Cutting loose and getting out of the city

You ever just need to get away?  Well, Sunday morning we decided, hey let’s go camping!  Sure, let’s leave the city behind and be one with nature.  My husband and I have gone camping a few times by ourselves leaving the kids with the grandparents.  This was their first camping trip.  Let’s say they don’t know how to relax.

We left after my son’s final soccer game of the season.  We packed up the car which is amazing how much stuff we had to take for just one overnight stay.  Let’s see here, a tent, sleeping bags, air mattress, clothes, food and of course the dog.

Oh she looks like a brave dog, but she is the biggest wimp.  She hated the car ride, wouldn’t eat the entire time we were gone (she buried most of her food, you know for next time) and was anxious the entire time.  She did love all the new smells and lots of trees to pee on.

Our tent which isn’t too bad and the children rather play in there the entire time.

We got them out with the promise of food

Food for camping: bean salad, veggie dogs, veggie burgers, grapes and peaches.  Next time I want to make burritos and just heat them up by the fire next time.

I am so used to the city.  I can’t sleep when it is completely quiet out.  So of course I tossed and turned all night.  The kids didn’t go to sleep until close to midnight and were up 6:00 am.  I think I only got 4 hours of sleep.  They were full of energy and my husband and I not so much.

I am embarrassed to say I got out my phone and found the closest Starbucks and my husband went out and got us coffee.  Yeah I couldn’t function.  Maybe I am spoiled. Either way I needed caffeine.

After getting some energy we decided to go on a hike.  It was lovely.  The kids stopped whining and complaining and we took in the view.

It was peaceful and quiet.

My daughter was excited by her hiking finds:

We hiked for an hour and then it started to rain.  We packed up and headed home.

It was all worth it to have a quiet ride home


Garden Tales & Penne Pesto with Roasted Broccoli and Sundried Tomatoes

Last night’s dinner was by accident.  I was busy working outside, adding more compost to my garden.  Replacing my potato bag that my wonderful dog decided to rip open.  A potato bag is just a reusable bag I bought. I put a couple potatoes in it, added dirt and now potatoes are growing.  It is pretty awesome.

I am trying really hard to be a gardener this year.  I have broccoli growing, snow snap-peas, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, and a variety of winter squash including pumpkins.  I am growing carrots, lettuce and herbs in containers.

Here is my broccoli.  I am impressed by this plant.  But I don’t think I will ever grow them again.  It is a huge plant.  It takes up a lot of space and to me you don’t get much from a huge plant.  Unless I am missing something I can do with the leaves.

I add more pots of herbs to grow.  I started another pot of carrots.
I was busy admiring my basil plant that I keep on the porch. I peek inside and it is already 6pm!

Well usually we are eating dinner by this time and the kids have already started whining wondering when dinner was going to be.

I was planning some pasta dish that required beans and roasted broccoli.  Well all I had was dried beans and not enough time to do anything with them tonight.  So I look through the cupboard real quick. I had sun-dried tomatoes and oh my basil plant.  I happened to have walnuts in the freezer. I wanted pesto. I could roast the broccoli still and add some sun-dried tomatoes to pasta and it could make a wonderful dish and it did.

Penne Pesto with Roasted Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomatoes

1 package of 1 lb whole wheat penne
3 tbsp pesto (recipe to at the bottom)
4 cups of fresh chopped broccoli
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp olive oil
12 sun-dried tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven 425 F. Start a large pot of boiling water for your penne.
Chopped your broccoli up. Put it on a cookie sheet, drizzle olive oil, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toast around to coat it evenly. Roast your broccoli for 15 minutes.
Add your pasta to your boiling water. Cook to the directions. Boil a cup of water in a small saucepan, place your sundried tomatoes in. Turn off heat and let them soak for 15 minutes.

Once your pasta is done, put it in a big serving bowl, add your 3 tbsp of pesto and mix thoroughly. Once your broccoli is done, mix it in with your pasta.
Drain your tomatoes, chopped them up. Mix in the pasta and serve. Add some Parmesan cheese on top if you like.
Makes 6 servings.

Walnut Pesto Recipe
1 1/2 cups of basil leaves
3/4 cups walnuts
2 garlic cloves – peeled
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients but oil and salt and pepper in food processor. Add the oil in slowly as it processing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now this makes more than 3 tbsp. I freeze the rest for another day.