Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Fun: My Mantra

"The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future
There is no past
I live this moment as my last
There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today."
--"Another Day", Rent (Jonathan Larson)

We've been singing Broadway musicals here recently, from Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, and a few from Rent (which the kiddos are too young to see just yet.)  And so when the time came for me to pick a mantra for my Summer Soul Camp experience--a week-long, web-based spiritual community that focuses on recreation and renewal for adults, i.e. "camp," created by Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves (you'll recall that I've taken several of her classes before, including 30- Day Vegan, Whole Food Kitchen, and the winter "camp" Hibernate)--I chose one of the lyrics from Rent:  No day but today.

It's the modern, NYC/Broadway equivalent of carpe diem, and has a catchy tune, if you know the song, making it easy to remember throughout the ten-day experience.  And I've needed it.  As I mentioned here earlier this week and perhaps a few times before, my back is in a frustrating place.  From the high of our trip to England through the challenges of the five-week tour season at the historic house and to the multiple end-of-year activities, including the kung fu tournament near Phillie, up to and including my new aqua therapy routine, my back has gone from great to good to eh.  I've worn my brace more and taken more pills, both painkillers and muscle relaxers (I've never missed the NSAIDs I'm allergic to so much), than I have in years, which isn't a great sign.  But it's not as bad as it's ever been, not nearly so--I can still drive and sit and walk, and even fold clothes, feed the cats, and unload the dishwasher (and yes, I still feel grateful about those things everyday), so it's really all relative.  It's just taking all my learned mindfulness skills to work through the discomfort and inconvenience in order to continue to enjoy the summer without being limited by pain and fear.  That's no small task sometimes, especially at the end of the day.

And the mantra has helped.  While it could be perceived as hedonistic or narcissistic, the mantra to me speaks of staying in the present and not worrying about the past or the future (or the past repeating itself in the future, for me).  It reminds me to do what I can today, both things that are fun and enjoyable and those that help make me feel better.  And when the pain comes, focusing on the here and now, as emphasized in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), eases its sting.

I haven't been able to do every camp activity--I didn't make the market tote or the prayer flags, yet--but I have been trying to embrace the idea of adult R&R through simple, focused activities.  So today, even with some discomfort and later my brace, I explored the full range of summer possibilities with the kiddos:


  • opened up the house and turned off the AC because it was only 65F overnight;
  • went to aqua therapy and then extra swimming with the kiddos;
  • played several games of cards, including Slap Jack, War, and Slamwich, their new favorite;
  • read several chapters in Lark Rise to Candleford, the semi-autobiographical, nostalgic, rural 19th-century trilogy from England (as seen on PBS, though I'm told the show isn't much like the book);
  • sketched in the yard with the kiddos for half the afternoon--Sis did some imaginary garden designs, Bud did Star Wars characters, and I did our garden statue of a cat;
  • made broccoli and cheese quiche and Dutch babies with our CSA-box eggs;
  • went for a post-dinner walk in the cool breezy air;
  • decided last-minute to go to the town concert on the green, which was inexplicably not happening despite flags and a sign announcing it . . . .
  • so we went for consolation ice cream, which we ate in the front yard while watching the sunset, surprisingly undisturbed by mosquitoes, until Mama got home late!

What a wonderful summer day!!

And thanks to Heather and the camp community for helping me tap summer's potential.  Even though camp ends soon, I know its effects will last til school starts . . . and beyond.

Adventures in Cooking Our CSA Share: Real Kids Eat Quiche

With a dozen farm-fresh eggs every week from our CSA, I decided to make a quiche tonight, based on a French-born co-worker of Mama's ad hoc recipe (see below.)  And since I wanted to try to tempt the kiddos, I decided to make it broccoli and cheese quiche.  They were even a tad curious because Sis had fetched the sour cream, which I thought I had, from an obliging neighbor (hi and thanks, Miss K!).   

After poking at it and requesting a confirmation of the ingredients--cheese, broccoli, and eggs, mostly--they both tried a morsel.  You've never seen kids who could take such small bites of new foods as these kids can.  Atomic-level bites, sometimes, just a whiff of flavor.  I can't see how they ever don't like something, as little as they get of it.  But they took second and third and bigger bites and then each had their own pieces!!

Success!!!!

They were even more excited about it when I promised to put ham bits in the next one.

Other items in our CSA box this week:
  • Cantaloupe (keep on counter for a few days, then in fridge if not used)
  • Peaches (keep in fridge)
  • Apricots (keep a few out,  a few in the fridge until needed)
  • Parsley (wrap with damp paper towel and keep in crisper)
  • Bunched Carrots (remove tops and keep in fridge)
  • Bunched Sweet Onions (remove tops and keep in fridge)
  • Celery (keep in crisper in fridge)
  • Asian Eggplant (keep on counter or in a cool place, in fridge if not used in 4 days)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (KEEP ON COUNTER, NOT IN FRIDGE)
  •  a Whole Chicken, Kielbasa, Hot Dogs and Bratwurst.
  •  Doe Re Mi cheese 
  •  AND MORE EGGS!!!!

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Adapted from Mme M's Quiche
1 pie crust (or half of my pie crust recipe, below)
4-5 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
8 oz. Colby or cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (do not grate/shred)
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, cooked and drained til less wet
salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place pie crust in pie plate, crimping edges.  

Mix all ingredients.  Pour into prepared pie shell.  Bake 35-45 minutes until middle is set and crust is golden.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Mommy Hungry

Church Pie Crust
Makes 2 crusts

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar (omit for quiche)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (I use coconut oil)
1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1/3 + 1 tablespoon ice water

Mix all ingredients in food processor set to dough setting.  Form into disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 15 minutes to overnight.  When ready to use, let come close to room temperature and roll out to 9" crust.

from Joy of Cooking


Original quiche recipe:

Summer Fun: Sketching Summer

Sis's sketch, colored in
My sketch of our cat garden statue surrounded by hostas
Bud drew Star Wars figures.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer Fun: First Day of the Rest of Our Summer

With no more camps and very few plans for the rest of July and August, today was the beginning of our summer stay-at-home.  We're taking it easy today, merely having a Switch Day.  They're pretending to be the parents and I'm the kid.  Which really means that Sis cooked breakfast and they opted for a little extra screen time.  There was time for games (they're really into cards now, even practicing shuffling), time for outside play--I even did a little weeding.  It'll be a good way to spend the rest of the summer.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Summer Fun: When in Camp

Camp is over for the summer, going out with a bang.

And, well, something of a whimper.

See, yesterday was the end of Build-A-Roman-City camp at a local inventing museum, where the kids had used real tools--including a blow torch--to create their own villas and other landmarks in a traditional ancient Roman city, based on the book by David Macaulay.  Villas, baths (like I helped excavate in Tunisia), amphitheater, Colosseum, forum, city walls and gate (like we saw in London), and others.

Except Mama and I missed the open house.  We had specifically asked when it was and thought we knew (we showed up when the counselor said), but we (or more specifically the counselor) were wrong, missing presentations and the whole city together by about 15-20 minutes.  We arrived as children were departing with their houses to find our kiddos in tears.  Which means I was in tears soon, too.

And we weren't the only ones who didn't get the right time.  Several campers were upset.  And some parents arrived even after us and were not happy (one chewed out the director.)  

I had really wanted to see it.  We'd been looking at the book and even watching videos of virtual ancient Rome on Rome Reborn in preparation.  And I felt bad for the kiddos, who had wanted us to see the whole thing.

But we did get to see the city gate that Sis helped build and the amphitheater Bud helped build . . . and we got to bring them home!  That is some consolation.

Bud, however, keeps remembering things we didn't see--like the water coursing through the 70' long aqueduct they built and the bubbling fountain--and gets that face.

I hope we'll be able to forget the disappointment at the end and remember all the great fun they had.

Not now, though.

But look how wonderful:
The city gate Sis helped build

The colosseum

The amphitheater Bud helped build

Roman forum

Aqueduct

That round area to the right is the communal toilet!!!
I didn't get a good photo of the baths, which were filled with people in various states of undress.  Sis was amazed that others added butt cheeks, penises, and "dots" for nipples.  Otherwise, the baths weren't quite right, though, not being built with hypocaust tiles (I'm an "expert" on this, having excavated that Roman bath house in Carthage.)  There were actually people all around the city--soldiers, slaves, even actors in masks that Bud helped design.  Each child also made a family for his or her villa.

Their individual villas (villae!) were fantastic:  people, furniture, garden with flowers, a peristyle, even a market shop on the street.  And the bake ovens they scorched with a blowtorch!!!  I loved all the little details, each handcrafted and decorated by the kiddos.

Street view.  Sis' house has people an a cart out front.

Side by side, both houses had shops in front.  Sis's was an apothecary-like store, Bud's was a sculptor

With second floors and roofs, peristyle in back.  All of the roofs are removable--the second floor even has more rooms, for the slaves (who don't get shirts.)

