Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Groceries for 6/28/10

Our groceries totaled $110 this week.  Here's what we're eating:

Pasta with homemade sauce & sausage
London Broil
Sopes (thick Mexican tortillas with meat, beans, homemade salsa, queso fresco)
Pork chops with mango salsa
Homemade pizzas  with leftover sauce

Sunday, June 27, 2010

101 Fun Things to Do in NJ

 Original Article Here

Girl at beach collecting shells1. Hunt for seashells. Watch for the knobbed whelk, the official state shell.
2. Make a masterpiece. Try Ocean City’s Sand Sculpting Contest (7/7; 609/525-9300 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/525-9300      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) or the 24th Annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest, Belmar (7/14).
3. Kick up your heels at Cowtown Rodeo (Pilesgrove; 856/769-3200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              856/769-3200      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
4. Tickle your taste buds at the 8th Annual New Jersey State Ice Cream Festival (7/17; Toms River; 732/946-2711 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              732/946-2711      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
5. Stroll on a boardwalk.
6. Enjoy an al fresco movie at the Delsea Drive-In Theatre (Vineland, 856/696-0011 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              856/696-0011      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
7. Be transported at the 28th Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning (7/23–25; Readington; 973/882-5464 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/882-5464      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
8. Climb a lighthouse.
Lucy the Elephant in Margate New Jerey9. Ride Lucy the Elephant. Or rather, ascend the famous five-story-high National Historic Landmark (Margate; 609/823-6473 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/823-6473      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).

10. Experience the thrill of a roller coaster or splash of a waterslide.
11. Spy a ruby-throated hummingbird at Leaming’s Run Gardens, as it feasts on nectar before migrating south (North Cape May Court House; 609/465-5871 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/465-5871      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
12. Cheer your favorite minor league baseball team.
13. Visit the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center to learn about this baseball legend and New York Yankee Hall of Famer (Little Falls; 973/655-2378 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/655-2378      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
14. Learn to swim.
A. J. Meerwald New Jersey's Official Tall Ship15. Cruise on the historic schooner A.J. Meerwald, New Jersey’s Official Tall Ship (Port Norris; 856/785-2060 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              856/785-2060      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
16. Watch saltwater taffy being pulled at the Jersey Shore.
17. Pack a picnic and enjoy a free outdoor concert in your town.
18. Take a whale-watching cruise.
19. Be a swashbuckling pirate aboard the Sea Gypsy on the Metedeconk River (Brick; 732/899-6100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              732/899-6100      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
20. Have a blast at the New Jersey State Fair (8/6–15; Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta; 973/948-5500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/948-5500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
21. Go tubing or whitewater rafting on the Delaware River.

Children camping22. Camp beneath the stars.
23. Lose yourself in a tale at the New Jersey Storytelling Festival (9/12; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton; 609/586-0616 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/586-0616      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
24. Clown around at the 29th Annual Clownfest (9/16–19; Seaside Heights).
25. Bike along the Delaware and Raritan Canal.
26. Step aboard a pontoon boat or paddle your own canoe on the Hackensack River as you learn about the diverse ecosystem of the Meadowlands (201/460-4640 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              201/460-4640      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
27. Visit a wetland. And don’t miss the 28th Annual Wings ’n Water Festival at the Wetlands Institute (9/17–19; Stone Harbor; 609/368-1211 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/368-1211      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
28. Tread quietly at a bird sanctuary. Keep your binoculars handy for a glimpse of the Eastern Goldfinch, our state bird.

29. Climb 1,803 feet to the Garden State’s apex at High Point State Park (Sussex; 973/875-4800 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/875-4800      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
Asbury Bark Halloween  Pet Parade30. Sample lima bean ice cream at the West Cape May Annual Lima Bean Festival (10/9; 609/884-9325 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/884-9325      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
31. Celebrate the cranberry at the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival; New Jersey ranks fourth in the U.S. in cranberry production (10/16–17; 609/698-2501 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/698-2501      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
32. Navigate a haunted hay maze, or go pumpkin picking.
33. Ride a horse, our official state animal.
34. Judge which pet has the best costume at the Third Annual Halloween Pet Parade , Asbury Park (732/775-4801 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              732/775-4801      end_of_the_skype_highlighting; ).

35. Visit an arboretum to seek out the official state tree, the red oak.
36. Don a conductor’s hat for the Camden Children’s Garden Train Festival; you’ll find crafts, games, a reading of The Polar Express, and, of course, trains (11/13–14; Camden; 856/365-8733 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              856/365-8733      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
37. Listen to the night sounds of the Pinelands at the Moonlight Walk at Whitesbog Village (11/20; Browns Mills; 609/893-4646 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/893-4646      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
38. Learn about the state’s native people at Cheesequake State Park’s Lenni Lenape Traditions (11/21; Matawan; 732/566-3208 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              732/566-3208      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
39. Watch skilled equestrians and their mounts during the Turkey Trot at the Horse Park of New Jersey (Allentown; 609/259-0170 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/259-0170      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).

