Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Roasted Purple Potatoes

Ok, here goes the last salt heavy recipe that you will receive from me. And please note in the picture above you can see my little salt jar peeking into the photo as if to say, "No, please! Don't leave me behind!" Ah, salt...

But alas, I've decided to try giving up salt and coffee for a bit.  I actually grew up without either of these two lovely, beautiful things. My mom never drank coffee. I picked that one up senior year of college in an attempt to study in coffeehouses and get better grades (or a husband, checkity check.) She also never used salt on anything except eggs. I really didn't use salt until I was living on my own and cooking up a storm.

I've decided that salt and coffee probably aren't doing me any good at the moment. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only part of my body that is better for them is my tastebuds. So I'm detoxing and giving them up... for now.

In the meantime, I made this lovely version of hash browns tonight -- secretly in an attempt to make Maddie like potatoes. She did not.

Roasted Purple Potatoes with a Frittata "Sandwich" and
Blistered Tomatoes
Roasted Purple Potatoes:

1. Chop up a blend of fingerling potatoes which include purple ones (obviously!)  and soak them in water for about 15 minutes. I like to dice my potatoes rather small so that I don't spend a ton of time cooking them.

2. Drain thoroughly! Remember that part about how I was cooking up a storm? Well, I know stuff and then I do stupid things anyway. Like drip a bit of water in a pan of oil. Did you know that can actually start a fire? Things that went through my head tonight: We should really by a fire extinguisher. Hmmm, maybe storing cereal boxes on top of the fridge is not a good idea. Huh, so this is what Grandpa Mac felt like. Oh, look it self-extinguished. Phew.

3. Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and heat on medium. While heating, dice half of a purple onion.

4. Gradually add your DRAINED and maybe even patted dry potatoes to the frying pan. Douse them with a whole lot of salt -- I used a big pinch (it's my last salty meal!) and cover them, stirring occasionally until you can puncture them with a fork. My small diced potatoes took about 10 minutes.

5. Add purple onion and fry without the lid for about 5 more minutes, turning frequently, until potatoes are crispy and onion is cooked through. Top with fresh herbs -- I used scallion greens -- and serve.

***If you've given up salt or coffee and have words of wisdom or encouragement, I'd love to hear them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Catching Up with Randomness

I have been a sporadic blogger at best this summer, but I am happy to say that my internet is fixed. Hooray! It is so nice to use my laptop to write again, and my connection is even faster than before.  Most of my technology problems are taken care of. My email hacker has been destroyed, but my over-full hard drive still remains.

There are a bunch of random things going on in my life right now. It's a very busy time for me at work. Usually the summer is my catch-up and warm-up season, but this year it seems to be a hectic mess (Ironic, since summer is also our clean-up season). I took one day off this week and returned to a fever pitch of desperate requests from my co-workers as though I had been gone for ages. Learn to live without me folks, because in two weeks I'm going on vacation.

I'm teaching two classes next week and am starting to do all my prep work and supply shopping. Plus I'm tutoring for the rest of the summer. Super fun times! And I'm throwing a baby shower for this lovely lady. And we have family visiting from near and far and of course, Rob's birthday to look forward to.  It's going to be a wild and crazy summer, followed by an even busier fall.

Somehow in the midst of all that, I've made a personal commitment to give up salt and coffee. Wow, I actually just started to type crazy instead of coffee. No kidding. Guess my subconscious is trying to tell me something. My plan is to start detoxing and see how my body reacts. I may ease back into both of these great loves of my life, but I feel like maybe I need to know that I can do it. I was fully committed to this plan until this morning when I started thinking about homemade salsa.... Hmmm.... We shall see.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer to do list

I started this list forever ago, but now that summer is at a half-way point, I better share it. There are some things that we've done already and some that I need to remember.

Our summer to-do list:

  • Go to the park every day that we can and not limit our time there!

  • Have family barbecues
  • Go to a Barker Lions club chicken dinner
  • Go to Niagara Falls
  • Go to the zoo
  • Have a date night once a month
  • Swim!
  • Go to the cottage at least twice a month
  • Play
  • Go to the County Fair
  • Go to Italian Fest
  • Go on a picnic

    Summer's slipping by as fast as ever. Time to go enjoy!

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
  • Simple Machines

    I'm not going to lie. I'm incredibly proud of this simple activity Maddie and I did today. We built a slide and swing out of blocks.

    Ha! Ha.

    Sesame Street is always talking about simple machines, like this awesome video including a song by Sutton Foster. Love her!

    So Maddie and I played with blocks and I taught her simple mechanics. I guess I'm so proud of this simple accomplishment because I never even heard the term simple machines until last year when PBS Kids started emphasizing more engineering. So, go me!

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    A Summer Family Photo

    My hope was that we would take a family photo at least once a month this year. Sadly, we never seem to remember. But last night we had an amazing sunset, thanks to a stormy evening in Canada. See?

    This one is from Rob's iPhone. What a difference in definition!

    I snapped a few perfect moments between Maddie and Rob.

    Maddie was pretty amazed by her first real sunset. We let her stay awake a little later so she could enjoy it.