Without any roofs--hard to see, but there are mosaic floors, fountains, staircases upstairs, an altar to the gods, vases, flowers, pottery, dining room with reclining couches, and even toilets.  Plus people.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Fun: Quiet Week

The kids have been at camp all week--I'll tell you about that in another post, once we go to open house this afternoon--and so I'm all alone at the house.  And it's been great.

Sorta.

I didn't quite know what to do with myself (I ended up binging on "Switched at Birth" to practice my ASL and having coffee with a few friends who came over) and my back is in a funky place.  It's been tight and then I pulled a little something bending to pick up something off a table last night.  It's not terrible, just hard to stoop or bend.  Clearly not as bad as many of my flare ups, especially since I can still sit and walk with ease.  But I won't be doing any picking up around the house for a few days.

Looking forward to more quiet days to come:  no camp for the rest of the summer, so it's just me and the kids hanging out.  For almost five weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Adventures in Cooking Our CSA Share: Blueberries Galore!

With a pint or two of blueberries in the fridge and hopes for blueberry picking this weekend, I've been searching my blog for blueberry recipes.  I've actually made quite a few blueberry recipes over the year, more than I realized.  I think of all of them, I'd liked to make the Blueberry Crumble French Toast again and try the Blueberry Cobbler.


TRIED AND TRUE:
Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie a la Martha Stewart

pie dough for two-9" crusts
about 7 cups blueberries (washed, drained, de-stemmed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
your favorite wash--egg yolk, milk, water
sugar for dusting (I use raw sugar and cinnamon)

Roll out bottom crust and place in 9" pie plate.

Mix blueberries (I crushed half lightly), sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Pour into prepared pie plate.

Cut other crust into approximately 1" strips. Weave into a lattice-top (No worries, it's not hard--see here..) Apply chosen wash and dust with sugar and cinnamon.

Freeze or refrigerate pie for 30 minutes to set up. Preheat oven to 400F. Remove pie from fridge and cover edges. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 55 minutes, until pie is bubbly and crust is browned.

Allow to cool completely, approximately 3 hours. Yeah. Right.

Martha Stewart with directions written by Mommy Hungry

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Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup butter, unsalted and chilled, cut into pieces
1/4 cup ice water

In a food processor, pulse flour with salt and sugar. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Add water; pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if needed, add up to 4 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overmix. turn out onto a work surface; knead once or twice, until dough comes together. Chill dough shaped in discs in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.

Everyday Food

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Blueberry Pie

2 pie crusts
2-10 oz bags of frozen blueberries (approximately 4 cups)
1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
cinnamon, nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Place crust in pie plate. Place blueberries (still frozen) in bowl with flour and sugar. Mix together and slightly mash. Spoon blueberry mixture into shell. Cover with other crust, piercing to vent. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar over crust and dot with butter. Bake at 350 for approximately 1+ hours, until golden brown crust and bubbly, covering rim of pie until last 15 minutes.

Mommy Hungry

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Sis and Bud's Muffins, a la Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries (we used 1 cup frozen strawberries, defrosted, for Bud; 1/2 cup chocolate chips for Sis)
1 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat; set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries. (Or skip this part.)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries.

Or, for our muffins, divide batter into two separate bowls. In one, stir in the strawberries; in the other, the chocolate. Continue . . .

Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

adapted from blueberry muffins in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (except, online, she adds 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg for crunchy topping; commentors suggest adding a bit of lemon zest to batter)

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Double Good Blueberry Pie
From the reusable farm basket . . . and it was good (and much like the strawberry pie we made last month). As usual, Sis liked the crust and Bud prefers his berries "plain."

3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon lemon juice
baked, 9-inch pie shell

-Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan, add water, and 2 cups berries. Cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture is thick, clear, and boiling. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, cool. -Place remaining 2 cups of raw blueberries in pie shell. Top with cooked blueberry mixture. -Chill. Serve with 1/2 sweetened yogurt - 1/2 sweetened sour cream sauce, if desired.

