I took the boys with me while I was looking for some new shorts and brought them into the changing room. I put on a pair and asked, "how do these look?" B-man replied, "Those are [mumble]-y". Since I couldn't understand him, I asked, "These are pretty?" He clarified, "No, SILLY."



We were at a petting zoo, petting some goats. One started to go to the bathroom right by us, and if you're not familiar with goat poop, it comes out in little round balls. N-man sees the goat pooping and excitedly tells me, "Mommy, there are BLUEBERRIES coming out of that goat!"

Later that night, as he was starting to fall asleep, out of nowhere he said, "It was POOP, not blueberries!"


We were eating at a restaurant that had paper over the table for the kids to draw on. I drew a face, and they were telling me what parts to add (eyes, mouth, etc). When the face was done, I asked what other body parts I should add. B-man said, "Feet!" I said, "Sure, that's a great idea! What comes between a person's head and feet?"

They both looked confused, so I suggested they look at their own bodies to see what comes between their head and feet. They both look down, and B-man yells at the top of his voice, "A PE,N.IS!" (Sorry for the excess punctuation, I don't want to get the pervert traffic via random searches.)

I said, "You're right, but that's not something we should draw in a restaurant."

They both thought about it for a moment, and N-man said quietly, "But I'd *like* a pe,ni.s."


Random unrelated thought: More recipes to come soon. I had my first CSA meal failure this weekend. Oh well, they can't all be winners!

Friday, June 20, 2008

CSA Week 2, plus Chinese Cabbage Salad

Here's our haul in week 2. This is so fun!

In case you can't identify it all from the picture, here's what we got:
  • 2 different types of lettuce
  • 1 lb spinach
  • bunch scallions (there were purple and regular ones. When asked what the difference was, the farmer said no taste difference, they just plant anything purple if they have the choice. Likewise, I'll try anything purple if given the choice so we took the purple ones)
  • 1/2 lb garlic scapes (we only took about 1/4 pound. I fear I may end up regretting that as I love garlic, but really, how much garlic scapes can we eat? I don't even have a recipe yet to use them!)
  • 1 bunch radishes (the only thing I didn't like last week...I tried a different variety this time)
  • 1 bunch spring turnips (they're the white things that look like radishes)
  • 1 bunch kohlrabi
  • 1 qt ytou-pick sugar snap peas
  • 1 pint you-pick snow peas
  • 1/2 pint you-pick strawberries (not pictured since we each ate 2 strawberries in the field rather than take any home).
  • Miscellaneous herbs (mint, lemon thyme, sage, marjoram)
Looking forward to cooking up a storm again this week!

And here's a recipe that I made to take to the farm last night. We met another family of twins there and had a little picnic before picking up our share. Very fun! We still had half a head of Chinese cabbage from the previous weeks' share, so I decided to throw together a quick Asian salad.

I followed this recipe pretty closely, so just follow the link if you're interested. I omitted the almonds due to food allergies, and didn't miss them. However, if you're not dealing with food allergies, I'd probably leave them in. I also ran short on sesame seeds, and again, it was fine with only about half the recipe amount although given the choice, I'd probably go with the original recipe quantities.

Long story short, the salad was outrageously good. Yum!

Random related thought: Once again, this post is dedicated to you, Jules, my CSA cheering section :)

Hopefully God has a sense of humor

This morning we were sitting at the breakfast table and N-man tooted. He cracked up, as always, because what's funnier to a 3 year old than a toot?

I said, "What do you say?"

He thought about it for a minute and replied, "God bless me."

Random unrelated thought: You may have noticed my SYTYCD predictions were less then stellar last night. Again. But they were good enough to battle my way out of last place. Now I'm in 3rd from last place. Woo Hoo! Bow before my skill!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My first Meme

Well, here goes. I've been tagged by Goddess in Progress and Mommy Esq, and it's all fun, so I'm game.

