Farm to Table Mother’s Day Lunch

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Two weeks ago, help we visited the Scott Heritage Farm to see our CSA up close — including a flock of ducks. Well guess what was in our CSA basket yesterday? Yep, more info a duck. Luckily Barbara also sent instructions on how to finish plucking it and then roasting it. IMG_9185So today for Mother’s Day, I’m roasting my first duck. M enjoyed helping me prepare the duck. And she was full of questions: Where’s the duck’s head? Why did the farmer kill the momma duck? Are all the ducks dead?

IMG_9195I also prepared a kale salad with Parmesan, raisins and pine nuts.

Author: Food Babe
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of lacinato or dinosaur kale, stems removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • ? cup currants (or chopped raisins)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • ½ cup pine nuts toasted
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp grated raw parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, process kale into small chopped pieces
  2. To make dressing, stir lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together in a large bowl
  3. Add chopped kale, currants, pine nuts and parmesan to bowl with dressing
  4. Stir all ingredients together and serve
  5. (Optional – Save some pine nuts and/or parmesan cheese for top of salad before serving for presentation purposes)

Finished duck was actually pretty good. But not worth the effort, so probably won’t be making it again anytime soon. cookedduck

Wedding Party Pics

One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the party pic corner. Sarabeth was our photographer extraordinaire. And she totally delivered! These photos are better than I ever imagined. I’m going to put them all into a Shutterfly book along with the “real” wedding photos that Niguel took. Here are a few of my faves:

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Words of advice. Wonder what they mean???

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They took the “party” in party pic seriously.

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Love these people! Our wedding wouldn’t have been as special (or fun) without them.

Teacher Appreciation Cookies

9IMG_9166 M and I made chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for her teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. M’s favorite part of cookie making is licking the bowl at the end. (Just like her mom!)

Not 1000 miles away…

9IMG_9157This time last year, mind M and I were living in Maryland. I had a great job, cialis sale and we had lots of close friends, symptoms but it just wasn’t home. We missed out on Sunday after-church lunches at my parents’ house and play dates in the park with my brother and his family. M loves her cousin Champ. So today on a whim, we met up with Champ and some other friends at the park by their house. It’s just a five minute drive there now — not 1000 miles away. The kids had a blast — and I think the adults did too.

What to do with all that kale…

IMG_9087One of the cool things about being a CSA member is getting different vegetables that I wouldn’t normally buy like bok choy and kale — got both of those this past Saturday. So I started looking for kale recipes to tonight’s dinner and found one that uses mushrooms, sick sweet potato and quinoa.

Quinoa With Mushrooms, see Kale, and Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the quinoa and 2 cups water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden and beginning to soften, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the kale, wine, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Serve the vegetables over the quinoa and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

IMG_9106(from RealSimple.com)

Proof even the kiddo likes it!  However, next time I think I’ll do more of a caramelized sweet pototo just to add a little sweetness to the savory.

Walk for the Waiting

Many of you know my story with foster adoption, buy information pills but here’s the elevator-speech version. I wanted to be a mom, so I went through The CALL’s foster parent training in October 2010. I was approved as a foster parent in early January 2011, and my first placement was a beautiful baby girl. I was able to adopt that baby girl 11 months later, and she has blessed my life so much. I’m walking and raising money for Walk for the Waiting, so other children like my daughter can find safe, loving homes. They deserve it.

To sponsor me, go to http://www.fundeasy.com/m/1355886/

Thank you!

Arkansas Farm Honeymoon

IMG_8925Anthony and I are both fairly new at our jobs and don’t have a lot of leave accumulated. So we decided to honeymoon locally. We spent our wedding night in downtown Little Rock, drugs then had brunch Sunday morning at Boscos. We thought they had a jazz brunch, unhealthy but apparently that went away about a year ago. Brunch was yummy anyway. IMG_9009Then we picked up M and spent the afternoon at Scott Heritage Farm in Scott, AR. We belong to the Scott Heritage Farm CSA, and the farm was hosting their first shareholder farm to table dinner of the season. We saw goats, pigs, ducks, chickens, cows, horses, and a gorgeous rooster.  Barbara runs the farm and lives on site. She has an outdoor bathtub — by a pond (aka swamp). At first we thought the tub was just for show, but no; we saw a used women’s razor laying in it. IMG_8950

M enjoyed playing ball with her new Daddy, and I enjoyed resting in the quiet and peace of the moment. After a couple of hours of site seeing and playing, we settled in around the row of tables lined up end to end. Each shareholder brought their own plates and utensils, and the farm supplied most of the food and drinks. One new friend, Harry, brought a homemade cheesecake and rum cake that were both amazing. We enjoyed dining with our new farm family and look forward to next month’s meal together.

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Wedding ceremony…

Anthony and I wanted a religious ceremony, buy but minus all the “Dearly beloved, we are gathered…”.  We wanted it to be fresh and meaningful to us. Here’s what we ended up with:

Processional
Song: “When the Right One Comes Along”

Opening Prayer
We are gathered here in the presence of God, family and friends to unite Stacey and Anthony in holy matrimony. Marriage is an honorable estate, and is therefore not to be entered into lightly, but reverently, advisedly, soberly and with God’s blessing. Today, they will receive God’s greatest gift; another person to share with, grow with, change with, be joyful with and to stand with as one when trials and tribulations enter their lives. It is fitting, therefore, that we should on this occasion begin by asking for God’s blessing on this marriage. Let us pray.?? Heavenly Father, we gather to celebrate your gift of love, and its presence among us. We rejoice that these two people have chosen to commit themselves to a life of loving faithfulness to one another. We praise you, Lord, for the ways you have touched our lives with loving relationships such as Stacey and Anthony’s, and we give thanks for the special love and friendship you have put in their hearts. Renew within us an affectionate and loving spirit. Enrich our lives with the gracious gift of your love so that we may embrace others with that same love. May our participation in this celebration of love and commitment give to us a new joy and responsiveness to the relationships that we cherish. In your loving arms we pray, Amen.
You may all be seated.

Definition of Commitment
Marriage is a joyous occasion. It is connected in our thoughts with the charm of love, the warmth of home, and with all that is pleasant, as being one of the most important events of our lives. Its sacredness and unity is the most significant and binding covenant known in human relations. Let me remind you, Stacey and Anthony, your home will never be what God intends for it to be if you leave Him out of your relationship. As you are obedient to the Word of God, and allow God to control your relationship, your home will be the place of joy and testimony to the world that God intends.

Stacey and Anthony, let me charge you both to remember that your future happiness is to be in mutual consideration, patience, kindness, confidence and affection. It is the duty of each of you to find your greatest joy in the company of the other; to remember that your love pledged today must remain undivided for a lifetime. ??It is your duty, Anthony, to be to Stacey, a considerate, tender, faithful, and loving husband: to support, guide and cherish her in prosperity and trouble; to thoughtfully and carefully enlarge the place she holds in your life; to constantly show to her the tokens of your affection, to shelter her from danger, and to love her with an unchangeable love.

??It is your duty, Stacey, to be to Anthony, a considerate, tender, faithful, and loving wife; to comfort, guide and cherish him in prosperity and trouble; to give to him the unfailing evidences of your affection; to continue making the place he holds in your heart, broader and deeper; to support him, value him and work with him to make your marriage the very best that it can be.??I call your attention to the seriousness of the decision which you have made and the covenant you are about to declare before God. The vows you are about to take are not to be taken without careful thought, for in them you are committing yourselves exclusively to one another for as long as you both shall live.

Wedding Vows
If you are ready to assume the obligations and duties before God, as I have defined them, you will unite your hands and pledge your love and your lives to each other.?? Anthony, repeat after me.? I Anthony, take you, Stacey, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for as long as we both shall live. For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. This is my solemn vow.

Now Stacey, please repeat after me.? I Stacey, take you, Anthony, to be my husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, for as long as we both shall live. For where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. This is my solemn vow.

Exchanging of the Rings
You will now exchange rings as a symbol of the lifelong commitment and abiding love which you as husband and wife have promised to each other.??Anthony, as you place this ring, symbol of your commitment in marriage, on the third finger of Stacey’s left hand, repeat after me:

With this ring I wed you and pledge my faithful love.  I take you as my wife and pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love.  I promise to honor and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives.

Stacey, as you place this ring, symbol of your commitment in marriage, on the third finger of Anthony’s left hand, repeat after me:
With this ring I wed you and pledge my faithful love.  I take you as my husband and pledge to share my life openly with you, to speak the truth to you in love.  I promise to honor and tenderly care for you, to cherish and encourage your fulfillment as an individual through all the changes of our lives.

Prayer
Eternal God, help Stacey and Anthony to fulfill the promises they have made here today and to reflect your steadfast love in their commitment to each other. Give them kindness and patience, affection and understanding, happiness and contentment. May their family and friends continue to support them, so that their love for each other may continue to grow as long as they both shall live.  (In Spanish also.)

Song: “Last First Kiss”

Blessing
As this couple has joined lives here today, it’s important to understand that everyone present has played a part in shaping the characters of Stacey and Anthony, and will play a vital role in their continuing lives. And thus we are here not only to witness their vows to each other, but also to bestow upon them our blessing.
May you find in one another the love for which all men and women yearn.
May you grow in understanding and compassion.
May the home which you establish together be such a place of sanctuary that all who are here today and others through the years will find a haven of peace and joy.
May The Lord bless you and keep you;
May The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
May The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.

Declaration of Marriage
Stacey and Anthony, having witnessed your vows for marriage before God and all who are assembled here, by the power vested in me by the State of Arkansas, the Holy Spirit, and the Lord Jesus Christ, I now pronounce you husband and wife.  You may kiss the bride! Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Keith Valley and their children…

Now we invite you to stay and celebrate with us. (Music starts “Marry You”)

Rehearsal Dinner (minus the rehearsal) Cake

img_8000 Anthony and I started our wedding celebration the night before with a gathering of friends and family at our house. My cousin Amy provided the entertainment. My parents and cousins Eric and Pam helped with a yummy spread of BBQ and all the fixins. I made a killer chocolate cinnamon cake.

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake

Prepare sheet cake pan, illness greased and floured. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 stick butter
4 T. cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk

Bring to a boil the water, oil, butter, and cocoa. Remove from heat and add sugar and flour. Mix in cinnamon, eggs, vanilla, soda, and buttermilk. Pour into greased and floured sheet cake pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

img_8062Icing:
4 T. cocoa
6 T. milk
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 (1 lb.) box powdered sugar
1 cup pecans

Heat cocoa, milk and butter; beat in vanilla, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Add pecans and spread on warm cake.