Well, today is the big day. Prince William marries Kate Middleton. Did you get up early to watch the festivities or set your DVR? I’m afraid I fall into the DVR crowd. Sleep feels very precious this week.

Years ago, I remember watching the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. My mom and I got up very early. Snuggled in our pj’s and blankets we watched with the rest of the world as a young woman became a princess. As an 8 year old girl, it seemed magical.

Early in my parents marriage they lived in England, moving back to the states before I was born. My mom would often share her memories of the time they spent there. Not long ago we found the village, street and flat where they lived, using Google Earth. She took me on a virtual tour of her time living there. How she took her shopping cart and walked to the open air market to get food for meals. She described how the brilliant color of the daffodils and tulips would contrast with the gray English sky.

The day that we watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana it was like having my own personal tour guide, right there in my living room. As the cameras showed crowds of people at the gates of Buckingham palace, she told me about the Beefeaters and the crown jewels. When they interviewed bystanders she told me about the humor and character of the people she met living there. I was fascinated.

Many of the food blogs I follow have been sharing fancy English desserts and wedding-like delicacies this week. And they are beautiful, but I decided to go a different route and share something a bit more common. Beans and Toast. It is a traditional English meal, often eaten for breakfast, but can make a hearty lunch too. Normally, it is made with a can of Heinz baked beans, white bread and a hefty swipe of butter. As a child I remember my dad eating it for breakfast and mom telling us about how they ate it often when they lived overseas. I decided to share a different spin on it, adding a bit more color and flavor.

I’ll occasionally eat this for breakfast or lunch, protein packed, it always gets me through to the next meal. This is more of a method than a recipe, use what you have on hand and make a delicious version all your own.

Beans and Toast

2 slices of bread, toasted–use what you have, lately we’ve been loving the Nine Grain Bread from Great Harvest.

1 can baked beans (Heinz vegetarian or your own version of baked beans)

1 tomato

Earth Balance Butter

A handful of spinach or kale ( I used some purple kale because that is what I had on hand) Make sure to take the leaves off the kale stems before steaming.

Over medium heat add a small amount of water to a skillet, when the water is bubbling add the spinach or kale to the skillet and cover. Steam for a few minutes until greens are bright and have wilted. Drain and set aside.

Heat your beans in a saucepan or microwave.

Toast bread in a toaster or under the broiler. After bread is toasted, spread on butter, if using.

Place the toast on a serving plate and top each piece with kale/spinach, a scoop of beans and a few slices of tomato. Salt and pepper to taste.

Maybe make a plate of beans and toast today as you sit down to watch the wedding coverage. I think that’s what I’ll be doing.

Have a great weekend!

Alison

spring panzanella

Well, after 2 weeks of birthday celebrating and a visit from the Easter bunny we are a bit sugared out around here.  Yesterday at lunch Henry took one bite of a leftover birthday cupcake, put it down and said, “Mom, I just can’t eat anymore sweets.  They don’t taste good anymore.”  I was stunned speechless by his statement.  I’m pretty sure it will pass, but for the moment I guess he is “off” sweets.

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birthday

Yesterday my Ben turned 10.  Crazy.  It snuck on me a bit, this boy of mine having his big birthday.  I love watching the person that he is becoming, but there are days I wish I could go back and have more time.  More of those days of sweet newborn noises, 1 year old curiosity and four year old questions.  I was so tired during all those days; learning to be a mom and trying to keep up that I sometimes struggle to remember.  Then out of the blue a moment will come to mind, one that I thought I had forgotten and I am comforted by the gift that a memory can be.

Part of my reason for starting this blog is to capture more of these fleeting moments in words and pictures so that someday, if memory fails me, they will be recorded for the boys here and at the end of the year made into a book.

At the suggestion of a few readers and after posting about Samuel turning 7, I decided to interview Ben for his birthday.  I was surprised by a few of his answers, others were as expected.

Ben’s Birthday Interview

What is your favorite food? Seriously, a favorite?  I have too many to mention.

Who is the coolest person on Earth? My Grandpa, because he knows a lot of cool things.

What is your best subject in school? Writing stories and reading

What is something you are good at? Playing soccer

What is your best trait? My hair color.  I like it because it’s like my mom’s.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? To Germany to watch my favorite soccer team play a game

When you grow up what do you want to become? A professional soccer player and after my pro career a journalist

What was the last book you read? Holes by Louis Sacher

What are 3 words to describe you? Small, fast and active

What is something you used to love to do when you were little? Play with my Thomas trains

What is a snack you could live on? My mom’s chocolate chip cookies

Since we are still on Spring Break the day began with gifts and requested Pancake Muffins.  After that we were off to the gym and a pick up game of basketball after my morning class.  In the afternoon he had his best buddy over for some time with a new Wii game. Supper was Sesame Noodles followed by Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

It was a birthday full of all the things this 10 year old boy loves.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Alison

 

 

chocolate chip cookie dough

We are celebrating another April birthday around here today. Ben is 10. Yep, double digits for my oldest boy, I can hardly believe it.

Ben loves, loves anything in the form of a chocolate chip cookie. When he asked if he could take treats to his classmates for his birthday I wanted to find something fun.

I came across this recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls over on ‘Joy the Baker‘ and knew Ben would love them. When I told him about my find his eyes got big and a grin spread across his freckled face.

Do I know my boy or what?

The original recipe made 9 large dough balls. Since I was making this for a classroom of 25 kids I used a 1 TBS size scoop. They turned out to be about the size of a tootsie pop.

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Easter was quiet around our house this year.  After a week of Bret being gone we were glad to have a day together.  Our stretch of cold, gray, wet days was broken, if only for the holiday.  In the afternoon we headed to an area of trails not too far from our house to soak in some sunshine and look for treasures offered by the changing season.

Easter

Easter

Even though the calendar doesn’t always reflect it, to me Easter feels like the beginning of Spring.  I start to see signs big and small of the earth waking from it’s winter hibernation.

New life.

Green on the trees in the palest of shades, as if they have been washed with the faintest of watercolor.

Blossoms on the trees leaving a fragrance of sweetness in the air.

spring

The appearance of dandelions and many, many bouquets of these “beautiful yellow flowers!”

Spending all our time outside.  Only coming in as the sun is going down, the boys dirty and spent from the fresh air and activity.  It’s all worth the winter wait.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter too!

Alison

 

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