Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shoo fly, don't bother me!

Dear Mother Nature - at times this past year I have cursed your name.  Repeatedly.  And rumor has it that you already have your sights set on setting us in deep freeze again here shortly.  But, for today, the past few day and what I'm seeing, the next few days - thank you.  It has been absolutely gorgeous in the Hills, beautiful enough for the Bean and I to trek out to 3 Cedars Farm this morning and meet up with some of the fine ladies from MOPS (and their fabulous kiddos!) for some playtime and donuts!  You know it was a beautiful day when even I had ditched my jacket by shortly after 11.  So someone make a note, and remind me in three months when we are all frozen solid under goodness only knows how much snow - we had a beautiful week in September!

Speaking of beautiful, my Bean not only got the royal treatment last night with her nails (I took pictures after I had posted so am including them here) but she was again at this afternoon when we got home helping me make tonight's dessert, Shoofly Pie!  The pie originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch and legend had it got its name because  the smell attracts flies that must be "shooed" away.  There are two versions (wet bottomed and dry bottomed ) and the Bean and I tried our hand at the wet bottom version.  She even got to use a new tool in the kitchen - a pastry blender!  

And if all that wasn't beautiful enough, when Noah got home I broke open the box of 64 Crayolas (see all 120 color names and varieties here!) and let them go to town on their maps.  I'll let them show you below what they most like about Pennsylvania.  I bet you may be able to guess....

But before he colored at home it seems my sneaky six year old thought that perhaps he could pull one over on his Mama.  They have a behavior chart at school that every day they color the square green, yellow or red (based on their behavior all day) and that is the way they get to leave school - if their square corresponds to their behavior according to the teacher.  Once ,or twice this month Noah came home with yellow.  Now, not the end of the world, but I know he can do better.  So I told him that if he brought home green for the rest of the month it'd earn him a prize.  So today he told me he had earned green, but when I pulled out his folder there was, oddly enough, a green crayon wedged in the pocket as well.  A closer inspection of his chart showed quite a bit of yellow under today's green.  So, being the suspicious Mama I am, I asked him.  He told me he had 'accidentally' colored the square yellow but had to fix it in on the bus.  Now, as this isn't my first time around the Mom block, I asked what would happen if I emailed his teacher to confirm this story.  I didn't have to say another word before he was melting down in the kitchen.  I'm pretty sure he punished himself enough (the thought of not earning the prize has done him in) but I've also taken the ability for a prize next month off the table (thanks for the suggestion Mom).  I have a bit of a surly little boy on my hands tonight, but I had to give him (not outloud) props for creativity on this one...

We are all actually home together tonight (shock!) and had the chance to sit down and enjoy dinner together.  Any guesses from the picture I posted yesterday?  If you have been following us for awhile, and you remember back to the food project this food just happens to have a National Day celebrating it on November 9th every year.  Yep, I'm talking about the one, the only, Cornmeal Scrapple!  Another Pennsylvania Dutch specialty, scrapple was born out of a need to use EVERY part of the butchered hog.  And while I'm not in the mindset to butcher my own pig, we made do and just used pork sausage :-p  The dish is so common in Pennsylvania that you can actually buy pre-made loafs fresh or frozen.  I was smart this time (unlike the Amish potato salad the other night...) and did make mine ahead yesterday and it was perfect for dinner tonight.  It is truly a meal in itself, but in need of balance, I also made some Amish Fried Apples to go with it.  (My crew LOVES these, by the way). 

But as sometimes happens, dinner tonight had other ideas.  The scrapple and I had quite the battle.  Not exactly sure what the deal was (you can see from the pictures that it was sufficiently set when it came from the pan) but it was not staying together and I was ending up with one big pile of mush.  And I love my family too much to serve the mush.  So, as I have always said, if we can't eat it, there's always a pizza in the freezer!  So tonight - pizza it was.  Proof - I am human.  The fact that I'm sitting here giggling about the whole thing as I type (because a few years back this would have had me in tears) means that it can't be all bad.  The way I see it, we've had scrapple before.  I will probably make it again sometime (thought not with this recipe...).  We just needed to eat pizza tonight!

I'm a bit torn - Tigers game (though I know they're already in the play-offs as the officially clinched last night with a Seattle loss - woo hoo!) or the premier of my favorite, Grey's Anatomy.  Tigers play early, so maybe they'll effectively put the Twins in their place early so I can safely watch Grey's without panicking,  Either way, I got some more of the pieces I need to work on my project after my fabulous husband worked tonight on getting some of it hung.  It's been a good Thursday :)

And it looks like it'll be a good Friday and awesome weekend as well!  I'm playing copy cat with a certain Pennsylvania recipe tomorrow (hmmm, here's a hint: 57) and the Dynamic Duo is so excited because I told them that dessert tomorrow night just may require us pulling out the fire pit.  So until then...

Pennsylvania Fun Fact of the Day:  The first U.S. zoo was built in Philadelphia in 1876.

The Bean's nails last night

She insisted that she needed a 'swag thumb' - Sarah and Shell she's totally your niece

At the farm

A break for a donut

Have you seen this - orange milk!  I'm not much for spontaneous buying, but HAD to try this today.  and it is AWESOME!  I had to put the half gallon away so I didn't drink the whole thing

Kayla helping me with the pie

The egg expert

Mikayla's first attempt with the pastry blender

Pie ready for the oven

Ooh, the colors!

Working away

Mikayla's Pennsylvania - the black is the cracked Liberty Bell and the Orange and silver below the bell are the Hershey characters at Hershey World  (there's a picture on our wall of them, she really liked them)

The scrapple out of the pan

All sliced up

Noah's Pennsylvania (surly Noah did not want to be in any pictures)  The top has a Hershey bar, Crayola and 64 are in green, the liberty bell is next to 64, the Penguins logo is upper right, then the Heinz logo bottom right and across the bottom is an Amish buggy being pulled by a horse

Frying up the apple

Proof that sometimes, we just need to eat pizza

Our Shoofly Pie

OK - the gang LOVED this pie.  I really wasn't expecting it, but especially the boys were all about it

Finally got a picture of the Pennsylvania Wall

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