Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Carrots in the spring

I'm home for a couple of days and we needed to celebrate Dave's birthday.  He loves carrot cake, so I grabbed the bag of carrots out of the garage fridge.  I usually buy a big bag from the carrot man at Christmas and it lasts us until spring.  This year, the Hippy Boy gave us his bag before he left for vacation in December, so we had two very large bags.  I guess I don't use carrots as much as I should.

They were all trying to grow, in their damp, plastic bag.  I took what I needed, peeled them and they were fine.  I stuck a couple of paper towels in the plastic carrot bags, hoping I could stave off more growth, or at least mold, until I get home for a couple of days and I can use carrots.  I see when I get home we will have carrot cake,  carrot soup, carrot salad, and I do have a recipe for carrot martinis!

Happy spring!

2 years ago:   Lessons from the Road

March 23, 2016  Sunrise7:38 am  Sunset 8:18 pm  Temp H 39/ L 12°

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Strawberry and Kiwi Sangria

Nothing says spring in Fairbanks like snow.  We got snow this week, enough to make the streets slippery, the sidewalks slick, and Dave is shoveling again.  I'm not complaining because if it is snowing it isn't 40 below.

One spring break we had all 5 kids in the van and we drove 6 hours to Anchorage.  It was colder than 40 below that week.  So a little snow isn't going to be me down.  

I am ready for more sun though, warmer weather, and flowers outside.  I was in Texas last week and flowers were blooming in the gardens outside...oh I am so ready for that here in Fairbanks.

So I made a pitcher of this Sangria.  It tastes like spring with a kick.  Two large glasses of this and I couldn't feel my nose!  Soaking the fruit in the rum and white wine overnight, then topping with champagne makes for a delicious drink that goes down easily, but needs more care than I gave it.  The next morning I did have a bit of a headache.  It is the big glasses I used, I was fooled.

Strawberry and Kiwi Sangria
1 lb. strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 lb. kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup light rum
1 cup orange juice
1 bottle white wine, like sauvignon blanc
1 bottle sparking wine or champagne

Hull and slice strawberries, put 1/2 of the strawberries in a medium pot with the water and sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the strawberries and very soft and falling apart.  Strain liquid through wire mesh strainer, pressing to get as much of the strawberries through the mesh strainer.  Cool.

Meanwhile, place the rest of the strawberries and the peeled sliced kiwi into a large pitcher.  Add run, orange juice and white wine.  When strawberry syrup is cooled add it to the pitcher.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night.

When ready to serve, pour about 3/4 of the champagne into the pitcher.  Stir gently.  Pour sangria into glasses, add a little of the sliced fruit to each glass and top with remaining champagne.
Enjoy in a small glass so you don't suffer later.

2 years ago:  Adventure
3 years ago:  Tequila Sorbet and New Dishes
4 years ago:  Wedding Bells, Drink of the Week and an Announcement

March 17, 2016   Sunrise 8:00 am Sunset 8:00 pm  Temp.  H 36/ L 21°F

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Breaking the House Rules

When my kids were younger, we had to have a lot of house singing at the table, no wearing only underwear in the living room, no leaving the house without brushing your teeth and hair, no talking with your mouth get the idea.

Well, Sunday morning I broke some house rules.

It started like any other Sunday morning.  I let the dogs out and fed them.  Worked out on my bike.  Made a cup of coffee and read my friend Suzanne's blog posts.  Then I started to make some Monkey bread and this carrot cake for Dave's birthday.  I made the bread dough and was ready to make the cinnamon sugar to roll the dough in and I found that I had NO SUGAR!  How could I have no sugar?  That is unheard of for me.  I'll run out of toilet paper, laundry soap, or coffee before I would run out of sugar!  There was nothing for me to do but run to the store.  Now it was about 7:15 in the morning, I hadn't brushed my hair or my teeth and I had already worked out without taking a shower yet, but I was in a hurry and needed to get this bread into the oven since it had already risen once, so I threw on my crocks (Dave says I'm not supposed to wear them out of the house) and ran to the store, hoping I wouldn't run into anyone I knew.  I did make it in and out of the store without meeting any friends or talking to anyone (you gotta love self check out), and was home finishing up the monkey bread within about 15 minutes.

I will say, I have never left the house before today without brushing my teeth or hair.  I don't know if it was pure desperation or now that I am older, I really don't care that much.  I'll have to muddle that one over for a while.

