Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipe Monday

This isn't a recipe, it's just something I threw together on Saturday night. I always have a package of fresh pasta in the fridge (one day I'd love to make my own but till that day - these are pretty good). Usually I buy the kind with spinach in them but they were out at the store.

So while these babies are boiling up in a pot (for about 5 or 6 minutes) I threw some sesame oil (about 1 tbs.) in a frying pan and fried up sliced almonds, black and white sesame seeds and pine nuts, til brown.

Then I added about a cup and a half of chicken broth and my veggie puree.(That's where I sneak stuff in that the kiddies won't eat. This was pureed, cooked cauliflower and some hummus.)

Then about 1/3 cup pure peanut butter and about the same of coconut milk. (Either half and half of sour cream would work here too - even vanilla yogurt.)

The peanut butter acts as a thickner so I sometimes thin with some water, milk or broth.

Threw in my fav herb - coriander (can't get enough of that) and poured the sauce onto the cooked tortellini. Can't get easier or quicker than that.

This is Milana praying. She's got the hands down, we're working on the eyes closing.

Be sure to visit Colleens place for more recipe sharing and a laugh or two.

Bon Appetite!

Let there be music !!

Ni Hao Y'all

We had just gotten home from brunch after church (which explains the clothes - honestly, they do wear colors once in awhile) and the girls ran into the livingroom and got their groove on.

I should have grabbed the video camera but at least I got a couple of shots before they took off again.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday's finds

Much to my surprise and delight, I discovered that I'm not alone in my love of fairies. So even though I will be posting other "finds" on future Fridays, hosted by Colleen at The Crazy Eight site, I thought they deserved at least one more week in the limelight.

(Ahem, I have enough stuff to do another 12 weeks or more but I won't. Maybe I'll drop a little fairy dust in once in awhile - just to keep the magic alive.)

So today, all you fairy lovers,
I give you
the author and artist of the "Flower Fairy".
Cicely Mary Barker

Here....pull up a wee chair and have a spot of tea. This little flower fairy tea set is no more than an inch high, so, mind you don't spill.

Comfy?....'k, so here are a few of my favorite fairy flower books.

Are you as crazy about little boxed collections of books as I am?

I can get lost in almost every page or painting.

Of course, for the background details of all things "flower fairy" and
the life of Cicely Mary Barker,

below is the ultimate reference book on every fairy and flower she invented discovered.

So, thanks for joining me today.
I always enjoy your sweet comments - they never fail to put a smile on my face.

...and a fairy happy friday to everyone!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Black and White Wednesday

It's Wednesday again and time for Lisa's extravaganza celebrating
Black and White Photography.

This is just one shot of the hundreds many I got of Milana the other day. I posted some in color here but I got quite a kick out of how a few of them turned out in Blk & Wh.
Some roses from my garden last summer. Sigh.......

Then I did 3 more of Milana which I may frame as a triptych (as suggested by my friend Dita for 3 pix I took of Dahlia awhile ago).

I'm going to need more wall space though. (Oh, excuse me, I just heard a groan coming from our bedroom. Huh.......what could be the problem?)

I'm in trouble, you know. No one believes me that that sweet face is anything but sugar.

And below are three pictures from China last summer. Eveyday that we could while Milana was napping, Dahlia and I stole away for some Mommy and daughter time. Sometimes it was a little lunch, an ice-cream cone (ok....more than once for the ice-cream), some shopping or just exploring. It's funny how in one day, Dahlia went from being my baby to my buddy. We really enjoyed each other in our stolen moments together.

Here we were in our hotel in Hangzhou, Zhejiang - where they had a museum
of just magnificent artwork. This was a huge wall carving in wood that really was breath-taking in person.

It was in a golden honey colored wood - gorgeous if you like wood, which I don't ( I can appreciate it though) but converted to black and white - I really like.

And there's my baby buddy Dahlia. No, she'll always be my baby. I just have two babies now.

Make sure you have a visit to The Long Road to China site for some beautiful photography.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Don't be fooled by this innocent face !

Deep within this adorable little cherub........ the heart of a.....


I know, I know, it's hard to believe.

How could she be anything else but

sugar and sweetness and everything.....

soft, but it's true.

She's a wild thing......

SEE.......what did I tell you!

And this mama is panting most days

just keeping up with her.

But make no mistake about it.....

catch her I will !!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Recipes on Monday

How many different ways can you say

Last week, when I read M3's Salsa in China blog about the really cool way to keep the kiddos happy for hours on end when housebound (check it out) and she mentioned she doesn't use lentils to cook with, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the famous (or infamous) bean.

To me, lentils are one of those miracle foods. You can do just about anything with them and they are loaded with all the good stuff. True, lentils have suffered from a poor image to many. From the fear of repeat performances (of the intestinal nature) and the misguided image it has that hours of soaking are required, the poor lentil has been misrepresented.

Well, I for one will set the record straight.
Lentils are simply great!
(above - soup #1 - regular)

(above - soup #2 - oriental)
I usually make a simple lentil soup as a base and add whatever I want. And we have some variety of lentils probably every other day. Sometimes no one even knows we're actually eating lentils as I'll ground them up and put them in other dishes or recipes. I probably use more lentils than most because Danny is quasi vegetarian. (He does eat fish, eggs and dairy - just no meat or poultry.....that he knows of..........ahem..........master pureer here. Hey, he needs the protein....'k?)

The basic recipe comes from my buddy Helen who is Greek (aka they really know what to do with a bean, herb,oil and just about anything else). And I just add a whole bunch of stuff to it. Here is the simple base.
(Note - I don't have the exact measurements so I'm just winging it here.)

Lentil Soup Base
- Brown Lentils (no soaking required) about 1/2 bag
(I sometimes add green or mung beans but the browns break down much faster)
- about 3 cups tomato juice (the acid breaks down the lentil - thus no soaking)
- 2 or 3 cups chicken stock
- chopped leeks, chalots or onions
(you can fry these up or not - it doesn't really matter)
- a few cloves of garlic
- 3 or more bay leaves
3 or more tbsp olive oil
- about a tsp oregano and basil
fresh basil, if you have
Bring everything to a boil and leave it simmer for an hour or two or more. The broth will thicken naturally and you can add more liquid if needed. I refrigerate containers of this and freeze them too and can add anything to it when I need it.
- mixed chopped veggies (all kinds)
- ground beef, pork, soy or chicken
- chopped spinach

So last night I made two pots. One regular and one oriental. We went to the Chinese market yesterday so I had the right stuff.
The coriander and ginger (along with the shallots and garlic) went into pot #2.
The garlic, shallots, basil and spinache into pot #1.

(soup #1)
And here's what I added to pot #2. The oriental soup.

- 2 cups brown lentils
- 1 cup green mung beans
-2 cups tomatoes juice
-2 cups chicken broth
- small can coconut milk (add near the end)
- shallots/ garlic
- about 4 tbsp chopped coriander
- about 1 or 2 or 3 tbsp chopped ginger (to taste - I can eat it raw...mmm love it)
- citronelle (that's that long skinny thing in the second picture,
it's lemony and essential for the taste)
- Kaffir leaves (also essential_ that's lime)
-bamboo shoots (spears)
-straw mushrooms
- baby bok choy
- a bit of red chili pste (if you like a kick)
- a good dollop of sesame oil
- sesame seeds and coriander for garnish

Again, bring it all to a boil and simmer for an hour or two. Add more broth if needed.

(baby bok choy)

(soup #2 - getting yummy looking)

(soup #1 - almost done)

A peek at my spice cupboard.

(there's the spinach)

(added the coconut milk to #2)

These babies look just about ready.

Bon appetite !

Oriental soup

Basic lentil soup

And the ultimate soup testing bowl.

They just lap it up!

Be sure to pop by Colleen's site for more recipe ideas.

And have a great week!