Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Week's Veggies

clockwise from 12 o'clock:
acorn squash, kale, a cabbage (Savoy, I think), a scarlet ono turnip, sweet potatoes, mizuna and more sweet potatoes. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This Week's Veggies

(Clockwise from 12 o'clock) sweet potatoes, arugula, zucchini, Roma green beans, green peppers and collard greens, from Orchard Pond Organics.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Buddy Walk Recap

Saturday, T & I spent the morning at the Down Syndrome Association of Tallahassee annual Buddy Walk at Southwood. There is a family fun festival and then a mile walk around the lake. We were part of "Abigail's Avengers" and also saw lots of friends from Challenger baseball and school. Chris had to miss this year because he was out of town, but he was with us in spirit as a virtual walker. The festival had lots of new activities this year, including the touch tanks from the Gulf Marine Specimen Lab and a horse to meet and "high five." T's favorite activity, the dunking tank (as he says, "dunk a doctor" since it has been sponsored in the past by the local neurologists office) was missing this year but hopefully will be back in 2013! Here's a photo recap:

Abby with her team sign

 Zoomed in on the sign so you can see Chris & T in one of the photos.

The kids loved the horse "Teddy" that you could handprint with a high five.

Petting "Teddy" the horse.

Go Team Abby!

Free ice cream at the end of the walk almost made up for no dunk tank!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sweet Potato Greens

Fresh sweet potato greens
Until we got sweet potato greens in our farm basket last week, I had not even considered whether or not they were edible. My loss it turns out, because they are delicious! A quick google search turned up this great recipe which we followed fairly closely.

We didn't eat the stems this time, mostly because the process of making this moved along so quickly. Next time, we'll include them.

Sweet Potato Greens
from The Bitten Word

Ingredients:
1 large bunch sweet potato greens (about half a pound)
1/3 large white onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:
Remove sweet potato leaves from stems and set aside. Remove smaller stems from the larger, tougher stems. Discard the larger stems and roughly chop the smaller stems.

Heat olive oil in medium-sized pan over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until just softened, about 3-5 minutes.

Add stem pieces and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add leaves, salt and pepper to taste, and maple syrup. Sauté until leaves are wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Serve.
The finished product - yum!
Compared with other greens, sweet potato greens are closer in texture to spinach than they are to kale or chard. No need to strip the center veins to cook them longer. They really do wilt in just a few minutes. The difference between these greens and spinach is they are a lot sweeter. It just takes a little touch of maple syrup to accent that characteristic.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Genealogy and DNA

Ancestry.com's new program combines three of my favorite things - science, genealogy and social - so you know I'd love it: AncestryDNA. Here's how it works:
AncestryDNA is a new DNA testing service that utilizes autosomal testing technology to revolutionize the way you discover your family history. This service combines advanced DNA science with the world’s largest online family history resource to provide your genetic ethnicity and help you find new family connections. It maps ethnicity going back multiple generations and provides insight into such possibilities as: what region of Europe are my ancestors from, or what percentage of East Asian descent am I? AncestryDNA can also help confirm relationships with unknown relatives. We provide genetic testing and DNA results but an Ancestry.com account is required in order for you to explore your possible DNA matches.
Your DNA may hold information to help make new discoveries about your family’s past, your cultural roots, as well as confirm information in your family tree. Using your DNA test in combination with Ancestry.com gives you hints that can guide your investigations and connect you with new relatives.  
Your DNA test results also provides information that’s more relevant and recent—targeting your family history a few hundred or even a thousand years ago, as compared to the Y-chromosome or Mitochondrial DNA tests, which have a 10,000 to 50,000 year time focus.
The whole process takes 8-10 weeks but here is the first step (after signing up):
The kit arrives.

Pieces parts.

Instructions for collecting saliva sample.

Instructions for mailing.

More instructions.

Mailing the sample.

Once complete, my DNA results will be attached to my family tree. Provided that lots of people sign up, we may find some new relatives and new clues about our ancestors. Exciting, right? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This Week's Veggies and Fruit

In our bag this week from Orchard Pond Organics: (clockwise from top left) baby mustard greens, sweet potato greens, basil (with a bonus Gerbera daisy bloom!), baby arugula, okra and grapes. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Our New Garage Doors

At long last, we have new doors on our garage!

the finished project!

 Project underway Friday - right side door down!

Goodbye old door!

New doors (and new openers) seen from inside the garage.

Next up: clean and organize the garage? Maybe...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Quote of the Week

Walking, I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands. - Linda Hogan (b. 1947), Native American writer
via pinterest

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baba Ganoush aka Eggplant Dip x2

Roasted Eggplant Dip
We have been flush with eggplants lately and finding new ways to enjoy them has been fun.

