RIP Archimedes

Merlin and Archimedes

When I went to clean the hamster’s cage today I found that one of them (Archimedes) had gone to the big hamster heaven in the sky. Lex took this as you would expect a 7 year old to take this sort of thing, which is not well at all. We buried him under the apple tree in the backyard and then she cried for a while. Such is the life of a hamster I suppose. I’m not sure when he died. I saw him yesterday afternoon running about the cage.

Merlin is still here. I’m hoping that Archimedes passed away from hamster old age. If she were to lose the other one back to back with the first one, well I’m not sure that would go over well at all. Time will tell I suppose.

Rest in peace little hamster dude. (Alexis totally made me say that! 😉 )

Originally posted on Daffodil Lane.

Fudgy Nutella Frosting

Fudgy Nutella Frosting

Nutella…What’s not to like? I finally tried it earlier this year and found I really loved it! It’s great all by itself, but why not use it to kick something up a few notches, like say oh chocolate frosting! It takes your standard chocolate frosting to a whole other level!

This is simple, delicious and takes no time to whip up. It makes the perfect topping for any cake, especially a really good chocolate one! Who doesn’t love cake?

What You’ll Need:
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 cup of Nutella
1 cup of cocoa
1/4 cup of half and half
5 cups of powdered sugar
Cake to frost, baked and cooled (Note: I suggest chocolate cake.)

In the bowl of a mixer cream butter until smooth. Add Nutella and mix until completely incorporated. Next add cocoa and half and half and beat until smooth.

Once dairy and chocolate ingredients are completely mixed slowly add sugar and beat until smooth. Repeat this until you run out of sugar.

Spread frosting over a baked and cooled cake.

Notes: You could add in mini chocolate chips for a nice texture change. This would also be good to “dip” fruit in.

Another Summer Salad

Another Summer Salad

It’s been hot. Really, really, really hot. And when it gets like this I have zero interest in cooking. It’s too hot to grill and I most certainly don’t want to heat up the house, so I’ve been eating a lot of salads. It’s the perfect solution to dinner in the summer when you can get all sorts of produce from literally under the sun!

So we’ve established that it is easy to come up with all sorts of salads, but it’s hard to name them all! Therefore this is simply “Another Summer Salad” but don’t let the bland name fool you. This one is packed full of flavor and is just perfect for that hot summer day!

What You’ll Need:
1/2 cup of cabbage, chopped
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (Note: I used some I had grilled earlier in the week when we actually had a day that wasn’t blazing hot.)
1 small red onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (Note: I actually used 1/2 of a green pepper and 1/2 of a yellow.)
1 large cucumber, cut in half and sliced
1-2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of brown rice vinegar
A pinch of sea salt
Finely ground black pepper
1/3 cup of Parmesan, shredded

Another Summer Salad

In a large glass bowl toss together cabbage, corn, red onion, bell pepper and tomatoes until well mixed. Set aside.

In a small glass bowl whisk together extra virgin olive oil, brown rice vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and some finely ground black pepper until incorporated. Pour oil and vinegar over vegetables and toss to coat.

Sprinkle the salad with Parmesan and toss once more to mix in the cheese. Serve immediately.

Another Summer Salad

Notes: This time of year there are so many things you could add to this mix! Banana peppers would be great, or how about some shredded carrots? Peas are also a favorite. Don’t be afraid to mix it up! You could also top it off with some fresh herbs like chives or parsley.

We Had a Little Earthquake This Morning

We had a little earthquake this morning compared to West coast standards, but oh my! Color me unimpressed! I woke up about five minutes before it hit for some reason and was wide awake for the event. I honestly thought that a plane had crashed in to the side of the mountain! There was a ripple, then a rumble, then a boom and then the whole house shook! It woke Jamison and Alexis when the boom happened. I found out via Twitter from other DC area folks that we had indeed had an early morning visit from an earthquake.

Alexis thought this earthquake was the coolest thing ever and has been asking questions about earthquakes all day. I guess it’s a good learning experience if nothing else. We did not feel the aftershock, just the initial quake. I’m saying that her excitement about the quake makes her Jamison’s child…MY child would be more of the “Oh my god that was horrible!” line of thinking. ;oP

I’ve always said that only reason I wouldn’t live in California was the earthquakes, otherwise I think I’d like California just fine. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. Hmmmm……

Originally posted on Daffodil Lane.

