Showing posts from May, 2011

Adventures in Gluten-Free Baking

This is what happens when you don't have any tapioca starch for your oatmeal raisin cookies so you use cornstarch instead.  The cookies don't rise! The batter came out as flat and crisp as a tuile cookie. Oh, I can't help but laugh. Did we still eat them? You bet!

Smoothies Every Night

Since Christian had to eat soft foods all week due to having his wisdom teeth out, we've been having smoothies every single night. Yum! Don't get me wrong, we would like to eat ice cream every night but we're both trying to get rid of our winter fat so smoothies it is! One of my favorite smoothies to make is Banana Chocolate. Try it out. I bet you'll love it too!

Banana Chocolate Smoothie (Serves 1)
1 frozen banana (peel and break into chunks before freezing)
1 cup chocolate soy milk
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Enjoy!

On Our Menu: May 23-30

I'm cooking all soft foods this week due to the extraction of Christian's wisdom teeth last Thursday. We both have really nasty colds right now so I'm not trying out any new recipes. Our tasters are a bit off so I'm sticking to some of the tried and true favorites. Sunday is a big question mark because I'm not sure what we're doing or where we're going for the holiday weekend.

LAST WEEK'S MENU IN REVIEW (View the original post here.)
Monday: The shrimp scampi recipe is one of my top ten favorites. Butter, white wine, garlic and red pepper flakes make such a delicious sauce.
Tuesday: The Sugar Snap & Snow Pea Stir-Fry was a huge disappointment. The cashews were chewy and the mixture didn't have much flavor. 
Wednesday: The ham was leftover from Sunday night so no preparation there. My Asparagus and Parmesan Tart looked nothing like the photo on Relish. The cook must have used a much bigger puff pastry than I did because I had to double stack the aspa…

Blame it on the flowers

I forgot to take a picture of our menu board for this week's meal post. I totally blame it on the pollen. Our spring here in Wisconsin has been colder than average. These past few days warmed up a bit and caused all of the flowers and leaves to explode at once which, in turn, makes my head feel like it's going to explode. I was up most of early Saturday morning trying to breathe. Do you know what's on basic TV from 12:30am-3:30am? Not much! I had my choice between an infomercial on the Wonderbra or a mini-marathon of The Hills. That Spencer guy is so smarmy... but enough about that! The dogs and I went out to romp in the neighboring fields. Hey, if you can't beat the pollen, join it!

The Birds that Blew in on a Spring Storm

Late last week the dogs and I headed out for a walk. We finally had some nice, warm weather. I was actually wearing SHORTS!  The feel of the suns warm rays brought a smile to my face.

A short ways into our walk, I could hear some distant thunder. The sky was clouding up but the sun was still shining on ME so I thought, "Eh, what's a little rain?" and we continued on our walk. After awhile, the rumbles got louder and poor Riley started to cling to my side. (She's afraid of storms.)

Buster, on the other hand, couldn't figure out why we were poking along. 

Finally, I turned around to see what all the fuss was about and this is what I saw.

Hmmm, time to head back home! Less than an hour later we got walloped with quarter-size hail and very heavy winds. After the hail, torrential downpours made a river out of the driveway and instantly flooded the basement. Lovely.

That was the first time I was home alone when a nasty storm hit. I admit, I was a little scared. I called Chr…

On Our Menu: May 16-22

Christian is getting his wisdom teeth pulled on Thursday. Poor guy! So we'll be eating a lot of soft foods towards the end of the week. I had my wisdom teeth yanked in high school and I remember how out of it I was afterwards due to the pain meds. My mom said I was sitting on the couch drooling on myself. Well, what do you expect - I couldn't feel my lips! I checked out a lot of movies from the library so we'll be taking it easy for a few days.

LAST WEEK'S MENU IN REVIEW: (View the original post here)
Monday: The Vegan Enchiladas were pretty good but the Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce was amazing! I can see myself making the sauce at least once a month.
Tuesday: This was a throw-all-the-leftovers-together-and-sprinkle-with-Penzeys-Spices meal and it turned out really yummy. I love that!
Wednesday: This was my first time cooking with sole. It's quite flaky and the fillets fell apart. I thought it tasted very similar to tilapia.
Thursday: I really like the Wild Mushroom Ris…

Getting Back into Hiking Shape

Christian and I have a big trip coming up this summer - 2 weeks of hiking in the Canadian Rockies. HEAVEN!

We didn't exactly sit around all winter but we're certainly in no shape to tackle mountains and outrun bears. So, we have about 2 months to whip ourselves into shape. When I walk our dogs during the week I wear weights on my ankles. Then on the weekends we take excursions to hilly spots around central Wisconsin. Last Saturday we went hiking at Maple Hills Recreation Area near Shawano. 

We finally had some warmer, dry weather. Boy, did that sun feel nice! A few woodland wildflowers were blooming - bloodroots and spring beauties. The trillium buds weren't quite open yet. 

I don't know what kind of shrub or tree this is but I love how the leaves throw a little party as they emerge in spring. 

Have you been out hiking this spring? I can't wait to get back out on the trail this weekend.

On Our Menu: May 9-15

I want to try a little different format for my weekly menu posts. I think that when I was updating the "In Review" section, blogger was posting the update as a whole new post. I don't know about you, but I would find that incredibly annoying. So, I'm going to start each menu post with a review from last week's menu; and then I will post this week's menu.

MAY 2-8 IN REVIEW: (View the original post here) Monday: I modified the rice and cheddar bake quite a bit. (From The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen) I added almost a whole head of chopped up cauliflower and also some chicken. I also doubled the cumin and added an extra egg. The bake came out kind of like a souffle - light and fluffy and very tasty. Tuesday: We had dentist appointments after work so decided to eat out in town. We tried out Glass Nickel Pizza and it was SO good! We ordered a 16" thick crust pizza - half was the Fetalicious and the other half was the Deluxe. Meat for Christian, veggies for me.…

My Mom...

Taught me how to love nature and be adventurous.

Works hard even when conditions aren't ideal.

Is a great grandma to my fur-babies.

Knows how to make a crappy job fun.

Is a natural caregiver.

Taught me how to laugh at yourself.

Is my best friend.

2 Acres - That's all you need

I came across this graphic via a different blog that I follow. What a beautiful way to present the information! We have well over 2 acres to live off of; we just don't have the time. Being more self-sustaining is definitely a goal we have for our future.

Craft Hope Project - Orphan Outreach

Last week I came across a blog post on Under the Sycamore that introduced me to Craft Hope. In the founders' own words: "Craft Hope is a love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those who need them.  It is our hope to combine our love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world."

For Project 12, Craft Hope is partnering with Orphan Outreach and sending them a little love to take to Russia. Crafters from around the world are making bracelets for an Orphan Outreach team to pass out to kids when they visit Russia in August. To read more about the project, please visit the Craft Hope Project page.
This project struck a cord with me because in 2004 I spent a few days visiting a Russian orphanage when I was in the country volunteering with the International Crane Foundation.

The children were so sweet. We played games with them and they performed a few traditional Russian folk dances for us later in the night. We…

What's On Our Menu This Week: May 2-8

I'm trying out 7 new recipes this week. WHEW! Hopefully I can stay motivated and make it happen.

IN REVIEW: Monday: I modified the rice & cheddar bake quite a bit. I added almost a whole head of chopped up cauliflower and also some chicken. I also doubled the cumin and added an extra egg. The bake came out kind of like a souffle - light and fluffy and very tasty. Tuesday: We had dentist appointments after work so decided to eat out in town. We tried out Glass Nickel Pizza and it was SO good! We ordered a 16" thick crust pizza - half was the Fetalicious and the other half was the Deluxe. Meat for Christian, veggies for me. Perfect! Wednesday: I was really hungry and crabby after grocery shopping then making the drive home. I considered not cooking but after taking my first bite of this dish, I was so glad that I made it. The recipe came from Martha Stewart magazine. I swapped the whole wheat linguine out for a gluten-free penne but other than that, I made the recipe exactly as…