September 24, 2010

Fried Rice


Now that we are back into our school schedule and each of the girls has evening activities a few nights a week, I need to start thinking ahead for dinner.  Last night I made a tofu dish from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook I borrowed from the library and it turned out wonderful.  I wanted some rice with my tofu and decided to make an entire pot so I could have left over rice for another night.  Fried rice is a super quick dinner that both the girls will eat…ok so Allyson will only eat it if she has sweet and sour sauce to pour over the top, but at least she will still eat it.  The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook has a recipe for fried rice that I adapted to fit our family tastes and the ingredients I had on hand. If you don’t have fish sauce you can just increase the soy sauce, but be careful you don’t get it too salty. The soy sauce, fish sauce, and chicken broth all contain a bunch of salt unless you have the low sodium versions.  With the left over rice this dish came together in a few minutes. It took longer to dice up the ham steak than cook the meal.  Allyson who is our pickiest eater gave this a thumbs up, she even said she didn’t mind the peas in the meal.

Fried Rice

Adapted from The Steamy Kitchen cookbook

  • 1 t oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten (I used egg beaters)
  • 1 ham, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 c cold rice
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 2 t chicken broth
  • 2 t fish sauce

Heat large skillet (or wok) over medium high heat. Add oil to skillet and scramble eggs until just set. Remove from pan. Put diced ham in skillet and heat thoroughly. Remove from pan and add to eggs. Dump frozen peas in skillet and cook for 30 seconds then add the cold rice. Leave rice and peas alone for about a minute or two until rice begins to brown a bit. Stir rice and let sit for another minute. Add soy sauce, broth and fish sauce to rice/peas. Quickly stir, and then add eggs/ham back to skillet. Continue stirring until thoroughly incorporated.

September 22, 2010

Salmon Recipe

No the salmon isn’t burned in Mondays picture.  Even though it doesn’t present well, the balsamic glaze is quiet tasty.  I got the recipe from here, but again I’ve made some changes to the original.  I left out the wine (I didn’t have any white wine in the house), reduced the garlic, and increased the honey.  I love that the fish goes skin side down on a foil lined baking sheet.  This makes the skin stick to the foil so serving is easy and clean up is even easier.  When I make this I leave half the fish without the glaze so Allyson will eat it.  Depending on the price of salmon, I have substituted steelhead for salmon.

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon Fillets
  • 6 (5 ounce) salmon fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Coat a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook and stir garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Mix in white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Arrange salmon fillets on foil-lined baking sheet. Brush fillets with balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with oregano.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Brush fillets with remaining glaze, and season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to transfer fillets to serving platter, leaving the skin behind on the foil.

September 20, 2010

Toe Surgery photo

updated to add the before photo
This is the before surgery photo.  See how the tip of the toe nail is white, it’s actually lifted off the toe.  At first we thought it was an ingrown toe nail, but it never healed.  Our pediatrician referred us to a podiatrist who knew almost immediately what the problem was.  The dr took an x-ray and could see a little bone growth on the tip of the toe bone.  The surgery entailed cutting half the nail off, making an incision and removing the growth.  Hopefully the nail will grow back normally (sometimes the nails grow back wavy or thicker than normal) and she will forget all about this.
So here is the photo of Ashley’s surgery site. I have placed a pretty little flower over the incision. If you want to see the toe, just put your mouse over the picture and the flower will disappear. If you don’t want to see the grossness, keep your mouse away from the picture.  Good luck.

Super busy week

We have had a super busy week and I seem to be neglecting the blog.  Ashley had to have surgery on her toe Wednesday, so our lives were a little consumed by her this week.  She had what was called an Osteochondroma growth the tip of her big toe.  It was a minor surgical procedure and she is doing great after the procedure.  I will post some pictures later this week after we have her follow up surgery.

When I knew she was doing fine after her surgery, I got to work in the kitchen.  Hopefully this week I will get some recipes posted of the delicious baked things I made, but for today I will give you a recipe for risotto. I love risotto, but it’s not something I had ever made at home. I was a bit intimidated by the cooking process. You really have to baby sit the pan and NOT WALK AWAY, which is something I’m not good at when cooking. There seems to always be fifty things going on when I’m trying to make dinner.  I got the original recipe from the food network site, but did make some changes to it.  The original recipe calls for dried mushrooms in the chicken broth and also an addition of wine with the rice.  The risotto was wonderful even without these things.  I also made Balsamic glazed salmon with the risotto and will post that recipe later.


