Category Archives: Family

Grilling & Chilling – Indoors!

Grilling… So, what do you enjoy most about Grilling?
Cooking outside? Preparing certain foods you love made just on the grill?
Steak? Hamburgers? Chicken? Shrimp? Vegetables?
Cooking as you are surrounded by family and friends who brought their specialties… salads & side dishes?
Is your mouth watering yet? 😂

What do you think of the possibility of grilling indoors? Void of Season & Weather…

Introducing our great indoor grill!
The Stainless Steel Power XL 1500W Smokeless Grill Pro with Griddle Plate

Recently, we indoor grilled filet mignons, did baked potatoes in the convection oven, and added a large Caesar salad topped with shaved parmesan! The filets were deliciously juicy and tender! And the cleanup was quick and easy! The grill disassembles quickly and all components are easily accessible to remove cooking residue.

The next day, the leftover filet was thinly sliced topped with Dijonnaise. Basically, it’s a combination of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon Country Dijon)

For roughly $100 (watch for sales), this grill is a great addition to your cooking equipment, especially if you want to avoid standing out on the deck in the wind and snow or in the garage in order to satisfy that grilled steak craving.

CSA – Supporting Our Farmers – Another great year of organic treasures!

What is CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

There are several ways of supporting farmers in your area. Among these are large farmer’s markets with a variety of vendors, local grocery-style markets with produce from local farms, and small family farm stands found along the road. The CSA farming model, that we discovered over 5 years ago, is one where you purchase a seasonal share (membership) directly from the farmer before the growing season. The share is for a set number of weeks of their harvest of farm-fresh vegetables and/or fruits.

There are different versions of CSAs so you have to do some research and find one that is best for you and your family’s wants and needs. Our present CSA is a Certified Organic Farm and offers 27 weeks of their produce.

The first CSA we got involved with dropped off our weekly “share” of produce at a designated location and time near our home. While the current one we use offers this too, we actually enjoy going to their 18-acre farm, near the base of Blue Mountain, to select our weekly produce in their barn and then participate in their “U-Pick” plots which offer various vegetables, herbs & flowers for us to pick. We enjoy it and always have fun!

Over the years, we have appreciated many benefits of our membership. First and foremost we know the farmer and where our food is coming from. We know it’s organic and free of chemicals on the veggies and in the soil in which it’s grown. An organic farm was important to us as we believe it’s beneficial to our health.

We also think the freshly picked produce is more nutritious and tastes better to us. In addition to this, we’ve enjoyed adding more vegetables and fruits to our diet, learning about vegetables not in our usual routine (like garlic scapes, purple dragon tongue beans & edamame!).

All in all, we understand we are supporting local farmers and small farms in our area and we particularly enjoy providing first-hand farming experiences for our grandchildren. It has been truly enjoyable to watch the boys select tomatoes, peppers, snap peas. and sunflowers directly from the plant. (BTW – a quart container for collecting also makes a great hat on a sunny day.)

How do I find a CSA near me?

You can find a CSA near you by searching the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Marketing Service site and entering your zip code in the CSA area. It’s a great way to add to your healthy living lifestyle and some nature-loving, “farm” beauty, fresh air and sun to your day!

Some wonderful examples of produce we have received through our local CSA:

We are looking forward to another year at The Good Farm with Aimee and John Good & Heidi, of course! We appreciate all that you do…your dedication and hard work!

Another local farm we support and enjoy along the way home from our CSA is Crystal Spring Farm. A delicious place to stop and get chocolate milk to go & fresh-made ice cream in the summer! Life is Good!

Aunt Theresa’s Crepes

Holidays and Special Foods are a tradition in our family. Pick a holiday or a celebration and I can name a food, recipe or menu we’ve shared as a family. What can I say, we have many home cooks and bakers in our family and we enjoy celebrating and sharing!

I posted about Palacinkas (Slovenian Crepes) before and how our girls and now our grandsons enjoy when they are “scrambled” to make something we’ve always called “bucca.” They top the scrambled palacinka / “bucca” with syrup, usually Log Cabin, and enjoy themselves!

In this recipe, we use the palacinkas / crepes to create a dessert by adding a delightful, sweet filling. My Aunt Theresa introduced her creation at a July 4th picnic at her son Steve’s (my cousin) one year and we loved them. I remember so vividly that she topped them with a homemade strawberry syrup and whipped cream and proudly added them to the dessert table! They were chilled perfectly for a warm July 4th afternoon.

I made them recently, for our July 4th family picnic and topped them with a blueberry syrup. Our syrup was made from blueberries that Bob and our youngest grandson picked from newly planted bushes in our backyard! The recipes for Palacinkas and Blueberry Syrup follow… Enjoy!

Palacinkas / Crepes:

1 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

Palacinka Filling:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped

Blueberry Syrup Topping:

1 cup blueberries

1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar (depending on personal preference of sweetness)

Directions for the Crepes:

Combine all the the ingredients for the crepes in a medium size bowl and mix until smooth. Let this batter rest for about 10 – 15 minutes.

