Fresh New Potatoes and Peas

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Fresh New Potatoes and Peas were a summer treat on the Iowa farm.  My Mother would dig potatoes and shell peas from her large summer garden.  I cannot verify the origin of this recipe but Mom always said it had Dutch or Pennsylvania Dutch roots.

While I do not grow potatoes in my garden, I prepared with red potatoes from the grocery store and peas from from my CSA weekly bounty.

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This recipe can easily be prepared with frozen peas as well.  It’s a wonderful side dish with steak, hamburgers, or fish. My oldest daughter, Megan, suggested it would be great with a little Parmesan cheese.  I’ll be trying that next time!

FRESH NEW POTATOES AND PEAS

1 1/2 quarts new potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups new peas, cook until done
1 cup sweet cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup grated carrots (optional)
salt and pepper

  • Cover potatoes, peas, and carrots with water and cook until tender. Drain.
  • Combine cream and flour until smooth. Add to potatoes and peas and add butter, salt and sugar.
  • Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened.

Roasted Kohlrabi and Beets…Really!

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This is the first year that I have participated in Grant Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  My older daughter, Megan, and I decided to try it this year and we’ve enjoyed the fruit and vegetable surprises each week.

Kohlrabi was not a new vegetable to me but I haven’t had it since I lived at home on the farm.  My Mother would slice it and eat it raw with salt. It reminds me of a very crisp, slightly sweet, potato. However, I wanted to try something different and decided to roast it with a few red and gold beets, also in my CSA delivery.  IMG_6919

The leftovers were equally good served chilled.  Is this my favorite vegetable recipe? No, but I’m always up for a new adventure and I enjoyed it.

ROASTED KOHLRABI AND BEETS

3 medium to large Kohlrabi, peeled and chopped
5-6 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher or Sea Salt
black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or generously grease with olive oil.
  • Place chopped vegetables on baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir vegetables.  Bake another 45 minutes under tender.

Cherry Crumble Coffee Cake

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Sour cherries in coffee cake sounded perfect given the wonderful frozen pie cherries in my freezer.  I did not have a recipe for a cherry coffee cake but was delighted to find this recipe.  Perfect for a Sunday brunch and perhaps leftover for breakfast during the week.

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CHERRY CRUMBLE COFFEE CAKE

TOPPING

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

CAKE

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups (1 pound) fresh sour cherries, pitted, or frozen dark sweet cherries
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  • Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Make the cakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with a spatula.

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  • Dot top with cherries, and sprinkle with crumb topping.

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  • Bake until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. (Note from Cathy:  My oven tends to bake hot so about 50 minutes worked for me). Let cool before serving.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Cruciferous Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

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Trader’s Joe’s finally came to Denver last year and what fun we’ve had exploring their many wonderful products.  During one of my trips, they were tasting their Cruciferous Crunch Salad with mixed nuts and Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette.  Yummy in the tummy!

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The recipe is so simple, it doesn’t need one.  Chop the contents of the salad mix. Chop about 1 cup of mixed nuts (or nuts of your choice), and top with Trader Joe’s Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette dressing. Toss and serve immediately.

It’s simple, delicious, and good for you.  What’s not to like?

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Patriotic Brownie Fruit Dessert…Gluten Free or Not

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Krusteaz’s Double Chocolate Gluten-Free Brownie mix is an absolute favorite of mine, first discovered at Costco many moons ago.  It’s delicious and even lovers of gluten will love them.

This mix was the perfect base for a patriot, 4th of July dessert with fresh berries and a cream cheese base.  This recipe can easily be cut in half and baked in a round or square pan.

The dessert is best served the day it is made but leftovers brownies can be good for 1-2 days.

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PATRIOTIC BROWNIE FRUIT DESSERT

2 packages Double Chocolate Krusteaz gluten-free brownie mix (I bought a large box at Costco) and ingredients stated on the box (water, vegetable oil, egg)
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh red raspberries
1 cup apple jelly

  • Make brownies according to package directions and bake in greased jelly roll or sheet pan as directed. Let cool completely.
  • Beat together softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Spread mixture over cooled, baked brownies.
  • Top with berries.
  • Still jelly until smooth and brush over berries
  • Refrigerate dessert until ready to serve.

Kitchen is on the Uphill Slide

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The Kitchen Remodel has turned the corner. It’s beginning to look like like a real kitchen.  Or, as my brother says, ‘the taking out is over and now you’re putting things in.’  Good way to look at it.

So where are we?

  • Design Complete, Appliances Ordered, Cabinets Ordered: CHECK
  • Cabinets and appliances removed: CHECK
  • Asbestos Abatement: CHECK

Asbestos Work Begins

  • Fixtures and cabinet handles ordered: CHECK
  • Backsplash ordered: CHECK
  • Granite Ordered: CHECK

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  • City Permit in Place: CHECK
  • Dumpster arrives (just in time to put all of the tree damage from the Mother’s Day snow storm): CHECK
  • Structural walls and ceiling removed:  CHECK

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  • Plumbing moves and changes completed: CHECK

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  • Electrical moves and changes completed: CHECK

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  • City Inspection: CHECK and PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS
  • Cabinets delivered: CHECK
  • Drywall installed: CHECK
  • Tape, Mud and Texture completed: CHECK
  • Wood Floor Patches: CHECK

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  • Downstairs Doors Installed: CHECK
  • Cabinets Installed (except for a couple of pieces to be replaced): CHECK

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  • Counter top Template:  CHECK

AND YET TO COMPLETE:

  • Appliances Installed:
  • Lighting and Plumbing Installs Completed:
  • Final Wood Trim and Crown Molding Installed:
  • Countertop Installed:
  • Backsplash Installed:
  • Wood floor refinished:
  • Painting:
  • Dogs go into depression with all of their new friends gone:
  • Move furniture back into the house:
  • Glass of Wine and a big sigh of relief: CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH

Once all of the work is done, I will post the before and after shots.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Remodel, here we go…no…wait!

