Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wisco Trip (Part 1 of 2)

Monday has come and gone and I have no garden update because last week we were in Wisco and a little preoccupied visiting family and friends.

We made the trip in two legs.  On the first day we drove about 10 hours and made it to Lafayette, Indiana where we were blissfully unaware as to what time it actually was.  The clocks in the hotels were on eastern daylight time but I thought we had made it to central time so we had no real idea what time it was that night.  It didn't really matter...  we were on vacation.

Oddly, when we crossed the Wisco  line the next day it got really cold.  Our temperature gauge on the dashboard said it was only 57 degrees.... in the afternoon, no less!!  We had been dealing with highs in the upper 80's and low 90's with very high humidity for so long that it was kind of refreshing though I felt woefully unprepared.  I could have sworn to you that I saw forecasts in the upper 80's for the area before I left (and it was was by the way!).  Anyway, as soon as we got there I scrambled to find some jeans and a sweatshirt at Target to get me through.  I remembered to bring these things for the kids but not for myself... afterall, it was only a precaution.

You can see 57 degrees on the dashboard and no sun.

The sun refused to shine all week in Wisco until Friday but it didn't really matter.  We hit up some indoor water parks at Wisconsin Dells with heated pools and spent the remainder of the time visiting family and friends.

GreenEyes turned 3 on Friday and his aunt and uncle threw him a little party which was a lovely surprise.  GreenEyes started his big day off with a giant waffle, then some birthday cake, then some candy from a pinata thanks to his awesome auntie and uncle.

Ladybug hitting the pinata.
Their cousin M made this cute little happy face pinata.

We then traveled to Cedarburg, Wisconsin for a strawberry festival.  Below is one of my favorite pics.  It epitomized our Wisco trip...  fried cheese curds and a can of Wisconsin beer in the cubby holder.  You can't walk around with open beverages in VA like this, so I took this pic for sake of posterity!




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Eat 'em Up!

Healthy lunch in 5 seconds flat...

Homemade Pita Bread and Hummus with Carrots

Yeah, that pita bread and hummus is proving to be really handy around the house.  I might have to make it more often!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good Eats: Whole Wheat Pita Chips and Hummus


Don't these look yummy? 

Did you know that hummus sandwiches are the PB&J of the Middle East?  At least that is what I heard on Oprah.

I don't know what possessed me...  maybe it was because I was missing Oprah, or maybe I was missing all the delicious restaurants like Lebanese Taverna  my hubby and I used to visit in fancy pants Northern VA...  but out of the blue today I decided to make my own pita chips and hummus from scratch. 

I just love, love, love baked pita chips but the store is so far away and I had a pile of laundry a mile high I had to tend to....  So, what's a girl to do but make them herself!

The first part is pretty easy.  Like most any yeast recipe you start the yeast, then you mix up the ingredients (I cheat and use my dough hook instead of kneading it) and just sit and let it rise.  Then you punch it and roll it out and let it rise again, bake and your done!  It may take some time but it is pretty easy.

I used this recipe for whole wheat pita bread here.
 

It made 6 of them and I didn't need near that many but I'll be using the left overs for some yummy PB2 sandwiches later!


Once they cooled down, I cut them into triangles, brushed them with a tiny bit of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and baked them at 400 degrees for about 7 to 9 minutes to make them into chips.


Lastly, I threw in a few ingredients into the old processor to make a giant batch of hummus.  I used this recipe on Mr. Food's site here, omitting the chives and adding a bit more garbanzo bean liquid then was called for to get the right consistency.  Voila!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Garden Update

It's Monday again...

Is it me or did last week go REALLY fast?  Time goes by so much quicker in the summer.  Guess we were all too busy having fun.

We harvested the last of the peas and the broccoli and tilled those babies down.  We replanted with some summer squash.  We should have squash all summer long this time with this planting.


I'm dry curing our first few onions.  You may remember we planted these last year just before winter.  The ones that are ready are the smaller ones.  We've got some biggins so we have a lot to look forward to this summer.


The first patty pans have been out for a week or so.  Soon, it'll be harvesting time.  The patty pans were directly sown in mid-April.  You know, I think I will do the same as this year and won't bother growing these from seed and transplanting them like we did the year before last.  They come up so fast on their own and there is plenty of stuff in the garden to eat while we wait for them so I just don't see the need. 