Mushroom Risotto with Peas

  • 8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onions
  • 10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional


Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

September 19, 2010

September 14, 2010

Fruit cup at the park

We had an A Mazing weekend.  It seems that we are actually able to enjoy all three days Mark has off lately.  Mark has some time for new tattoos this weekend and that gave me and the girls some time to explore a few of the festivities going on at parks near us.  Saturday morning I took the girls to Lowes for the Build and Grow Clinic.  I forgot the camera this week, but we built these cute dog leash holders. 


Then we made a quick stop at our local farmers market, again without camera, for lunch.  On the way to the fruit stand to check on the peaches we stopped at a park to check out the Music Festival for Hopes Door.  We were a bit early for most of the activities, but we enjoyed walking through the park and looking at the different craft booths.  As expected there were a variety of food vendors that gave off wonderful smells.  I hadn’t eaten lunch yet and was happily surprised to see a fresh fruit cup vendor.  I was more surprised when the lady sprinkled Chili Powder on the fruit and gave it a squeeze of lime juice.  But nothing prepared me for the explosion I tasted.  What an amazing way to enjoy a cup of fresh fruit.  The sweetness of the fruit, spice of the chili powder and tart juice of the lime all came together in perfect harmony.  I couldn’t wait to recreate this home.


This made the perfect breakfast with a nice toasted English muffin. 


At home I used cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, mango, grapes, chili powder and lime.  My grocery store didn’t have any good fresh mangos, so I bough the ones in the jar.  They were a little softer than fresh and didn’t hold up very well under the weight of the other fruit. 


I diced up all the fruit and put it in a large bowl so I could toss it all together.  Then I moved it to a plastic storage container and keep in the fridge just like that until I want a bowl.  This is how my kids eat it. They just scoop out a serving when they want a snack.


But when I want a snack, I put some chili powder on top.


Squeeze on some fresh lime juice and


enjoy.  I found that I like a lot of chili powder on mine.  The spicy sweet tartness of this fruit really hit the spot.

Spicy Fruit Cup

  • 2 C Watermelon, cubed
  • 2 C Cantaloupe, cubed
  • 2 mangos, cubed
  • 1 C Pineapple, cubed
  • 2 c grapes, halved
  • 2 limes cut in half
  • Chili powder, to taste

Place watermelon, cantaloupe, mangos, pineapple and grapes in large bowl. Toss to combine. Place serving of fruit in bowl, sprinkle with chili powder to taste and squeeze lime half on fruit. Enjoy.

September 11, 2010



I was looking for a picture of a flag to post in honor of 9/11, but the pictures of our flag pole must be on my other computer.  I found this one from a few years ago when the girls were in a Veterans Day Parade with their Girl Scout Troup.  I think it’s still very fitting.  Please take a moment or two today to remember that day and everyone that was effected by it.

September 10, 2010

Relaxing…I mean hunting

003 fresh color

We are lucky enough to have access to a wonderful cabin in the woods.  The house sits on acres and acres of pine tree lined land. There is a huge meadow in the back of the cabin that the deer cross after getting a drink from the lake.  Since I come from a family of hunters, it is the perfect weekend retreat for them to hunt and me to relax.  This past weekend my Dad joined us at the house.


That’s him in the boat with the girls getting fishing poles ready for a fun day on the lake.  For me this means the family will be gone and I will have hours to spend reading, listening to the wind in the trees, watching the little ground squirrels collect pine nuts, and working on my sunburn tan.  I think I get the better end of this deal, but the kids get hours of fun on the lake with their Dad and Papa…I’m sure I get the better end of the deal!


Hey, you little squirrel, where is your pine nut?  It’s almost winter you better get to work.


A weekend at the cabin means unlimited access to the dirt bike.  Last year there was a well traveled road that lead to the back of the property.  This year the road was overgrown with grass and wild flowers, so we made our own trail and the girls had some off road experience.  Good lessons on how to use the brakes, down shift, and keep your balance.


We were there during the Labor Day weekend and many of the small towns around the cabin had festivals.  The small town of Roseberry had an old fashioned ice cream social. For a donation to the historical society you had your choice of 6 different ice cream flavors and lots of fun activities for the kids.  They still use the original general store.  It’s full of old bottles, cans, feed bags, and suit of armor…suit of armor I don’t think that’s an original antique.