Lemon Granita

Lemon Granita

I love granita. It’s so easy to make and it’s a really great dessert, that isn’t that bad for you and is just perfect for summer!

You can make granita with pretty much any fruit and this time of year when fruits are so readily available and fresh it’s a really great time to make granita if you’ve never tried it! It’s simple, just a little scraping here and there and you have a really great dessert in just a few hours. What’s not to like about that?

What You’ll Need:
The juice of 10 lemons
1/2 cup of water
4 tablespoons of organic cane sugar (Notes: I like the tartness of lemons. If you want it a bit sweeter then you could add up to 1/2 cup of sugar.)

Mix lemon juice, water and sugar together with a whisk until sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture in to a shallow dish like a pie plate and place in the freezer.

You’ll want to check this mixture every 30 minutes and as it freezes you will scrape the mixture with a fork to ensure that as it freezes it doesn’t freeze into a solid block, but makes a fluffy frozen mixture instead. The sides will freeze first so scrape them toward the center. Keep scraping the granita until the mixture is completely frozen (2-4 hours depending on your freezer) and you have a fluffy frozen mix.

Store in an airtight container.

Makes roughly 4 servings.

Notes: For an adult treat stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of light or coconut rum or even lemon vodka would be nice in place of the water.

Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Simple Summer Tomato Salad

Man has it every been hot out there! Because of this heat there is no way I was heating up the oven or stove to make dinner. I’ve been doing a lot of slow cooker meals and also a lot of salads. There is just nothing like a salad with fresh vegetables in the summer!

We are starting to get fresh tomatoes here in the area now, especially the cherry and grape varieties and I’ve been loving eating them plain, as well as in salads and even cooking with them when the heat wasn’t as bad.

This is a salad that I’ve really been loving as of late. It’s quick, easy, healthy and delicious! It’s the perfect summer time treat!

What You’ll Need:
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half (Note: I used an orange variety.)
1 spring of fresh rosemary, chopped roughly
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
The juice of 1 lime

Slice tomatoes and place in a glass bowl. Add rosemary, a pinch of sea salt (I used fleur de sel) and some freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat.

In a small bowl whisk together lime juice and olive oil and pour over the tomatoes. Toss again to mix.

Serve immediately.

Note: Due to the lime juice you’ll want to eat the salad when you make it. If you store it the lime juice will begin to break down the tomatoes. You can also add thyme and/or parsley to the mix. A variety of tomatoes mixed would be good as well.

Cocktail Time: Sangria

Sangria

Recently I had a whim that I wanted to make sangria. I had never had sangria before believe it or not, but when has that ever stopped me? I looked at various sangria recipes and of course ended up going out on my own as is often the case.

This time of year is the perfect time to make sangria, with all of the fresh fruits available! I like to make it ahead of time and let the flavor meld during the day in the fridge. It’s a really simple, yet really great drink to make. It’s the perfect summer time treat!

What You’ll Need:
1/2 to 1 cup of organic cane sugar (Note: If you’re using a sweeter wine, use less.)
1 bottle of white wine
2 cups of dark rum
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 peach, cut into wedges
Chunks of watermelon

Place sugar in the bottom of a pitcher and add wine and rum and stir well. Squeeze lemons, limes and peaches into the pitcher and then drop the fruit in as well. Add watermelon and stir.

Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours stirring here and there to ensure that the sugar dissolves completely. Serve chilled and you can even serve it over ice if you like.

Sangria

If you’re running low you can always add more wine and/or rum, along with a bit of sugar. I’ve even added red wine to a dwindling pitcher that had white wine in it to begin with, and switched from rum to lemon vodka when I’m refilling the pitcher. It’s a very easy mix and match drink and the bits of sangria soaked fruit are a nice treat too!

Now let’s talk a minute about strength…This stuff is pretty strong! It’s almost straight alcohol with a bit of fruit juice for fun. One glass and I feel it, but keep in mind my metabolism sucks and it doesn’t take much to make me tipsy. Regardless though drink with caution! ;oP

Notes: You can use any kinds of fruit that you like. Blueberries are a nice addition as well, but you knew I’d go for the blueberries! ;oP