Monday, June 29, 2009

Veggie Dinner

This is my second Meatless Monday in a row! Last week was tortillas filled to the brim with sauteed onions, red and yellow peppers and topped with shredded cheese and sour cream. Tonight we enjoyed a dinner almost entirely from our garden- I baked summer squash and zucchini drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper and served it alongside a cauliflower and polenta casserole. Very tasty and a great feeling of having grown it ourselves!!! In case you have been wondering what to do with an overabundance of cauliflower (such as we have) I thought I would share this recipe since it's simple and a unique twist from the usual cauliflower dish. (I also have a fabulous cauliflower and leek dish but since I failed to plant leeks in my garden I have to forgo the pleasure of that dish for the present time).

Polenta with Cauliflower

1-1/3 c. instant polenta (also labeled as corn grits)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 (2 lb.) head cauliflower
1 jar (28 oz) marinara sauce
1/4 c. bread crumbs (I omit)
2 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1) Heat oven to 375. Coat 9x13-in pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Bring 2 c. water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. In small bowl, combine polenta and 2 c. cool water. Stir in 2 Tblsp. of the Parmesan, the salt and pepper. Stir polenta into boiling water. Reduce heat to med-high; cook 5 minutes, stirring. Spread in prepared dish.
3) Cut cauliflower into equal-size florets. Spread half over polenta. Top with 1-1/2 c. marinara sauce. Sprinkle with half bread crumbs (if using) and half of the mozzarella. Repeat layering, ending with mozzarella. Cover with foil. Bake 375 for 40 min. Uncover, top with remaining 2 Tblsp. Parmesan and bake 10 more minutes. Let rest 15 minutes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One year ago: 5 months!

Eileigh and Great-Grandma Asher

Eileigh and Aunt Emi

Oh I get such a twinge when I think how much she has grown and changed!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Amateur Photographer

Eileigh commandeered the camera for a few pictures today- the above picture was taken right before she decided to try her hand at photographing a few of her favorite things:


A favorite book: Ten Little Ladybugs


As the Garden Grows

Eileigh and I have been making daily trips to the garden to munch on fresh strawberries and pick the occasional green onion for a salad or dinner recipe. It's so exciting not only to watch how much our little seeds and seedlings have grown but also to be able to enjoy the (very modest) harvest!!
Strawberry picking

Fruits of her labor

Attack cat

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day at the Coast

Due to an intense craving for clam chowder- let me specify, not just clam chowder. No, in fact it was a sourdough breadbowl filled to the very brim with clam chowder that I was specifically craving. Therefore my knight in shining armor loaded us all up into the trusty white steed of a 4Runner and we headed off to the coast!
Once we were on our way we began to have serious doubts about the worthwhile-ness of the trip since Eileigh spent most of the trip screaming for various (known and unknown) reasons. But we made it, a little harried and definitely ready for some fresh ocean air. We've taken Eileigh to the coast a couple of times but she had always been too young to be able to enjoy the experience. This time we were delighted to find her thoroughly fascinated and enjoying all aspects of our great Oregon coast. She loved the sand in her toes, picking up rocks and shells (and other unidentifiable objects) and felt the water a couple times before she realized the cold temperature. After that she always picked up her feet and wouldn't stand up until we were back on the sand. One of my favorite moments was when she stood looking at the ocean and just said "Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah" in a really loud voice. She also hammed it up by reaching her arms out toward the ocean like she was stretching for it- hard to describe, but it's such an Eileigh thing.
We finished off our evening at Mo's (where Mike went in ahead to ascertain that yes, Virginia, they do have a sourdough breadbowl swimming in clam chowder). He's so tolerant- I'm so blessed!! :) Eileigh enjoyed applesauce and mac'n'cheese, the occasional crayon, and generally trying to get other diners' attention. Mike and I shared clam strips (which *blush* I have to say I took care of most of that), I got my breadbowl and chowder and Mike had halibut fish'n'chips which he graciously allowed me a bite of... only to find almost an entire piece vanished before either of us realized it. There was a bite left but he generously declined- more out of astonishment at my intake than out of his satiety, I suspect. Or maybe he feared he'd lose a finger if he tried to take it back, I'm not sure...
The sun was warm on our backs as we headed back to the car for the return trip. Eileigh was much improved from the earlier drive and we had a decent ride home. Definitely worth the trip. All in all, a very good day.

Not quite sure what to think yet...

Eileigh's footprint


Sooooo big!!!!

Waving at the waves

Helpfully drying off
Being silly

Mama's Shoes

I could hardly believe she stood in them on her own! (I have a hard enough time...)

Eileigh channeling her inner Marilyn Monroe (a cloth-diapered, milk-swigging Marilyn no less)

Miscellaneous Pics

Eileigh's "Hat! Hat!!"

Butter-Almond Cake

I sure wish this cake had a different name to fully describe the incredibleness that is this cake. But seeing as how everything I can think of is either inappropriate for general viewing or already taken by another cake I guess I'll just stick with the title it came with. This reminds me more of a coffee-cake/brunch than actual birthday-type cake. Heady almond flavor.

Butter-Almond Cake

3/4 c. melted butter
1-1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1-1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. slivered almonds (I omitted)

Blend sugar and melted butter. Blend eggs briefly before adding. Add almond and vanilla extracts. Add salt and flour. Spread batter into a well greased 9-in. cake pan or pie plate lined with foil. Sprinkle top with granulated sugar and slivered almonds (or not the almonds). :) Bake 350 degrees, 40-45 minutes.

Ear Muffs!!! (Take 2)

Eileigh, who loves all things Daddy, has become extremely attached to "helping" Mike mow the lawn. Don't cringe, she doesn't stand behind it to help push. :) She gets perched in the hiking backpack high up on Mike's back and rides around looking happy as a little clam. (Not that I know all that many clams permitted to enjoy the finer arts of lawn-mowing, but still.) We realized quickly that for Eileigh to safely enjoy herself she definitely needed hearing protection: Enter the offical earmuffs. I don't know what else to call them? I actually wore this very pair (along with several other pairs we had) growing up and that is what my sisters and I have always called them. We never used them when mowing the lawn, of course- just when we were sighting in our rifles. :)
So my Dad hooked us up and Eileigh was more than thrilled to wear them- and not just when mowing the lawn! A couple days ago Mike asked her if she wanted to help him mow the lawn and she reached up and placed her hands over her ears!! It was hysterical. Now I can just holler out "Earmuffs!!" and she'll put her hands over her ears- that could come in handy. Or maybe I just need to keep a pair in the diaper bag for nonEileigh-appropriate conversations...

Is it hot in here or is it just you??

It's not all that often I get to enjoy official pictures of my handsome husband decked out in turnout gear so I thought I would share a photo I have recently been savoring. This was after a burn-to-learn; he was in the house monitoring the fire (which apparently was so hot it melted the stickers on his hat.... glad he didn't tell me until after but kinda wish I didn't know at all...). I am so thankful for the hero I'm married to- the one who runs into the fire when everyone else is running out. I love you, Mike.

First bandaid

Okay, I fully acknowledge I have been slacking on the blog-front. I think I have a decent excuse but I won't bother to go into that... yet. :) So now I am gearing up for some catching up and hoping I will be able to follow through with actually posting all that I have planned!! :)
First up: Eileigh's first "owie" requiring a Hello Kitty bandaid application. She fell on the patio out back and actually scraped up her knee pretty decently. Thankfully there was a paramedic on scene who quickly cleaned it with a little hydrogen peroxide and bandaged her up beautifully. No scar on this one. :)