    While I photographed them, Rob snapped a weird family photo for the books:

    Then we tried a family photo (or two, seeing as this family is full of comedians):

    And we ended up with this perfect family shot:


    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

    Remember how I firmly believe in the jinx? Talk about your kid's good sleeping habits, and... Bam! Your kid stops sleeping.

    Well, the same thing goes for technology. Tell someone you love your computer and... Bam!

    Or in my case, no bam. I am living in a technology dark zone. After telling my friend how amazed I was that my old computer is still working so well, I apparently knocked over the first domino in a long chain.

    Maddie and I were playing online, I set the computer down and no more Internet. I thought it was just our Ethernet wire, but alas it is the port. (Did you know it's really bad to have an Ethernet wire plugged into a laptop when it's not on a stable surface? It is. Don't do that.). Sadly the port is part of the logic board. And that is tech-speak for "Ca-Ching."

    I really shouldn't complain because at least I have a choice on this repair: a) spend $600-800 on a new logic board; b) buy a new laptop $900-1100; c) buy an iPad (rob's choice)* $400 or d) get a wireless router, because our airport still works $20. Hooray for option d!

    Of course, we already own a wireless router. Which stopped working two days after our Ethernet port broke. Go figure.

    THEN my email got hacked. And I couldn't fix it because my email supplier had so many customer help issues their system wasn't working and so many calls that I couldn't get through to them. Fixed that yesterday.

    And I decided to upload my 1,634 photos from my phone to my laptop and guess what? My hard drive is full. Funny thing about taking 1000 photos -- it takes up a lot of storage room and I should really back those up. Guess I need an external hard drive, too.

    Luckily, I was able to transfer 1534 photos over, so my phone is now speedy like a tortoise. No seriously, as in I'm typing this blog blind because I can type faster than my phone can display the words. Because I need an upgrade.

    A million computer geeks just cried after reading this blog. I'm quite sure I'm their worst nightmare. Just imagine if they saw the jelly fingerprints on my keyboard.

    *Maddie's choice is also to get an iPad. When we went to the Apple store for our check-up Maddie got to sit at the kids table and play. She came up to me, saying, "Mom, come see these iPads!" I don't think iPad is really a word she hears a lot around her, unless Rob has been training her for his birthday. But she does now walk around saying, "Mom, I want to use the iPad." Thanks, Apple, for inspiring future generations.

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

    Sunday, July 8, 2012

    Greek Caesar

    As with all my recipes, this Greek Caesar Salad was born from a meal that went wrong. I started to make a Caesar salad and realized I was out of lots of stuff. I found myself dumping in herbs that were more Greek than Caesar and Voila! Or should I say Opa!

    Greek Caesar Salad:

    1. Chop up two chicken breasts into nice thin, bite-sized strips. Toss them in a mixture of 2 Tbsps dill (I used dry, but if you've got fresh, go for it!), 3 minced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of oregano, and salt and pepper. Fry them in some olive oil until cooked through. Add one sliced onion in the last minute of cooking.

    2. Mix salad dressing in a big bowl: 3 Tbsps plain Greek yogurt, a splash of milk (start small and add a bit more if your dressing looks thick. Be conservative and if your dressing gets too runny just add a bit more yogurt.) Add 2 Tbsps dill, 1 tsp oregano, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

    3. Toss 1 head of romaine lettuce, torn or cut, with salad dressing. Top with chicken and onions, and a bit of parmasan cheese. This is great with a side of pita (and a dessert of mints!)

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012


    It really doesn't get any better than this? We're celebrating the 4th down at "Kopeka", my family's cottage on the lake. As Maddie and I went to buy corn and cherries, this is what we see: a quintessential farm complete with silo and corn field. And down the road windmills (so happy about that!)

    This is the view at our back:

    Kopeka-- with the biggest expanse of God's great water right out our back door. Could we be an luckier?

    Of course, Rob and are daydreaming about this:

    Can you even see that? It's our neighbor's floating pier/water trampoline. Where can we get such a thing. Maybe we should star being nice to those neighbors (though they are bent on global domination).

    Maddie's enjoying a snooze with lake breezes and after that its time for our family fiesta. Pictures tomorrow, I hope. Happy 4th of July!

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    The Book of Lists

    I was just feeling tremendously creative and took out a little blank book to write things down. Rob got me this book four years ago, from The Dressing Room in Chicago:

    Isn't it cute? I loved that store. Sigh...

    I quickly dubbed this book my book of lists. I had a lot of them apparently.

    Of course my biggest list was my beloved resolutions. 2008 meant 108 resolutions.

    This apparently was the year that I stopped completing my resolutions. (Note the few checks on the page.)

    This is my favorite one, so easy to do but I never did: 4. Visit the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). Perhaps the whole "open-mindedly" caveat drove me away from attempting it.

    As I started looking through the book, I got sucked in. Evaluating how my life has changed over the past few years. What I wanted then, what was my primary focus, etc...

    And then I got to my most recent page:

    Yup, I would say things have changed a bit and it definitely seems "focus" is not a common word around here!

    I think I shall resurrect the Book of Lists. And maybe my nice, neat, focused earlier pages will serve as inspiration. I hope!

    - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone