Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dinner's Ready

There must be something about all the rain we're getting that has made me want to spend time in the kitchen. Cooking, that is. The remodeling is on hiatus again. Waiting on the tile guy mainly, but also the carpenter, aka husband. I was hoping to be further along by the time our house guests arrive next week, but I've been cooking instead.

Ever since I discovered Pioneer Woman's new addition to her site, Tasty Kitchen, I've been loving all the new and the not so new recipes that users (like me) have submitted. Tonight I made Chicken Cakes. Based on the idea of crab cakes, only made with chopped cooked chicken, they were very "tasty"! We decided this recipe is a "keeper" !
Another recipe from Tasty Kitchen that I tried this week was Pineapple Crisp Cake. If you are looking for a low calorie dessert, this might be close. I think this is a variation of a WW recipe made with cake mix, Splenda, pineapple and diet 7-up. It is very sweet and good with a spoonful of cool whip (ice cream might be good too). Mine didn't turn out very pretty (and the photo doesn't do it any favors) but it made a lot and was really quite good.
Here's a summer favorite, and I didn't even need to consult a pretty website to come up with a recipe. All you really need are some really, really, really good homegrown tomatoes. Which I don't have access too - so if anyone would like to deliver some to my doorstep......! We made a stop at Whole Foods the other day, found fresh mozzarella (essential) and tomatoes. I do have some basil growing in a pot out back. Arrange these ingredients on a pretty plate, then drizzle with good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Yum!

And of course - more sweets! Little Peanut is a good sleeper, even in the middle of Panera!

But he was awake for his visit with Grammie and Grampa this afternoon!

Hope you are keeping dry where you are! It's still raining here tonight and we're getting ready to be witness to meteorological history tomorrow when the month of July passes by without a 90 degree high all month! No complaints from me, but I feel sorry for those of you up in the northwestern states with the record highs. We're looking forward to a visit from my sister and niece from Oklahoma next week. They'll probably think they're vacationing in the mountains if our weather holds!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Can You See the Forest for the Trees?

The Bernheim Forest is located about 25 miles south of Louisville, KY. We've done the touristy tours of the distilleries in the area, so we've driven by several times, but haven't stopped since our very first visit eight years ago shortly after we moved here. We decided to drive down there this afternoon since it was such a pretty day. We're still experimenting with the new camera and I think we need to re-register for the digital photography class we missed a couple of weeks ago. But here's a few of the pics from today anyway.

Berheim Forest was a gift to the people of Kentucky from Mr. Isaac Bernheim. He made his way from a peddler to a successful businessman in the bourbon industry. In graditude for his good fortune, he gifted some 14,000 acres to be forever maintained as a park and arboretum. There are some beautiful areas to the park, many of which we didn't take the time to stop and see. But we did get off the motorcycles long enough to do one short hike and take a few pics. There were lots of folks walking the many trails and several also on bicycles, probably the best way to take advantage of this pretty park. We also saw many families with picnic lunches and lawn blankets, enjoying the gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
This is the visitor center, a really interesting building with a little snack bar, gift shop and educational displays. It is new since we were here in 2001. I believe there are some other areas which can be rented for weddings, meetings and family gatherings.

Hope you all had a wonderful Sunday too!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm in the Kitchen!

Have you been to Tasty Kitchen yet? When I found that Pioneer Woman has started a recipe community, I had to check it out. As if I need another website or blog to add to my daily addiction! Before you know it, I had set up my account so I could have a recipe box. Then of course, you see all these wonderful recipes and think, "I've got a couple of good ones around here, maybe I could share too." This would mean I should actually bake something! Hence my recipe for Almost Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Nut Muffins. Then once baked, I had to do a "photo shoot" of my goodies. I'll go ahead and share it with you all here, but if you haven't already, you might want to make a trip to the Tasty Kitchen.
Almost Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Nut Muffins

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup Splenda Blend
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil ( or 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil)
4 oz. softened light cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
6 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (dredged in flour to prevent sinking)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix together and fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Make at 350 degrees, 20 - 22 minutes. Makes approx. 24 muffins or can be baked in a loaf pan for 50-55 minutes.

I hope I've proofread this good enough. On my first attempt to post it on Tasty Kitchen, I forgot to include the shredded zucchini!! Luckily someone emailed me and I was able to edit and correct my error. So much for my first attempt at posting on a cooking community/website!

Many of you asked for more - so here's the latest grandson photo! Little D is growing like crazy and looking more and more like his daddy every day! Our other grandson and his parents are vacationing in Alaska so we're looking forward to hearing about all of their adventures.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scenes of the Weekend

If you haven't had a chance to see yesterday's post - page on down and get a little feel for what most of my weekend looked like. The short little video was taken as we toured some country roads in southeastern Kentucky (or maybe it was Tennessee or Virginia). Although we covered 840 miles for the weekend, we didn't really have a destination in mind just the promise of a nice weekend and the lure of winding unexplored (for us) mountain roads.

D had done a little research on the area and found that Shady Valley is a motorcycle destination. We then found that it was the site of a BMW motorcycle rally so all weekend we shared the roads with them. We saw lots of lush green valleys and pretty farms, but also mountainsides scarred by coal mining or littered with old cars and trailer houses. But by far, the pretty scenery out numbered the bad and everyone we met was friendly and full of southern hospitality.

And yes, the road was crooked! We didn't stop much, just for a few quick, nondescript meals and our accomodations were courtesy of points and free nights. Those turned out pretty good though with a night in Norton, VA at a newer Holiday Inn and a night at a new Hampton Inn in Pikesville, KY. Not much for shopping opportunities though, so we saved even more money there! In Pikesville, we watched some of the activities for the Hillbilly Christmas in July at the Harley dealership and in the park downtown. If we'd wanted I'm sure we could have participated in the ride to deliver the toys to the Lexington on Sunday along with hundreds of other bikers.

On the way home Sunday, we stopped at Kentucky's Natural Bridge State Park and actually got off the Harley long enough to take a short hike up to the main attraction. The walk uphill made me glad I've been taking those aerobic classes and the walk down was much easier, but today my calves are still talking to me! We worked up an appetite and ate a late lunch at the Sunday buffet in the lodge.

It was nice to get out on the road. The weather was beautiful, even with some rain shower dodging, but we're getting used to that! It's hard to believe that we had to wear our jackets during the daylight riding hours in the middle of July and at one point I even turned on my seat heater!

I hope to get back into the sewing room later this week. There are several projects needing some attention, but mostly I've found that a little creativity is good for the soul. I feel like I've neglected this blog too and need to get back to regular posting about those projects. Notice the blog makeover? (Thanks Jo for the link to AquaPoppy Designs for the new blog layout!) And of course, I'll still be sharing a photo occasionally of those cute grandsons!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My View From The Back

We've returned from a little weekend motorcycle trip and thought you might like a little sampling of my view from the backseat of the Harley. These hills and curves are pretty tame compared to some of what we discovered in SE Kentucky and far western Virginia. I'll post some better pictures tomorrow - so be sure and come back ya'll !

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cuddlin' the Little One

If you're wondering where I've been......there's been some grandbaby cuddling going on:) But we did take advantage of a beautiful day for a short motorcycle trip on Sunday. We've been here many times, but we never get tired of the Story Inn. This time we took a short walk around some of the surrounding gardens. And back to the "barn" which is available for weddings and other special events.

The view of the restaurant from the back field. There's also the tavern (not visible from this angle) with outside seating and wood fired grill for another meal option.

Friday evening we stopped by the River Stage in Jeffersonville. This is a floating barge/stage where free music and theater performances take place during the summer. We enjoyed some music by a local rock band and then a short ride to our favorite ice creamery for dessert.

I'll leave you with some more pics of the little cuddlebug! So far, he's been on his best behavior and shows promise of being an "easy" (if there is one) baby! Hope I didn't jinx anything with that comment!

Have a great day everyone. If you can't find me, I be cuddling the little bug!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What a Week!

This has certainly been an amazing week! It started off with the arrival of daughter E, then J, J and little J for a nice 4th of July weekend. Our activities ranged from a visit to the Louisville zoo, a trip to Mike Lennings for a fun, traditional fish fry, Huber Farms for wine tasting and lunch and of course a traditional holiday barbeque. It was wonderful to have the entire family here and so fun to see how little J is growing and playing, but the whole weekend we were all hoping we would be able to welcome our newest member. Of course, nature has a way of creating her own schedule!

We assumed last Monday would be the big day, but even with some gentle coaxing and patience, little D took his time making his arrival. Finally, his mama and doctor had enough of his stubborn-ness and a c-section brought him into this world on Tuesday night. Mama B and baby are doing fine (as is his daddy !) and they hope to return home tomorrow. Thank you for all of the congratulatory comments and emails and also the prayers for his safe arrival!

I must brag a little about what cute babies our children have produced! You know I'm not prejudiced at all! They grow so quickly though. Little J practiced his standing skills on our deck last weekend and I think that was his favorite place at Grammie's house. It's hard to believe he'll soon be a year old!

Our new kitchen counters made their arrival too. I was beginning to wonder if the new grandbaby would win the race and he did , but just barely! We got home from welcoming him at the hospital at around midnight Tues. and installation on the tops began at 7:30 the next morning. So far, I love them! This photo was taken before the faucets were installed but you can see how nice and shiney they are. Now if we can just avoid stacking the mail and other junk on them and cluttering them up! Next step will be finding some tile for the wall behind the range. It's coming together!

Welcome to the World!

Introducing our newest family member - Drake Allan! Born Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 8:50 pm. He was so comfy and cozy he had to be coaxed into the world, but Mama and Daddy (and all of us!) are so happy he's made a safe arrival. Weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs, and 22 1/2 inches long.

Congratulations to daughter B and son-in-law N on the arrival of the LUCKY little one!
Now this tired grandma is headed to bed.