When I was two—and I swear to you I remember the entire thing—I threw a raging fit in an ice cream parlor in Maine. I wanted a scoop of vanilla. The nice man at the counter handed me a cone with scoop of ice cream. But it was clearly not vanilla. It was yellow.
“That’s banana ice cream!” I said.
“No, sweetie, the vanilla ice cream is just naturally yellow.” He pointed to another tub of ice cream in the case. “That’s banana, right there.” (Oddly enough, he happened to have banana flavored ice cream).
“But it’s white!! That’s vanilla!”
If you have ever dealt with a two-year-old that you’re trying to be nice to, you’ll know this conversation went no where. My mom must have been in a really good mood since we were on vacation, because both she and my grandmother just let me carry on. As much as they tried to convince me to pick out an ice cream: strawberry, chocolate, tutti fruiti, whatever, I left the ice cream shop empty handed. I recall believing the man at some point, but I stuck to my beliefs on principle. Vanilla ice cream is supposed to be white. Not yellow.
This ice cream is sure to disappoint my inner toddler.
I spent the morning looking for inspiration for these gorgeous white peaches—the first I had ever found that actually tasted as beautiful as they looked. I searched through all my cookbooks, and dozens of magazines, but couldn’t find anything that didn’t require baking something. As much as I love baked goods, I was feeling a bit fat that morning, so anything baked would have taken me over the edge.
Every cookbook library should have a nice, sharp pencil handy. So often, the best recipes are the direct result of improvising on another recipe.
The seasoning I used for this blackened chicken is made up of the ingredients I had in my cupboard: paprika from my local Indian store, ground dill and thyme.
You could, by all means, make a rub with a more cajun flavor, using white pepper and onion powder. It’s up to you. But I didn’t have those things, so I made it my own way.
A few of you voted on which book to do for July, and Sense and Sensibility
Ah, Jane Austen. I don’t think we could have gone on with the book club very long without doing something from her. Not only did she write in a time when female authors were a rare breed, but she also wrote when the English novel was relatively new to the whole scene of literature. —I love how she takes strong women and places them in probable situations of her age—quite horrible situations, actually, where having the freedom to choose her own destiny was very limited.
I love Sense and Sensibility for the fact that it really has two main characters: Elinor and Marianne. And that will give us a lot to talk about.
Are your kids getting bored yet? I don’t know how many more episodes of Phineas and Ferb we can all take. A few weeks ago, I found this recipe for sidewalk paint on the internet. It amazes me how clever some of these mommy crafters are. All it is is a mixture of water, cornstarch, and food coloring. It was so simple, we had to try it.
My little guy woke me up this morning and cried for an hour. He had wished for a toy last night, and when he went to look for it outside, he discovered it wasn’t there.
He cried about how stupid movies were, and how they lie about wishes coming true.
It went on and on:
I want a motor razor scooter!
I wish we still lived in Colorado.
Daddy never takes me to Toys R Us.
YOU never take me to Toys R Us.
What, are you saying Santa isn’t real . . . ????
I need to take my training wheels off.
Can’t I just buy a little toy at Toys R Us?
Actually, I just want a stroller again.
What if there are bullies in kindergarten?
I want a monster scooter. They’re only three dollars!
On a normal morning, I would have put him on his bed to finish his tirade. But this morning—I must have been in a really good place—I just let him cry in my arms.
I can recall plenty of times in my own life—even as an adult—when I’ve felt exactly like he did. And how I longed for someone to put their arms around me.
He may never get a Power Wheels, or a motor Razor Scooter (which I think are too dangerous). But I hope he will understand that he has a mom who loves him. And will hold him when he cries.
What are the things your kids ask for that you don’t want them to ever have?
Now to the ice cream. We made this when my daughter asked if she could have some vanilla ice cream and pour honey over it. In that instant I imagined how much better a homemade ice cream with honey as the flavor and sweetener would be. My little girl, who wanted a quick fix, had to wait while I pulled out the ice cream maker and got to work. I think it was worth the wait.
Lavender lemonade seems to be all the rage lately. I’m finding it at my favorite pastry shop, all over the web, and even down at the local cafe run by favorite local hippies. And why shouldn’t it be the rage? A summertime drink kissed with floral scent? Heaven.
I made this particular batch of lavender lemonade when I was coming up with labels for Avery. I confess, though, that what’s in the picture was rather light on the lavender, since I made it at two in the morning and had run out of lavender buds. So when you make yours, you may discover it looks more, well . . . lavender.
Be curious, and be inspired.
A short time ago, the people at Avery* mailed me an assortment of labels to try out with different craft projects. You know me and food, so the natural thing for me to make was some sort of treat with a label to go with it.
The labels that stuck out at me first were these tags (label number 22802). How perfectly they went with my bottles filled with homemade lavender lemonade!
Next, these square labels (number 22805) were perfect for some edible thank you notes I was making.
I guess it’s been ages, but awhile back, I asked my readers on facebook what kinds of posts they would like to see more of. My good friend from high school mentioned I should do a post on our favorite baby books. Since a lot of our board books have been lost over the years, while others have been chewed to death, the kids and I put this list together of all the favorite books we can remember.
Ever since I saw the movie Ponyo, I’ve been wanting ramen that looks like this. Simple food elevated into art. Not that any Japanese chef would call my rendition here art, but whatever, we’re not going to talk about that.
For me, collecting the ingredients for Asian food is usually a bit of a process, and if I were to try it in one go, it would mean several trips to many many stores, and would be one long, and frustrating day. It’s best to do this in intervals. The collection for this soup started with the ramen noodles. I found a package of plain Chuka Soba noodles. Grocery store ramen contains a heavy amount of hydrogenated oil (at least it did, the last time I checked), and I wasn’t about to have that stuff tainting my masterpiece.
That sat around in my cupboard for awhile until the neighbor kids started selling me eggs from their chickens. Once the chickens started to eat a lot of greens, and the yolks started becoming brighter, I knew it was time to finish collecting the ingredients for my ramen.
Miso, which is a soy bean paste, was easy enough to find once I asked the health food store worker. It’s kept in the refrigerator section. I bought a small organic tub of white soy bean paste for about four dollars. Since you only use a little bit for one pot of soup, I still have tons, and it keeps for a very long time.
Then I searched for a good protein. I thought of using seared ahi, but that would have made this a more costly soup than I wanted it to be, and then on Ponyo, they use ham, which I wasn’t too excited about. My friend JoLene—who is a foodie I’ve mentioned before, and was a missionary for our church in Japan some years ago—and I talked this over for some time, and we concluded that shrimp would be the best choice here.
My last mission was to come up with some colorful vegetables. I wanted baby bok choy, but could only find the big kind, and it turned out that either variety was fine. I gravitated to a globe of red cabbage in the grocery store, so I bought that as well, and then I remembered I had seen these radish roses, by Noriko at NorikoBurky.com. Hers are even more beautiful.
Then I grabbed some roasted seaweed, or nori, which I have to keep under lock and key at my house, since my daughter, who you all know is probably the pickiest eater in the world, can down a package of that stuff in about five minutes. I’m not kidding. As it was, I had to fight to get the few little strips that are barely visible in the picture.
Once I had everything, putting it together was quite simple.