Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sezchuan Chicken

A friend at church, a week ago, asked what she could do with cashews. I smiled and told her I had just the recipe for her!! This is a recipe that my sister-in-law, Dana, makes and it is so easy to make! In fact, it should be criminal to put so little into something and end up with such a 'wow!' when all is said and eaten!

This recipe serves 4-6. I have to double it because everyone is back for more before I have a chance to take a bite!

First, get your rice going. Your favorite kind will do. I have lots of favorites, medium grain rice and jasmine being at the top of my list!

Next, defrost two boneless skinless breasticles.

While those are defrosting, mix up the sauce.

2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp ginger (i don't use fresh - but if you did, I'm sure it'd be just as yummy)
5 TA water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 TA vinegar (I use white, but rice would probably be yummy too)
2 cloves garlic, minced

Now that the sauce is made, go back to your now defrosted breasticle and cut it into bite size pieces.

Chop a large bell pepper into bite size pieces. ( tonight I used celery - don't very often have bell peppers around since they don't digest well for the Apple Farmer. We also added green onion since the Apple Farmer wouldn't be joining us for dinner this evening.)

Now, its showtime!

Heat up two tablespoons of canola oil. Add 1/2 cup of dry roasted, unsalted peanuts or cashews. Put in 5 deseeded, red hot chile peppers. (If you are making a G rated meal and it must appeal to a general audience instead of adults only, use only 2 or 3 for a mild bite). Stir fry until heated and just barely starting to turn golden. At this point, start pulling peanuts and peppers out of oil with a slotted spoon. Do it quickly before they turn brown!
And Ooop! Mine got a little too brown! You really do have to work quickly with these babies!

In the remaining peanutty-spicey oil, toss in your chicken. Stir fry until just about done and then throw in your bell peppers. Stir fry a few minutes more. Grab that little bowl of sauce you mixed earlier. Give it a quick stir because the cornstarch will have settled a bit down to the bottom. Pour that over top of the chicken mixture and stir. It will become thick and bubbly. Grab those peanuts or cashews and stir into your sauce (don't put those red peppers back in). Serve on rice, which should be ready by now!

Ice, Ice Baby!

This morning I ran my best 5K time yet.
35 minutes and 32 seconds.
I'm hoping that I have cracked the 12 minute mile, too!

Still hurting, but I'm able to run without serious pain. I'm making sure I ice it really well throughout the day, and Ibuprofien is my best friend.

Friday, April 23, 2010

We Went Hunting!

The Lilacs are open!
The May Apples are poppin' up all over!
The toilet is dripping with condensation!
(No pictures of that one! I hate sweaty toilets - its a humidity thing!)
Yes! It is that time of the year again!
Time to go mushroom huntin'! And man was it ever a fun hunt this year! The Apple Farmer got to join us this time. Does that count as a date?
Welcome to our ditch!

Hunting isn't for the feeble hearted!
Shlop! Shlop! Shlop!
Its a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it!

One of the first sightings!
And after this, you could hear calls of sightings fairly consistently the rest of the time we hunted!

Time to dig up a new recipe that doesn't call for cracker crumbs!
And time to go home and clean up - lots of poison ivy in our happy little ditch!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't my boys look so excited? They ought to be! They accompanied me to a ladies' social club this afternoon!
I'll bet you already see that there is a story behind this!
There is! Hopefully I am remembering it correctly! At one time, the county extentions had women's clubs that met monthly. They met and socialized and discussed mainly matters of the home and community. They shared ideas, how-tos and learned new things. Eventually, many years ago, the county extentions stopped this program. But one little club never stopped meeting! What a lovely group of ladies! And so it was a great honor to be invited to join them this afternoon! We were asked to tell about our orchard and our family. So the boys and I told our story!

It was so fun to listen to the minutes from the previous meeting and to hear a thank-you letter read for the service they provided making bibs for hospitalized patients.

It was fun to hear the ladies talk about how their Hostas had just poked up out of the ground - they went on a field trip to a greenhouse that specializes in Hostas and each planted several last year. It was so exciting to learn that Marcella had just had her 90th birthday and had received 123 birthday cards!! And out of the 123, there were only 2 duplicates - they were lovely butterfly cards!