Four Jobs I've Had:
  • Carny. Okay, fine, it was a real amusement park, and I was a games' barker
  • Accountant for a dotcom, during the dotcom bubble and bust
  • Playground supervisor. Don't they need supervising?
  • Resident Advisor in the evil center of the Universe
Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
  • Dirty Dancing
  • Heathers
  • Stardust
  • Happy Gilmore
Four Places I Have Lived:
  • My parent's house
  • My dorm room(s)
  • My apartment(s)
  • My house
Four TV Shows I Like:
  • Firefly (and a shout-out to Buffy and Angel, too. I love Joss Whedon)
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
  • Veronica Mars
  • Heroes
  • (Are you proud I've left So You Think You Can Dance off my top four?)
Four Favorite Foods:
  • Pizza (Mushroom and Onion)
  • Chocolate (no nuts)
  • Tom Yum Talley (this awesome seafood coconut spicy soup at our favorite Thai Restaurant)
  • Ice Cream (Coffee/Chocolate combo)
Four Places I Would Rather Be:
  • In bed (where I'm going soon)
  • At a Ani DiFranco concert
  • Hiking to a waterfall
  • Picking strawberries
Four People I'm Tagging:
Have fun!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Spinach Artichoke Dip. Yes, more recipes

Wow, I'm really rocking the "Eat Local Eastern Massachusetts While Watching Reality TV" demographic. I hope I'm not putting all of you to sleep, since I doubt there's anyone else besides me who falls in that very select group.

Can you tell I'm still excited about the CSA? Our second pickup is tonight, so I thought I better catch up and share a few more recipes I've made this last week. Both were pretty darn good, if I do say so myself :) So without further ado:

Chicken Lettuce Wraps:

I very, very loosely followed this recipe. I made quite a few changes and while I was extremely happy with the results, the wraps weren't exactly similar to the P.F. Chang lettuce wraps. So if that's what you're looking for, you might want to go to the original recipe. Having said that, here's my version:


1 lb. ground chicken
4 oz. water chestnuts, minced
6 oz. baby bella mushrooms, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
Splash rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon spicy brown bean sauce**
Lettuce leaves (we used about 2/3 a head of Bibb lettuce)


In a large skillet, brown the ground chicken. When it is about 3/4 of the way done, add the water chestnuts, mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Continue cooking, stirring often, until chicken is browned.

Meanwhile, mix all remaining ingredients (except lettuce) in a small bowl. Stir well.

When the chicken is done, add the sauce you mixed in the small bowl. Stir well to coat all the chicken and let cook for about 2 or 3 minutes until slightly thickened.

Place a spoonful of filling onto a lettuce leaf, then roll the lettuce up.

**As I mentioned previously, the original recipe linked above called for red chile paste, but the only brand I could find had peanuts in it, which is a no-go due to food allergies here. So I got House of Tsang brand spicy brown bean sauce. The final recipe was not quite spicy enough. I'd say either use the red chile paste if you don't have to worry about allergies, or add some red pepper flakes in addition to the brown bean sauce.


Next I tried Fresh Spinach and Artichoke Au Gratin. I wasn't sure how it would come out using fresh, uncooked spinach...most recipes call for the frozen stuff. I almost steamed the spinach or blanched it, but ultimately, laziness ruled the day and I just used raw spinach. Worked out fine! Again, there's a recipe I used as a jumping off point (here), but made some significant changes.

1/3 pound spinach, coarsely chopped
2/3 of a 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts (non-marinated, drained), coarsely chopped
6 oz. cream cheese
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Soften cream cheese and butter in the microwave for about 20 seconds until it can be stirred together.

Mix in artichoke hearts, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Transfer to a baking dish (or just make the whole recipe right in the baking dish from the get-go...that's what I did!)

Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with chips, bread, and/or veggies for dipping.


Random related thought, Friends of Jules (FOJ) editon:

Jules has warned that she might have sent some fellow CSA'ers my way. If so, hi fellow friends of Jules!

Continuing to embarrass myself with SYTYCD predictions

Since I don't bother to vote, I don't exactly think I fit the demographic of who is actually making the decisions of the bottom 3. But, here are my votes for the bottom three this week. So all these couples should breathe easy if my predictions last week are any indication of my ability to make guesses :)

1) Matt and Kourtni. I still love Kourtni. I loved when Nigel complimented Matt for being so strong to be able to lift Kourtni that she just gave a sarcastic "Thanks, Nigel". I think she's interesting and beautiful. But lets be honest, that foxtrot was a) boring, and b) not well danced.

