Hi. We are, regretfully, back from our little mini-vaca. The week consisted of a Mexican dinner with many Norwegians singing Happy Birthday; freezing our buns off at the Salt Flats; freezing everything else off in the wilds of Draper, UT; photo/video shoots; thrift stores; creepy guys in gas stations; a lot of delicious food; many laughs; and me trying to steal everything in Sheena's house. And the house itself. However -- a brick house is really difficult to fold up into a duffel bag. Not to mention really heavy, so that didn't really work out. Sheena herself is a great deal more portable and I probably should have just stolen her. She would have actually fit into my duffel bag.
Here are a few pictures from our day on the salt flats, but you won't believe what's coming...so stay tuned.
I'm expecting it will be a good time. How could it not be, with these people?
Now if we could just finish getting ready and get out of here...
My violet is finally getting some flowers again -- after a year of being flowerless (since we moved). I'm so excited.
As for all my other plants...keep your fingers crossed. I don't think it's going to be too hot while we're away, and it rained all last night. So they are very well-watered and I moved them into a shadier area. I'll be worried about them the whole time we're gone. Eek.
William calls me "Mum" and "Mamaaaa". He calls himself "Eee!" and "Bebe". He'll call to me to get my attention, "Mum. Mum! Mamaaa!" and then when I respond he goes off on a little William-language tangent for a full minute. Very seriously. He apparently has a lot to tell me.
I love this age...
Please excuse my appearance. This was taken literally within 3 minutes of walking in the door from my kickboxing class. Eek!
Two weeks ago we began to get all of our produce delivered from local organic farms. It has been amazing. Everything is so fresh, pretty, yummy and seasonal. And, since we just receive whatever is ripe that week, we've had the opportunity to try a lot of things that we'd never had before.
In this week's box we got a bunch of baby artichokes. Neither John nor myself had much experience with artichokes apart from artichoke dip and I wasn't sure what to do with them.
Enter my new favorite recipe blog! Simply Recipes has so many amazing looking things -- one of which was the baby artichoke recipe we tried last night. There are several other recipes I'll be trying this week to use the leeks and chard that we also got in this week's box of produce.
These artichokes were amazingly tasty. I'm really hoping we get some more in the next couple weeks before they go out of season so we can have this dish again. I ate two servings on my own. I probably could have eaten it all. I've included the recipe below with my changes -- it differs slightly from the original recipe.
Ingredients 2 pounds baby artichokes Bowl of water with 3 cups of ice water and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
1 cup of water 1/4 cup olive oil 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped 2 green onions (scallions), chopped, including the green ends 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice a dash of Herbes de Provence -- I just did a could sprinkles of thyme and basil cause that's all I had 1/2 teaspoon salt several grinds of fresh ground pepper 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Rinse the baby artichokes. Set out a bowl with 3 cups of ice-cold water and the vinegar. Working on the artichokes one by one, cut off the stem to 1/4-inch from the base; peel back and remove the petals until only the top third of the cone tip is pale green green. Cut off the pale green tips. Trim off any remaining green from base of artichoke. Halve or quarter the artichokes, depending on their size and drop in the bowl of acidified water (to prevent discoloration).
Drain artichokes. In a large skillet, heat the artichokes and 1 cup of water to boiling. Cover and simmer 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. Drain well.
Using the same skillet, heat to medium high and add the olive oil. Add the artichokes, onions, garlic, and herbs. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle on 1 Tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put in serving bowl, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.
If you're going to try this recipe, please go look at the original here so you can see the step-by-step pictures. And check out the rest of the site! I'm very excited to try more recipes.
Well, seeing as how we're not the green-beer-swilling-type, I instead just finished eating a lot of food. Irish food. Or, what Americans think is Irish food, anyway. I don't know how accurate it is but I do know that it is delicious.
