> hey what's for dinner mom?: February 2011

2.28.2011

A Winter Wind Storm, Alaska Style

 I thought I'd share some photos of the fantastic snow drifts we have from the wind storm. The little boys played outside for over two hours in 60 mile an hour gusts of wind, it was blowing steadily at 40 miles an hour. I did my outdoor chores while they played, found more work to do while they played on, hauled the trash can to the road and they were still playing, warmed up my truck to make sure it would start this morning and you guessed it they were still playing. I wandered around taking pictures and finally got too cold to be outside, and they just kept right on playing.

Here they are next to and on a big drift. It doesn't look that tall but see the boy in the back? He's standing on a 3 foot drift which is the base for the taller drift.




I think this looks like a sand dune, every time I bent down to take a shot a yellow dog or a kitten came tearing through the snow right in front of me. I had to move 4-5 times crazy animals!




My planting table, it's so interesting the way snow piles up in one place and then it's bare ground a foot over.






Buddha waiting for spring.



OK here is a better shot of the drift the boys were playing on, that's the roof of our garage and a little boy bent over about to leap into the valley of the drift. I somehow caught the snow flying past in this shot, it looks cools. And you see that blur to the left? The wind blew my hat right off and my hair went WILD and then was instantly tangled.



This is just a broken branch from a cottonwood tree that snow has drifted around. Lovely.



Peace and Love--

2.27.2011

Just Another Meatless Monday #49 Savory Mushroom Strudel

Hey What's For Dinner


I love it when a recipe like Savory Mushroom Strudel comes together simply and easily, yet looks like you spent hours laboring away. The impressive flaky crust wrapped around tender mushrooms dressed with pesto will impress anyone, even a 7 year old. And while they please a 7 year old immensely they look like a million bucks with all those flaky layers, so I would also label these as party food. If you had everything prepped before hand, these could be assembled at the last minute or you could even put a couple of early birds to work on them. Family pleaser or party fare these beautiful strudels are sure to be a hit.

 I can definitely see pairing some zucchini or kale with the mushrooms and that reminds me that I can't wait for summer. Or spring for that matter, anyone seeing spring yet? Not us that's for sure, we're currently having a wind storm. A blowing, drifting, howling heck of a wind storm which looks like it's not going to be over until Wednesday. OK, spring? Anybody seen spring? Well how about a strudel?


Savory Mushroom Strudel

Savory Mushroom Strudel--Oven 350˚--makes 2
*please note thaw filo overnight before using*

3 Tablespoons pine nuts
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces assorted mushrooms, I used portabello, button and shitake
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
2 Tablespoons pesto
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces of Filo dough-thawed rewrap the other half for another use

turn the oven on to 350˚
in a 10 inch skillet toast the pine nuts over low heat shaking the pan occasionally until lightly toasted
meanwhile in a small sauce pan melt the unsalted butter and set aside
pick over the mushrooms, brush clean and remove the stems
cut the mushrooms into 1/2 inch slices
when the pine nuts are done toasting pour them into a small bowl set them next to the butter
add the oil to the pan and heat over medium heat
when the oil is warm add the mushrooms
cook and stir occasionally until soft and they release their juices
stir in the pesto and remove from heat
mix the salt with ricotta
you are now ready to build the first of two strudels
line up the butter, filo dough covered with a damp towel, ricotta, mushrooms and pine nuts
on a baking pan lay one sheet of filo dough brush lightly with melted butter
lay on another sheet brush with butter repeat 6 more times
spoon half the ricotta down the center of the filo long ways
layer with half the mushrooms and half the toasted pine nuts
using kitchen shears cut 8 or so times down the length on each side of the dough making sure to cut all the layers
fold alternate layers for a braided look or simply go for a rustic look by folding them not quite all the way over
brush with a bit of butter sprinkle on a few pine nuts
bake in the oven at 350˚ for 18-22 minutes until the top is tasty brown
repeat with the rest of the ingredients
cool for five minutes
then slice and serve while still warm



Have you gone meatless this week why not share right here!



Peace and Love--


2.26.2011

The Penny Worthy Project



A weekly thrifty living link up


Still sick but on the mend. When I get sick and I'm stuck in bed or 'resting' I tend to glare at the room around me. Not at the occupants, because I can tell you I have already scared them off but more at the clutter, the dog hair, the dust bunnies, the towering stacks of stuff. And I get all 'claustrophobic, cant breathe must remove all crap from my general vicinity as soon as I can possibly move without crying' feeling. As soon as I can, I am up and organizing, relocating, donating and putting stuff where it belongs and vacuuming. Then I usually collapse back into bed and nap if possible. I know I should rest but I feel so much better after I have straightened up, that for me it's almost better than resting.

