Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School, 2012

Today is the first day of school for the kids in our district.  My kids were definitely ready to head back and even though I miss them a bit today, it was time for another year to start.

The obligatory first day of school pictures!

Josh is in 9th grade this year, which means (gulp), high school.  He's playing JV soccer for the high school and aiming for great grades so he can attend Penn State and room with his buddies.  Stay tuned.  :)

This is the first year the girls have been in school together since preschool - and they are so excited!  They're riding the same bus and hope to meet in the hallways.  Kate is in 5th grade and is playing soccer this fall for one of the girl's teams.  She absolutely loves everything about school!

Emma is in 3rd grade this year and we're so happy that she has the same teacher that Kate did at her age.  I think we lucked out, for sure!  Emma loves school, too, and can't wait to see her friends at recess.  She's hoping to do gymnastics this fall, but for now she'll probably race home to play with her Barbie's!

I'm looking forward to a cleaner house, less fighting, and watching my kiddos grow and learn. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Smoked Salmon Spread

I made this spread for my lunch event last week and it was so delicious!  I love smoked salmon on crackers with all of the accoutrements, but it tends to be a little messy and hard to pile on one cracker.  This is perfect, because all of the flavors are mixed into one convenient dollop.

I found the recipe via Ina Garten, and as usual, her recipe did not disappoint.  The only addition I made was to stir in some capers as a finishing touch. 


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced


Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Corn and Black Bean Relish

As I was writing my last post, I was planning to embed the link for the recipe for corn and black bean relish.  I discovered that I've never shared the recipe for this little gem!

Like so many of the recipes I use, the ingredients are few, but the flavor is mighty! 

This recipe: eight ingredients. 

This dish, like all others, tastes best when corn is in season, straight from the cob - but use what you have.

Corn and Black Bean Relish

2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 can black beans, drained
1 small jar pimientos, drained
1 lime, juiced
1-2 T olive oil
pinch salt
pinch ground pepper
dash of cayenne or tabasco

mix together

It's that easy! This is perfect with grilled fish or chicken, as a side for enchiladas or tacos or served as a light lunch with fruit.  Try this and you'll be adding it to your summer repertoire - promise!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cleaning out the Fridge

I had a cooking job last week - lunch for 70.  It seemed like I had to go to the grocery store(s) about fifty times, but it was probably only about 7.  Either way, I was looking forward to cleaning out my refrigerator.  I had lots of odds and ends sitting around and for some reason, this is very entertaining for me.  I love to see what I can make out of nothing.  The second best part is that my fridge is now looking much less cluttered!

So, after about two hours of cooking, this is what I've made

Blueberry galette, stuffed shells, applesauce, corn, and beef vegetable soup.  It's hard to believe that I started with 10 cooking apples, beef tenderloin ends, a half can of tomato paste, a partial container of cottage cheese, five ears of corn, a sad looking red pepper, four mushrooms, and about three cups of blueberries that were creeping towards the other side.  Now, obviously I had to add a few other staples to create these dishes, but I'm a little bit proud of myself! :)

This is what I'm most excited about!  I tried a new recipe, basically scouring the internet for a recipe using  3 cups of blueberries.  Here is the recipe I used.(except I made my own crust)

We're having leftovers for dinner tonight, but these stuffed shells will taste great tomorrow night!  I sauteed my one red pepper and four mushrooms with diced onion and some bacon.  I stuffed the shells with the cottage cheese, an egg and some parmesan and mozzarella.  

I'll probably use the corn to make corn and black bean relish and we'll eat that with the soup and tuna melts for a quick and easy dinner.  The applesauce is something the kids look forward to every summer.

And the galette?  I'd expect that to be history by this evening!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Birthday Weekend

Rob and I just returned from a weekend away (without the kids) to celebrate his birthday!  Here are some of our pictures.  We had gorgeous weather, and aside from the lady at the ice cream shop, we didn't see one person!  Pure bliss. 

best part of the day - coffee on the deck

the newly finished facing on the cabin addition

breakfast - local peaches with fage and honey


searching for cell phone signal

top of the hill on our hike

hors doeuvres - smoked salmon spread with crackers

dinner: crabcakes, green beans, roasted potatoes, parmesan tomato, baked peach

dessert - soft serve!

we saw lots of deer on our drive home from the ice cream shop

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sunsets and Such...

As promised, I will share some of our better pictures.  The great thing about taking lots of pictures, is the likelihood that some of them will actually be flattering!

We had beautiful weather in Florida - the afternoon thunderstorms would hit around 4:00pm and then cool the air and create the most beautiful lighting and sunsets imaginable.  I haven't edited any of these pictures, the colors are all natural and even though we didn't coordinate our outfits, I think some of them turned out well!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

White Chocolate Truffles with Lemon

I'm not normally a white chocolate kind of girl - but after I tried this recipe, I was pleasantly surprised. This is the perfect little bite for entertaining and you can totally freeze these for a few months and then pull a few out as needed.

I found this recipe on pinterest and the ingredients number in the single digits.  Like, five.


White Chocolate Lemon Truffles
  • 1 cup white chocolate
  • 5 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  1. Melt chocolate, butter and cream over a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir until smooth.
  2. Stir in salt and extract. Allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
  3. With a melon baller or small spoon scoop out mixture and form into 1 inch balls. Toss with icing sugar to coat.
  4. Store covered in the fridge for up to one week. Freeze for longer storage.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Beach Pictures Gone Wrong

With the facebook craze still going strong, vacation pictures are popping up everywhere.  I'm guilty as charged: I just downloaded 22 of our better pictures.

Our first night on vacation we walked onto the beach to watch the sunset and could hear some guy screaming at our kids.  His family was trying to take a picture (in their matching white shirts and khaki shorts) and were annoyed our kids were in the background.  Rob very quickly marched up and reminded him that they were set up right in front of an entrance to.a.public.beach.  Anyhoo.....

As I was poring through my pictures to post on facebook - you know, the ones where I look thin, the kids have a nice smile, and we all look our best, I was reminded of this.  A past post where I reminded myself that a picture, while certainly capturing a moment in time, rarely tells the whole story.

So, I thought I'd post the misfits.  The pictures where the kids were annoyed.  Where I look hideous.  The awkward photos I probably should have deleted.  Because, guess what - that's real life. 

hideous, right?

bad attitude central

still grumpy

probably bossing Kate or Emma around

no clue what I'm thinking here

look at Josh and Jonas posing

then there's this winner

weird, just weird

I look horrendous here - the hair, the fake smile, everything. blech.

is Emma trying to get away from us?

I have had nightmares about this picture since I first saw it.  yuck.

So, there you have it.  The beach photos that look more like real life than the carefully posed, matching all-smiles profile pics.  Not pretty, is it? 

We did manage to take some decent pictures.  We have at least 120 sunset pictures (yawn), and about 57 of Josh doing a 360 on his skimboard.  I'll spare you.  I do promise, however, that I'll post some good pictures soon.  It's kind of like when you want to "get the taste out of your mouth".