Monday, May 31, 2010

Strawberry Smiles and Gluten Free Blintzes with the Freshest Toppings

It is strawberry picking season again. This is an awesome field trip that takes full advantage of having multiple picking preschoolers. The kids love to go to the farm and they enjoy harvesting pounds of strawberries.

The tractor rides are fun for my city kids.
They truly enjoy the whole country kid experience. Of course the samples are an added nutritional bonus.
Notice the juice stains on tee shirts. It is rare to see my children eating berries while fully clothed in their REAL CLOTHES, so take note accordingly. School provided tee shirts are meant for berry stains, SCORE on the tie dye shirts!

The whole family had a blast together.

We harvested 19 pounds of berries which took me about an hour and half to individually wash, core, and store in the quart freezer bags. We are set for smoothies for 4-6 months. The ripest, juiciest berries were reserved for the topping on my gluten free cheese blintzes.

The following is my now famous Gluten Free Crepe and Gluten Free Cheese Blintz recipe for your enjoyment.

French Crepes
6 eggs
2.5 cups whole milk
pinch of salt
stick of melted butter
1.5 cups Jules Nearly Normal Flour
additional butter for pan

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs.
Add remaining ingredients and whisk vigorously until combined, small lumps are ok. Set batter aside to rest for 20 minutes.

Heat an 8-inch nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Lightly brush the pan with melted butter.

Pour 1/4 cup batter into the hot pan, twirling the pan so the batter spreads out evenly into a very thin layer. Cook about 30 seconds until the crepe comes away from the sides of the pan. Gently flip the crepe over and continue cooking another few seconds. Transfer to a plate with waxed paperand repeat cooking crepes until all the batter is used and all the crepes are stacked between the wax paper pieces.

Crepes can be frozen and used later, or can be filled and rolled into blintzes.

Cheese Blintz Recipe
Use crepes as prepared above
Ingredients for Cheese Filling:
1/2 cup chilled half and half
1/2 cup cottage cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
Confectioners' sugar for decoration
Strawberry topping

Mix the cottage cheese and cream cheese in a bowl or using a hand mixeror stick blender until as smooth as possible (it will remain a bit grainy, from the cottage cheese). Add the sugar, vanilla, and zest and mix. Fold in the half and half.

Blintz assembly:
Place a dollop of the blintz cheese filling in the center of the crepe.

Fold edges in then tuck to roll like a burrito. Place seam side down in a hot skillet brushed with butter. Pan fry until golden brown and heated all the way through, then transfer to a baking dish to keep warm. Top with fresh berries and powdered sugar.Enjoy for brunch or Memorial Day traditional Jewish meal as now requested by Jeff. We have started a new family tradition- Memorial Day strawberry picking, followed by labor intensive prepared from scratch, Gluten Free Blintzes with fresh toppings.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just $4 After 4:00 p.m. at the Pool with the Trendy New Albany Barbie Moms

One of the best kept secrets in New Albany is the Plain Township Aquatic Center. I have blogged about it before, and got some not so nice feedback about the Barbie Moms, but, that was ages ago. Now that I am sporting my new flat tummy, I am back at the pool with my friends and neighbors in New Albany.

On an aside, I did get a fun email from one of my local blog readers who told me that the Central Ohio Barbies can be found at the local toy store.

"New Albany Barbie"
This princess Barbie is sold only on the square in New Albany. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a cookie-cutter red brick house with white picket fence.Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version, Easton Town Center Gift Card not included.

"Dublin Barbie"
The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Windstar Minivan and matching Juicy Couture-like gym outfit.Fantastic Sam's hairstyle can be cut to various lengths. Miss Clairol colors in four shades with highlights are optional. Three kids with trendy names like Braden, Bella, and Bree sold separately. She has the aisles of Target memorized. Traffic jamming cell phone not included.

Upper Arlington Barbie"
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included are her own Starbucks cup,Platinum credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won't be able to afford any of them.

"Victorian Village Barbie"
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks.She prefers that you call her Willow. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Victorian Village Barbies and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.

Good Stuff. Good Stuff.

