Not having a menu plan for the past couple of weeks has made me crazy. I've become so used to having it that without it I lost all creative thought when it came to making dinners. So, it's back to writing a weekly plan and following it!
With all of those huge tomatoes I had from the CSA pickup last week I made Marinara sauce Sunday. I cooked it for a few hours. It still tasted too acidic to me in the end, so with the two jars I froze I'll have to figure out what to add to it in order to reduce the acid taste. I did add a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce, but it maybe wasn't enough. I read a recipe that suggested adding a bit of baking soda to it, but I wasn't sure how that would effect the taste. We ate it for dinner and it was good, but something needs to be tweeked.
Sunday: We might try going to Sesame Place for the day/evening to see the fireworks. It depend on the weather, off course! Otherwise, we'll grill.
So somehow I gave birth to a child that abhors chocolate cake and brownies. I'm not sure how it's possible, since he is very much like me in many other ways. When I ask him if he'd like me to make brownies, he always responds, YES! as long as they are vanilla. Those are blondies, and not really my favorite unless they are heavily laden with chocolate chips! But I just found this incredible sounding recipe for snickerdoodle blondies. They just might meet the taste bud needs of all of us. So, as a treat for Labor Day, I might try making this recipe.
What will now become a summer tradition*, my friend and I, along with our boys, tried a new bakery this summer, specifically for the cupcakes. We both had purchased coupon deals to get half price on a dozen cupcakes in the spring and needed to get them before the deals expired. We made a day of it by taking the kids to play at an indoor gym place for the morning and lunch, headed over to Tabora Orchards to check them out and get some fruit and bread and then headed out to Ottsville to the Lucky Cupcake Company.
Why did we pick such a far away bakery to try? Because the baker and owner was on Cupcake Wars! I can't believe she didn't win, as her cupcakes were incredibly good. I got a variety of flavors, with the carrot cake and the peanut butter being family favorites. I also had the key lime, which was so light and fresh tasting.
The owner, Joanne, was really nice and told us about her business and being on the show. I love that as mother of four kids she is able to run such an incredible business. She can make any of her cupcake flavors into a cake too, although personally I like being able to sample the differnt flavors in cupcake size. If the bakery was a bit closer to home I'd consider doing a birthday party there, since her shop is so cute. A cupcake decorating party would be such a fun mom's night out or kids' party.
And they froze well too!
*Last summer we visited Darryl's Pasteries in Glenside, PA.
Its the end of the summer which means TONS of tomatoes from the CSA. Two weeks ago I had about two quarts of cherry tomatoes and this week we have one quart. I really hate that pop of seeds when biting into a cherry tomato, but they are so pretty and there are so many different varieties available to us. The black and green ones are so different looking. I need to figure out what to do with them, aside from adding them to salads. Also brought home were 8 pounds of heirloom and paste tomatoes. I will make sauce out of them. The kiddo wanted the carrots and even ate some for dinner raw. I have about a quarter pound of basil leaves that will become pesto.
Our CSA has bee hives and had some honey for sale this week. It is such amazingly good honey, we (the kid and I) were sampling it out of the jar in the parking lot! I should have bought more than one jar! This will be our "special" honey to be enjoyed slowly. I also picked up some pastured chicken from a farm that works with the CSA to sell poultry and pork to members. It was really expensive, so it won't be a regular purchase, but I wanted to try it.
My cooking/baking energy has been kaput lately. I need to get back into formulating menu plans weekly. I think I am in denial that our very busy and fun summer is almost over! Preschool starts in two weeks! Yikes! At least with fall almost here I will get back into cooking soups and fall themed things. We have a busy couple of months up ahead...it should prove to be fun!
My little fishy boy finally got the courage to go down this pool slide without help. He was so fearful of getting his face wet. The kid wants to be a lifeguard but is still afraid to jump in the pool. He is convinced that as long as he is a lifeguard at Sesame Place he won't have to actually get wet. He is signed up to take swimming and soccer lessons this fall. Let's hope his confidence level improves as well!
This summer was the Olympics and it was the first time my son was old enough to watch it. He wasn't very interested in it, but it started a conversation about sports and competition and exercise. (In all honesty, I didn't watch much of the Olympics except for at night, so his exposure was limited. We just don't watch much tv during the day.) But, coincidentally, the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia is featuring the Grow Games for two months, so we went down for a visit to explore the new exhibits and revisit favorites.
I love that they redesigned this exhibit this year so that there were more hands on things for the big kids. Last year they wouldn't let my then 3 year old on the little treadmills. Now they have big kid-sized ones and clearly he had a blast!
Do you see the utter joy on his face because he had a chance to use a "real" treadmill?
Climbing a rock wall proved to be adventurous too!
Racetrack: just like the Olympics!
All part of the Grow Games! There is a small separate area for kids under three years that is perfect for little ones to play without getting trampled on by the big kids. My son was curious about it, of course, but mainly because it was in the Three Bears exhibit area! This was a great temporary exhibit that I hope returns next year too. It is at the museum through September.
The other new summer exhibit is a play-water ice stand. The museum has their own personalized Rita's flavor for the summer too. Of course my little guy loved pretending to run his own Rita's Water Ice stand!
He said it was one of his favorite things to do there, although he reported that it "wasn't what I was expecting." When asked for clarification, he explained that he thought he would be scooping real water ice, not pretend!
I have a feeling he is going to miss this exhibit when it goes away. We spent a lot of time there!
Yes, it's Tueday. I've been busy. Also couldn't connect to the internet for some reason. Magically fixed. I'm sitting here with the kiddo sitting behind me in the same chair sticking things in my hair. It's never dull.
Lost this post the first time I wrote it. Let me try to recreate it from distracted memory.
So we were away last week, the kiddo and I. Visited friends in Maryland. We had fun!
This week's menu is focused upon using the fresh produce on hand, both from the CSA and from the market stands I stopped by on my way home from Maryland.
I have an bowl of very ripe peaches. I think I will be making some baked oatmeal with peaches and some of the Maryland blueberries we brought home. I've also accumulated several food magazines that need to be perused and tested. It will be a fun week!
My summer book list reading has been going very well so far. I've read five books on my list, am reading the sixth plus an extra one that I borrowed on my kindle app from the library. I've also read a bunch of cookbooks.
My son did not have a summer reading list, but I suspect that will change next year as he prepares to go to kindergarten in the Fall of 2013. We have still been visiting the library and I've borrowed a few books via my e-reader from the library as well. I recently cleaned up his bookshelf in his room to "discover" some books that were forgotten or older favorites. Lately he has been loving the Lego books that are based on the toys. Mainly, he likes the police and firefighter stories. They are a paperback series and some are even easy-reader books that he'll hopefully start to learn to read himself over the next year. He found a Lego sticker book at the bookstore recently and he really wanted it. It isn't exactly a storybook, but does have stickers to fill in to pages and involves matching. So far I've gotten away with not actually owning Lego sets yet, but I see that day coming soon.
The kiddo also recently received a new Octonauts book, which I love. The illustrations are so cute, and the book is well written. I've been pulling out the back to school books to to get ready for the inevitable occurring in about a month. There is a series of books based on a character called "Froggy" who has a silly outlook on life. We have a handful of the titles. I like them because my husband reads them to my son in a silly voice that just cracks the kid up. Apparently once at preschool the teacher read a Froggy book. My son's comment that day was that she didn't do the voices the same way as dad, so it wasn't as entertaining! Our recent Froggy addition is about Froggy going to school. It is very cute.