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I didn’t get spinach in my CSA box, but a friend, who is a member of a different CSA, traded her spinach for some of my mushrooms and mint.

This recipe was developed by combining the best elements of several different savory bread pudding recipes I found online.  Sorry there’s no picture, but as soon as it came out of the oven, everyone dug in.

2tbs Earth Balance (or other butter/margarine)

about 4 cups baby spinach, washed and stems removed

2tps water

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

1 large loaf of French or Italian bread, in 1/4in dice (about 5cups total)

3 large eggs

3/4 cup Silk creamer (cow’s milk cream would probably work)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Butter is 6 cup souffle dish or other deep baking dish.

In a large skillet, melt 1/2tsp of Earth Balance over medium high heat.  Add the spinach, garlic and water, season with salt and pepper and stir a few times. Cover and cook the spinach until it wilts, about 2 minutes.

Set a colunder over a bowl and drain the spinach; press lightly and on the spinach to extract 1/4 cup of liquid.  Let spinach cool.  Heat the remaining Earth Balance in a large skillet.  Add 2 cups of the bread cubes and stir until they are crisp and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the creamer, reserved spinach cooking liquid, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8tsp pepper and nutmeg.  Stir in spinach and remaining bread.  Pour into baking dish and top with the crispy bread cubes.

Set baking dish in a water bath and bake for 35-4o minutes.

Lentil Rhubarb Soup

I won’t lie to y’all, this one had mixed reviews.  My husband and kids liked this one, I thought it was a little strange.  It’s a good way to use up rhubarb without tons of sugar and fat that comes with a pie.  I’m keeping my eye out for more savory rhubarb recipes.

  • 1 1/2 C. boiling water
  • 3/4 C. lentils

Soak the lentils in the boiling water while you prepare the remaining ingredients:

  • 2 C. chopped carrots
  • 1 3/4 C. chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 C. chopped onion
  • 1 C. finely chopped rhubarb
  • 4 C. broth, chicken or veggie
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add 2 T. olive oil. Saute onion, carrot, and celery for about 4 minutes, or until a little soft. Add the rhubarb and continue sauteing for a bit longer. Drain lentils and add them to the pan. Add the broth and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Rhubarb Scones

These are very tart but good.  My older son loves them, but he doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth.  My younger son doesn’t really care for them, but he has his mother’s sweet tooth.  I find them very tart but delish!

Rhubarb Scones

2 1/2 cups white flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking spoon

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup soy milk

1 egg

2 stalks rhubarb in a small dice.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 400. In bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In small bowl whisk soy milk with egg. Drizzle over dry ingredients and sir together with a fork. (dough should be very sticky) Knead in the rhubarb. Drop by large spponfuls onto baking sheet.  Bake for about 15 or until lightly browned.

CSA box 1

It’s been nearly 2 years since I last posted on this blog, so I’m sure any readers I once had are long gone.  Welcome to any new readers!

This year, my family joined a CSA.  For those of you who aren’t familar with CSAs, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  How they usually work is a group of people get together and agree to pay a farmer a single lump sum for weekly deliveries of the farmer’s produce.  In addition to our farm share, we have paid an addition fee for weekly free range, humanely raised eggs.  I wanted to document my experience both to educate and inform others who might be considering a CSA and to help us decide if we want to continue membership in the CSA in the coming years.

Here is box 1.  At the top, 2 bags of rhubarb, then left to right, mint, spring or green onions, romane lettuce, radishes, mixed salad greens, and mushrooms.

I’m a little disappointed that there is no spinach, but pleasantly surprised to find the mushrooms.  I also picked up to recipes with my box, a sort of rhubarb ade drink and a roasted radish with radish greens.  I’ll be posted recipes after we taste test them.  Tomorrow’s dinner will be a lentil and rhubarb soup.

Thoughts on School

So, here we are, halfway through my summer session class.  I was surprised to find myself not the only older student and that the teacher is very attentive to the older students, more so, than the kids.  He has been very encouraging of my progress and understanding in terms of schedule changes, child care needs, ect.  In my previous attempts to attend school, I have never felt this excited to be there.  Perhaps it’s the subject matter, perhaps it’s my current stage in life, not sure which.  Does it really matter?  I don’t think so.

