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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our Own Little Garden of Eden

He'll kill me for this when he's older.  In our defense, we were treating a massive case of diaper rash.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Transitionary Soup


So our evenings this past week have been cool, like 53 degree cool.  I am loving it, needless to say, and am entirely on board with fall being around the corner.  This month's Everyday Food featured a bunch of broccoli recipes, one of which was this Broccoli Corn Chowder Soup.  After doubling the veggies and adding some grated sharp white cheddar cheese, it was delicious.  Comes together in just one pot, and only takes about 25 minutes to prepare and cook. 

Broccoli Chowder with Corn and Potatoes (adapted from Everyday Food Sept '08)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth (or one quart of homemade chicken stock, it's the best)
3 white potatoes, or Yukon Golds, washed well and diced
2 heads of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
10 oz. frozen corn (the frozen corn from Costco is awesome, only $5 for a massive bag)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups whole milk
1-2 cups grated sharp white cheddar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot, cook onion in a few TB. olive oil until it begins to soften, about 6-8 minutes.  Add garlic, cook one more minute being careful not to burn it.  Add flour, stirring constantly, cook for about 30 seconds.  Add broth and potato, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes.  Add broccoli, corn, thyme, and milk; cook until broccoli is crisp-tender, 8-10 minutes.  Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, August 29, 2008

CSA #6

This week the haul was a little light, supposedly due to the cooler weather we've been having.  Tomatoes, purple beans, squash, cucumbers, one head of garlic, kale, cabbage and tiny tiny potatoes.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An Ode to Summer Fruit

Sour Cherries at the French Market...
Breathtakingly delicious strawberries from a small farm down in Murphysboro, IL.  I've never tasted better.

Looking at these pictures just makes me happy.  Thought I'd share the joy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Dream Night in the City

So how lucky were WE back in June when my husband's boss and friend asked us to join he and his wife for pizza, fireworks and a ride down the Chicago River on a private yacht back in June.  I can't believe it's taken me this long to write about it, because it ended up being one of the highlights of our summer.

It was the perfect night: cool and crisp, not a cloud in the sky.  I don't even think we hit traffic driving downtown, magical from the start.
It was a really fun group, three couples in all, dressed warmly in fleeces against the breeze from the lake.  This boat even came with it's own friendly captain, Dan.
For me, the ultimate highlight of the evening was when one of my husband's customers asked, "What's for dessert?"  None of us had thought to bring anything, but LUCKILY we just HAPPENED to be a few blocks from the most fabulous place in town for brownies, tarts, cookies, cakes and more...Fox and Obel.
I offered (of COURSE) to hop out (well, scramble up a wooden wall, totally undignified-like, was more like it...good thing I wore jeans) while they docked the boat illegally at Dick's Last Resort and waited for me to come back with a variety of desserts.  Scott's cash was burning a hole in my pocket and I literally had an adrenaline rush going as I surveyed the plethora of treats sitting in front of me at that amazing grocery store.  
We cruised up and down the river, gazing at the beautifully lit buildings.  I felt like a rock star, perched on the bow of the boat, watching the city slowly float by.

We ended the evening out on the lake, anchored for a perfect view of the skyline and then the fireworks that are shot off at Navy Pier every Wednesday and Saturday nights in the summertime.  

What a night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sweet, sweet days

The weather has been so unbelievably gorgeous these past couple days, it's hard to stay inside and think of amusing blog entries.  

We've spent our days wandering the town, eating picnic breakfasts by the fountain, going to the pool for the last week of the year, entertaining one of Sam's "girlfriends" for a playdate here at the house, and finally cooking yummy dinners again after our bout with the stomach flu.  

I'm sure I'll be inspired once again in September, when it's finally legal to be publicly obsessed with gourds and pumpkins, but for now I'm going to go read in the warm sunshine.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Facebook

Ok.  I held out for a LONG time.  But two days ago I finally caved due to enormous peer pressure and created a profile.  Scott thinks I am obsessed and wants to put limits on my computer time.  I told him no, that it's only in the beginning while I try and load photos and make friends...sigh.

I feel very very old.  Trying to upload photos, look at peoples profiles and IM a buddy in high school all at the same time while understanding something like DWRHTGTTA.  (Do we really have to go through this again?) made me feel each and every of my 30 years.  Yikes, I've got some catching up to do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fall?

Sam and I were out for our morning walk around town today when my ears perked up.  

There was that sound, the sound I long for during the dog days of August: the wind blowing crunchy fallen leaves across the street.  We even saw a tree yesterday that started turning colors.  And the breeze even smelled different today, call me crazy.  I know my friend Anna will groan, but we can't wait.  Down comforters on the bed with the windows cracked, butternut squash risotto, and cozy evenings listening to Nat King Cole while reading by the fire...here I come!  I don't dare admit to you that yes, I did pull out all the gourds and fall decorations yesterday.  Just don't tell anyone.  Even earlier then last year.

