musings in mayhem

writer, mom, tutor, superwoman

Archive for the category “food”

independence day

We spent the Fourth with my in-laws – eating, eating, thunderstorm and eating s’more. badabumching!
It took me a while to figure out what to make to please everyone, since I needed something veggie besides tofu dogs – I am very weary of them. Corn and potatoes were being grilled to go with the pulled pork sandwiches, so that scratched my ideas for a black bean and corn salad and a potato salad. It finally occurred to me to make a cannelini Tuscan type salad: 
It’s the easiest bean for those with veg protein sensitivities(pretty common on that side of the family), and the basic balsamic, olive oil and lemon juice dressing over parsley, tomato, garlic and red onion went over well with the Italian side of the family. And, just because I generally must go off-recipe (like off-roading, but in the kitchen), I added a little cucumber. 
Originally, since the boys are typically with their father for the Fourth, I wanted to take them to the local fireworks. But I let that go pretty easily (Captain Comic and crowds are not a good mix, esp with loud noise, add my ankle) when the picnic plans were made. I was happy we didn’t attempt that when the thunderstorm hit. We picnicked inside and ended up roasting marshmallows over sterno on the kitchen table. Poor Uncle L got soaked manning the grill at one point. But secretly, I think he enjoyed it. 
Toots had not napped and ran circles around their open floor plan gleefully screaming, “You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me! You can’t catch me!” No one was chasing her. She must have run a marathon’s worth of miles around that house.
She slept til almost eight thirty this morning. Twelve hours. 
We enjoyed watching a run of that History Channel show, How the States Got Their Shapes and some of the marathon on SyFy of old Twilight Zone episodes. Of course, we gabbed and reminisced about old folks and middle aged folks free childhoods outside as opposed to today’s kids, on constant watch and playing videogames, etc. The older kids played a game called Fact or Crap. I even joined in at one point. 
All in all, a pretty relaxing and stuffed way to spend the day we declared our Independence from the British, 235 years ago. The only firework seen was lightning, including a bolt hitting the Poquoson River outside the kitchen windows. I think I was the only one who saw that when it happened. But everyone heard the boom.

snack selection brought to you by dayglo pink

I swear, even with all the baking I do, that I try my darnedest to feed my family healthy snacks, made from scratch, with whole ingredients.

But Honey and I went shopping in a specialty store together yesterday and came home with bags of sugar crap, including this:

It’s exactly the color of my bedroom until age seven, which permanently put me off to the color pink. It’s Pepto Bismol. It’s darker than cotton candy, but cotton candy flavored, in a cute box, marked half off.

I think that was what did us in. Half Off.

 I feel sick to my stomach looking at the batter. I think this was the moment that Mr. Cynic said, “Brought to you by Barbie.”

Of course, he was riffing from my, “Today’s snack selection brought to you by the color dayglo pink!” in my best announcer voice.

 And then the frosting.

But they smelled really good coming out of the oven.

Sorry, used cellphone camera again, this is cupcakes after pink sprinkle sugar. Note how the frosting is kind of melty? Someone couldn’t wait for them to cool before frosting. I’m not telling who. I plead the fifth.
Someone else couldn’t wait to eat them. Even if they are pink.

Neither could he:

The one to enjoy the pinkitude the most had just awakened from nap, and was a little slow to eat them.

I am not telling you how quickly mine disappeared. Nope, I just won’t.

breakfast

A little while ago, I brought the corn husk materials from last night’s dinner out to my compost pile. I perused the pickings around the peas. I popped one pod in  my mouth. I’ll let the others linger and grow another day or so. I strolled by my little swiss chard piece of a plot in front of the okra,  and was struck with an idea for breakfast. I picked a few leaves thinking of combining them with eggs, and considered what else to add as I reentered the house.

Last week’s storms broke Grandma’s hanging tomato plant. The remaining tomatoes are ripening on our kitchen counter.

I chopped some garlic as I started to scramble the eggs. I gave the swiss chard a few licks with the knife and tossed those in. I took a small tomato from the opposite counter did the same. A little salt and pepper later, and voila!

Garden fresh swiss chard and tomato scramble, from garden to plate.

This is why I love to garden. Everything you grow yourself inspires and tastes better, from plant to table in ten minutes.

before & after

It was a process that took days, and woman hours, and a few man and kid hours, too.

I had another over-scheduled weekend to try to squeeze the most important thing to me into – because, really I should have done this about a month ago.

I moved the shadiest garden plot to the sunny side of the yard. a 4×8 plot.

Before:
Here is where it was:

Of course I took the before shot when the plot was in its sunniest hour of the day. Those birch trees, and others absolutely cover this plot in shade for most of the day, especially the back end of it.
Yuck, right? All the grass and crap growing under the plastic is largely because once upon a time, I bought a truck load of dirt from a guy. Turns out it wasn’t good garden dirt. And then I was on bedrest pregnancy, and recovering from it, and had surgery because of it, and so forth and so on, and it sat in my side yard growing things I had no intention of growing in it for a couple of years. Even after I’ve been weeding it mightily and feeding it mightily for few years, it still just likes to grow crap, not so much what I try to plant in it.
Target, sunny side of the yard. That chaise is where you can find me for a little while most sunny days. And Toots likes to picnic there for lunch. The plot is going to move in next to the plot you see to the right. the wisteria is finally filling in, wall like, after the bloom cycle, to the left of the frame.

During:
I tried, but couldn’t loosen the frame. I couldn’t get it to budge at all. Honey did it by himself with a proper lever system he rigged up. Flipped it right over. I love when he gets all manly.

Then he had something going on and I tried to move the frame across the yard with my bad back and ankle and reluctant Mr. Cynic. We couldn’t budge it, except to get it up on its side.

The next day, Honey got back on it and after a failed attempt with positioning on the flat tire wheel barrow, 

we recruited Captain Comic and the three of us worked with cinderblocks and my garden supply Radio Flyer.

It worked! 

And then we maneuvered it into place on the barrier tarp over the grass.

Then we went out to Lowe’s for more good dirt and some garden path stones, and stopped for Hawaiian Ices with Captain Comic and Toots. Mr Cynic was working on a school project at a friend’s house, but I saved him some of my ice and he thanked me.  Toots climbed her first tree while The Rapture did not come except for me, because I was always up a tree as a kid. That’s my girl!
When Mr. Cynic came home shortly after we did, I drafted him to move the dirt and stones from the van to the plot. I told him he could count it as a work out for his independent gym credit. Six bags of dirt and four concrete stones.

Then this morning, I finally got back to work. But my bad back and ankle did not like me before I did, and even more so now. 

That’s some good dirt.
Apologies for the awkward angle.

After:
It’s still a bit shallow. but I planted watermelon seeds toward the back, yellow straight neck squash seeds in the middle, and a tomato and a cucumber seedling in the front. The fat rain drops began to pelt me. But I decided I could plant one more thing and get all the tools, etc back into the shed in time.

And I managed to plant a pepper in the new plot with good earth. And I believe that completes my plantings for the year.

But of course now I am dreaming about bulbs…..

easter aftermath


Have you ever tried to get three families’ worth of kids of varying ages to pose together for a holiday shot? This was one of a handful of choices, all fell into the category of close enough. My favorite high school English teacher always said,”that only works in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but I believe it’s apt for group shots, too. 

We gathered at friends’ new home, seriously, they moved in Saturday, and we tried to help but showed up a bit late because it took me that long to empty and clean out my van. So I showed up in a dress with all of my kids and Honey, on Easter morning, and promptly decided I would move their bookcases into a different room. We were there for an Easter egg hunt. 

To back up a bit, we had a weekend full of family, my in-laws galore, not just the ones down the street, we hosted visiting aunt and uncle. Also in Grandma’s generation, was a vacationing cousin and all of his nine teenage granddaughters, his daughter, and his wife who were staying in Virginia Beach. So when I joke about the in-law invasion, there’s a bit of truth to it, at least in sheer numbers. Thankfully, I was lucky enough not to get the full dose of the nine teenage granddaughters. I managed to only meet two. I can’t say the same for Grandma and Toots who got a full dose with a botched and whiny trip to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg. It’ll remain in family lore for generations, I am sure. 

There was also a 50th birthday party for a friend this weekend, which was packed with cake and pies and Easter breads and a potluck, maybe two. I’ve lost count. And of course Easter baskets galore. I hopped on the scale this morning – hopped is a loose term, it was more of a floorboards creaked trepidacious step – and I have gained five pounds this weekend – even with helping with the move!

Toots love her twirly dress and enjoyed modeling it. Pardon the blur, I wasn’t awake yet. I don’t think the camera was either.


A lot of sugar was eaten, and not much else especially by a couple of my kids who would have done better to get some more protein and veggies in them over the weekend, and maybe a bit less candy and pies. There was some major sugar fallout this morning. Not that I should say anything, see confession above about gaining five pounds. 

But a weekend full of friends, family, food, fun and sunshine is worth a five pound gain. 

It occurs to me that with the amount of cookie posts, etc., I should have a food tag, shouldn’t I? Someday, I’ll backtrack and find all the baking and cooking posts and add them to it, but the food tag starts now. 🙂

I regret I did not get a pie picture. Grandma and her sisters really outdid themselves with the Easter pies this year, and I believe that is mostly to blame for culinary lapse of reason. Auntie B’s homemade lasagna may have had a smidge to do with it, too. And the vat of pasta a fagioli I made Friday night, and, and, and……peeps for one. 

Time to get back into an new exercise routine….

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