Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PW: Italian Cream Cake

I am a firm believer that dessert must include chocolate.  I have been known to pass on dessert if it isn't chocolate.  But this Pioneer Woman's recipe for an Italian cream cake even passed my test and it is definitely something I will make for dessert again.

It was my treat for daddy for Father's Day.  (He loves cream cheese icing and this has a ton.)

It really was a rather simple recipe when mixed all up could go into 3 9in round cake pans.  Layer cakes always scare me.  So much potential for disaster.

The cake was good but it was the icing that did the trick.  Cream cheese, butter, vanilla and  . . . 

Two pounds of powdered sugar.  Yes, that is right two pounds!  When I reread the recipe I was shocked to say the least.  I guess I thought I had read two cups because we did not have 2 pounds of powdered sugar at home.  (I had to run to the grocery store for the two pounds of powdered sugar and I even had to take a picture of it!)

I don't think we used all of the icing.  But, as you can see, the cake is covered.  We had dessert for three nights, I think, and even shared a couple of pieces with some friends.   Again, it doesn't look all that pretty.  I am sure with enough practice I could make it look as good as it tasted.

We really enjoyed it.  And, Little Mama has become an expert on making cream cheese icing and she has informed me that we will never buy pre-made icing again . . . 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blueberry Picking

A friend of ours, who has since moved to ALASKA, took us blueberry picking for the first time about 8 years ago.  I think I was pregnant with Boop.  And every year after that we would meet them out there around Memorial Day (until they decided to move away that is!)

But, we have kept up the tradition and have even added a new part.  The rope swing into the very cold springs.

Because we are on a kick of eating better which includes more berries and organic food, I decided to go twice this year.  So, about a week and a half ago, the kids and I went picking and got about 2 1/2 gallons of berries.  We were all business that day.  We went pretty early, picked and then came home.

We went back that Friday with daddy and friends.  We still picked about 2 1/2 gallons but this time we got to go and play in the water for a little bit.  If you ask the kids, that is the best part anyway!

I think by the latter part of last week, I had finally washed and frozen and packaged all of the blueberries.  Well, mostly all of them.  The kids love having the fresh blueberries around to just eat whenever they want.

Just another reason to love summer time . . . 

Monday, June 24, 2013

PW: Summer Shrimp Saute

When I pick a PW recipe, I try to match it with what is on sale at the grocery store or what we might have an over abundance of in our refrigerator.  So, it was a natural pick to do the Pioneer Woman's summer saute.  At least I think that is what it is called.  I am too lazy to get up and go look!

We had yellow squash and zucchini from the garden and a friend gave us some corn.  And shrimp just happened to be on sale.  Love when that happens!

We have a huge basil plant and so we used a bunch of basil.  And I need to cut in a real fancy way  called "chiffonade" or something like that.  I had to look it up on the Internet.

Saute the shrimp.

Tomatoes from the garden and saute it all together.  Toss and warm it all together.

And presto.  And awesome summer dish with delicious summer veggies.  It was a hit . . . 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Silent Sunday

Finally pictures from my camera.  The first and last day . . . 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Baby Birds

So, right before dinner tonight, daddy had us come out in the yard to look up in the big oak tree.  He spotted the biggest baby bird he had ever seen.  It was hard to see through the branches, but when I finally saw it, it was big.

It had a long neck and long orange bill.  Daddy saw mom and dad fly away and he said they were large.  The largest birds he had ever seen in our trees.  What clued him in was, right under the tree is his 4 wheeler covered in a tarp.  There was an extraordinary amount of poop on it.

After further inspection, it turns out there was poop and dead fish on top of the tarp!  On the ground around the tarp and four wheeler was even more poop and dead fish.  Turns out there is actually four big baby birds up in the tree and they apparently are being fed very well!

It is a wonder to watch them.  We finally had to give them a break.  They get agitated when we are around for too long.  They start hopping out of the nest and walking along the branches.

Definitely one of the coolest things I have seen in awhile.  We are going to be on the look out for mom and dad to figure out exactly what they are . . . .

The dead fish and poop on the tarp.

Poop on the leaves right below the nest that is in the tree.

More poop.

Right in the middle of the picture and off to the left just a hair, is the beak of one of the baby birds.  His/her siblings are right next to him/her.

Friday, June 21, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How does your garden grow?  Isn't that a verse from a nursery rhyme?  I think it is.  Anyway, our garden grows pretty well if I do say so myself!  Of course I don't have a whole lot to do with it.  It is hubby's thing.  What he does to unwind at the end of the day.  He comes home, takes off his uniform and heads outside to see what is going on.  

The little guys (who aren't so little anymore) trail after him and bring in the harvest.  This year we had lettuce, which I think I have already posted about.  Then came green peppers, zucchini and yellow squash.

We have had awesome stuffed peppers and we have sliced and diced and frozen the rest.  We have had roasted vegetables many times in the last 6 weeks!  We have sent some home with Grandma.  We have made zucchini bread and muffins some of which we have shared with our Meals on Wheels clients.

Another banner year for onions.  And they are just perfect.  Not too strong.  We have many, many pounds which is awesome because we love onions and put them in just about everything.  Not to mention including them in our roasted veggies.

And of course red potatoes.  We have roasted them and I have made a twice baked recipe.  We will be eating potatoes for awhile.  We have shared quite a few with our Life Group class at church.  They are so much better than store bought.  The only word I can think to describe them is creamier.  We bartered with one friend.  We gave them potatoes and they gave us green beans.  I would love to do that more often!  Have a little veggie co-op of our own. ;)

And I can't forget the tomatoes and our four little blackberry bushes.  We are just coming into tomatoes so I need to find a good (easy) spaghetti sauce recipe that can be frozen.  And we have fresh blackberries everyday.  We are still working on the taste of those.  Some are really good but some are pretty tart.  I guess it has to do with the soil.  But, the kids eat most of them anyway.  Especially EG.

I am thinking about what is in our garden at the moment and I think that might be it for now.  It is pretty hot out there and the bugs are pretty bad.  So probably not ideal for more veggies.  But, Daddy likes to experiment a little so we will have to see what he wants to plant next . . . 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Chicken Parm - PW

I feel I make a pretty mean no-fry chicken Parmesan.  But, when we had Pioneer Woman's chicken parm, daddy informed me he like PW's much better.  And, I had to admit, it was pretty darn good!

Nature Girl was my photographer and she is all about presentation.

I have a huge fear of frying.  But, I am getting over it!

The actual plate looked much better in person!  The kids liked it as well.  I don't think we will go back to the no-fry recipe . . .