I’ve Already Blown My Summer Wad

This is the second day of summer (the days she’d normally be in school are how I count it) and I’ve officially blown my uber-mommy wad. I’m done.
Here’s a short list of what we’ve done since Friday:

Set up a grow your own crystal experiment.
Done three candy experiments from the book.
Made t-shirt bracelets.
Sleepover.
Archery.
Tried out the playground at her new school.
Let her make breakfast with zero help from me.
Made a master summer schedule so she knows when she’s going to each camp/activity/class in the next 11 weeks.
Made cheat sheets for what to eat for lunch and breakfast.
Refused t.v. and videogames for 2 days.
Waited through the “what can I do?” “what would YOU do?” pleas and stoically pointed at the “BORED” sign on the fridge.
Took her grocery shopping so there’s food in the house she wants.
Ice Cream.
Helped her plant her sprouted garden starts.
Got out the facepaint.
Quietly put a book in her reach without her noticing and fist-pumped when I found her immersed in it 10 minutes later.
Quietly put a pencil down next to her as she perused the summer “homework” packet her teacher gave to her. Fist-pumped again when I found her filling it in.
Printed out a coloring contest entry form and “accidentally” left it out on the table with colored pencils.
Shoved her out the door because it’s sunny, damn it.
Ignored it when she took pretzels upstairs.
Ignored it when she begged me for another playdate.
Ignored it when she went back for another popsicle.
Ignored it when she asked me AGAIN for another playdate.
Noticed that she just went back for more of that book.

All of the over the top projects are done for the summer and now she’s on her own to fend for herself with red popsicles, scooby doo episodes and Katy Perry songs.

Phew. It’s good to get over the hump early. It’s all corn dogs from here on out.  I’mma be over here with a beer at 4pm every day until September.

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Foodie Friday:: Radishes and Scapes!

Welp, it’s another radish flurry. If you’ve been a farm member for a while, you already know that I have a nasty secret (well, it’s not such a secret anymore since I keep dishing it to you!): I really don’t like radishes! I know! Blasphemy! But, I’ve been training myself to use them more and to eat them like they do in France: dipped in butter, then sprinkled with salt. Not bad! Below is a link to a radish pickle recipe that is also a tasty way to eat up these early season beauties.
Also, those green curlicues in your share are called garlic scapes. Our farmers call them “Garlic Winkies”, but I’m pretty sure that’s specific to Salt Creek Farm only. ;)
Use them in place of garlic in your stirfries, soups etc. Or, make a pesto with them!

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Foodie Friday:: Udon Soup with Bok Choi

This recipe is an amalgam of about three different soup recipes I found when I went searching for some way to use up my chicken, bok choi, udon noodles, limes and stock. This would be lovely on a cold evening that needs warming, but was also quite welcome on a recent hot night that demanded very little time in the kitchen and certainly no oven blazing. Homemade stock is always the best choice, but the organic boxes of the stuff from your grocery store will suffice in a pinch. If you don’t have bok choi on hand, spinach, chard or kale substitute nicely. If you are a mushroom fan, add in a cup of button and shitake mushrooms to round out the flavor. This soup is also happily finished with a poached egg per serving, but I didn’t have time for that business. If you don’t have or eat chicken, some tofu, tempeh or any protein would substitute well here. Enjoy!

Farm Style Udon Soup with Bok Choi and Chicken or Tofu

8 cups chicken stock
2 whole star anise
1 stick cinnamon

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 cube of fresh ginger (peeled 1″ square piece)
2-4 crushed cloves of garlic
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce or combo of both
1 lime zest and then in wedges for squeezing
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced (or tofu or other protein)
1 bunch bok choy leaves, sliced into ribbons, stems chopped into bite sized pieces
6 oz cooked Udon Noodles (I had one packet left from a previous recipe. More noodles would be welcome if you have them).
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Garlic Chili Sauce (found in the Asian food section of most markets. I like to frequent McPhee’s grocery in Port Angeles for needed world market ingredients)

Optional: 1 cup mushrooms (button and or shitake with the stems removed) and one poached egg per serving

In a 4-6 quart saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add star anise and cinnamon and simmer for 5-10 minutes to infuse the flavor while getting the rest together.

In a separate pan, bring sesame oil to a shimmer. Add ginger and garlic and swirl around until aromatic, but not burned (about 2 minutes). Add soy sauce, lime zest and then add chicken and cook over med-low until almost done. Add bok choi and mushrooms (if using) and sauté until greens are wilted and mushrooms are soft (only takes a few minutes).

Remove star anise and cinnamon with a slotted spoon, then add chicken mixture to stock mixture. Bring back to a simmer, then add noodles and continue simmering for a few minutes, or until all of the flavors are mingled well.  If you can fish out the ginger chunk, do that now. If you are poaching eggs, this is when you would slip them into the soup. Add more soy and or/fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
Serve into bowls with green onions and chili sauce on top to taste with one egg for each serving.

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Foodie Friday:: Northwest Savory Crepes

IMG_2289[1]This recipe is a collaboration of all three Sanfords. Born out of Abby’s desire to have crepes for dinner, she came up with most of the filling ideas. Tom suggested going with a northwest theme and to use the frozen raspberries from our freezer. Together we made up the sauce. Abby now regularly makes this completely by herself.
This was her entry into the First Lady’s healthy lunch recipe contest. She wasn’t chosen, but there were 1500 entries, so she’s not feeling too badly about it. We also used this recipe for my most recent Peninsula Kitchen column in our local paper.

We love Mark Bittman’s crepe recipe (leave the sugar out for savory fillings). If you end up with extras, you can put wax paper between them and freeze them in a ziploc or other container for later use. We NEVER have leftovers though! I suppose you could buy crepes, but they are expensive and not nearly as good as homemade.

Savory Northwest Crepes

Crepes: store bought or your own recipe using whole grain flour.

Sauce:
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries or tart strawberries
¼ cup cream cheese
Orange Juice to taste

Filling Options:
Smoked or cooked fresh salmon
chicken breast (cooked and shredded)
cooked shrimp
grated carrots
roasted or steamed asparagus (shaved)
red or yellow bell pepper (julienne)
spinach, raab or tender baby kale or other greens from your salad mix
shaved apple slices or sunchoke (peeled first)

For the Sauce:
Puree berries and cream cheese in a food processor, add orange juice a tablespoon at a time until the sauce comes together and is pour-able. Taste and adjust the flavor to your liking.

Build the Crepes:
This is the fun part. Place your crepe on a plate or other work space, pick your fillings. Make sure to use lots of vegetables! Place fillings on your crepe, roll it up and place on your plate seam side down. Drizzle with sauce and enjoy!

 

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Foodie Friday:: Chard or Spinach

It’s time for yummy food again! Our local CSA is up and running again and I’m back in the saddle of sharing ways to use up your share.
Our first week included salad mix, leeks, radishes, lettuce, spinach and bok choi.
These early shares are VERY greens heavy, so I recommend finding a few great salad recipes and other go-to ideas for using ups the spinach, salad, lettuce, chard and kale that will come in giant piles these first few weeks.

This is a curry recipe (click through for the source) that will be wonderful with your spinach and or bok choi in place of the chard. Enjoy!

