Broccoli Salad with Cranberries, Grapes, Carrots, and Almonds

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My mom got this delicious recipe from her friend, who is actually my cousin's mother-in-law. She is quite the cook, and has catered weddings in the past. Not sure if she still does or not. I'm so happy she was glad to share this salad with us, because I literally eat it as a meal the minute I make it. It's that good. You can substitute dried currants or raisins for the cranberries if you'd like. I basically made up the proportions of ingredients to my taste, testing and adding as I went, since the "recipe" my mom gave me was very generalized and didn't really taste the way I remembered eating it. I hope I did it justice. You can make it even sweeter by adding in one more tablespoon of honey to the dressing if you prefer.

8 cups broccoli florets
2 cups carrots--shredded
1 cup red onion--diced
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups (or more) green grapes--cut in half

3 tablespoons honey
juice from 1 large lemon or 2 small ones
3/4 cups mayonnaise

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place slivered almonds on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes until golden. Let cool and as you measure out and prep all your other salad ingredients. Combine everything in a large bowl. Then whisk the honey, lemon juice, and mayonnaise in a small bowl until creamy. Pour the dressing on top, mix, and enjoy! This salad keeps for several days in the fridge, which makes it so easy to get your veggies in.


Crafty Crowns

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We made simple little crowns on Olivia's birthday with the kids, and I think it turned out to be really fun! The kids seemed to enjoy it, and some even made two. I got some crafty things together--red pom-poms, jewels in various sizes, sequin shapes, and glitter in every color of the rainbow. I cut out a simple crown shape for the front, and a strip as wide as the ends of the front piece for the back. When they were done decorating and the glue had dried, I stapled one side of the back on one side, fit the crown on their head to see where to staple the other end, and viola! A good way to rein in the chaos a bit, and they got to go home with something fun. What little girl doesn't love glitter, anyway?

And for the record, Mila is scowling because she wanted some help with the glue and the glitter, but so did everyone else. That was the biggest problem, so lots of hands are a must.


Olivia's Birthday Bash

My baby girl is four!!! Where has the time gone? I know everyone says it, but it's just so true. I still think of her as a baby in some ways, but in other ways, she kind of blows my mind with how much she understands and knows.

She dresses herself now with no help, except she likes to forget her underwear. She really gets into it when she colors or paints. She is so independent in many ways, but she is the slowest eater on the planet, and begs to be fed. She can put food away so fast when I feed her, but she's so sloooow on her own. She still wishes she was a baby, and asks for a pacifier and milk in a bottle occasionally. She sleeps with her pink blanky on her pillow every night. We have a bedtime routine that we do every night or she'll keep calling me back to her room until I get it right: pee, scratch her back, then her stomach, kisses, blanky needs to be on the pillow, turn on the humidifier, drink of water, and I have to say "I love you," "good night," and "bye," in that order. Of course before that we brush our teeth, read a book and the Bible, get her pjs on, and pray. Olivia is the biggest tag-along and copycat, which comes with having two older siblings. She learns so much from them, and I see her studying Mila's hand movements and reactions so she can copy them. Every time I carry her to bed, she puts her arms around my neck and puts her head down on my shoulder. And I love it. She has this grandma complex going on, where she likes to walk around and sigh, with a dejected look on her face. As if her life was so hard. Not sure where this comes from. I love that little girl!

I threw her a family/friend birthday party, which equaled lots of people and lots of chaos. She was set on having lots of friends over, and has been looking forward to it all year, so I had to oblige. Lets just say I was glad when it was over! Sitting on the couch never felt so good.
If you look at the pinata pictures, there's one where Mila is bawling because all the kids pounced on the candy and she was too afraid to shove them aside to get some. My dad and B were helping her out. I swear, you never know what to expect with kids! They keep you on your toes for sure.


Cherry Clafoutis

Monday, July 23, 2012

A clafoutis is a rustic French dessert made with black cherries. I got my recipe out of this wonderful book, and my mom and sister immediately wanted the recipe when I made a clafoutis last summer. My dad surprised me recently when he came over with a large flat of dark, ripe cherries, perfect for this dessert. My opportunity had come. I made this recently for my mom's birthday as well as two of them for Olivia's, which was only three days later. Mine didn't turn out perfectly, but I try not to let my perfectionism hold me back, so I'm posting it anyway. I actually use less sugar than the recipe calls for (and may be able to use even less) because those cherries are so very sweet on their own anyway. Get yourself some cherries, and get baking!