The feast was gobbled up before I was able to take any photos but it consisted of:
It was pretty incredible, if I do say so myself. Also, I think St. Patrick's Day may be my favorite holiday as the entire meal took about 15 minutes total of my actual time. The rest of the time it just tended to itself. That just doesn't happen with Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas foods. They are all so much more time consuming what with the grating, stirring, rising, rolling out, etc.
Also, a word about the cupcakes. This morning I woke up really wanting to bake. I love baking but can only do it occasionally -- only when I'm able to spread the calories around to other people rather than ingesting them all myself.
I found the cupcake recipe on a food blog I love, Whipped. They are POM Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. POM as in POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice. The POM juice actually replaces the butter and eggs that would normally be in a cupcake batter. Vegan! (Just don't mind the frosting -- definitely not vegan.) So I had to try them.
But, upon first taste out of the oven, I was pretty disappointed. They didn't seem very moist, the tops got hard/crispy and they did not want to come out of the cupcake liners without a struggle. However, I couldn't imagine throwing out 30 cupcakes. So, I frosted them with some green-tinted cream cheese icing, dressed them up with a peppermint leaf from the garden (woot!) and distributed them among our friends. Feeling just a little bit reluctant. I do not want to be known for dry cupcakes.
However, it seems that a combination of Refrigeration and Time worked some magic and by the time I tried another one after dinner -- moist! soft! no struggle! It was really pretty great. Mostly the cream cheese frosting could make anything edible, but they were pretty good after all.
I don't know that I'll make these particular cupcakes again -- they weren't the best ever -- but they were definitely worth eating. :) I don't know what I could have done to make them turn out differently. If you happen to try this recipe, please report back with your results!
So, Happy St. Patty's day everyone and HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY to my sister Bethany! (I ate a cupcake, or two, in your honor, Beth.)
This boy is HILARIOUS!! Just shy of a year and a half, he's running all over the place...climbing up on everything...and constantly telling us stories in his own irresistable language. "Bu-de, bu-de, bu-de, bu-DEEEEEEEEEEEEZ"...is a personal fave. He also recently discovered that he can climb up and make himself comfortable at the grown-up piano and tinker out notes that sound incredibly like deliberate melodies. He's not even 1.5, kids! We're having a blast over here.
Is he cute or is it just us??? (click on the pics!) :)
So far so good. The mint is doing great, the peas are noticeably taller every day, the original tomatoes were unceremoniously ripped from the ground from a certain tiny boy and have since been replaced by plants from the nursery. The lemon tree is pretty sad -- I need to get some fertilizer which means I need to go to an actual nursery with someone who knows what they're talking about. Oh. And some money.
Also transplanted outside (you can see the pots in yon distance in that picture above) are some snap peas, oregano and chives. Inside we still have every herb known to man, peppers and some zinnias. I'm waiting until they get a big bigger (and to get more of the aforementioned money -- need more pots) before putting them outside.
The weather has been wonderfully cool the past week or so, which has helped things greatly, I think. No scorching of the earth or anything. So, yay. That'll come soon enough though.
I'm very pleased that the casualties have been minimal. I just hope we can keep it that way. I'm very nervous about what to do to ensure their survival when we're gone for a week this month. Terrified, actually.
I recently placed an order on The Lucky Button etsy shop! One of my favorite things about buying stuff off etsy is how cute everything is always packaged. It's always a fun surprise to see what different sellers do.
Darling little bag!
With even darling-er gift tags inside!
And amazing vintage button bobby pins which I love love love!
Every morning, William does three things immediately upon waking up.
1) Gets my glasses for me from the bedside table 2) Does the sign for "eat" 3) Says "plants!"
So we get up. We leave the bedroom and he says "Dada!?" and then "Plants!" Before getting breakfast, we first must go outside. That's when William gets really excited, says "plants!" several more times, "wow", and also "hot!" (his favorite word) as he pats the pots and ground, and pokes the dirt.
After a few minutes of checking on the outside plants' progress, we can come inside to check the seedlings. William always proclaims "wow!" and "plants!". And then it's time for breakfast ("gogur!" and "tos!" -- yogurt and toast, always said with enthusiasm).