Saturday, July 31, 2010

Future files: Pretty pastel ice cream sandwiches

Would someone please have a baby so I can throw a shower? These just scream BABY SHOWER! (You know who you are, get on it. That little boy needs a sibling! Ha ha.)

Or, for a little girl birthday party... or for a fun summer afternoon activity. I'm envisioning them in rainbow shades... bet you didn't see THAT coming!

I discovered these ice cream sandwiches on yet another fun blog I recently discovered, Such Pretty Things. Prepare to enter Pretty Land, truly. And these sandwiches are the tip of the Pretty Iceburg! OK, enough Pretty Talk.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

For a week sans-Seth, it went pretty quickly. He's up at the Gonzaga basketball camp until Sunday, comes home Monday. Ah. So I'm grateful for that, which starts us off so nicely...

And also this week, grateful for the ability to get fired up about something. Most days I feel pretty mellow about stuff. I mean, I get irritated and annoyed, short with those closest to me (of course!) and bitchy, same as the rest of you (yes, you). But one night this week I was hoppin' mad. I kind of liked it. Husband kind of liked it (because it wasn't at him!). And then I simmered down. Ah well, all good things must end.

Grateful for varied weather. That's my way of saying I'm glad it wasn't 100 degrees ALL week. When big, strange rain droplets hit my face a couple different times this week, it was kind of fun, a novelty.

Grateful for cold drinks on hot weeks. My friend who owns a coffee drive-through place here in town gave me a bit larger of a granita this week than I asked for, and I hadn't had one in years. Well, now I'm addicted. Again. Sheesh. Doesn't take much for me, does it? I have taken to calling granita my gateway drug, but I'm not sure what it's going to lead to. I'll keep you posted. From granita rehab.

 Chief and Ruby wondering why they don't get to come out and play with the bunnies.

Grateful for the ability to slow down, not go 90 mph all the time... one evening this week I saw a baby bunny in the yard. I knew that to get anywhere close to it, I'd need to get down on the grass and wiggle my way slowly around to take pictures. Chief and Ruby watched me, and for about a half hour, I just wiggled, took a picture, wiggled some more... good thing I wasn't viewable (I don't think) from the road. Would have been an odd sight. But it was just so pleasant to lie there (between wiggles) and watch the bunnies--another one came out across the yard to play--and not worry about anything bigger than a furr ball the size of my hand.

Grateful for creative inspiration, everywhere. I posted a number of new (to me) sites yesterday that I am inspired by. I'm also always inspired by my friends who are photographers and post their pictures online--Larry in Spokane, Tyna in Portland, Kimberly in TriCities and Kimberly in Walla Walla. Each of them has their own style and personality that show through their work, and I'm frankly in awe of them. The picture at the top of this post is by Tyna. I love that perspective!

Proving once again that I loved rainbows before rainbows were cool, I fixated on a fabric I saw on Etsy and had to search for. And by fixated I mean I spent hours sleuthing around online, looking for it. No luck. Sigh. But, it led me to rainbow plaids and then rainbow shoes and then... well, it was a downward spiral of rainbows. I can admit that. But what am I grateful for there, you ask? Color. Always grateful for color. (Don't you think I need that rainbow swimsuit/superhero costume up there on the right? I think so too.)

Thankful this week for a sweet niece, Maizy, who turned 10 on Wednesday. Poor dear had to endure husband and I singing Happy Birthday over the phone. I'm sure she'll be traumatized for a while. We love Maizy's sweet ways, and her exuberance over all things dogs and cats and American Girl and crafts and her dog Beatrice and her friends. Happy Birthday, Maizy! I am sure the party is continuing on your vacation this next week!

I'm thankful for advances in technology. For some people (I live with one of them), status quo just won't do. They're always moving, thinking, wanting things to improve and grow. I was tickled to discover the changes to Google's image search and display this week. Have you checked that out? Such a stunning improvement from the past. Really much easier to scan larger groups of photos quickly, and preview pictures before you select one. All hail Google, ruler of the internets!

It was a music-swappin' week, and I acquired some lovely tunes from my two friends who swap with me. I am always grateful for the boost to my day that a good song can bring!