Family cutting down
Christmas treeDecember
40. Light a menorah.
41. Go caroling at an eldercare facility.
42. Whip up a gingerbread creation and enter it in the 19th Annual Gingerbread Wonderland competition at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum (12/4–12; Morris Twp.; 973/326-7601 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/326-7601      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
43. Harvest your own Christmas tree.
44. Experience history in action on the Delaware River as the 1776 crossing of Gen. George Washington and his Continental troops is reenacted (12/25; Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville; 609/737-0623 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/737-0623      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
45. Be dazzled by the sounds of a symphony orchestra and voices from a chorus at Video Games Live (12/29–30; Newark; 973/624-3713 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/624-3713      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).

Girl skiing46. Climb aboard the Pine Creek Railroad at the New Jersey Museum of Transportation for the first run of the year (1/1/11; Allaire State Park, Wall Twp.; 732/938-5524 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              732/938-5524      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
47. Schuss down a slope on skis or a snowboard.
48. Delight in the Morris Museum’s collection of 19th- and 20th-century toys and dolls (Morristown; 973/971-3700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/971-3700      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
49. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
50. Build a snow fort.
51. Attend a story hour at your local library.
52. Scale a rock wall at an indoor family entertainment center.
53. Get fit—take a family-friendly yoga or Zumba class.
54. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about bugs—including the state insect, the honeybee—at Insectropolis. Be brave: touch a tarantula, scorpion, or other creepy-crawly (Toms River; 732/349-7090 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              732/349-7090      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
55. Throw a strike (or spare) at a bowling center.

56. Ice skate on your local pond (if permissible and safe) or indoor skating rink.
57. Lace up your roller skates for some old-fashioned indoor fun at a Jersey roller rink.
Maple sugaring58. Learn about women and African-American aviators at the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey (Teterboro Airport; 201/288-6344 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              201/288-6344      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
59. Go sledding.
60. Take a self-guided Underground Railroad Tour, imagining the danger escaped slaves felt as they were smuggled northward to freedom in the early 1800s (Burlington; 609/386-3993 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/386-3993      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
61. Try cross-country skiing.
62. Learn how maple sugar goes from tree to table at an outdoor educational center.
63. Stargaze at a planetarium or observatory. Or step into your backyard on a clear night and look up. Telescope optional.

64. Participate in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.
65. Dance with wolves at the Lakota Wolf Preserve. The Gray wolves will be resplendent in their winter coats (Columbia; 877/733-9653 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              877/733-9653      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
66. Eat at a diner before going to a 3-D IMAX movie.
67. Stare down sharks and other species at an aquarium.
68. Board a ferry at Liberty State Park to spend the day on Ellis Island (212/363-3200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              212/363-3200      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
69. Celebrate the performing arts during Family Week at the Theatre, with discounted and/or free tickets to all events (3/5–13/11; 973/731-6582 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/731-6582      end_of_the_skype_highlighting). Check out the month-long Stages Festival, too.

Cherry Blossom Festival70. Stroll under Newark’s historic cherry trees at the 35th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival (973/268-3500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/268-3500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
71. Adopt a pet.
72. Hide and hunt eggs to celebrate spring’s arrival.
73. Build a birdhouse for the 2nd Annual Wagner Farm Arboretum Birdhouse Contest (Warren Twp.; 908/647-2332 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              908/647-2332      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
74. Spelunk at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum (Ogdensburg; 973/209-7212 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/209-7212      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
75. Or dig for rocks at the Franklin Mineral Museum (Franklin; 973/827-3481 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/827-3481      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
76. Start a rock collection.
77. Escape to the cool quiet of a waterfall; New Jersey has more than 20.
78. Grow your own soup and salad: plant a vegetable garden.
79. Celebrate the American Shad at the 30th Annual Shad Fest. If you’re not a fish lover, there’s still much to eat, see, and do there (Lambertville).
80. Walk a steel girder, avoid the big blue nose, and take the Wildlife Challenge at Liberty Science Center (Liberty State Park, Jersey City; 201/200-1000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              201/200-1000      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
81. Tour a local recycling center in honor of Earth Day.
82. Then help clean up your neighborhood or a local park.

Valley Shepherd Creamery New Jersey83. Learn the old-style European method of crafting cheese from sheep’s milk at the Valley Shepherd Creamery (Long Valley; 908/876-3200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              908/876-3200      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
84. Time travel at the New Jersey State History Fair (5/7/11; Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville; 609/777-0238 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/777-0238      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
85. Watch skilled artisans blow glass at the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center (Millville; 800/998-4552 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800/998-4552      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
86. Experience the culture and traditions of Indians in the Americas at the Native American Arts Festival (Rancocas; 609/261-4747 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/261-4747      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
87. Take a nature hike with Mom for Mother’s Day.
88. Visit a living history farm.
Wildwood International Kite Festival89. Fly a kite. Or marvel at the colorful splendor of the Wildwood International Kite Festival (5/27–30/11; 800/992-9732 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800/992-9732      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
90. Be electrified at Thomas Edison’s laboratory (Thomas Edison National Historical Park, West Orange; 973/736-0550 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/736-0550      end_of_the_skype_highlighting x11).

