At least I can say the reason for my blogging absence has been a truly busy schedule. And some of that busyness has been related to food!!
We have begun to enjoy food from OUR garden. We have picked and eaten (read: immediately consumed) about 20 strawberries. The squirrels and other critters have found them, but they have not devoured them YET. We also enjoyed our first swiss chard as part of a crustless swiss chard quiche. This time I used basil, oregano, pepper and kosher salt as my seasoning as well as a fair amount of shredded cheese (maybe about 1 c.?). Aaron and I both have been appreciating fresh romaine lettuce - him for his almost daily sandwiches and me for my much anticipated salads. Normally I'm not a fan of salads, but they really hit the spot in the summer, especially when the vegetables are FRESH.
The peaches continue to ripen and grow slowly, and we are seeing little changes in our other plants. Some of the snow peas and peppers have flowers. The bean and squash plants are getting much bigger. Most of my cucumber plants look fairly healthy, and the tomatoes now require cages to keep them upright. I'm happy to say that our herbs are starting to show more promise than a few weeks back as well. The basil is growing slowly but is showing improvement. The cilantro actually looks like very tiny cilantro, and I think a few green onions might be trying to reveal themselves. The big garden surprise for this week, or maybe for the month, is that the oregano seems to be sprouting after showing no sign of life for what felt like a LONG time. Other herbs planted on the same day had started to pop up with no sign of the oregano joining them. And now, it looks like we may have bunches of oregano.
I wish I had some great family-friendly recipes to share with you. Right now, we're sticking to what we know works. The quiche was an adventure since I knew the kids hadn't tasted it since last year. Caleb loved it; Ellie picked at it. She seems to be in the phase when she doesn't want her food mixed/touching. She picks and eats chocolate chips out of cookies and then tries to eat the crumbles of the cookie, for example.
Since our main dishes haven't been all that exciting, I will share that I made Aaron and Ellie yummy birthday cakes. For Ellie, I tried a new cake pan that allows you to make an ice cream filled cake. I tried out a new chocolate cake recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything and it was great! For Aaron, I went with his favorite flavor combination and made a Chocolate Sour Cream cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate peanut butter ganache. I love the cake from this concoction - so moist and flavorful! I also modified my mom's peanut butter cookie recipe (originally from Crisco, so I replaced the Crisco with butter) to be a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe. So very yummy! I may never make plain chocolate chip cookies again. :)
As you might imagine, the decadent eating has not made my weight loss maintenance easy in the least. I'm up about 4 pounds from my goal, 2 pounds over my lifetime limit. I'm hoping that my exercising and increased salad consumption will help me get back down. Yes, I know I need to stop eating quite so much of the decadent desserts too. It's much easier said than done.
After writing all of this, I realized I needed to write about taco night. That will have to be another post. Thanks to the world of Facebook, we had a taco night. I asked the Facebook world what they were having for dinner and a high school friend mentioned taco night. We had all of the ingredients, and wow what a success! BUT, that is for another post since another non-nap is demanding some parental attention.