Monday, December 27, 2010

Food & Pictures

I have just a few more photos to share from our holiday celebrations. These are the kids with some good friends at our Christmas Eve dinner. Posing nicely of course.

Santa brought Porter a skateboard for Christmas, and Bryce took the kids to the skate park the next day to try it out. He is acting the part, but discovered that standing up on a skateboard is not as easy as it looks.

Molly thought the skate park was a fantastic playground too.

And here we are, decorating Christmas cookies for Santa. And us. And maybe eating a little frosting along the way.

Along with all the celebrating, I have actually been cooking a lot! Just not posting about it. So here goes:

Christmas Day we had Cinnamon Rolls and boiled eggs for breakfast. Yum. For dinner, we had a Venison Pot Roast (I modified this recipe a bit as my roast was small) with Potatoes, Buttered Cabbage (oh how I love cabbage, cooking it this way leaves a little crunch and is so, so good), and Cooked Apples. It was lovely.

We've also been working on our freezer supply of seafood lately, and I have to admit to getting a little tired of salmon fillets. Poor me, right? Anyway, we've had a couple of new salmon meals that have been good for changing things up. Grandma Allison made a Salmon Risotto while she was here that was absolutely delicious. I don't have an exact recipe, but it involved white wine, chicken stock, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and stirring in the cooked salmon at the end. I'll have to experiment with that one again. And last night I made Southwestern Style Salmon Cakes. They were great for dinner, and tasty again today as a lunch time sandwich.

Southwestern Salmon Cakes
adapted from a Cook's Illustrated recipe

4 cups flaked cooked salmon
1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 cup frozen (and thawed) or fresh corn
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
1/4 cup onion, minced
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko (or more breadcrumbs)
vegetable oil for frying

Mix all ingredients (except oil and panko) together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. You can add more (or spicier) chiles if you like, this is very mild. Amounts are approximate, depending on the fish, you don't want the mixture too wet. Form the mixture into patties, and carefully coat with the panko or extra breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, and fry the patties on both sides until browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels and serve hot, with lemon wedges if desired.

And as a final note regarding the guitar cake. I got this awesome tutorial for it here. I make my own cake and frosting, but otherwise just follow the directions. I have made three of these cakes, and they always turn out. I have no skills in cake decorating without some serious help, and this site has been great.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I am feeling very lucky and blessed today with my small (but expanding) family here in the Far North, our generous and much missed family Down South, and our fantastic friends near and far. We have had a wonderful holiday, and I am hoping that all of you can say the same. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Friday, December 24, 2010


On Wednesday Porter turned five years old. My sweet baby boy, my first born, my only son, I can't believe he is growing up so fast. We had fun celebrating at home with tacos and a guitar cake (his request). Happy Birthday P-man! We love you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cowee Meadow

During the past few days, we've had a short but very sweet visit from Grandma Allison. She was graced with some fantastic winter weather here in the Far North (cold, but lots of sunshine), so we decided to spend the night in another public use cabin way out in the woods. Grandma was a great sport, and we really had a great time. The trail was not too long (2.5 miles to the cabin), and relatively flat, but it was still a gargantuan effort with two small children and all the needed camping items. We had to reconfigure different combinations of kids on skis, kids in sleds, kids in backpacks, walking kids, unwilling dogs pulling sleds and the like before we got there.

There was definitely some of this...

And with me being pregnant, Bryce had to shoulder a vast majority of the burden.
But we made it! And we got the cabin warm. And we spent a lovely night playing Uno by lantern light and eating hot dogs and marshmallows cooked over the wood stove. A good time was had by all.

And a small side note, that I know Bryce finds as funny as I do: When we arrived home the next day, we all showered and prepared to go out for pizza. As we were leaving, Bryce couldn't find his wallet. We spent the night and next morning searching through all of the camping gear, the car, all over the house, recounting the wallet's last moments, etc. We finally decided that he'd left it at the cabin. Ugh. He went out there the very next day, skied all the way back, didn't find it, and skied home again. A nice 4 hour trip (it's a little faster without kids). He came home very tired and bummed that he really wasn't going to find the wallet. And then? I found it. In a craaaaaazy place. On the table by the front door. But hey, Bryce is really getting in good shape.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Slightly Better

So it wasn't all horrible after all...

Even if Molly found something much more appealing to focus on off camera every time.