The recipe book is Australian, so everything is in grams and celcius. I converted the measurements using an online conversion calculator and got this:

2 3/4 cups dark cherries
butter for the baking dish

Mixture one:
.8 cups flour (I use 3/4 and top it off a little)
3/4 cups granulated sugar (recipe says 1 cup)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

Mixture two:
1/2 cup granulated sugar (recipe says 3/4 cup)
.66 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs

I do more like 3 cups of cherries, because that's my favorite part of this dessert. Also, I use a stick and 2 more tablespoons of butter to get the .66 cups.

 Pit your cherries and actually cut them in half. The juice that runs out during baking makes the clafoutis moist and delicious.
Preheat the oven to 356 degrees Farenheit (180 degrees Celcius). Butter a 9-inch round cake pan or pie plate. Cover the bottom with pitted cherries.
Mix the first mixture (flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, milk, vegetable oil, salt, vanilla) until smooth and pour over the cherries.
  Mix the second mixture (sugar, butter, eggs) until smooth and pour over the first one.
Bake the clafoutis in the preheated oven for about an hour. Invert the cake onto a serving platter and serve warm. You can sprinkle the top with powdered sugar if you like, but not when it's hot.
One thing I'd like to point out is that no matter how much or how little I bake it, mine sticks to the bottom of the pan. You can see I'm missing some chunks in my picture. It may be my pan, but next time I think I'll try lining it with parchment paper and see how that goes. If that fails, I have a pretty pie pan that I can bake it in and serve it in without having to flip it upside down to serve.



We've been staying busy over here celebrating birthdays (summer is good for that!), going to the pool, watching the garden grow, and trying to squeeze in time with friends. The kids have some awesome neighbor friends that are always coming over and running back and forth between the two houses. It keeps them busy for sure! I have taped off the office for painting, moved the furniture to the middle of the room, and covered it in plastic. I'll get to the fun part tomorrow, which will be so exciting for me, considering it's been on my mind for months and months. I love when I get something completed and off my mind. Soon I'll be buying backpacks and back to school supplies. I'm not ready for summer to be over, though--we still have a lot to do!
1. The girls love to paint. I love their masterpieces.
2. A thoughtful gift from a friend. I wear it constantly.
3. I had to cover the vegetable garden with plastic in order to spray the weeds in our lawn.
4. Olivia in her favorite swimsuit.
5. Dipping her legs.
6. He doesn't go to the pool without goggles.
7. I threw a family party for my mom's birthday.
8. Baby Adele is the sweetest thing ever.


Makena Beach

I've finally gotten to the end of the Hawaii photos. These last ones are of Makena Beach (or Big Beach) and Little Makena next to it. When we were scootering one evening, we came across this beach by following the crowds coming into the parking lot. Then we saw the water. The waves looked like heaven to boogie board, and we thought we had found the waves we were looking for. Good boogie boarding waves at the beaches we'd been to were few and far between. It was evening, and we vowed to come back the next day.
We noticed people weren't piling onto the beach, however, but walking further down the length of the beach and disappearing behind some rocks. So...we followed. We figured they must know something we don't. We climbed up a rocky cliff, followed the path down to the ocean, took a turn, and came out to...a giant party on the beach, complete with nudists and hippies. Mm-hmm. And here I was thinking "Hawaii has a lot of hippies" while climbing up the rocks. Turns out, the locals come out every Sunday night to party on this smaller hidden beach that is known to be a nudist beach. There was music, dancing, nudies sitting around or getting in the water to swim, complete with an offer to smoke something. I don't think I had ever felt as much like a fish out of water as that before! :) Too bad, because it was a beautiful beach.
 When we came back to Makena the next day, hauling our boogie boards under our arms, we took one look at the waves and knew we weren't getting in that water. The waves were insane, rising at least ten feet over people's heads, then crashing against the sand with so much intensity. There was barely anyone in the water. Most people were staring at the waves with us, planted safely on the sand.
Good times! Seems like we went a lifetime ago, not just last month. Time is tricky like that. xoxo, Tanya