Garden Party

This Mother’s Day was one for the memory books. I rose early for some quiet time with my hubby.  I sipped coffee while he made homemade cinnamon rolls that he and the girls were planning to serve to me later. When the girls awoke, the wild rumpus started (Oh Maurice Sendak, you will forever be remembered.) There were cards, there was frosting, and there were the most precious video cards that the girls and Tyler had worked on the day before, complete with costumed princesses, fairies and singing. It was a wonderful start to a fabulous day!

When the noon hour arrived, so did our entire family for our first annual Mother’s Day Garden Party. The kids played the day away in the playhouse, entertained us with their musical instruments, and then rounded out the day in the kiddie pool. The adults enjoyed rhubarb bellinis (yet another favorite Jamie Oliver recipe of mine taken from this cookbook), some tasty food, and of course, great company.

On the food docket for the day was pulled pork that I slow roasted for fifteen hours the day before, served with two different barbeque sauces my hubby made that morning. We also enjoyed rhubarb squares (the recipe can be found in this post), a mojito cake made from a Pampered Chef recipe I love to bust out when the weather gets nice, and coconut macaroons that I found a recipe for in Taproot magazine. All of our guests also brought dishes to pass including salad made with home-grown lettuce, and mushroom crustini’s made with locally grown mushrooms and bread baked by nuns in an area convent.

I know I mentioned it yesterday, but again, I hope that all of the mothers out there had a wonderful day on Sunday. We are all so lucky to be able to tend to our children each and every day. Even though some days can be rough, and we may want to just take a momma’s time out, it is comforting to know there are a plethora of other moms out there giving it their all.  Thank you for reading this blog, for your comments, and your thoughts.  It is a true blessing.

Spring Soup

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a bit of a crush on Jamie Oliver.  In fact, this year our Thanksgiving meal featured all dishes we gathered from various Jamie Oliver cookbooks.  I am just in love with his fresh approach to food, and that is why I find myself constantly reaching for one of his recipes time and time again when it comes to feeding my family.

My all time favorite cookbook of his is Jamie at Home:  Cook Your Way to the Good Life.  The cookbook is broken down by season, and also explains how he grows the many vegetables highlighted in the recipes.

Yesterday, when I looked out my kitchen window and saw all of those asparagus sprouts reaching out from beneath the soil, I knew it was time for my favorite spring soup.  The recipe below is an adaptation of a recipe from Jamie at Home by Jamie Oliver.

1 1/2 lbs. asparagus (chopped)

2 white or yellow onions (chopped)

2 leeks (chopped)

2 celery stalks (chopped)

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 lb fresh spinach

3 quarts stock (You can use any stock of your choice here, depending on your preference.  The soup I made last night featured pork stock.)

salt and pepper to taste

Put the olive oil in a large stock pot and heat over medium to high heat.  Then add your onions, leeks, and celery.  Cook until the veggies are tender, but not browning.  Add the chopped asparagus and spinach.  Stir a bit more until the asparagus is warmed and the spinach begins to wilt.  Then add your stock, cover the pot and turn down the heat.  Let the mixture simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Take the lid off and run an immersion blender through the soup.  Salt and pepper to taste.

I normally then poach some fresh eggs and add those to the soup once it has been dished up.



“I want to make my own thing!”

These are the words that ring throughout our home at least three times a week.  My girls just love to cook and/or bake “their own thing” and yesterday was quite the large step for my oldest daughter.

In the past, she had been content to mix random ingredients together, put it in our counter top convection oven (with Mommy’s help of course), and eat her creations.  Now with that said, she has done quite a bit of experimenting with various flavors and has come up with some delicious combinations, but the creations were random none the less.  But yesterday she said to me, “Mommy, I want to make my own thing, and I want it to be an actual recipe.”

So I decided, why not throw caution to the wind and let her completely take over the kitchen.  With a little bit of my help reading the measurements, she made cut out sugar cookies completely on her own!

Now the crowning moment of this adventure was when it came to the topping for these cookies.  My little five-year old gazed up at me and said, “Mommy I think I am going to sprinkle a little sugar, cinnamon and rosemary  from our garden on top of the cookies.  That way we don’t have to use food coloring or sprinkles with the yucky chemicals.”  (Oh she had just made her mama’s day with that one!) And an fyi…the cinnamon and rosemary combination is one of those flavor combos she came up with during her previous food experiments.  And let me tell you, it is really delicious!

Once she was done with her sprinkles, she sat back, looked approving at her creations and said, “Perfect.  It’s just like Jamie Oliver’s pumpkin muffins when he sprinkles lavender flowers on top for sprinkles!”  (My how this little one impressed me yesterday!)