This tune was one I'd purchased in anticipation of Sara Bareilles' new album (out Sept. 7, I believe), but sure enough, Walla Walla Mama Music Jen had already added it to her summer mix as well. (My summer mix is called Mowing Music. Appropriate, don't you think?) Anyway, this tune has been going through my head all day. Can't wait for the rest of her album.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday 13: Thirteen sites and blogs I've been enjoying lately

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the internet? Because I do. It's rather magical, don't you think, all this fab information and inspiration out there... quite simply wonderful. (I know, I sound like someone's grandmother who just discovered hot running water, oh my!)

It's been awhile since I've shared new sites that I've found in my web wanderings and enjoy on a regular basis. I have oodles of sites in my feeds, but you know a site is special ("the one"--or rather one of dozens!) when you return to it over and over. These are them, for me.

I've covered the range of my interests... food, fabric, craftiness, creativity, inspiration, wordiness... Some of these sites are quite new to me, others I've been following or reading for awhile. But I don't believe I've ever mentioned them here, and they're not on my sidebar, so ta-da! Here they are. I hope you enjoy as well. And in no particular order...

 1. They Draw And Cook. All the recipes are submitted by artists, and each is a one-of-a-kind. Creative and inspiring on so many levels--arty and cooky. I can only dream of one day being able to submit a recipe to this site! One day...

2. Creature Comforts. Lots of pretty things, that's how I'd describe this blog.

3. 500 Pieces of Prudent Advice for My Baby Daughter. I love his mix of quotes and practical advice, some tried and true, some clever and personal.

4. Mila's Daydreams. This blog has gone viral just this past week--I've seen posts and re-posts in a lot of different places. Such a creative mom, and what a fun digital memory book for her babe. Precious.

5. Fresh Figs.  Could the name be any more up my alley? This blog inspires me in the fabric realm (it's mostly about quilting-related matters), and the photo above was posted just recently. That photo makes me very happy.

6. Her Library Adventures. Her blog description says all I need to know: "There once was a girl who liked sewing, books and tea..."
 7. Pitchfork. This site is all about music--what's new, up-and-coming and cool. I "get" about 5% of it... but still, it's fun to play along and see what the kids are up to!

8. How About Orange. There are so many great DIY projects and spots of inspiration here. Just downloaded a new font featured on the site, too!

9. The Sweeterie. I think I've mentioned at least one of Mary Swenson's other endeavors in the past, of which there are many: Pretty Good, Mary Swenson Photography, It's Mary Ruffle, and the trufflegirls Etsy shop, but this one I know I haven't: The Sweeterie. One amazingly creative person/team.

10. Delicious Days. The photography is great, the recipe ideas are spot-on (with great writing around them), and there's a new cookbook in the works! Yum. And the readers' favorites section is good reading--I could hang out there all day!

11. Lottie + Doof. Food, glorious food! This wonderful site offers some real creative recipes (e.g. Sbrisolona (Italian Crumbly Cake, above), Apple Jellies) and beautiful photos to boot.

12. Scoutie Girl. All about creative living and mindful spending with a healthy dose of Etsy-lovin' thrown in.

13. Suburban Bliss. I first discovered this blogger through Twitter, but I have no memory of how I found her on Twitter! I thought it was because Jen follows her and I do everything Jen does, but then I went and checked, and no, not that. Mystery. But, regardless of HOW I found her, I have consistently enjoyed Melissa's tweets and now her blog; she calls it straight with a twist of humor; strikes my funnybone just so, most days. And she recently posted about how to make that yummy Mexican corn-on-the-cob I've been meaning to try, so I know we'd be friends in "real" life.

Well, these are 13 of the many... hope there are a couple of new-to-you ones in the bunch, and one or two that you connect with too.

For more Thursday 13 participants, go here. And happy Thursday to you all.

Wordless Wednesday: Love those bunnies, but...



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lavender lemonade: Summer's amazing nectar

Vast acres of lavender? No, all you need is one lowly plant for this delicious summer drink.

It was a couple of summers ago when I first sipped it, at a baby shower. I remember being handed a cool glass with the off-hand comment, "Oh, this is lavender lemonade," like one would say, "I just closed the door." No biggie, so what. Ha! So what? This is the nectar of the gods, truly. My first thought (honestly) was, why does this person know about lavender lemonade and I do not? (No, not competitive at all.) Apparently, she had been following Martha Stewart a bit more closely than I...and Oprah (it was featured in the magazine in 2002! Where was I?)