Enough about the barbies, let's talk about the amazing tax dollars spent on the finest pool for families:

I discovered that admission is $4 per person after 4:00. The late afternoon and evening is the best time to go if you are obsessed with staying pale like me. So Jeff and I donned 50 SPF, hats and shades and took the kids to enjoy the first real weekend of summer.

The toddler play zone and the zero entry pool are simply perfect for kids.

I could post 100 photos of the children really enjoying themselves, but combined they would not accurately portray the wicked good time they had.

From a parenting standpoint, value aside, the Plain Township Aquatic Center offers great bathroom facilities, a moderately priced snack bar, and lifeguards that are like pool nazis. Both Jeff and I agreed that it was fun, easy and relatively inexpensive to treat the kids to this kind of evening.

We plan to take full advantage of the $4 special this Summer. If my blog posts about the New Albany barbie moms don't get us banned.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Family Field Trip # 436, IKEA and a Party

Leave it to me to take the kids on a family field trip where child care is provided. If there is a way to schlep the kids to a destination under direct supervision by others, and if it is free, I can smell the value about 97 miles away. And this weekend, I did just that. Hello Ikea in West Chester, Ohio.

I had used a trip to Ikea as currency all week. The kids were totally excited to go play at Ikea. They love the child care facility at Ikea. Taking four kids to the play center at Ikea is not that much different that going to Disney. You park in the special lot for families with minivans.

There is almost always a line to enter. There's a stick to measure for appropriate height. There are security measures taken to ensure the well being of the children, and there are parents chomping at the bit to ditch their kiddos for one precious hour. The price of admission to Ikea paradise is F-R-E-E, so long as you are not tempted by the cafe and all the bargain priced tchotckes, furniture and shit you did not go to buy but buy anyhow.

Jeff and I were lured into the cafe for beverages and a nosh. My husband, ever looking for a deal, saw the sign that advertised the buy one get one free on pasta entrees. The signs
were plastered everywhere. We bellied up to the cafeteria and scored two plates with all the trimmings. It was all going perfectly as planned until we approached the cashier to pay. She said our total price, and while it was reasonable for two meals, it was not the buy one get one free that we were expecting. She irritatedly explained that that promotion does not begin until June 7. Both Jeff and I were really pissed. The signage was all over the cafe, and people were ordering the BOGO pasta like it was going out of style. I saw more than a few people get to the register and give her the Huh, whatcha talkin bout Willis face?

We both were totally irked that the IKEA marketing team pulled a fast one. Jeff and I reluctantly paid for our meal but agreed that had we known about the limited time offer, we would not have ordered pasta, yet alone two plates of it. For about $5.99 Ikea pissed Jeff off to the point of no return, literally.

(My marketing guru suggested that the fine folks at Ikea should have had a little red banner shaped sticker or band across the corner of the ads- Coming Soon, so that suckers with poor vision would not be fooled. He also suggested that the cafeteria workers mention the offer start date when patrons are piling up pasta entrees on their trays. No one said a word to any of us as we chose from the menu.)

As if Ikea was not enough quality family fun, we attended The Other Slutsky Family Fiesta in Mason, Ohio. In honor of Maddie graduating, and Uncle Rick's 50th birthday bonanza, we had more partying to do. Of course, the highlight of the event was the corn hole games,

general funny business, time with the relatives and cake- we can't forget the all important Opera Cake from BonBonerie.

When you have a family as loving as ours, and a cake like this, it is blog worthy.

The kids played and played while Jeff found a quiet spot to take a nap.

We all enjoyed seeing Phoebe, the cat in her expensive new cat bed. Nothing says you have a fancy pet like displaying it on the dining room table.

I am sure Aunt Lisa is fuming at the thought of her artisan glass bowl being used as a pet accessory, which is why I laughed so hard and took photos. Sorry, Lisa, but I find humor in your pain.

So now in addition to my three Kindergartners, we also have two other graduates in the family. Cousin Connor is on his way to the Big Kindergarten too,
along with Maddie who will be at Ohio State in the fall.

All in all it was the ultimate family field trip on a Saturday.

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