Thursday, May 1, 2014

Do you want to know a (Kentucky Fried) secret?

Whoever has been praying that the rain would stay away today - thanks!  While it was a little breezy (and then chilly because of the wind) this morning when we headed out, the rain stayed away until after the Bean and I safely made it home from her field trip.  We had fun on the 'farm' this morning and saw lots including a three week old porcupine (which is a lot bigger than I would think for being 3 weeks old...) a hedgehog, some chinchillas, lots of donkeys (which the Bean got to brush), two cows (which Mrs. Porto's class named for the farmer - cocoa swiss and oreo moo moo) and even some reindeer!  I think the Bean's favorite part was testing out the see-saw with one of her friends while we waited for everyone to arrive, though.  I owe an extra special thanks to Tess who brought her boots down last night which were lined so not only kept my piggie toes warm but saved my shoes!  (My galoshes hunting yesterday was rather unsuccessful)

After we got home the Bean helped me with do some Kid Kitchen to create tonight's dessert of Chocolate Mint Cookies.  Believe it or not these go along with our Kentucky week as the recipe, mix and frosting all came from Duncan Hines. (That's the website for the company - if you need a fun dessert recipe I highly suggest checking it out as I had TONS to choose from.  I ended up picking this one because 1) I knew Grant would love them and 2) mint is actually an important Kentucky crop)  Anyway, the person behind the cake mix, the actual Duncan Hines was a Kentucky native who pioneered restaurant ratings for travelers.  He did come up with a recipe for a cake mix which was expanded by Nebraska Consolidated Mills and was eventually sold to Pinnacle Foods who produce it today.  As I thought these were a HUGE hit at my house. (Chocolate and mint, duh!)  But if you're going to try them out may I be so bold as to offer a few pieces of advice?  First, I made my cookies a little bigger as I didn't want the mint in the middle leaking out.  Bake them so the mint is nearer the top than the bottom.  Do NOT remove them to the wire rack as it suggest, I did and lots quite a few cookies this way as they were still unset and ended up falling through the rack.  Just leave them on the parchment paper or remove them to a plate instead.  They are not difficult at all and I have a feeling I'll be making them again since I have some frosting left...

After Noah got home from school the kiddos started on their Kentucky map.  I'm sure you can guess what both of them of course drew, but you'll have to see for yourself below what else they came up with (and of course their explanation...)

When Grant got home we let the kiddos open the Kentucky package that arrived from my wonderful sister Sarah in today's mail.  As I've mentioned before, Sarah actually lives in Cincinnati, but one of her jobs is located in Covington, Kentucky which is just across the river.  (If you're in the area go visit her at Cock & Bull Public House for some great food!)  She generously offered to put together some items for the kiddos that represent Kentucky (with a little help from Mr. Matt!) and they were delighted with the goodies today.  They are also very excited because in June they are going to be going to Cinci to stay with Sarah for a few days and she has already told them they will be going to Kentucky at some point while they are there.  (Actually, funny note, she is taking them to the Reds game one day and has told them they will actually park in Kentucky and walk across the river to go to the game!)  Thanks Aunt Sarah for being wonderful and helping us out!  Love you :)

I teased at it yesterday, but there was no way that we could make it through Kentucky week without trying the food known globally that bears Kentucky's name; Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Sure, we could have gone out to the fast food restaurant which is headquartered in Louisville that was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders (not Kentucky born but he considered it home and died there) but what fun would that have been?  Sanders' Original Recipe of "11 herbs and spices" is one of the most famous trade secrets in the food industry. The recipe is not patented because patents eventually expire, whereas trade secrets remain the intellectual property of their holders in perpetuity.  A copy of the recipe, signed by Sanders, is held inside a safe inside a vault in KFC's headquarters, along with eleven vials containing the herbs and spices.  To maintain the secrecy of the recipe, half of it is produced by Griffith Laboratories before it is given to McCormick, who add the second half.  (  So while I couldn't exactly make *actual* Kentucky Fried Chicken, I found this recipe which promised to be close.  The vote on the finished product here tonight was that it wasn't exactly like KFC but it was REALLY good.  Everyone here asked me to please make this again.  I also made Louisville Rice Salad to go with it tonight.  We liked this one and i think its a very adaptable recipe if you're looking for a good summer side!

We wrapped up tonight by putting the "We've Been There" state together.  I'm happy to tell you that all four Gatchel's earned a Kentucky sticker tonight.  I know on our many treks back and forth from Florida we all drove through and made stops in Kentucky (we are trying to figure out if any of us have spent any extended time there though) so stickers all around!

Tomorrow the Bean and I are going to work on getting some stuff around for our awesome Derby party on Saturday, we're going to be having Kentucky breakfast food for dinner and are looking forward to having a movie night by watching "Secretariat."  Never a dull moment, I tell ya ;-)  So until then..

Kentucky Fun Fact of the Day:  The public saw an electric light for the first time in Louisville. Thomas Edison introduced his incandescent light bulb to crowds at the Southern Exposition in 1883.

Ready to go to the farm

Teeter Totter

Baby Porcupine

Petting some turtles

Getting ready to touch a hedgehog


She kept telling everyone that this looked like the bird from Rio 2!


Say cheese

Snack time

Thanks Mr. Hines

Ready to bake

Her favorite part of the process this morning

Mail call!

Noah's Kentucky interpretation - the state flower :)

Kayla drew goldenrods AND bluegrass

Play time

Opening our package from Aunt Sarah

Louisville Rice Salad

Kentucky Fried Chicken (almost)

The total Chocolate Mint Cookie Sandwich via Duncan Hines

Cutting out letters

All four Gatchel's have been to Kentucky!

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