Monday, May 24, 2010

If You Can't Raise Goats....

I love goats. I like to think that if I was able, I'd have one in the back yard keeping the grass trim and frolicking with the kids - my children I mean.

Okay, that's never going to happen but a girl can dream. She can also eat lots of goat cheese. My new love is Sofia, by Capriole Farmstead Goat Cheeses. I picked some up the Green City Market way back in March. So taken by it's looks and so excited to taste, I took a picture.

From their website - "...marbled with ash, its' texture is fine and silky in the mouth, becoming denser and more velvety with age. It ripens under a light, wrinkly geotrichium rind, delicate and slightly sweet, and so is never mushroomy, overpowering or soapy....". What a lovely description.

If you're in to cheese or want to learn more about beautiful cheeses like this, check out Madame Fromage's blogspot. A Wisconsin native, her cheese knowledge is inspiring.

In the meantime, track down this cheese and enjoy with a crisp glass of sauvignon on the porch at dusk.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

I'd like to introduce you to Doug's new best friend - his Waring Fryer. Bought at a post holiday Williams-Sonoma sale for a song, there have been many fried experiments, and certainly there will be many more to come.

Seriously though, after quite an absence from my beloved family blog, the perfect place to start, the first in a three part series seems to be here. I'll call it, "I Have The Most Awesome Husband Anyone Could Ever Have - Part I"

For Mother's Day, I usually like to spend the day working in the yard. This year was no exception although I got a later start than I had hoped due to dreary weather that began the day. Jake's now famous pancakes with blueberry sauce made up for that, and soon enough I was enjoying a beautiful day in the yard.

I don't usually expect or ask for anything on Mother's Day other than time to garden but this year, I reeeeaaallllly wanted fish tacos. Along with his trusty friend, Doug has been perfecting the BEST fish tacos and was kind enough to cater to my whim.

Fried tilapia. Hot, crunchy and not at all greasy....

Corn tortillas warmed over the fire, pinto beans and super guacamole.

Shredded red cabbage and chipotle crema. Great color, nice crunch.

Pan-roasted corn tossed with a bit of butter, salt and finished with fresh cilantro.

An amazing homemade meal, shopping, prep and service done by a great man, eaten with my tremendously wonderful family.

Could a wife and mother want anything more than that?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chickens in the Yard

It's been busy around the yellow house lately. Gardening, landscaping projects, coop building and my first bee swarm. As we try to finalize the yellow house hennery for the girls we've begun letting them roam the backyard with us.

The exercise and snacking are good for them. I can't wait until they have more freedom all the time. These pictures were taken on their first adventure into the great outdoors. They were a bit tentative, as were we. True Mother Hens.

It's so nice to have them out with us. It is peaceful to watch them and just knowing they are enjoying the yard makes me happy. They tend to stay together and near the fence line. This makes them easier to keep track of and I worry less about someone swooping in for a snack.

Apparently, there is lots of good stuff for snacking on the stone path. The most fun was feeding them worms we dug up from underneath the hostas. Once they figured out how tasty they were the chase was on to grab them from one another.

Charlie - Champion Worm Snagger, Bossy Flossy, Ruler of the Roost. Isn't she pretty?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Henry Builds a Cabin

Last week Henry, and in turn all of the kids, were home sick with a fever inducing virus. So perhaps selfishly, I was thrilled to have them home, even if they missed a day or two of post ISAT education.

Henry was the first to succumb but several days into it was feeling well enough to return to work. I walked into the family room to find him engrossed in his building project.

Here he was painting the interior walls. Hen loves to build and this project has been ongoing and constantly morphing for a very, very long time. The hole in the bottom is the opening for the stairway to the first floor. It has been "framed out" many times and constantly requires change orders. Siding has been applied, colored and removed. Trim has been installed, a kitchen with a lovely counter has been built out. The plan of the moment is always clear and the level of creativity phenomenal.

When there is work to be done, of any kind, he is first to volunteer. Always willing to take on the most difficult projects with gusto. He's happy to act as a supervisor and is known to crack the whip - even with the foreman - his dad.

A work ethic is so important and we are very proud of Hen's. And a carpenter with a face like that. Come on!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In The Fairy Garden

There is a wonderful garden shop in Geneva called The Pure Gardener. It's housed in a 1920's gas station and that's just the beginning of the wonderful. It's a place of inspiration - beautiful flowers, container gardens, organic herbs and veggies. There are seeds and pots and worm bins. Organic fertilizer and reclaimed barn would table gardens. Craig is a treasure trove of information and very willing to share. Annette a patient and talented designer. Check out their blog full of great ideas for your own gardening escapades.

One of my favorite things to see are the fairy gardens planted with beautiful, tiny plants and diminutive accessories. In all honesty, I am not a fan of fairies. I think they are scary and I don't really want them in my garden. I do, however, really like their stuff.

Last week at the flea market, I found this great vintage pickle jar with a wooden handle. It came planted with some angel tears and moss. The perfect spot for a fairy garden and springboard for creativity.

I treated myself to trip in search of additions for this little garden. I came away with a chair, tiny hoe and mossed urn. The green pebbles and euonymous completed the scene. It makes me so happy.

I stopped in my favorite thrift store looking for interesting containers to turn into tiny gardens. This restaurant china fruit dish made a sweet garden for my mother-in-law. I chose Irish moss, magenta alyssum and bit of sweet woodruff to surround another chair and twig stepping stones.

As may be expected, I am addicted to creating these scenes and small scale gardening is immediately gratifying. There are certainly many fairy gardens in my future.

I just hope fairies don't show up looking for a place to crash.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Book into Movie

ItalicOne of the best books I have ever read is The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Typically, I am disappointed with books made into movies but The Namesake directed by, Mira Nair is absolutely the exception to the rule.

Last week I attended a program at Columbia College Chicago with my dear reader friend, JoAnne. The final speaker in the program, Conversations in the Arts: Media Arts in the 21st Century, was writer and director, Mira Nair. What a terrific evening! Funny, well educated, read and traveled, the energy that surrounds this woman stayed with me long into the following days.

If you haven't read this book, do. When you are done rent the movie, order in great Indian food and watch a book. I hope you love it as much as I did.

Also, I hope you enjoy some really awesome Indian food, too.