Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Six Dancing Princesses

Last week I was watching my friends' kids for the day and I needed some planned activity to keep us all busy and happy. I thought about doing a craft with them, but I'm not the best at kid crafts. And then I remembered that ever since we got our mac several years ago, I've been wanting to make a movie with my kids. Seemed like a great idea since the oldest of the six girls in my care last week is eight years old, and would totally get the idea of making a movie and help get the other girls excited. So Bobby helped me come up with a basic plot: The six little girls were princesses who were also sisters, and their youngest sister (Claire) gets abducted by the wicked lady Katherine (me) and they have to save her. It was totally fun and the girls got really into it and we threw some of their ideas in, too. They were great little actresses. I did learn from this experience that I'm a pretty crappy story teller. You'll see what I mean when you listen to my narration. Anyway, I'm sure we'll do this again. It was a lot of fun. Enjoy! You'll get to see first hand what a big major dork I am.

Six Dancing Princesses from COLE WARNER on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Here comes the rain again.

Yesterday while I was pouring the girls' cereal, I noticed the sky looked really cool and I asked the girls if they wanted to eat breakfast outside.
I snapped this picture of Franny and went back inside to check my email. A few minutes passed, and then I heard the girls rush inside. Thy were calling, "Mom! MOM!" I came out to the kitchen area and Sophie said, "Mom! There's gonna be a really big big TOMATO!" (Tornado.)

There was quite a bit of rain in the morning, but it was a pretty clear afternoon and evening. We stayed inside most of the day. Above is a picture I took of my girls entertaining Claire while I folded laundry. Last night, however, was just one never-ending thunderstorm. I woke up at 1:00 AM to the sound of hail hitting the windows in our basement. I thought it might have woken up the girls so I went to check on them. Here's how I found Sophie:It's like she started to get out of bed to come find me and then thought, "Ah...nevermind." ZZZzzzz..... Then I woke up at 5:30 to see a familiar sight: Bobby sopping up water off our bathroom floor with our white bath towels. That's right- we flooded again.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday Dinner - Weeds

Verdolagas con carne de puerco y chile

adapted from Doña Lupe’s Kitchen

This was a bigger hit than I was expecting. Verdolagas, also known as purslane are actually a common weed. I think I have them growing in my garden right now, but instead I paid a dollar for them at the Farmers' Market last Saturday. They actually tasted pretty good if you can believe it. Not a real strong flavor, especially after being boiled for ten minutes. The texture reminded me a lot of asparagus. They're supposed to be pretty good for you apparently. I think we'll definitely make it again, providing we can find more verdolagas. I just don't feel right about pulling my weeds out of my garden. I'd rather pay someone else for the weeds they pulled out of their garden. Wait a second...

1 bunch of well cleaned verdolagas, ends trimmed then chopped into about 1-inch sections
1 pound boneless pork chops, cubed (get pork with the fat NOT trimmed off)
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1 clover of garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes, diced
3-4 fresh jalapeno chiles, seeded, de-veined and minced
salt and pepper to taste
chopped cilantro, about 1/4 cup

Salsa verde
sour cream

Boil the verdolagas for about ten minutes. Drain and set aside.

Season pork with salt and pepper. Fry the pork until very crispy and browned. Scoop out and set aside.

In the frying pan you fried the pork in, add the onion and fry until caramelized. Add the tomatoes, chiles, garlic, and salsa verde and cook down until you have a soupy sauce. (I used about 1/2 cup of salsa verde and served some on the side as well.) Add salt and pepper to taste and chopped cilantro, then add the pork and verdolagas.

Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The recipe recommends serving with beans, rice, and tortillas. I served with tortillas and brown rice. I thought it tasted best served over brown rice with a little sour cream on top.

Peach Ice Cream
from use real butter

I loved this peach ice cream recipe!

3 large peaches, peeled, pitted, chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice

Cook peaches and water in a covered saucepan on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Give it a stir a few times. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool to room temperature. Purée mixture in blender with remaining ingredients (leave some chunks if desired). Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator or over an ice bath then freeze in your ice cream maker.

Carson’s Corn Bread
from use real butter

4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup milk
1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Position oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease an 8×8-inch square pan with butter or cooking spray and dust with flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, milk, yogurt (or sour cream), and sugar. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir together until just blended. Don’t overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Just take care not to overbake or else the cornbread will be too dry. Cool on a wire rack and serve.

