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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Respect the 'barb 2012

Cherry Rhubarb Skillet Pie
A few weeks ago, I joked on Facebook that it was time for Rhubarb Fest 2012 and that I needed some ASAP as I had many culinary delights I wanted to try thanks to I ended up with so much rhubarb (and still have some) that I was able to try out many new recipes!

Here's a few facts about rhubarb that I didn't know until recently:
  • Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, in the United States, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. (Wikipedia)
  • The leaves are toxic! (Wikipedia)
  • If you wrap the stalks in foil, they will last for weeks! (somewhere on Pinterest)
Here's a rundown of the recipes I took for a whirl in my kitchen:
Rhubarb Crumble Bars: This is an old standby recipe, thanks to Everyday Food. Easy to make and always a crowd pleaser.

Rhubarb Bread: Two batches of this were made this time around. To the second batch, I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg which added some flavor. It makes two 9x5 loaves but both didn't rise so I'm thinking of putting all the batter in one 9x5 pan next time.

Naughty Rhubarb Scones: This was the winner of the Food52 challenge. They were easy to make and delicious. The problem is that it makes 16 scones and my husband, son and I had to finish 16 scones off. I may half the recipe next time.

Cherry Rhubarb Skillet Pie: I used frozen cherries instead of fresh and my favorite pie crust recipe instead of the one listed. I made this years ago when we were staying in a cabin in Eastern Oregon and remember being taken back by the adding of pepper and left it out. This time I added it and it gave the filling a zing so add the pepper!

Rhubarb Crumble: I will definitely make this again! I didn't brown the butter, as I was too lazy. Instead, I just melted it. I also had vanilla sugar left over from the scones and used that instead of their method which I felt worked fabulous. It was great for breakfast or warmed up with a scoop of ice cream.

Oven Braised Short Ribs in Rhubarb Wine Sauce: This was my first leap into making short ribs and it won't be my last. I ended up pairing this with creamy polenta and a salad which impressed my husband. This recipe will be returning again.

Short ribs!

As I said, I still have some rhubarb left and I'm still trying to figure out if I find another new dish to try OR repeat one from above. Maybe I'll make the short ribs again? 

What's your favorite rhubarb recipe?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Meatless Monday: Pinto Bean Burgers

My husband is pretty leery when it comes to recipes that have burger in the title but don't have any beef of it's kind involved in the ingredients.

Last month, my Everyday Food magazine featured this recipe and I gave it a whirl. Turns out, this may be the only non meat "burger" my husband will eat. He devoured two at dinner and ate the leftovers for lunch. Even my son, who only eats a handful of items, tried them and enjoyed it.

This recipe was incredibly easy to make and I wonder if I could sub the pinto beans for black beans as I always have black beans on hand.

What's your favorite meatless burger recipe?

Pinto Bean Burgers
by Everyday Food

2 cans (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
8 hamburger buns
Toppings, such as mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, avocado, tomato, cheese, and cucumber (optional)

In a large bowl, mash beans until a coarse paste forms. Add rice, breadcrumbs, scallions, cilantro, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; gently fold to combine. Form into eight 3/4-inch patties.

In a large skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high; add half the patties and cook until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack and tent with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and patties. Serve burgers on buns with desired toppings.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A different kind of CSA

Last year our CSA wasn't a hit in our house for a couple of reasons.

The first three months of my pregnancy I couldn't stand vegetables or bacon and I ended up composting most of it. The person I was sharing with was too busy with school to pick it up and we ended up having more kale and chard then we wanted!

This year, instead of signing up for a weekly subscription, I'm doing a drop-in CSA with Agricultural Connections. Each week, I get the vegetable list and can opt in for a half or full share. There is also an option to add items like local meats, cheese, fruit and eggs. It's the perfect option for my family especially if we're not eating the vegetables fast enough.

Thanks Agricultural Connections for offering a great local option without the commitment.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free Summer fun tips

Summer fun!
Over the weekend we visited friends in Salem and Portland. It was a quick trip as I'm out of vacation time and my husband won't have vacation time for a while since starting a new job.

Ben playing in the sandbox with our friend's daughter reminded me to head out and purchase sand for our box. I also told my husband that this is the summer we need to get our son hiking. We used to hike when he was small enough to go in the backpack carrier and then we stopped!

I also ran across this great list from MNN with 50 free ideas for enjoying summer. This is getting printed off and put on the refrigerator! Hope you do the same.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You know you have a girl when ...

I believed I have mentioned this before but I'm obsessed with play kitchens, tea party sets, dollhouses and dressing EmmyLu up (I've had the board on Pinterest since I found out I was having a girl). My mom said the same thing about me and I turned out to be a tomboy who played like a boy and was dirty all the time (an older brother and boy cousins will do that to you).

I didn't want to be that mom who said "my kid won't wear pink," because you can't escape it. Everything people are giving me is pink and girly. I've also been scolded ... stop with the gender roles! She may want to play with cars. I'm ok with that too.

In this obsession, I've started my search on Craigslist for a used play kitchen. I do not want a plastic one ... something like this from KidKraft (yes, more expensive) is what I've been looking for:
I ended up finding someone looking to sell theirs and my husband put his foot down as EmmyLu is a baby but my argument ... Ben will play with it and enjoy it now! Still, he told me to wait. How long? He wouldn't give me a time frame. Anyway ...

Since it's important to me that my children play with safe toys and less plastic (recycled plastic is fine!) the better, I've started to make a note of items I think will be great for my baby (and me) to play with!

I had a Humpty Dumpty tin tea set I played with all the time. I wish I had the photo scanned to prove it to you. This is a really cute set by Green Toys made out of recycled plastic. It would look really great with this DIY table.

For the play kitchen they also Green Toys also offers a recycled plastic set of dishes, pots, pans and utensils.

Another brand I love is Melissa & Doug, offering many items of wooden and felt play food items at a reasonable price! Two of my favorites are the fridge and pantry foods. My son loves his sandwich making kit too.

When your kids were little, what were your thoughts on toys? I really couldn't wait for Ben to learn how to bike and now I'm having fun watching him do it!


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