March 31, 2011

Bread Clouds

I would like to lay on a cloud of bread, too!

(source - King Arthur Flour)

King Arthur Flour has a "WHOOOOOOOOPS…" page. You should really check it out. Some of the stuff, like the chocolate peanut butter cake, still looks yummy!

March 29, 2011

Strawberry Stacks!

On Friday, I bought some gorgeous juicy strawberries at the farm market. On Saturday, I found a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Stacked Pancakes. On Monday, I made them. Coincidence? I don't think so!

See how yummy they look?

The pancakes got those little bubble that mean they're going to be scrumptious. Recipes say that the bubbles mean it's time to flip your pancakes. I guess that's true, too... :-)

I made mine in two batches of four so that while the second batch was cooking, I could stack the first four.

All in a pool of Vermont pure maple syrup... The Bup's stack looked so good that I had to put maple syrup on half of my stack. When I poured the strawberry banana soft serve onto mine, it all gushed out and drowned my stack (see 1st picture above). Still yummy though! 

This breakfast was so good that it made the sun shine! Just kidding, but it was a sunny morning. I even hung my sheets & towels outside to dry!

Added bonus: this breakfast kept me full for 5 hours. Unheard of!

Stacked Strawberry Pancakes
Adapted lightly from Oh She Glows who adapted from Bon Appetit Spiced Coconut Pancakes.Makes 2 stacks or 8 4" pancakes

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch sea salt
3/4 cup unsweetend almond milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
3/4 cup water
1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned & sliced
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and then add to the dry ingredients. Stir until smooth.

Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter, per pancake, onto the skillet. Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface (see the scrumptious-ness? time to flip!).

After the first batch is done (I did 4 at a time), layer pancakes with strawberry slices. Finish with second batch of pancakes. Top with any extra strawberry slices, maple syrup, and/or strawberry banana soft serve.

To make strawberry banana soft serve: Place a frozen banana and 3 strawberries into a food processor. If necessary, thin with almond milk or orange juice.

March 28, 2011

Locks of Love!

 Today was haircut day! This was my 4th time chopping off enough hair to donate to Locks of Love. It takes about 2.5 years for me to grow it long enough to donate (they have to have 10" or more). I really recommend doing it if you have long hair. Most hair salons will send it off for you, which makes it super easy. It's so freeing to have 10+ inches cut off!

The first time I cut my hair was right before graduation from high school. This is one of my senior pictures, which I got taken in the spring.

It was still styled from the hairdresser for my graduation pictures. My parents almost didn't recognize me when I was announced because I'd just gotten it cut that day and the announcer didn't pronounce my name right (surprise!). It rained that morning and I remember wearing a hood because I was worried that it would get wet and messed up.

My second donation was in spring of my sophomore year of college. My roomie went with me and took pics.

This was the shortest it's been! Every time, I've had it cut by someone different and in a different town.

This time I let my hair grow again for my wedding! 

But by Christmas, it was short again. We had a hair dresser convention where I work and they asked if I would be a hair model since mine was so long. The lady was really nice and when I told her I was getting ready to donate it, she offered to do that, too! So I got it cut onstage as a demo for going from really long to short, plus she highlighted it for me.

This was TOO LONG. I should've cut it sooner.

And this may be the only post I ever do that is anything beauty/hair related. :-)

March 26, 2011

A reminder of the sunshine

Florida really is the Sunshine State. Even in March we had sun and 80 degree weather every day. There were flowers in bloom and everything was so green and colorful.

We did a LOT of biking on our rented bikes. I love that they come with baskets on the front. When we went to the farm market everyone we passed had produce in their bike basket.

I think our most rewarding meal was at the Hungry Heron. It may or may not have had something to do with the 23 miles of biking we did that morning. Plus their menu has 251 items to choose from!

 I chose the Original Gardenburger which came with lettuce, tomato, onion, cucumber, sprouts (yes!!), honey mustard dip, and sweet potato fries. It turned out to be 2 gardenburger patties on 1 sandwich. I took one home for lunch the next day. We only got 4 sweet potato fries but they were HUGE.

Mom & Dad were ready for a lunch break, too.

We spent the afternoons by the pool. It's really a luxury to have a whole pool to yourself. I got a chance to really swim instead of having to stay in my own little space. It felt so good to stretch out!

A juice glass with ice and wine made for a perfect before dinner refresher. Just so I don't forget, here's a rundown of where we ate.

Thursday lunch: Cip's Place - Thai Spring Rolls w/ samples from everyone elses meals :-)
*Good but pricey. The dipping sauce was spicy & delicious.*

Friday dinner: The Timbers - Pistachio Crusted Mahi Mahi with a baked sweet potato, veggies, & salad
*No vegetarian options so I opted for fish since they said it was local. Good food & big portions.*
PocoLoco - Triple Chocolate & Peanut Butter Gelato
*Mmmmmmmmmm! Plus the employees are friendly*

Saturday lunch: Hungry Heron - Original Gardenburger (with sprouts!!) & mega sweet potato fries
*Very filling! Lots of veg options.*

Sunday dinner: Matzaluna - Pizza Primavera & salad (they have a great hummus dip for their bread!) w/ chocolate cake shared with the Bup for dessert
*Always a favorite!*

Monday dinner: Twilight - Asian vegetables in a pineapple & soy stir fry sauce over brown rice. The Bup's tomato bisque was excellent! And they give you pesto with the bread.
*This was my least favorite place we ate. They have a nice selection of veg options but the veggies were way overdone.*

Tuesday lunch: Mimi's Cafe - Roasted Vegetable Flatbread with baby greens. The Bup got the Roasted Tomato & Basil Bisque. It was the best tomato soup we've tasted since the Ice House.
*So many choices for me! They're a chain, but there aren't any in PA. :-( They have big muffins, too, and mom shared her carrot raisin nut muffin with me. Mmm!*

Don't worry Florida, we'll be back for more sunshine!

