Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween!

{The Princess and the Bee}
We've had a busy celebratory weekend that started Friday at school with the traditional Halloween parade all around the school. So many happy faces-kids just filled with the joy of childhood.

{Groovy Girl and her painted pumpkin}
{Cinderella teaches 2nd grade at our school}
Tomorrow will be a crazy day at school as kids anticipate their evening of trick or treating around their neighborhoods.  They don't have to worry about the upcoming election, all the political ads, all the negativity! They can dress up and enjoy.  It's also really nice weather here which is great for festivities. We had our annual Fall Fest at church today and it was comfortable playing games outside with a sweater on.

{Hay ride around the neighborhood}
I finally finished The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami; interesting tale, took me a long time to read, and I'm not sure I get it. My take away was that he did everything he could to bring his wife back to him; a lot of strange stuff in between. If anyone knows more about the book I'd love to know. I'm now reading Another Brooklyn by one of my favorite authors Jacqueline Woodson and a new library book, Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos.  My 6th grade book club just started The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson and I'm excited to see what they think because it is just so different from what they would normally pick up.

{Hansen goes all out}

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Weekly Recipes 16; October

A friend at school gave me a huge grocery bag full of swiss chard and I've had fun experimenting with it. I've made it only a small handful of times, mostly just wilted in a pan with lemon squeezed. It was less than exciting. But I was very willing to try again. In handing over the swiss chard Kristin gushed about a swiss chard and potato recipe she made and so that very next weekend I googled it and put it together. I found this one from the NYT; Potato and swiss chard gratin.

Mind you it was not something Groovy Girl would stick her spoon into but my husband and I loved the creamy change of pace. After that recipe I still had half a bag of chard but I had other things to cook and forgot about it. I expected to open the bag a few days later, maybe a week, and find wilted, grossness but nope it was still hanging in there. Book club was just around the corner and I felt like a crisp salad.  Googling brought this swiss chard recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen and it was so lemony and delicious. A few days later I was actually craving the crispness of the salad again. So I guess I'll look forward to the next time I find swiss chard. I'm a fan now.

This weekend we had another family over to hang out around our fire pit. The days are getting nippier and soon it will be too cold.  Hopefully this wasn't our last weekend out there but if it is we certainly had fun.  I had some very good brats in my freezer from a local locker that I simmered in two cans of beer and then roasted over the crackling fire.

My friends Marek and Erin recently shared a jar of homemade sauerkraut and we had lots of toppings; spicy mustards, diced red onion, Amy's ketchup, TJ's wasabi mayonnaise, feta cheese. We had our salsa and blue chips and a garbanzo bean recipe from BudgetByte's that I've wanted to try. I served the chickpeas over a bed of arugula from last week's farmers market run. I am a huge fan of garbanzos and I thought this one turned out great; interesting spicy and sweet flavors mixed together. Of course around the campfire we roasted some marshmallows and made s'mores for dessert.

Swiss Chard Salad
Cumin Lime Chickpeas

Even though it's October I haven't made one thing with pumpkin in it. I like to look at pumpkins-the color is so vibrant-but I'm not a pumpkin pie fan. I should maybe try a pumpkin soup. On occasion I like a pumpkin spiced latte or chai.  Maybe in the next week I can get locate a few more Fall flavors.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Books and food and so many other tidbits

Dance has taken over our life and when we are not at dance Groovy Girl is on my computer working on homework. 9th grade honors classes are pushing her and keeping her busy.

School has me super busy as I'm constantly tweaking lessons and working with our young leadership team. In between and sometimes because of school I've been reading some great books. Hansen's 6th grade book club just finished The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich.  This book is underappreciated. A few libraries in our district don't even have copies!

It is a beautifully written story of a young Ojibwa girl and her family as they rotate through the seasons. The accelerated kids in my book club thought it was interesting and the book brought forth a lot of discussion.

At home I finished The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald; a fresh fun story about a young Swedish woman who travels to Broken Wheel, Iowa to meet her bookish pen pal. By the time Sara arrives her pen pal, Amy, has died. The very small town rallies around her and the results are often strange and bittersweet. I enjoyed this tale for its quirky cast of characters and all the book trivia.

My husband and I sometimes read books to each other and we recently finished The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This is a psychological thriller and I've seen a lot of up and down reviews. We enjoyed it and love trying to figure out where the story is going. This one kept us guessing for a few plot twists. Next up we are going to read a classic thriller by Nancy Price-Sleeping with the Enemy.

I made the butternut squash soup, the potato and swiss chard dish and the butternut tabbouleh from my last blog post. All were delicious. Later tonight I'm going to make my stepmother's zucchini bread for my husband because I have two that are oversized from our school garden. First I'm going to relax with some friends, music, and wine. Just the way to spend a Friday night. Groovy Girl made me dinner also; a veggie wrap using gluten-free wraps from Aldi. Something she watched a YouTube video about...

I'll have to work harder to wrestle the computer away from her so I can write more before the month closes out.

Enjoy the weekend!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Farmers Market Bounty

I spent two hours this morning standing at an information booth for our soon-to-be co-operative grocery store. Before I settled in to that job though I took a stroll through our lively and beautiful market.

I now have turnips, swiss chard, small potatoes, four bulbs of garlic, 2 butternut squash, and about an hour spent trolling the internet for recipes ideas.  Here's what I came up with:

1. Huff Post article about butternut squash with an easy peel method!

{Naturally Ella}
2. Naturally Ella-butternut squash soup

3. Cookie + Kate-butternut tabbouleh

{NYT Cooking}

4. New York Times Cooking-swiss chard and potatoes au gratin (with gruyere cheese-ohh yes!) I love my NYT teacher subscription.

{well-plated by erin}
5. Well-plated by Erin-Slow cooker butternut squash pulled pork tacos-I'd change out the pulled pork to something else we would eat.

6. A classic family recipe from a Moosewood cookbook-black bean and sweet potato burritos that could be made with butternut squash instead. Just remembered how good they are!

Now that I've made myself really hungry I'm off to eat dinner at a friend's. My recipe pull was heavy on squash but the swiss chard one is a keeper that I'm making tomorrow night for Sunday dinner. I don't want the swiss chard to go all limp on me and the squash saves for a good long time.

Groovy Girl is turning into a kitchen staple. Last night, bored with my idea of leftovers, she took to a recipe site that takes your ingredient list and spits possible recipe choices back out. She found this recipe for chicken broccoli pasta and she made it all herself.  I avoided the chicken and thought the flavor of the recipe amazing.  Lemon-love lemons. Try Zakk's Lemon Broccoli Pasta.

Enjoy!  This post is linked last minute to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking post.