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Bill_Bryson_A_Walk_In_The_WoodsOne of my favorite books ever is Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I’m not sure how many times I have read it – at least 10. I reread it every summer.  

It is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I laugh aloud when I am reading this.

The book is about hiking the Appalachian Trail. But it is more than just Bryson recounting what happen while he was hiking. He provides a great deal of information about the history of the trail and the American wildness. 

This book is also great to listen to during car trips. My mom and I listened to it a few years ago while driving to the beach.  

[Photo Credit: Book]

oven pancake1After picking five quarts of black raspberries on Wednesday at Mitchell’s Farm in Plain City, I needed some recipes for fresh raspberries. I’ve been wanting to try an oven pancake, and I found a recipe on Cooking Light’s website. 

 The recipe is simple and easy to make. The munchkin is just beginning to want to help me cook, and this is a great recipe for her to help. I measure, and she dumps all the ingredients in the bowl. 

 The pancake was light and delicate. The munchkin loved it with the raspberries and powdered sugar.

I also liked this recipe because it didn’t require me to stand at the stove and flip pancakes. We got to eat our pancake at the same time instead of me standing up to flip more pancakes every few minutes.

Oven Puffed Pancake with Raspberries

Ingredients:

1/3  cup  all-purpose flour
1/3  cup  soy milk
2  tablespoons  granulated sugar
3  large eggs
Cooking spray or butter
1  cup  fresh raspberries
1  teaspoon  powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, soy milk, granulated sugar, and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Pour mixture into a medium nonstick skillet or nine inch pie plate coated with cooking spray or grease the pan with butter. Wrap handle of pan with foil.

3. Bake at 425° for 15 to 18 minutes or until puffy and golden. Top with raspberries; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Summer Reading

the way life should beI have been searching for a good summer book this year, and I finally found one. 

“The Way Life Should Be” is a story about a woman whose life falls apart, and she takes some risks to change her life. Life doesn’t end up working out the way she thinks it will, but in the end, she is happy. 

I read the book in two days, and it was a great read. It wasn’t too thought provoking or heavy, but realistic enough to make me care about the main character – that is what qualifies it as a great summer book for me. 

[Photo Credit: Book]

pasta saladI love pasta salad in the summer, and this pasta salad is light and refreshing  – not a heavy, mayonnaisey salad.  Perfect for when you don’t want to heat up the house cooking.

I love recipes that I can make when my daughter is at her dad’s or sleeping.  That way I can focus on her when she is at home and awake, and not worry about cooking. This recipe is perfect for that. I throw together the veggies, pasta and nuts ahead of time and then keep in the refrigerator until we’re ready to eat.

Tomato and Broccoli Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, cut into tiny pieces
8 ounces whole whole pasta
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup pine nuts
fresh basil – as much or as little as you like
Parmesan cheese
olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette – I use Paul Newman’s dressing, which is great

1. Boil a large pot of water. When water is boiling, add broccoli and cook for three minutes. Scoop the broccoli out of water with a slotted spoon. Put broccoli into a bowl of ice water. Remove broccoli from water and pat dry with paper towels. Place into a large bowl. Cook pasta in the boiling water. Cook according to directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. While pasta is cooking, slice cherry tomatoes in half and chop basil into thin strips. (I use kitchen shears and cut the basil into tiny pieces.)  Add tomatoes, basil and pine nuts to broccoli. When pasta is finished cooking, rinse in cold water and drain well. Add to veggies and nuts. Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.

3. Right before serving, toss pasta with dressing and cheese.

Notes: I add dressing and cheese to individual servings. I usually use about one tablespoon of dressing per serving. The salad keeps undressed in the fridge for a few days.

Potty Time!

potty

We start potty training this week. I am scared, very scared. I feel like this litttle potty is laughing at me, saying you have no idea what you’re in for.

muffinsA few weeks ago we went to the zoo with some friends and I wanted to make an easy, portable breakfast.

I found this new muffin and tried it since it is strawberry season. These muffins are good, and everyone liked them, including my two-year old. Because of the yogurt, they are dense muffins. I love the big chucks of strawberry in them. They lasted a few days in an air-tight container.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup butter, melt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped strawberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degress.
2. In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar and baking soda. In another bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla. Toss the strawberries into the flour mixture.
3. Spoon batter into greased muffins tins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Makes 12 muffins.

The original recipe came Stonyfiend Farm.

Notes: Don’t try to substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the whole wheat and white flour. I tried it, and it didn’t work.

westSideMarketWe spent the long weekend in Cleveland with my parents, and almost every time that we go up to Cleveland, we visit the West Side Market – one of our favorite places in Cleveland.

The market is only open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Saturdays, the market is loud and crowded, and that is part of the experience. The munchkin loves the crowds and is happy to sit in her stroller as long as she has something to snack on. Navigating a stroller through the aisles can be difficult, but everyone at the market is courteous.

The West Side Market has an amazing selection of food. Vendors at the market carry cheese, periogis, fruit, vegetables, spices, grains, coffee, olives, and every kind of meat and bakery item imaginable.

One of our favorite things is the crepes from Crepes De Luxe. The munchkin loves them. One of my favorites is the loaded baked potatoe periogis from the Periogi Palace. Yum!

[Photo Credit: Market]