And an update: We gave her back the pacifier. For the love of God. I couldn't take it any more. As far as I'm concerned, she can suck on that thing until she goes off to college. We all need some sleep right now while we can still get it.

Grandma Allison is here visiting, I took my final exam for my online class (so that's over, thank goodness), Porter had his last day of school before the break, we had his 5th birthday party (a smashing success), and we are almost all geared up for Christmas. We are also camping out at a forest service cabin on Sunday night, and there is going to be a lunar eclipse (with predicted clear skies). Excitement and holiday cheer all around.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Round Up

I've had all these things I wanted to post about, and I just feel like time is getting away and I'm not going to make it in any detail any time soon. So to recap...

The other day Molly pulled a dresser down on herself. This is one of those childproofing things you read about in What To Expect When You're Expecting. And you think, oh right, that's awful, I'll totally do that. Except I never really thought about it again. Until, ugh, I was in the bathroom and heard one of those WAY too loud to be good noises. Heard Bryce running up the stairs. Found Molly pinned underneath my toppled over dresser. Scared me half to death. Luckily, she is fine, not even a bruise. It's sort of hard to believe that something that heavy wouldn't hurt her, but she does have a really hard head. And I'm hoping this cures her of the need to climb furniture.

Also, on the topic of Molly and awful things. We finally took away her pacifier. She had only been using it to sleep, but man was she addicted to it. She loved that thing. When we took Porter's away long ago, he had a couple bad nights, but overall it went well. I think it's been almost two weeks now, and she is still screaming when you put her to bed, needing to be rocked to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night (again with the rocking), taking short naps, and generally being over tired and driving me insane. Yikes. I don't want to give her the pacifier back, but this just sucks. Both Bryce and I are sort of regretting this parenting choice. Why did we feel this need to take it away? Why?

Porter's 5th birthday party is on Sunday, and he is way too excited. This is the first time he's had a party with friends, and he knows what it's all about. Which is friendship and camaraderie, right? Ahem.

Tonight the boys are out camping, and after Molly (finally) went to bed, I had a crazy chocolate craving. With which we had nothing to satisfy. I thought about making brownies, but it was already late. And then I remembered this email I got forever ago about chocolate cake you could make in a mug in the microwave in 3 minutes. I googled. It. Was. Awesome. Especially the bottom, where I think all the chocolate chips sunk to. There are a ton of recipes out there, but I went with this.

And now I will leave you with two Santa photo outtakes. There are good ones somewhere, and I will post those soon. But these are really better. The second one was taken at a local newspaper, they were free and the way you access your photo is to go online to their website (where all the Santa photos are posted). So this photo is on the internet forever now. Thanks a lot Capital City Weekly. I figure my dignity is already gone, so I may as well post it here too.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


The fever pitch of Christmas has descended upon our house. Last weekend, we ventured out in awful weather to procure our holiday tree. We have no short supply of trees around these parts, so we continued our tradition of finding a tree in the forest. We trend toward the Charlie Brown style usually, and this year I think we found a great specimen. Success! You can also tell by the look on Porter's face that he almost can't take the anticipation anymore.

I'm Cooking: I've made two halibut chowders over the past couple of weeks. They are very different, but both excellent. Halibut Bisque from the Fiddlehead Cookbook, and Halibut Sweet Potato Chowder. Great dishes for a cold winter night.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Bryce, that is. Because, it's a GIRL. I'm so excited.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And then...

Life has been busy, again, still. We had a fabulous Thanksgiving with friends that I have absolutely no decent pictures of. I brined my turkey this year, which is definitely the way to go. I wrote my first paper in about a decade for my online Lifespan Development class. I was kind of intimidated at first, but it really wasn't that bad. I did all my Christmas shopping over the weekend and got to go to a fabulous local craft show with two girlfriends and NO kids. We received our first decent snowfall (a bit late this year), and everything is beautiful and white and looks a lot like Christmas.

We even managed to get a holiday card picture with the timer setting on the camera, and everyone (even the dog) is looking. Even if I do have a big forehead hat mistake. I'll take it. Work on the tree house continues. Next up is the hanging bridge.

I'm 20 weeks pregnant now. Halfway done! The big ultrasound is scheduled for this coming Monday, and the debate is still raging on whether or not we will find out the sex of the baby. This morning I got out of the shower, and Bryce had dressed Molly. I don't have much to say about it. Really.

And I made these fantastic ginger cookies. Yum. My kids don't like them much, so it just means more for me.