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February 28, 2011

We're reading "Swiss Family Robinson"


A beautiful old copy that was given to my dad by his grandparents when he was 11.
Just last week, my dad started reading this aloud, then I took a turn, my mom...and Rob. We're thoroughly enjoying this book. Lots of faith. A bit wordy and the language is difficult to understand at times, but makes all the more interesting to discuss together!
Look at what's just inside the cover...the inscription is very sweet...I remember my great-grandparents as really fun and smart! My great-grandfather passed away when he was 101. I remember his 100th birthday party...I had just broken my arm from a skiing adventure (thankfully my whole family was there)...and his house was full of relatives...lots of his interesting antiques, snow outside...we all decided to build an igloo together!

February 25, 2011

Honey Onion Bacon tart


I never follow a recipe...I personalize it...adding a pinch more nutmeg or a different kind of cheese.

(click on the photo to enlarge, so you can read the recipe from Bon Appetite, thank you Charlotte!)
This was dinner last night...I modified this recipe, however. First of all, I didn't use store-bought puff pastry...the recipe below proved to be perfect:

Flakey tart dough
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) of salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup flour

Blend well and roll out with rolling pin, then fold over edges and press with fork. My girls did the fork part...

Honey Onion Bacon tart

6 slices of bacon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large sweet yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup grated swiss (the original recipe called for crème fraiche, which I did not have on hand but would like to try the next time I make this)
1/8 t. nutmeg

First of all by not roasting the onions, but frying them in the same pan in which I just fried the bacon, I saved time! Mmmm. I added the wine and honey and put it over the dough (that we has first sprinkled the swiss over). Then, baked it...at 400'F for about 20 minutes (until the crust was lightly browned).

*My girls loved it. Olivia only said she wished there was MORE bacon.

P.S. Did you notice the chair covered in fruit and vegetable stickers? That's the kind of graffiti I allow...

February 21, 2011

Russian Winter's Night...

Dimitri and Anna Shelest played beautifully (listen to a short clip from their concert at the end of this post)...they are married, a sweet and amazingly talented couple who used to go to our church before they moved to NY!
Rob and my dad coming down the stairs...
Rob and I at the Peterloon Estate in Indian Hill for A Russian Winter's Night which was catered by the White House Inn:
  • Appetizers - Beef pierogies stuffed with ground beef, mushrooms, onions, peppers, and spinach & crab cakes with a chipotle pepper aioli, micro greens...I had a cranberry and vodka to start.
  • Shredded beet soup or house salad with cranberries, dried apricots, fresh strawberries, pine nuts tossed with raspberry vinaigrette...
  • Rob had the slow roasted prime rib with garlic and herbs cooked medium and served with pickled red cabbage and roasted new potatoes. Served with horseradish cream sauce.
  • I had the grilled 8oz salmon, served with pickled red cabbage and roasted new potatoes topped with a mushroom cream sauce...absolutely divine! I had a red wine with dinner.
  • My parents ate fresh vegetables sautéed with garlic and white wine tossed with linguine then finished with sundried tomato pesto butter.
  • Maple and espresso tort topped with white chocolate mousse and candied walnuts, fresh berries...
  • Chocolates made by the White House Inn.
The next day, we hiked from the bottom to the top of French Park, following this creek. Good exercise!
Last night, we had 16 people in our house for dinner...Rob and Andrey making homemade dough for pizza crust...my parents brought a salad of baby greens and we put sunflower seeds and feta cheese atop.
We tasted coupole, aged goat cheese from the Vermont Creamery, which goes for about $15 for a 6.5 oz. package. It is stinky, but it tasted wonderful, sharp and full of flavor. video

February 18, 2011

Radical homemakers

Glamorous chocolate lips from Graeter's from our dear friend, Charlotte!





















I am getting my hair cut this afternoon...had fun trying out different styles on www.hairmixer.com!






We made a homemade kite yesterday...out of a plastic grocery bag and some bamboo skewers! It didn't fly so well, but was really fun to make...Olivia is taking photos of Hannah flying her factory-made kite.
I just place a "hold" on this book...thank you Jessica! Looking forward to reading it...here's an excerpt:

"(By the 1960s) The middle class American housewife's life had become, essentially, meaningless. The industrial revolution and subsequent rise of America's consumer culture had demoted homemaking from a craft tradition to the mindless occupation of primping the house, shopping and chauffeuring."

Wow...what a powerful, sad, yet mostly true statement!

February 16, 2011

Ground almonds

My sister grinds almonds in a coffee bean grinder (that she only uses for nuts and used it in some cookies with Nutella....yum), but you can buy this at Trader Joe's for just $3.99:
And use it in place of flour for a variety of recipes...we just ate pancakes made with it...yum!!!

I am excited to try ground almonds in other recipes, too...I've read that you can use it with fish, bread, pie crust, etc. A healthier alternative to flour...more protein! Costs more, but if one has a gluten allergy, this is perfect...

February 14, 2011

Zip a dee doo dah

My oh my what a wonderful day! I rode my bicycle to work today...it's been about 3 months since I've done that. It felt good. 3 miles each way. Boy, was it windy, though...I pedaled hard against the wind! I was 5 minutes late to work. Later, we had a couple of friends over. The weather was nice so we played outside. I jumped so hard I popped a spring off the trampoline!!! Inside, we drank tea and chatted...I love the Good Earth teas:
And also the cloudberry tea (which is in the mauve packet on the left) that my sister brought from Canada:She and her husband are coming in a few days for Russian Winter's Night (a fundraiser for our church) and will stay with us...I'm sure we will enjoy some good tea together! Rob just got more raw honey...from Ell Farm. $20 for a 5 pound jar.

What is your favorite kind of tea?

February 9, 2011

Birthday sweets

Hannah made a lemon cake with lemon curd for my mom's birthday, which was Sunday. My sister made homemade raspberry ice cream!
Monday was my brother-in-law's birthday...we'll see them the end of next week. They're coming down from Ottawa, Canada for our church fundraiser, Russian Winter's Night.

And today is my sister, Susanna's 30th birthday! We bought some cookie cutters yesterday. The No. 8 works well for a matroshka...and I bought a simple 4.5" circle for just $1.49 and bent it to make a big matroshka...like how they turned out?

February 5, 2011

Super Bowl


I am an Orthodox Christian, like Troy Polamalu (who is playing with the Steelers tomorrow for the Super Bowl), so it is really inspiring to read about him:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/sports/football/13polamalu.html?_r=1&scp=17&sq=polamalu&st=nyt

Here is an except that I like:
"He kissed the three-inch framed photos of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, then crossed himself, repeating the sequence several times before tucking them into his backpack."
This is what Troy did as he left the locker room after a game in Cleveland. I love when I see people praying...reminds me to pray more often. I've always liked Norman Rockwell, this is one of my favorites.