Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Saturday our office hosted an event for K-8 grade authors. Winners are chosen from their schools. Then the winners all come together to be honored at the county level. Without a doubt, my favorite part of the morning is sneaking away for a few minutes to peek at the books.

This book reminded me of so many friends who have adopted their dogs or volunteer with humane societies and rescue groups.
 Stories like this are the payoff for those efforts.
 I LOVED the artwork in this book. What a great idea to use the black paper.
Look closely and you might see my niece's eyeball peeking out of Clifford's eye. She was a great sport wearing the costume and interacting with the students.  I am not sure why Clifford looks so gloomy though.
We spent a nice evening at the farm just relaxing with the dogs and a fire. It was an excellent way to unwind after a crazy work week.

I didn't do too much with the garden, but I did take a little peek. My chives are blooming. I probably shouldn't let them do that, but they are pretty and how many chives am I going to eat anyway?
 I noticed a couple little volunteer dill plants coming up (oh, and some weeds too).
There was some grilling, of course. I need to work on veggie variety. I tend to grill the same things over and over again. I would love any suggestions for mixing up my grill.
In the meantime, here is what has been on my plate recently. (Yeah, there has been lots of other things going in my beak, but I am trying to focus on the "good" at the moment.)
Breakfast in bed - does it count as breakfast in bed if you have to get out of bed to get it and then get back in bed to eat it? I couldn't decide which jelly - grape and orange marmalade? My egg muffins have some of the veggies from the night before and some leftover Easter ham I froze.
Buffalo chicken tacos for dinner. I added a bit of fresh pineapple to mine. Then I ate a bunch of pineapple on the side.
 Mini turkey meatloaf and veggies.
Yesterday we had a lots of rain and wind....the trees dropped a bunch of debris on Pearl. Thankfully, not harmful debris.
The problem with spring as much as I love it unfolding after a long winter, the changing seasons sets me back physically (that coupled with stress of a super busy time at work). My MS flared up and I have spent the past three days pretty much in bed trying to rest. Tomorrow I am heading back to work. There is only so long I can stay in bed with this wackiness beside you.

I actually think they were very happy to lounge with me. This little monster has a birthday coming up - she will be 15 on Sunday.
I am hoping to be back on track after my rest. I am tentatively planning a nice walk and to finish planting my garden this weekend if this body cooperates :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Spring Beauty Edition

This weekend we spent time at the farm and took in some of the beauty of spring.

Wishing you a long beautiful spring to enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Weekend Recap and Mmmm Lentils

Sunday my in-laws invited us to lunch at the lodge where we got married. On such a gorgeous weekend how could we resist?
Almost five years ago, in front of this enormous fireplace we promised our lives to each other :)

Intricate tapestries hang from the rafters above the great room.

I remember when we were at the lodge planning our wedding they were setting up for another wedding. They were covering the great room with a zillion yards of tulle draped from white columns.  A fabric covered board was inserted in front of the Lewis & Clark painting above the fireplace. They even wanted the tapestries taken down (the lodge refused.)  I couldn't help but wonder why choose the lodge if you want to change everything about it.

We loved the look and feel for our wedding day. Gratuitous wedding picture ahead :)
I got a good laugh that we ended up being there on the day of the Mushroom Festival. My husband is a mushroom hater (I know it is a strong word, but it is true).  The actual mushroominess of the festival was a little lame. They had a bunch of vendors selling handmade items that had nothing to do with mushrooms. I did get the mushroom burger for lunch though. My father-in-law almost did too, but was thankful the waitress pointed out there was no "burger" just a giant mushroom cap...he quickly changed his mind :)
I wanted to take home these metal deer sculptures. My father-in-law and grandma quickly noticed that the legs were made from old hay forks - farm life.
After lunch my husband and I drove up to the top of the ridge above the lodge and river.

On the way home I talked him into heading up the bluffs again. It was a little nerve-wrecking coming back down. No way would I want to deal with that in the winter!
Back into town. It is always such a pretty drive I hate to see it end. However, I love this view of the bluffs, trains, flour mill and river coming together always makes the end of the river road drive a little easier.
We spent some time in the garden Sunday afternoon. My herb bed is filling up - so far I have chives, basil, rosemary and oregano. I am still on the hunt for my new favorite - tarragon. FYI - cilantro gets its own row in another bed :)
I am hopeful this is actually broccoli. Last year the "broccoli" plants I bought turned out to be Brussels sprouts that never fully matured - major disappointment.
I planted a few beans (purple and yellow). I need some more green bean seeds though because I can't remember if the ones I have are pole beans which I did not like.
It isn't much to look at now, but we planted the potatoes here. I planted peas on top of the potatoes. I am curious to see how this will work out. The potato bushes should be pretty low and the peas can climb the fence above. I still need to pick up a bale of straw to cover this bed.
My lettuce, radishes, spinach and chard are coming along. We haven't had much rain, but that is supposed to change this week. And yes, I leave the garden tools across the tops of the beds. It is my attempt to slow down a certain puppy - she likes to walk through the freshly planted beds.
I confess this didn't really happen on Sunday, but garden makes me think of healthy foods. A few days ago, I made  Slow Cooker Indian Spiced Lentils.

My niece is a big fan of Indian food - it is kind of our thing to meet for lunch at the local Indian place. We have talked about trying to create more of it at home. Since I am a recent convert to lentils and I am trying to use my slow cooker more this recipe seemed to be a perfect fit.

Red lentils might be better named orange lentils but either way they are so pretty.
Curry is not a spice in itself, but instead of a combination of spices. Pretty much every curry is different depending on national or regional cultural traditions and family preferences. This particular recipe called for cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and cayenne.
It also called for addtional curry powder or paste. This is where I jumped of the Indian wagon and went with a Thai red curry paste. I like red curry, but next time I think I will try to find a more Indian curry. Curry paste has dry spices mixed with ginger and garlic (and many other ingredients).
The recipe also called for fresh minced garlic and ginger. I think you are getting the idea there are a ton of flavors and spices in this dish.
Everything is just dumped in the crock pot. The spinach almost made it overflow, but it wilted quickly.
A couple of times during the cooking I mixed everything together just to be sure the flavors were blending together. In about three hours in the crock pot had this.
Sadly, Indian food is not always the most visually appealing, but for me the taste makes up for that :)  I will definitely make this (or a version) again. The recipe made quite a potful, I've eaten it a couple times, gave my niece a portion and put two portions in the freezer for a super quick meal another day.

Sometimes, I still can't believe...I eat lentils. I had such bad experiences with them when I was younger I thought I would hate them forever.

I found another crock pot Indian recipe that I will be trying soon. It has potato dumplings in it. It sounds a little more labor intensive before the crock pot phase, but some days I don't mind that.