Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are…
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect Tomorrow.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth,
or bury my face in my pillow,
or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky
and want, more than all the world, your return.
- Mary Jean Iron

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Fave Five June 1

Another busy Friday, but a good one to stop and think about some of my favorite things this week.  First things first though, thank you so much for the prayers.  Mark's back is still not in good shape, but my health concerns with my children are calming down and I'm very thankful for that.  Jacob and Julianna's last day of school was yesterday and I think it will be a very good thing for them to step out of that environment and relax and enjoy a lack of routine for a while.  Rebekah will be home in a week or so, life is looking good, and I am thankful.

Five of my favorite things from the past week:
  1. My Dyson.  Truth to tell I have a love/hate (well not really hate, but strong dislike) relationship with Dyson.  It frustrates me that my parents spent a tremendous amount of money buying me an incredible gift and it doesn't work exactly as it should (I have the Animal D41 and beware, it will not go seamlessly from bare floors to area rugs, the suction on the vacuum is so incredibly strong it was impossible to push on our area rugs until we removed a gasket from around the vacuum head.  Suction problem solved, but obviously we've lost important suction as well.  That being said, if you have a house with all wall-to-wall, you will love this vacuum); it delights me that even not working exactly as it should it still works amazingly well.  It's amazing how I can empty my Dyson (the first bagless vacuum I've ever liked, it truly does not make a mess when you empty it), vacuum my living room and dining room and have an amazing amount of yucky stuff to empty.  I love, love, love seeing all that dirt and dust come out of my house and go away.
  2. My Nook Color.  Jason and Lori got me one for Christmas one year and I absolutely love it.  Lately it seems as though the library is increasing their collection of e-books and I've had a lot more luck finding books I want to read.  So much fun!  I love having books literally at my fingertips, if I finish one, on to the next.  If I wake up in the middle of the night I can read without disturbing Mark too much, thanks to the great built-in and fully adjustable light.  I seriously heart my Nook. 
  3. Successful new recipes.  We had a cookout on Memorial Day and I made the buns for the hamburgers.  So exciting!  They were absolutely delicious and very, very easy.  I did a plain hamburger bun from King Arthur Flour, and cheddar buns and cheddar buns with jalapenos from Confections of a Foodie Bride (pictured below).  Honestly, I wasn't so sure how much we would like the jalapeno cheddar buns and they were wonderful.  Both recipes resulted in buns that were soft and very flavorful. Bonus, I was able to make them a day ahead and bake them the morning I wanted to use them and they were wonderful one and two days later when we had them for leftovers.  I'm not a huge fan of store bought buns and it appeals to my creative side to make my own.  
Image:  Southern Living
 Another new hugely successful recipe was the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake I made for Memorial Day dessert.   You can imagine by looking at it how awesome this was, and you would be exactly right.  :)  I did make it easy on myself and used a boxed Chocolate Fudge cake mix.  I subbed in Oreos for the chocolate wafers, though next time I'll use Grasshoppers (basically a GS thin mint cookie).  Instead of chocolate ganache I topped the cake with hot fudge.  I'm sure this one will be reappearing again and again, Jacob already has plans for his birthday.  I knew it was a big success when I got a text from Jason a couple of nights later asking if there was any cake left.  Luckily there was and he popped over for a slice and to hang out with his mom for a bit.  (Can I say yet again how much I love having them live right around the corner?)

There were a few other new recipes this week too, what can I say, I'm on a roll?  I made Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken.  I used a recipe I found on Pinterest as my inspiration, then veered off on my own.  I took the rub from my Southwestern Chicken Salads and rubbed it on chicken tenderloins.  Then, don't judge, you'd have to taste it to believe how delicious it is, you wrap it in a piece of bacon, liberally sprinkle brown sugar all over and grill.  While it's grilling, over very low heat, so the bacon has time to crisp, brush it with BBQ sauce.  Delicious!  We're already drooling over different time I'm thinking terriyaki with pineapple, yum!

I also experimented with a new BBQ rib recipe, from Sweet Paul Magazine, beer battered onion rings from Martha Stewart, and cole slaw from Liete's Culinaria.  We loved the ribs, so tender and perfectly cooked, with nice bits of crispy char.  Jacob, Mark and Julianna were actually fighting over the most carmelized bits of juicy pork.  It's a different technique than I've used before, but I know I'll be using it again.  The onion rings were delicious, they're from her new cookbook, Martha's American Food:  A Celebration of Our Nation's Most Treasured Dishes, from Coast to Coast.  I got it out of the library to preview it and I've already ordered it from my cookbook club.  So many things were calling our name to be tried!  The cole slaw was very different from what we're used to, but very good and I'll be making that one again too.  All in all, it was a very successful dinner of brand new recipes.