March 24, 2011

Carissa Jelly!

Did you know that there's a plant called Carissa? It's a shrub grown in more tropical regions than PA. How exciting is that!?

 The couple we were visiting in Florida have Carissas around their pool. The fruit it produces is called a Carissa or a natal plum. They're small and reddish pink with a taste that's somewhere between strawberry and cranberry. Apparently the rest of the bush is poisonous.

They froze the fruit that ripened over the last few months so that we could make jelly.

We cooked the fruit to soften it...

...and then mashed it on mesh so that the juice came through. The mashed stuff wasn't too pretty.

After adding lemon juice and sugar, we stirred for 20 minutes until it thickened and "sheeted" off the spoon. It was such a pretty, frothy pink!


Behold - Carissa jelly!

It's just so pretty and pink! We had the bit that didn't fit into the jars the next morning for breakfast.

It tasted sort of like strawberry jelly, but it was more tart. Mmmm! I couldn't bring a jar back because we were carrying our luggage onto the plane, but they're bringing me one when they drive up next month.

Carissa Jelly
adapted from the Tropical Fruit Cookbook
Make 2 jars + some for snacking!
2 cups Carissa fruit, whole
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice

Wash Carissas and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 12-15 minutes or until fruit is soft. Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large saucepan. (Make sure it's WAY bigger than you think you need. It bubbles and foams while cooking.) Mash fruit and let drain. Stir in sugar and lemon/orange juices until dissolved. Heat mixture on high and maintain a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken and sheets off the spoon. Remove from heat and pour into sterilized jars. Let gel and then screw lids on tightly. Even without officially canning it, the jelly should last for several weeks. (Since this batch only makes 2 jars, it didn't seem worth going through the whole canning process!)

March 23, 2011

Is it ever enough?

On my last night of vacation. I tried to type a post via my phone. Bad idea. I typed away on my tiny keyboard only to send it to Blogger and be rejected. However, here's the essence:

On the last night I was sitting on the patio, typing away while no-see-ums bit my knees. I can't complain though. So much gorgeous sunshine should be illegal. We went 83 miles on the bikes!

There was a lot of good food down there! We couldn't choose from all the restaurants and our hosts provided a lot of great food, too. Grapefruit and oranges were abundant. The island has an amazing farm market. I wanted to buy all the veggies in sight. They also had a great nut butter producer who gave us samples. He has a website that I might order from.   I wish we had a market as grand at home!

Now we're home in the gloomy 40 degree and misty weather. Pictures to follow!

March 16, 2011

Am I Green Enough?

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! It's all over the web. Bloggers everywhere are posting great recipes full of Irish foods, Guinness, green food coloring, and yummy desserts.

Not me. We're on fridge clean-out around my house. Tomorrow I'm heading to the Sunshine State!

I'll be donning my green tee at 4:30am tomorrow morning! And tomorrow night we're going to an Irishfest!

But for tonight, we're going to eat green food. No...not the molding leftovers from the dark corners of the fridge. The avocado that's been ripening on the counter! The remains of a bag of spinach and a head of romaine. Half a green pepper. A few stalks of celery and bunches of kale. All mixed together with a carrot, roasted salt & vinegar chickpeas, some pineapple chunks and a few blue corn tortilla chips for added color.

Mmmm! That's my kind of green food. Not bad for a St. Patty's Day fridge clean-out.

And since you won't be up to see me off tomorrow, top o' the mornin' to you!

March 15, 2011


Springtime is coming!!!

Our snowdrops are coming up.

The sky is a beautiful blue.

We sprang forward and it's light out in the evenings.

Tonight I'm planting my onions and sugar peas!

My grandparents have lambs on the farm. And we got to bottle feed the cutest one!

I love spring!

March 9, 2011

More Candy, Please!

When I walked into my mom's kitchen the other night, I spotted a bowl of roasted butternut squash sitting innocently on the back burner of the stove. It didn't last long. After I asked mom what it was for and she said, "Snacking!", I couldn't stop myself. I ate half the bowl.

Try it.

It's addictive.

Kinda like candy!

These little orange cubes are slightly crispy on the outside and super creamy on the inside. They're sweet and slightly garlickly, with a rich background flavor from the squash.

I just couldn't stop eating them.

I want more now.

March 5, 2011

100 Miles of Food

If you're ready for a good foodie book, read Plenty by Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon. I just finished it and loved every word! It details the struggles they had when the vowed to eat only food grown within a 100 mile radius of their home for a full year. They live in British Columbia, Canada, so it's not a year-round garden location.

They share their canning woes from their summer harvest. I had Mom's help with mine, but if I hadn't, I probably would have had a similar story! It brought them together and made them appreciate their food so much more!

Each chapter was a month long and they alternated who was narrating, so the reader gets both perspectives of their experience. They each struggled differently and even struggled in their relationship. Both decided it was worth it and they grew closer through the experience.

They were vegetarians at the beginning but to properly nourish their bodies on local foods they added some seafood. All of their food was sustainably raised and they developed great relationships with the local farmers and merchants along the way.

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