Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Soup Day

It's been snowing most of the day so we obviously aren't finished with soup weather yet. I wanted to share a recipe of my mom's that I recently tried and served at a cousins' lunch. I thought it was really yummy and definitely a keeper. (The amounts of vegetables can be altered according to taste.)

Creamy Vegetable Cheese Soup

1 medium sized onion - chopped
1 T minced garlic
1-2 T butter
2 1/2 lbs potatoes - cubed (I used 4-5 medium sized potatoes and that was plenty)
2 carrots - cubed
5 C chicken stock
8 oz broccoli florets
8 oz cauliflower florets
1/4 C or more milk
3/4 C whipping cream
1 C or more shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper according to taste

In a large pot saute onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add potatoes, carrots and chicken stock. Boil until vegetables are fork tender. Meanwhile, steam broccoli and cauliflower until fork tender. Add broccoli and cauliflower to large pot. Simmer. Use potato masher to slightly mash vegetables (I didn't smash them to smithereens because I still wanted small chunks of vegetables in my soup. It's up to you.). Add milk, cream and shredded cheese. Stir constantly over low heat to combine. Add more milk to reach desired consistency. Serve with more cheese sprinkled on top.

OK - so this recipe isn't necessarily low-calorie - but think of all those vegetables you are getting!

And for an after dinner treat - try this fun idea! My kids have done this a couple of times now. (There are two recipes in this link - I have tried them both but I am referring the one with the rolos and the pretzels.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gift Idea

We are grateful for all of the fun and generous gifts that SJ received for her 3rd birthday! But Grandma Jan and Great Grandma Eldine's gift was a unique idea that I wanted to pass along. They gave her a subscription to National Geographic Little Kids. We have received two issues so far (they come every two months) and we have loved them. I love the fact that the magazine is small for small hands, it isn't very long and has very simple stories, animal facts, recipes and craft activities. Every issue has animal cards to punch out and SJ loves carrying these around in a little bag. The magazine is recommended for kids ages 3-6 so Cate also has enjoyed it.

So if you are looking for a fun and different gift idea for a younger child - check it out! (There is also a National Geographic Kids for older children ages 6-12. And don't forget about Ranger Rick! That was the magazine that I received when I was a kid. I still have copies of Ranger Rick floating around the house!)

Thanks Grandma Jan and Great Grandma Eldine!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentines and Two Birthdays

Sunday was a triple celebration! Valentine's Day, SJ's birthday and my mom's birthday. As a special treat, my mom displayed her collection of Valentines. She has saved Valentines from her children, grandchildren, husband and friends. She also had some Valentines dating back to 1913 that were given or received by my grandmother when she was a child. That was almost 100 years ago! They were absolutely lovely!

This one was given to my brother by my great-grandmother. She died before I was born so I never met her.

My grandmother Florence sent this postcard (not actually a Valentine because the date says "April 16, 1913") to her grandmother, Mary Adeline. This is Addie's namesake.

The next few Valentines date back to 1916.

This Valentine was handpainted by my grandma Florence. I love this!!

Then it was on to the birthdays!

My mom makes everything meaningful and I love her for it!
Happy Birthday Mom!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Many Faces of SJ

This little lady had a birthday and is now 3 years old! With pacifiers, naps and onesies behind us - we now face potty training and preschool. With my other kids age 3 has been harder than 2 so we are bracing ourselves for a challenging year. But SJ can be such a delightful child - it makes it all worth it.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Valentines Dance

After weeks of practicing the swing, two-step, waltz, cha cha, electric slide and many other dances - they finally got to show off their stuff! It was the much anticipated 6th grade Valentines Dance. And it was quite the event! The kids were all dressed up and had been taught all the courtesy and manners of the dance floor. There were girls' choice and boys' choice, free choice and even some exhibition dances. Our girl was invited by "B" to dance the waltz for the exhibition and he even gave her a necklace earlier in the day! Oh my goodness, is it starting this young?!

I thought the whole idea was darling and so fun for the kids. I will admit I was snapping pictures like the paparazzi the whole time. Here are a bunch that turned out really cute...

I-man helped me decorate some cookies for the refreshment table. You can find the recipe on my brother's food blog HERE.

The Electric Slide. That brought back some memories!

Wes was a hit on the dance floor!

This on-looker couldn't wait to have her turn

And when they played the Electric Slide again - I just couldn't resist!

SJ was there too and although she refused to dance she was making some pretty funny faces. But Blogger stopped cooperating with my attempts to upload the pictures. In another post...

Happy Valentine's Dance Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Blood Orange

I used my new electric juicer (which I love!) to make some fresh squeezed blood orange juice. Yum! It made me curious about this little fruit so I did some research. Contrary to my assumption - a blood orange is not a hybrid of two fruits - but a mutation of the regular sweet orange. They get their red color from high concentrations of a pigment called anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes the effects of cancer-causing free radicals.

Drink to your health!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Quick Get-Away

We just returned from spending a few days in St. George. It was nice to get-away and spend time with family and friends. Although the weather wasn't was definitely warmer than here. We were able to do some swimming, hiking, eating out and hanging out. It was just what we needed to help get us through a few more dreary months of winter.
Playing basketball and hiking:
You can't see it but Wes is riding a ripstick in the picture.

We hiked to see some amazing petraglyphs. These petraglyphs have only recently been open to the public and even still - not many people know about them. There was a man there that told me they have been carbon dated to be 500-3000 years old. Some date back to the Anasazi civilization but most were created by the ancestral pueblan people whose descendants still live in the area. In fact the petraglyph area is still used as a teaching center for members of Piute tribe.

Then we explored what we call the "Sugar Loaf." It refers to the really cool rock formations located on the North side of St. George. My mom told me that my grandpa proposed to my grandma on the "Sugar Loaf".

"The Crack" - a very skinny slot canyon that we hiked through (squoze through!)

SJ didn't even have to turn to the side!
Wes nicknamed this little side exit "The Birth Canal." Only a few of us (not me) attempted it!
Looking back on what I just came through.
We made it!

We enjoyed great weather the first two days. The last day it rained so we went to a wildlife museum.

The insect collection was my favorite!
I love St. George!