Little Buddy and I had a Chai Latte at Starbucks in anticipatory celebration.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The "Sick Pukes"

So our household is dealing with, what my friend Amy calls "the sick pukes."  Applicable name, but doesn't quite fully describe the utter agony of what Scott and I are going through.  Good news, I dropped those last five pounds of baby weight.

Bad news, I'll gain it all back tomorrow or when I start eating again.  I can only hope that Sam doesn't pick it up, poor guy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Blueberry Nectarine Cobbler

It is high season for juicy nectarines, peaches and berries, what better way to put them to use then in a warm cobbler, fresh out of the oven with Hagaan Daz vanilla ice cream on top?  Not many, in my opinion.

Blueberry Nectarine Cobbler
8 large, ripe nectarines, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
2 TB. water
1/4 tsp. almond extract, optional
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 TB. unsalted butter, cold

Arrange nectarine slices in the bottom of a 9X13 glass pan.  Top with blueberries.  Pour cinnamon sugar, water and almond extract over top, mix well with clean hands.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and salt.  Cut in cold butter with pastry blender until well blended.  Sprinkle evenly over fruit.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for about 50 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature with vanilla ice cream.

May substitute peaches, raspberries or even pears in the fall.  Serves 8 to 10 people.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

All dressed up for church

These two totally matched today, I think Sam planned out his outfit with that in mind.  Too cute.
Happy Birthday honey!  I hope you loved your little surprises and your yummy dinner at Morton's.  We love you so much.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ducks

"I wonder what those are?"  "How do they float?"  "How would they taste if I put one in my mouth?"  "Does my outfit match my shoes?"  "Can I take my sandal off and chew on it?"  
"Where's it going?"  "What's that smell?"  "Wait, did you say, me?" 
I just couldn't resist putting some of his thoughts out there for the world to see.  One lovely day at the Children's Zoo.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Minocqua 2008

I never really got around to writing much or taking many pictures of this year's family vacation. Suffice it to say, there were no bat sightings or naked brothers (and their children) running down to the lake.  Ahem.  There were, however, daily outings to the local coffee shop for hot, freshly baked muffins as big as Sam's head.  And lots of time playing with seven cousins (under the age of six) until collapsing into our pack and play in the closet each night, far past normal bedtime.
And chocolate frozen custard.
And Sam's first attempt at playing baseball.  He missed, but had a grand time trying.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CSA Box #5, I forgot to document #4...

I am sure you all were devastated.
This week we have two tomatoes, red and white radishes, cabbage, a huge head of garlic, six ears of candy-sweet corn, fingerling potatoes, a zucchini and two yellow squash.  The corn is already gone and the potatoes days are numbered.

I can smell the zucchini bread baking from here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Soccer Stud

video
I just couldn't resist his single mindedness dribbling around and around and around the room, for 10 minutes straight. 

At least I know he's easily entertained.  

Pesto Pizza on the Grill

One of our favorite meals this summer has been pizza on the grill.  I make a triple batch of pizza dough at once, bake off the oval shaped crusts for 6 minutes in a very hot 450 degree oven (on a jelly roll pan well covered with corn meal), cut them in half and freeze the crusts in zip lock bags.  

From there, they can go straight onto the grill.  Grill one side for 4 minutes, turn over and cover with your favorite toppings (in this case, homemade pesto, provolone, tomatoes, sea salt and fresh pepper) and finish grilling until cheese is melted and crust is crispy.


Other topping ideas that require no cooking, only assembly:

1) Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce
    Mozzarella
    Frozen pineapple from Trader Joe's
    Boar's Head Tavern Ham

2) T. J.'s Pizza Sauce
     Mozzarella
     Fresh tomatoes
     Fresh basil

3) Pizza Sauce
     Mozzarella
     Boar's Head Pepperoni

4) Brush crust with olive oil or garlic olive oil
     Figs, pears, boursin or goat cheese
     Sliced red onion

Monday, August 11, 2008

2-A-Day

I really wish Starbucks would quit with this whole "Come back after 2 pm today and get any grande iced drink for $2!" campaign.  

I feel like a smoker..."Yeeah, I'm up to 2-a-day these days and really need to quit."  

Not, to say, that I am actually buying two drinks a day.  Just thinking about it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yikes!

Weeding around the hydrangeas today was a dangerous affair...gorgeous, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Ball Bin

If you look carefully, you'll notice we're keeping more then just balls in there.