2 years ago:  Busy Evenings and Bahn Mi Sandwiches
3 years ago:  Parmesan Tilapia and why I fix this recipe with cod now.
4 years ago:  Protein Balls and Fit Body Bootcamp

March 15, 2016  Sunrise 8:07 am  Sunset 7:45 pm  Temp. H 23/ L 1˚F

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cavatappi with Arugula Pesto and Tomatoes

It is really feeling like spring around Fairbanks.  The snow is starting to melt, and with that, Dave is moving snow around our yard.  He usually starts by shoveling off the upstairs deck, then the eaves, and the greenhouse.  The snow gets really heavy when it melts and compacts.  Then he starts on the yard.  He moves it around so it all melts faster.  I think he thinks it makes spring come faster.  

Last year I was gone when he was doing this.  I'll be gone again this year.  If it makes him happy and keeps him busy, what's the harm?

This pasta dish reminds me of spring.  It is fresh, green and delicious.  When I made it, I saved the cheese for the top of Dave's dish, that way the milk free kids could also enjoy.  I was really surprised how easy this was with a food processor.  We will be making this again soon.

Cavatappi with Arugula Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes
Cooking Light, Cooking through the Seasons

5 cups trimmed arugula
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound uncooked cavatappi
2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

To prepare pesto:  place first 7 ingredients in a food processor; process until finely minced.  With processor on, slowly pour 1/3 cup water and oil through food chute; process until well blended.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain.  Combine pesto, pasta and tomatoes in a large bowl; toss well.  Sprinkle pine nut over pasta and grate more fresh parm over top, if desired.  Serve immediately.

2 years ago: The Birthday Cake Commitment
3 years ago:  Moving the Clocks ahead and Quinoa Blondies
4 years ago:  Confessions and Microwave Popcorn

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Banana Tartlets with Nutella and a Baby on the Way!

While we were in Seattle for my surgery, we went out to dinner with the Curly Haired Boy and the Seattle DIL.  We went to this sweet little Italian restaurant that had like 5 tables total, and the food was excellent.  The best part of the whole evening was when the kids told us...


Now, I totally plan on being one of THOSE grandmothers.  I'm feeding that  baby ice-cream for breakfast, toting books of pictures around in my purse to show everyone, talking non-stop about the precious little bugger, sending all kinds of presents like finger paints and play-dough, drum sets...I can't wait!

As a matter of fact, Dave rolls his eyes every time I say, "I can't wait!" in my high, squeekey, excited voice.  I'm working on a wall quilt and a birth announcement cross stitch.  I've already purchased a dinosaur sandwich holder (you can't be too ready!), and I've started that child's library with my favorite 100 children's books.

We did have to keep it quiet for a while, the kids wanted to wait to tell the whole family after 3 month, but we did manage to keep it on the down low until the kids were ready to tell everyone.  So now we say blessing asking for a big and strong baby, referencing what ever fruit it is close to in size..."Please bless little baby lemon...little baby avocado...little baby pear..."

I am SO excited to finally get to be a grandma!

I think this would be an excellent breakfast for my grand-baby.  I know, I know, the poor child won't be able to eat this for a year or so, but in the meantime I'm going to practice so I get it right.

Banana Tartlets with Nutella
The 30 best recipes: Nutella

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 pinches salt
1 Tbsp. superfine sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup whole milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 bananas
1/2 cup Nutella
2 Tbsp. hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Nutella for topping

Make the pastry: cut the butter into small pieces.  In a food processor, pulse butter, salt, sugar, and egg yolks,  add flour and pulse to mix.  With processor running add milk and mix until just combined and mixture clumps.  Roll pastry into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Roll the pastry out on a floured work surface to a thickness of 1/8 inch.  Spray 8 (4 inch) tartlet pans with cooking spray.  Cut the pastry into 8 rounds, each slightly larger than the diameter of the tartlet pans; cutting as many circles as possible, then re-rolling scraps to complete 8 total circles.  Lay the pastry in the tartlet pans and prick the bottom of the pastry several times with a fork.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Cut the bananas into slices roughly 1/4 inch thick.  Take the tartlet tins out of the oven.  Spread the bottom of each tartlet with about 1 tsp. of Nutella.  Lay the banana slices on top and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle the tarts with the cinnamon sugar and chopped hazelnuts, drizzle more more Nutella over the top and serve warm or cold.

1 year ago:    Home
2 years ago:  Dog Tired and Pumpkin Custard
3 years ago:  Maple Mustard Chicken
4 years ago:  Moose Parm

March 3, 2016  Sunrise 7:50 am  Sunset 6:16 pm  Temp.  H 30/ L 7˚F