After this week when I was so sick my husband stayed home to wrangle kids I was raring to rip the house apart and I resisted for a while. Eventually I did tear into my closet and get rid of three or four guilt inducing shirts that I never wear and look terrible on me. Two more things I took down to my studio to be repurposed into 'new' clothes. I also pulled all the hangers I'm not currently using, for some reason they were still hanging in there taking up space. 

Then I took stock of what I have left, what I wear, and the colors I tend to wear. I realized that I like brown, black and white the best and I'm ok with that. I like bright colors too, purple and green and pastels are almost non existent. I own a dark and light turtle neck for cold days which is probably all I really need and 4 sweaters. I have one basic black dress. I think I'm set in the clothes department and have what I wear right in front of me. 

I did in fact get out thrifting several times this week and I'll be damned if I didn't get just about skunked. The prices are sky high right now, which annoys the dirt out of me. I'm sorry but a single plate costs two dollars? And stained tea cozy was three fifty...I kind of gasped when she said the total and laughed when she said well this is $3.50. "Take it off" I said, kind of rudely I'm sure but I was just disgusted. I did buy this little wooden basket:

I'm thinking I'll harvest carrots in it and wash them outside right in the basket.

I also bought this paper airplane folding book,




should be good fun over spring break. I like the fact that it teaches how to fold and doesn't give you a bunch of precolored paper with directions and lines printed on it. We have one of those, so a different kind will be well played with.
Speaking of spring, oh we weren't, well we should be, I started bringing in plant flats, cleaning them and I'm now officially ready to plant basil. The first seeds will be in the soil in the next 24 hours. I was woefully short on my freezer pesto this winter and I aim to start now and FILL my freezer all summer. Of course I'll be in full plant production in a week or two so this isn't incredibly early but if feels so good. And springy.

Oh and one more thrifty living moment from the week. I bought 25 pounds of oranges a month ago. They lasted wonderfully for being organic and tree ripened but they were passing their prime at a pretty good clip after a month in cold storage. So I decided to whip up a batch of marmalade. It took a couple hours but I was able to use up 12 oranges fairly quickly on what perhaps was their last good day. I got 8 jars of marmalade but one broke in the hot water bath, that's so annoying!


So how did spend a thrifty week? Please feel free to share any thrifty living posts from pantry living etsy stores, to ebay listings, hyena cart stores, thrifting finds, budgeting, meal planning or anything else you may do to survive and thrive in the world today.






Peace and Love--



2.24.2011

Simple Oatmeal Cookies

Sometimes the best recipes are just very simple and easy to follow recipes. There's nothing dolled up about these oatmeal cookies no fancy name, no trumped up ingredients or fantastical adjectives either. They are simple and the best part is they are egg free so you can feel free to nibble the dough while you're making them.
We have decided, my five year old and I, that Thursday is baking day. We spent our day making bread, jelly bread, cookies and a very troublesome batch of marmalade. Setting a baking day is another step towards setting a very reliable rhythm in our home life. Sunday is laundry day, Monday is mending with boys, Tuesday shopping, Wednesday cleaning (coming soon, doing it sporadically), Thursday baking, Friday volunteer day, Saturday boys room cleaning, Sunday laundry...and so on and so forth.

Simple Oatmeal Cookies--oven 350˚
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 milk
4 cups oatmeal
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

cream the butter and sugar
beat in the molasses and milk
mix your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl
then stir by hand into the butter mixture
mix well
drop by rounded Tablespoons onto foil or silpat lined cookie sheets, bake 8-10 minutes at 350˚
cool for two minutes before removing from the cookie sheet

Well shoot, I can't get blogger to upload photos tonight, I do have proof of good cooking fun. Plus I did share with my two food saviors who came to my rescue while I was so sick. I took bread to one friend and sent cookies with the other. Cough cough hack hack, I hope they're glad to have them, HA! I jest, I jest!



Peace and Love--

2.22.2011

I'm Not Dead

That's the good news. I don't have any bad news and that kind of seems like tempting fate to me. So maybe I should kick some up? Ok here goes, I've been really really sick and my back hurts from laying around for 24 plus hours. Uhh the milk my husband ran out especially to buy was sour when he got home, bleck.

My eyes are crossing now so I best be off to rest more and see if I can possibly face tomorrow unassisted, seems unlikely but we'll see.

Peace and Love--

2.20.2011

Just Another Meatless Monday #48 Vegetarian Flautas

Hey What's For Dinner



This recipe is a variation of a Taquito recipe shared last week by the Cottage Sisters right here on Just Another Meatless Monday. When I saw the recipe I knew it was on the short list of must make soon, I also knew my kids would love it. I of course tweaked it to fit the ingredients I had on hand.

I expect each and everyone of you to be doing the same thing too, you know. What you like and I like are by and large the same, expect you may have different things on hand to help you make a recipe, so use them! Try it out, don't run to the store because a recipe calls for a cup of peanut butter and you only have a half cup, look for a substitute and go for it. Chances are you'll be hungry and you'll eat what you make. Have fun, get comfortable, tweak a recipe and have fun, you'll enjoy cooking so much more!

Vegetarian Flautas-oven 400˚

2 cups vegetarian meat substitute-I used the lentil and rice version-you could used quorn
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup salsa
2 green onions, minced
2 cups grated cheese, I used cheddar but colby jack would be great
5 large flour tortillas, 12 inches wide cut in half
oil to brush on the outside of the flautas

pop the tortillas in the oven and let them warm up, don't crisp them just make them flexible
meanwhile quickly cook the lentil rice mix in a skillet to warm it up
keep an eye on the tortillas, when they are warm remove them and lay a dish towel over them to keep them warm
then remove from the heat, stir in the cream cheese
when the cream cheese is mixed in add the salsa, onions and cheese
stir until well mixed
using the 1/2 tortilla shells make 10 small mini burritos dividing the filling evenly between the tortillas
lay them on a baking sheet
brush lightly with oil, bake for 10 minutes remove from the oven and turn on the broiler
then roll them over and brush the other side with oil
broil quickly to lightly brown them up
serve hot with salsa for dipping if desired




Oh these were so good! My kids loved them, we loved them, they are quick to make and tasted great as leftovers the next day.






Peace and Love--

The Penny Worthy Project







The Penny Worthy Project is thrifty living link up, share a post on your thrifty life.

We've been sick-ish for about 2 weeks now. Not down and dirty sick just sick-ish, which is sick's milder weirder cousin. Not throwing up but nauseous for a day or two, then nothing then it strikes again. Not full blown cold, but sniffles, or sore throat. Not sinus trouble but sinus migraine, all of us on different days, the cold wet rag on the forehead kind of headache. And tired, all of us, tired worn down and CRANKY. We are a damn joy to be around, seriously a joy. 

But today was awesome besides being woke up 7am on a weekend it was still awesome because no one had any sick-ish feelings.You know I'm about to tell you I don't have any thrifted treasures don't you? Well it's true I have been thrifing, twice and there really wasn't anything exciting out there.
I did find this little guy, I have a thing for gnomes. Ok, well THAT sounds wrong.

I also forgot to show you these incredibly cute little wooden shoes I found a few weeks ago. Aren't they cute?

But I would like to share my totally awesome handmade thrifted valentines. My box was full on valentines day, I felt like a kid in school. This was seriously so cool! We need to get it bigger next year, everyone should participate. 
#1 My blogging friend Bounty Huntress made this--cute?? and cool I love it

#2 my dear friend Luna hand painted the envelope and made the whole beautiful card, what a treasure!

#3 from Gina of Lime Kiln-wow sewn, and all craftily put together, yeah I'm not that talented EVER



plus she sent me a bonus goodie which I LOVE look at this apron: ALL Alaska and stuff how cool is that? And it's all mine

#4 from my dear friend Heather this fab-O card with a little knitted heart, so cute!!

Seriously they were each so well done and all delivered on time-I love it! I have to apologize to Bounty Huntress-Some how yours got dropped in the mail w/o a stamp-I know it was late and I am so sorry. Forgive me?

7 year old artwork from school, gosh I love Waldorf education
Plus I won something this week, well two things actually. One was a 25 dollar gift certificate to Nuts Online from my very dear blogging friend, Christina. I am so excited, I rarely win stuff and once I won a big huge prize and never got it. LAME. But forget all that, Christina electronically sent me my gift certificate ALREADY so you know I'm already trying to figure out exactly what to get. The other cool thing I won was a paint and pad set from from EcokidsUSA and Holistic Mom Networks twitter chat party.





Peace and Love--


2.17.2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread

This is my basic go to muffin and quick bread recipe, and it's really easy to make. I whipped this batch up for a my dear friend Stephanie's birthday dinner yesterday. Her husband had training out of town so I made dinner for her and her kids. I made my standard vegetarian white bean soup, rolls and this lemon blueberry bread.

I do love to cook seasonally but this is the time of year when nothing is really seasonal in Alaska. I try to keep my freezer stocked with foods that I do and could grow, hunt, fish, harvest or purchase locally. While I still have some of my wild Alaska blueberries I didn't have the time to sort through them last night so I used some purchased from Azure Standard. I don't want my kids to grow up thinking watermelon from Chile is a winter fruit on the other hand I do pick and freeze blueberries so I think it's perfectly acceptable to buy them in bulk as needed. It is a hope of mine to one day NOT have to supplement from out of state sources Until that day I'll be walking that fine line between local, organic and seasonal.


Lemon Blueberry Bread--oven 350˚

3 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
4 teaspoons of baking powder
juice and zest of half a lemon
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil or melted butter-I often trade out part of the oil for more milk, apple sauce or yogurt
3 cup frozen blueberries
blueberry jelly

butter 2 loaf pans, set aside
mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, set aside
mix the lemon juice, lemon peel, buttermilk, eggs and oil
add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir quickly but do not over mix
add the blueberries and stir to incorporate
divide between the two loaf pans
cut a line down each pan of batter and fill it with blueberry jelly
bake for approximately 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean



What are your thoughts on eating locally and seasonally? Do you live where it's an easy thing to buy year round locally grown foods?

 Peace and Love--


2.16.2011

The Bright Side

A new and better way to pop bubble wrap:


Cafe Chocolate at the Red Beet with a good friend:


Gluten Free Goodies at the Red Beet


While I'm not GF I happily ate gluten free waffles and didn't even know it. Enough friends and their kids are GF that I'm happy to hear ALL the baked goods at the Red Beet are now GF. They have one bread made and baked in a separate area that is not gluten free, so you do have a choice.

Somethings never change: age 7

age 7 weeks


Recycled Milk Carton Boats and a proud boy...Thanks Family Fun Magazine for the inspiration, we had so much fun creating this together. It also sparked imagination in our 7 year old who created a milk carton "Constitution" complete with 40 straw cannons per side


 Making cookies with grandma



Teaching our boys the art of world domination one roll at a time!

Lovable stinky yellow labs




See? I have so many things to cheer me up, how can I possibly stay blue for long?

Peace and Love--


2.15.2011

Big Batch Granola Bars

I like my oatmeal cookies crunchy not puffy, I finally found a crunchy recipe I love. So I tweaked it into granola bars for kids lunches and snacks. My trouble with making 'granola' bars was that I had to make granola before I could make the bars, I just didn't have time for that. These are one bowl, one pan, big batch granola bars in two different flavors and they are easy.

But first my friends, thanks for letting me be less than perfect. Sometimes as a blogger I feel the need to be always happy and on the up and up. But you know life is just not like that. I don't have all the answers, I'm just a mama doing her best and sometimes I get kicked like everybody else. I spent a recuperating day with two small boys who love me just about more than anything else in the world. They drove me bonko, made me smile, rubbed my back, painted pictures and went skiing with me. We ate corn dogs and curly fries from the freezer section, read the last chapter of the last great brain book and sang bedtime songs in earsplitting harmony and I feel renewed. OK I feel tired but I feel like me again, alive and happy to be so. I have a breakfast date with a good friend in the morning, my gym is calling me and I have two, yes two snoring yellow labs at my feet. Life is good, not perfect but damn good.

Big Batch Granola Bars--oven 325˚ Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookie Book

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flour-whole wheat would be fine here
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
various toppings like pecans, peanuts, coconuts, raisins, chocolate chips

cream the butter and sugar
beat in the vanilla and buttermilk
add the oats, flour, baking soda and salt
stir to combine well
line a 11x17 baking sheet with foil, butter it well
press the dough into the pan
add toppings as desired
press them into the dough
using a long knife score the dough into 33 equal pieces
bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are cooked through, don't burn the edges but make sure the center is done
turn off the oven and let them set in the oven until it is cool
remove from the oven
re cut on the lines
store in a sealed container
or freeze for school lunches wrapped individually and then in a resealable storage bag
I used coconut on both sides but then added dried cranberries on one half and chocolate on the other

oh hello chocolate chips, I love you


Peace and Love--