Monday, May 21, 2012

Random Thoughts

You know how sometimes you wake up not remembering what day it was?  The other morning I came out of a dream the most disoriented I have ever been.  I truly couldn't remember how old I was.  Where and when was I?  Was I a teenager?  College-age?  It was the weirdest feeling, gradually coming back to reality.  "Oh yeah . . . I have five kids."

Sometimes I see trucks with "MACK" on the front of them, and I always---every time---think how much I would rather die in an accident with any other brand (?) of truck.  "How did she die?" "She was hit by a Mack Truck."  It sounds like a punchline.

Do you ever have a hard time telling the difference between cold and wet?  If you say no I might not believe you. I find it is a common human failing (although I myself have an uncommon capacity for distinguishing the two, of course).

I greatly underestimated how much time I would spend as a parent attempting to get my kids to speak at the appropriate volume.  Half the time they are too loud, unless I start asking them "What did you say?" Then they get softer and softer until they're impossible to hear.

I also figured that being an adult would be great because I could always do all the fun things I wanted. But I didn't expect the part where half the time I have to force myself to do something fun (as opposed to, say, sleeping) because I know I'll be happy about it later.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Colorado

We went to Colorado for a long weekend for our anniversary this year. (With our trusty sidekick Juniper.) We stayed one night in Aspen, which was really beautiful. (I used to want to name a daughter Aspen, not for the town but for the tree. I love Aspen trees.) It was so lovely and early-spring-ish high up there in the mountains! We did a little bit of easy hiking. Have you heard of the Maroon Bells?
They are these mountains. They have a sort of reddish color, but I don't know why "bells." Their shape?
[Taken through Sam's sunglasses. We don't have a polarized lens filter. :)]
A yellow violet! (If you can believe in such a thing.)

It was amazing to see these delicate, frothy greens at the top of the mountain---
made by these little baby leaves---
and then to drive down a few thousand feet and see these bright, robust greens growing just minutes away.

So gorgeous.

Outside of Denver, we went to the Butterfly Pavilion, which is sort of a small little place we weren't sure would be worth visiting. But it was. We loved it! Junie was quite interested in all the butterflies.
The best part was that the butterflies would land on me! I don't know why they were so bold (I've been to other butterfly exhibits where they are quite fluttery and shy; you can hardly get a picture of them), but if I held out my fingers very slowly, they'd fly right on. It was tickly and exhilarating. They are so delicate!

This guy is my favorite. Here is the outside of his wings---

and here is the inside!! Such a vibrant blue. I don't think I've ever seen one of these in real life before.

Junie was also pleased with the fish (there were just a few) at this same place.

Our hotel was awesome---such a pretty atrium inside, and we knew our other kids would want a picture of the glass-sided elevator

We also really loved the Denver Botanical Gardens. We make a point of visiting gardens wherever we go, if possible, and these were some of the best we've seen. Very extensive and varied. The tropical greenhouse (not pictured here) was amazing.

I love these carefully planned viewpoints within the Japanese garden. We also loved the organic-looking, carefully-placed stones (evoking a feeling that you were walking on solid waves).

A wooded garden

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey was on sale at the grocery store last week, and though I haven't cooked with it often, it seemed like a good chance to experiment with turkey burgers. I had seen a recipe (I can't remember where!) which used lemon zest and grated apples, so I thought I'd try using some lemon-complementing herbs and keep it kind of simple. I have some sumac I've been using a lot lately, which has a sort of lemony flavor (it's great sprinkled on hummus), and I added that too.
These are really yummy---crisper and more Mediterranean-flavored than hamburgers. (My kids, who like most things, liked them even better than hamburgers, which I guess doesn't really tell you . . . anything.) I think the fresh herb-mayonnaise is the best part. You could probably substitute other herbs you have on hand (lemon thyme would be delicious) although I do like the tarragon flavor with the lemon and the sumac.

Turkey Burgers (makes 8-9 patties)

2 lbs ground turkey
2 eggs
3/4 c. bread crumbs
a 1-inch handful of fresh chives, chopped (2-3 T.?)
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. chopped fresh tarragon
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest (optional)
1/2 t. salt
1 (heaping) teaspoon sumac

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. The mixture should be soft and a bit sticky, but easy to shape. If it seems too wet, add more bread crumbs until it's shape-able. If it's too dry, try dribbling in a little more lemon juice. Form into patties (layer between waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to grill).

Serve on buns with spinach and herbed mayonnaise (below).

Herbed Yogurt-Mayonnaise

1/4 c. Greek yogurt
1/3 c. canola mayonnaise
chives
tarragon
parsley
1 t. lemon juice

Mix together and spread on hamburger buns. (Or, have you ever tried dipping French Fries in this type of mayonnaise? SO good.)