Well, I might have been late to the party, but I did arrive, finally--quite happily. Since that shower, I have snipped and clipped lavender, much to my men's shaking heads (this one is completely lost on them) and filled the house with the beautiful scent  on a number of occasions.

The very first time I made it, I put the pot on the stove and went back out into the yard. Seth was in the kitchen with a friend, playing around on his computer. When I came back in a half hour later, the pot had boiled over on the stove and the syrup was bubbling all around. It was my brand-spanking new cooktop (which for a few minutes--well no, hours--I thought I had ruined completely), and I was steamed. Mostly at myself for not making sure it was on low low low before going out, but a little at the two clueless boys playing away while the syrup boiled over!

I have since learned my lesson. Smaller batches, lower temps, and me inside watching over it.

Lavender simple syrup
3 Tbsp. lavender blossoms
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Put all the ingredients in a heavy pot and bring to a low boil. Turn off the heat and steep for an hour or so, then strain and cool completely.

Some recipes call for leaving the flowers in the syrup while storing. I don't do that. I find the flavor is strong enough with the hour of steeping. And I like the look of it strained, rather than all grass-clipping-like, in the fridge.

The syrup keeps well for at least a month, so making a small batch as I've indicated above, you should be able to use it up. But I often can't resist doubling and or tripling the batch, to have gifts for friends with likeminded lavender needs!

Making the lemonade then, is a bit of a taste-testing experiment. And one I've struggled with, since I have generally started with lemonade (which is already sweet) and then added simple syrup (very sweet) and the drink has been hard to keep from getting over the top. The way I've solved it, is to add some seltzer to the drink and that helps keep the sweet factor from ratcheting up too much and the slight fizz is refreshing, too.

Usually about 2 tablespoons of the syrup into a 16 oz glass of lemonade (filled 3/4), then topped off with seltzer and you're good to go! This enables me to make one glass at a time at home, but I've also used the same general principal when making a whole pitcher and it works too!

Next time I need a larger batch of lemonade, though, I think I might try Oprah's recipe, which makes the syrup and lemonade all in one pot, and see if I can't adjust the sweet level right there. I'll let you know how it goes. For now, I'm off to harvest more lavender!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bits of My Weekend, Interrupted

Michelle, the host of "Bits of My Weekend," isn't posting this week (she has a good excuse, you can read about it here), so neither will I. Sort of. I'd already acknowledged to myself the extreme lack of photo-taking over the weekend, and I knew there wouldn't be a lot to share... not after the hoopla of last weekend, especially. So I have three little pictures to share...

This weekend was Mellow, with a capital M. Seth and I got home a day earlier from our Canada travels than we'd originally planned, so we were able to have a relaxing Friday night around the campfire. And yes, smoke still does follow beauty. Cough, sputter.

I had to admit, for probably the umpteenth time, that as much as I like the idea of s'mores I am not a huge fan of the reality. I like each individual piece, indeed, but together they pack more of a sweet wallop than I need... so one s'more definitely does it for me. Seth has developed into a patient marshmallow toaster, and was able to deliver a lovely golden morsel.

Saturday we all slept in, very lazy like. Essentially our day held a late breakfast, some napping (me) and reading and a flurry of afternoon cooking before a late lunch-supper. I made cherry-ricotta ice cream and while it was yummy, it was generally agreed that next time the cherries should be whizzed up (like I did with the figs) and not be quite so chunky.

Sunday was hot again! Big shock. Other than drag hoses around to catch a few brown patches in the lawn, there wasn't a lot of outdoor work done... other than at the pool. Seth had a friend along and we went to splish-splash for a bit before taking in Inception and enjoying that bit of summer movie intensity. There was also some trampoline jumping for the boys, and there's a Farming Game in full swing downstairs, so for some people, the weekend isn't really over yet, is it?

Hope yours was a lovely weekend, and I'm sure Bits will be back next week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday night grateful moment

Just a quick blink-and-you-miss-it week since the Kandt family was gathered on Vancouver Island. In a way, it seems like much longer ago than seven days, and yet... yeah, yeah, like yesterday. Ah well. The passage of time... I'm still waiting to hear from a few of you on the whole "slowing down time" thing, whether that's a pause button or what exactly, I'm not sure.

