Thursday, July 28, 2011


Have you ever heard of hydroponics? Well, I hadn't until recently, and I think it's very interesting. So much so, that I am looking into getting the kids school into it. Apparently, there are Federal Grants that will pay for the system, all you need is a willing class and Teacher. What a fun way to integrate hands on learning into a class. Here are some facts, as well as photos I took when we went to check out the hydroponics farm. (Which happens to be within walking distance of my home.) It was so cool and interesting. Grow your own food!!!! I know some of you are Teachers, as well as Moms who are involved in the classrooms. If you want more info, here is their website. Jan Young is the lady who operates the local hydroponics farm. Her website is

And, here is a little info from the flyer:
"The Tower Garden uses a closed system technology to recycle 100% of the nutrients and water. This means the plants only use 5% to 10%  of the nutrients and water that is commonly used in both conventional and organic farming. The Tower Garden is made in the USA and is the only vertical growing system made from USDA approved food grade plastic."

Check out how beautiful and healthy these salad greens and herbs look. You can grow all kinds of things, and vegetables grow in half the time they would take to grow in the ground. Such neat technology. I wish I'd thought of it!

Shout out to my friend, Heather, who introduced us to the Hydroponics farm! :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Krabby Patties

Turkey Burgers on the grill
1 lb ground turkey
1 TBSP Greek seasoning
1 TBSP seasoning salt
1 TSP Worcestershire sauce
drizzle of olive oil

Knead all spices together with ground turkey. Pat into 4 burgers, or 8 sliders. Drizzle with olive oil. Grill 5-7 mins on each side, only turning once. (ground turkey is more fragile than ground beef) Serve on toasted buns with condiments of your choice.

My kids are pretty easy when it comes to trying new things, especially when I call them something like "Krabby Patties" (thank you Sponge bob) With all the grilling out we've been doing this summer, I felt the need to mix it up a bit, so I did some digging, and once again, edited the spices to my families liking. These krabby patties ended up being a delicious, healthy alternative to the same old burgers. Served with corn on the cob and mac n cheese and you've got a meal.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Watermelon Daiquiris

While soaking up some rays the other day at the beach with Trish and her kids, I couldn't help thinking how refreshing an ice cold drink would be. I just kept wishing a breeze our way, because it was HOT. These are the dog days of summer that this Florida native could care less for! After doing some research online, I found this quick, easy, and most importantly, refreshing recipe. If you are looking to beat the heat, give it a try.

Summer Watermelon Daiquiris
4 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed watermelon (diced small)
1/4 cup light rum
1/4 cup lime juice or juice of one lime
1/4 cup triple sec
1/2 cup club soda or sprite
ice cubes, as many as needed
fresh mint leaves for garnish

Freeze watermelon overnight. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend, adding ice until blender is at 5 cup level. Enjoy immediately.

If you have kids in the house, it's a good idea to freeze enough watermelon to make virgin daiquiris for them. Just replace the alcohol with 1/2 cup of sprite, and make theirs first.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I've often bought sweet potatoes at the market, and once I get them home, they just seem to sit there staring at me. I know they have lots of good for you stuff like beta carotene and vitamins galore, and that's why I can't resist putting them in my grocery bag to begin with. But, I never seem to know how to prepare them in a way that my family will enjoy. Back in the day when my kids were babies, sweet potato was a staple in my kitchen. I baked them, then pureed them up and added seasonal spices. They were a favorite. Now that they are older, I've been at a loss on how to get them to gobble sweet potato up like they used to. A friend of mine mentioned how she is "addicted" to baked sweet potato fries. Intrigued, I did a recipe look up, and after tweaking the recipe a bit, served them to my family with rave reviews. I, myself, like them the old fashioned way....with ketchup. Try this healthy recipe instead of traditional white potato fries, and see for yourself.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 lbs sweet potatoes, about 3 or 4
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp demerara sugar (cane sugar in the raw)
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp Cajun style spice (I use Penzey's Northwoods Seasoning)

Preheat oven to 450. Peel and cut potatoes into wedges. Put baking sheet in oven to preheat it. (This will help the fries become more crisp.) Toss sweet potato wedges in medium sized bowl with olive oil and spices, being sure to coat well. (I just use my hands.) Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on preheated baking sheet. Do not spray the pan with non stick cooking spray. The sweet potatoes will crisp nicer in the olive oil without cooking spray. Bake for 15 mins, then turn and bake another 15 mins or until desired crispness is achieved.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A day on Yia Yia's farm/ Fasolakia Recipe

scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe
We spent most of the day with Yia Yia on her farm. Steven LOVES being out there, and had lots of fun with the baby goats. He named them "Hip Hop" and "Slick". Hip Hop is full of personality. He is the smallest, but not afraid to walk right up to you. His name comes from the fact that he hops sideways when he runs. Funny.
Steven named the other one Slick, because he is very crafty in getting away.

