What's for Lunch

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

After a nearly a year of kindergarten, CeCee and Doodle have come to love reading and words in every form. They've graduated from asking me how to spell everything to sounding out their words. This image is a school lunch menu Doodle wrote out while pretending to be the teacher.

I think my favorite thing about reading their creations is realizing how much I visualize words as I say them, and I find it interesting how they construct words. Who can argue that "wodr" isn't every bit as good as "water"?

No Wonder I Always Hate Photos of Myself

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When I can't help but compare them to this:

Rural King

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Ladies Discount Day at Rural King! It's also Senior Citizen day (perhaps they're synonyms at the farm store?) but since I have a few years to qualify for that discount (and they won't let me combine them), I'll take what I can get.

One of the downsides of living in a small town is the limited shopping. Our small mall is half full (the optimist's way of saying it's half empty--the food court has 2 vendors!) and Target is 30 minutes away. I do have 4 Super-Walmarts within 30 minutes of my house, but that hardly makes for fun shopping. Luckily, I also have 3 Rural Kings within 30 minutes of my house.

Rural King is a traditional farm/home store. They have live chicks, just about every kind of seed and feed imaginable (I first went in to buy 50 lb bags of pond fish food), hunting and fishing supplies, hardware, toys, clothes, food, appliances, lawn furniture, and all kinds of odd things, all a store the size of an average supermarket. They have free coffee and popcorn, both self-serve. I can easily kill an hour munching on popcorn and browsing the store with my cart loaded up with a giant bag of fish feed and whatever else I stumble upon and instantly need.

James bought a windmill from them last weekend. After he finds the time to install it, I'll post more on it and hopefully will have pictures of how it transforms our pond.

In the meantime, I think I need another 50 lbs of pond fish food.

Prize-Winning Recipe

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Unity Point School had a vegetable recipe contest yesterday. CeCee and Doodle each "submitted" recipes (I picked out a couple of my favorites and typed them up for each to bring to school). CeCee's recipe won second place, with a 10$ gift card and a printout of all the recipes submitted.

I like both of the recipes we sent. I'll let you guess which one won the prize :-)

Three Cheese Baked Ziti with Spinach

1 package (16 ounces) ziti
1 bag (6 ounces) spinach leaves (about 4 cups), washed
1 jar (25 ounces) red pasta sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Add the spinach during the last minute of the cooking time. Drain the pasta and spinach will in a colander, then return them to the sauce pot.

Stir the pasta sauce, ricotta, 1/2 cup of the mozarella, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, garlic powder, and black pepper into the pasta mixture. Spoon everything into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Black Bean Lasagna

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (26 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup salsa
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10-12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded cojack or pepperjack cheese

In a large bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, salsa, chili powder, and cumin and mix well. In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, and 1/2 cup Parmesan and beat until combined.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spread one third of the tomato and bean mix in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch glass baking dish. Top with half of the noodles, overlapping slightly and breaking noodles as necessary to fit. Top with the second third of the tomato-bean mix. Spoon the ricotta mix over the top, spreading carefully. Sprinkle with 1/2 shredded cheese. Layer remaining noodles and tomato-bean mix over the casserole. Top with last of the shredded cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the baking dish tightly with foil, sprayed side down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer, until casserole is bubbling and cheese begins to brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.