Archive for March, 2012

Barefoot in March

Son #2 showing off his muddy hands in the middle of March. We are loving this gift of amazing weather.

As a Minnesotan, I am obsessed with weather. It is who we are. I think it comes from being cold for 6 months of the year and waiting for a beautiful day. We Minnesotans know how to enjoy ourselves once the nice weather arrives. What a strange March we are in! It is basketball tournament time, and normally we brace ourselves for a blizzard. This year in this week of 70 degree weather, we are grilling and bike riding and walking and going to parks and eating outside. I’m doing all I can to restrain myself from planting my entire garden. I have decided I’ll allow myself to plant some lettuce, just to see what happens. If a cold snap ruins them, I won’t be too upset. But if I have lettuce in April, it will be amazing!

Seriously, I could go on and on about this weather. We are all in awe here. I’ve been walking around barefoot and eating in my yard with Son #3 who is enamoured with the idea of eating outside and wants to invite everyone he knows to have a picnic with him. The strangest part of the weather was picking up my last box of veggies from my winter CSA while wearing a tank top, shorts and flip-flops. Who wants to eat turnips and rutabagas when it is 75 degrees? Not this girl.

Then St. Patrick’s Day arrives. We reached an all-time record of 80 degrees. I ran a 7k race in a t-shirt and shorts and was sweating. I had decided to combine a local food meal with St. Patrick’s Day. I came across a recipe for Colcannon and realized I could make it with all local ingredients. Before I made it, I sent a message to my only “real” Irish friend and asked her 1) is Colcannon a traditional Irish meal? and 2) would it be strange to add ham? She confirmed it was truly Irish, but her mom didn’t ever make it, and yes, I could add ham if it was to be the main dish.

My version of Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day. Some recipes call for kale, but I had cabbage available locally.

Speaking of ham. I don’t eat ham. I haven’t liked it since I was about 12 years old. So when I called my mom and said “I have a funny question for you. How do I bake a ham?” She laughed pretty hard, not because I had to ask her, but because I was actually considering making it. The ham came in a recent meat combo pack I bought from a local farm. I usually give the ham away, but thought this would be a good way to try it. Guess what? It was pretty darn good. And so was the Colcannon. This link is similar to how I made it, but I sautéed cabbage and a diced onion instead of boiling the cabbage. I also cut down the amount of butter and used some cream with the milk. It was a hit with half of the family. Son #4 enjoyed the mashed potato part. He’s become somewhat of an eating machine in the last two weeks. Son #1 loved it, and Sons 2 and 3 mostly cried about having to eat it (except for the ham).

Our homemade Shamrock Shake. It may become a St. Patrick's Day tradition around here.

After the traditional part of the meal was over, I decided an American take on St. Patrick’s Day would be fun. Who doesn’t love a Shamrock Shake? I made homemade shakes with vanilla ice cream, milk, a dash of mint extract, and a couple drops of green food coloring. I’ll never purchase a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s again. This was so much better! Plus I think the new fake whipped cream and cherry thing just ruins it.

Anyway, a belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all. Get out there and enjoy our early bit of summer. It only comes around about every 120 years in Minnesota.

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Blue Cake, one year later

Son #4 at 6 days old

I sat down to write a post about food, but realized it is just over a year since I started writing Woo-Hoo Tofu. So instead, I’ve decided to reflect on our year. What a year it has been. Looking back on my posts from a year ago brought me to my “Blue Cake, Anyone?” post. This was my most viewed post of all time because it was the big reveal of our fourth boy. Reading it again made me think about what a miracle each baby is. To think that almost exactly a year ago, there he was, this tiny being who did not have a name, but was growing and waiting to make his appearance.

Son #4 completes our family. He has dark brown eyes that look just like his daddy’s. Our other boys have hazel, green and blue eyes. I love to joke that it took four tries to have a baby that takes after dad. He is mellow most of the day, but can out-yell any of his brothers when he wants to be heard. He was the least fussy newborn of all my boys, but also the most attached to me. While his brothers hit developmental marks within days of each other, this guy has his own timeline. He just got his first tooth this week, at 7 months, compared to the 5 months of all his brothers. He didn’t sit up as early and he’s just starting to love food. Avocados were a huge hit tonight (here’s my food mention). His whole face lights up when he smiles, especially when I sing to him. I love watching the older boys interact with him. They are loving and helpful, but things are getting interesting now that Son #4 is rolling across the floor. This past week after the baby rolled over to the trains our 2-year was playing with, Son #3 told me “Put him on the couch. He is annoying me. Look what he did!”

At 6 months old, and looking just like dad.

Besides adding another member to our family, this year has been full of changes. We had to sell a car and buy a mini-van, I resigned from my job, my husband changed jobs, Son #2 started Kindergarten, and Son #1 was diagnosed with ADD. Overall, we are busy, happy, and extremely blessed. I am grateful to have all these boys to share adventures with. There are many more adventures to come.

As far as Woo-Hoo Tofu is concerned, I’ve noticed I’m becoming more long-winded. The Dark Days Challenge has been a great experience and my blog has evolved into something I wasn’t expecting. I’m excited to see where the next year leads me. Thanks for reading – I hope you’ve enjoyed my rambling.

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