Fun in the kitchen

9 08 2011

One of my unstated summer goals is to keep up with the produce from our CSA.  Sometimes it’s easy; we go through broccoli like crazy and there can never be enough.  But some other things are harder, like greens, cabbage, and beets.  Fortunately, the kids are pretty good about trying new things and they have really embraced kohlrabi and zucchini, and tolerated spinach and swiss chard.  BB and I love to make muffins, so I looked up a beet muffin recipe and came up with this one


Wow, did they ever rise!  That’s probably the biggest compliment I can give them, though.  That and they used up a beet, so that’s good too.  They were OK and the kids ate them but I didn’t think they were that great.  We might make them again to use up one last tough beet that’s hanging around, but the rest of the beets are getting eaten straight up by the adults. 

For the cabbage, really the only way I like to eat it is in coleslaw.  Now I don’t know why it too me so long to figure this out, but I just shredded it in the food processor, along with a carrot, a little onion, and half a raw beet; look how pretty!


I dressed it with a homemade coleslaw dressing, which I altered a bit by substituting some yogurt for mayo.  I love how the beet looks like red cabbage, although it makes the dressing turn a screaming shade of pink.  :) 

And because we never get enough broccoli from the CSA, I decided to try growing it this year.  It hasn’t been doing so well, but finally we are seeing some crowns.  It’s beautiful!


Unrelated to veggies, BB and I made butter!  Just for fun, because I had never tried it.  I got a pint of heavy cream, left it at room temperature for an hour, poured it into a glass jar and we took turns shaking it until it looked like this:


Then I poured off the buttermilk into another jar and shook it again:


It made such a nice little cylinder!  Then I transferred it to a small bowl and rinsed it with water until all the buttermilk was out, and kneaded in a little salt.  A fresh loaf of bread and we are ready for a snack!  BB loves bread and butter and this was a fun way to see how butter is made. 


I checked out “Pretend Soup” from the library and I’m looking forward to letting BB be the head chef on our next round of kitchen adventures.  I think he’ll get a kick out of it!

Nature Scavenger Hunt

5 08 2011

One of my summer goals was to take the boys on a nature scavenger hunt.  Mostly because I thought they would really enjoy it but also because we have a scavenger hunt bag, and now’s the time to use it!  I’ve seen many examples of this on the web; if you google it you can find tons of ideas.  The way I did it was I took a piece of plain paper, folded it in half, opened it up, then folded it in half the other way.  Once open, this just gives 4 boxes in which you can write/draw your objects to find.  I told BB what we were doing and he quickly came up with 8 ideas so we did another paper also.  In each square we drew a picture; he did some and I did some and it’s hard to tell whose are which, haha!  Then I wrote the name of each object (you know, in case it wasn’t obvious that a green circle was a closed flower).  I was surprised at how into it he was!  When we were done, I cut the papers in half the long way so that I had 4 strips of paper, stacked them up and stapled in the middle to make a little booklet. Here are some of the pages from our book:

2011 08 August

I had to laugh when BB came up with “bear” as something to find, but I put it down anyway.  This park is pretty tame but you occasionally hear stories of bears in the area, so you never know!  These were taken post-hunt, when we had collected some of the items.  I told BB we could take pictures of anything too big or too far away to collect.  So we packed up our booklet and headed to our local park to go for a little hike.  It was an absolutely beautiful day!


It was dim enough in the forest that pictures were blurry but BB wanted to hold LB’s hand and it was so cute.  Mostly I think he wanted to boss him around, though, it’s not out of brotherly love or anything like that. 


They boys did a great job walking the 1 mile loop.  We stopped on the playground for a bit but mostly did some walking and exploring in the woods.  This park has a nice boardwalk over some wetlands, so we love to see what wildlife we find there.  Sure enough, we found one of our items: a frog!


We finished our hike with a visit in the nature center and you’ll never guess what we found:


So in the end we found a bear but not an oak leaf, go figure!  (For those of you with eagle eyes, yes we found something BB called an acorn but I just let him think that, I’m pretty sure it was not because (1) it didn’t look much like an acorn and (2) we never found an oak tree).  It was an activity that made a trip to the local park much more interesting so I’m sure we will be doing that again whenever we have a beautiful day with no plans!