Well, that's all for now.  Check out Feet Off the Table for more gardening adventures!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday Garden Update

It's Monday...err make that Tuesday and you know what the means, time for a garden update!

We were nervous to leave the garden last week.  Temps were in the upper 90's and humid and we had noone to water the garden.  I wasn't sure what we'd be coming back to.

To my surprise everything did well despite the heat and lack of water.  We still had some ripe strawberries to pick and we have new blooms on the ever bearing varieties.


I had yet to completely unpack and the vacation laundry was piled high and I was left pondering.... Laundry? pick peas? laundry? peas?.... the peas won  .I also picked a bunch of broccoli florets for dinner.  I have yet to shell and freeze the peas... I best get on that. 


I can always count on the squash taking off in the heat.  We are also growing buttercrunch lettuce for summer eating.  It is suppose to be tender and delicious all summer long.  We had some with dinner last night and it was delicate in flavor and absolutely delicious.  I'll never go back to regular lettuce again.


The blueberries have started to ripen and we've been eating them a handful at a time.  It feels like such a luxury to just go out in the garden feeling like a snack and grabbing a handful!


Lastly, our beans are doing well, though a 5 foot section of them never sprouted.  Guess that is just how it goes.  If I get off my butt, I'll replant.  If not... well it will just look weird.


That's all today folks!  Hope to see you next week at Feet Off the Table!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beach Vacation

Wow, what a wonderful break!  We just got back from the Outer Banks and I admit I've been a little grumpy pants.  After a week of amazing weather, the skies poured down on us on the way home and I was exhausted because the babe decided that she no longer wished to sleep through the night during vacation.  Last night she woke up at 2 AM, 4 AM and 6 AM this morning and I was bone tired.  It's a quick drive (just over 4 hours), but it was tiresome for this sleep deprived momma!  I had to mentally fight the mind numbing. repetitive sound made by the windshield wipers.  I couldn't wait to be home at that point.

Other than sleep, our little vacation was great.  We didn't get so much as a drop of rain (except as mentioned before, on our way home.) The ocean was literally just 10 or so feet from our window and the sounds of the waves lulled me to sleep the quickest in years...  We were so close to the water, it felt like we were on a boat.
 
the view from our window.

The house wasn't level and the cottage was cozy.  It didn't matter.  It was perfect and the best part is that the dog got to go with us.  We spent our days at the beach, making sandcastles, floating in the ocean, and just hanging out.  We laid out a little kiddie pool for the big kids and they were occupied pretty much the entire day....  envision Greeneyes with a freezer pop in one hand and toy in another here.  Good times.

We grilled out every single night except for the night we went out.  IT. WAS. AWESOME.  Grilling meant there were less dishes for me and it wasn't on me to slave by the stove either...  there is something much more appealing about grilling out on a deck with the wind in your hair and the ocean and waves crashing just feet away. 

For our lunches I made a giant batch of pork BBQ before we left and brought a large batch of deli meat for sandwhiches along with some sides.  Between that and the leftovers from dinner we were pretty much covered for the week.  Easy, peasy, good.

This was our nightly menu plan:

Sunday - homemade pizza (I brought homemade whole wheat thin crust pizza dough and fixins, took minutes and beats delivery!)
Monday - shrimp, potato, squash, and grilled peaches for desert
Tuesday - steak, potato, fresh veggies
Wednesday - went out
Thursday - split chicken breast, veggies, bbq beans, ice cream
Friday - lean turkey burgers, potato, grilled squash
Saturday - grilled brats and hotdogs, chips (it was our last day) and smores

What a yummy week!  Honestly, the night we went out for seafood I thought we did a better job preparing our seafood than they did...  I guess I'm picky.  Next time I think I'll pass on the fancy restaurant and make our own again.


the babe did sleep through the night the first night and I woke at 5AM.... hence these pics.

our sandcastle

We did do some other excursions, including flying kites on the dunes, visitng the Roanoke History Museum, visiting downtown Manteo and the pier...

but the best part was definitely the beach!