Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Straw Maze

Some entrepreneurial students teamed up with a local farmer to create a straw maze using huge bales of straw, and last night we decided to check it out...

Our kids loved it--I don't know what they were expecting, but when we got inside they happily exclaimed, "It's a real maze!"

It was especially nice because we had it almost to ourselves while we were there. It was challenging, but not too much. If we had gone when it was dark I imagine it would be much more difficult.

Our gingerbread baby was happy, too, as long as we kept moving.

Then we came home for homemade hot chocolate with Halloween marshmallows--yum!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Portuguese Soup

Last spring, C received a cabbage seedling at school, brought it home, and planted it in the backyard. A few weeks ago, it was ready to be picked, and although the outside leaves looked a little ragged, the head of cabbage down inside was beautiful!

B likes to cook on the weekends, especially now that the baby is here, to help me out. He decided to use the cabbage to make one of his Grandma G's recipes. Grandma G is no longer with us, but B has great memories of visiting her in Bristol, Rhode Island, and eating her delicious Portuguese home cooking.

We have a couple of different versions of this recipe from different family members, but this is the one we used, and it was delicious--K and C seemed to really like it too (S is not a very adventurous eater, so she wouldn't even give it a try).

Grandma G's Portuguese Soup

1 medium-sized onion, diced
3-4 tsp. salt
1 lb. linguiça (or chouriço, another Portuguese sausage)
2 lbs. or 1 head cabbage, heart removed
2 or 3 cans kidney beans (or 1 lb. dried kidney beans, cooked)
6 medium-sized potatoes, diced

Slice linguiça and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place linguiça, onion, and salt in large soup pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about half an hour. Dice cabbage. Add cabbage and kidney beans to the boiling broth. Add water as needed. Cook cabbage for a few minutes, then add the potatoes. Cook 20-30 minutes.

(B notes that sometimes kale is used with the cabbage or as a substitute.)

This makes a lot of soup, so we put about half in the freezer to save for later!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This week (and half of next week) is harvest vacation for the kids. B had been wanting to drive out to some of the potato fields and watch the harvest--after all, since we're in Idaho right now, we might as well witness something the state is world-famous for. We heard reports that it would snow today (it did--there is snow on the ground right now), so yesterday we decided we needed to go before it was too late, and as soon as B came home from work we drove out to experience a little bit of the harvest.

These machines dig up the potatoes and load them into big trucks as they move through the field.

Truck full of potatoes (the driver thought it was pretty funny that we were taking pictures).

There are lots of potatoes left behind in the fields after harvesting. Many farmers let people glean the leftovers apparently, but this field had been harvested earlier and the potatoes exposed to the frost, so I'm not sure they could still be used. And today we had snow, so is harvesting done for the year? I'm not sure, but it was fun to see some of it in action while we could.