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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chew on This | Roasted Strawberry and Ricotta Crostini

If you know me, even just a bit, you know that I have a cordial relationship with vegetables. Over the years I've come to appreciate many of them, but we're certainly not going to be besties anytime soon (I'm talking to you, eggplant). 

I have found that my interest in vegetables increases exponentially when I roast them, because certainly I'm not going to chow down on a fresh, ripe tomato from my garden. No. Way. But I will make, and eat, pounds of salsa made from my gorgeous roasted tomatoes. And not only that, I'll roast more tomatoes and make them into the best, velvety Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. Seriously, tomato soup! I wouldn't have been caught dead eating tomato soup ten years ago. Ahh, acting like a grown up and eating my vegetables is sooooo mature.

Anyway, after these few years of roasting vegetables into the 'hey, I kind of like you' phase, I decided to roast some fruit into the 'hey, I might be obsessed with you' phase. No biggie, roasted strawberries and I are in love.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chew on This | Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

A new school year has begun. The Sprite has started her career as a middle schooler. The Boy has entered his final year of elementary school. It's a new era around here.

Any schedule change takes some time for adjustment, though for the moment we all seem to be acclimating well. We've all been night owls this summer so I thought for sure we'd feel the squeeze of our school start most in the mornings. So far, so good, but I'm preparing for the heaviness of morning this week. All the excitement and shiny newness might begin to dull a bit by Tuesday.

So we're off and running into this novel season. Come what may, we'll do our ever best to not take ourselves so seriously and have a bunch of laughs! Happy New School Year!


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chew on This | Cheesy Corn Dip

Now that summer has finally decided to solidly show up, it's time for the kids to get ready to return to school. Ugh! We've done some clothes and supply shopping to prepare, but I'm not quite ready to put on the brakes and shift gears. I need more summer time.

So now comes the cramming session - and I do this at the end of every summer. I get frenzied about what we haven't done yet, what we still need to experience. I want to do everything! Every single thing! Why haven't we done every single solitary thing? 

Trying to avoid panic mode, I'm sprinkling in a few more days of awesome adventure and also some lazy chill days so the kids can just hang. Friends, bikes rides, walkie talkies, and eating s'mores, also on the list. Summer magic is not going to end at this house any time  soon. Regardless of when school starts. 

Now I'm off to whistle the kids home, just like my dad used to do when my sister and I were young. I'm going to stand in the driveway, waiting for their bikes appear on the horizon. I'm going to watch as their legs furiously pump the pedals as fast as they can. And I'll hear them laughing, sweaty-faced, as they speed into the ditch and go 'air born' onto the driveway.

Yeah, I'd say we've done everything that matters. Check mark for summer fun accomplished.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chew on This | Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Ricotta and Toasted Walnuts

The Husband and I had a soul talk last weekend. One of those conversations that bypasses all the minutia and drives straight to the core. We hopped topics a bit, but really, the thread of our discussion focused on change. We talked big changes, small changes, and how those changes will impact our lives. Certainly, our responses to any change can, and will, vary. So we asked ourselves...How prepared are we? Will that preparation make a difference? Are we making too big a deal about this or that new development? Are we not being intense enough about a shift that is going to occur? And so on, and so on, and so on.....

Change is exciting, frightening  stressful, glorious....insert whatever adjectives fit the situation. It is all of the things. And feeling all the things sometimes masks the matter at hand. Chatting it out gives us a chance to refocus our attitudes and devise a plan. A preliminary plan, of course, because for us, ridiculousness happens, always. So far, this approach seems to work for us. Until it doesn't, and then we'll have to make a change. 


Here's our recipe:

We're going from having zero zucchini to having one millions pounds of zucchini in the garden. I thought I would change (!) it up and serve some zucchini noodles with some lemon-y heaven. Enjoy the change!

