Monday, September 1, 2014

Travel: Portland Art Museum

We thought our kids need a little culture. We thought our kids were mature enough for art with nudity. We learned a little lesson as parents. Don't bring a group of hungry kids to the art museum.
We even tried to play games like life imitating art. It worked for a short time. We tried asking what they liked about the piece of art. Sometimes they answered and other times they moved onto the next piece of art. The kids weren't impressed by any famous artist. Where were the art pieces of animals?
The museum has several floors. There are many oil on canvas pieces of art. The museum has pieces of art ranging from Picasso to Monet to Homer to Renoir and many others. I wish I had even an ounce of talent I saw at the museum.
When we were there, the museum had a Richard Estes exhibit on display. His painting looked just like photographs. I felt like I visited New York City, Maine, Italy, Paris, and England within minutes through his art. No photographs are allowed in the exhibit area. Some areas of the museum does allow cameras but no flash.
There were many different marble pieces and sculptures.
Yes, I may have been in the military but it is clear my kids haven't been. My nieces was the only one to salute President Grant with the correct hand. I think our President would have kicked my kids out of the military especially my son. Do you see his tongue?
Did you already know.....................
-In 1911, the Portland Museum of Art opened in the McLellan Mansion.
-The museum has since expanded and now McLellan Mansion is located at the back of the museum.
-The museum has many significant art pieces of Winslow Homer.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Blackberry Scones

We talked the kids into picking us some blackberries. My niece gave me a sandwich bag full. Then my daughter made the mistake of handing her bag to me so I combined them. She was not happy with me but I gave her the promise of scones. Now, I know she loved the scones but my son normally isn't a muffin/scone type of guy. He kept hounding me for more. I guess he really likes blackberries. These are really good.
Blackberry Scones
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp sugar for the blackberries and additional for the top
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1¼ cups blackberries
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp heavy cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  3. In a small bowl, toss the blackberries and 1 Tbsp of sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a food processor, combine lemon zest, flour, ½ cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse about 5 times.
  5. Add the butter and pulse about 8-10 times until it looks like course crumbs.
  6. Add the egg, egg yolk, and milk to the flour mixture. Pulse about 10 times.
  7. Generously flour working surface.
  8. Add the dough to the flour working surface and form a ball.
  9. Using a 2½ inch round biscuit cutter, scoop some dough into the cutter to form a 1 inch scone.
  10. Repeat with the remaining dough about 3 inches apart.
  11. Brush the heavy cream on top of the scones and sprinkle with sugar.
  12. Bake the scones for about 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown.
Recipe adapted from here.  

One year ago................................I made Green beans with onions.
Two years ago..............................I made Asian Chicken Wrap.
Yes, I eat my scones with jam.
Did you already know..................
-Blackberries are also known as bramble because of the thorny stems.
-The plant of the blackberry is called the cane.
-A red blackberry will have the distinguishing white core and will not be hollow inside like a raspberry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan

Every time we eat at Olive Garden, I order Eggplant Parmesan. My husband does think I'm crazy. My kids have tried it and like it but they always order something else. Well, I have been receiving eggplant from my farm share lately so I decided to try making it for the kids. My son even at the leftovers the next day. I really liked this recipe a lot. I really can't think of a better way to use up my eggplant.
My poor lonely eggplant! 
Eggplant Parmesan
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch slices
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
4 tsp olive oil, divided
1 cup milk
2 tsp butter
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp oregano 
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1jar of marinara sauce
 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, slice into thick pieces

  1. In a colander, place the sliced eggplants.
  2. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  4. Rinse and pat dry.
  5. On a plate, sprinkle the flour. Set aside.
  6. In a bowl, mix 2 tsp olive oil with the milk. Set aside. 
  7. On a plate, combine the bread crumbs with the oregano and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  8. In a large baking dish, pour the marinara sauce. Set aside.
  9. Dip the eggplant into the flour mixture. Shake any excess flour off.
  10. Dip the eggplant into the milk mixture.
  11. Dip the eggplant into the bread crumbs to coat. 
  12. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  13. Add the olive oil and 2 tsp butter.
  14. Add the coated eggplant and cook until golden brown.
  15. Place the golden eggplant into the baking dish. 
  16. Top the eggplant with slices of mozzarella cheese. 
  17. Bake the eggplant for 10 minutes. 
  18. Top with some of the marinara sauce before serving. 
Recipe adapted from Recipelion.

One year ago...............................I made Lemon Bars.
Two years ago.............................I made PB American Beauty Cake.
Did you already know......................
-Eggplant is classified as a fruit.
-Eggplant does contain small traces of nicotine.
-In ancient Asia, some aristocratic would dye their teeth black by using the skin of eggplant. (It is said to prevent tooth decay.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Travel: Botanical Gardens

Before we went to the botanical gardens, I told the kids that I wanted them to learn one new plant's name and be able to describe the plant. During our visit, I would ask them if they had their plant and they told me they did. Not once did I ask my husband if he was going to do the game too. Well, he surprised me. When we were heading home, I asked the kids and they did very good. They named and described a plant for me. Then my husband named at least five plants. I told him I was impressed and he told me it was because he knew I would be asking. Plus he wanted to show up the kids. He won the game since I couldn't have named as many as he did without looking at my photos.
We decided to visit the botanical gardens since I wanted to bring my sister and the girls there. I was lucky to have chaperon my son on a field trip a couple of years ago. My husband had never been either. 
Throughout the gardens, there are these gigantic sculptors. The kids had a little fun with them like this fish attacking my daughter. The kids had fun saving her.
The gardens have paths through the woods which overlook the coast. There is a waterfall and wooden bridges. One of my favorite parts of the botanical gardens is the kids section. The kids sections resemble children's books like Peter Rabbit and stories by Robert McCloskey like Blueberries for Sal. There is a bear cave and a fairy garden for the kids to visit.
The kids can pretend to be part of the children's books like my son dressed up like a fisherman from the book Burt Dow Deep-Water Man.
Of course, the best part is all the beautiful flowers and immaculate landscape. My husband asked if we could have a yard like this place. I wish!
Did you already know........................
-In 2007, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens opened.
-It took over 16 years of preparation to make the botanical gardens.
-The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens comprises of 270 acres of tidal shoreline. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ice Cream Cake

My sister loves ice cream cakes. She loves them. Since we celebrated her birthday this weekend, I wanted to post a recipe for her. Yes, I made this dessert for her. Yes, she loved it. The kids loved it. How can one go wrong with ice cream and brownie? She loves Oreos and peanut butter cups so I included them in the dessert for her too. The best thing about making a homemade dessert for someone is that you can make it exactly to the persons liking like this dessert for my sister. I love my sister.
Ice Cream Cake
1 box of brownie mix (plus ingredients for the brownies)
1 container (14.3 oz) of Oreo cookies, fine crumbles
1 quart of peanut butter cup ice cream, softened slightly
20 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
1 quart of cookies and cream ice cream, softened slightly
2 cups whip cream
Garnish: sprinkles

  1. In a 11x7 baking dish, bake the brownies according to directions. 
  2. Allow the brownies to cool completely.
  3. Sprinkle half of the Oreo crumbles over the cooled brownies. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add the peanut butter cup ice cream. 
  5. Fold in the chopped miniature peanut butter cups.
  6. Evenly spread the ice cream over the Oreo crumbles and brownies.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining half of the Oreo crumbles over the peanut butter cup ice cream layer.
  8. Evenly spread the cookies and cream ice cream over the Oreo crumble and peanut butter cup ice cream layer.
  9. Evenly spread the whip cream over the top of the ice cream cake.
  10. Garnish the top with sprinkles.
  11. Cover tightly and place in freezer for several hours and the cake is frozen before serving.
  12. (Run a sharp knife under hot water before slicing to make it easier.)
Recipe adapted from Cookies and Cups

One year ago...........I made Ladybug cupcakes.
Two years ago.........I made Stracciatella Cookie Dough Ice Cream.
Did you already know..........
-President George Washington enjoyed ice cream at Mt. Vernon.
-The Library of Congress a recipe written by Thomas Jefferson for ice cream.
-First Lady Dolly Madison served oyster ice cream.