2) Suzie and Marquis. I'm not in love with either of them. I forget about Marquis, and something annoys me about Suzie. And their salsa was blah. Bottom three, baby!

3) Comfort and Chris. Am I being overly optimistic since Chris is my least favorite of the guy dancers? He can't get voted off unless he's in the bottom three, so I keep hoping that's where they'll end up! Their crump routine was also not memorable.

My guess to be voted off tonight: Mia. Oh wait, she's a judge. She drives me crazy, and she made Kherington cry (BTW, how awesome were Kherington and Twitch? I never like waltzes, and that was outstanding). I go back and forth between pissed off at Mia and just feeling bad for her obvious awkwardness and inability not to offend everyone.

My real guesses: Matt and Suzie. I would be fine if Chris went home instead of Matt...I'd actually prefer he go home but I can't remember how good of a dancer he is. Matt's solo last week was blah so I suspect it might not be enough to save him this week if he's bottom 3 again. I might change my vote to Chris and Suzie. I don't know. I need to get my votes in soon, though. Do any of you have an opinion? Help a girl out...I'm in last place in the betting pool!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The benefits of a messy house

Well, there are many. When you're really committed to not cleaning like I am, you come up with plenty of reasons why it's great not to clean. But I came across an unexpected one this past week.

N-man was just waking up the other morning, and it being summer, the sun was already up and streaming in through the cracks in the blinds. All of a sudden he says, "Fireworks!" He was so excited!

What were my first thoughts? "Oh, the poor kid has no idea what fireworks are. Or he's hallucinating."

When TK and I walked over to his crib, N-man pointed in the air and excitedly told us to look at the fireworks. There, shining in the sun, were thousands of dust particles, glowing and dimming as they traveled through the light and dark patches made by the blinds. You know what? It was vaguely firework-y. And kind of pretty. Makes me glad I've not been so crazy recently as to have actually dusted anything.

I'm pretty sure Good Housekeeping is considering me for a special award this year.

Random unrelated thought: More recipes soon. Just waiting until I have a longer stretch of free time available.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three year olds + art museum = not a good time

For Father's Day this year, my husband said he wanted to go to an art museum. There's a (formerly...I'll get to that) good one in New England: the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. It has (used to have...I'll get to that) a large fun kid's room where kids can play, plus the rest of the museum is a pretty respectable art museum.

So TK thought it would be a fun mix. We'd all have some time to see at least some of the art museum, which would be fun for us grown-ups, and then we could go to the kids area and that would be fun for the boys. It's a long drive for us to get to the museum, but we hadn't been to an art museum in ages and thought this would be the best bet for us. So we made the long trek.

We bought our tickets, went in, and stopped right inside to explain to the boys about how art museums are just for looking, not for touching, but after we looked around for a little bit, we could go into a room just for them where they could touch anything they wanted.

This would have worked great, except...the kids area was CLOSED. CLOSED, I tell you! So we're in an art museum. With almost three-year-old twins. Without a stroller. And no fun area for them. Wouldn't you think when we bought tickets with two little kids that they may have mentioned that the kids area was closed for the next few weeks? Jerk ticket guy! I'm sure we could have complained and gotten our ticket price refunded and left, but as already mentioned, we'd driven quite a while to get there, and really wanted to see an art museum. So we decided to give it a go.

Yeah, not the best idea. B-man nearly touched a painting. It set off an alarm. N-man got one foot up onto a display before I grabbed him and he got yelled at by a museum guard (who didn't fool me at all. I know WE were the ones being yelled at). We were trailed all through the museum by guards.

I think we'll wait a few more years before trying to make sure our boys are properly cultured. For now, I think skee ball at Chuck E Cheese may be the extent of culture our boys get. The carny culture really isn't one we should dismiss!