Zucchini Noodles with Lemon Ricotta and Toasted Walnuts

1 large zucchini, cut/spiralized into thin noodles
1 T oil
1/4 C grated parmesan, divided
1/4 C walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 C ricotta
zest of one lemon
2 t fresh lemon juice, divided
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine your ricotta, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Stir to thoroughly mix. Set aside until ready to use.

Next, warm a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add in your chopped walnuts with a dash of salt. Gently stir the walnuts often and remove them from the heat as soon as you begin to smell them toasting (about 2 minutes), you don't want them to burn! Remove the walnuts and let them cool while you cook your noodles.

Place the sauté pan back on the heat (keep it at medium-low) and add your oil. Next, add in your zucchini noodles, your remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and half of your parmesan cheese. Toss to coat. Cook the noodles for 3-5 minutes then remove from the heat. Place noodles onto a platter, top with walnuts, remaining parmesan, dollop with your lemon ricotta, and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Chew on This | Chicken with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce

I love to people watch. Having a prime viewing spot in a place that hustles about is a lovely way to glimpse into the interactions of strangers. 

Today I had some time to myself while waiting for the kids. I grabbed a cup of tea and sat in a perfectly quaint spot that just happened to allow for some great people watching. Three medical students were studying together, intently quizzing and challenging each other about keloids, sarcoidosis, scleroderma...I'm thinking the dermatology rotation? Two other ladies were wedding planning for the one lady's daughter. Another young girl was studying a bunch of flash cards. A young mom was enjoying a sweet with her sweet toddler. 

Passerby in flip flops and shorts and others in business suits. A wide array of individuals going about their day - some looked to be in deep concentration, others were happily strolling, while a very few wore an angry scowl. I love to consider where these people are going, what they're doing, and what they're going to accomplish in their day. Are they happy? Stressed? Looking forward to a date? Praying? I sometimes choose a random stranger and envision their storyline in my mind. No matter what, I always make their story include a happy circumstance (especially for those few with the growly faces), because everyone needs a positive surprise in their day. 

In the blink of an eye, my observation time was up. I had pleasantly passed 45 minutes contemplating (and imagining) someone else's world. I tidied up my table, packed up my gear, and was off to pick up my kids. Back to my own story. My own reality. Back to my own happy circumstance.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Chew on This | Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips with Brown Sugar Peach Dip

"Inter-planet Janet, she's a galaxy girl. A solar system Miss from a future world. She travels like a rocket with her comet team. And there's never been a planet Janet hasn't seen. No, there's never been a planet Janet hasn't seen."

After spending some hours in the steamy hot box we call outside, we decided to bring our sticky bodies inside for some air conditioned relief. Once inside, the Boy wanted to just veg-out and watch a movie. Scouring every channel on tv, then paging through Netflix, he found nothing of interest. Suffering from a case of overheated whininess (!), he complained that there was absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing to watch. Grrr! My cranky, sweaty-ness pulled out the long forgotten dvds from my kids younger days and I told him to go to town. Schoolhouse Rock has been on rotation for the last hour, and it has been hard to pull myself away from tv. 

Schoolhouse Rock is classic! It was classic when my sister and I were kids. Figure Eight, Conjunction Junction, I'm just a Bill, Inter-planet Janet...oh man, I can so vividly remember waiting for a Schoolhouse Rock episode during Saturday morning cartoons. The Boy is entranced, giggling and thoroughly enjoying himself. I am, too. Yay childhood!!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Chew on This | Rosemary Bread


All family members are home and accounted for. The Husband is back from a business trip. The Sprite is home from camp. 

All is right with our world.

My instincts tell me to make things comfortable and inviting when my people come home. Baking or cooking up something delicious is just one way I share my delight in having my loves back under one roof. Today a fresh loaf of delectable rosemary bread (along with some homemade chili and brownies) seemed like the perfect way to welcome everyone home.

Soft and tasty. Fragrant and delicious. This Rosemary Bread is a good reason to come home!