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Twelve 15th:: May

We’re just marching right along toward summer, aren’t we?! I made a wilderness reservation for a backpacking trip over the solstice, Abby’s camps are mostly booked and I’m starting to pull out the shorts and cute skirts!!
This picture was taken just before Abby’s spring musical concert at school. We’ve had wonderful weather for this every year and I always try to stop someone to take our picture. This year, it was one of Abby’s 9 year old classmates! (Thanks, Chloe!)IMG_1810May is such a busy month every year. . . so much going on at Abby’s school, the farm season starting and with it, my cropsheets and recipes (look for the first one of the year next Friday!).
I was featured in the Mother’s Day issue of my local paper (article here) and also had my 2nd Peninsula Kitchen column published in the same section on the same day. For someone as open to sharing and writing and pictures and laughing at myself as I am, that article made me feel so vulnerable and exposed. This is a small town and it’s difficult to find anonymity here if you want it. Particularly when you’re all over the paper!
I’ve been struggling with small town social awkwardness and trying to remember this:
1501712_489995134451124_2141434234_n A year ago, I decided to throw a “Mother’s Day Eve” party and put it on my google calendar for last Saturday night. And so I did. . . invited up every dang mom and daughter (“are you a mother? do you have a mother? then you should come!”) I could think of to our local wine bar and promised that Mother’s Day with a hangover would be lovely. ;) I had a complete blast with the most random group of wonderful women ever. When I arrived (a few minutes late) there were three tables of ladies that had no idea they were there for the same thing. Half way through the night the great “friending” occurred when everyone got our their cell phones and sent friend requests to each other on facebook. It was wonderful, but it was also interesting to note who *wasn’t* there. Oh well. Not everyone matters.

Part of my melancholy, I think, is that my training peaked, it seems, several weeks ago and then my legs just gave up the ghost and are refusing to run without wretched pain now. I tried to go run on Mother’s day and wound up sobbing on the trail after 1/2 mile. Today’s a bit better, but all hopes of KILLING IT at the Rhody Run this Sunday and then the NODM Half 2 weeks later are dashed. Remembering that goals are just that: goals. My own worth and worthiness are not tied to running or really anything. I am worthy just for being.

So, that’s my nugget for the month. I’ll be back next week with FOOD!!! Recipes to help use up your spring greens.

*The 15th of every month has always been a little sweet for Tom and I and so this year, I’m taking a moment to post on or near each 15th.*

Here are the previous entries:
April
March
February
January

 

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right here. right now.

When I was twenty (land, that was nearly twenty years ago!), I was off on the grand adventure of being twenty and traveling the world. I spent six months studying and wandering (but, who am I kidding, I was mostly wandering and not studying, which included a LOT of time at the pub and the beach. . . assigned tasks for the Australian Cultural Studies course I took, I promise!) in New Zealand and Australia. During that time, I made one of those lifelong friends that you only get a certain allotment of in one life. You know the sort of friend: the drop-everything-and-fly-across-the-country-because-you-had-a-baby friend. The friend you can call after not speaking to for a full-on year and it’s like no time has passed and you immediately fall back into the shorthand you always had in talking to each other so as to get as much information across to the other as quickly as possible. The sort of friend that will tell you that the dress you’re wearing isn’t right on you and you will absolutely not take offense, you will simply be grateful they told you and you can still change before going out.

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Shannon, myself and Uluru (Ayers rock if you’re being culturally insensitive. We were 20 and definitely NOT culturally insensitive. We hiked AROUND it instead of to the TOP of it) 1996.

Anyway, I made that sort of friend in Australia and we were inseparable for 6 whole months. There are a million stories from that short time in my life, but one always sticks out when I think back.
We found ourselves camping near a billabong in the Northern Territory with another friend. It was a night full of campfire, laughing, singing and general merriment. Much later, the three of us crashed out in a tiny tent with our heads sticking out the door to watch the stars. There were very deep twenty year old conversations. Imagining what we’d be like in midlife. Being mindful of all we’d learned while being away from home. Gratitude for the experience. Someone asked the others, “If you could be anywhere at all in the whole world and at any time in history, where would you be?” Unanimously, we all wanted to be “right here. right now.”
For the last 18 years, I’ve used that quick statement for explaining that I am in the exact place and time I want to be in. Things feel warm and content when I say this out loud. In my marriage and now with Abby too, it’s a confirmation that we’re on the right track. We’ve made good choices and have landed on our feet in this moment. I’ve talked about this sense of YES! right now! here on the blog before.

I’ve often said that “wild horses couldn’t tear me away” from this small town of ours. Tonight, the dinner dishes are done. The kid is rainbow looming in the other room. My man is off working and I’m expecting a group of women to come over for a meeting soon. The Rolling Stones are playing and I had the “right here. right now.” feeling wash over me. What a life this is, yes? Simple and wonderful. Full of beauty and raw joy. right here. right now.

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