Random unrelated thought, I can't resist another recipe edition:

Here I thought I was being so smart, making the dreaded bok choy on a night when I was going out for dinner. Of course I tried it, and wouldn't you know, it was incredible! Damn, that was unexpected. I was completely, though pleasantly, surprised. The only problem now is that I'm a little depressed that we got our expected CSA distribution list for the week and there's no bok choy on it. Ah well, maybe spring turnips will be my next true food love...stay tuned!

Oh, the recipe. Here it is. I didn't really make any changes, so just follow the link if you're interested. And for those of you "cooking with kids", the sauce part of this recipe is easy and fun to do with kids. Lots of measuring and dumping into a cup and stirring. Washing bok choy is pretty easy, too...just give the kids a big bowl of cold water and let them swirl the leaves around in it. It may take a couple changes of water. Plus, then there's the salad spinner, and all-time favorite with my kids! So it's a pretty good "cooking with kids" recipe. However, it would have taken a minor miracle to actually get my kids to actually eat this. Maybe you'll have more luck!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blog reader

Anyone have a blog reader to recommend? I think it's time!

Sorry for the short post, I'm heading out to a food allergy support group tonight. It's at my favorite Mexican restaurant, so it should be fun. Heck, I wish we were having it in a peanut factory, because I sorely miss eating nuts!

I can't resist, let me just share this one recipe:


I am making bok choy tonight. For TK. Ha! I'm skipping the bok choy dinner in favor of Mexican food. It's just one of the few veggies I'm not a big fan of. Maybe I could deep fry it, or smother it in cheese or something, but I don't know...stir fried, blah. But tough, that's what he's getting for dinner. And other stuff, too. I'm not so mean as to serve my family a dinner of bok choy with a side of bok choy.

Random related thought: For all of you who ask if the boys are eating these interesting foods I'm making...NO! They never eat anything. N-man is being a little adventurous. He ate about a quarter of the shrimp egg roll. He had a bite of radish, a few sugar snap peas, some avocado (no, that wasn't local...there's not some magic avocado tree in Massachusetts. At least not that I'm aware of! I just served it with the taco salad I made. He licked the lettuce, but I'm not really counting that as eating.) B-man has continued with his plan to eat nothing ever. God forbid food crosses his lips. Then he might gain some weight and actually fit into 2T pants before his third birthday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chive flowers!

I've never eaten a chive flower. Heck, I've never even seen a chive flower before. They're neat. Really chive-y, but purple and pretty. At our CSA, they suggested we just throw them into a salad. Well, it's a bit too strong for that for me. But, getting some inspiration from this blog (about the only chive flower recipe I found on google), I decided to make an omelet. I adapted a lot of the ingredients to what I had, but left the two biggies the same: eggs and chive flowers.

End result: outstanding! Here's what it looked like:

Want the recipe? Never fear! You can't stop me from reciping. I just made that word up! Ha, ha, spell checker, I don't care that you don't think it's a word!


2 eggs
Splash of milk
1 tablespoon finely diced onion
1/2 clove garlic, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives (additional for garnishing if desired)
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley (additional for garnishing if desired)
Petals from one chive flower (additional chive flower for garnishing if desired)
2 tablespoons minced spinach (additional for garnishing if desired)
1/4 cup crumbled feta (additional for garnishing if desired)
2 teaspoons olive oil


Place olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and milk until lightly frothy. Add chives, parsley, chive flower petals, and spinach. It will be VERY herb-y.

Pour egg mixture into skillet with the onions and garlic. If the onions and garlic collect around the outside, quickly mix them in before the eggs start to set. Or just leave them along the outside.

Cook until eggs are almost set on top. Add feta cheese and cook an additional minute or two.

Slide the omelet out onto a plate, folding in half as it slides out of the pan. Garnish with additional, well, everything. If you'd like.

Random unrelated thought: The boys painted birdhouses for TK for Father's Day. We talked about how it was going to be a SURPRISE for Daddy, and how we shouldn't tell him about it. Well, that lasted a full day. Then they busted out with "Daddy, we painted a birdhouse for you". And they've told him pretty much every day since then. And today, they asked, "Can we give Daddy his birdhouses?"

TK wasn't too surprised, I don't think.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Our First CSA dinner!

Wow. Just, wow. These were things I probably never would have tried without the CSA. Who am I kidding? I've never even seen some of this in the stores so I certainly wouldn't have tried it. But it was outstanding, and so much fun! I've been stuck in a bit of a food rut, and this booted me right out of it!

Here's what we had:

Shrimp Egg Rolls


1 lb precooked shrimp, coarsely chopped
1/2 head Chinese cabbage, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped (I probably should have used a whole head, especially since I have no idea what to do with the other half a head)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup diced water chestnuts
1 radish, cut into small papersticks (probably could have used 2 radishes...I wasn't sure how it would go but threw it in since I had it)
6 ounces baby bella mushrooms, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
Splash rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
Egg Roll wrappers (I used 12 egg roll wrappers...your mileage may vary depending on how stuffed you make your egg rolls)
Vegetable oil for frying


Heat the sesame and olive oils in a large skillet over medium high heat (oil amounts are approximate). Saute garlic and mushrooms until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, water chestnuts, and radish. Saute an additional 2 minutes. Add the Chinese cabbage, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir well until cabbage begins to wilt. Add the shrimp, stir well, then remove from the heat.

Once filling has cooled slightly, fill egg roll wrappers. If you don't know how to do that, no worries. The directions are on the package of egg roll wrappers.

Add about 1/4" oil to a skillet and heat over high heat until a wooden chopstick dipped into the oil causes bubbles to appear. Carefully add egg rolls (there will be spatters unless you're a far better egg roll roller than I am). Turn once the first side has browned. I find it best to use a spatula in one hand and a chopstick in the other to turn the egg rolls. When the other side has browned, remove to paper towel lined plate to drain.


As if that wasn't enough, I also made:

Pan Seared Scallops over Wilted Tatsoi

The wilted tatsoi was really outstanding. I very loosely followed this recipe, except that I only used tatsoi rather than assorted Asian greens. Also, I only had seasoned rice vinegar (which they say specifically not to use), so I used it and omitted the sugar. I added some garlic, because, come on. How could you not use garlic in this? And I just eyeballed all the ingredient quantities since I wasn't using anywhere near the same quantity of greens. Anyway, it was delicious. I'm so glad we decided to try the tatsoi. We had a choice at our CSA of tatsoi or arugula, and I'm really happy we decide to go with the one we'd never heard of.

For the scallops I tried something a little different from my normal bread-and-fry-in-garlic-butter method I employ for most seafood. We had some lemon thyme that I didn't have any plans for, so I used that as my inspiration. I mean, it wasn't a big stretch to pair lemony flavors with seafood, but anyway :)


1 lb sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
zest from 1/2 lemon
Oil for frying


Rinse scallops in cold water and remove that little tough piece on the side. I don't know what it's called (anyone want to help me out?) It peels right off, though. Gently pat excess water off with paper towel.

Toss scallops with thyme, lemon pepper, and lemon zest until all scallops are lightly coated.

Add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of a skillet. Heat over high heat. Add scallops (don't it in two batches if your pan is small). When the bottom of the scallop is lightly seared, turn over and cook the other side until it's seared. I'm hesitant to give cook times as it really depends on the size of your scallops, but it's quick...1 or 2 minutes per side approximately.


I also made mint iced tea with mint from the CSA. I even lightly sweetened it with local honey instead of sugar, and it was perfect...just a touch of sweet, and the honey flavor seemed to really match well with the mint. However, I brewed the tea way too weak. It's drinkable, but really needed to be about twice as strong as I made it.

Oh well. Hopefully we'll get more mint in next week's share so I can try again.

Random related thought:

Amount of time spent cooking this afternoon: about 2 hours

Amount of time spent cleaning after dinner: about 30 minutes

Amount of time spent blogging about dinner: about an hour

This wasn't quick. But it was fun. I'm not sure if I'll keep up the blog entries, or if anyone is at all interested in my recipes, but it's such a good way for ME to remember a recipe. I tend to just throw things together, and then when I want to make it again, I have only a vague idea of what I did the first time. I mean, I'm sure I won't follow the recipe next time anyway. I seem to be completely unable to make a recipe without tweaking it somehow, but at least now I have a starting point.

