Friday, June 3, 2011

7 Quick Takes: Where I've Been for the Last Month

It's the end of the school year, and between my job at our parish preschool and trying to keep up with the end-of-the-year events at the boys' school, I've hardly had time to cook or read much of anything (except for reading a chapter a day of Rick Warren's book, A Purpose Driven Life, which I mentioned in my latest post over at Musings of a Catholic Mom). Consequently this blog has had to take a back seat for a while. Here's a rundown of some of the adventures we've had over the last month (some of which are slightly relevant to this blog, at least):


On Mother's Day, my husband and boys cooked me dinner. They've been doing this for the last several years; in the past they have traditionally made Stromboli. Since I've been gluten free for the past few months, they needed to come up with something different.

They went to the store and brought home brie with walnuts and caramel for an appetizer,

steak, corn-on-the-cob, and potatoes. The steak and corn were cooked on the grill, of course!

For dessert: Flourless chocolate mousse cake.


Our neighborhood sits on what used to be a quarry years ago, and is now a wooded subdivision surrounding two small lakes. I think our yard must have been where all the trash was dumped, because we are constantly digging up bits of broken glass and porcelain. One Saturday while admiring a Nehi bottle Joe had pulled from the dirt a few years ago, Curly and Moe decided to see what other treasures they could dig up.

(OK, the Nehi bottle is the one Joe found. Curly and Moe dug up the rest.)


A group of middle school kids from our church attended the annual Junior High Bash for the diocese at one of the Catholic high schools. I went along as a chaperone. The kids played on bouncy stuff, ran around, ate pizza, heard some fantastic music and inspirational talks, and attended Mass in the gym. After Mass, Father Z, the chaplain of the high school, caused quite a stir when he drove the "Popemobile" through the throng of cheering kids. A good time was had by all.

Father Z made many references to our friend Iron Man during his homily.

A ladybug I watched as we lounged around on the grass.

OK, OK, I know it was just a golf cart with a picture of Blessed(!) Pope John Paul II in back...


A vendor was selling morel mushrooms at our local farmers' market, and I decided to bring some home. After browsing the Internet for ways to cook them (because morels can make you sick if eaten raw) I found this recipe:

Morels (bunches of 'em)
Butter/Margarine (3-4 tbsp's)
Frying Pan (non-stick is good...iron skillet is better)
Flour (1/2 cup or so)
Salt/Pepper to taste.


Melt butter/margarine in frying pan (don't overheat it!!!!!)
Coat Morels in flour (either in gallon ziplock bag that has flour in
it or using a plate covered in flour)--coat the cleaned morels well with
Sautee mushrooms (gently) in butter/margarine.
Salt and pepper to taste.


There are a ton more recipes for morels where that came from. In fact, one recipe suggested soaking the morels in water for several hours before cooking them, so I did that. Supposedly this would draw out some of the toxins that could make someone sick who ate them raw.

I sliced the morels lengthwise before coating them in gluten-free breading

They looked and tasted a little like fried oysters. Yum! Too bad morels are only in season for a short time. Until next spring...


May is the season for fresh strawberries,

sugar snap peas (we didn't even cook them; they were so crunchy and sweet I didn't want to ruin them!)

and peas. That's a hunk of homemade butter I bought from a Mennonite family that sells meat and eggs that they raise on their farm, and baked goods that are to die for. Lately I've been scarfing down their coconut macaroons, because to my immense delight, they're gluten free.


A parent of one of the kids at our parish preschool came in one day with two good-sized plastic posts of mint for me and for the teacher I work with. A close friend of said parent, a grandfather of one of the other kids and a native of Cuba, seemed quite excited about this, and began to describe to us how to make mojitos with our new mint plants. Yeah, baby!

I replanted it into one of my own pots. I've heard mint grows pretty big; I probably should have used a bigger one. This weekend, I'm hoping to get some basil and maybe some thyme to add to the little herb garden on my deck.


I've been following Nicholas Sparks on Twitter for a while now, and lately he's posted some tweets that have made me laugh out loud. Therefore I'm now launching my "Stellar Sparks Tweet of the Week" feature right here with these two gems:

R.I.P. #osama--if you were still alive today you'd be drowning.

(posted May 2, right after Osama bin Laden was killed and buried at sea)

And on May 29 Nick posted this:

Advice from my parents: "People never really grow up. They just learn how to act in public."

Oh! and Nick likes to tweet updates about his progress writing his new book, The Best of Me, due to come out this fall. He's almost finished with it. Click here for a sneak peek!

On Sunday I'm making a two-layer vanilla cake with sour cream frosting to finish up our journey through The Wedding, and by this time next week (hopefully) this blog will be back in full swing. I've got some fun projects planned for the next book, True Believer; one of which is leaving me slightly stumped, and I'm thinking seriously of asking Nick himself for advice. Not that there would be a chance in heck that he'd actually respond, and I'm sure I'll come up with something on my own, but still...a girl can dream...

Check out Jen Fulwiler's Conversion Diary blog for more Quick Takes!

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