Thursday, February 28, 2013

Maple Oat Scones

Sorry for the delay in blog updates!  I didn't get a chance to sort my pics last weekend like usual, so I didn't have any ready to publish this week.  :o(  I have been feeling guilty for disappointing all my loyal readers (all three of you) so I knew I needed to carve out some time to get a few photos on.

I was going to do a post about our great President's Day adventures last week, but Bunny beat me to it (check out her post on her blog).  So instead, I will share some baking that my middle child and I did recently.

As one of our 5 new recipes for February, Mariposa and I
decided to make Maple Oat Scones for snack.
As with most scone recipes, this one required
no electric mixer.
I love when scones are pre-cut so they have nice crusty edges. 
Here is the recipe, from my new cookbook (a Christmas
present from my goddaughter Eliot--thank you!!)
Scones with the maple glaze
A winner!  I loved these but I didn't know what the kids
would think.  They were a little dry and oatmeal-y (I did use
our ever-present 5-grain oatmeal mix instead of plain oats).
The kids REALLY liked these!  The glaze was really the
icing on the 
Seddy gave us one of his cheesy smiles to show that
he liked the scones, too.  :o)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Around the World in 12 dishes

Earlier this month Marcus and I had the great privilege of attending a dinner hosted by Fr. Peter!  My friends Sterling and Lisa had bid on, and won, the dinner at last year's school auction, and invited us to attend.  The auction theme was "the Great Outdoors" so Fr. Peter chose to make dishes from different countries.  They were all delicious (except the cucumber dip, because I don't dig cukes). I wish I wrote down all the different dishes, but I didn't, so my memory will have to do.

Marcus sampling the appetizers
Plate of appetizers:  hmm, I think they were:
Russian eggs, feta bread (greek), tchokiti cucumber dip
 (Turkey), risotto fritter (Italy), something else I don't
remember, and ...a cricket!!! (Mexico)
There were three main dishes that were all wonderful:
pork (Hungary), lamb? (?), and a great fish dish (Sweden?)
Held at Jackson Bottom Reserve center
(going with the outdoor theme)
Thank you, Sterling, Lisa, and Michaels, for inviting us!  We had a great time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

NYR #5: January new recipes

Ok, I did it!  Five new recipes for January: Funfetti cake, Meghan's famous frosting, crock pot BBQ chicken, Giada's chocolate brownie pop cookies, and spaghetti carbonara pie.
the Funfetti cake was for J/G bday party
I would definitely make this again.  It was fun and festive
and made a good-sized 9" 4-layer cake.

The spaghetti carbonara pie was just for a normal weekday
meal.  I didn't like it very much (not a fan of carbonara, not
even when I had it in Rome) so we won't make it again.
The brownie pops (here in simple sandwich
form) were very very good!!  
The cousins enjoyed the BBQ chicken sandwiches, and I
enjoyed that they came from the crock pot!
For the brownie pops recipe, I only made the cookie portion of the recipe (not the fillings).  I used leftover frosting for the filling.  I would like to try the white-chocolate ganache filling sometime...but not the strawberry preserves.  Fruit and chocolate do not mix in this house!!!  ;o)
The BBQ chicken sandwiches were good, and it was especially helpful that I made this over the weekend and had it ready to reheat for our busy Wednesday dinner.  Wednesdays we add 2 cousins to our dinnertime routine, and Marcus is frequently out of town, so I have been making more meals on the age-old tip that really works!  I don't have a link to the recipe, but if anyone is interested, I can post it.  Just a simple chicken-in-crockpot type meal, with a homemade sauce that was as good as you can get when using a crock pot (then thickened on the stovetop).

Some recipes:

In sum, I will most definitely make the cake, frosting, cookies, and BBQ chicken again.  Especially the cookies...with the frosting!  Yum!
We've been working on February new recipes but haven't quite made 5 of them yet.  You'll see the February creations sometime in March.  I have some more winners!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

New Altar Servers

A week ago Monday, Bunny had her first training to be an altar server.  That Thursday, she had her second training.  And on Sunday, she served her first Mass!
St. Matthew has an excellent training program headed up by a longtime volunteer, Mr. W.  Mr. W is fantastic with the kids, very thorough, and very knowledgable.  He has them trained very well, with great discipline.  Bunny's job was to bring in the banner, help Fr. Peter, and ring the bell...all big jobs!  She and her cousin Aidan were fantastic.  They are participating in yet another way to serve and glorify God.
Bunny is holding the green banner

Bunny in bell-ringing position, with Aidan beside her
She will serve again tomorrow, and then two more Sundays.  Mr. W has it set up so that the same four new servers serve together 4 Sundays in a row, to really get it down.  So awesome!  After this initial period, she will be scheduled whenever.  I am really looking forward to her being able to help at funerals during the week, since (being a homeschooled kid) she doesn't have to worry about missing school.  I know I sound like a walking advertisement...but...another great reason why we homeschool: more opportunities to serve others and the church.

Great job, Bunny!  I love you!! :o)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Portland French Bakery

One of the major reasons we homeschool is so we are free to do interesting field trips!!