And as I told TK, hopefully we'll continue to love the CSA and will join again next year...I'll have a ready made set of recipes then if I keep blogging my recipes.

I will try to avoid having this turn into just a cooking blog, though. First of all, I'm not really that good a cook. B, I highly doubt I could avoid going off on unrelated tangents anyway. Such as, remember how in Mad About You Paul would always say his lists "First, blah blah. And B, blah blah" or "A, blah blah. And second, blah blah". That always cracked me up. So I just stole it for my list.

I'm overtired to the point of not making sense. I'm sure if I rechecked my blog reading level, it would be kindergarten after this rambling post.

Well, happy eating to y'all!

Going green...CSA week 1

Week one of the CSA is supposed to be the "slow" week...when not much is ready yet so you just get a few things. Well, if this is "slow", we're going to be eating like kings this summer!

In case you can't identify it all from the picture above, here's what we got this week:
  • 3 different types of lettuce
  • 1 lb of spinach (we actually only took about 1/2 lb just because we wanted to try everything and felt like a pound was a bit overwhelming)
  • Bok choy
  • Tatsui
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Radishes
  • 2 pints sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 pint of strawberries (we ate most of that in the field :)
  • random herbs including chive flowers
Pretty cool, huh? Here's what I'm planning to make:
  • Chive flower omelettes loosely following this recipe. However, I'm going to throw in some feta as well, as what doesn't taste better with cheese?
  • Shrimp and Chinese cabbage egg rolls
  • Seared sea scallops with garlicy wilted tatsui
  • P.F. Chang's chicken lettuce wraps (well, maybe. The recipes I've found call for red chile paste, and wouldn't you know, the only red chile paste at our supermarket had peanuts in it! That's a no go in our allergy house! So I'm not sure if I should omit it, try to find a substitute, or just make something entirely different. Any suggestions for me?
  • Taco salad (I have local ground beef as well...yum!)
  • Spinach and artichoke au gratin
  • Salad. And more salad.
  • Sun brewed mint iced tea

Any other ideas for me? I'm loving this!

Time to get cooking!

Random unrelated thought: I've proven conclusively that my psychic powers are on the fritz with my SYTYCD predictions. I'm currently tied for LAST in my betting pool. I said Rayven would make it to the top 10! How did she get voted out? I loved her, I loved her solo, and I loved her attitude when she got voted out. Goodbye Rayven, we barely knew thee. And damn those judges for not getting rid of Jessica!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

So I Think I Can Dance

Okay, all of you who aren't fans of the show...WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? Do you think you're too good for reality TV? Do you think a dance show isn't interesting? Are you too busy to devote 4 hours a week to watching? Wait, that last one actually is a pretty good reason. Anyway, I'll try to keep my SYTYCD posts to a minimum.

Here are my predictions for the bottom 3 tonight:

Marquis and Suzie: They danced a snooze-fest, oops, I mean slow waltz. I always get those mixed up. Plus, they were the second couple to dance so people will have forgotten them. Suzie already drives me crazy. I like Marquis well enough, though.

Chris and Comfort: Okay, Comfort cracks me up. I thought she was pretty good at the jive...far better than I expected, and I just love how she says "Miss Mary". It so reminds me of living down south! I really like her personality. Not sure about her dancing, but I like her. Chris: blah. If you have to keep announcing that you really do have lots of personality, well, I hate to break it to you, but that means you don't.

Will and Jessica: Their tango was forgettable. I doubt Will's at much risk with his "Debbie Allen protege" status, but unless Debbie spent those two hours using all her phones to vote for Will, I think they're in trouble.

My prediction for who's going home tonight: Chris and Jessica. I hope it's Suzie who goes home, but I think Jessica will take the fall.

