Sunday, August 29, 2010


Today has been a lovely, quiet day. Bryce took BOTH the kids right after breakfast out on the boat, and he just called (at 4pm) to tell me they were having a great time and wouldn't be back for awhile. I love my kids, but there is nothing more wonderful sometimes than a day without them.

On another note, I tried a recipe for Chile Verde the other day, and it was okay, but not great. I had these wonderful peppers from my CSA box, and wanted to do something fun with them. Does anyone have a good recipe they are willing to share?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Porter has always had a bit of a thing for order. Those who were around in the early days will remember the infamous car shows. He would line up all of his Matchbox cars in a certain (hard to explain) order and proudly call others to view his "car show." This, in fact, continues to this day. I found a car show in his room over the weekend, the cars perfectly lined up in order by color, light to dark.

For the past year or two, we've also been in the grips of Lego mania. And then is nothing better to organize than Legos. I come across these sorts of scenes on the floor of my house all the time...

Which is fine, but he really has no interest in cleaning them up, just putting them in piles. And when he gets out a whole box of Ziploc bags and sorts them all like that I just get annoyed. Right now he just has one big box for all the Legos, and this is clearly not meeting his standards. We have a LOT of Legos, too many for your ordinary fishing/jewelry/craft type box with the little compartments. I've been trying to find something to store them in that allows him to do his organizing NOT on the living room floor. But I'm having no luck. And I've done a lot of googling. Anyone out there have a solution?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Since I love to cook, it's no real surprise that my kids do too. Porter asks to help almost every time I prepare a meal, and I admit that I don't let him as often as I should. I tend to think of the mess and the time and I just don't want to deal with it. Yesterday though, he really wanted to make some dough, so I let him fool around in the kitchen for awhile. After half an hour or so, he came to me with his "dough." I think it was mostly flour and honey, but I'm not too sure.

I helped him bake it in the oven in an appropriate container, and here are the results...

They actually don't look so bad, although the taste was a little, um, interesting. Porter was proud though, and wanted to distribute his creation at the preschool picnic we were headed to that evening. I talked him out of that, but I'd call his first totally solo culinary creation a success.

I'm Cooking: The past few days, I've tried some new recipes. One was Smoked Salmon Pizza. I made my own pizza dough, but you could easily buy some. It was a nice, and it all disappeared at the potluck. The other was Lentil Stew with Spinach and Potatoes. I added some bacon, but otherwise made as directed. The lemon and mint made for a quite different taste, but I really liked it. Molly loves lentils, so it was a one kid friendly kind of meal at my house.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I took the kids and the dog on a walk to the beach the other day. It was lovely out.
Porter brought his backpack full of adventure equipment, and he was looking for something to do. After Molly tossed his cardboard Frisbee in the ocean and it got covered in whale poop (thanks Bryce), he decided to climb a mountain.

Being the cautious first-born that I love so much, he got halfway up and started stalling. I don't think he wanted to admit fear or defeat though. I yelled over there that I thought it looked very dangerous and that he should probably come down before he started a rock slide. He agreed. And I'm sort of glad that we're on the same page.

Can you see him there? He's proud.

I'm Cooking: Tonight we had Lemon Mayonnaise Salmon (I know, mayo, but it's good, plus the kids love it), Roasted Potatoes, Zucchini and Carrots, and Salad. Over the weekend I made a Buttermilk Blueberry Cake, and it was delicious. I used a whole cup of buttermilk and lemon zest, and it turned out perfect. I also used fresh blueberries and didn't have any problems with them sinking. Mmmmm, summer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Last Days of Summer

School starts soon, the fireweed is almost gone, and I know that before long Bryce's busy season will be over and there will be snow on the ground. We're having a fabulous stretch of warm weather here right now though, and we are making sure we enjoy it.

After a slow start, Molly has been spouting off new words left and right. Her new favorites? Costco! And Depot! As in Home Depot. We were over in that neighborhood this morning, and she wouldn't stop talking about it. This stage of talking makes me laugh so much as they are learning so much every single day.

I'm Cooking: Nothing! We ate pizza delivery last night for dinner AND for lunch today. It felt good.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

And so it goes...

The Fruit Glut of 2010 continues here. The above bowls (crab apples, gooseberries, black currants and raspberries) were what came from about an hour in my yard this morning. It's pretty and lovely, but I'm getting a little burnt out! If any of my local friends have any desire to pick berries, please let me know! Although I'm sure you have your own bounty to contend with, there are still a lot of currants, raspberries and blueberries (these are harder to get to at this point though, being back in the woods). The cherries are beginning to rot, but some are still good. And there will be a modest amount of service berries and gooseberries I'm sure. Let me know! I'm just going to put all these in the fridge and deal with them later. I'm thinking of crab apple/gooseberry jelly though.

On another note, I got to hold this beauty yesterday! Nothing like a 6 day old to give you baby fever.

I'm Cooking: Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper and Bacon Sauce, Salad and Bread. I found this pasta recipe in a Cook's Country magazine, and it's so easy and good, perfect for summer. Plus, my kids eat it up, while they are not fans of bell peppers in their virgin state. You could roast your own peppers if you want!

Roasted Red Pepper and Bacon Sauce

1 big jar roasted red peppers
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (or less) heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Puree red peppers (drained), tomatoes, oregano, cayenne, wine and oil in a food processor until almost smooth.

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan and return to medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add red pepper mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream (I usually find that 1/2 cup is enough) and half the bacon. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss sauce with 1 pound of cooked pasta, sprinkling with remaining bacon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Business All Around

Molly has had this mullet growing for a long time now. The rest of her hair just seems to be growing at a snail's pace while the party in the back gets longer and longer. It tends to get tangled and poofy and strange looking. I get (all in good fun) comments on it. So I decided to hack it off. I figure that now her hair can all grow in at one length, although I'm sure that won't happen either.

Now I have this little plastic bag with a little curl of baby hair in it. I have a little bit of Porter's baby hair somewhere too. The first thing my mom said when I told her about the cut was, "did you save it??" To be honest though, I think it's a little bit gross and weird. What am I ever going to do with that hair? Look at it wistfully when my kids are 20? Saving their baby teeth is even more gross and weird, but I know you're supposed to do that too. So, I did it, because it seemed like the right thing to do. But I also think I'm going to throw it out one of these days. I just won't tell anyone.

I'm Cooking: Last night I made a Cucumber and Crab Salad. I served it with jasmine rice, and it tasted a whole lot like a spring roll. I made the dressing as is, but I didn't have Napa cabbage, so I substituted grated carrots, chopped lettuce and chopped purple cabbage. I also added chopped peanuts. This was a great (virtually) no cook light summer meal. I think it would be good with chicken or tofu as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Is it Monday yet?

Do any other moms out there ever feel like thank God it's Monday? Bryce was home all weekend, which is unusual this time of year, and by the end I just couldn't take it anymore. It's not that I don't love him or enjoy his company in the evening, but oh my goodness. It seems like having him here sometimes is 5% helpful and 95% extra mud and cooking and cleaning and craziness. Did I mention the mud? Life feels much quieter now that we are back to our routine.

I made raspberry and serviceberry (also known as juneberries and saskatoons!) jam this weekend, which is just yum (and Deb, there is a jar with your name on it for sure).

I also made raspberry, oatmeal, milk chocolate muffins. Not healthy, but oh so tasty. At least I think so. Porter has a thing with cooked raspberries.

I also found this picture of three wild animals. That's an elephant, a monkey, and a frog, in case you were wondering. Not pictured is the ladybug.

I'm Cooking: This weekend we had Salmon with Lemon and Rosemary and Oven Roasted Green Beans. The fish was great, although I'd say the recipe is more of a guideline than exact ingredient amounts. And I had never thought of roasting green beans before, but they were fabulous. Even Porter ate them, and he usually passes on green beans. Plus, they were so easy and cooked in the oven with the salmon. Highly recommended if you have some fresh green beans to use up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Babies and Berries

We've been busy here the past few days! Our yard has literally exploded with fruit. Strange for Alaska, but true. The salmonberries are gone, but the blueberries and cherries are still here. Along with abundant raspberries, currants, and crab apples. I also found a serviceberry bush in our yard that I don't think even produced any berries in the past couple of years.

I made some raspberry jam yesterday that turned out perfect. Raspberries are my favorite. But I think there is only so much jam that one family needs for the winter. I really don't want to waste too much of our bounty, but I need some new ideas on what to do with all this. Especially the currants. I'm off to Google, but any suggestions would be welcome as well.

Also, my friend Chelsea had a new baby girl in the wee hours of the morning today. Her older daughter is still sleeping in our guest room, blissfully unaware that she is a big sister. It's all a bunch of excitement and warm fuzzies. Congratulations to the new mama! I hope she's getting some rest now.

I'm Cooking: My sister gave me this recipe for homemade veggie burgers, and they turned out great! Bryce even scarfed his down, and he is not a veggie burger kind of guy. I made the recipe into four burgers, and they were kind of big, so you could use your judgement on that.

Veggie Burgers

1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 egg
salt & pepper
olive oil

Add the boiling water the bulgur in a bowl, and let sit, covered, about 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve, pressing to remove extra water. Pulse the beans in a food processor until coarsely chopped, and add to bulgur. Add remaining ingredients with salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium to high heat. Form the mix into patties, drop into the hot pan, and press with a spatula to flatten. Cook until well browned on both sides, working in batches with extra oil if needed.

I served these on buns with avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. Yum!

Monday, August 2, 2010


The salmon are everywhere these days. Some are reaching the end of their lives in the spawning stream.

And some have met their fate on our dinner table.

Porter caught this Silver! He was so proud.

And this little guy became stuck in our house over the weekend. There was much frantic excitement until he finally made it out a window.

I'm Cooking: Lots and lots of fish. Mostly just on the grill. But a couple of days ago we had a brown rice and smoked salmon salad with basil and Cremini mushrooms (thanks Amy for the inspiration). Yum!