Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Old Beans = New Mess

Found some old, I mean OLD, bags of dried beans in the cupboard yesterday while I was cleaning out a drawer (summer goal - clean out every drawer in the house, just one at a time, when the chance pops up). Too old to even want to consider cooking...

The grands were present, so old beans became a new mess and fun activity for these busy two. They loved it! Papa, not so much.

But Nana knows preschoolers need to scoop and pour and make messes and spill and dump (and throw all over the garden)...

Old beans, plastic tub, scoops, tubs, old egg trays...

Et voila', fun times at Nana's.

PS I usually don't like to use food items in play, due to world hunger. But these beans were SO old and broken up, I don't think anyone would have enjoyed them. For sure, they won't now!

Straw-babies Anyone?

Sister is talking pretty much nonstop. Either she is responding to something I've said, she's talking to herself, she's ordering people around, or she's parroting what she's overheard. Oh, be careful, little ears what you hear...(and for us, little mouth, what you say - because someone short is listening!).

Sister eating juicy straw-babies.

Almost 2, sister has a new passion - straw-babies! So adorable! One hates to use the right word once a toddler has come up with a much cuter version.

Oh, and does she love straw-babies. Dripping chin, shirt, face, elbows, fingers...but I know for a fact that some of those straw-babies make it in her tummy!

I think I will forever call them straw-babies now.

Sister still hauling around her straw-babies.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thinning the Herd

Yes. Thinning. The herd of kale. Which appears to be my best and most wildly growing plant in the raised beds. Italian red kale, in particular.

Kale capades.

The garden is a bit odd this year. Kale abounds. Radish abounds. Maybe zucchini and yellow squash. But everything else...kind of sad. I believe something is eating the seeds and seedlings as fast as they appear. Especially green beans, which I have planted 3 times and still have a few scrawny plants. Of course, since last year my friend gave me her pickled spicy green bean recipe and it was a hit. I don't think I'll have extra beans this year. Or any.

Back to kale. Not to be confused with Kale (Dragonspell female protagonist who rocks on adventure), or Kale (a preschooler I know), but kale - super food of current publications, health shows, and the cooking world.

I seriously thinned the kale herd. Thinking I was original, I wondered how good dehydrated kale would be (as in = sneak it into baked goods, soups, stews, salads, and so on). Just to check, I found myself in line behind hundreds of posts about others doing the same thing. Drats. Not original.

But for me, a first. The completely crammed dehydrator easily shrank my overabundance of super greens into a quart jar of crunchy powder. An added bonus was one blog that suggested that frequent use of kale encourages ongoing leaf production. A never ending supply!

Following the suggestion of Health magazine, we did Meatless Monday - on Tuesday. Kale, hominy, and black bean soup. Pretty tasty and spicy. I think I loved the roasted poblano peppers the best. Mmmmm.

Followed up by a fruit smoothie using banana, strawberries, blueberries, Greek yogurt, almond milk, and yes, the hidden ingredient, kale.

When asked this morning if he had tasted any kale in his smoothie last night, the husband replied, "Huh? I didn't want a veggie smoothie."

Translation: He LOVED the smoothie, but was surprised to find that I had pulled one over on him and added a surprise treat.

Still to be tried are kale chips (I've made them with store bought kale) and homegrown kale and sausage stuffed delicata squash. Which, incidentally, are also not growing well. Already tried so far: scrambled eggs and omelets with kale, various forms of soup including kale, kale on sandwiches, and kale in salads.

Just call me Greeny, the kale hunter.