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People have told me for years that a remodel project will always take longer than you expect because of unforeseen issues. Got that right!

KEEP CALM AND REMODEL THE KITCHEN

I’m not big on snap decisions so I was torn on whether to take down the wall between the formal dining room (used once or twice a year) and the kitchen. Should I pop the dropped ceiling in the kitchen? Was it worth the time and investment?

I spent the bulk of the winter planning, working with a designer, visiting showroom after showroom until I felt confident in my choices.

By the end of April the appliances and cabinets were ordered. The contractor was scheduled and soon I finalized orders for hardware, doors, tile and other details. Now the waiting game begins.

Before the actual construction began, I solicited the support of my son-in-laws to help remove the cabinets to either donate or use in their own garages.  The process was easier than I thought…all systems go.

Next step was to remove the drywall on the ceiling and between the kitchen and dining room.  I signed up to do that myself (I know…not smart).  However, I did think to get an asbestos and lead test before I began this project.  The test revealed a small amount of asbestos in the wall and ceiling texture, more than allowed.  First budget and time set back.  Oh well, I’ll chalk it up to just one of those things.

Next, the permit was pulled and  the contractors crew came out to demo the structural pieces while the plumbing and electrical crew assessed electrical and plumbing changes.  Needless to say we must have had a prior ‘do it yourselfer’, so the extent of the work was greater than expected.  Oh well, better to do it right than regret it later.

In the meantime, my house is quite a sight. Frig in the living room by the front door, new doors stacked throughout the 1st floor, furniture and old cabinets stuffed into the garage, and constant dust.  I’ve learned to embrace the dust and know that it doesn’t matter.

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Cooking, other than microwave reheats, is down to zilch. Cheese and crackers, grapes and cherries, Rudi’s gluten free Cherry Almond Bars, popcorn, and hot dogs top the list.  Eating out and meals with the McKennas have been wonderful.  Soon, I hope to be able to cook REAL food and use the greens waiting in my garden.

It’s exciting, I suppose, or will be once it’s done.  The dogs aren’t complaining as this is the most excitement they’ve had in years!

I am lucky to have a wonderful contractor and crew to work with. Any way you slice it, it’s a long, involved process.  Be prepared, be patient, and look forward to the day you can cook your favorite foods once again.

Kitchen Memories

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Kitchen Memories started to flood back to me as I looked at my kitchen for the last time before the cabinets were removed.  So many conversations took place in my kitchen with our girls from babyhood to teenage years to adult years.  Meals were prepared for many loved ones, some of which are now gone.

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Kitchen 2015 after the cabinets over the island were removed.

When we first moved into our Smurf blue house in 1988, the kitchen had brown, patterned kitchen carpet, one of the worst ideas on the planet. The Cherry Cabinets were quite nice and the Columbine (Colorado’s State Flower) tile was fitting of the ‘country’ craze at the time.

This kitchen became the heart of our home. Weekday mornings were frantic as Karl and I prepared for work so the girls would often gather on the floor of the kitchen as I prepared breakfast and our lunches.

As I look at the kitchen for the last time, a stream of memorable movies play in my head, including:

  • Homework, Science experiments, crafting
  • Holiday meal preparations
  • Meal preparation while the kids often sat on the counter to chat and share
  • My mother, when visiting, making homemade egg noodles on my kitchen counter to freeze for later use
  • Making our Christmas favorite Kringla for the holidays
  • Birthday Celebrations
  • Christmas parties & Mother’s Day Coffee
  • Dying Easter Eggs

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  • Teaching the girls to bake

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  • Rescuing animals or playing with our own

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  • Running Circle through the house (Gamma Stout and Sarah)

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  • Preparing flowers for the Megan (top) and Sarah’s (second) weddings

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  • Evan’s 2nd birthday, the last event in the old kitchen.

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So here we go…out with the old and in with the new! I’m soooo ready…

Kitchen Remodel…what led up to this decision?

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Kitchen Remodel…something I’ve dreamed of for the past 15 years when my current kitchen began to literally fall apart. Doors and drawers would not close, cabinet doors were breaking off and I contributed to the kitchen’s demise through a series of mishaps.

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Peach Lilac tree…and the ensuing battle

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A few years ago, I noticed a large branch growing from the middle of one of my lilac bushes.  I’d pass it now and again and wonder what it was, but let it grow. I was sure the squirrels left a seed that eventually sprouted into something new.

One year, this mysterious branch had blossoms different than the lilac, so again I watched to see what would happen. IMG_4909

Eventually small fruit began to form from the blossom and revealed itself as peaches.

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The peaches continued to grow and would soon be ripe.  I couldn’t wait to pick a peach fresh from my yard and enjoy every drippy, lucious bite.

UNTIL…the squirrels came back to claim their bounty. Most of the peaches ended up on the ground, partially eaten by the squirrels.  The least they could do is the eat the whole thing!

Peach with Squirrel damage

The squirrels were kind enough to leave a couple of peaches for me.

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It’s a new year and the squirrels and I are plotting our strategies.  If peaches form, who will get there first?  The tale of the Peach Battle between Team Squirrel and Team Cathy continues.

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