Showing posts from March, 2012

Living Fossils

Last Sunday, after enjoying an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at our rural fire department, we witnessed something that not many people in this world have a chance to see: sturgeon spawning! Every spring the prehistoric fish swim up the rivers from Lake Winnebago to lay their eggs on the rocky banks. The fish come in masses and thrash around on the rocks as they deposit their eggs. The sturgeon move around to different spawning sites and there weren't many at the place we went to check out. The fish we did see were on the smaller side at 3-4 feet long. They can grow to over 6 feet long and 200+ pounds!

Here's a better photo to give you an idea of why sturgeon are called living fossils.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is working to restore sturgeon to their native range. Dams, pollution, habitat degradation and overharvest dramatically reduced lake sturgeon populations in some Wisconsin waters over the past 100 years, and eliminated them entirely from other…

On Our Menu: March 26 - April 1

Last week I tried three new recipes:

Crispy Breaded Tofu Strips and Sweet Potato Fries
I had been wanting to try this recipe since the day Angela posted it on her site. Well, I wasn't that impressed. The tofu strips were definitely crispy and the breading tasted good but, as I'm sure you are aware, tofu has no taste so the strips were kind of bland. I think they would be great if you first marinated the tofu to give it some flavor. The sweet potato fries had a nice flavor but were soggy and limp. I tried broiling them at the end like the recipe suggests but the tips of the fries started to burn so they never got crispy.

Cozy Millet Bowl with Mushroom Gravy and Kale
This dish is so hearty that you forget there's no meat in it. I used a combination of button and cremini mushrooms and the dish still turned out great. The only complaint? There wasn't any leftovers!

Mint-Chocolate Fudge Pie
Think you don't like tofu? Try this recipe and I bet you'll change your mind! My h…

Kylie Parry Bead Giveaway

I loveKylie Parry's handmade beads and pendants. In fact, I'm wearing her lily pad necklace today!

I also have these two necklaces...

And a handful of other pendants that will be made into more necklaces!

Kylie's nature-inspired pieces fit my style perfectly. And she's a local artist (for me) so that's even more reason to like her!

Head over to Kylie's blog for a chance to win these awesome earth beads!

Happy First Day of Spring!

Aren't tulips the most beautiful flowers? Especially this color combination. I took these photos a few years ago at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania.

On Our Menu: March 19 - 25

The first day of spring is tomorrow but it feels like we moved right into summer. Over the weekend we broke heat records with temps in the mid 70's. I'm sure we'll get pounded with snow a few more times before summer is officially here but, in the meantime, the warm weather and sunshine feels wonderful!

The ice went out on the river by our house a week ago so on Saturday we invited some friends over for a canoe trip.

As the spring peeper frogs sang a chorus and the turtles splotched into the water, we snuck around numerous trees that had fallen across the river. 

I loved the challenge of finding the best way over and under the logs and branches. Only once did we have to portage because there was no way through. My hunky paddling partner did a wonderful job at steering us through the obstacles. We really had a nice rhythm going and it was the best we've ever paddled together.

After we finally made it off the twisting river (4 hours later!) we had everyone over to our farm f…

Jackfruit - the other other white meat

When I read this insert in the March 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times I just knew that I had to give jackfruit a try:

A fruit that shreds and tastes like chicken? We didn't believe it until we tried canned young jackfruit. The Thai ingredient has a texture that mimics meat in hearty chilis, saucy stews, even gyros. Find it in Asian grocery stores (be sure to buy canned young jackfruit, not ripe jackfruit in syrup, which is sweet) and try it as a substitute for packaged mock meat crumbles or shreds.

Intrigued? I was! So, I went out to the store and picked up a can of young jackfruit.

The recipe I was following, Jackfruit Gyros, was from the same issue of VT. With my fingers I shredded the jackfruit slices and added them to a pan with onions. The shredded jackfruit looked just like chicken!

After the "meat" and onions were cooked and seasoned, we piled the mixture into pitas with raw onions, spinach, yogurt, and tomatoes. Delicious! My husband loved it too. The jackfruit was a t…

A Little More About Me

Amy from Crazy Random Happenstances tagged me to participate in this little questionaire so here are my answers:

You're supposed to answer 10 questions about yourself, so here goes:
1) Favorite Color: Rusty Orange or Olive Green

2) Favorite Animal: Giraffe

3) Favorite Number: I don't have one.
4) Favorite (non-adult) drink: Banana Chocolate Smoothie(In a blender combine 1 frozen banana, 1 Cup chocolate milk, 1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. YUM!)
5) Facebook or Twitter? I'm not on either one!
6) Passion: Hiking - especially new trails

7) Giving or receiving presents? Giving - specifically handmade gifts.
8) Favorite Pattern: Trees or other nature-inspired designs

9) Favorite Day: Friday (I don't work on Fridays but most other people do so it seems so peaceful out and about.)
10) Favorite Flower: Forget-Me-Nots

Monday Welcome Home

March 12th, 2012 at 5:13PM

On Our Menu: March 12 - 18

Though windy, the weekend was sunny and warm so I hung our bedding outside to dry for the first time this year. Sheets always smell so good after drying in the sun. Why is that?

Last year for my birthday my mother-in-law gave me 50+ bulbs to plant around our house. I noticed a few of them starting to poke through the ground. I think this one is allium.

The sandhill cranes are back. I heard their prehistoric calls early Saturday morning. It feels like spring (the birds and the flowers think so too) and Wednesday is supposed to get up to 74 degrees. We will no doubt have at least one more big snowstorm before the trees turn green. Next week will probably be back in the single digits. LOL. That's Wisconsin for ya!

Last week I tried four new recipes and only liked one. Let's start with the bland and boring recipes:

Egyptian Red Lentil Soup: Middle Eastern dishes are usually bursting with flavor. Not this soup; it was so bland. In fact, it looked bland too - nothing like the bright sou…

"I can't."

I suffer from low self esteem. People that know me would disagree because I keep it so well hidden. I wasn't always this way and I know the exact event that caused my mind to shift from that girl who was cocky and confident to the one I am now. I'm so lucky to have a husband to remind me of everything that I've accomplished and how special and blessed I am. And truly, I have nothing to complain about. 

"I can't." 

I hate those words and try not to say them out loud but they're often still swimming around in my mind. 

"I can't" is clearly not in this guy's vocabulary.

Stools from Mark Morgan on Vimeo.

Inspired yet? Do something wonderful today. You CAN... and so can I.

Win a $100 Shopping Spree from Katie

I love Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog. She often posts recipes for healthier desserts that still taste amazing. My two favorite recipes out of the ones I've tried so far:

Single-Serving Mocha Chocolate Cake

and Cookie Dough Dip

Anyways, Katie is having a giveaway on her blog right now for a $100 Amazon shopping spree. I don't know anyone who wouldn't be happy to win that! Hop on over to her blog to enter... and while you're there, check out some of her awesome recipes. I guarantee that your stomach will be growling in no time.

On Our Menu: March 5 - 11

Last week I ended up being spoiled and didn't have to cook for 3 nights in a row. On Friday night we tried out a new-to-us Irish Pub in downtown Waupaca. You can read my restaurant review here. We loved it and can't wait to go back. It had the perfect atmosphere for a cold and snowy winter night.

The majority of my weekend was spent painting our living room. The actual painting didn't take that long but it was the emptying out the room and taping up the trim that took so much time. Our house was a rental property before Christian bought it so some things are in pretty rough shape. 

I want to (finally!) hang some artwork on our walls but there were so many nail holes and scuff marks that I didn't want to hang anything until the walls were spruced up. Now that the living room is painted (pretty much the same color as in the photo) I've been realizing how disgusting the rest of the house looks. I think I really opened up a can of worms...

Here's what's on our men…