The final new recipe from last week was from Food Network Magazine (pictured below).  As soon as the April (?) issue came with a picture of gorgeous egg tarts on the cover Jacob started asking me to make them.  I dragged my feet a bit, it involved puff pastry, which was slightly intimidating to me, as well as havarti cheese which I had never tried.  Finally, I knew I couldn't put him off any longer and we tried them.  So, so good!  Much easier than I had feared and we all loved them.  For Julianna's I scrambled her eggs, next time I'll delay putting her tart in the oven until ours have been in 5 minutes or so.  Seriously, try these, the puff pastry was delicious, Julianna likened it to eating a croissant stuffed with cheese and eggs, not a bad description.

4.  New recipe binder.  I'm always trying new recipes, therefore I always need a new recipe notebook.  I found myself tending to print them off the internet or make copies of cookbook pages.  Then, I started thinking about how much it means to me to have things handwritten from the past, from people I have loved.  Not to be morbid, but I started thinking about how much it might mean to my kids to have that same thing one day, so I've started a scrapbook style recipe notebook.  A bonus I didn't expect is that I'm finding it really rewarding creatively.  It combines two interests of mine, cooking and scrapbooking and I think it's enormously fun.

    5.  Well, look at me, I'm at number 5 already and I'm having a hard time deciding what to put here because there are so many choices!  What a difference a week can make in terms of perception.  I've decided I have to go with gratuitous kid picture.  Jacob marched in the Memorial Day parade with his boy scout troop.  I was so proud of him!  It was hot, screaming hot, and he still marched.  For some stupid unknown reason, the organizers put most of the kid groups last in the parade, which meant the kids waited in the middle of an open field for an hour and a half until it was their turn to step off, but still, he had a good time.  It was gratifying to see him there, it's the first event he's been well enough to attend since he joined scouts.  Unfortunately Mark's back kept him home, but there's always next year.  I cry every year at this parade, it's the largest in Ohio and it's so inspiring to see the veterans, this year we had what seemed like a lot of World War II vets, amazing.

    Okay, I apologize, I know this post is long already, but I have to add this one in.  Check out this video, it's a bit long, but still under 5 minutes, and I promise it is worth your time.  Stick with it until the very end and I predict you'll be in tears.  You hear so much about bullying and how poorly kids treat each other.  What a wonderful testament that good things happen to, and at a school in our district, I feel so proud and so hopeful for the future.  You will too, just watch it. 

    Hope you feel inspired too. Have a great week.
    Living to Tell the Story


    Susanne said...

    Well, thanks so much, my dayhome kidlets are now wondering why I'm bawling! LOL. That video was amazing.

    Your whole post is making my mouth totally water. Everything sounds so delicious. I have to admit I'm in a major rut with cooking. I'm thinking of making Saturday my try something new day.

    Faith said...

    LOVED the video...reminded me of a special little boy I help teach at school...very inspiring!
    And YUMMY...thanks to you my stomach is now growling!! :) all those recipes sound delicious. my first day of summer vacation is June 22 when school is finally done here in NY and I plan on doing ALOT of baking this summer to make for not doing much the last 10 months. Think i'l give some of your recipes a try! I usually try one new recipe a week.

    Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

    Great video! Love the Memorial Day picture of your son...and that cake? Oh, my! Looks and sounds absolutely scrumptious. Every Friday, you inspire me to cook and try new things.

    Hope you have a great week ahead!

    Gattina said...

    My son has a Dyson too and I thought it vaccuums your feet off !
    The video is very touching !

    Brenda said...

    A good vacuum cleaner is indeed something to be thankful for! That dessert you made looks SO yummy!

    Willow said...

    That photo of your son is so sweet. Obviously, he was having a great time despite the hot weather.

    Mary said...

    Having too many things to decide from is a good thing! That cake looks delicious! :)

    Jientje said...

    Oh gosh, I really was moved to tears! I loved all your recipes, you really do love to cook, don't you? Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

    nikkipolani said...

    Boy, you have really been experimenting in the kitchen -- thanks for the various links. Those ribs are calling my name. I'm glad your week seems lighter with the kids doing better. I'll keep praying for Mark's back.

    anymommy said...

    I love that video. I hate my vacuum. I don't even know what it is, some knock of brand of horror.

    Hotly Spiced said...

    Hi, I found your blog through The Lady 8 Home. I think I'm a forever mum too as I have three and they are 19, 17 and 7 - not quite the age range of yours but it still raises eyebrows. I love the look of your chocolate mint ice cream cake - delicious!

    Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

    Oh maan, I'm sorry: I saw the pie and got all distracted. Mmmmm... pie.

    Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

    Shoot. I just watched the video. And now I am crying, too...

    imbeingheldhostage said...

    Well. My emotions just flew all over the place with this post- where have I been?! Mark's back? Kids out of school? Recipe binder=brilliance!! Loved this post xx


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