Using a small nonstick pan sprayed lightly with some vegetable oil / Pam, add enough batter to coat the entire pan (approximately 1/3 cup) by swirling the batter to make a thin pancake. It is important to make them as thinly as possible. It will take a little practice, but, I assure you it will be worth it!

When you see the edges starting to brown slightly, carefully flip the pancake to lightly brown the other side. Place this crepe onto a dish and continue using the rest of the batter to make additional crepes.

When all of your crepes are finished and cooled they are ready to fill.

Directions for the Filling:

In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream until it is all combined.

Directions for the blueberry syrup:

Put the blueberries, sugar and vanilla into a saucepan. Heat this mixture over a low – medium heat until it is all combined and the consistency pleases you. You may want larger berries remaining in your syrup or you may want a smoother, thinner consistency. You may even want to use a handheld blender to blend it at the end.

Assembling Dessert Crepes:

Place a crepe onto a marble / cutting board and add some of the cream cheese filling on one side, end to end and then, roll the crepe and place on a dish. Continue with the rest of the crepes.

When all of the crepes are filled, place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When you are ready to serve them, top the chilled, rolled crepe with the blueberry syrup and some homemade whipped cream!

Enjoy!

Thomas Jefferson, Book love & The Magic

“I cannot live without books…”
– Thomas Jefferson

One of our many “Adventures” took us to Thomas Jefferson’s estate, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

A lawyer, architect, writer, farmer, scientist, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, founder of the University of Virginia… he was quite the accomplished gentleman of the times – April 2, 1743 – July 4, 1826.

An intriguing, amazing, having “history come alive” journey, not just for your children or grandchildren in our case, but for people of all ages.  

Known for many quotes, directly from their website – Monticello.org… There’s an entire searchable collection of his quotes available for ones reference as well as on the premises of Monticello where you can enjoy delving into the brilliance of this man through his own words.  

While we were there, I came across one particular quote that resonated with me. That little gem can be found on my desk in my home office.  And…, yes…, it is surrounded by a plethora of books of many subjects, sizes & shapes!  🥰

You may find a “few” collections not only in my office but throughout our home.  Our book collection includes… the classics, books on education, children’s books, art books, novels, cookbooks (yes, I do enjoy reading them!), biographies, religion & spirituality… to name a few.  

But, I digress… I wanted to share a book someone recommended to me recently: “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. If you don’t know who Rhonda Byrne is, click here for Google results or look her up on Wikipedia. She’s  known as the author of the New Thought books — The Secret [as well as the film], The Power, The Magic, The Hero…)

Her book, “The Magic,” shares with the reader, the power of gratitude, giving thanks, appreciating & counting ones blessings.  It is a 28 day journey in unearthing & acknowledging the joy in ones life.

The book is an easy read that leads you to reflect on your life & to appreciate each & every day that you experience! If you know my “story,” you know that my my family & I have come to understand this “power” for many years now.  We certainly have learned – to “count our blessings” each and every day.  

So… Does one of my favorite quotes resonate with you too?  

If it does… pick up a copy of “The Magic” on Amazon here. Let us know in the comments section below what book(s) you are currently reading that you may want to share with us!  We would be grateful for, give thanks, appreciate & count our blessings to hear your suggestions! 😉❤️

Squab!!

So there’s an old 2004 Two and a Half Men episode called: “Squab, squab, squab, squab, squab” that we love! It makes us laugh so hard because well… if you have boys, you KNOW the kinds of crazy things they do and get into.

In the episode, Jake who’s about 10ish at the time “breaks” his grandma, and Charlie and Alan declare him the chosen one. They thought he’d be scarred forever for having to spend time with her yet in typical boy fashion… he drives her bonkers, scares the death out of her, she tosses spaghetti all over her living room, he floods her bathroom, and he says he had an alright time. Meanwhile, she is drinking a martini and smoking a cigarette by this point. 😂

In case you’re didn’t know, Squab is, in culinary terminology, a young domestic pigeon, typically under four weeks old. The meat is widely described as tasting like dark chicken – [Wikipedia]. Jake loves to say the term “Squab” but would rather eat hot dogs and spaghetti (hence her making another meal for him that he would eat).

Thankfully we have all worked hard a teaching our boys well and they are willing to try any food “at least once” to see if they like it before making a decision. It’s a rule in our family. Just ask our cousin Patrick… he’s alway been thankful for that one. Admittedly the older one is a bit better with this rule than the 5 year old but we have faith in him that he’ll get there soon. Like currently, he asks for a “salad”… it’s just lettuce, no dressing, nothing on it, nothing in it… just lettuce. The older one on the other hand loves to order 2-3 spicy tuna rolls (1 order is 6 pieces). He’s a growing young man. Ahhh the differences in children in the same family. 😂

Anyways… We hope you enjoy this as much as we do! Can’t even tell you how many times we’ve seen this episode LOL. Check it out: