Friday, March 25, 2011

A good day for art

Today was a good day.  We went to the homeschool art day at a different county library.  The kids really had a good time putting their projects together and looking at what the other kids had brought to display.     All the projects were so unique.  My older ds drew a LARGE picture of him and his cousins battling a dragon in oil pastels.   Younger ds did a Lego mosaic of Mario.  And dd did a finger painting (pic).  There were acrylics, watercolors, paper mache, Lego, etc on display.  One of the moms demonstrated a watercolor painting that really impressed the boys.  I don't have an artistic bone in my body, so I'm glad they could get a chance to see someone who does in action.  They also played with some air drying clay from Crayola that was fantastic.  I'm going to have to get me some of that.

And the kids were so well behaved.  The boys said nice things about every project.  Older ds sat with dd and shared his snacks with her.  He even listened when I told him he couldn't have any more snacks except carrots (after his second trip the the snack table).  I was so impressed with them.

Hooray for art, libraries, and homeschooling!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My maple

I just had to share this photo.  It's my Japanese maple from this past fall.  It looks even better in person.  When it turns red like this, it gives the whole house inside a rosy glow.  When we were looking at houses, we looked at a few that had Japanese maples and I made the off-hand comment that I would love to have one.  Of course it wasn't even on the radar for things we were looking for in a house, just on my "probably not going to happen" wishlist.  We didn't buy this house for the Japanese maple, but I'm so glad it's there.  It makes me happy to look at it, no matter the season.  It even looks beautiful in the winter.

Thankful for Tender Mercies

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bobotie and Sambal

Saturday night is 'international night' at our house, for dinner at least. I use a 4 week rotating calendar to plan our meals, so that's 4 different international dishes each month. We've got the usual stuff (stroganoff, curry, stir fry) but I wanted something else a little more exotic. When I ran across a recipe for bobotie in our "Around the World Cookbook" I knew I'd found what I was looking for. But it needed a side. is the first place I go to find recipes and that's where I found this recipe for South African Sambal.

Of course I've modified it, though this time it was a serendipitous mistake rather than an intentional change. First, it turned out that I didn't have enough apples so I added some sliced grapes I had on hand to make up for the missing sweetness. Then I accidentally added the salt after the soak and squeeze rather then before. But it turned out to be a really nice combination of salty and sweet so I kept it along with a few other changes. Here's my version:

2 cups grated carrots
2 cups grated apples
1/4 cup bottle lemon juice (it just gets discarded so no sense using the good stuff here!)
Kosher salt
1 cup black grapes, halved
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 (scant) tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Juice of one lemon (works out great as the bobotie calls for zest but no juice)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toss carrots and apples with lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt, let sit 1/2 hour (about, I usually only manage 15 minutes), then squeeze with hands and discard any excess liquid. Add the grapes and cilantro. Combine remaining ingredients plus 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl and mix well. Add to the salad and toss. Allow to sit refrigerated for several hours before serving (I almost never have time to do that!)

I've used blackberries (see photo) and other types of grapes, but black grapes are my favorite, if I can get them. Altogether it's a nice salty, sweet, sour, and spicy side and a vast improvement on the typical carrot/raisin/mayo salad, IMHO! Enjoy!

How do you plan your meals? Does this sound like something you'd like to try?