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Patio Garden

basilAfter reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle last summer, I wanted to go live on a farm and grow everything we eat.

Since that really isn’t a pratical option right now, I started a container garden in the back patio of our apartment.

I bought the plants last weekend at the Worthington Farmer’s Market and the OSU Chadwick Arboretum Plant sale last weekend with my mom and dad. The OSU plant sale is over, but many of the farmers I talked to last weekend said they would have plants at this weekend’s farmers market.

Our garden has three different tomato plants, Sunburt, Brandywine, and Sprite plants, along three basil plants, dill, chives, lettice, and edible flowers. I’m still hoping to get a few more herbs.

I planted everything while the munchkin was at her dad’s. She is so excited about helping me water the plants. As soon as I told her that we were going to have a garden, she started looking for her watering can that we use in the bathtub.

food-matters1

After reading Mark Bittman‘s book Food Matters, which is a good book, I tried his recipe for whole wheat bread. This recipe is the first yeast bread I have made in the oven. I have always been very imitidated about making yeast bread at home.

But this recipe is simple and easy. The baking bread smells amazing, and the bread is delicious. It is a dense, heavy loaf.

It’s a cool recipe too because the munchkin can help with it. She sprinkles on the cornmeal after the dough is in the loaf pan. She calls it sprinkles and is so proud that she helps. This is the first recipe she has helped me with, and I am excited that she likes working in the kitchen.

Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
cornmeal for dusting the top of the bread

1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended. The dough should be wet and sticky, but not liquid. You can add more water if it seems dry. I usually add up to 1/4 cup of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm place for between 12 and 24 hours. (I always let mine sit for 24 hours because my house is always chilly.)

2. Grease the metal bread pan with some of the oil. Put the dough in the bread pan and use a rubber spatula to settle it evenly. Brush the dough with the remaining oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise again for about an hour or two.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for about 45 minutes until it is golden and sounds hollow when you tap on it. Immediately turn out the loaf out of the pan onto a cooling rack and let it cool before slicing.

Notes: You must you a metal bread pan for this recipe. I tried to use a glass pan about four times and the loaf would never release from the pan. First time I use a metal pan, the bread comes out perfectly. Lesson learned!

[Photo Credit: Book]

downtown-1This weekend was a great weekend. On Friday night, we (and the gallery) surivived our visit to the munchkin’s first art gallery. In the car on the way home she kept asking, “Why couldn’t I run in there?” Really?

Then, we drove through a freak monsoon and had dinner at Jeni’s. (You can have ice cream for dinner, right?)

We also had out-of-town family in for the weekend, and we took them to some of our new favorite places in Columbus. Every place we went this weekend was kid-friendly – as we had a two-year-old and a six-month-old with us.

We went to:

Jeni’s – Everyone loved Jeni’s ice cream, of course. And, yes we went there twice in one weekend. My new favorite flavor is Queen City Cayenne (new to me, not Jeni’s). The munchkin usually eats at least half of my ice cream, but I had to explain that this was chocolate with hot sauce, and she couldn’t try it. Her comment was, “I’ll eat hot sauce when I’m a big girl.” Yup, in our house, only the big girls eat the hot sauce. (This is a conversation we have a lot, as I put hot sauce on a lot things.)

Ying’s Teahouse and Yum-Yum in Clintoville – This is my new favorite Chinese restaurant in Columbus. Everything that we have eaten here has been amazing. Our favorites are the crab ragoon and veggie/tofu dumplings. The staff were also very nice and accomidating with the kids.

North Market’s Artisan Sunday – This was our first Artisan Sunday, and we will be back. They are the first Sunday of every month. We got cute hair scarves from Emily Kitturah-Westenhouser and an adorable apron and cupcake hat from Circa Circus. Every mom needs one of Emily’s cute hair scarves. Perfect for bad hair days.

Corner Cafe – We loved their sandwiches and their patio. It was the perfect weekend for an outdoor lunch too. We got three different sandwiches and shared them. They were all amazing. My favorite was the Fig & Proscuitto

We had a great weekend showing off our city and hanging out with our family.

[Photo credit: Columbus]

No One Saw

no-oneOn the eve of my daughter’s first gallery reception, (Yes, I am taking a two-year-old to a gallery reception with glass at it. Lots of glass.) we have been reading some great books that my favorite aunt bought for us at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

The books are No One Saw…Ordinary Things by Bob Raczka and Matisse Dance with Joy by Susan Goldman Rubin.

No One Saw…Ordinary Things discusses how great artists saw ordinary things differently than anyone else. “No one saw stars like Vincent Van Gogh.” It is a great book that she loves. I love exposing her to art at an early age, and I hope she’ll love it. She certainly loves these books

If you’re interested in checking out some art in Columbus, go to “Materials Matter” at Art Access Gallery in Bexley.

[Photo credit: No One]

bike-trail-2This weekend we finally broke in our new bike trailer, which I love.

We biked the Heritage Bike Trail in Hilliard. It was a great trail for our first trip with the trailer because the trail is flat and wide.

For the most part, the munchkin was pretty happy riding in the trailer. I packed lots of snacks and books for her, and she ate and read her books for most of the trip. Towards the end of the 12 mile ride, she got a little cranky and slept for the last three miles.

The only negative to Heritage Trail is that because it so flat, the sun was beating down on us for almost the entire trip and because it was so windy on Sunday, the wind kept blowing the bike around. This bike trail certainly isn’t my favorite trail and I don’t know if we’ll bother riding it again this year, but it was a good way to test out the trailer.

menus_0602-cherry-blossoms3With this beautiful weather, we are planning on being outside all weekend!

I’m so excited for this nice weather. The windows are all open and we are ready to get outside.

We’re planning on breaking in our “new” bike trailer this weekend on the bike trail. Here are some ideas on what to do when the weather is nice in Columbus:

Slate Run Metro Park and Farm – This is our favorite Metro Park in Columbus! If you have not been here before, you should definitely check out the farm. Read this post

Playgrounds – Some of our favorite playgrounds around the city – Read this post

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – We haven’t been to teh zoo in months and I know the munchkin is excited to go again. Read this post

Hiking in the Hocking Hills – If we didn’t already have so many plans for this weekend, we would definitely be heading out for some hiking. Read this post

[Photo: Bloosoms]

earth2Happy Earth Day! Since today is Earth Day, I thought I would post my new favorite vegetarian recipe. This recipe is easy and healthy. My daughter loves anything with black beans and corn, so she liked this recipe.

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, it is a great grain. I buy mine from Whole Foods. It is a chewy grain that takes on the flavors you add to it. I had to try a few recipes before I found one that I liked. Just make sure that you rise the quinoa thoroughly before using it. You also want to make sure the strainer that you rise it in has a few fine mesh or the quinoa will fall right through it.

Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Notes: This recipe reheats well, so it is good for left-overs. I also add hot sauce to my serving, which is fanatastic.

The original recipe came from AllRecipes.com.

[Photo: Earth]