Sunday, July 18, 2010


Oh, I miss the long hippie-surfer hair already (June 15th)...


Danny has to have hair long enough to twirl, so his didn't get cut nearly as short. And I have to admit, they're such handsome little boys under all that hair :)

And some pictures of Chuck, because he was so cute.

And the boys, on their bikes, on the deck. They must spend at least an hour each day doing this. I'm not sure what I'd do without that deck and those bikes...

What happens when I don't get out of bed...

It's even funnier when you find out that these were taken by Danny (on June 4th, at 8:30 in the morning)...

Huevos Rancheros

One of our favorite family vegetarian dinners--which is amazing, I don't think we ALL agree on many dinners.

Not that huevos rancheros is that hard to make, but this one was kind of special, for a few different reasons.

First off: the beans. I did them in my slow cooker (after soaking the dried beans overnight), and they were the best beans I've ever made.

Cuban Black Beans

This is from a Betty Crocker Slow Cooker Cookbook. They don't have you soak the beans beforehand, but I don't think that would have turned out as good.
  • 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 
  • 5 cups water (I only did 3 or 4 cups since I'd soaked my beans)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients in slow cooker; cover and cook on high heat setting 6 to 8 hours, or until beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves before serving. 

The salsa was a little special, too. Last summer, after canning almost an entire year's supply of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (I only ran out a couple weeks ago, just in time for fresh tomatoes...), I still was getting too many tomatoes from my garden. Brenda and Tom had read to just freeze them whole and that they would thaw under hot water easily. So I froze a few gallon Ziplocs full and had yet to use them. I pulled out a bag and ended up making this salsa with them.

I let the tomatoes thaw slightly, and drain a little. I put garlic, jalapeno and onion into my food processor and chopped them pretty finely. Then I threw the tomatoes in, coarsely chopped, with cilantro and salt, and continued processing until it was the consistency of salsa I wanted (not very chunky, in this case). This made such good salsa! I couldn't believe how good the tomatoes still tasted--and they never got freezer burnt.

The last "special" ingredient was our sour cream...which wasn't sour cream. I had needed whey recently, and after draining the whey, you're left with what most people refer to as yogurt cheese. We were out of sour cream (quite a rarity, actually), but I subbed in the yogurt cheese and my sour cream loving children were none the wiser. Danny was actually surprised when I told him what it was.

To assemble our huevos rancheros, I spread the beans on a corn tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, add the egg (sunny side up is what our family likes), then top with salsa, sour cream and whatever other Mexican food type accompaniments we have on hand (avocados, this night).

Karin and Randy--almost two months late :)

At the end of May, we finally got to see Karin and Randy--it had been almost two years, I think, which is so awful.

Unfortunately, the weather was horrible while they were here: I'm not sure about May, but June was the rainiest June we've had in 15 years...May couldn't have been too far behind it! My garden literally drowned--carrots, lettuces, and peas never even poked their heads up and my spinach bolted after about 2 weeks. Only the peas have ever been replanted (we ended up with a nice crop though!).

So...Chris' mom wasn't too happy with the weather! But despite that, we had a nice visit and did quite a few things. I actually think the rain wasn't too bad while they were here, but it was overcast the entire time.

We did a trip into Portland to visit Powell's and Voodoo Donuts, then ate dinner at the Berlin Inn, Chris' favorite German restaurant he's found, so far. And Chris and his mom loaded up on German goodies and cold cuts at their little adjacent shop.

Their visit fell on Memorial Day weekend and the Shawa clan was meeting at the beach, so we went down there to join in. Dad had arranged housing for himself, Susie, Ava, Brenda, Tom, and Bean (oh, Pua and Annie, too) at a condo, and then for our family (plus Zeus) and Chris' parents at a friends' cabin; Reema, Don, Michelle, Josh and all three of their dogs rented a house; and then Jamal and Naseem (each with a friend) were going to stay at Grandma's. However...our "cabin" was uh, not the nicest digs. So I managed to convince everyone involved that the teenage boys would really be better off switching with us, which ended up working for everyone!

So...14 adults; 4 teenagers; 4 little kids; 6 dogs. It was chaotic. It was my family at their best and I loved it :) I think (I hope), Karin and Randy did, too!

Of course we had to go to the beach while we were in Long Beach: we first stopped at Waikiki Beach, where there was a beached baby seal. It was so sad, but they do this, for whatever reason, and it was neat for the kids to see.
There are also tons of rocks (and driftwood, obviously) on Waikiki, so it's a fun place for kids to play.
The boys also played in an existing driftwood fort, but no one took a picture of it. Apparently, none of us were doing well with the cameras this weekend...

Chris had become obsessed with the jetty, so from Waikiki we walked down to Benson Beach, and out onto the jetty. There were whales breeching right there off the jetty, so that was pretty cool. This was a pretty yucky day, misting heavily and cold, but Karin was a trooper :) And Danny walked a ton. Isaac ended up passed out on Chris during a piggyback ride back to the car, poor guy.

From there, we went back into Long Beach and met Brenda, Tom, Bean and Mom for pony rides for the kids. They don't look happy, but I promise they enjoyed it! Just the damn rain...

From here, I don't really remember the order of things. Blame it on a food-induced coma from all the good cooking that went on at Grandma's house: Don and Reema and their enchiladas; Susie and her cinnamon rolls and mac and cheese; Grandma's crazy seafood splurges (FIFTY pounds of steamer clasms); dessert after dessert after dessert...

We made it up to Oysterville, to the church where Chris and I were married.
And of course we weren't going to leave Oysterville without some fresh oysters. (So this must have been on our last day...). Then we drove the beach from the Ocean Park approach down to Cranberry, and stopped for some sand play and kite flying. We also saw a bald eagle flying around--this trip was just rife with wildlife!

When we got back to Battle Ground, one of Chris' best friends, Toby, and his dad happened to be driving through, so they swung by the house to say hi.

Then...we only had one day left. We took a trip to Moulton Falls and did a little walking. When we got home I fried up the oysters for lunch and an hour after that, Chris took Karin and Randy to the airport. The boys were pretty bummed to see them go, but they really enjoyed their time with Oma and Opa.


Wow--almost two months has gone by. After that last post, Karin and Randy were here for a week; we've been to Walla Walla to see Dad and Susie; despite a horribly rainy and cold June, the garden is planted and doing well; we've gone camping and on our first kayaking excursion as a family; I've been knitting up a storm; I've cooked some great stuff I want to share; busy, busy, busy.

I can't believe it's July. My pregnancy is flying by; I guess having two older kids will do that! 

And Brenda still hasn't had Daphne! Three days past her due date and counting...

Here's to hoping I'll maybe get some posts done on the above subjects!