And yes, like every week, things to be thankful for. Some new, some old, some big, some small.

Thankful for safe travels for Seth and I. I don't take that for granted.

So so grateful to be home again with husband, who was missed mightily.

Glad to have had some days with Ma and Pa on Mayne Island, just chillin' and hanging out, making ice cream and napping. Oh boy, that was quite the relaxing vacation. Even our day in Victoria was pretty mellow. We did get a couple of really good walks in, Ma and Seth and I, but other than that it was ice cream and napping. Oh, did I mention that already?!

Thankful to have parents that are a pleasure to hang out with. I don't take THAT for granted either!

And a son who is a joy on road trips. We have the Brian Regan pretty much memorized ("The yellow one's the SUN!"), and are working on Jim Gaffigan too. We're both pretty much enamored with Jim's "I am speaking as an audience member" voice; that cracks me up every time. Other than the comedy, we both inflicted music on the other (Ratatat from him, for some reason I was in an ELO mood yesterday morning coming home) and of course just chatted and solved the problems of the world too.

Here's a clip of Jim. I love his understated style.

And here's a funny one of Brian too. I think he's just got childhood figured out; well, mine at least. He makes me laugh out loud and almost drive off the road (right, aunty M?), whereas Jim makes me chuckle with an occasional snort.

Very grateful husband got to the bottom of the water issues while I was away. Sorry he had to deal with them, but happy that (knock on wood), the issues have been resolved. I'm very reluctant to say anything too optimistic, for fear of Ye Olde Jinx, but we'll take it as it comes and hope for the best in the coming hot days. Yes, hot. Supposed to be 101 on Sunday. Holy hot day!

Grateful for the garden and the pile of zuccchini, summer squash, cucumbers, dill and basil I hauled in this morning. I just snipped the flowers from the basil and ended up with a giant bag of it! That was lunch, and will be some happy pesto for pizza this weekend, too. Oh the basil love, it is strong.

Thankful too for the plethora of fresh fruits that are on my kitchen counter... the peaches and nectarines and apricots, watermelon, cherries and blueberries too! Oh my. Happy summer eating, the best of the year!

Thankful for my time in the car wash this afternoon. (The picture above is of the cleaning foams, from inside. I just love the colors, naturally.) I listened to the last few minutes of The Hour I First Believed and just sat in quiet for a few minutes, pondering. Good book; I'd recommend. SO much more than about just the Columbine incident. Lots of family history and background, drama and intrigue. And the protagonist isn't a good guy in the typical sense--he can be a bit of an ass, he makes a lot of mistakes and is pretty selfish at times. But you want him to get out of his own way, and make a good life for himself, so you end up pulling for him and hoping for his success.

Thankful for my laundry slave. I told Seth today I'd feel comfortable leaving him at home to do laundry by himself now--he's graduated, definitely, from the need to be micromanaged, and I don't think any of our white loads will turn pink under his watchful eye. He loves cleaning the lint screen especially, so I also wouldn't have to worry about him burning the house down!

Grateful for traditions like our Friday night supper of haystacks. I don't think I could ever get tired of those...

Grateful for Kim and our walks and talks. For putting up with me and my "let's head off into the hinterlands and see where we end up!" And our expert GPS navigation of Campbell River--wow did we turn over every rock in that town looking for a pool for the kids! Thank you, sister, for good times, making memories.

Sitting here by the beautiful roses my husband put out for my arrival home, it seems easy to say "stop and smell the roses;" but wherever you are, even if the scent isn't quite as perfume-y as actual roses, I hope you get a chance to savor a moment of gratitude for where you are and how you got there. And if it's not a particularly good place--we've all been THERE for a minute or two--I hope you find some hope that tomorrow will be better than today, and that one foot in front of the other can really take you out of the woods/weeds and to a better place.

Off to the fire pit now, to make s'mores and sit with my men and watch the sun go down. Lots to be thankful for, hope you feel the same.

Art source.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday 13: Thirteen [old] recipes from Weight Watchers

It's been quite a while since my friend Lisa posted a link to my Facebook wall with some really horrendous looking Weight Watchers recipes from the 70s.

I was immediately captivated by the grimace factor and have been meaning to share them here for some time. Finally, a little spare time on vacation to look through the drafts folder!

