The other day, while making our Kung Fu Panda soup, I found that when I cut off the baby bok choy leaves, the end looked like a rose. How could I turn down a perfectly opportune time to let my children express themselves artistically? (Actually, I usually pass on craft projects. They make such a mess, and I’m usually behind on my housework, and any extra mess just puts me one step closer to the loony bin.)
I imagine you can do this with a large bok choy as well. You can also make stamps like this with the ends of celery, and probably endives. (In the past, I’ve tried to save the ends of celery for this very purpose, but alas, could not find the energy to encourage my children to be creative, and I tossed them out — not the kids, the celery stumps.)
We’ve been watching a lot of Kung Fu Panda lately. The movie stirred up strong craving for noodles in my nine-year-old. This is what I came up with. He insisted on eating the soup with chopsticks.
I now present to you: Kung Fu Panda Soup.
When I went up to bed last night, this is what I found. I ran and grabbed my camera, so thankful I had a tripod and a large aperture.
You know when you watch your children sleep, and you are just suddenly overwhelmed with joy? Seeing my youngest two together was so poignant last night, I almost cried. (My friend Brittany has a wonderful little post on this very subject that I printed off, I liked it so much. Click here to read it.)
There was a perfect spot in this photo to add text, but how could I?
Now I have a little poll for you. I usually prefer black and white photographs, but the light was so low in this, and the contrast so low, that I decided to go color, but now I’m not so sure.
Which one do you like better? Post your answer in the comments, and the winning picture will get to go on top.
My grandmother on my mother’s side married the son of Italian immigrants. I am not sure how well she cooked before before she married, but for a woman who came from a long line of English-Americans, she adapted well and made the most wonderful spaghetti sauce. She made it often when we came to visit, and the whole house would smell amazing.
Because she cooked it so long, the chicken would fall off the bone, and so would the ribs. Oh, I didn’t mention the ribs? Or the meatballs either, I suppose. Yes, her sauce actually had about 4 types of meat. It was out of this world. But probably not as healthy as we’re trying to be these days. If you want to add them in, simply cut out some of the chicken and sausage, and then brown up some ribs and meatballs when you’re cooking the rest of the meat. Then just add it back in at the end like you do with the chicken and sausage.
My mom always says the secret to her recipe is to cook it on VERY low heat for a very long time — all day if you possibly can (Don’t cut corners and make it in a slow cooker. I tried it like that once and it tasted terrible. I don’t know the science behind why it happened, but it was very acidic, like it had been cooked with rust and aluminum.)
Though we all know the secret, none of us can ever get it quite like she made it. I don’t even think she had an ingredient she wouldn’t tell people about (though I wouldn’t put it past her — I can totally picture her tossing in that one ingredient when no one was looking and having a good laugh all by herself).
Could the secret be love? Maybe?
This is a major tangent, but I have to tell you this one story. Once, when I lived in Canada, some women from Trinidad made me and my friend the most amazing beans and rice. I couldn’t get over how good they were. We kept asking what was in them, and they listed the ingredients. They were like, “Oh, onions, a little garlic, some peppers, and love.” Hm. Love. I wonder now if the “love” was marijuana. Could I have have been that naive?
Anyway, here is my grandmother’s sauce. Best of luck, and I hope you can get it as good as my Mom-mom made hers.
The summer here is lazily taking its time to set in, and I love it.
The days will heat up, and just when I think it’s going to be too warm, a breeze kicks up and nags me to grab a sweater. I’m a winter clothes kind of gal, so any extra day to wear socks is like a gift from heaven. (Socks keep my hardwood floors shiny — so that’s a bonus, too.)
What about all of you, are you ecstatic when the fall clothes collection comes out at Banana Republic? Or do you prefer shorts and sunscreen and flip flops?
Here’s a little recipe for yogurt pops, which came out amazingly delicious. We ate them on one of the few warm days we’ve had so far this season.
I bought these molds from Williams Sonoma a few years ago. They’re from Donvier, but I think they might be discontinued. Amazon.com says they are unsure when they will start carrying them again, but if you click here, I found a selection of other molds on amazon that look cute.
Hey. How is everyone? I have been dying to post this picture for ages now. A couple years ago, this HUGE butterfly landed on the lilac bush in our back yard. It let us hold it, pass it between the kids, and take pictures of it. After about ten minutes, it reluctantly flew away. Pretty amazing. There you go, now you can see my picture.
Alright, so last night, as I was feeling sorry for myself, I stopped by cJane.
Of course, I came away feeling grateful for my own life and how it’s going, when she talked about Carol Decker. She is a beautiful young mom who, during an emergency Caesarian section, which caused an infection that led to more complications, lost her legs, left arm, and her eyesight.
Reading her story sure made me stop whining. When I started to blog last year I thought, “Oh, la-dee-dah, this will be fun, I’ll put up pictures of food and kids and stuff, and try to make my life look interesting.” It has been that, quite a bit — it’s been very fun. But on the other hand, it has taken me to the depths of some people’s lives on such a personal level, I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I’m sure many of you are familiar with Nie-Nie, and how she survived a small plane crash with her husband last year. I can only read her blog every week or two, because I just end up sobbing. She is so brave, so filled with love. She never lets herself get down for too long, when to me it seems she has every right to. After reading each post, I am inspired to cherish my own life, and the trials I have that teach me to be a better person
It has been about a year since Carol’s terrible ordeal, and caring individuals are hosting an online silent auction to raise money for the overwhelming medical bills.
The auction will start on the 14th, so get ready. If you click on that link above, it will let you know how you can bid, or donate items and money.
It’s June 3rd, and I have the heat on.
These rainy, misty days are my favorite days of summer. They remind me of my childhood in New England with windy walks on beaches and pinewood fires in the center of drizzly campgrounds. They were the days that gave us hope amidst the countless unbearably muggy days in between.
The chilly summer memories I hold most dear are the vacations we spent in Maine. One early morning, while staying near friends, we ventured out to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries. On the way home, we found a red raspberry bush with the most delicious berries. I still compare all raspberries to those I had on that vacation, and only rarely do I ever find one that rivals them in taste.
For many years, I thought that Robert McCloskey had based his book Blueberries for Sal on me, because my parents had taken a picture of me sitting amongst the blueberries on the same hill. As a teenager, I discovered, much to my disappointment, that the book was published before I was born.
In the afternoons, we would run around with our friends’ Golden Retriever. Her name was Sunshine, and till this day, if ever I hear the John Denver song “Sunshine on My Shoulder,” I think of those vacations in Maine and get a catch in my throat. (Yeah, I know, whatever. I’m a sap.)
This Cream of Wheat with blueberries and maple syrup brought back my memories of Maine.
If you have never tried cream of wheat cooked in milk, then I would strongly suggest it. It is like eating pudding for breakfast. If you would like a vegan version of this recipe, that tastes like a creamy version of mangoes with sticky rice, substitute the milk for a cup of light coconut milk. Follow the same cooking instructions, and garnish with turbinado sugar and mango.