Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cookbooks & Passports in Mexico

Mexican Spiced Hot Cocoa

We had a lot of fun learning about Mexico today in Cookbooks & Passports summer camp! We made four Mexican snacks, a craft, learned un poco (a little) Spanish and danced to festive music!

Before we began our adventure in Mexico, we sidewalk chalked for the Conservatory's weekly summer farmers' market. The early morning rain left the pavement damp, which gave our chalk a fun, slick texture and made it a little easier to write with - a nice surprise! Campers drew fruits, vegetables and arrows pointing in the direction of the market location. It's a fun weekly tradition for summer campers at the Conservatory!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cookbooks & Passports in Brazil

Brazilian Black Bean Soup with sour cream and an orange slice

Today was a busy day in Cookbooks & Passports summer camp!  We learned about Brazil by exploring the rainforest, visiting the Brazilian butterflies, listening to Brazilian music and making Brazilian foods and crafts!

We started out by finding Brazil on our world maps, getting our passports stamped and coloring a picture of a toucan and cattleya orchid, both native to Brazil.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cookbooks & Passports in Kenya

Crackly Banana Bread

Today was the first day of Cookbooks & Passports summer camp!  This week we will be 'travelling' to Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, China and Australia through food, crafts, music and garden/biome visits!

To begin our journey to Kenya, we read First Come the Zebra Lynne Barasch.  This story is about a Masai boy who becomes friends with a Kikuyu boy, despite their tribes not getting along with each other.  It taught the campers a little bit about Kenyan culture and the plants and animals found there.  Next we worked in our recipe journals/passports, finding Kenya's location on a world map, coloring in the nation's flag and learning a few facts about the country.  We also colored a picture of an African elephant and baobab tree, both native to Kenya.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Global Groceries

Today Kenneth and I went to La Michoacana Mexican Market and Saraga International Grocery stores (both photos are from Saraga).  We were looking for a few specific items, but ended up wandering through both stores to see what all they offer.  

I loved the produce sections of both stores - so many fresh fruits and vegetables we either never see in a regular grocery store, or are in horrible shape when they do make a rare appearance.  At Saraga a pallet of huge jack fruit greeted us as we walked in the store!  We also saw guava, prickly pear fruits (which are also called tunas!), dragon fruit (like the prickly pears, these fruits also come from cacti), jicama, burro bananas, tamarind, yuca rootmamey sapote and many others I am not familiar with.  

We ended up buying Tajín seasoning, membrillo (quince paste), tapioca pearls and a few other items.  We'll definitely be back - there are so many new foods I want to try!  We're lucky to have stores like these in Columbus, it's a great way to experience other cultures without leaving central Ohio!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ground Cherries

These golden lovelies are Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries from our community garden.  Not my Aunt Molly, it's the name of this variety of ground cherry!  They're small, sweet berries that have a flavor similar to pineapple.  I posted a photo of one of the flowers last month.

Ground cherry is not a common fruit for the home garden, but they're very easy to grow.  We bought one or two transplants from Seed Savers Exchange two years ago, the sprawling plant drops its husked fruits when they're ripe. The ones that we didn't harvest came up the next year as new (free!) plants.  We didn't weed any of them out this year and one quarter of our space is full of ground cherry plants!  

I'm still looking for a good recipe to use them in, please share in the comments if you know of one!  Luckily, the berries keep in the husk for several weeks and are easily frozen after having the husk removed, so I can save them if I don't find the perfect recipe soon.  The berry is only edible when bright yellow, be sure not to eat the green fruits!  

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lucky Cats

I saw these little lucky cats at World Market today - aren't they cute?  

World Market is such a fun store!  I can spend at least an hour (or two!) wandering around, checking out all of the beautiful colors, bright patterns and fun textures!  The store carries furniture, picture frames, paintings, cards, soaps and lotions, rugs, poufs and pillows, children's toys and seasonal decorative items. 

They also have a nice selection of international foods and kitchen tools that always intrigue me.  Today I picked up some little mochi candies for my summer campers in Cookbooks & Passports to try next week when we learn about China, and some dark chocolate with strawberry and pink Himalayan sea salt for me! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

New Specs

These are my new glasses - I've had the same pair for about four or five years so I'm pretty excited to have new frames! Still can't decide if the eyes printed on the inside of my glasses case are cute/quirky or creepy...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Olivia and the Meringue

My cat has a sweet tooth.  

