Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Little Farmer

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The last weekend we were in Wisconsin we wanted to go to the Little Farmer, an apple orchard near where Paul’s parents live that has seasonal activities for kids as well as super-duper caramel apples.


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We were ready to explore!

Except that I had forgotten to charge the camera batteries. Oops! Mamae was kind enough to run to a gas station down the road to get some.

Then we were ready!


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This is the house on the property. It’s been recently restored to it’s original Victorian loveliness.


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“No Rock Climbing!”


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I like this chicken. It looks so…elegant. For a chicken.


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Veronica was excited to see the goats and chickens.


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Very excited.


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She got to feed them. Then the goats were excited, too.


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Dad wasn’t so excited about trying to keep her fingers from getting bitten off.


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The kind of sign that makes parents everywhere wary. I like how they made a point of underlining “YOUR”.


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It was actually a really cute playground.


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Except for the part where the kids can climb up to this platform but adults can’t. The sign said so.

No not that sign. A different one.


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Trying to coax Veronica down the slide.


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Unsuccessfully. She’s not big on heights.


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Sweet little sunflower.


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I don’t get it. What do you want me to do again?”


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Even with two people helping, she didn’t get very far. There were too many other things to see and do.


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Like the tunnel of greenery mosquitoes. Run, Veronica!


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She liked this chair.


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For a second anyway.


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Cute horse swings.


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Bye cow! See you next time!


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Let me tell you. It was hot that day. Hot and sticky. I don’t blame him for trying to take shelter.


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Pretty peacock.


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I thought these bugs were kind of cute. They look like friends. I can just imagine them having a conversation.

So, did you hear about Bob?”

No, what about him?”

Chicken got him last week.”

No way!”

Just plucked him right out of the prime of his life. Not even the fence posts are safe anymore.”

Poor Bob.


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Naturally she liked these animals.


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Finally, it was time for caramel apples. I got chocolate covered sunflower seeds on mine. So good.


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They went over well.


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Caramel apples, where have you been all my life?”

Oh they were there. We just didn’t want you to know about them yet.


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And now that ship has sailed.


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I’m ready for another one!”

No way, Jose.


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You can see the sugar already taking effect.


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Then she tried to escape.

I’m going this way!”


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Eventually it was time to head back. Because it was summer we didn’t get to see all the fun stuff they have available, like pumpkins and hay rides in the fall, but it was a cute little place to spend the afternoon and Veronica definitely had a blast. I’m sure we’ll be back again next time we’re out for a visit. I need another caramel apple.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What I Did With My Basket

At the recommendation of a couple of friends, I decided to try the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op. I’ve been trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet, and this seemed like a good way to get lots of fresh, tasty produce on the cheap.

Last week we got our first basket and, well, it wasn’t good.

It was great.


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I logged into the website right away on Tuesday morning to make sure I could get the pick-up site I wanted, a park near our house. I couldn’t wait for Saturday to arrive to I could see what we got.


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The baskets were all lined up and ready to go, one for fruit and one for veggies. You bring your own container to transfer them to to take them home. Very easy and efficient.

I’d like to apologize for the number of bottoms in this picture. It was inevitable, there was always someone bending over to get the stuff our of their baskets!


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I brought this box. The handles made it easy to carry, which was nice, especially since I couldn’t find my extra laundry basket that I had planned on bringing.


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Veronica was more than ready to help me unpack.


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Champagne grapes. Teeny-tiny and tasty.


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A cantaloupe.


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Grapefruit. Grapefruits? What’s the plural of that anyway?


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Red bell peppers.


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Sweet corn.


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There were also cucumbers, but the lady next to me at the park was asking to trade some of her fruit for veggies, so I traded her the cucumbers for extra bananas and peaches. I figured it was the veggie I was least likely to use. Of course, the next day I had some tasty cucumber-melon water at Trader Joe’s, then wished I had kept them to make my own.


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In addition to the regular basket, I also purchased an “Italian pack” which had zucchini.


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Flat-leaf parsley, basil, rosemary and oregano. Smells from heaven.


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The veggies, all clean.


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And the fruit.

So you may be wondering, “Tori, what did you do with all of that fantastic produce?”

Don’t worry, my friends. I will tell you.

We cooked up the sweet corn right away Saturday night, and had it with grilled rib-eye and mushrooms and fried zucchini cakes. It was very tasty, but the corn was definitely the star. And that says a lot when it is sitting on my plate next to a grilled rib-eye steak. With mushrooms. Which is the best way to eat steak.

I made Cantaloupe Granitas for dessert one night, they were very fresh and light, perfect for summer. I admit, I put sparkling wine in them. Mmmmm.

Another night I made beef stew, but used cauliflower in place of potatoes. That was just okay. I think I overdid the onion a bit. And it didn’t help that I opened the wrong side of the pepper lid and accidentally dumped 1/4 cup of pepper into it. Luckily, I was able to scoop most of it out, but it was still a little too peppery. Live and learn to pay attention to the pepper shaker.


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One of my favorite soups lately is Turkey and Rice, and I like to add red bell pepper to it so that worked out well.

Zucchini Bread was something I’d never tried before, but I saw so many recipes for it that I knew I had to give it a shot. And it turned out great! I will definitely make that again.

Then last night I made us mango mojitos. Just pureed some mango and mixed it with rum, simple syrup, sparkling water, lime juice and mint leaves. So good.

The grapefruit, bananas, peaches and grapes we’ve kind of just snacked on here and there. I’ve taken to eating a piece of fruit with breakfast and lunch, which is yummy and means I eat less of the other, less healthy things in our house.


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But my crowning achievement this week was the Eggplant Parmigiana. It’s hard to describe it in a way that doesn’t sound like bragging. But it was fantastic.

We still have a few things from the basket left, so I will probably freeze some of it, and others we will continue to munch on.


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And now they’ve been joined by a whole new round-up of characters. Some things are the same as last week, some things are different. That’s what’s so fun about this. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you pick it up. Before this morning, I’d never eaten a prune plum. I can now check that off of my bucket list.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to do my meal planning. And munch on some prune plums.