Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week 93—Camping, cont.

Mon – Stir-fry
Tues –  Burgers 
Weds – Dogs/Brats
Thurs Turkey sausage foil-packs (w/potatoes, peas, etc) my favorite camping meal
Fri eat out/toss in a pizza
Alts – free dinner for kids this week at IKEA! (through July 4)
So it's partially laziness, partially just hot weather cooking, but the theme this week is certainly MEAT + GRILL.

I should circle back to my brilliant camping scheme of cooking everything on a stick/hot-pot/foil pack too. Had I carried that plan out, we would have starved. Husband 1, wife, well, 1 for at least listening and packing the campstove. A) no fires allowed when camping in the Badlands and B) not much wood to be found in some of those desert-like areas of western N Dakota. Besides the fact that handy-man husband spent nearly 5 hours completely rebuilding the camp stove so it would work like new, which it did.

Happy cooking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Boiling water in a paper cup

I've never tried boiling water in a paper cup, but just might, after hearing about this new book:
Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do

I think most of us parents balance the danger-safety-(trust?) factor throughout our kids' days. Tonight, I watched the thrill my 1-year-old got from figuring out how to use a step stool to create "stairs" up to a children's table in our kitchen while I cooked. Up and down he went, saying "tr! tr!" (stair! stair!). And of course, he had a micro-tumble during one up-down session. Risk factor? 3 out of 10.

That said, he's probably not ready to man the grill yet. Or boil water in a paper cup.

Monday, June 27, 2011

fuel for the fire

We found ourselves short of firewood during our first night camping in western North Dakota. We did, however, find plenty of dry buffalo chips. Recalling a bit of history we'd read about prairie kids picking up chips for fires, we decided to give it a try. (The photo was taken after we'd found some sticks the day after we'd tried lighting the chip).

It didn't work out—although it smoked a bit.

Anyone have tips on how to properly ignite dried manure? Come on, Bobby Flay! Share your insider secrets!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Category: That was weird, exclamation point

I completed a survey to win $100 toward groceries on a whim last night. Here is the response I got (and I really had few complaints, and in fact, many positive comments about staff):
Hello Nicole, Thank you for taking the time and fill our customer service survey! We appreciate your comments and we Thank you for your feedback! My name is Jordan and I am the assistant store manager at Cub Midway! We are excited to have you as our regular customer, we value your opinion as this helping us to improve in our mission to provide the best customer service experience ever! All that you mentioned is going to be addressed! please let us know if there is anything we can do for you on your next shopping trip to CUB! We are here to ensure the best customer service so if there is anything we can help you with please let us know! We wish you a wonderful day and Thank you for shopping at CUB! 

I guess that was nice. Or maybe just weird. Yeah, pretty much just weird. Wish I knew if I was in the running for the 100 bucks...

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Getting ready to camp in cowboy country for a week (Dakotas/Montana). I was excited about making only foods that you cooked on a stick/pie pot thing-a-ma-jig/or foil packs. Husband NOT so excited about being so reliant on a campfire, thinking we'll want the cookstove anyway. So I'm planning.

My list-in-progress (numbers indicate number of times served):

Instant oatmeal (2)
Yogurt & oats & peaches/apples(2)
Eggs and toast (2)
Pancakes (2)

Hodgepodge. Bringing stuff for:
wraps/sandwiches that can be filled with:
- Goober pbj
- Nutella & bananas
- cream cheese and jam
- canned turkey/tuna and cheese

Side options:
pudding cups
pita chips
sun chips
ritz & squeeze cheese
fruit cups
...and lots of other snacks Grandma packed!

Walking tacos (fritos/meat made in advance or chili beans/avocado/toms/cheese/salsa)
Corn on cob & hot dogs & beans
Spaghetti and meatballs and peas
Turkey sausage foil-pack (new potatoes, onion, gr beans)
Chicken a la king on mashed potatoes
possibly chili or other soup (bring frozen)
+ we'll eat out ANY and as many meals as needed for peace and sanity

singing apples (stick apple on a stick; cook until sings; peel; roll in cinnamon and sugar)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Plastic Covered Lamp Shades

We've had bright oil-cloth covers on the dining room chairs our kids use since they moved out of the high chair stage. They think they're fun, and they simplify clean-up when milk, etc gets spilled 3x a day. 

About a month ago, I tossed a vinyl picnic table cloth over our dining room table at meal time, trying to mimic the feel of our traditional "upstairs pizza parties" which we weren't able to do that night. Here we are, one month later and that ill-fitting table cloth is still on the table. 

The weird part is, I like it. 

When we bought our table at an antiques show, we had an 8-week-old baby girl in our first (and hopefully last) house ever, and I said to my husband: I am not going to baby this table. I want to use it, to add to the wear it already bears, and to enjoy it. The house and table have endured 85 years already--they will outlast us.

Fast-forward 5 1/2 years. Vinyl table cloth covers lovely round oak table with ruined finish. I am sadly liking the fact that I'm not cringing every time I scrub down the table and take yet more finish off it, feeling the now-sticky non-waterproof finish coming up because we didn't know we were supposed to be waxing the thing every month, not once a year.

But I digress. What I'm really getting at here is, what am I going to cover next? I fear for the lampshades. My couch. The pillows. I have 3 little kids and I am almost ready to begin furnishing my house like it's a McDonald's play land. 

I look to my left as I type this and see a patchwork of black permanent marker on my red IKEA couch in the upstairs play area. When did this happen? I think I've just found my next target.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

quaint, inconvenient things

My family lives in a 1923 bungalow with a kitchen in sore need of repair/restoration/renovation. While the project is not on the immediate horizon, it's always tucked away in our minds, surfacing with the same frequency as the lead paint chips—or when we visit other houses the same age as ours.

When we went on this year's Twin Cities Bungalow Club Tour, we paid special attention to kitchens. The photo is from one of the houses on the tour, in Minneapolis. Nice kitty.

We have a sink like the one shown here sitting in our basement that we salvaged from our neighbor's house. It's like the one that used to be in our house, so to reinstall something like this would go a long way toward making it feel more like a traditional bungalow. Simple things, essential materials; a realm free of marble countertops and cold silver appliances.

Our constant question is, at what point does reclaiming what's "quaint" become miserable? There is a balance to be found. We aren't slavishly historical, but would prefer to follow the lead of 1920's trends over 2010's trends. Stay tuned. In (let's make a leap here) 6 years when we DO tackle our kitchen, I'll make sure to post a photo of the sink.