We had fish for dinner tonight and while Emma and Amelia were obnoxiously begging for a bite of fish, Olivia was licking the outside of the bag the meringue cookies were in.  We hadn't even opened them yet and she could tell they contained sugary goodness.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

COSI & Flight of the Butterflies

Today I saw Flight of the Butterflies at COSI.  The movie was about an hour long and was in 3D.  The film itself was really well done - but I wasn't excited about the 3D part.  3D movies tend to give me a headache and Flight of the Butterflies, unfortunately, did not disappoint in that area.  Ignoring my headache (which has gone away with some aspirin), the film was great!  It went into butterfly biology (including showing and explaining what exactly goes on in a chrysalis during metamorphosis), monarch migration and the inspiring story of how Fred and Norah Urquhart (with help from citizen scientists, Ken Brugger and his wife Catalina Aguado) discovered the monarchs' hideout in Mexico.  

Ohio Village

Two weeks ago I visited the Ohio Village to see some friends, Brooke and Ely, who are volunteering as costumed interpreters, Kitty and Jasper, this summer.  The Ohio Village is a Civil War era town, located next to the Ohio History Center.  

I love historical towns and villages like this - I remember visiting one in Indiana with my family when I was a kid and thinking it was the coolest thing!  It's like stepping back in time, without having to find a TARDIS, DeLorean, or other time machine!  I didn't have a lot of time to explore, as I was meeting family on the OSU campus for lunch, but I did have time to wander through the town for a short while, despite the light summer drizzle.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Cup of Tea

I love my Ohio mug from Map My State!  It's a nice size for tea and the three cities I've lived in are represented: Piqua, Athens and Columbus!  

Chester T. Pester

This is Chester, my parents' fifteen year old ginger tabby.  When I was a kid, Chester was the star of a story I began writing.  He was Chester T. Pester, Private Eye, solving mysteries and catching bad guys.  I haven't finished his story yet, but hope to in the future.

He's a pretty cool cat.  He prowled my parents' yard for ten years before being brought inside to be an indoor cat.  He's mellowed out with age, becoming a very regal feline who always finds the best spots for a long nap!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Global Chefs Visit Germany

A flock of black eagles!

Today was our last day of Global Chefs summer camp!  We 'visited' Germany by making a German salad, German chocolate cake with a secret ingredient, a German craft and had a lesson on German numbers.

While looking for Germany on our world map this morning, one of our campers passed out chocolates his dad had brought back from a famous chocolate shop in Berlin.  The chocolates were delicious and it was a nice treat!  Two of our campers have been to Germany before and were very excited about today's theme!  The plant and animal picture for today was of the black forest and a black eagle.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Global Chefs Visit India

Henna designs painted with Indian spices

Our Global Chefs summer campers had a very spicy day today in India!  We made three Indian dishes and a beverage for snack time and incorporated Indian spices into a craft.  While making our craft and cooking today, we listed to traditional Indian music on Pandora.  We also did a tiny bit of yoga - I taught the campers savasana, or corpse pose, after being outside in the heat for a while.  It helped cool them off and gave them a moment to relax and really enjoy the air conditioning in the building!

As always, we began our lesson on India by finding the country on our world map and coloring in the flag.  While Nicole stamped the campers passports, they colored a picture of a banyan tree, the national tree of India, and a peacock, which is native to India.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Global Chefs Visit French Polynesia

Banana Po'e (Tahitian Banana Pudding)

Today was all about bananas and coconuts in our Global Chefs summer camp as we learned about French Polynesia! All of our recipes contained coconut milk or cream and two of the three used bananas as the main ingredient - very tropical and tasty!  

We started the (very hot!) morning by sidewalk chalking for the Conservatory's Farmers' Market.  The market is held every Wednesday during the summer.  Campers drew fruits and veggies and helped color a big 'sign' advertising the market times.  Ohio is in the middle of heat wave this week so to help keep cool I misted the campers with water from a small spray bottle.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Global Chefs Visit Brazil

Pão de Queijo - Gluten-Free Brazilian Cheesy Bread

Today was a very busy day for our Global Chefs campers!  We traveled to Brazil in every way we could  - without leaving Ohio!  We made and ate delicious Brazilian foods, went on a scavenger hunt for plants and animals native to the Amazon rainforest, listened to fun Brazilian music and made some colorful Brazilian crafts!  

We started our journey as we did yesterday when we visited Kenya, by finding today's country on our world map and coloring it in. We went over some basic facts about Brazil and got our passports stamped.  We also colored in the flag of Brazil and a picture of a toucan and an orchid.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Global Chefs Visit Kenya

Sukuma Wiki - cooked onion, tomato and kale!
This week I am teaching a summer camp called Global Chefs.  We'll 'visit' five countries through food, music and crafts!  Our destinations include: Kenya, Brazil, French Polynesia, India and Germany.  Today we visited Kenya!

To begin our discussion on Kenya, we first found the country on our world map and colored it in.  We then went over some basic facts about the country on the passport page of our recipe journal and colored in the flag and a picture of an African elephant and a baobab tree.  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gluten-Free Pink Berry Cobbler + Recipe

I love grapefruit - it's my favorite citrus to eat and bake with.  Also, my favorite scent in beauty products from The Body Shop and Burt's Bees (check out the Pink Grapefruit line at The Body Shop or Burt's Bees new Lip Balm with Pink Grapefruit - they're amazing!).  This recipe combines the refreshing, tart flavor of grapefruit and gooseberries with sweet raspberries and strawberries.  Kenneth and I enjoyed some still warm from the oven with a little cold milk - it's a perfect summer evening desert!

This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Blueberry Crumb Bars and can easily be made with wheat flour.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Scioto Waterfront

Kenneth and I went to The Moonlight Market and WaterFire tonight.  I'll post a review soon - but until then, here's a cool photograph of the Scioto River and LeVeque Tower!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Peaches Before the Rain

Took this photograph this afternoon at the Conservatory Farmers' Market about ten minutes before a severe thunderstorm blew through Franklin Park...

Be a gardener
Dig a ditch,
toil and sweat,
and turn the earth upside down
and seek the deepness 
and water the plants in time.
Continue this labor
and make sweet floods to run
and noble and abundant fruits
to spring.
Take this food and drink
and carry it up to God
as your true worship.

Julian of Norwich from the book Earth Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gluten-Free & Vegan Ginger Gems + Recipe


I made these for today's staff cookout at work.  It's a really easy recipe and can be adapted to be made with wheat or dairy, if you prefer. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Catnip Socktopus

I made these little guys today - they are socktopuses!  I originally found out about the socktopus from Pinterest, this pin specifically.  These guys are made from old socks, stuffed with polyfill and dried catnip!  Olivia approves!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I feel the summer

as my eyes
the prairie
I feel the summer
in the spring

Chippewa Song 
from the book Earth Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth

Ohio State University Campus

These photos were taken while visiting my cousin Emily while she toured the Ohio State University campus with her parents and brothers (and their adorable dog, Cosmo!).  OSU has a gigantic campus, which I'm not very familiar with, so it was fun to explore with them!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Austen Movie Marathon from the Library

“Movie Marathon from the Library”

“Hi, I’m looking for some books… do you have anything by Jane Austen?”  Irene asked the librarian behind the desk.
            “Jane Austen… let me see.”  Karen began to quickly peck on the keys of the computer with her long, red acrylic nails.  “Let me show you what section they’re in.  Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion…”
            “Northanger Abbey,” Irene interrupted, “I haven’t read that one yet.”
            “Oh,” Karen stared at the bookshelf for a moment, “I don’t think we have that one.  Pride and Prejudice instead?” 
            “Quiet!”  Rita, the oldest and strictest of the librarians hissed as she wheeled a cart of books by.

201 Years of Stories & Stones - Greenlawn Cemetery

Last month, Kenneth and I visited the Greenlawn Cemetery for a historical program called 201 Years of Stories & Stones.  The program was hosted by Greenlawn Cemetery and the Columbus Landmarks Foundation.  I've always been interested in history and thought it would be fun to find out more about Columbus' past.  I've also heard that Greenlawn Cemetery is a good birding area, but before this event, I had yet to visit.