It was great to find out I was not the only one who caved and planted corn and beans! They all told me that I would need to watch for a cold snap around May 6th, but that if the frost got my beans I could always replant! One lady, I think she was a Mrs. Brown, always grows sweet potatoes in her garden.
We played Bingo! I won a geranium plant!!

And we all sang happy birthday to Marcella and enjoyed eating the beautiful birthday cake! And as a thankyou gift, they presented me with a beautiful geranium covered in pink blossoms!!
It was a wonderful afternoon. The boys came home bragging about three compliments they were paid for their good behavior, which means I owe them each suprises multiplied by three... I wish people would stop paying them compliments!! Its getting pretty expensive at our house to have well behaved children!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lettuce, Peas, Beans and Corn - Oh My!

While I was playing and having the time of my life in Colorado, I took the President down the water slide with me at the rec. center that Doug and Teresa are members at. He wasn't planning on going down this great big slide. Leave it to his mother to have other ideas! He needed to try it once and then he could tell me "No" after that. So down we went. He may have had his fingers pinching his nose before we even finished rounding the first corner!

In retrospect. He loved the slide. He really hated landing in the water. I can't understand why. What is so bad about getting a little water splashed in your face? Well, apparently lots - I just have seemed to have forgotten that little tidbit as I've grown older. On a side note, his little sister went down four times and loved it! I, on the other hand, really didn't like hitting the water either. For me, it wasn't the water splashing in my face. It was all about how my feet hit the bottom of the pool and the ensuing pain as the rest of the day progressed. I don't seem to have good luck with water parks and slides. I broke my tail bone sliding down a kiddie slide with Human Resources in Roseville, CA, when the President was a little baby. At least nothing was broken this time. My knee gave me trouble at first and after the pain went away there, I realized that I still had some minor nagging pain left in my ankle. No biggie! So I decide to run on it. Except yesterday, my ankle really wasn't very happy about that! Ended up at the chiropractor yesterday evening and am feel a bit better today. Instead of running, I spent the day in the garden, man handling a beast of a tiller. I consider that a workout! I've worked up a new garden plot for the third and final time! I wish we would have tilled up this spot our first year here! The soil is beautiful! No more gardening in sticky clay! Wow, I'm so lucky!
The Attorney and Human Resources planting Sweet Sugar snow peas and Strike green beans. The green beans were my naughty for the day. I can't seem to manage to get through the day without doing SOMETHING naughty, and this is it. Our last day of frost for our growing zone is Mother's Day. I'm supposed to plant these after all danger of frost... but I didn't. Because I didn't, we likely will end up with a snow storm and a hard freeze and I can pretty much kiss our apple crop goodbye! I guess this beautiful warm weather got the best of me! We shall see, in a few weeks, how my gamble with the elements turns out.

This picture gives a pretty good idea what size the plot is. I fully intended to use the square foot garden method from here on out. And I am! In some of my other smaller beds near the front door. But I was needing soil and it was going to be too tedious to try and get the 4 foot by whatever foot beds all figured into my slightly slanted and uneven lawn! So the plot won out.

The President and Ms. Princess are playing with Lizzy, our sweet Araucana Hen. She lays green eggs. Seriously!

I had to add this one. Fitting because we finished planting our seed for the day and so we watered. But check out his expression! Sooo cute!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Picnic Under the Apple Blossoms

It happened! This morning, while everyone was snuggled into their pillows, the apple blossoms unfolded themselves and filled the morning air full of sweet fragrance! What a surprise to look out the window this morning and to be greeted with such an enthusiastic bloom!

It then only seemed appropriate to celebrate by enjoying an evening under the blossoms! We anxiously awaited for the Apple Farmer to arrive home to join us in eating dinner, or as the people in Missouri call it, supper!

It was a perfect evening! We enjoyed the sweetly scented air, and the music from the leaves in the lower wind break, gently rustling together. The dinner conversation was enjoyable as was listening to the chatter of the birds.

We chose to make one of our favorite pasta salads with a side of homemade french bread! The salad is full of our favorite veggies, olives, grated cheese and diced salami. We toss it with an Italian dressing made from a package mix. Yummy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seeing Pink!