Texas Caesar Salad
adapted from Bon Appetit

I liked this salad. Not as much as the Mexican Caesar salad, but I still really liked it.

  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeno chili, seeded, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups bite-size pieces romaine lettuce (from 2 heads)
  • croutons
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 ears sweet white corn, kernels removed, sauteed in butter and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Feta cheese
  • Puree first 9 ingredients in processor until smooth. Gradually add olive oil and process until blended. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Combine romaine lettuce and next 4 ingredients in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Baby Claire at three months old.

This should give you a good idea of why I haven't been blogging much lately. It's hard to get anything done with this sweet little thing around. I'm definitely not taking enough pictures of Claire. I have a higher standard now that all my friends have SLR's and I see what they can do with theirs. Problem is, I still have your average point and shoot variety so I just don't bother. It's really sad. Please, like Claire is going to care if her baby photos are "blah blah blah..." (I don't know photography jargon.) Anyway, what I have been doing is taking lots of video. So please enjoy these short clips of Miss Claire if you'd like:

I'm starting to really get used to having Franny and Sophie home with me all day. I was actually kind of nervous when Franny finished summer school at the end of June. She's been going to school in July since she turned three years old. Having three kids at home all day at first was pretty intense. We were having a lot of fun, of course- going to the pool, the library, playing with friends, etc.- but I was just so tired. But now that it's been a couple of weeks, we've all adjusted to being around each other more and we've hit a good rhythm. I'm sure it will be hard to send them back in a month. A month! Summer goes so fast. I'm glad I feel that way. Of course it will be nice to have some peace and quiet in the afternoons and time to do the things that I like to do, but I've really enjoyed planning our days, feeding them, helping them do a little homework each day... We've had a good time. I still feel like I'm way too tired too fast even though I'm getting a decent amount of sleep.

Here are some fun Franny and Sophie stories:

Franny loves bugs. Well, she loves to kill bugs. With her bare hands. Yesterday morning Melissa was watching my girls and she asked Franny to kill a bug. She watched Franny walk over to a big beetle-looking thing, thinking she would just step on it, but she picked it up and smashed it between her fingers, crunching the life out of the poor thing. Yesterday afternoon, Franny walked in and said, "Mom? MOM!!! A bee stung me!"
Me: "WHAT?!" (I've never been stung by a bee before.)
Bobby: "Wait a minute, were you trying to hold the bee?"
Franny: "I was holding it, and it STUNG ME!"

Franny was saying prayers and told Heavenly Father who was in her family. She told him our names as well. Then she told him, "I don't have a cat. I don't have a dog. And I don't have a unicorn." The next night she asked for a baby brother who likes to be tickled.

Sophie has been dabbling in the art of deception. One day I said, "Sophie, sometimes you don't tell the truth." She looked at me coyly and said, "Well, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't." A few days later, Franny asked if she could have fruit snacks AND a fruit roll-up. I said no, and Sophie walked off. When she came back she said, "Dad said I could have both." I scolded her for going to her father after I said no and Bobby walked in and said, "I told her no, too." What the?! She's three years old. I'm so screwed.

The other night the girls were asking about my Mom again. How she died and why she died. Bobby answered for me and started bearing testimony of Jesus Christ and his resurrection and that because of his sacrifice, we would be able to see Grandma again. Sophie said, "And the deer." I had to duck my head to hide the giggles. Franny recounted the story of when we hit the deer with our car. Sophie piped in with, "And the deer died." Bobby said, "Yes and do you know why? Because force equals mass times acceleration..." and I had to leave at that point because I couldn't stifle the giggles anymore. One minute he's bearing his testimony, and the next minute he's giving a physics lesson. Hilarious.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My good friend Marie and I were talking months ago about bread-making. I told her I was looking for a good recipe for a crusty bread, one with a good taste and texture. She told me about this recipe for a no-knead bread. I finally got around to trying it and look how pretty it turned out! It was so fun and easy to make. Never in my wildest dreams- yeah, my dreams are really boring- did I think I would ever make a loaf that looked this pretty!

We sliced it up and served it with butter on Sunday. Yesterday we used it for sandwiches. And I think today I'll spread some raspberry peach jam on it. This is a recipe I know I'll be using over and over!

Recipe: No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

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