We had Fasolakia for lunch, that we made from produce we picked out of Yia Yia's garden. Something about that speaks to me, and somehow makes the food taste even better. I'm including my recipe for Fasolakia in this post. This recipe is actually George's Yia Yia's recipe. On one of our trips to Greece, I watched her make it and wrote down everything she put in the pot. I remember it being interesting because she spoke not a word of English, and my Greek was not the best ever. I payed close attention to everything she put into that pot! The recipe is dated 7/2/2000. I'm so happy that I spent that time in the kitchen with her.

Yia Yia Mana's Fasolakia
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 of medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 lb fresh green beans, washed and stems removed
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 yellow squash, chopped
2 zucchini squash, chopped
3 beefsteak tomatoes
1 tsp Oregano
4 Fresh Mint Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cover bottom of heavy bottom pot with olive oil. Warm on medium-low heat. Add garlic and onions, and saute until translucent, maybe 3 mins. Add pinch of sea salt. Add green beans and chopped potatoes. Stir to coat vegetables in oil/onion/garlic mix. Cut tomatoes in half and grate. Add grated tomatoes and skins to pot. (if you want to take a short cut here, just add a small can of tomato sauce, and omit the tomatoes from the recipe) Sprinkle in oregano and mint leaves. Add enough water to cover vegetables, cover pot, and simmer fro 20 mins. Add zucchini and yellow squash. Cover and cook another 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
Serve with feta cheese, and french bread to dip into the savory juice.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fourth of July Treats

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe.
Hello. Happy Fourth of July Weekend! We have a great weekend planned, celebrating the USA's birthday. Of course that means I have to do some creative stuff in the kitchen. It ended up being so easy that I wanted to get this post in for anyone who might need a quick treat to share with friends and family this weekend.

Our family started the weekend where we seem to be a lot of the time this summer....THE BEACH! We went down to hang out with Pam and Andrew and the boys at their rental beach house. The kids had a great time boogie boarding, but we did end up getting rained out.

I'm also including a couple snaps from our small town celebration Friday evening. In true "small town" fashion, the fireworks display was late by an hour and we had already left in order to beat the crowd. Plus, the rumor around was that they were late because the operators weighed the barge down with so many fireworks that it SANK!!! Who knows if it actually happened? I know there were A LOT OF PEOPLE who came out to see them, and we were just tired of waiting around. We were at the restaurant lighting our sparklers by the time they finally shot the fireworks up. We had a good time walking around town and just being with Uncle Dan and Aunt Jessica. There were 3 live bands, and all kinds of vendors set up. Face painting and bounce houses. It was a nice scene, and great people watching.We still have plans to go out in the boat to watch the fireworks display in the next town over for the actual 4th.

Fourth of July Rice Krispies Treats
2 packages snack sized rice krispies treats
1 1/2 cups milk or white chocolate
1 TBSP canola oil
Red White and Blue sprinkles
16 Red and Blue craft sticks

Peel wrappers off treats. Stick craft stick through about 3/4 of the treat.
In small microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and oil. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 mins, stirring every 30 seconds.
Dip bars in chocolate, then sprinkle with sprinkles.
Place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.
*You can use this recipe for any holiday. Just add seasonal sprinkles, and you have a special desert with minimal effort.
Steven says this is the "best snack he's ever tasted"

Now it's off to pack up for tomorrow's trip.... boating to the Springs. We wish your family a safe and fun Holiday!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Peach Compote Breakfast

My kids have been eating this protein filled breakfast since they were 9 months old. I found this recipe many years ago in a baby food book by Joachim and Christine Splichal. It is still a big hit in our home. I've tweaked the recipe many times. During the summer, I add cut up bananas and sometimes pour over pound cake instead of yogurt. In fall, I sprinkle cinnamon on top, and add granola. Another tip is that the peaches need time to cool down before serving, so if you happen to make it for a school day, saute' the peaches the night before and refrigerate overnight.

1/2 cup water
2 TBS sugar
1 TSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 large, fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered
1/2 cup plain yogurt

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a simmer, swirling the pan once or twice. When the sugar has dissolved, add the lemon juice.

Decrease the heat until the syrup is barely simmering and add the peaches and cook, uncovered, for about 15 mins, until the peaches are tender. If you want to stir, I recommend using a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and let the peaches cool in the liquid for 30 mins.

Remove the cooled peaches with a wooden spoon, and place over yogurt. Serve immediately.

VBS 2011

Our kids did VBS at Faith this year. I thought it would be a good idea for them to get to know some of the kids they will be going to school with in the fall. The theme was "Pandamania". I volunteered one night and watched the kids all interacting and having so much fun. Another treat was that Sophie came too! These pics are from the fourth and final night. Just look at these excited faces!