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Blueberry Crumble French Toast
This was my favorite dish at breakfast at the Frederick-Talbott Inn the morning Mama and I went to Winter on the Prairie at Conner Prairie Living History Museum. MMmmmmm! I could’ve been a pioneer with sustenance like this! I sent the cook my mom’s Orange Biscuits recipe in exchange.

bread sliced ¾ inch thick (they use Italian; I used challah)
8 eggs
1 cup milk
¾ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup flour
1 cup dry oats
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (we skipped this)
1 to 2 cups blueberries

Grease a 6 x 10 baking dish. Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice bread in ¾ inch thick slices and place in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Cut additional bread into small pieces to fill in spaces around slices.
Beat together eggs and milk. Add vanilla.
Pour egg mixture over bread. There should be enough liquid to cover bread. Let sit one to two minutes to allow bread to absorb egg mixture. Turn bread slices to evenly soak both sides.
For topping, blend together with a pastry cutter the butter, brown sugar and flour or use your fingers to work the butter into the sugar and flour; stir in oats. Sprinkle over soaked bread in baking dish. Top evenly with nuts and blueberries.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until the bread is puffy and bubbles rise around the sides of the pan. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting into rectangles to serve. Peaches or apples may be substituted for the blueberries. Serve with maple syrup or blueberry syrup.

Frederick-Talbott Inn, Indiana

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Blueberry Poundcake
This is the recipe for the pound cake.  It is really for muffins so just bake for about an hour (checking) if you do the bread.

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs beaten
1/2 c milk
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c fresh blueberries
cinnamon/sugar topping (taste fine with or without)

Cream together butter and sugar.  Add eggs mixing well. Stir in milk.  Combine dry ingredients and add to mixture- stir to combine. Fold in blueberries.  Fill greased muffin tins and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (optional) and bake at 375 degrees for 20 min.

Enjoy!
MIss J.D.

Note:  I also added a teaspoon of almond extract.
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Blueberry Smoothie

2 quarts (2 1/2 lbs.) frozen blueberries, slightly thawed; or 2 quarts free blueberries
1 quart pineapple-orange-strawberry juice blend; or pineapple-orange juice
1 quart low-fat vanilla yogurt
8 tsp. Sugar

- In a container of an electric blender, combine blueberries, juice, yogurt and sugar.
-Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
-Serve immediately in tall glass.
-Garnish with blueberry skewers spiraled with thin stripes of orange peel, if desired.

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Miss M's BLUEBERRY GRUNT*
2 cups soft bread cubes
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 pint blueberries
Soften bread with water. Add all but berries. Layer bread mixture and blueberries in a greased, shallow 1 quart pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. Serve with cream.
Yield: 4 servings
*Grunt is baked, uncovered or steamed.
Slump if cooked, covered, on top of the stove.

Another recipe:
BLUEBERRY CRISP
4 cups blueberries
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
Spread berries in shallow baking dish or a deep 9" pin pan. Sprinkle with lemon rind. Blend remaining ingredients and sprinkle over berries. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. If 1/2 recipe is made bake for only 15 minutes. Best served warm.
Yield: 6 servings.

Miss M
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TJ's Multigrain Blueberry Coffeecake

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (lowfat)
3 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 cups Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (do not need to thaw)
additional sugar for topping (this is my addition.  I used turbinado)

In a large bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and oil.
Stir in multigrain baking mix and sugar until moistened.
Fold in blueberries.
Spread batter into an 8x8x8-inch pan coated with cooking spray.
(My addition:  dust with a few teaspoons of sugar to add a crunchy top).
Bake 45-50 mins in preheated 350 F oven or until top is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 10 mins.
Cut into squares and serve warm.
Makes 16, 2-inch servings.

back of the box of Trader Joe's multigrain baking mix

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Blueberry Crumb Cake
Streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cup flour

Cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
confectioner's sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven 350F.  Butter and flour a 9" round baking pan.

For streusel:  combine 1st four ingredients in bowl.  Stir in melted butter, then flour.  Mix well.

For cake:  Cream butter and sugar with mixer on high speed 4-5 minutes, until light.  Reduce to low and add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla, lemon, and sour cream.  In separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  With mixer on low, add flour to batter just until combined.  Fold in blueberries.  Spoon into prepared pan, crumble topping evenly over batter.  Bake for 40-50 minutes until tester comes out clean.  Cool and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.  Enjoy!

Miss P.K.
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Blueberry Cobbler

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, and 8 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 cups blueberries, rinsed
1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk

Melt and cool 8 tablespoons of butter in 9x13 pan while you preheat oven tto 350.

Meanwhile, pulse 1/4 cup sugar and lemon zest and set aside until the end.

Mash blueberries with 1 tablespoon of lemon sugar.

Mix 1 1/4 cups sugar, flower, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in milk and cooled melted butter. Pour batter in hot pan. Dollop blueberry mixture over dough. Sprinkle with remaining lemon sugar.

Bake 45-50 minutes, turning pan halfway, until golden and bubbly. Cool 30 minutes.

Cook's Country (with instructions written by Mommy Hungry)

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Blueberry Crisp
5 cups blueberries
In a bowl, combine blueberries with 4 T. of sugar and 3 T. all-purpose flour.
Place in a 2-quart square baking dish prepared with non-stick cooking spray (or place in a 9 X 13 pan and double the topping recipe).
For the topping, combine 2-4 T. granulated sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter - Cut butter into the mixture until it resembles course crumbs.
Stir in 1/4 cup nuts or coconut (I used coconut.)
Sprinkle topping over fruit filling.
Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes. If desired, serve warm with vanilla ice cream

Miss J and Mr. D

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DS's Favorite Punch, a.k.a. How He Ate 2 Pints of Blueberries
1 bottle sparkling cider
1 container lemon sorbet
1 can of pineapple rings
1 pint of blueberries

Combine. Yum.

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Blueberry Freezer Jam
4 cups crushed blueberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1.59-ounce package of Ball Freezer Jam Fruit Pectin

Stir sugar and contents of package in a bowl until well blended.

Stir in 4 cups of crushed fruit. Stir 3 minutes longer.

Ladle jam into clean jars to fill line. Twist on lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes.

Ball pectin package




TO TRY:

Blueberry Biscuit Cobbler
4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch,
lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish
coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine the flour, lemon peel, baking powder, salt, baking soda and remaining sugar; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto blueberry mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

Taste of Home

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Blueberry Sauce
In a sauce pan, combine:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup honey or corn syrup
enough orange juice to cover the berries
1 tablespoon grated orange rind

Bring berries to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. In a bowl mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Stir mixture into hot berries and cook until thickened.

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Blueberry Muffins

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, well beaten 1 cup milk
1/3 cup cooking oil
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon sugar

-Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar. Combine egg, milk, and shortening and add all at once to flour mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are moist but still lumpy. Fold in blueberries.
-Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake in 400 F over about 25 minutes.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins.

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Blueberry Lemonade
1 quart blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh/frozen concentrate lemon juice
1 quart water

In a food processor, combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher and stir in the water.
Place ice cubes in a clear glass and top with blueberry lemonade.

Adventures in Cooking Our CSA Share: Fruit!

This weeks box will be very popular because of the three fruits--more wonderful blueberries, plus apricots and plums.  They'll also like the corn, cabbage, and cauliflower.  And Bud will definitely like the tuna!!  He'll love making his own sushi or eating it seared.  

I might have to make a blueberry cobbler or some jam (do you have a favorite blueberry recipe?), as Bud can't eat them in yogurt parfaits fast enough.



  • Blueberries (keep in fridge)
  • Apricots (keep in fridge)
  • Plums (keep in fridge)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (keep on counter, NEVER IN FRIDGE)
  • Sweet Corn (keep in fridge, sweetest if eaten in 4 days or less)
  • Boston lettuce (wrap in damp paper towel and keep in crisper)
  • Mexican Mint Marigold (wrap in damp paper towel and keep in crisper)
  • Green Cabbage (keep in fridge, will last for 1 month or more)
  • Romanesco Cauliflower (keep in fridge)
  • Albacore Tuna Loin, which can be cooked or eaten raw as Sushi, it is pretty incredible for Sushi, better known as Hamachi.
  • Bogart cheese

Summer Fun: My Pool Time

I started aqua therapy a couple of weeks ago in an effort to improve my comfort level in the pool and strengthen my core.  And it's kicking my butt.  Even just hanging from the pool noodles is a work out.  Who would have thought lifting my arms up and down could make my shoulders hurt for hours?  All of which tells me how much I need this.  And the kids enjoy swimming around while I exercise.

I work out with an interesting bunch, all post-surgery--knees and backs.  It makes me feel a).  fortunate that I've never needed surgery and b). grateful that I don't hurt as much as they do.  And it also shows me what a small world Connecticut can be:  one of my pool partners is a lesbian who is getting married in August (out of 5 people, the 2 women are both lesbians??) and my other pool partner, I discovered this morning, is the older brother of the wife (another lesbian!) of my dear first PT--he even stood up at their wedding!    So you can just imagine the conversations!  Wives, weddings, and of course back pain.

We also like to watch the aqua zumba class down the lane from us.  We enjoy the music and the moves and also laugh about how the men in the zumba group hang back like they're not really part of it.  Of course, we can laugh, but we also know that we aren't even nearly capable of zumba.  We talk about joining the class when we "graduate" from therapy.

It's not a bad way to spend two mornings a week or to exercise.  And I like it much better than the treadmill.

Summer Fun: Summer Days and Nights

We've had a busy ten days or so.  Last week was Bud's week at day camp, his third year at this particular place.  It's a traditional outdoor camp with swimming, games, crafts, games, and activities.  This year, he loved the zip line!   It was a rainy week for camp, though, with Thursday being the first day it didn't shower on them.

Meanwhile, Sis was home with me.  Unlike Bud, she had some friends over a few different times, even going to the movies with one.  And then there was her first sleepover!  She had a friend over on Friday.  And it was great.  I realized that my job as the mom was to feed them, provide entertainment, and step back.  Dinner took a little longer than I expected because Sis wanted to cook out on our campfire and the coals weren't cooperating.  But the friend, who has some of the best manners I've ever seen on a child, was really flexible and liked dinner, which was pocket stew and s'mores.  They also caught fireflies and played on the swingset until the mosquitoes got bad.  Then they watched the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, which Sis's friend hadn't seen, though she is also a huge DW fan.

The only downside is that Bud's own overnight--his first--at his kung fu academy was canceled.  I was mad at the coach because Bud was disappointed.  The coach is probably also canceling kung fu camp, which is also disappointing for Bud.  Good thing Bud doesn't mind too much and that he really likes kung fu.

Last week was also a festival we always go to, this year themed as kind of a country hoedown.  There were even real horses and cowboys and a mechanical bull!  Sis loved the horses and the petting zoo with a calf, a goat, ducks, chickens, sheep, and even a llama.  And Bud line danced the whole night.  "Mom, I will always remember tonight as the night I discovered line dancing."  You should have seen him boot, scoot, and boogie!  I got it all on video, at his request--so he can practice!!

Then over the weekend, we went down to the city to see my in-laws before they head to Thailand.  The kids' great-grandfather, Lao Gong, who is 94+, has metastasized lung cancer.  Ma and Gong are going to stay as long as they can, so this was probably our only shot at the beach for the summer.  And they loved it! They played in the sand and in the waves.  There was a rip tide so they could only wade in, not using the boards Ma and Gong got them.  We also had two wonderful meals and treats from the ice cream truck, not getting home until after 10 p.m.

And now it's another week of camp, this time both of them together.  So I'm home alone, my own "camp" this summer.  In fact, I am taking a camp, a Summer Soul Camp, with Heather Bruggerman of Beauty that Moves.  Just a way to rest and rejuvenate before the rest of the summer.

My Signing Time

I finished my first series of ASL classes; in fact, because I knew so many words already, we finished the whole book, Learning American Sign Language.   I'm taking a second series, this time using the phrase book, American Sign Language Phrase Book.  I love it!  And I'm getting much better.  The kids are picking up a few things; Mama knows a few more.  It comes in handy in public or across rooms or, as we've found, at the ice skating rink where the kids can't hear us through the plexiglass.

When they were little, we used "eat" and "more" and the kids knew all the animals and colors.  Now, we tend to use more (grown up) words, so these the ones I'm working on with the kids (you can look up a lot of these at ASLU, which my teacher recommended):
  • hungry, eat, dinner, breakfast, lunch
  • restroom
  • yes, no, maybe
  • help
  • later, now
  • change
  • take, give
  • ready
  • hurry
  • keep
  • careful
  • stupid
  • weird
  • funny, fun
  • easy
  • want
  • need, should
  • again
  • like, don't like
  • forget, remember
  • more
  • make
  • fine
  • finished
  • stop
  • always, never
  • same, too, different
  • understand
  • think, know
  • talk, say
  • happy, sad, mad/grumpy
  • hot, cold
  • tired
  • please
  • sorry
  • go, come
  • start, begin
  • cancel
  • interested
  • who, what, when, where, why, how, how much
  • what happened?
  • sick, pain
  • better
  • good, bad
  • wrong
  • love
  • impossible
  • bring
  • watch, look, see
  • worry
  • embarrass
  • wonderful
  • sure, real
  • miss
  • all, nothing
  • here


I'm better at signing than at understanding signs, so my teacher recommended that I watch "Switched at Birth," the ABC family show about a two teenage girls, one who is deaf, who discover they were, you guessed it, switched.  It's actually pretty good--and I love that Marlee Matlin is in it, too.  

So, while the kids are at camp this week, I'm cramming.  And binging on the show.