Our fantastic homeschool group (based at Holy Rosary in Portland) and my fantastic friend Jennifer M. has made it their goal to offer one field trip a month this year.  We went to September's trip (Oregon Trail Museum, remember that post?) and now January's.  (also...December's field trip to Intel was rescheduled to Feb, and Bunny went with Papa...and Marcus/Bunny/James have plans for Feb's trip to the Portland Youth Philharmonic.  Anyway...)  A homeschool dad works at the Portland French Bakery and was delighted to give us all a tour.
sportin' some stylish hairnets
 The PFBakery is about as large as you can get but still be hand-made.  They are family-owned and work hard to provide good living wages to their employees.  PFBakery supplies all the McMenniman's buns and supplies items many large stores like Costco and Winco.  They also make some of Franz's artisan selections, since Franz is automated I believe.
the 100+ year-old sourdough starter
We learned that the company started about 25 years ago, and they bought 100+ year-old sourdough starter from a SanFran company.  It has been in continuous use.  We got to smell the "sourness" of it and learn how they keep adding flour and water as they take away the dough.  When you use the starter, you only need a few teaspoons of yeast for 100 pounds of flour.  In comparison, when you make a normal artisan (non-sourdough) bread, you need 2 POUNDS of yeast to 100 pounds of flour.
this is the artisan area where the loaves are hand-formed
We were so happy to have grammae come experience the field trip with us!  (And help me with my little 3-year-old sweetie...)
we all got to take home cheese bread
(Tillamook cheese of course)
since we were near the airport...gotta get some meatballs!
(grammae's first trip to Ikea, can you believe it?)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day
to all my loyal readers,
from our nut farm to yours!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

10 kids 10 & under

My friend Stacy had her baby, a sweet baby girl!, early yesterday.  This morning I drove into town to pick up her 5 older kids for a playdate to give her a chance to have some quiet time with her husband and new bundle of joy.  Perfect timing, as we were already scheduled to have Mrs. N. come and help us this morning (Mrs. N. is our ~angel~ who helps with the kids 3 mornings a week so I can get some schooling done).  I knew it would be a noisy, fun time but I sure didn't realize just how much fun it would be, and how SMOOTHLY everything would go!!  Such a sweet bunch of kids...hopefully some of those good manners rubbed of onto my own kids....

Mrs. N and half of the bunch (Seddy was napping so I stayed
inside with the youngest boy)
Mardi Gras lunch!  A perfect time for a party!!
On our way out of town this morning, I
stopped at Hank's and had the oldest 3
choose doughnuts for dessert.
Ok, so we watched a LITTLE television before they left...
but for 90% of the time they just played with toys
and outside in the good weather!

Monday, February 11, 2013

NYR #7: one book done

I'm really not sure this book counts, but if I come in short at the end of the year, I'll take it.  This is one of Bunny's school books, and an easy one at that.  I wanted to read this factual biography myself before reading a sort of "historical fiction" book on Ben Franklin to the kids.  I did enjoy this book.  It made me amazed at all that Ben did in his lifetime, sure, but I was more impacted by his problem-solving attitude and his perseverance.  Especially early on in his life (young adulthood) he had many, many setbacks in terms of business ventures in the printing trade, but he kept going and found ways to bounce back.  I especially liked the importance he placed on reading, even as a child when none of his friends liked to read, and books were scarce.  As an older man he was very well respected for his knowledge but also for his interest in everything and everyone around him.  He made the "lowest" person feel as important as the King of France, because he treated both the same: with full attention and a genuine interest.  In this age of chiming distractions, we can all learn this lesson from Ben!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Best of Pork

We had a dinner party the other weekend with the "alphabet" group.  (potluck dinner parties where all the food starts with an assigned letter of the alphabet)  For the most part, Marcus knows the guys from former work experiences (Unicru, etc.) and I have become friends with the wives.  Some are friends of friends.  We hardly ever get together with them because we are so busy on weekends, but when the emails started up we discovered that we were free not only to come to dinner but to host!  They had made it through the alphabet already so now it was time to do "Best of..."  SOOOO happy we got to host "Best of Pork!"

Since the group had not met for a few months, everyone was excited to get together.  I didn't count, but I believe we had around 20 adults and 15 kids.
we roasted the sausage-stuffed pork loin you
can see in the lower right
apparently there is such thing as bacon vodka
 Along with the pork loin on the Ronco we also served Brussels Sprouts Gratin (with bacon of course).  Some other items were about 3 kinds of bacon-wrapped dates; a yummy salad with blood-oranges, pistachios, pomegranate, and proscuitto; pulled pork sandwiches; ham-wrapped shrimp; and even desserts: bacon-topped maple bars and banana-bacon cookies (no kidding!!).
I think this picture of the bar area pretty
much sums up the party...  :o)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

birthdays mean doctor visits

Birthday season means lots of visits to see Dr. DeKlotz for annual exams.

look what was on the cabinet door...

shots are no fun!  (Mariposa took this photo)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy Birthday James!

The Gem/James/Papa party was over the weekend between Gemma's day on the 18th and James' day on the 22nd.  So...we still had another fun celebration at our house!!

We don't often go out to dinner for birthdays...that would be a lot of dinners out...but when it's a season when mom has a lot to do, sometime money can buy happiness.  ;o)  So after Bunny's ballet class we made our way to the Esplanade and Panda Express.
 Next we crossed the parking lot to Red Robin for dessert.  James wanted to open his presents there as well.
Darth Maul light saber from Uncle Joe
Razor scooter from grandma and grandpa

we had no trouble finishing off the dessert...
James also got gifts from us:  pj pants and a shirt (something he needed), a watch (something he wanted), and a new Lego set (something we thought he'd like).  With all the Legos he got for his birthday, we knew he'd be busy for at least half a day....  ;o)