There are more on the original site that posted these recipes originally; 26 in all! But I picked my "favorite" 13. I hope you enjoy them too. Ugh.

Caucasian? Are you serious?
Makes one wonder why we haven't seen the neighbors recently...

"Chilled" implies it once was not.
This is especially frightening when considering celery.

What on earth is in the bowl that the salad surrounds?
Looks like a Blue Hawaiian gone really wrong.

Gray food. Can't think of anything to add to those two words.

Fluffy + mackerel = nightmares.

Not sure what the significance of the pineapple top tower is, but I'm sure it has something
to do with the spectacular-ness of the dish.

I'm certainly inspired by this soup. Or maybe I'm just confused and I'm really inspired
by the candles. Yeah, that's it.

I knew Jello was missing a flavor option: Tomato! That's the ticket.

I bet the liver is glad it has a "masque" so no one knows it's on that plate!

What melon has a color like this? None. None melon.

Nothing says perfection like shredded red cabbage and, what, Jello again? Yum.

Apparently the drink to the left has a bouillon cube and some sherry vinegar in it.
Oh yes, that's a slender quencher alright.

Again with the heat on items that should be cool. I loves me some warm lettuce!

I hope you enjoyed these menu items as much as I did! I certainly enjoyed looking at them and knowing I would never have to eat them. It's wonderful to know how much our diets have changed over the years for the better; even if we don't always live up to our nutritional potential every day, we have options and choices!

For other Thursday 13 participants, go here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More ice cream! Three ingredients each: Banana ice cream and Raspberry ice cream

After our fig ice cream extravaganza the other day, there was a bit of cream left over, and far be it from our family to allow that to go to waste!

Also, we stopped by a beautiful fruit stand in Victoria yesterday and Mom got another flat of raspberries--big as your thumb, these babies! So naturally we thought: raspberry ice cream. Good thought. I found a few recipes online but ended up culling the best of a few and making my own mixture. Keeping the raspberries fresh was key, as was not using eggs (we ran out after making potato salad for lunch!).

See, I meant it. Big as my thumb, anyway.

Raspberry Ice Cream
2 cups cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups fresh raspberries

Combine the cold cream and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Put the mixture in your ice cream machine/mixer and let it mix for 10-15 minutes, then add the raspberries and mix for another few minutes until well blended.

When I added the berries, the mixture got quite soft again for awhile, and Pa made the bright suggestion that I should stick the berries in the freezer to chill prior to making it next time. I agree that might help speed the process up a bit, but we persevered and it was a good half hour later with occasional stirs that the ice cream was hard enough to scoop into dishes.

This makes not quite a quart in a Donvier ice cream make. I would recommend splitting this between six people, rather than the four we had... I know, we didn't have to dish up the whole batch, but it just kinda happened, and then we all walked around in a raspberry ice cream coma for a bit. Not eating cream on a daily basis, it was quite rich. Quite yummy too.

I had also glimpsed a recipe a couple of days ago on a Serious Eats post on my sidebar over there to the right... banana ice cream, using frozen bananas. Since I usually have some sad overripe bananas on my counter at home, I thought experimenting with this might be a good thing. And why not do it while visiting the parents, so they can be guinea pigs too?! Two birds with one stone. How handy.

Banana, Honey and Peanut Butter Ice Cream
serves 1
Adapted from The Kitchn

1 large, slightly over-ripe banana
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey

Peel banana. Slice it into about ten chunks. Freeze the chunks. Once frozen, put them in a food processor with peanut butter and honey. Puree until creamy, like soft serve ice cream, stopping the processor to scrape the sides when necessary.


Forget to peel banana. Freeze it. Wrestle futilely with now-frozen banana peel. Give up and let it sit for 30 minutes to thaw. Peel banana like a two-year-old. Break it into three or four pieces. Add pieces to food processor with peanut butter and honey. Puree until creamy, like soft serve ice cream, stopping the processor to scrape the sides when necessary.

I picked the first method (doubled it to share with the family) and it worked really well. The whole family enjoyed it, thoroughly. Of course, there was also consensus that a dribble of chocolate would be a wonderful addition to the banana/peanut butter flavor and I have to agree. But for a dairy-free ice cream, that is one amazing dessert!

Midweek missing...

We'll be home so soon! Can't wait. xo
Blogger Template By Designer Blogs