We went bowling with another family today.  We had a ton of fun!

Wickliffe Lanes have “birthday parties” where you basically rent a lane for 2 hours and can bowl as much as you want.  We were first there last February for Nick’s birthday.  It’s great because you can also bring in your own food and you don’t have to worry about how many bowlers you have or how many pairs of shoes  you need.  Speaking of shoes, I really liked my bowling shoes today.  Maybe someday I’ll find a pair to use with a  clown costume.


Nick liked watching the ball go down the lane.  These lanes have programmable bumpers.  You can set them up or down by player.  It was a nice advancement in technology since our last visit.


Sometimes I think the kids like watching for the balls to come up the return more than they like bowling.


We lasted just over one game before we headed for dinner.  Everyone had a great time!

 Posted by at 7:22 PM  Tagged with:

Today was our pick up for week 3 of the winter Geauga Family Farms CSA.  The truck was 45 minutes late!  We had a full morning packed and had to rearrange our schedule due to the delay.  The truck is supposed to get there at 8:30AM and pick up time is from 8:45AM until 10:15AM.  The truck arrived at 9:15AM.  I had gotten there at 8:45AM.  I had a nice chat with the St. Noel volunteer Kathy.  It’s a great pick up site, but I really miss my Tuesday pick up.  We are just so busy on the weekends that we don’t have much flexibility.

Here’s a group shot of what we received:


Let’s take a closer look:


Small pumpkin roll, daikon radish


Pie pumpkin, parsley


Sweet potatoes, oak leaf lettuce


Leaf lettuce, broccoli


We enjoyed part of the pumpkin roll today.  That will disappear quickly.  I’m not sure what we are going to do with the daikon radish.  I think I’ll make some pumpkin puree for smoothies and pancakes with the pie pumpkin.  I’m going to try to make parsley potatoes with the parsley.

We were out of lettuce, so a few salads are in order.  The broccoli will get used as a side with leftover chicken tomorrow.  We still have a few sweet potatoes left, but we’ll be making sweet potato fries this week.

With the exception of the daikon radish, everything is common and will be very easy for us to use up.  It’s a good thing since we get a regular and a Thanksgiving package pick up on Tuesday with our other CSA.  I miss the eggs.  The winter CSA was supposed to have eggs each week, but there’s been a shortage.  Hopefully, we’ll get some eggs in the last couple of weeks.  The Geauga Family Farms CSA runs for 6 weeks and we are half way done already.  It goes so fast.


We have 3 freezers in our house.  We have the one that is connected to our fridge in our kitchen along with two larger ones in our basement.  The ones in the basement aren’t really that big, but they are the biggest one that would fit down our wacky stairs.

To keep track of what we had, I started a freezer inventory.  Every few months, I would empty the freezers and take a detailed count.  Occasionally, it was convenient to have a list on the fridge of the contents.

Once the CSAs started this summer, we hardly used anything from our freezer.  We have some items that are over a year old.  We’ve also stocked up on items when they were in season like blueberries.

In an effort to rotate stock and highlight items that need to be used, I thought I would publish my inventory along with an action plan for the next month or so.

Here are the 4 highlights for this month:

  • bagged frozen veggies such as broccoli, green beans, spinach, kale and leafy greens
    • While I certainly won’t use all of them this month, I’d like to use 5-7 bags of them up.  After all of the freshness from our CSAs, it’s really hard to eat grocery store bagged frozen veggies.  But, we won’t let them go to waste.
  • meat
    • My goal with meat is not to buy any this month.  We are getting a turkey from our Fresh Fork CSA and we occasionally get other meat in our CSA.  We don’t NEED any more right now.
  • prepared foods
    • We’re pretty good at freezing portions for meals for future use.  These should be easy to use this month.
  • bread
    • My goal with bread this month is to make our own muffins, bread and rolls.  We have a bread machine and a couple of good recipes.  It’s cooler now and seems appealing (and less expensive) to make our own.

The detailed list of our freezer contents is below if you are interested in the detail.

I’ll be back in 4-6 weeks with an update!

