Cherries are Pretty

Yesterday, we were lucky to be able to go pick cherries at a friend’s house.  The cherries were the tart pie variety, and that tree was loaded.  My friend had been picking for days and the tree seemed as full as ever.

Davey and his friend helped us for a little while, but they soon ran off to play.

My favorite part of picking cherries was seeing how pretty they were in the tree.  I wish I had taken some pictures of them.  The light was nice, and the cherries were such a bright color against the greens of the tree.

After we were done, we visited for a little while, and then Davey and I headed to the store for jam making supplies.

There were a lot of cherries to be pitted before we could start making jam though.  Once again, I just wanted to take pictures of those pretty cherries.

And so I did.

cherries

They were so pretty that I kinda hated to pit them.

cherries2

 

But I did.  I sat on the front porch and pitted cherries.  It’s messy business.  I had to hose the porch down when I was done.  Cherry juice was everywhere.

I had a little helper for awhile.  Of course this was the opportunity for more pictures.  I love pictures of his little hands.

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He quickly figured out the basics of pitting cherries, and he was able to get the pits out very efficiently.  He then gave me some pointers as well.

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We finally had a nice bowl of cherries.

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I went in and made 8 jars of cherry jam, and I do believe it is the best jam that I ever made. The cherries were so tart, and the cherry jam just tastes so “cherry”.

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I was so careful to separate the pits from the cherries, but as I was looking at my jars, I found the occasional pit suspended in jam.  I will just have to advise using caution when applying jam to bread.

I had an extra cup of cherries left, and I couldn’t bear to not use them in jam.  So I remembered I’d bought three pounds of strawberries from a Walla Walla farm.  They were in the freezer all cut up and ready to go.  So I used them to mix with the cherries.  I also threw in a handful or two of blueberries for good measure.

This turned out nice too. Strawberry jam with a little added cherry tartness.  I think the blueberries just gave it a darker color.

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Jam Success!

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Some knitting and exploding garbanzo beans

It’s summer, and I am knitting again!  It’s nice to have time to knit.  I am determined to whittle down my stash this summer.  I started with a baby blanket.  I have had some Lion’s Brand Baby’s Choice for awhile that I needed to use up.  I started it on another baby blanket awhile back, but I wasn’t liking the yarn in that pattern much.  So I began again.

I began twice actually.  I first wanted to make a blanket in the Concentric Squares Baby Blanket pattern.  It’s a really neat pattern, but I soon realized that I was using up all my yarn and I was not even 1/3 of the way done.  I was going to have to buy more yarn to finish it.  A lot more.  I don’t know what was going on.  When I took it off the needles to frog it, I realized that it was at least a twin-size wide.  It was on the way to being enormous.  I didn’t want to make a ginormous baby blanket which required me to buy more yarn. That was defeating the purpose.

I went looking again, and I found another pattern that I liked a lot.  It’s called Sweet Phoebe. I really like this simple pattern.  It has such a pretty lace edging.

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The yarn is a bulky cotton/acrylic blend.  It’s a little shreddy, and it was hard to weave in the ends nicely, but I love how soft and squishy it is.

baby-blanket-green

 

The above photo shows me that I need to work on my knitting versus purling tension.  I have no idea how I can do that, but I can definitely see the difference between the knit and purled rows here!

This pattern would be a great introduction to lace.  The lace is just around the edges and it’s a very short repeat.  Then you settle into the stockinette for most of the blanket.  It knit up fast with the bulky yarn, and I almost used all the yarn up.  I had less than a skein left. Perfect!

And now to totally change subjects. Yesterday I wanted to make a really good new salad.  So I googled “best salads ever”.   I found this one:  Chopped Salad with Bacon and Garbanzo beans.  It turned out great!  I made a couple of modifications.  It called for garbanzo beans and butter beans.  I thought that would be a little too much “beanage” so I went with just garbanzo.  I’ve always been a little unsure about eating garbanzos (except pureed in hummus), but I’d never fried them in coconut oil before.   They are really good.  I quickly learned though that I might need protective eye gear the next time I made them.  They started exploding on me!  Doubtless, I am doing something wrong.  Too high of heat maybe?  It caught me off guard though.  I am actually making the salad again tonight, so I will try to figure out how to avoid the exploding garbanzo beans.  I left the garlic and shallot out too.  I wasn’t in a garlicky/shalloty mood, but I am sure they’d be good in there.

Now I am off to make homemade bread.  We made a salt dough topographic map today (I will post about that soon), and it got David hungry for bread.  I have another good recipe for easy bread too. Really easy to make and so good!

Davey – formerly known as “the very picky eater” + Pinterest Success

Davey has developed a reputation for being a very picky eater.  For a long time, he wanted nothing to do with vegetables or basically anything that was part of a “mixture”.  He did always eat a lot of fruit though, so he got some vitamins that way (plus some gummy vitamins sometimes). Besides fruit, he mostly enjoyed peanut butter and jelly, goldfish, vanilla yogurt, cheese, Life cinnamon cereal (known around here as “crunchies”), and sometimes chicken nuggets.

However, I never could envision him growing up to be too particular.  David and I definitely are not, we don’t come from families who include picky eaters, and I did not see how it could be part of his genetic makeup.

I worried a little though.  A friend from Colorado told me about her cousin who specifically requested that she have chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese at her own wedding as those were pretty much the only foods she liked.  I could see this as Davey’s future for a little while.  But, we never made a big deal about it and just kept encouraging him.

He is beginning to come around.  This is now a kid whose current favorite food is black-eyed peas and cornbread. He also loves spinach salad (he likes it with 1000 island dressing, but he will eat plain spinach leaves too).

This brings me to some pinterest successes I have had lately and which have also expanded his eating repertoire.

I made a great simple pepper salad the other day.  Basically just several types of chopped bell peppers, lime juice, cilantro and onions.  Davey loved it.  In an attempt to get him to try it, I first asked him to taste test each color of pepper to see what color he liked the most.  I think red and yellow beat orange and green.  He chowed on these peppers!  He even ate some of the cilantro and said he liked it (I could not hang with him on that one).

The same night I tried a new Mongolian beef recipe.  It was another great success, and Davey ate quite abit of the beef and enjoyed the sauce mixed with rice.

Davey still has his moments.  He doesn’t like any of his foods to touch each other on the plate.  He also wants to use a separate spoon or fork for each thing.  So a fork for the rice and a different one for the beef.  I think he was just picking out the peppers and eating them like finger food.

He’s getting there though!  There be some regression on the way, but I’m no longer too worried that we will need to make sure and have chicken nuggets and goldfish at his wedding.

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Buskers and Sesame Tofu

Pretty busy weekend.  Yesterday we had soccer.  We thought we were going to be rained out, but nope.  It was a little chilly and wet, but Davey and his team had a great day.  It’s fun watching them get better each week, and it’s also fun to really see them get after that ball and want to try to score.

After soccer, we went to Buskers in the Burg.  I wish we would have been able to go in the morning because we would have seen more of this:

chicken

 

Giant puppets!  This chicken guy was actually being chased by a puppet with a big mallet, but then they’d reverse and the chicken would chase the other puppet with his cleaver.  I think there were more of them out in the morning – maybe next year we will see them!

There was a hay maze which Davey enjoyed running through a few times.

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Today we went to the library and then mostly hung around at home.  I had homework to do, and so I knocked some of that out.   Then for dinner tonight I made Sesame Tofu.  We had discovered Sesame Tofu at a restaurant by our house in Broomfield.  It was the first tofu dish that we really really liked, and we went over to this restaurant quite abit to have it.

So we miss the Sesame Tofu.  I decided I needed to figure out how to make it.  I got really lucky and found a great recipe on my first try.  This Sesame Tofu Recipe was so good.  I didn’t get the tofu quite right, but that will just take a little practice.  The sauce was really good.  Little Davey loved the sauce on rice, and he even had a little tofu.  He’s getting so much braver and becoming really so much more interested in trying new foods.  Yay for that.

Now tonight – Breaking Bad finale and some knitting time.  It’s chilly and a little rainy out, and I’m enjoying this beginning of fall.  Tomorrow we are all back to school!

Two Totally Different Recipes – had to share

It’s Friday.  I’m on the front porch watching Davey look for clues.  He found a gem in the flowerbed (I think it’s a gumball machine kinda gem, but he’s having fun looking for more clues).  He just discovered a roly poly and determined that he followed us from Colorado.  Quite an imagination on this little guy (Davey – not the roly poly!).

I made two recipes this week that I had to share.  First a friend mentioned that he was making “paleo pancakes”.  Two ingredients.  1 Banana and 2 Eggs.  (that’s two right?  or three?)  Anyway.  Squish up the banana by itself.  Beat the eggs by themselves.  Mix them together.  Make pancakes.

Really good.  I suppose you could call them a banana omelette kinda?  But no, they really tasted like pancakes – or maybe somewhere between pancake and french toast (one of my favorite foods).

Highly recommend!

Then I made Green Bean, Grape and Pasta Toss.  I wasn’t sure what I thought about green beans and grapes together, but I thought I’d give this a whirl.  David decreed that it was the best pasta salad he had ever had.

The recipes calls for fresh green beans.  There were none to be found at the grocery store, so I steamed frozen green beans.

The recipe calls for roasted pecans.  I like walnuts better, and they were about half the price so I used those.  Didn’t roast them either.

I used apple cider vinegar instead of red wine.  I always read about how good apple cider vinegar is for us, so I use it as much as I can.

Oh and I used turkey bacon instead of regular.  I’ve gotten to where I like it just as much as regular (maybe because I haven’t had regular in quite awhile!).  It worked great though.

That’s my recipe sharing for the day.

Now it’s time to head down to the 4-H horse fair.  Davey is excited about seeing the horses and hopefully seeing his friend ride in some of the events!

Happy Trails

We went on a little hike today.  Might be the last chance we get to do that here in Colorado.

I discovered a new great website and corresponding app called Every Trail. It lists tons of trails all over the country.  I wanted to find a trail close to our house so I set the search for trails within 10 miles of Erie.

We found a trail in Superior called the Dirty Bismarck Loop.  I thought it was a cool name.  We had to try it!

We didn’t come near to walking the whole thing.  We maybe walked 3 miles.  Davey did great, and it was fairly warm out.  Buster loved it too.  Most of the trail was through the open prairie.  There was a warning sign at the beginning of the trail instructing us to beware of rattlesnakes.  Davey was ready to nix the trail at that point, but we convinced him it was highly unlikely that we would see a snake.  Thank goodness we did not.  I have a bit of a snake phobia, but I’d rather walk on a trail where there was the threat of rattlesnakes than a trail up in the mountains where there was a threat of a mountain lion watching my every move!

We read a picture book the other day about a little pioneer boy traveling across the Great Plains with his family.  Davey really got into this. So today, he pretended the entire time that we were pioneers making our way across the prairie.  Davey, Ma, Pa and Buster.

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He can squat like this for a long period of time.  It amazes me.

It was a nice hike.  David got a family pic of us.  (Davey and Buster are gazing fondly at each other here.)

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Then Tonight Davey helped me make some no bake cookies.  They are called “No Bake Energy Bites”, and I came across the recipe on facebook. Here’s the recipe.

*~*~*No Bake Energy Bites*~*~*

1 cup (dry) oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients together in a large bowl. Roll into bite size balls. Refrigerate to set.

They are really tasty.  I added chia seeds to the batch I made tonight.  Davey liked helping me combine ingredients, but he is not too interested in eating the cookies.  David and I highly recommend them though!

making-nobake

 

Avocado Egg Salad, Aerosmith, and Airmail

Miscellaneous things today.

David and I have been making this really good egg salad lately.  4 hard-boiled eggs, 1 smushed up avocado, a little red wine vinegar and mayonnaise.  It’s really really good!

Davey had a Father’s Day party today at his pre-k Summer Camp.  They’d made some fun father’s day crafts for gifts.  They decorated the tables, and they had donuts.  He also made a craft with David.  It is a pet rock.  David texted a picture of him to me.  I replied “that’s awesome” but I messed up and the auto-correct replaced it with Aerosmith.  Aerosmith?  Turns out it’s a fairly fitting name for this little pet rock.  He reminds me a little of Steven Tyler. David and I have officially dubbed it Aerosmith.

aerosmith

And finally, I’m once again trying to actually write little notes, put them in an envelope, add a stamp and send them off the old-fashioned way!  I found the cutest little Mary Engelbreit notecards today at Michael’s.  I came home and wrote notes to my 3 oldest nieces.  It’s kind of fun to write a little note and send it off (I did this promptly before I got sidetracked!).   I also think it is very fun to receive a little note in the mail too.  I’m going to try to be better about occasionally doing this!