Monday, August 31, 2009

4, 3, 2, 1, 1/2 and 1/2

So we joined a CSA this summer, and overall it has been a good thing. Organic, fresh-picked, locally grown produce delivered to our back porch each Saturday.

But here's the thing: this is a good year for Ohio farmers. A very good year. So produce is growing well and we have had a plethora of goods from our CSA.

While I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, I admit, I am not the best freezer, canner or preserver of food. This CSA experience has forced me to become good at freezing food for future use since, while my family likes corn, 10 ears of corn a week, every week, is a bit much. Don't even get me started on the green beans.

But back to corn and an amazing tidbit I learned through personal experience last summer. You can eat corn raw. You don't have to boil it, grill it or otherwise heat it up to make it amazingly tasty. That's why I love this salad. It the lazy mom's best friend...raw corn salad.

To help me remember how to make this tasty side, I call it the 4, 3, 2, 1, 1/2 and 1/2 salad. See if you can figure out why...

Corn Salad (aka, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1/2 and 1/2)

4 cups corn (either cut raw from the cob or regular frozen corn)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 large onion, minced

Remove the corn from the cob:

Mix with the remaining ingredients and voila, it transforms into:

I know what you are looks exactly the same. That is by design as my kids like their corn the plainer, the better. You can take this same recipe and add red onion, red pepper and herbs and make it look much more fancy. But plain or fancy, this corn salad is super tasty.

Serves 6.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So busy I forgot to cook

Today my sweet R started kindergarten. Well, okay, technically his first day of regular class is on Friday, as our school district eases everyone into the new routine by bringing 1/3 of the students to the classroom for a day this week, and then Friday "the gang's all here" so to speak.

So today R was able to test the waters with a small group of new friends and declared that his day was "fantastic!" "Day" being really just a few hours in the afternoon; R will attend PM kindergarten and be able to forgo the early morning rush out the door for one more year.

In the midst of driving SPH to work (flat tire, our second this summer!), picking up one last thing for school at Target, attaching his requested patches on his backpack, assembling all his school supplies, taking the obligatory picture, and actually taking him to and from school, I realized I had completely forgotten to prepare dinner. Guess I was distracted with the big day, so it was veggie burgers to the rescue.

So, without further adieu, some obligatory "First Day of School" pictures:

R designed his own backpack:

Outside his new classroom:

Sentimental mommy that I am, I didn't even have a hint of a tear. Maybe that'll come on Friday?

Either way, I hope your back to school or back to whatever "school year" routine you share goes well...

This tired mom is headed to an early bedtime,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No use cryin' over spilled...

Taking a page from Jersey Baby's playbook, I allowed Ryan to create his own culinary masterpiece in the kitchen yesterday.

I was in our eating area, working on a blog post for when I heard a muted crash and then,

"Uh-ohhhhh. Um, mom? I sort of made a mess."

Remember my post not too long ago about using Cocoa Powder with yogurt since I always have too much cocoa powder on hand?

Not anymore...

Most of it ended up on the floor (note the stainless drawer pull in the picture, covered in cocoa), but all in all, it made for a fairly quick clean up.

No use cryin' over spilled cocoa...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Unexpected Discovery

This is a story of a mom, her boys and an expected discovery in our backyard.

Recently our yard started sprouting these different looking weeds, not like anything I had seen (and I have seen plenty!):

It was peculiar to me that this new weed was just growing in an area in our backyard, near our tree. I started pulling out the weeds, and after a few pulls, up came:

Can you guess what sort of "weeds" we have growing in our backyard? I'll give you a hint...a couple of weeks before these pictures were taken, we found some old squirrel feeders in a closet at church. No one wanted them, so we hung out these to feed our squirrels:

Our little Jumpy Squirrel (yes, they are all the same squirrel, named affectionately "Jumpy" after Curious George's squirrel friend) ate some of his squirrel treats, but then, in typical squirrel fashion, buried some for the long Ohio winter.

A fun discovery for R, G and I and also a good lesson in how corn grows. By the way, although I know it is ridiculously late in the season, we kept three corn stalks that began to grow near our herb garden. Maybe we will have some corn before the frost?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Curried Chicken Salad

Looking for a great Curried Chicken Salad Recipe? I am addicted to this one...


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Greek Orzo Salad

I've been looking for a recipe like this all summer, and I finally found it.

This Greek Orzo is just the right balance of briny olives, bright lemon and creamy feta. The flavors blend so well together it is sublime.

We ate this poolside for a on-the-go dinner, and then had it as a side with some grilled goodies later in the week. This orzo is also great as a leftover lunch.

Greek Orzo Salad

2/3 box of orzo pasta (about 10-12 oz, just eyeball it)
2 cups of artichoke hearts, chopped
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 cup sliced black or kalamata olives
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 small yellow squash or zucchini, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
4-6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Juice of one large lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook the orzo according to the box directions. Meanwhile, combine all the vegetables in a large bowl.

Drain the pasta and mix with the vegetables, tossing well. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil. Stir well and then add the olive oil, stirring as your pour. Pour the dressing over the orzo and mix well. Finish with the feta cheese.

Makes 6 servings as a main dish, more as a side.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Killing 2 ingredients with one bowl

Do you do this?

You buy an ingredient for a recipe or use, and then have way more than you need. It your fridge, your cabinet, your pantry and slowly migrates toward the part of your kitchen until you find it, much later.

Two of my chronic offenders in my kitchen are:

Chocolate? Gone in no time, but cocoa powder, well, I hadn't found much of a regular use for it. But now I combine it with my favorite yogurt for a sweet treat that is wonderfully tasty, fat free and a quick chocolate fix.


Monday, August 3, 2009

A different kind of food origin

Do your sweet peas like Curious George? Mine do, big time. One of our favorite books is:

So we took a little trip to Anthony Thomas, which as it turns out, is about 2 miles from our home! There we toured the largest family owned chocolate factory in the East and their 100,000 square foot candy making facility.

Sadly, no picture taking was allowed inside the factory, but after our tour we were treated to a complimentary Buckeye and I took this picture of the boys:

You can see G still enjoying his Buckeye, while R tries to figure out how to shimmy into the glass case surrounding a 250 pound Buckeye candy.

We learned quite a bit, including the fact that a full sized tanker truck full of melted chocolate delivers at their facility every other day. I may need to do some quality control next time that truck rolls into town.

As the summer begins to wane down, I am trying to put my head around the fact that R starts kindergarten in 3 weeks. I am enjoying lots of time with my big boy before the big day...on that note, we are off to the pool now!

Oh, but our meals for the week:
Stuffed Peppers and Tomatoes, Sauteed Mushrooms, Cherries
Grilled Scallops, Ann's Zucchini
Tortellini with Corn, Tomato and Basil
Pizza and Green Beans, Fruit Salad

Have a great week!