91. Savor fresh strawberries at the Annual West Cape May Strawberry Festival (6/4/11; 609/884-9325 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/884-9325      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
92. Collect buckets of berries and more at a pick-your-own farm.
93. Visit Morristown National Historical Park to see why New Jersey is called the Crossroads of the American Revolution (Morristown; 973/539-2016 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/539-2016      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
94. Score a hole-in-one playing miniature golf.
95. Watch mibsters (marble shooters) compete at the National Marbles Tournament, Wildwood (6/19–24/11; 800/992-9732 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              800/992-9732      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
96. Search for the Common Meadow Violet, the official state flower, at the New Jersey Botanical Garden (Ringwood; 973/962-7527 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              973/962-7527      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
97. Bake muffins with freshly picked blueberries, the state fruit. Also enjoy the Whitesbog Blueberry Festival, Browns Mills (6/26/11; 609/893-4646 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/893-4646      end_of_the_skype_highlighting) or the Red, White, and Blueberry Festival, Hammonton (6/27/11; 609/561-9080 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              609/561-9080      end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
98. Growl, howl, or roar with the animals in a zoo.
99. Go on a high-tech scavenger hunt (geocaching) with Dad on Father’s Day.
100. Or try an old-fashioned scavenger hunt in your backyard.
101. Take a road trip. There are more than 36,000 miles of highways and roads in New Jersey, with a story around every bend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Paper Mache

This is the horse head that I'm going to attempt.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chickpeas & Chorizo

Chickpeas with Chorizo


Serves 4
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 chorizo sausages
crushed dried chillies
a glass of white wine
6 tomatoes, diced
2 cans chick peas  (or soak a bag overnight, then cook), drained
small bunch of spinach
Warm the olive oil in a heavy pan. Add onions to the oil, stirring to coat them, then letting them cook at a moderate heat. Add the garlic into the onions. Leave to cook, partially covered by a lid, until the onions are soft and pale gold.
Cut each sausage into slices. Mix these in with the softened onions then add a teaspoon or so of crushed, dried chillies. Pour in a glass of  white wine and bring it to a boil. Chop the tomatoes roughly, add them and bring them to the boil, then add the chickpeas, drained and rinsed, then pour in a can of water, then season with salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and leave to cook, slowly, half covered with a lid for 45 minutes.
Give it a stir from time to time, and check the liquid levels. What you want to end up with is a rich, brick-red sauce with a spiciness from the chillies and chorizo.
Just before serving. Chop the spinach then stir into the stew till cooked. Serve in shallow bowls.
Recipe inspired by Nigel Slater.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Groceries for the Week of June 21

Our food & supplies for this week totalled $110.  This amount includes breakfasts, lunches, dinners, as well as one lunch and one dinner for guests.  We needed extra paper towels this week (new puppy!) and I also had to buy extra virgin olive oil as I'm now out.  I didn't use any coupons this week because most of what I purchased was produce, dairy, or meat.  Here's what we're eating:

  • Spinach wraps with turkey, provolone, onion marmalade, horseradish sauce, and lettuce
  • Tuna stuffed tomatoes with grilled garlic bread and salad
  • Chorizo and chickpeas over Spanish rice with veggies
  • Angel hair pasta with lobster & other seafood red sauce (from freezer), salad and bread
  • Panko coated chicken breasts sauteed and served on rolls with lettuce and tomatoes, bean salad

For guests and their children:
  • Chicken nuggets and fries, fruit salad
  • PBJ, Broccoli quiche, Smoothies
  • Granola bars
  • Cheese, crackers
  • Fruit
  • Raw veggies and dip
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Popcorn
  • Peanut butter on celery

  • Cereal
  • Homemade mueslix
  • Fruit
  • Eggs

  • Smoothies
  • PBJ
  • Cream cheese, olives on flat bread crackers
  • Leftovers
  • English muffin pizzas

Friday, June 04, 2010

Revolutionary War Books

We enjoyed this historical fiction that takes place during the Revolutionary War.  If you don't like unhappy endings, however, skip this one.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Cream Cheese-Chocolate Chip Tunnel Cake

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup oil
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong coffee

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese - softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (6-ounces) miniature chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 to 3 tablespoons Hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Generously grease a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Set aside.
  2. For the cake: Combine sugar, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat for one minute until smooth. Add remaining cake ingredients and beat at medium speed for three minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Set batter aside and prepare filling.
  3. For filling: Cream the sugar with cream cheese at medium-high speed. Add the vanilla and egg and beat until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips, mixing well.
  4. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the filling mixture evenly over the layer of batter, then carefully pour remaining batter over the filling.
  5. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until cake tests done when lightly pressed in the center and cake springs back. Cool cake on a wire rack for 20 to 25 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely before glazing.
  6. For the glaze: Combine all ingredients to form a consistency thin enough to drizzle decoratively on the cooled cake.

Makes 12 servings.