Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Grilling

I invited the boys and me over to my inlaws tonight (nervy daughter-in-law!), and I had the idea to do summer appetizers. I took this very lovely photo of some of the food and wanted to share our menu and recipes.  I'm stretching summer out as long as I can!

Tomato and mozzarella salad:  cherry tomatoes (halved) and fresh mozzarella, tossed with half a dozen basil leaves from my inlaw's garden and olive oil.  Served on grilled ciabatta bread.

Grilled shrimp:  My FIL put Montreal seasoning on them, some of them with spicy Montreal, which was amazing.

Grilled sausage:  I just used a Hillshire Farms smoked sausage.  Eh.  Could have done without.

Zucchini fritters:  My MIL uses this recipe from Taste of Home to make them. They're light and fluffy and delightful. If you have extra zucchini in your garden, I highly recommend these.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sharing the Love: Artichoke Dip

My sister in law gave me a recipe book some years ago for Christmas.  Oh, how I love that recipe book.  But it is falling. apart.  I was going to transfer everything and then decided I'd just put it all on my blog. I can just refer to my laptop when I need a recipe.  Plus I get to share my favorite recipes with you via my Sharing the Love series.

So, one at a time, I'll share them here.  I'm starting with a favorite, my cheesy gooey Artichoke Dip.

1/2 c mayo
1/2 c sour cream
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
1 c grated parmesan cheese
2 c mozzarella cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all together.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes (or until the top is bubbly and the edges are browning; it might take longer than 20 minutes!).

I serve with thin-sliced baguette or tortilla chips.

Tree Hug

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.
-- Martin Luther

Barbara Kingsolver

I'm having a love affair with Barbara Kingsolver.  Of course you know I loved The Poisonwood Bible.  Yesterday (at the beach!), I finished Prodigal Summer.  I loved every minute of it.  Do yourself a favor and read this one too. I'm half way through her book Pigs in Heaven as well, but it keeps getting put on the back burner, since library ones keep coming in and that's one is a garage sale model...

(I picked up Half-Broke Horses and Girl Who Played with Fire at the library this week.  I'm already tired thinking of all the sleep I'm going to miss to get these back to the library in three weeks!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Poisonwood Bible

Every once in awhile, there is a book that just gets you in the gut.  This one did for me.  Since I read it, several other friends have read it or considered reading it.  At Julie's suggestion, we're going to try an online book club for this book here, on Bits and Pieces in one month.  We'll use the bookclub questions written for this book.  Should be a great discussion...get reading!

Also, an update on what I've been reading:

Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Baybery
Couldn't do it.  Got half way through before I gave up.  I like intellectual reads, but I'm not smart enough for this book.

Hundred Secret Senses, Amy Tan
Eh.  I'll probably finish it, but it's not holding my interest very well.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, JK Rowling
YAY!  I got books 1 - 6 from my sister and am half way through the first one. I think I am going to enjoy this series.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
LOVED it.  Can't wait to read the next two.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Questions with Answers

What's the longest you've gone without sleep?
Once, after detasseling ended for the summer, Sonja and I had an all-nighter. Wait. It wasn't over for everyone. Because we stayed up at Kastamo's and then we woke Eric and Davin up for detasseling in the morning then we hit the hay.  That was the only time I stayed up all night. 

I love sleep. When I'm tired, I want to lie down. In a bed. Preferably my own

What's your favorite tree?
I love trees. They withstand everything, without complaining.  Aside from a few diseases, nothing hurts them. They shed their weak branches in the wind, but their strength is beautiful.  They are one of God's creations that always give me pause.

What do you order when you eat Chinese food?
I love fried rice.  Our local delivery place used to have the best garlic chicken, with huge vegetables, but its not as good now that they have new owners.  Leeann Chin's bourbon chicken is good too!

What's your least favorite word?
Can I use a phrase (of course I can, it's my list)?   I cannot stand "it's all good."  I dated a guy once who overused it, and I can't tolerate it anymore.

Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
Both.  I am vocabularily challenged.  (Heh. See?)  Thank you, Google, for giving me an ounce of credibility.

What's your favorite knock-knock joke?
Who's there?
Interrupting Cow?
Interrupting C...

If you could go to Disney World with any celebrity alive today, who would it be?
President Obama. Although I'd just as soon a cup of tea at the White House.  (If he doesn't count as a celebrity, I'll pick Sandra Bullock.)

What's your favorite breakfast food?
I love breakfast.   Many mornings, I eat an egg sandwich, aka Egg Cokato.  One egg with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese with bacon on an english muffin.  YUM.

Have a good week!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dave Barry

I have become a Jimmy John's addict.  That #11 is ridiculously good. Come to think of it, I'd like one right now.  On the wall, while you're waiting 90 seconds for your sandwich (they're wicked fast!), there is plenty of reading material.  This list is posted there, and I was pleased to find it online, so I can share it with you.  Enjoy:

Dave Barry's 25 Things I've Learned in 50 Years

The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.

You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe Daylight Saving Time.  (for Punkyseed!)

People who feel the need to tell you that they have an excellent sense of humor are telling you that they have no sense of humor.

The most valuable function performed by the federal government is entertainment.  (agreed.  politics is a great form of entertainment for me, although it seldom makes me laugh.)

You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

A penny saved is worthless.

They can hold all the peace talks they want, but there will never be peace in the Middle East. Billions of years from now, when Earth is hurtling toward the Sun and there is nothing left alive on the planet except a few microorganisms, the microorganisms living in the Middle East will be bitter enemies.

The most powerful force in the universe is: gossip.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.

There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is: age 11.

There is a very fine line between 'hobby' and 'mental illness.'

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

Nobody is normal.

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be: meetings.

The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.

You should not confuse your career with your life.

A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.

No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

Your friends love you anyway.

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's a Big Family

We spent last weekend with my entire family in Copper Harbor, Michigan.  It's no small event, given our size.  There is a total of 45 of us.  My parents, my siblings, their spouses, and their children.  Plus Jennie. It was amazing. Everything I could have hoped for really.

It's good for the siblings, but at least as beneficial for the cousins. Because we're spread out geographically, my kids don't know all of my neices and nephews.  The first morning, Jack turned to my sister's son and said, "Who are you?" He replied, "I'm Ted!"  "Oh," was Jack's happy reply.  He's probably only seen Ted two or three times his whole life.  It made my heart happy seeing them all play together and interact.  It made my heart happy hearing Shari's rugrats telling (semi) clean jokes around the fire and six-year-old Aubree playing Make Me Laugh in her sweet little voice.  And Tate (three) walking out of his tent in the morning and loud as can be:  "Good morning, everybody!"  I have the absolute sweetest, most wonderful neices and nephews in the whole world.

In February, I got the idea for this camping trip.  But some were focused on planning their Spring Break trips and couldn't make commitments for summer. We are not known for our decisiveness in our family, so I decided to go ahead with our own plans.  Cory had exactly one four-day weekend off this summer, so it wasn't hard to pick a weekend. And since Cory is in love with Lake Superior (seriously.  he might love it as much as he loves me), it wasn't hard to pick a location.  We settled on Copper Harbor.

The locals, Amy and Dan said they'd come out and camp with us.  Then Mike and Shana said they were going up there in June, but I pushed them hard to come in July instead (thanks, guys!).   After that, one by one, the others joined in. Last to commit were my parents. My dad was obligated to a golf tournament, which evidently the only legitimate excuse for not coming is death), but at the end of the day, they couldn't pass up the opportunity to be with their brood. My apologies to the rest of his foursome...we're glad they were there.

I hope we do it every is too short and family is too important.  Don't tell the Yoopers, but I'm going to be pushing for Baker Park next year!