The farm manager at Orchard Pond shared her baba ganoush recipe, which we loved. Then we tried Ina Garten's Roasted Eggplant Spread, which is basically baba ganoush with (as Ina says) "the volume turned up."

Baba Ganoush

Ingredients
2 pounds eggplant
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 2 lemons
4 cloves garlic
parsley or cilantro

Directions

Slice eggplant in half and roast at about 425 until they are complete mush. Scoop out the insides and mix it in a food processor with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Chop a bit of herbs and add those in. Salt and pepper and paprika to top it all off.

Roasted Eggplant Spread adapted from this recipe

Ingredients
veggies roasting in the oven
2 medium eggplants, peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are caramelized and soft, turning as needed during cooking. Cool.

caramelized and delicious!
Place the roasted garlic cloves, lemon juice and tahini in the blender and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the veggies and spin on the lowest setting for a few seconds  Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley. Garnish with extra parsley.

Lessons learned: peeling and chopping the eggplant before roasting it definitely yields more flavor. I also prefer the mellow sweetness of roasted garlic over the sharp bite of raw garlic so next time we make plain baba ganoush we'll try those two subtle adjustments.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

The 1892 New York State Census

It's my fourth great-grandmother, Lucinda Flagg Cain, listed in the 1892 New York State Census:

The column next to place of birth is Citizen or Alien - she was "A" for Alien

Here is the full page, click to see larger.

They lived in the town of Elko (read more about it here), New York, where Lucinda's brothers and sons had moved earlier in the 1800s to work in the lumber business. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This Week's Veggies and Fruit

from Orchard Pond Organics: basil, muscadine grapes, a Florida avocado, eggplant, okra and sweet potatoes. This is the last of our summer share. Fall season at the farm starts September 1st!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inspired by Alpha Chi Omega Convention: Consultant Love

Welcome to the ninth post in the "Inspired by Alpha Chi Omega Convention" series!

One of the best parts of my national service to Alpha Chi Omega over the last year has been getting to spend time with the amazing young women who serve Alpha Chi Omega as Chapter and Resident Consultants. In May 2011, Anne, Jennifer and Laura (at left) and I spent a weekend together assisting with Recruitment Training in Atlanta. Even though they had just been hired and had not had any training prior to arriving, each of them had valuable insights during the one-on-one meetings we had with chapter Recruitment teams and advisors. We spent so much time together that weekend that I teased them that we were attached at the hip!

In August, they went off on their travels: Jennifer to prepare for the new colony at High Point University; Anne to visit all of our Texas chapters and Laura to travel to the rest of Southeast. We were lucky to have Laura come see us three times at FSU, and I enjoyed every minute I spent at Texas Exec Board training in February with Anne. During our time together in Arlington, we held one-on-one meetings with all thirteen chapters and led a Recruitment Workshop. It was great to be attached at the hip again! I was really excited when I learned that all three of "my" region's Consultants would return for a second year.

There are always lots of things to look forward to at Convention but this year I had the excitement of being reunited with this year's Consultants and meeting the new ones. We had our reunion Friday morning bright and early when Jen D and I, representing the NPC Team, trained the whole Consultant team on all things Panhellenic. Throughout Convention, we had chances to spend time together and bond.

In addition to being super smart and beautiful inside and out, the Consultants are fun!
Here they are making lyres and letters under the Arch.

Here they are in dresses Past National Presidents wore to previous Conventions for the Walk of Memory.

Team Region 2 at the Final Banquet 

Each time I spend time with these women, whether it's on the phone, by email, or in person, I come away impressed by their intelligence, ability to assess situations, and the way they apply their excellent people skills to help chapters and individual sisters reach their goals. I'm inspired by these young women because they devote themselves to Alpha Chi Omega - changing lives one visit and one sister at a time. I look forward to working with them this year. Safe travels, friends, and thank you!

Read more from the "Inspired" series here.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Greek-style Stuffed Peppers

When we arrived home from Mom's with four beautiful bell peppers from her garden, we knew had to make stuffed peppers. After much research, we went with Greek-style Stuffed Peppers. The original recipe called for red bell peppers but they were delicious with green ones too. Next time we make them, I might substitute lamb for half the ground beef to make them even more Greek.

