life these days.

nicolai and i often say thank you to each other when it's time to tuck in at night.
simply, "thanks for hanging out with me today".
of course there are lots of kisses, hugs, "i love you", and snuggles, too.
as an at-home mom though, i really do just hang out with him all day.
we go to the playground, the library, cook in the kitchen, visit family in town, color/craft/play dough, attend singalong or story time, and occasionally run an errand.


vegan cooking.

lately i've been making a lot of vegan dinners thanks to chef chloe and her books that are available at our library (chloe's kitchen and chloe's vegan italian kitchen).
her peanutty perfection noddles were a hit last weekend at a potluck bbq and will be delivered next week to a family with a new baby girl.
david took one bite of her gravy (scroll down there) and requested it for thanksgiving this year.
we had the gravy on her guilt-free garlic mashed potatoes, made with potatoes, cauliflower, and parsnips and we tried her brussels sprouts that night.
while i liked the lightness and freshness of her fettuccine alfredo, d was missing the real deal.
we liked her desserts as well: sea salt toffee bars, lemon-thyme shortbread, and mint ice cream with chocolate sauce have been devoured.
clearly, links to her recipes are few and far between, but look for her cookbooks at your library...worth it!


the colors of fall.

our leaves are quickly changing color here in colorado.
fall has brought with it a few chilly days and more very cold nights, but then days of sunshine and warmth still, too (thank goodness).
the flip flops are still in solitary rotation but with all the golden light filtering through the trees it's obvious we'll be bundling up sooner or later.
we are still picking tomatoes from the garden (and covering tomato plants on freezing nights), but the squash, corn, and beans have been removed from their rows.
d built a metal pipe and thick plastic greenhouse over a section of the garden, which i refer to as the garden room...i'd like to fill it with fluffy blankets and sitting cushions all winter, alas space is needed to try some cold weather crops.


recent read.

i've just finished delicious by ruth reichl.
this is her first work of fiction.
i loved that occasionally i'd catch myself wondering how/what certain people were doing then realize i was thinking of her characters and i would find out if i could just plunk down with the book.
throughout the novel there is passion for food, cooking, and the people involved.


weekend (no so far) away.

this past weekend we went camping at the local KOA campground.

(the boys loved set up time and bouncing across the beds uncle ryan was setting up)
we hadn't planned to camp there, but with many surrounding area campgrounds full, we tried our luck and they had two spots side-by-side for us.
it was pricey for a tent campsite, but the price covered participation in their rec center: bouncy zone, mini golf, train rides, bike rides, boat rides, washers, horseshoes, pickleball, sport ball check-out, etc.

(train ride)

(just outside the tent)
the bouncy area was for kids over 5, so our boys have something to look forward to in the coming years.

(a final pedal boat ride on a pink flamingo boat)
it's certainly not for the hardcore camping elite, but for our family full of boys under four, it was a hit and the grown-ups got to sleep under the stars, beside a lake.
(evening marshmallow roasting required shades)
(morning by the fire)
d suggested it be our end of summer tradition as far as camping trips go...sounds like a good idea.
(nicolai and meema sharing a round of golf) 


recipes worth repeating.

some days call for a really easy home cooked dinner so i thought i'd try my hand at one pot pasta despite some serious doubts and both this thai pasta and this italian pasta turned out great.
i have a slight addiction now to alton brown's soft pretzels...i'm not even sure how many times i've made them in the past three weeks...just three...maybe.
while i couldn't get passed the fact that i was eating so much butter in the filling of these cookies, d loved our homemade "oreos".
i made these sesame noodles substituting the fresh veggies we had on hand (broccoli and carrots).
i've been seeing granola recipes popping up all over the place lately and tried these granola guidelines with items we had on hand.
d made garden fresh tomatillo salsa from this book.
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