The class is a beginner piano class and I wasn’t sure how much I’d get out of it.  I took piano for so many years as a kid that I thought I would be bored.  However, the students are all at different levels and the teacher works with us individually.  I’m very surprised at the rate of my progress.  I hadn’t played music in nearly 20 years.  When I was a kid, I was a total theory geek, so I still have the ability to read music, I just need to work on the actual playing.  Having a teacher is really doing wonders for that.  When we got the piano, I got some “teach yourself to play” books, but never went very far.  This class has reminded me just how much I love making music and I plan to continue taking classes when this one is finished.

The other older student in my class is a guy my age.  He got his first AA in Criminal Justice and had been working in the field for 10+ years.  I was very interested to talk to him, both about the program and about his work.  The things he has told me has me reconsidering my plan to study Criminal Justice.  At this point, I don’t have to declare a major and I have quite a bit of time before I do.  I won’t be going full time until the kids are old enough to stay home by themselves.  Right now, I plan on working on my core classes and the major can wait.

Going to School

I took the leap and registered for a class at the local community college.  It starts in 2 weeks and I’m more than a little nervous about it.  I’ve attempted to go to college several times in the past.  Each time, it has turned out to be bad timing.  The first time, back in 1992, my stepmother was going through treatment for ovarian cancer.  I just couldn’t cope with stress.  I ended up failing most of my classes due to poor attendance.  The second time, 10 years later, I got pregnant half way through the semester.  Let’s just say I don’t have easy pregnancies and I was taking a class that required working with smelly chemicals.

Since then, I have gone to the college and talked to advisers about coming back.  Usually, the advice was not good, or at least not what I wanted to hear at the time.  I was given two options, clear my record and lose all my credits or retake all the classes I had failed.  I did pretty well in all the classes I managed to finished, so I’d really hate to lose those grades.  The other option isn’t really realistic.  I originally went in as a dance major.  I don’t think my body is up to the task of taking those classes over.  I guess I’ll retake the classes that aren’t dance and hope for the best.

The class I’m taking next month is a fun one, just something to get my feet wet and get used to the idea of going to school.  In the fall, I take some serious classes.  My adviser recommended taking the next English in the sequence before retaking some of the classes that require lots of writing.  Writing has never been a strong point, so I’m very nervous about taking that class.  She also recommended retaking intro to computer applications, since when I took it, it focused mainly on DOS.  This will be the third time I will have taken it.  Maybe having some help this time around will do the trick!

Everyone keeps telling me that when you go back to school as an adult, things are different, that adult students tend to do better, be more dedicated, ect, ect.  I hope that turns out to the truth for me.  I certainly can’t do any worse than I’ve done in the past.

Living with TMJ

From http://www.tmj.org

Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disorders (TMJDs) refers to a complex and poorly understood set of conditions that can cause pain in the area of the jaw joint and associated muscles and/or problems using the jaw. Both or just one of the TM joints may be affected. TMJDs can affect a person’s ability to speak, eat, chew, swallow, make facial expressions, and even breathe.

I was first diagnosed with TMJ disorder when I was 18. The flare that caused me running to the dentist was a particularly bad one.  After a few days of increasing pain and stiffness, my jaw locked up in an open position and I was unable to close it.  Unfortunately, my experience at the dentist’s office only made things worse.  The hygenist couldn’t understand what I was trying to tell her and she forced my mouth to open wider so she could examine me.  This experience made me very wary of dentists.  It took me several years, nearly a decade, to find a dentist who had TMJ himself and made sure his entire staff knew how to care for TMJ patients.  Over the years, I wondered if I was missing out on effective treatment by avoiding dentists.  My current dentist has been totally honest with me.  There is no cure for TMJ and most treatments are worthless.

I learned pretty early on to hide my pain from the world.  When people ask you “how are you?”, they don’t really want to know.  Anyone who doesn’t live with chronic pain can not understand it.  Even my family doesn’t really know how much pain I have.  All they see are bad days when I can barely control my temper, have no patience or maybe drink a little too much.  The problem is that it’s a vicious cycle.  Stress causes me to clench more, the clenching causes pain and insomnia, which causes me to lose my temper, wrecking havoc in my personal life, which then causes me to clench more.  In my younger days, I could break the cycle with pain medication.  Today, I know that is not an option.  I just can’t go down that road again.

When I was in middle school, my best friend’s father shot himself because of the pain of TMJ.  At various points in my life, I have been able to understand his actions.  Sometimes I think I would be willing to do anything to be rid of the pain.  I have to remember the important things in my life to keep me grounded.  My children, my husband,my family, and my friends keep me here.  I live through the pain so I can be here for them.