Thursday, June 23, 2011

Friday Photo

Watching the tractor.

Lots of change is happening in our busy little corner of the world. We are taking our first trip without the chickadees since, well, since we had our first chickadee. Sweet Babe who will be one year old next week is happily adjusted to a bottle. Her brothers and sisters are contentedly settled at Grandma and Grandpa's farm for the duration and a more delighted group of kiddos couldn't be found. A pool, trampoline, sandbox, rope swings, tree house, horses, cows and a calf, rabbits, kittens, an old farm dog, not to mention a billion legos. What more could a kid want. Throw in two uncles, an aunt and it's almost enough to make a kid cry. Not quite like a mama cried this morning as she drove away from her babies, but who's comparing?
The whopper of a change is coming a week after we return when we move to our first home. Our little rented home has been home in the truest sense for eight years and the time has come to move. I catch myself looking for moments like you see in this photo to remember our life here. Little brother ran out to the fence to watch our neighbor's tractor just like his two big brothers have done all these years. All our kids have grown up here, right across the street from Nana and Papa. My heart catches to think of them growing up anywhere else, even if it's just across town. It won't be the same. I know it will be good but, just so very different. If only we could get Nana and Papa to come with us, now that would be perfect!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mustard Vinaigrette

Today's Bennett Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette.

Salad dressing, why in the world should you make your own salad dressing? After all, there are hundreds of varieties of salad dressing to choose at any grocery store. If you have read this little old blog for any length of time, you will be able to guess the first reason I make my own salad dressing. Okay, you may be able to guess the first two reasons; I'm a tightwad and I'm a dork who likes to make all her own food. There are a couple of other very good reasons you might want to get out your blender (or a whisk) and a few items from your pantry and whip up your own dressing.
My sweet sister is struggling with gluten and soy intolerance. These are tough items to avoid nowadays. Once you start looking around you will be amazed at the variety of products that contain wheat and soy. It's in nearly every pre-made and processed food that is available in a regular grocery store. Not too big of a problem if you have access to a good natural foods store and are able to shop there. However, making your own dressing allows you to save time and money and best of all, you can tailor it exactly to your families needs and preferences. Do you want raw vinegar and organic olive oil? Go for it! No garlic? No problem! Sugar instead of honey? Get out that sugar bowl! That is the beauty of making it yourself, you can make it your way!

Mustard Vinaigrette

1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 to 4 small cloves garlic (your preference, I like 4)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 cup olive oil or a mix of oil (I use half olive/half peanut)

Measure mustard, vinegar, garlic, honey, salt and pepper into your blender container. Buzz it a few times to mix. I have a covered hole in the center of my blender container lid that I can uncover and pour into, you probably do too. Remove the cover of the hole and slowly pour in the oil while the machine is running. It should emulsify and thicken up immediately. You can't fail with a vinaigrette using this method. Taste your lovely concoction and see if it needs more salt or pepper. When it's just how you like it, pour it into a jar and refrigerate until you need to drizzle it over your lovely salad.

Lookey there! You just made your own salad dressing. Good job!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Photo

First bonfire of the summer!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Photo

Magnolia blossom compliments of the world's sweetest six year old boy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Liz's Almost Naughty Green Beans

I have a friend named Liz, I just love her. When our youngest sone was born she brought us a lovely dinner. There was chicken parmesan and hot buttered bread, and then there were green beans. Oh my! The next day I called her and asked her how in heaven's name she made those green beans. They were the most fabulous green beans I had ever put in my mouth. If my memory serves me, I ate them for dessert. She laughed and said, "Oh, the naughty green beans?" Come to find out, they contained a stick of real butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar! No wonder they were divine! I knew I couldn't live without those green beans in my life but I'm kind of stingy with my butter so I tweaked and adjusted to create Liz's Almost Naughty Green Beans. They have undergone further tweaking as I have been slowly removing sugar from our diet, honey makes pretty great green beans too.

Liz's Almost Naughty Green Beans

1 pound frozen green beans (look for long skinny beans, they work the best)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced

Place all ingredient in a large saucepan with a lid and place over medium heat. After the butter and soy sauce are simmering good, reduce heat to low. Cook for about half an hour until the beans are quite tender and the sauce it reduced to a thick glaze. Taste and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

You are just going to love this simple side dish. Or of course, you can have it for dessert too!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday Photo

One coconut + one strong husband + a machete = free entertainment for 7 kids and one mama. Who can beat that?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Photo

Just a-swinging.

This week brought cold, cloudy, windy days. All the same, Shortbread had her first experience swinging at the park. To say she was delighted would be an understatement. Squealing, screaming, kicking her chubby legs as fast as she could and laughing a crazy deep belly laugh, she was beyond delighted. I'll never forget swinging her for the first time. How fun to be a baby and get to swing! I hope you have a fun weekend with many new memories.