Tonight, was the Fall Fun Fest (Halloween Party) at church.  It’s a fun event for the kids with lots of activities and trick or treat – indoors!  I’ll talk about their costumes on Halloween this week.


The kids had a great time.  The Brush High School Key Club was volunteering and it was nice of them to man the activity stations and play with the kids.  Nick tried to toss the balls into the Coke bottle.  Sally enjoyed getting a heart tattoo.


Nick picked out a friendly smile and a scary spider.


The filled gloves with candy corn finger nails and popcorn to make hands.


This year’s highlight was the donut eating contest.  The clown was my favorite costume of the night.


First round of donut eater ready!


Yum, but no hands!



It was a riot to watch!


Toward the end of the evening, Sally was surprised to notice this spider decoration.


While I passed out candy for trick or treat, a friend helped the kids out.


They were super tired.  That’s always a sign of a good night.

 Posted by at 10:00 PM

Today we had a cold and rainy pickup.  We gifted our greeter with a hot Starbucks beverage.  Starbucks makes everything better.  The kids enjoyed their special chocolate milk and it was a nice treat.  We arrived at the pick up just about 4PM when it opened and were in and out quickly.  We didn’t stay and hang out due to the weather.  There’s only so much room under the tent.


I’m starting to recognize the weather based on our bags.  It’s October and getting cooler.  We’re seeing more greens again and the start of more winterish crops like potatoes, rutabagas and cabbage.

Here’s what we were expecting to receive this week:

  • 1 head either savoy green cabbage or red cabbage (smaller heads)
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 to 2 rutabagas with tops, depending on size (some are rather large)
  • 3# bag red Norland potatoes
  • Approx. 1# onion
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 8 oz. piece goat gouda
  • 1 lb. Spelt Flour and Rosemary Linguini
  • 2# Roma tomatoes
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 package sirloin pork chops, approx. 1.5#
  • 1 carving pumpkin or bag of corn chips

It’s definitely the end of tomato season.  These are the “good” side of these Romas.  I have a couple that aren’t going to be usable.  We’ll be making mashed rutabaga/potatoes or creamy soup with those ingredients.


We ate the cauliflower for dinner with the pasta.  It was tasty.  It had one bad spot so I wanted to wash, cook and eat it quickly.


I’m a little behind on cooking our cabbage.  This will be a 2 head consumption week!


I’ll chop and add the onion to the “unstuffed cabbage recipe I hope to put in the crockpot tomorrow.  The small sweet peppers were a nice surprise.  I might stuff them with the red pepper Havarti from last week and roast them in the oven.


We had a choice between pumpkins and chips.  We took the chips since we already have a pumpkin.  If I could find some mild black bean and corn salsa from Blaze, we’d be all set.  The pork will probably get baked for a meal this weekend.


I’m not sure what to use the Gouda for.  It’s probably going to be enjoyed in its own so we can taste the flavors.  I don’t think I’ve ever had goat Gouda before.  We also have more greens this week.  Swiss chard and kale.  I’m pretty sure the Swiss chard will go into the Andouille sausage/sweet potato dish similar to what we made last week.


I haven’t decided on a use for the kale yet.  We may have another quiche in the cue for this week.  That’s one of my go to dishes when I don’t know what to do with a green.


It’s hard to believe that next week is the last week for summer.  I’m glad there no break before the winter CSA starts!  I’m also starting to think about getting a turkey.  We don’t host Thanksgiving at our house, but last year I bought a package anyway since we like many of the ingredients.  It was just a bit too much food at our house all at once.  If I buy a turkey, I’d cut it up and freezer the parts and probably also make some turkey sausage.  I need to decide soon.  Turkey deliveries are three and a half weeks away.


I’m such a party animal this week.  I was out both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

On Tuesday, we had the monthly gathering for the Ohio Bloggers Association.  Instead of a scheduled activity, we met at The South Side in Tremont for dinner.  We had most of their enclosed patio for our group.  It was nice when we first arrived, but the room didn’t have good acoustics and it quickly got very loud and hard to chat once everyone had arrived.

It’s always nice to catch up with local bloggers and hear about what’s going on in the area.   We did some mingling and when we sat down to order, we did a quick roundtable for introductions and announcements.

I ordered the pulled pork pita and a cup of chili.  Both dishes were excellent, however the chili was quite spicy for my taste.  We had close to 20 people and 2 servers who did a great job with our group.

Other bloggers in attendance:

I sat near Jen, Kimberly, Nadine, Julie and Tammy.  It was nice to chat, meet and catch up with them.  Next month is a virtual blog swap.  We’ll be paired with another blogger and exchange guest posts.  It should be fun!

Last night, after we enjoyed the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, I headed to Brothers Lounge in Lakewood.  I’ve been taking the docent class at the museum and one of my classmates plays trumpet in M2B2, specializing in big band music that was playing.    I met up with 3 other classmates to hear the band.  I also had the burger special for a late dinner.

The band was fun and reminded me of when I played in jazz band.  I’ve always enjoyed music and last night was no exception.  Oh, and if you ever go to the Brothers Lounge, they have some painted renditions of a few artists on the walls.  Included are Phil Collins, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Hendrix, and Gregg Allman.  Trust me, everyone will want to figure out the photos and you can stump them with Gregg Allman.  We asked several people that worked there and finally our friend in the band found out for us.

After two nights out in a row, I volunteered to guard at the pool at 5:15AM this morning.  I’m beat and definitely crashing early tonight.

 Posted by at 7:41 PM

Continuing with greens week.  One of the items that we received this week was Napa cabbage.  It looks more like romaine lettuce than cabbage.  One of my friends had suggested using it in stir fry.


My husband likes Asian flavors, including sesame oil.  I do not care for many Asian spices (especially sesame oil).  So, this dish was going to be for him and probably Nick.

I cleaned and chopped the Napa cabbage and put it aside in a bowl.

I put some sesame oil in a pan and heated it for a bit with a chopped garlic clove.  I added 1/2 cup water and some broccoli crowns.  I cooked it for a few minutes and then I added the cabbage along with some chopped mushrooms and leftover (cooked chicken) that we had in the fridge.

As the dish was cooking, I thought about spices and added some powdered orange peel.  I thought it would go well with the garlic and sesame oil.

I also realized that I had a package of Ramen noodles in the cupboard.  I discarded the flavor packet, crushed the dry noodles and stirred them in.

In just a few minutes, the dish was done.  Unfortunately, I didn’t snap a photo.  The reviews from Stephen and Nick were great.

Greens day two is complete.  Napa cabbage works well in improvised stir fry.

 Posted by at 9:51 PM

It’s greens week in our house.  In our CSA pick up on Friday, we received collards, lettuce, mixed greens, Napa cabbage and mustard greens.

I don’t like to waste anything from our CSA, and I like to find recipes for all of our items that our family enjoys.  Occasionally, we get a few new or unfamiliar things at once.  Last week’s pick up was one of those weeks.


These are mustard greens.  I’m sure that we’ve received them before, but I had no recollection of using them.  My friend suggested using them in quiche.  Since quiche is easy for me to make, that seemed like a good suggestion.

I cleaned the greens and removed the larger stems.  I chopped them and boiled them for about 3 minutes to soften them up.  Then, I put them in the bottom of an already prepared pie crust.  I had a weak moment at Whole Foods and bought a few already made whole wheat crusts.  They are not as good as homemade, but made for a few quick and easy dinners.

I added some left over cooked chopped chicken and cauliflower along with the egg/milk mixture (5 eggs, 1 1/2 cups whole milk) to the crust.  After baking for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, I added 4 oz. of smoked cheddar to the top.  I continued baking for about 20 more minutes until set.

It was fabulous and everyone liked it.  I’ll be open to other ideas for using mustard greens, but this one is a keeper.

 Posted by at 1:01 PM

Today, Stephen took Sally and I took Nick.  We need to make sure that we both get some time with our kids solo.  I took Nick to see my mom and dad.  We worked on his Halloween costume.  After we enjoyed dinner at their house, we went to check out their community garden.  Nick enjoyed the letters on their new sign.  We walked around the garden plots and checked out what was left.  Quite a few people were all cleaned up for the winter while others still had parsley, potatoes and more.


As we were leaving, Nick spotted the pile of leaves.  Can I climb the leave pile?  Sure.



Grandpa told him he was king of the mountain.



Then, he wanted to jump.


Action shot.


I’m glad that he didn’t get hurt.  He sure enjoyed the leaves.  It was a perfect fall evening.

 Posted by at 9:06 PM

Stephen and the kids went to our garden today to clean up for the winter.  I was in docent class, so they took care of it without me.  It sounds like everything went well.

We cleaned out the cucumber and pumpkin vines a while back.  Between the powdery mildew and some animals, we didn’t have any pumpkins.  We had picked our carrots and didn’t have much else grow except tomatoes.  Our tomatoes were crazy.  We had pint after pint after pint of cherry and grape tomatoes.  We also had a decent crop of Roma tomatoes.  The problem with Roma tomatoes is that they ripen a couple at a time.  That was a hard adjustment for me since I canned 120 pounds last year – in two days.  Most of our tomatoes went straight to the freezer and at the end of the season, I made some sauce.

So, for today’s clean up, we mostly had tomato plants and stakes to clean up.  I suggested that Stephen take a garbage can with him.  That turned out to be a good idea since the waste truck was a bit of a walk from our plot.  We didn’t think to take a rake, but someone lent them one.  That turned out to be useful for raking tomatoes that had split and fallen into the beds.  Our stakes were muddy, so Stephen and the kids went back for them later in the day when they could take towels to wrap them in so not to dirty the car interior.

We had used single green plant stakes.  They turned out to be rather useless for our huge tomato plants.  Next year, we need to invest in much beefier stakes.  We also need to plan on more room per tomato plant.  Our plants took off and shaded a good portion of other plants.  By the end of the season, we had a tomato garden.

The kids are still the highlight for many of the adults and couples at the garden.  They enjoyed all of the attention during the garden visits.

We plan to plant another garden next summer.  We’ll probably try to start some plants indoors and have an earlier start with a more comprehensive plan.  Hopefully, our weather will be a little more garden friendly next year as well.

 Posted by at 9:50 PM

Today, I had a rare pick up without the kids.  I had been at a doctor appointment and headed up to the high school from there.  It was strange.  I havemixed feelings about today’s bag.  I have “go to” uses for so many of our CSA items, but mustard greens, mixed greens (braising?) and Napa cabbage are not included.  But, there are many items like cider, beans, squash, cheese, apples, etc. that I am excited to see.


Here’s what we were expecting to receive:

  • 1 head Napa cabbage
  • 1 8 oz. chunk pepper Havarti
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 1 half lb. mixed greens
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 half gallon apple cider
  • 1 quarter peck Empire Red apples
  • 1 bunch collard greens
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 ct. red peppers
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 head leaf lettuce
  • 1 package, 1.25 lb., Andouille sausage (Smokey, Spanish sausage)

I roasted lots of butternut squash this week.  I think I’ll save this one for a few days and then try the squash/bean burritos that I read about last week.


The local broccoli is always delicious.  I’ll use it for a side dish soon.  I love that we received purple cauliflower.  It is really bright and fun!


Pepper cheese is not usually my favorite, but this cheese is really good.  I’m probably going to have it with eggs.  The lettuce is very crisp looking and also a really small head.  It will make one individual salad.


I haven’t made my stuff acorn squash yet this season.  This might just be the week for it.  The peppers will get chopped for salads.


Apples tend to disappear without any work.  We put the sausage in the freezer.  I see some more of the sweet potato hash in our future.  The kids thought it was too spicy, but Stephen and I can eat it for lunches.


I’m too tired to think much about the greens.  I read up on mustard greens, so I am a little less afraid of them.  But, I still don’t know what my plan will be.  We get these bagged mixed greens often, so I need to figure out a way to use them.  I just think they are bitter.


I’ll probably chop the collards and cook them with taco meat.  I have no idea about the Napa cabbage, so I need to look at that one on line.


I’m surprised that the cider has been here for several hours and is still unopened.  Nick, Sally and Stephen will love it.  It’s too sweet for me.


Weeks like this leave me in awe with the huge variety of items that we can obtain locally.

I have a full day tomorrow and then Sunday will be “use the greens day”.


Yesterday, I roasted 9 winter squash.  Most of them were butternut squash.  I had received a few in recent CSA pick ups and was also gifted a couple.  I decided to make puree out of most of them.  We love to have it on hand for muffins and pancakes throughout the year.

After all of the roasting, I had two squash left and decided to make soup.


  • 2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • salt, pepper, thyme to taste
  • cream to taste

I love using my crock pot for soup.  I added all of the vegetables and broth and cooked it until tender.  I cooked it a few hours yesterday, left it on warm overnight and then heated on low most of today.  (It didn’t need that long, but it was a timing issue and I didn’t have room in the fridge for a crockpot full of hot soup overnight).   Then, I used an imersion blender to make it smooth.  I tested for spice and stirred in a 1/2 cup or so of cream.

I served it with French baguette.  It was so simple and delicious.  We have a few bowls to use as leftovers for lunch and I put a few in the freezer.

With both kids having swim lessons on Thursday, I need to make crockpot dinner a habit.


 Posted by at 10:27 PM

I’m taking the plunge to Google calendar.  I used an electronic calendar when I worked in an office full time.  It was strictly for business.  All of my personal items have always been tracked on paper.  I don’t have a smart phone and paper has always seemed faster and easier.

Unfortunately, it makes it impossible for Stephen to keep track of the kids and I.  I still don’t have a smart phone, but I do have a tablet that will have the calendar accessible whenever I have internet access.

We just went through and added all of my current obligations.  It was much simpler than the paper one for things like Nick’s preschool which is reoccurring.  I’m still not convinced that this is going to work, but I’m going to give it a try.  I can always go back to paper, but I have a feeling it’s going to be full steam ahead.

Now, I just have to remember to look at the calendar on line everyday.  This is going to be an adjustment.  I’ll keep you all posted.

 Posted by at 9:16 PM