Category Archives: Yum Yum

Brainy Sunday

We weren’t being especially smart today, but we were being adventurous and took a trip to Field Springs to look for those brainy mushrooms called morels.

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We packed snacks and lunch and beverages and after a quick hunt we sat and waited for our friends to arrive.

 

When they arrived we headed up the trail and looked for about 20 minutes but were quickly discouraged and went with plan B

 

Here’s something you should know: Dan and I are very serious about morel hunting. We don’t mess around and we certainly don’t waste time.

We drove down to the entrance road and hiked.

GOLDMINE.

 

We found so many mushrooms and the kids took turns picking them after they’d been found which was very sweet but also very time consuming (you may need to reference my seriousness about morel-ing) because I had to wait for them to hike to the discovery which sometimes took 5 minutes.

Chef Danny made morel gnocchi which rivaled both Mystic Cafe AND Lodgepole which happen to be our favorites for the dish. I wish we had a secret garden full of these brainy beauties.

Happy Sunday!

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Read Across America

Have I mentioned before how nervous I was to send my kids to a *gasp* public school?

Oh, does that sound super stupid? Yeah, because it is. But when I’m being stupid and ridiculous I’m okay admitting it.

I’m only admitting this part because honesty is probably one of my best traits and it’s dumb to have a blog and then only tell about the best things you say or do. So here’s my confession: I was afraid that the kids wouldn’t experience any of the fun ‘extras’ they did at CHMS. The polar express day was my favorite part of the year at CHMS. The staff went above and beyond in making it a fun day, doing things out of the ordinary and creating an experience. I have friends who teach at public schools and I know how much they love their jobs and how much effort is put into it — I must have thought I only knew the very best teachers. Don’t worry, I’m covering my face right now in shame. To be precise, I look like that monkey emoji. This one:

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I learned the very first week at Asotin that the teachers there absolutely love their jobs. They love the kids and they absolutely go above and beyond to give them experiences. The communication between staff and parents is incredible and the support staff has done more than I would have ever expected they would do to make our transition smooth and enjoyable. I’ve been living in this ridiculous bubble and while it’s completely dumb, in my defense, I’ve never had any experience with public elementary school. Like…at all. I went to All Saints and my kids went to Children’s House. This is our first time. So I’m hoping I’m a bit forgiven because of it.

This week was “Read Across America” week where Dr. Seuss is celebrated in a variety of ways. They made it somewhat of a spirit week with each day being something fun: hat day, crazy sock day, pajama day, etc. Parents have been invited to come eat donuts and read with their kids, there was a book swap, and tomorrow they’re serving cake for lunch and parents are invited to that as well. The teachers have put in so much effort to this week and so have other staff members. What better way to thank them than with cake pops?

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Obviously decorated like a Dr. Seuss character or something similar.

How thankful am I for Asotin Elementary and their staff? Cake-Pop making thankful. And that’s a lot.

How does one make the most delicious dessert on a stick? For really good instructions, head over to Bakerella. She’s the master. She teaches you how to make really adorable characters and shapes and she just rocks. Below is my very easy and not-as-cute way:

Bake a box cake as directed. Let it cool for an hour.

Crumble it up and mix (with your hands) with 3/4 a can of frosting.

Refrigerate the mixture for 1/2 hour or so then roll into balls (whatever size you want). Freeze for an hour.

Melt “candy melts” (you can find them at JoAnns or Walmart) in 30 second increments in a microwave safe mug.

Dip the end of a candy stick into the melted candy melts and stick it in the semi-frozen balls 3/4 of the way in and dip it completely into the mug of melted candy melts.

Tap it against the rim of the mug a few times to let the excess drip off and then stick in an empty mug until it hardens. (Before it hardens, of course, you can put sprinkles on it).

My brain hurt reading those horribly written directions, but it’s really very simple.

Enjoy!

 

Artichoke Frittata

What with Easter coming up and all (not to mention things like First Communion and graduations and probably birthdays and stuff), I wanted to give you a recipe for a dish that never fails. It can be a breakfast or brunch dish, but no one would think twice if it showed up for dinner. It’s perfect for taking to an event that you aren’t hosting because it can be served at room temperature. What is this magical dish, you ask?

 

Artichoke Frittata

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Anyone who has tried this recipe has loved it.

The recipe is from this lady’s family:

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I might not get this right, but I’m pretty sure her brother’s wife made it for her daughter’s bridesmaid’s luncheon. (Oh, and that lady is my grandma)

It made its way into my grandma’s recipe box which found its way to me via my Aunt Tracy. Now, I realize you don’t all care so much about how it got to me, who made it, etc., but that was the price you had to pay before being given this wonderful gift of the recipe:

Artichoke Frittata

1 lg can marinated artichoke hearts, chopped (I use 2 small jars)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use minced garlic from a jar)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup Pepperidge Farm stuffing, finely ground (sometimes I just use seasoned bread crumbs)
4 eggs
2T fresh parsley
3 cups grated Jack cheese
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t salt
dash pepper

grated parmesan cheese

*drain the artichokes into a skillet and saute the onions until translucent (don’t cook the artichokes with it). add garlic and saute for 1-3 minutes–don’t burn the garlic! Drain the onions and garlic
*Beat the remaining ingredients, except for the parmesan. Add the onions and garlic. spread in greased 9 X 9 pan and sprinkle with parmesan
*refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight
*bake 30 minutes @ 350 degrees
*let rest 20 minutes and serve

Now let me tell you all what I did that I find to be an improvement — I split this recipe up into 2 equal portions and baked them in 8″ round bake pans. I think the texture was a lot better and the portions were perfect.

And with that, you’re welcome.

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Summer Gifts

Ask me if I’ve ever expressed how much I love giving gifts and I’ll say, “yes, about a million times. Here’s one million and one.”

If you have a garden or have a friend who has a garden (if you have neither of these, you aren’t living life to its fullest) this is the most perfect summer gift: for hostess gifts, for ‘new job’ gifts, for ‘hey, it’s a Wednesday!’ gifts…really, the possibilities for this are endless.

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I got these cute boxes from Shop Sweet Lulu , originally for my birthday goodie bags, but apparently I overestimated how many friends I have because I ended up with about 10 extra. Honestly, I’m glad I don’t have as many friends as I thought I did when ordering because these have come in quite handy.

Potatoes are great for this kind of box, but any veggie will work – zucchini, squash, tomatoes, etc.

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Throw enough in the box for dinner.

Close the box and around the handle, tie (with cute string or twine), some fresh herbs. For potatoes, rosemary is a pretty solid choice. For tomatoes, maybe basil? If you have avocados, (1) I hate you and (2) cilantro would be pretty amaze.

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You can find flavored olive oil at specialty cooking stores. It’s olive oil infused with just a hint of something: peppered bacon, lemon, there are tons. Choose a flavor that best fits your veggies/dish.

Oops…open the box back up and throw that sucker in there.

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And, voila. You are the most thoughtful gardener of the day.

Pasta.

My friend Liz led a women’s discussion group at church several months ago. We met for eight weeks and watched a video series and then had discussion after.

The only reason I started going is because I like Liz so much, that is a fact. Sitting with a group of women discussing our opinions and beliefs on subjects is not where I’m most comfortable. I have strong opinions on many subjects, lots of them being quite controversial. I also sometimes have a big mouth and get myself into trouble by voicing those opinions rather than just keeping quiet. But, much to my surprise, joining that group and that discussion ended up being a good thing for me. I was forced into a situation where I wasn’t most comfortable, forced to listen more than talk, and that was good for me. The message(s) presented in each video were good, too. I genuinely like each person who participated and I’m glad I expanded my circle.

Fast forward to after those eight weeks — I knew I wanted to continue meeting, whether that was at the church, at a home, with kids, without, etc. I decided to just go ahead and offer up my house as the main meeting place and continue meeting every other Tuesday. I’m really happy that several women decided this sounded great, too, because I’ve had a lot of fun having coffee with my friends and my kids love playing with the kids who come. We talk about whatever comes up and sometimes we have things planned. We’ve discussed the role of Saints in the church and our lives, we’ve talked about Montessori, we’ve talked about many things. We’ve also played at the park and splashed on slip and slides and swam.

Today? We made fresh pasta.

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I happen to really enjoy ravioli so I made some filling:

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(1 lb sausage, 1 C ricotta, 1 C italian blend cheese, 1 egg)

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Lisa brought her pasta roller (is that what it’s called?) and helped us figure out how to use it.

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She also brought veggies and herbs from her garden and whipped up a little pasta dish that the kids ended up devouring.

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And now I have a new skill in my pocket. That doesn’t mean I’m good at it. But it does mean we’re having ravioli tonight.

Garden Pancakes

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I love the summer season for lots of reasons, but one of my most favorite things about it is the fresh produce we get from the farm.

Oh…I’m sorry…did you not know we were farmers? Well, we are. I mean, basically we are farmers by association because my dad is actually the one who plants the seeds, waters, pulls weeds, maintains and funds the farm. But we totally pick the veggies, so that counts for something.

One thing we have TONS of right now are red potatoes. Potatoes might be my favorite thing we grow because out of one potato you plant, you might get 6 at harvest time. That’s what we call, my friends, a big bang for your buck. Since everyone loves potatoes (but seriously…who doesn’t love potatoes), they are what we cook most of at our house. And roasted potatoes with a little rosemary are good and delicious and fine, but in all honesty, I’m getting board with them. Last night I did a little thinking and decided to make garden pancakes.

ingredients

(1) farm fresh is the best, right? But obviously, nothing has to be farm fresh. Grab it from the store if you want! shred the (peeled) potatoes – red is my favorite – and zucchini until you have 1.5ish cups of each. Squeeze out the excess water (there will be lots!) by putting it in between paper towels and pushing it. Like so:

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(2) add 1 egg, garlic, cheese, and spices and mix together.

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(3) using your hands, form patties, 1/2 cup each (give or take). As you form them, continue to squeeze so you get even more liquid out. It’s okay if you feel like the egg is being squeezed out. It’ll be fine. You should have about 6 pancakes ready to go.

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(4) heat about a tablespoon of butter or oil in a frying pan over medium high heat and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they start to brown.

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(5) serve as a side dish with sour cream or, our favorite, homemade greek tzaziki sauce.

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ENJOY!

PNW traditions

It’s easy to feel stuck where I live. It’s a small town with deep roots. I know everyone here (that’s an exaggeration, but it’s true that I can rarely go to the store, to an event, to the movies, you name it and not run into a few people I know or my family knows). Sometimes I wish we lived somewhere with lots of museums and community activities every week. I wish there were more than a handful of good restaurants and lots of different, quirky, unique things to do on the weekends.

But most of the time, I’m really happy living here. When I look at where we live and what we get to do, it makes me happy and makes me feel lucky.

There’s a pretty small window here for morels (morels are the point of this post, i’m getting to it, I promise). They pop up in the Spring, after it has rained, but only if it’s been pretty warm also.

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They’re completely camouflaged and hard to find. But even harder to find if you don’t have a spot. Here’s some advice to you morel-hunting novices: if you see someone post a picture of all their mushrooms, don’t ask where they went to get them. But if you do, expect a very general answer.

Morel spots, like huckleberry spots, are sacred and secret.

We packed up the kids and decided we would go on a shroom hunt. Adventures are always more fun with friends.

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We got a little sidetracked which is easy to do when you’re on such a beautiful adventure.

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We found cool wood pieces, a creek, lots of interesting leaves, animal bones, tiny bugs and we felt like really brave pioneers or something. Pioneers of the forest. Forest pioneers.

But let’s talk about the mushrooms, okay? We scored.

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I know, I know. If you are from this area and are mushroom hunters yourselves, you might be saying, “Ha! I could do that with my eyes closed!” Which, I mean, maybe you could. Newsflash: mushroom hunting while also being forest pioneers with 7 small children in tow is no easy task which is why we couldn’t have been happier with our haul.

 

We celebrated by making gnocchi with mushroom cream sauce and steak (or chicken) with sautéed shrooms.

Let me repeat that: CREAM SAUCE. Oh, it’s a gift from the heavens. And since I like you, here’s the recipe:

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