What did I love the most: Joshua and Katee's hip hop number. It was so powerful and beautifully danced. I was prepared to dislike Katee, but she blew me away. And going in I thought Joshua was just Twitch-lite, but I've had to revise my thinking. Maybe Twitch is Joshua-lite.

Final parting comment: Does anyone like Mia Michael or think her choreography is outstanding? I find her to be pretentious, and I felt bad for that ridiculous dress they made Chelsie H. wear that buried her in 10 pounds of flounce.

Random unrelated thought: 1st CSA pick-up tonight! Between that and the first SYTYCD results show of the season...Hooooooo EEEE!

Monday, June 9, 2008

What time am I?

Thanks to Gio, I've got another test to play with! And this one was freakishly on point for a quiz that only asked a few questions:

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.

Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.

Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.

You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

So what time of day are YOU?

Random related thought. Well, not too related. Midnight just made me think of witches: Last year, I dressed my boys up as newts for Halloween, and I was a witch. Any Monty Python fans will immediately get the joke...otherwise, you might just think I have mildly eccentric costume ideas.

Today N-man found my witch's hat, and put it on his head and talked about being a newt and mommy being a witch. When TK got home this evening and asked what we did today, N-man proudly proclaimed, "Mommy turned me into a newt!"

Don't worry, he got better.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Well, this is quite sensible!

What Jane Austen heroine am I? Well, Elinor Dashwood, of course!

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Yes, that does fit me pretty darn well. I'd like to say I'm an Elizabeth Bennet, but let's be honest, I'm more of Jane Bennet, who wasn't a choice in the quiz. Okay, fine. I'm lying again. I'm a Lydia.

Ah, the joys of Jane Austen humor...

I grabbed this from Lit and Laundry, who is a perfect Lizzie.

Apparently I'm in a quiz kind of mood. So leave me a comment of any good ones you've found!

Random unrelated thoughts: My CSA starts this week, and today was the orientation. It was great...we toured the farm and got to eat fresh strawberries right off the vine. Yum! Wait, I have to say that again: YUM!

I'll try to restrain myself from waxing poetic about fresh local produce. I'll probably fail miserably, but hey, at least I won't be talking about So You Think You Can Dance.

Oh, that reminds me: I just love So You Think You Can Dance. My favorites are soccer player girl, Uma Thurman Girl, and Guy who is the reason why Debbie Allen can't be a judge.

I'll have to learn their names, but I think I'll wait until a few weeks in. I don't want to clutter up precious brain space with names of people who will only be on for a week or two.

Are you watching? Do you have any favorites yet? I joined a So You Think You Can Dance betting pool, and I have to have my Top 10 picks in before the results show starts on Thursday. Only problem is I will be out Wednesday night and will miss the show. Ah well, I'll probably do just as well with random guesses as if I actually thought about it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

It's cause I watch One Tree Hill, isn't it?

I just checked my blog's reading level. Read it and weep, baby. Weep at the zillions of dollars apparently wasted on my higher education:

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Okay, seriously, I worked in business. What do they drill into your head? That you must write at a junior high school level. That it's the most effective way to communicate. That you should communicate to be understood, not to try to impress people with your copious vocabulary. Hee, did you like that "copious" instead of "large"? Is it still funny if you have to explain it? I always get confused about that. Or should I say obfuscated?

I'm aiming for "junior high". That my story and I'm sticking to it.

(This was test was snagged from Postcards from the Edge...hi Deb!)

How do you alphabetize books by author??

Today we have a very special edition of Ask Ms. WhatACard. Today's question comes to us via a google search, where one curious searcher asks, "How do you alphabetize books by author?"

Okay, random person, here's the trick: Look at the author's LAST name. That's the name that comes last. Usually there are just two names, like Kurt Vonnegut. In this case, Vonnegut is the last name. Sometimes there are THREE names, such as Orson Scott Card (no relation to the illustrious Ms. Card, your humble blogger). Please, don't let that throw you. The author's last name is still the last name listed.

Next, take the first letter of the last name. In Vonnegut, that would be a V. Stephen King...a K.

