Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving and the cordial 'after'

It is Sunday.  Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We were blessed to have out of state company for three days at my parents so I spent most of my time there.  We had a great visit.  It had been a couple of years since I had seen this aunt and uncle.  Health problems on their end and with my folks lately has made it a bit more difficult to get together.  As is the usual with Thanksgiving there was plenty of food.  And as has been the usual all to often I didn't get pictures.  I didn't set a fancy table since we were eating our meals in town at my mom's and dad's house but a few of my pieces did make it to the party.

Elderberry cordial
I did bring a salad with greens from the greenhouse. The mixed greens contained the more traditional romaine and other mild leafy lettuces as well as peppery arugula and spicy scarlet frill.  It was topped with goat cheese, walnuts and slices of pear.  I made some macarons.  I made homemade gelato flavored with elderberries from the farm and we sampled the elderberry cordial that I wrote about here.  We used the tiny silver cordial goblets from my collection that I wrote about here.  I hauled a Wexford punch bowl and cups to town to hold  Caitlin's and Robb's wine spritzer sangria and one of my white casserole dishes held Nathan's and Michelle's Brussels sprouts au gratin.  On Friday I provided a baked rice/mixed vegetable/almonds side dish.  We had three days of meals, Thursday was ham, Friday was turkey and Saturday was a fish fry of Northern and Walleye.  My brother brought his signature New York cheesecake and my sister brought her famous French Silk pie.  My mom had made an apple pie from my farm apples.

Early this morning our company headed home.  While they were here we managed to squeeze in some fun activities.  The night before Thanksgiving we had pizza and birthday drinks at a local brew pub to celebrate my son's upcoming birthday.  On Friday we made a trip to my favorite local thrifting haunt, the half thrift store/half antique store.  I didn't purchase anything this time but my uncle spotted a print of some loons on a lake that he took my brother back the next day to check out and buy.  On Friday one group of the guys did some target shooting with a friend of the family at his farm.  On Saturday a different combination of the guys did more target shooting at my farm.  We had a tour of a niece's new home. My uncle, brother and I climbed up in the hay loft to check out the pulley that is used to raise the big door on the barn.  My uncle is searching for one but mine was not the style that he wants so no dismantling needed to be done.  I had hoped that we could squeeze in our Scandinavian (Norsk) baking day while my aunt and uncle were here but there was just not room for a full day of baking during their too short visit.  We did see some Hallmark movies and football games though.  All in all a great visit.

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A weekend of painting

This weekend we did some painting at Robb's house.  It went from a peachy tan with avocado green trim to a very pretty dark gray.  It was fun to get a group together to paint and we all brought food to share which was almost as much fun as the painting.  I brought a salad each day.  I have a few greens ready in the greenhouse and I used them for the salads.  Saturday I took a salad that was mixed greens, apples, candied pecans and goat cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Sunday I took an arugula salad with grilled watermelon, pistachios and mint with a honey lime dressing.  I blogged about the second salad here.  It was a new recipe and I will definitely make it again.  The recipe suggested that other grilled summer fruits could be substituted for the watermelon, perhaps peaches, plums or pears.
arugula salad

Friday, October 7, 2016

recent thrifting finds

Pictured above are a few fairly recent thrifting finds.  I haven't been thrifting lately.  I have been away from the farm some and my last few blog posts have been short and sweet. Thrifting and blogging have taken the backseat to fall chores. One post, coffee in the greenhouse, was only a picture.  

I will have to eventually get caught up on the happenings on the farm but for now it is mowing and putting the garden to bed and seeding the greens for the winter greenhouse. 

Above the top picture and the third picture are two wicker trays that I picture holding a cheese tray or antipasti.  Hard to gauge the size of the trays from the pictures but they are quite large and will serve several selections, enough to require another recent find--some porcelain cheese markers and little cheese knives.

The second picture is a large white tray.  I have a hard time passing up white serving dishes or baking dishes.  Actually, I have a hard time passing up white anything.

The fourth picture is a pair of steamed pudding molds.  The 'pudding' is the fruitcake type--what I think of as a Christmas pudding.  I think that they are German.  Our family is Swedish/German on my mom's side and Norwegian/German on my dad's side and we have always embraced the Scandinavian part of our heritage so it will be fun to try these for the German side.  I have not ever tasted this pudding.  Hope I like it.

The last picture is a Biscotti jar.  It says that it is handmade for Nonni's on the bottom.  Google tells me that Nonni's is a biscotti company and there are pictures of many, many styles of jars that were made to hold their cookies.  We have no Italian heritage but are fans of everything Italian.  It looks cute sitting next to my Moka pot and other coffee paraphernalia.  Someday it will be filled with biscotti.  Maybe after it snows...

Happy fall.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

a memorial bike ride

Back in 2009 my brother was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and within weeks of his devastating news our family and friends put together a team and walked in our first walk to raise funds. Now every September we do the closest ALS walk.  The JayWalkers have now walked in eight consecutive annual walks.  Our walk is small compared to some in the larger metro areas but our walk 40 teams, had over 700 walkers and raised over $100,000. 

Two years ago we participated in the wildly successful ice bucket challenge to raise awareness and raise funds for ALS.  Jay's former co-workers also raised money and did a group challenge at work.  We were invited to watch everyone get wet.  They raised over $600. 

This year a group of Jay's motorcycle friends put together a ride in his memory.  It is the first annual Jay Lenning Memorial Ride.  The picture below is the 'formal' picture taken at the first of four stops along the route.  My brother had a motorcycle from the time that he was 12 years old.  The first one was a minibike.  The last two were his beloved Harley Davidsons.  His bike is the one on the far left in this picture.  After his death my sister sold her motorcycle and bought his.    

There is a local bar that is frequented by riders and Jay was a part of this group.  When Jay was no longer able to walk they purchased a ramp so that his motorized wheelchair could make it into the bar.  There is a bar stool there with his name on it in memory.  It was the staff of this bar that conceived the idea of a memorial ride and put it all together. The bar's owner donated the pig for the hog roast. The riders were his many friends.  They contacted businesses for donations and paid to ride and paid to eat.  In total, more than $2400 was raised. 

Yesterday we met at the bar to witness the presentation of the check to a member from the ALS Association for our region.  Our family couldn't be more proud of this group of bikers.  They were great friends to Jay during his illness and so supportive of his widow after his death. Some people might be intimidated by the black leathers and bandanas but a better group of people would be hard to find.  The day of our ride there was another group riding for charity as well and this picture shows our riders' bikes parked on one side of the street and the other group's bikes across the street. 
I am not a rider.  I was in a pickup that followed behind.  I failed to get a close up picture of my sister on the ride.  The picture below is my youngest daughter, Caitlin, and her guy, Robb.  Robb has a motorcycle and Cait rides behind.  So glad that they were able to join us. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Bakealong

The September bakealong recipe was a pumpkin muffin with a sweetened cream cheese center and a streusel topping.  King Arthur flour's website provides the recipe each month and some step by step directions.  This is the second month of fun and I posted a picture of my first attempt here.

Here is the picture I submitted for month two.

It was fun and easy to do.  I had taken them to my mom's house to share.  It is her colorful tablecloth and Minnesota shaped cutting board.  My daughter Caitlin took these pictures.