They had a car show that had several of these cars from 1913.


This one is a Ford, but there were others in this same style by different makers.  They had the neatest little lanterns on the side.  Looking at these old cars always makes me wonder about the original owners.  Where did they drive to? What fun stories does this car hold in it’s history?

001 copy

O yeah we did some hunting too.  That was the whole purpose of going to the cabin after all.

September 9, 2010



We’ve been camping more at the end of the summer than we have the entire summer combine.  I guess it’s a good way to skip the heat and miss most of the bugs, but we finally have a pretty good system in place where we keep our stuff in the cargo trailer and only have to load/unload the items that need washed or restocked.  Keeping with my new goal of not neglecting this blog, I decided to put up a few pictures from a recent camping trip we took where the girls spent the entire weekend in their swimsuits chasing various critters around the river, rocks, and sandy beach.  I’ll give a more detailed report over the weekend.


September 7, 2010

Field Trip


We belong to a very active home school field trip group.  During the year they organize at least 2 field trips per month.  Even during the summer we still have access to great field trips.  One of the summer field trips gave the kids access to EAA Young Eagles Program.  When the coordinator of our group contacted them about bringing a group of home schooled youth for plane rides, he asked if our group would be willing to volunteer and help out with a group of disabled youth preparing for their flights.  We were excited to give back to this great program.


My understanding is that the pilots donate their time, planes, and all cost involved with flying to give kids a look at what a pilot does and an opportunity to fly.  Everyone we met involved in this program was wonderful. The pilots took the time to explain how the controls worked, the kids were able to ask question, and take pictures of their flights.


Allyson rode in a 4 seater plane, but all the other planes were 2 seaters.  She had never been in a plane before and was very excited to fly.


She’s all buckled in with her headphones on and ready to fly.


The view from her window as they are heading to the runway.


This is the golf course not too far from our house. She was taking pictures of things she recognized.


She noticed how everything looks like little squares up in the air.  Such a different sight from the ground.


I was happy when she landed safe and sound.  This field trip was two fold; we were able to help a group of kids experience flying and rewarded with our own flights.  I am appreciative of Jan our groups coordinator and the wonderful pilots that give the flights to the kids.

September 5, 2010

Rocky Bar

Up near where we have my annual family reunion camping trip is a little ghost town called Rocky Bar.  Back in 1864 the population was about 2500 people.  They were mining gold and lots of it.  A fire tore through Rocky Bar in 1892, but the town quickly rebuilt.  By then the gold mining started declining and the town slowly dwindled.
This was the general store and saloon.  There used to be a front porch and a second story balcony.  The inside still looks like an old saloon.
I can only imagine back in the day wandering into this bar and ordering a drink.  The wood work is amazing.  I’m sure the stories this place has hear would be amazing if walls could talk.
This house is next to the saloon.  I think I read something about it being the mine owners house.  It had two bedrooms, living room, and kitchen in it.  It also had a bathroom added later.
This is the kitchen area.  It is actually bigger than my current kitchen.
Such an inviting living room.  This room over looks main street.  What fun to sit on the front porch and watch the goings on of the town.
Here are the stage coach prices from August 26th, 1880. That $14.00 fare is to Atlanta Idaho, not Atlanta GA.

September 2, 2010

Annual Family Reunion Camping Trip


Every year over the Memorial Day weekend my Dad’s side of the family gets together for a fun filled weekend camping trip.  Over the years the location has moved, but the fun stays the same.  Dad’s side of the family is huge.  Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents come from all over to join in the weekend. We have organized tournaments with trophies and everything.  The weekend is full of fishing, horseshoes, golf, motorcycle riding, family stories, great food and good drinks.


That my grandmother in the middle serving up her tequila shots.  Grandma’s tequila shots are a yearly tradition during the horseshoe tournament.  We always look forward to spending time with 125+ of our closest family members.  This camping trip is the only time we see many of these family members. I love to see the kids play with cousins they have never met before and become best friends by the end of the weekend. 


Ashley and Allyson spend the weekend riding dirt bikes, fishing, and playing with cousins.  They go to sleep every night worn out from a full day of activity.


Allyson tore it up on the dirt bike this year.  She rode for hours.  Was covered in dirt and loved every minute of it.


Ashley became good friends with a cousin from Boston. They rode ATV’s, played with the dogs, and hung out for most of the weekend.  I love all the activities we get to enjoy living in Idaho.