Here comes the hard part, but don't worry, I have a trick for you. Sing the alphabet song. Use the order of the letters in the song to help you remember what order the alphabet is in. Now put the authors in that same order.

I don't want to get too complicated and confuse you with the possibility that two authors' last names will start with the same letter. Or even worse, that two authors will have the same last name. Those are more advanced topics. Let's wait until you master the easy stuff first.

Or, you could just use my "sort by book size and color" method. I think that may be more your speed.

Random related thought: Crap, my sarcasm setting must have gotten left on high today.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The ants come marching one by one

N-man found an ant in our kitchen today. As I went to go get it, N-man told me, "that's my pet, mommy."

Well, please tell your pet he's not allowed in our kitchen, and to please not bring any of his friends.

Random unrelated thought: B-man, after reading a few books and seeing it a few times on TV, has decided that Max and Ruby is his favorite TV show. My issue: it's the most gender stereotyped show in recorded history. I mean, short of a caveman grunting "me make fire, you cook dinner", I'm not sure how much worse it could be. Ruby plays with dolls, Max with robots. Ruby makes raspberry fluff cake, Max makes mud pie.

But I don't know what I'm worrying about. Both boys want to be Ruby. So I guess it's good I'm providing them with a female role model?? Just kidding. I'm cutting them off of this one as there's pretty much zero redeeming value or entertainment.

Bonus related thought: I went to a banquet last night for the twin club, and I got dressed up. In a skirt and everything. N-man saw me and said, "what's that" and pointed to my necklace. I told him it was a necklace. His response: "That's kind of cute." [pause] "Can I have it?"

Then B-man told me I looked like Ruby (or Woo-bee, as he says it). I believe he meant it as high praise. Or at least that's what I'm choosing to believe.

More bonus unrelated stuff: I'm reading Zodiac by Neal Stephenson and really loving it. It's an eco-thriller, written quite some time ago (the late 80's) and set in Boston. I have a love/hate relationship with Neal Stephenson. Cryptonomicon is one of my favorite books ever, but Quicksilver bored me out of my mind and took me three tries to slog my way through (I'm glad I persevered, though, as I really enjoyed the second book in the series). Anyway, I'm always a bit hesitant to give him a go. But I found this at a used book store a while ago and picked it up, and just ran across it again on my shelf when I was in a sci-fi kind of mood, so there you go. It's enjoyable and a page turner and just what I was looking for.

Final unrelated crap: I was just going to post a line or two before going to bed, so I'd have some time to read Zodiac. But somehow my mind kept going in different directions. So enjoy this most random of entries!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Complaining about allergies

One of my sons has a peanut and tree nut allergy. It freaks me out on a regular basis...just the idea that something that most other kids enjoy on a regular basis could potentially kill him, well, it's a bit unsettling. Having said that, though, I don't get too down about it. I mean, it's only a nut allergy. Nut allergies are so common nowadays that it's reasonably easy to avoid. We know plenty of other kids with nut allergies. In the grand scheme, a nut allergy is a pretty minor blip.

But once in a while, it just hits me. Recently an ice cream truck has been coming through our neighborhood. B-man will never be able to get ice cream from an ice cream truck. It's just not worth the risk. Yes, maybe he could get a prepackaged ice pop, but he's never going to be able to run up with a couple dollars and just get something without worrying. Or perhaps I mean without ME worrying.

I know, not a big deal. It just hits me whenever I hear that tinkly music coming down the road.

Random unrelated thought: I finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao a few days ago, and really enjoyed it. I'm not sure has footnotes, which I LOATHE with a passion**. It has far more Spanish than I understand. And it out-geeked even me. I wonder how all the totally non-geeky members of my book group are fairing. Unless you have a PhD in Lord of the Rings, you're certainly missing some of the references. I'm really looking forward to discussing it, but I'll refrain for now since I know a large portion of my readership is members of my book group :)

**See, it's annoying, isn't it? Okay, fine, I do it myself in blog posts, and it's acceptable when I'm reading nonfiction, but it just pulls me right out of the story when an author chooses to use them in a novel. I mean, work it into the story, can't ya??