Yes! This place is about to explode into bloom! The wild cherries have bloomed, the lilacs are a little slow but are popping open, the crabapples are covered in bees, and the violets and dandylions are competing for some pollination attention as well!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I'll bet you're wondering what is in the bucket!

But first, a little background information! We've been running around the apple farm with a list a mile long of things that need to get done right away - because Spring has Sprung and Summer is only getting closer! And this list hasn't gotten much smaller! Two biggies: One -level ground for the greenhouse to go up on. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Except, I broke the tractor! Hence, picture with scraper, minus the tractor, in the middle of the bramble patch!It gets better! Two - Fallen trees. NOT Apple trees! Naughty trees that decided to grow along a fence line. Only five left to go when I broke the chainsaw!! The Apple Farmer says that the chain got too hot and stretched out and that is why it won't stay on the saw....We had good success in other areas, like rooting grape cuttings and red raspberry canes, until I ran out of potting medium....Which brings us to the bucket...We went fishing. The Apple Crew pulled a guilt trip and reminded me that Santa brought the President and CEO a fishing pole for Christmas and he STILL hasn't had a chance to play with his Christmas gift... Sheesh, Santa, what kind of a Christmas gift was that? He must have been pretty naughty to end up with a gift that he could only stare at until April finally rolled around!! So I caved. They all were good helpers anyway! Why not?

Why not? Because!!! They caught the BIG ONE, among others, and what that means for me is fish guts....

Eighteen inches of BIG! And the Attorney was beaming! And so was the CEO... He finally got to play with his Christmas gift!

Holy, Moly, child! Does your Mama ever cut your hair?

Going Running Today

I wasn't exactly the best runner while I was out of town! It snowed. It snowed again. Then it melted. Then I got a head cold. And finally, I got to go running. At 9,500 feet elevation. A very nice 20 degree morning. I ran with my sisters! Tara and Teresa! OK, I ran with them, and then behind them... And then I beat them home and got the first shower!
Wishing I could run through the orchard with them today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Monday! Do You Know Where Your Cousins Are?

The Attorney told me this afternoon, while we were out trying to catch up on yard work, that it was Monday, and all of our cousins were now officially at their homes.

Back to school. Chores to do. Party is over. Candy is gone. Vegetables are moderated and back on the dinner plate. Bedtime is enforced. No late night scary movies - its just not fun without the cousins!

Cousins are great!

Can't wait to get together again!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Home, Sweet Home!

Isn't Colorado just amazing?
We had so much fun visiting with family up at Doug and Teresa's! And even at 9500 feet above sea level, time flies when you are having fun. Our nine days of family fun left us a little moist in the eyes when we all had to say goodbye.
Twelve and a half hours is quite the hall for a Mom with a bunch of monkeys in the back seat of her van! Yet, still a few hours from home, and juggling picture books, crayons, licorice and wipies, this Mama was surprised when she was overcome by the scenery that was so reminiscent of home!
Why the surprise? Maybe life is so busy that I forgot to appreciate the simple things of home? Maybe I've not been away from home long enough to realize how much Missouri has settled into my heart? Maybe the insanity of Apple Season has inflicted me with a good case of brain damage? Likely, it has most to do with the fact that the Apple Farmer was anxiously awaiting our arrival home and we were just as anxious to be at home with him!!
What is it about this place that really appeals to me? Could it be all of the bug guts on the windshield? The green hills are beautiful! The long and winding roads that slow the pace of life, old crooked farm houses filled with family pictures and friendly people, the old abandoned farm houses that were once the stage of a beautiful family story, the friendly wave of strangers as they pass you by on the highway, big red barns and tractors all over the place!
And the bugs? Ew~ I have mixed feelings here! I hate 'em, absolutely hate 'em, but they are the source of some of the most hilarious family memories!

The first tick of spring! I spotted him crawling up my arm not long after my arrival home!! Ew! But it sure is nice to be home!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!!

Just seems like yesterday that you were such an iddy-biddy thing!
My! How you have grown!

Three years have raced by - and we surely hope that the next several years slow down just a tad for us to treasure just a bit longer the wondermet of being little!
We love you Peanut!!