The program description from the Columbus Landmarks Foundation read:

Stories & Stones highlights Columbus history and architecture through the lives of some of its most famous (and a few not so well-known!) residents who reside in perpetuity...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Noodles & Company - Grandview Heights

Do you ever have the sudden realization that you've been missing out on something you could have been enjoying for a long time?  Something delicious and amazing and wonderful?  Kenneth and I have had that realization with two Columbus restaurants, long after we moved here.  The first was Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, which we started eating at about a year and half ago.  The second was Noodles & Company, which we first visited this past Saturday, as part of our date night (after dinner we went and saw The Heat at the AMC Lennox Theater).

Both of these restaurants have delicious gluten-free menus and are really close to where we live.  We haven't been to Cap City since I started my blog.  I'm sure we will soon at which point I will post about the deliciousness (gluten-free and otherwise) available there.

Back to Noodles & Company - wow!  We were both really impressed with our dinner, so much so, we went back again last night and I'm eating leftovers as I type this.  Two visits in a week - it's that good!

Noodles & Company is mostly about noodles from American, European and Asian cuisines, but they also serve sandwiches, salads and soup.  For gluten-free and vegetarian or vegan diners - there are options for all of us!  The Nutrition and Allergen Guide shows which of the 'common eight' allergens are found in each dish, and substitutions can be made to certain dishes.  They also have a Summer Dishes and Gluten Guide which goes over what dishes are gluten-free already (like the Pad Thai), or can be made gluten-free by subbing out a wheat pasta for gluten-free fusilli or rice noodles.  They do state that if you are allergic or intolerant to gluten, to consult your physician before dining there because they cannot guarantee there won't be any cross-contamination (on all allergens).  Since I do not have Celiac disease and live with someone who eats wheat, I was comfortable eating here, and can attest after two visits, that I have not been 'glutened' (a phrase coined by gluten-free folks that means you accidentally ingested gluten)!

Kenneth and I ordered the same dishes both times we visited Noodles & Company, I ordered the Pad Thai with shrimp and he ordered the Bangkok Curry with pork.  They also have a nice selection of beverages, I had the IZZE Grapefruit and Kenneth had Nantucket Nectars Orange Mango juice.

We both really enjoyed our meals!  I have a new obsession with rice noodles and peanut sauce... neither of which I thought sounded very good until I tried it.  It's fantastic!  And despite not having any wheat, rice noodles are very filling.  The carrots were cooked just the right amount, they still had a little bite.  I like the cabbage, but there could have been more of it.  The scrambled eggs in the noodles was interesting - I've never had that combination before, but it's good!  And the shrimp, it's shrimp so it was delicious! 


Noodles & Company has a really cool blog with recipes, cooking tips and a recent post on the gardens of some staff.  Check it out!

Noodles & Company on Urbanspoon

Ohio Love

OH - IO!  This piece, by Jeff Hersey and Bob Swanson, is on display at the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University campus.  I saw it today when visiting my cousin, Emily, who was on a college visit today with her parents and younger brothers.  I'm a Bobcat, not a Buckeye, but I do love my homestate and OSU has some fantastic programs (the College of Veterinary Medicine, for example) and a pretty cool campus!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tomatoes at the Market

Saw these beauties at Franklin Park Conservatory's Farmers' Market today!  Feels like summer is officially here!

AMC Lennox Town Center 24 & The Heat

It was a dark and stormy night... perfect for date night!  It actually was stormy, but not so dark or spooky, when Kenneth and I went to see a movie at the AMC Lennox Town Center 24 movie theater last Saturday night.  We had dinner at Noodles & Company in Grandview, then went to see a movie.  Dinner and a movie = classic date night!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Late Night Baking - Gluten-Free Thunder Cupcakes + Recipe

10:30pm may not be late to some - but my bedtime is usually between 10 and 11pm, including some time to read before lights out!  But... I've been craving Thunder Cupcakes ever since we made Thunder Cake in Culinary Creations camp last week!  

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bee Buzz

I believe this guy is a massive carpenter bee, there were a ton flying around at work today.  Check out the pollen on the back of its thorax!