Item Total
broccoli, steam fresh 6
butternut puree 1
corn 5
corn on cob, steam fresh 1
corn, steam fresh 3
edamame, steam fresh 1
grean beans 8
green beans, steam fresh 2
green peppers, whole, 4 pk 2
kale 1
leafy greens 1
mixed veggies 0
onions, gallon bag, sliced 1
onions, green 1
onions, qt 2
peas 1
peppers, chopped,qt bags 14
peppers, hot, whole, qt bag with 4 1
pumpkin puree 4
pumpkin water 1
shallots, chopped, qt bag 1
spinach 7
squash, shredded 4
sweet potatoes, gallon, puree 2
tomatoes, gal bag chopped 1
yellow peppers, chopped/sliced 4
bacon 1
boneless beef chuck roast 1
chicken breast, ground 1
Chorizo sausage 1
country sausage, 1/2 pound ground 7
ground beef 4
hot dogs 2
Italian sausage, ground 2
maple sausage, ground 1
rib steak 1
sirloin steak 1
sweet Italian sausage, ground 1
veal 1
bagel thins, pack of 4 1
bagels, blueberry 5
banana bread 1
banana muffins 2
bread, GH whole wheat 1
cinnamon walnut bread, slices 3
dough, whole wheat pizza 2
pumpkin bread 1
applesauce, qt bag 1
apricots, small bag 1
banana 3
blackberries, gallon 1
blueberries, gallon 4
cherries, qt bags 8
coconut water cubes 1
dates, pint bags 4
orange juice 1
peaches, gallon 5
pear juice 3
raspberries, gallon 2
rhubarb 2
strawberries, gallon 2
butter, pounds 5
butter, sticks 2
egg beaters 4
mozzarella cheese, 8 oz 1
Herbs cilantro cubes 1
basil cubes 1
chive cubes 1
Prepared black beans, cup cooked 1
chorizo, cooked, ground 1
vegetable lasagna, servings 3
caramels 1
unstuffed cabbage, servings 2
butternut squash soup, servings 1
pulled pork, large 2
mushroom ravioli, package 1

For the past couple of weeks, Nick has been taking swim lessons at the JCC.  We’ve been going “after nap time” on Thursdays.  It works well because Sally can go to Kid Kare and I can focus on Nick.

I used to take Nick swimming when he was just a few months old.  He always liked the water.  During the summer, he enjoys splash parks.  This was his first formal swim lesson.

He’s always so excited to get to the pool.


It’s his favorite part of Thursday.


He’s in a class with several of his friends from the playroom at the JCC and that makes it nice for him.  There’s usually 6 or 7 kids and two instructors.


There are some group skills as well as individual attention throughout the 30 minute lesson.


After his shower, he’s always hungry for a snack.


And he loves putting his swim trunks into the spin dryer.  The trunks aren’t 100% dry after a cycle in this machine, but most of the moisture is gone and it’s much nicer to pack for home.


He has one more lesson in this session and then we’ll probably sign him up for more since he loves it so much.


I used to like going to the dentist.  I had the same dentist for my first 30+ years.  I even kept him when I moved from Akron to Mayfield Heights.  Once Nick was born and started getting teeth, I decided that I needed to get a local dentist.  So, 6 months ago, I found a local dentist that I like.  His office is about 7 minutes from our house.

Last Thursday, Nick and I went for our 6 month check ups.  I was told that I had a cavity and that I’ll need a crown soon.  I was also told of another problem spot that we need to watch.  ARGH!

My old dentist used to tease me about how he never made any money off of me.  I went years and years without cavities or problems.   Maybe I’m just getting old.

Today, I went in for an 8AM appointment to have my cavity filled.  The dentist numbed me with a topical solution and then gave me a shot of local anesthesia.  I was especially nervous today since the last time I was in for a cavity, I felt something in the middle of drilling.  The same thing happened today!  So, I got another dose of medicine and things were better.

The problem is that it takes a while for the medicine to kick in and my mouth, tongue, face, ear, head, etc.  continued to get numb for at least an hour after my appointment ended.

By noon, I couldn’t feel anything yet.  Around 1PM, I started to get my sensation back.  The rest of the day, my mouth just hurt from all of the poking and prodding.  I’ve been hungry, but eating hasn’t been appealing.  I was glad that I made yummy applesauce yesterday.

Most of the day, I’ve just been a grump.  I see an early bed time in my future!


 Posted by at 7:30 PM  Tagged with:

My husband and I like to watch the Iron Chef.  We’ve also watched two seasons of the Next Iron Chef.  We’ve been to a couple of Michael Symon’s restaurants, so when my sister told me there was a Morimoto restaurant in Waikiki, we definitely wanted it on our to do list.  Since I don’t really care for sushi, we checked out the menu before we made reservations and decided we’d be able to find things that we liked.  The restaurant turned out to be a short walk from our hotel.


It was the dinner that made me glad that I brought a skirt to Hawaii.  We were greeter by Josh our server and these beautiful chopsticks.  I asked for a fork, but I still thought they were cool looking.


I was impressed with the iced tea.  It came in a carafe with a  cup of simple syrup for sweetener.  I love iced tea and this was fun.


After much discussion, everyone at our table ordered the Omakase which was a multi-course tasting menu designed to allow us to experience the essence of Morimoto’s cuisine.  We had 9 courses in total and they change regularly, so you never have the same meal twice.

1. Toro and Hamachi Tartare

Minced fatty tuna and yellowtail with condiments of wasabi, nori puree, Maui onion, rice crackers, crème fraiche, guacamole served with a dashi soy. Yamamomo to cleanse the palate.

Thoughts: I was surprised that I liked this course since there were tons of flavors that I would never order.  It was very tasty and disappeared by the end of the course.


2. Hot oil sashimi(seasonal fish)

topped with ginger, garlic, citrus soy, king oyster mushroom, shiso then seared with hot oil to seal the flavor.

Thoughts:  I forgot to snap a photo.  It was tasty.

3. Bagna Cauda

Seasonal vegetables and deep fried chicken thigh served with a dipping sauce of garlic , anchovy and olive oil. Garnished with Shichimi Togarashi powder, house made foccacia.

Thoughts:  You can’t tell in the photo, but this was kind of like a fondue course.  The oil is hot and there is a flame underneath keeping it hot.  It was the “be careful” dish since we definitely didn’t want to spill anything.  The dipping sauce was tasty even though it had anchovy.  All of the accompaniments were fresh and good as well.


4. Foie Gras Chawanmushi

Thinly sliced roasted duck breast over foie gras infused egg custard, dashi soy, fresh wasabi.

Thoughts:  I liked this dish.  Apparently, many people don’t care for it.  I loved that the serving bowl looked like it was designed for this dish.  The presentation throughout the courses was outstanding.


5. Intermezzo

Konbu cha, sea kelp tea

Thoughts:  I hated this tea.  I’m not sure what it tasted like, but yuck!


6. Chef’s selection seasonal nigiri sushi

Thoughts:  So, I ate the sushi.  That was a big deal.  I didn’t care for the one with the green or the one with the sauce, but the other three were quite delicious.


7. Surf and Turf

Pan roasted lobster with a garam masala spice mix, wagyu filet with Maui onion jus, ginger pork with a peanut sauce, pear marmalade, macadamia nuts

Thoughts:  The main course was really good.  I liked that the three things I was trying to pick from on the menu originally were all included in this course.  The sauce on the beef was a bit salty for my taste, but everything was perfectly cooked.


8. Pre dessert

Kuro mitsu gelee over soymilk panna cotta

Thoughts:  This was good, but unremarkable.


9. Kabocha soufflé cake

candied kabocha, Okinawan sweet potato ice cream

Thoughts:  This was really good and I forgot to snap a photo before it was gone.  It was fun to have kabocha in a dessert because I had just bought one at a farmer’s market a week or two before.


This was one of the best meals that I have ever had.  The service was outstanding and each course was unique and adventurous.  I’m not usually as daring with food, but this was an opportunity that I could not pass up.  I wonder if I’ll get the opportunity to visit another Iron Chef restaurant some day.

 Posted by at 7:57 PM

For some reason, I have a hard time finding gifts for my husband.  I’m “anti-Amazon” wish list and feel like my gifts should be more personal.  So, for his birthday present, I decided that a trip to the Fabulous Food Show was in order.  We had talked about going a couple of times in the past, but hadn’t been willing to spend the money.  It was $25 each to get in the door, plus extra if you wanted to see a celebrity chef.

We took the kids to Akron to stay with their grandparents and aunt Carol for the day and headed to the IX Center.  I was glad that we bought out tickets ahead and didn’t have to wait in line.


We were able to walk right in.  One of my favorite areas of the show was the local farm section.  It was fun to see so many products that we were familiar with.  We returned at the end of the day to make a few purchases.


The highlight of the day was seeing Michael Symon.  The theatre was set up like a rock concert with screens, stadium seating and lights!   He made a braised pork shank with a Brussels sprout slaw.  It looked great!  We loved his shirt and are trying to figure out how to make one ASAP.  It’s a tyrannosaurus dinosaur with a carrot and says EAT LOCAL.


We came across this set up for a make it and take it gingerbread house.  I thought it was a little cheap looking for $15, but I’m looking forward to making one with Nick this season.  The Holiday Show at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens opens right after Thanksgiving.  We’ll make a trip there so Nick can scope out some ideas.


Many of the booths had samples of their products.  Some we waited in line for and some we just passed by.  The apple sample was totally worth waiting for.  There were 4 apples to sample from and once you knew which one you wanted, they sliced it for you and gave it to you in a bowl.  It was such a welcome treat in between all of the processed “junk” food we ate during the day.


We sampled so many different products from chips and chocolate to pretzels and dip.  We bought a few items along the way.  We ended up being at the IX center from noon until 6PM.  Out date ended with dinner at Rockne’s.  It was definitely a successful birthday outing!


Yesterday Stephen and Nick participated in a Lowe’s Build and Grow workshop.  Sally and I perused the Christmas lights and decoration while the guys headed to the lumber area.


This project was pretty easy since it only had 8 nails.


Sally and I went to check out the production and could tell we were getting closer when we started hearing lots of pounding.  There were a dozen or so kids putting kits together all over the aisle.  I hope that no one actually wanted to buy some wood!


This kit was called “Science Lab” and Nick is excited for his finished product.


Lowe’s offers these projects throughout the year.  They are free!  It’s nice for us to have another activity to add to our arsenal for keeping the kids engaged.  I think the suggested age is 5-12.  Sally is a bit young for them.  Nick had lots of practice when Home Depot had some workshops at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History this summer, so we knew he’d do fine at the store event.  Home Depot offers workshops the first Saturday of each month.

Both stores offer aprons to the kids during their first project.  Then, pins or patches are given for each completed project.  It reminded me of a scout vest or sash.

We’re looking forward to more building soon!

 Posted by at 9:29 PM  Tagged with:

Today was our pick up for week 2 of the winter Geauga Family Farms CSA.  We had a full schedule for today and I just ran up to St. Noel without the kids to pick it up first thing this morning.

Here’s a group shot of what we received:


Potatoes, bok choy


Radishes, beets


Acorn squash, apples


1/2 dozen eggs, 2 small heads of lettuce


Dozen of chocolate chip cookies


We have quite a supply of potatoes at the moment.  I’ll be rotating these into our storage and trying to make a couple of potato recipes this week.  I’m thinking that some kind of Shepard’s pie may be in order.  The last time we got bok choy, I cooked it in the crock pot with Asian spices (ginger and sesame oil) and served it to my husband with soba noodles and pork.  He liked it.  The rest of the family isn’t big on the sesame flavor.

We’re going to roast radishes this week.  We’re also going to make Harvard beets.  I think I have 2 bunches of both in the fridge right now.

Acorn squash is one of my favorite squash.  I’ve been making a rue and adding squash puree and seasonings for use over whole wheat pasta.  It will be lunch a couple of days this week.

We’re still using apples in our oatmeal everyday while the season is still here.

We were out of eggs and I’m cooking my dish ahead for Thanksgiving tomorrow so the eggs will disappear quickly.  The lettuce will be eaten with salad.

The cookies are GONE!

Looks like another week of great, fresh, local food!


Today’s post is brought to you by mother nature.  We had our first snow overnight.  I couldn’t find Nick’s mittens, so he’s wearing a pair of my gloves.  Sally took her mittens off before we ever made it outside.  We didn’t have much time to play (build a snowman), but the kids had fun checking the snow out before we left on our errands for the day.


Rumor has it, we are going to get lots of snow this winter.    Both Nick and Sally seem to like the snow this year. I see many snowman in our future this season.

 Posted by at 9:03 PM  Tagged with: