Healthy Dinner..

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Sometimes it seems to be a bit difficult to be a vegetarian.   But, in reality, there are tons of recipes available, and, with a little creativity,  there is always something good to eat around the house.   Last night we were trying to figure out how to best prepare some fresh brussels sprouts that I had picked up at the market earlier in the day.   My wife chose a recipe that involved roasting the sprouts along with olive oil, maple syrup, garlic salt and pepper.  After removing from the oven, they are tossed together with craisons  and roasted walnuts..   The recipe also calls for blue cheese, but we did not have any of that on hand ( not a problem as far as I am concerned!)  What a great recipe!  

While she was roasting the sprouts,  I cut up some potatoes and mixed them with olive oil and seasonings  and roasted them as well.    I prepared sprouts by parboiling them and then frying them with onions in butter and then tossing them with lemon juice and slivered almonds..  this recipe is also a keeper..    

What a delight to take such pleasure in simple foods –  I think that our experience in the kitchen together counts as a date!   🙂

 

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Road Trip!

ImageDoes anyone recognize Ben and Jerry’s in downtown Burlington?   How about those happy kids?   After final exams I had the pleasure of taking my two step daughters and a friend to Burlington.   The main agenda for the trip was to see my daughter perform in a concert at Castleton State College.   She sings with the Johnson State Chamber Singers who, along with Castleton and St Michael’s,  performed individual pieces and then combined to sing Mozart’s Solemn Vespers.  My step daughter A,  has wanted to check out UVM for a while, so we arranged to combine a visit in Burlington with the concert.   We drove to Shelburne where we stayed the first night.  It is about an 8 1/2 hour drive from northeast PA, but everyone was happy and upbeat to be headed to Burlington.   We stopped for dinner at Panera in Albany and arrived at our hotel just before 10 pm.   Everyone was happy to settle in quickly for the night.

A.  had an appointment to visit UVM the next morning.   so, after breakfast at Henry’s Diner, we headed up to the campus and enjoyed a 2 hour visit and tour of the school.  The video that they show in the admissions office is very well done.  It makes one feel that there is simply no other option as far as colleges are concerned!   I was ready to sign up myself 🙂

We then made our way back down town and enjoyed a wonderful, healthy lunch at Stone Soup

Imagesorry for the blurred pic..  things happen so quickly there!    the atmosphere is cool, and the food is wonderful.   I had a piece of quiche and a slice of pumpkin pie which was still warm from the oven..   Everyone was totally happy with our lunch  experience.

After lunch, the girls headed up Church Street to shop, and I ventured down to the waterfront: Image it was a dreary day, but a trip to Burlington is fun regardless of the weather.   I enjoyed a mint chocolate chip ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s on the way down to the water.  I must have looked like a real tourist!

We left in the mid afternoon and headed south towards Castleton.   The girls all fell asleep and gave me some quiet time on the way.  We arrived at the school just as they were finishing up rehearsal so we met Alison and walked downtown to  see about getting dinner.  None of us knew what to expect, but we found a nice restaurant and enjoyed time together before Alison had to leave to head back to the school.  

The concert was wonderful.  Each group did two or three numbers before combing for the Vespers.   We thoroughly enjoyed the concert and the limited time that we had to spend with Alison.  After saying goodbye, we headed to Rutland where we were staying for the night.  On Saturday we got up bright and early and started home.  A. needed to be back in Scranton where she had a rehearsal at 2:30 in the afternoon.   It was a short trip, but it was a memorable one!

 

A productive day!

ImageUsually, when I think about a productive day, it is centered around working on the house.  For example, yesterday I insulated under our mudroom floor.   I am hoping that will make it a little warmer in there this winter, and I always enjoy a sense of accomplishment while putting my tools away after a project like that.

We awoke this morning to a dreary, damp, grey sky, and it was apparent that it would not be a day for working outside.   Yet, it turned out to be no less productive ( even with a nice mid-day nap)  My step daughter, K, and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen.   I tackled making vegetable stock for a squash soup recipe that I hope to make this week, and she began with cocoa cookies.  

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the kitchen was a slight disaster through much of the afternoon, but I tried to keep up with the dishes!  With the vegetable stock strained and in the refrigerator, I used the left over veggies and some of the stock to make risotto.  This will also be a dish for the coming week.  Image

Next, K started supper.  She made a farro dish with veggies and kale.  It is pretty cool to have a teen in the house who is very interested in healthy meals.  If we had told her 3 years ago that she would be a vegetarian in the future, she would have scoffed, or even worse, she might have stubbornly not allowed it to happen.. just because we suggested it..  this probably comes as no surprise to those of you who have raised teens in your household!    It turns out that we are all enjoying her interest in cooking, and that is a big plus for family harmony 🙂

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Next we joined forces and made apple sauce.  Later in life, my dad grew pretty fond of making apple sauce – this came as a bit of a surprise, because, as we were growing up,  he rarely entered the kitchen except to get to the dining room.   I ended up with the sieve that we had at home,  and this is the first time that it has been used in many years..   K. did not want to put sugar in the sauce,  so we simply added cinnamon sticks to the pot, stewed the apples for a bit, and then she made the sauce – it is wonderful!    ( thanks to the apples from the family orchard  🙂   )   K.  and I agreed that  spending a day in the kitchen is more fun than school!

While K. was pressing the  apple sauce, I prepped for the bread that you see at the top of this post..    My wife arrived home  from working at the orchard to find dinner ready and waiting  and bread rising on top of the refrigerator..   what more could a wife ask for  🙂

We all just enjoyed a slice of warm bread  instead of desert!    Life is good…

Apple Pizza

ImageThanks to my wife’s devotion to Pinterest,  we have found a number  wonderful recipes – this one is still cooling on the rack!    This happens to be the first Saturday morning  in a month and a half that I don’t have something to do at school, and I am loving it…  I thought that it would be nice for the household to awake to the fragrance of baking, so I got up early and got to work.   We will see how it tastes in a little while, but it sure looks promising.    I  love the fall  –  apple season,  cool crisp temps and Thanksgiving just around the corner 🙂

Hope for the future.

My students are taking a test –  as in this very moment –   I forgot to remind them that they might want to pick up a straight edge for one of the graphing problems on the test.   It is very quiet as they diligently work from one problem to the next.  But A. just got up and went over to pick up a straightedge – obviously she was the first to get to the graphing problem.  But she did not just pick up a straightedge for herself – she got one for each of her classmates and delivered them to their desks.   Yes it is a small class,  and yes A. is a particularly bright student, but sill,  in the fairly competitive environment that exists at our school,  it is reassuring to observe  a thoughtful act like this in the middle of the test.   Obviously, A’s mother brought her up right 🙂  

Many years ago when I lived in NH and coached the cycling team we went to a race at the Louden race track.   The track is a 1/3 of a mile so it was common that the strong riders would lap the weaker ones.    One cyclist, in particular was outstanding, and he lapped the entire field of riders.   At one point in the race  he came upon a cyclist whose chain had fallen off the sprocket.    He got off of his bike and helped the younger cyclist get his chain back in order and then resumed the race, cruising to a victory.    Critics said that he was showing off, but I think that it was a genuine act of kindness – the kind of thing that one remembers after all these years..   it looks like A. has just achieved that same level of admiration in my book – one more story to recall when I am retired, sitting at the helm of my boat off of the coast of Maine, grateful for my family, for  the environment that I am in and  for all of the wonderful people I have met over the years…