Archive | July, 2012

Camping with Quinoa

27 Jul

I love having salad’s waiting for me to eat during the summer.  No one wants to stop the fun of swimming and playing to make a big meal.  At least I don’t.

Sooooo, I have a great recipe for you to keep in your fridge or for you to take on your next camping trip.  I brought this one on our trip last weekend and it kept fine and tasted great.  Here is the recipe:

Citrus Quinoa Salad


  1. Soak 1 C Quinoa in water 10 min
  2. Bring to simmer 1 cup veg broth 2/3 Cup watr
  3. Strain Quinoa and add to pot bring to simmer 14 minutes.
  4. Cool

Add :

3 peeled madarin oranges

1 cup grape tomatoes

½ Cup red pepper

2 tsp fresh basil

1Cup cooked black beans


½ plus 2 Tbs Olive oil

¼ Cup Lime Juice

1 Tbs honey

If you have never had quinoa you should give it a try.


25 Jul

where’d they go?

You never know what will happen when you camp with young children.  Will they sleep?  will they eat anything?  Will they hate it and cry the entire time.  Thankfully we had no problems with any of these things.  Although a couple times Sophi said, “I just wanna go inside!”  Sorry, buddy- there is no inside when you are camping.

We planned an event with the young families at our church and we all had a great time.  The weather was beautiful and we spent most of the time in the water since it was so warm.

For those of you who know Sophi know she is a messy kid.  I think she was made to camp.  She loved playing in the dirt and just getting more and more yucky.  Thankfully we had the lake to wash her off in.

Aleah did great and loved hanging out at the park and playing with her friends.

We hope to go camping a few more times this year.  It is so nice to drive ten minutes and be in he middle of the woods.  Most people have to drive hours and hours to get to a good campground.  Not us, we have beautiful camping locations surrounding us.

Sweet Peas, the delicious ending

22 Jul

After all Aleah’s hard work, she finally gets to enjoy them!

A delicious treat is waiting whenever we go outside.


Good job Aleah

I am so proud of my little gardener

This Calls for Cake!

19 Jul

This is my 200th blog post!  I think that calls for some cake =)

This is the cake Aleah requested for her real Birthday, a “barbie” cake:

a doll squished into the middle of a cake baked in a round bowl

I had bigger plans for her birthday party day.  This cake is so rich a delicious.  I only wish I had my strawberries when I made the cake.

Extreme Chocolate Cake Recipe:

2 cups sugar

1  3/4 cup flour (sorry Courtney)

1 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1  1/2 tsp baking soda

1  1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Bake in 2, 9 inch pans for 30 minutes


3/4 cup butter

1  1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

5  1/3 cup confectioners sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

I dusted the top with a bit of confectioners sugar to make it purdy

I didn’t say it was healthy, only EXTREMELY delicious!

Wallpaper Woes

16 Jul

The parsonage had quite a bit of wallpaper.  So we decided to do some squirting, peeling and scraping during the re-modelling process.

Do you know how long it takes to take wallpaper down?  Well I do now and it is not a fun process.  It is extremely time consuming.  While there was about a billion other things I should have been doing.  I was squatting in the dining room trying to get wallpaper down.

I guess my dad and I have the same sort of technique

The actual process of removing wallpaper is very straightforward.  Spray the wall with hot water.  Or better yet use a spray bottle full of fabric softener AND hot water.  Okay I am boring myself already…just google it.  It takes more muscle power than brain power to deal with stripping wallpaper.

This being our first home decorating experience, we have learned quite a bit about our likes and dislikes (we even made several paint choices we weren’t thrilled about, and ended up repainting soon after.).  But one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that wallpaper is probably never worth the work – wether it’s the application or the removal.  Chances are whatever style you are going for won’t be in style in 5-10 years, and when you have to take it down you will be very angry at your past life decision to put up wallpaper.  A repaint will take  about a half hour to do, but a wallpaper stripping job will probably take you a couple days.  Just don’t do it.  Take it from me, someone who has this job fresh in her mind– it is NOT fun and NOT something I ever want to do again.

when you get a big sheet to pull off like this one, you are in luck

Do you like my wallpaper stripping shimmer pants?  These are essential (just so ya know)

Make the Most of your Compost

14 Jul

Caitlyn mentioned a few posts ago about the gleeful wonder we experience each year when reminded that gardening actually works!  There’s something remarkable when seeds, sun, and soil miraculously add delightful things to our dinner table.  It’s a childlike joy I hope we never grow out of.

In the same way, I have become obsessively fond of the miracle involved in composting.  I have yet to become tired of watching my coffee grounds and cucumber peels (and lots of other stuff) magically transform themselves into dark, rich, organic compost.  If the idea of compost is lost on you then before you read any further, check out this older post I did for our friend over at ittybittyimpact a few years ago.

Anyway, if you’ve tried your hand at composting and are now looking for ways to use that black gold, here’s what I’ve been up to:

First, when we transplanted our peppers and tomatoes into the garden, I carried a bucketful of compost from the bottom of my bin (this is where the darkest, most decomposed matter can be found) and mixed several handfuls of  compost to the subsoil around the roots of the plant as I set them in the garden.  The compost then functions as a fertilizer, adding nutrient rich matter to the dirt around the plants.  The compost also provides and retains moisture so the soil around the plants doesn’t dry out.

Notice the little “gardener” snake enjoying itself

Then, just last night I filled my bucket again with piles of stinky, succulent compost, but this time, rather than adding the compost beneath the soil I simply piled the compost around the base of the plants as mulch.  This is an important technique as the growing season progresses because the top layer of soil can get quite dry and hard in the dog days of summer, but the compost helps retain moisture and keeps water from simply beading and running off the dry ground around the plant base.  The compost also minimizes erosion around the plants and gradually releases nutrients into the soil like fertilizer.

Compost is dirty.  It sometimes stinks a little like poo.  It is made out of rotten food.

But it has somehow become one of my favorite things about gardening, and I’m tickled by the idea that my jalapenos and tomatoes are being fed by the scraps of things that once fed me.  And will soon feed me again.

Salad Greens

11 Jul

Our garden is cranking out lettuce, kale, chard and arugula like there is no tomorrow.  We have a salad almost everyday and have been passing it out as fast as we can.  I love how salad keeps coming all summer.

Here are a few of the delicious dinners we have been enjoying.

There is nothing better than oil and vinegar to accentuate the flavor of the leaves.


7 Jul

Hopefully you have already gone strawberry picking and need some crepes to go with them!

Here is my go-to recipe:

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup water

1 cup flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons butter (melted)

put into a blender and then cook ’em on the stove

Sophi was a fan, she kept lifting them up and saying, “What’s this?”

happy eating, they will be gone in no time at all

Berries for Winter

5 Jul

I love strawberries.

Right off the plant they are juicy, perfectly ripe and delicious.

I believe I have almost 30 pounds in my freezer right now.  Why so much? you might ask.  And I would have to say it might not be enough =)

but the reason I need to have loads of strawberries in my freezer is so that I can make it through the long winter.  For some reason if I have strawberries to last me a winter I can survive.  Taking a bag of strawberries out of the freezer on a cold and blustery day in the dead of winter is a pretty good feeling.

The only thing I do to the berries is wash them, hull them and cut them in half (or a few pieces if they are a big berry).  For some of them I let sit for a while to let them soak in their own juice and others I put into the freezer right away.  Here is my berry preparation setup:

How beautiful is this-

Jared is quite excited because I made a lot of compost for him:

Cook Lion’s Garage Sale

3 Jul

We made it to our first famous, citywide garage sale.  For a whole year the Lion’s Club collects couches, books, dressers, electronics, dishes, skis, bikes.  There was even a sailboat, golf cart and a motor home for sale.

All these items are stored in a building up until the big sale when they are moved into the school and fills up the gym and some hallways.  We walked through the sale on Tuesday and then again Thursday night to scope out the items.  We found two chairs that we really wanted as well as some floor lamps that we needed since the toy room and living room have no overhead lights.

So, yes, I am now one of those people who sets their alarm clock to wake up at the crack of dawn for a good deal. I set my alarm for 5:15 am on Friday and got to the sale at 5:40 am.  And I was 3rd in line.  I drove up and two other ladies were sitting there in fold-up camping chairs right in front of the door.  At first we were uneasy with one another, worrying if we were after the same things.  But soon we found out that we were after completely different goods.  We all talked strategy about how we were going to get the items that we had woken up so early to buy.

Slowly more and more people began to trickle into the line we had started.  By 7am rolled around it was getting a big hostile, with people arguing about what door was actually going to be opened first.  At 7:30 am came the line was wrapping around the school and I was extremely glad I would not have to wait in that line or elbow my way to the items that I wanted.  Wow.

I am proud to say that Jared and I got all the furniture and misc items we were hoping for.  The corners of the house that need a little help are now filled and it was quite the experience.

Not sure if I will ever need to line up that early again but I met some interesting people in that line and couldn’t be happier about our finds.

Look at it all, things were inside and outside-