Greek-style Stuffed Peppers (adapted from this recipe)

4 large green bell peppers, halved length-wise
1 pound lean ground beef
1 10-ounce package chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup bulgar*
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper
2  14 1/2 ounce cans of diced Italian tomatoes
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Prepare the peppers by removing the seeds and ribs. Find a baking dish (preferably with a lid, or deep enough to cover with foil without touching the peppers.) that all the peppers fit inside laying flat on the bottom in a single layer.

look at all those healthy ingredients!

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg then add the ground beef, spinach, zucchini, onion, bulgar, egg, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine thoroughly.

Fill the pepper halves with the meat mixture, mounding it up if necessary.

Pour the tomatoes over top of the peppers. Cover and bake for an hour.  (If you're covering with foil be sure the foil doesn't touch the tomatoes as they can react with each other. A layer of parchment paper can be used to separate them.) After an hour, remove the lid, garnish with the feta cheese and cook until the meat is cooked through and the peppers are soft.

*I found bulgar in the bulk area of the Greenwise section at Publix.

Serves 8.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quote of the Week

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
from ashleyherrin via pinterest

Friday, August 17, 2012

Genealogy Field Trip Report August 2012

Our genealogy field trip (previewed here and here) was a great success. We visited all three cemeteries, found everyone we were looking for, learned a few things and had a wonderful time together!

We started our adventure meeting our cousins at Lakewood Park Cemetery in Rocky River. It's on Detroit Road and really easy to find. The staff in the office were very helpful - both on the phone ahead of time and in person that morning. Equipped with our maps and instructions, we headed out in search of great uncle Alfred. He was not in the first place we tried (imagine, that, two Alfred W. Andersons in one cemetery!) but we did find him, buried with his wife's family and his daughter and son-in-law.

In terms of aesthetics, Lakewood Park is very austere. All the markers are flush to the ground, making the cemetery feel more like a park than a graveyard. While it doesn't have a lot of character, it is filled with many Cleveland area dignitaries, including Dick Jacobs, former owner of the Cleveland Indians, so Uncle Alfred is in good company.

Alfred's wife, Jane, is buried between her first husband, Alfred, and her second husband, Albert.

 In the small world department, Alfred's daughter, Betty (who was adopted by her step-father, Albert) was an Alpha Chi Omega at University of Michigan. She died earlier this year (read her obit here). I took her carnations, our Alpha Chi flower.

Betty is buried next to her mother's parents with her husband on her right.
They are all in the next row down from Alfred, Jane and Albert. 

Next we drove over to Riverside Cemetery in Brooklyn Centre. It's right in the city, at the intersection of I-71 and 176. A much more traditional cemetery, it has all sorts of interesting monuments, statues and markers along with beautiful old trees and a massive gate house (photo, right) that is on the National Register of Historical Buildings. 

I had spoken to a very nice woman in the office a few days before who had given me detailed instructions for finding great Uncle Victor, Alfred's younger brother, so we headed straight to that area. 

It didn't take us long to find him and his wife, Ella:


Finding Ella was a new discovery. We knew they lived in Birmingham, Alabama, when he died in 1939, and that she brought him home to be buried in Cleveland. I had recently found her in the 1940 census living in an apartment in Lakewood but that was where the trail ended. 

Victor and Ella are buried with Ella's family:
Ella's Mom

Ella's father and sister. Lizzie died at age 4. 

Detail from Ella's father's stone. Her sister, Minnie, and her first husband are buried in the next row as well. Having Gessners in the family is another small world moment, as one of my first cousins on my Dad's side of the family is a Gessner by marriage. We'll have to see if they are all related. 

The biggest surprise at Riverside was the wildlife. We saw a lot of deer, including this whole family. They really were less than 30 feet away from us! Cleveland definitely still is Forest City

Our last stop on the cemetery tour was Monroe Street in Ohio City. It is the oldest cemetery on the West side of Cleveland with burials dating back to 1818. The gate house, shown on left, is no longer in service (the records are all at another city cemetery (and online)) and is falling down so the main entrance is closed. (It is being repaired.) There is a pedestrian gate to the left, down near the corner of West 30th Street. 

Mom had been to visit Theodore, my great great grandfather, before, so we knew just where to look. He is buried in the far back corner from the pedestrian gate. 

That's his stone, third to the left of the tree, with the shiny top. 

His daughters (my great grandmother and great Aunt Thorence) purchased this marker (it is not the original from 1891, was there an original? We don't know). Grandma died in 1962 so it had to have been prior to that. Update 8/17: Mom says, "Great Grandpa never had stone. They wanted him recognized, so they bought the stone and put it there. I think it was in the 1950ies."

Over lunch at Great Lakes Brewing Company, we shared family stories and discussed all the mysteries we still have to solve. It was a lovely morning!
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