Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Activities

Well, summer has most definitely begun for us. We've already had our big camping week (since we couldn't find another week available all summer.) The big spawn got to bring some buddies along, as sort of an 8th grade graduation celebration.
camping levi caleb justin on aquaglide
Now summer school has begun with babysitting classes and my big spawn attending driver's ed classes (gulp!)
We always try to have some sort of family project through the summer too. Kind of a "keep your mind working" class of sorts. It's really hard to think of great activities for teen/pre-teen boys to do that they'll enjoy during summer and learn something. Well, some years are far more productive than other years, but I have a good feeling about this year. We're having a cooking class/cookbook writing class. The boys are really taking the lead on this which I think is awesome! They've come up with a bunch of recipes that we enjoy as a family and that are requested frequently. Then they are making the recipes, testing them, measuring carefully, writing out the recipe, typing it up, photographing the finished product and when summer is over we'll publish it as a cookbook.

We did our first submission today. Magic 7 layer bars. I honestly don't know where this recipe originated, we've made it forever and I know tons of others who do too. I would venture to guess it was on the back of some packaging. Anyway, here's what they wrote so far. They will be adding family anecdotes and such to it too later
cookbook magic bars
Magic 7 layer bars
4oz. of butter (that's a stick)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 oz. of chocolate chips
6 oz of butter scotch chips
1 1/3 cups coconut
1 can of sweet and condensed milk
1 cup chopped pecans (optional, but Mom says we should to give it an ounce of nutrition)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in a 9X13" pan. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbles over butter, mix well, pat it in to the pan with fork. Do this really hard so you get a nice crust. Top crumble crust with chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts. Then sprinkle coconut on top. Drizzle the sweet and condensed milk over the whole thing. Bake 25-30 min until browned a little on edges. Cool then cut into squares. Prep time: 5-10 min. Cook time 25-30 min.

I just copy and pasted what they typed. I'm not sure if I should leave in typos and spelling errors, or have them fix it. They're cute, but it is supposed to be teaching them something.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No Soliciting Sign

No soliciting sign
I made this sign up after having already had visits. It's that time of year, and I hope this will encourage them to pass us by.
This isn't the original wording I wanted, but this is what we ended up doing. I don't have a vinyl cutter (yet) and so I had painted it.

The original wording I wanted was;

No Soliciting

(unless it's for cookies!)



(not even with cookies!)

But the boys didn't think most people would know what proselytizing is and the cookie parts would have had to be tiny and I just wasn't up for that.
Now I have to some how mount it by the front door. Thoughts?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stuffed Bread Loaf- Picnic Food

Summer is FINALLY here in Wisconsin. Not only does this mean we get to enjoy the outdoors so much more, it also means crazy late nights with baseball and soccer. Hey, I'm not complaining! I adore this weather and time of the year. The only problem is the food. I learned recently that I am pork intolerant. This sucks, but I have to just get used to it and move on. And make adjustments.
What food do they have at the local ballpark? Hotdogs (nearly all are pork or part pork,) brats (pork) and pizza (pepperoni and sausage... both pork.) Though we would indulge in these items occasionally (the nutrition just isn't there,) I really can no longer do that. Did I mention there is absolutely no fast food in my town? Oh, I didn't. Well, there isn't, so that isn't a quick option anyway. So now we must bring something. Which really is ok, the nutrition will be much better, but I will need to be creative and think ahead. So what to make?
stuffed bread
Here is the first travel supper of the season. Stuffed bread! It baked up wonderfully! Was super easy to make, and tasted good. I will make again, but I think I'll bump up the seasoning a bit more.

I started with Smitten Kitchen's bread without a timetable recipe
I stuck pretty close to the actual recipe she gave.
Then when she makes the baguette. I just filled in some yummy fillings before rolling.
This version was sauteed kale, carrots, mushrooms, onion, leek, garlic, broccoli, & red pepper. I sauteed it in a bit of butter and a splash of chicken broth. I seasoned it with thyme, marjoram, parsley, salt and lots of pepper.
stuffed bread pre roll
Then I covered it in Gruyere cheese and rolled it up. I brushed it with water and snipped some spots on top.

stuffed bread pre bake
I baked it on parchment paper. It came out golden. I let it sit a bit before I cut into it.
stuffed bread loaf
My husband and boys liked it alot. They all said it would have been better with bacon (again, I can't eat pork.) Really you could use any filling you wanted. Next time will probably be more of a pizza style or taco style one. This will travel really well though, and will definitely make it into our travel/picnic food rotation.

Do you have any great tried and true picnic recipes? I'd love to hear them!