Thursday, December 27, 2012

Santa Visit #3

Ho ho hiatus...Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Things have been mighty quiet over the past few months, we've had a lot of big, news and have not been able to share it because I've been taking a break from blogging about our mundane life.

Here are the official and outtake images from Jackie's Santa visit this year. It sure seems like all the kids we know have hit an age where they just don't want to do the Santa thing. They love him, and they sure love the gifts associated with the time of year, but this was actually the second attempt, and it turned out only OK. The first Christmas picture with Santa was great, last year was pretty good...this year Jackie gets a big "meh".

My new years resolutions are to start getting up earlier, run after work each day, and get back into to the swing of things at the helm of The Bridgewater Bugle. I hope Santa was good to everyone, enjoy the New Years Festivities.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Novemberween in New Jersey

Thanks to the lovely Hurricane Sandy, Halloween was postponed in NJ so we had Halloween tonight. I was surprised at the number of kids small and not so small that actually came to our door today. Jackie was a big help in distributing the candy and bags of cookies, chips, and pretzels. She made sure to say "bye, see you later" to everyone that stopped by.

We were going to go trick or treating last week, but opted not to do it this week since it's darker earlier now, and we weren't sure if people were actually opening their doors.

She did get to do "trunk or treat" at Grandma's school a week and a half ago, so the Minnie Mouse outfit Alison sewed didn't go to waste.

Minnie and Cinderella
Dad even got into the spirit tonight and got his Darth Vader mask out of the attic.

Daddy Vader and Princess Jackie leader of the Rebel Alliance
Jackie wanted to try it on too. 

Who turned out the lights?

Darth Jackie

This one has gone over to the dark side

Friday, October 12, 2012

Politcal Season

The President is losing the youth vote...

Jackie makes a hasty escape from number 44

Monday, September 10, 2012


It's been real quiet here lately, but I'll try to have some updates soon. It's been a busy month or so, with a birthday for Jackie, a new job for dad, and the final planning of the big college reunion.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

CSA week #4

Way late this week, as the week 5 box is in my fridge right now. 

Anyway, this week we got some great items.

This week we got some red potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peaches, beets, green beans, nectarines, and squash blossoms. I had grand plans for the squash blossoms, but we couldn't use them in time, and they got a little bit past their pull date. So they went into the compost pile...I had planned on stuffing them full of cheese and frying them. Guaranteed no left overs...but it was not to be.

We did use the green beans, beet greens, and some peaches. We gave away a lot fruit this week, and will probably have to give away a lot of fruit next week.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CSA Week #3

Another delayed posting on our CSA box for the week, all the dry weather is starting to have an effect on the corn crop at the farm. We got 7 ears this week, but will get none next week as a result. It was nice to finally get some rain this week, though I have been happy to not have to mow the lawn for a month.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Congratulations are also in order to our friends Mike and Jessica, they welcomed a son Christopher Paul to the family on Thursday morning. New arrival Christopher weighed in at a healthy 8 lbs, mom and baby are doing great. We hope to visit them today when they get back from the hospital.

CSA Week #2

My post for this week is delayed, I had planned on putting this up on Monday as soon as I got home, but well... things happen.

Anyway, another nice week of fresh produce came in on Monday afternoon.

This week we got, plums, corn, zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, yellow and white peaches, and some lettuce.

We put some of the zucchini and squash to use in some quasi pasta primavera chicken dish I slapped together on Monday evening, it came out pretty well. Last night we got around to using the potatoes and corn. It's been really nice having the fresh corn a few days a week. Usually by the time I get to the grocery store the good ears are already picked over, so we generally don't buy it. But with a direct conduit to the farm, the quality has been great.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

All Star Game

Here is Jackie getting ready for the All Star Game, ready to cheer on her favorite Yankees.

Go Derek Jeter!

Whats this?

Now to cheer for the Mets!

Wait a minute? David Wright isn't starting? We got robbed!

Postscript... Alison is out for dinner with the ladies... which should explain this post... go National League!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

I made a post about our Strawberry picking a few weeks back, (almost two months ago I guess), and we did a few neat things with the strawberries. First of all they were fresh and delicious as I believe I previously mentioned. We picked close to eight pounds, which was a bit more than I thought was in the container we used to collect them.

I had a few jam recipes in mind prior to heading to the farm. The first was a recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. Now Rhubarb is another one of these weird things that I never ate. They used to serve a rhubarb crisp or something for desert up at Lake Shore Farm (our summer vacation spot in New Hampshire that is now only a memory), I never ate it because, hey rhubarb is weird and gross. Well, it's weird but not gross I just recently learned. My best way to describe it was Granny Smith Apple crossed with Celery... a strange consistency, but nice smelling and very tasty.

So I picked up some rhubarb at the farm after out strawberry picking, and made this recipe. It turned out pretty good. I have plenty left over, if anyone wants a jar let me know.

I guess I need to figure a way to reduce the foam

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Excellent CSA Produce

In my last post, I promised that I would post the recipes of any successful recipes, or any other useful ideas I had for the CSA food box that we picked up. I didn't think it would be so soon.

I had a plan for the second day, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull it off. The truth is work is crazy right now, and Alison has a bunch of summer time activities planned to get Jackie and her out of the house for a few hours on random days. Today was tumbling class again, and my week has rapidly degenerated from "catch up on delayed work because everyone is on vacation, to get even further behind because...just get used to it" It's been fun, I assure you. I now have at minimum a weekly visit to my favorite waste water treatment plant, as well as all my other project responsibilities. Our conversion of The Rev. Floyd Flake's Allen Christian School to the Eagle Academy for Boys for the NYC School Construction Authority has our team on red alert, and we're headed to the site on Thursday to check out all the newly discovered field conditions that our brave contractors have found by opening the door and scratching the paint. It's going to be a fun summer.

Anyway... I had in my meal plan based on the box we got from the fine folks at Melick's Town Farm yesterday the secret ingredient of "beet greens" I say secret, because they gave us a heads up on Sunday and we didn't think we were getting beets this week. Neither Alison or I like beets... I can't honestly say I've given them a fare shake, it just sounds like something from my childhood that I didn't want to eat, so I always said I didn't like them. Anyway, I want to make pickled beets, because it's a family tradition to eat them at Christmas, even though, no one to my knowledge has consumed them since my Grandma Julia passed away. I was hoping, since I knew I would get several weeks worth of beets in this CSA, that I would make some, and based on my limited success in preserving various things, convince people to try them, hopefully like them, and give cause to this family dare that graces our table each year and ends up in the garbage can....each year.

But what to do with these lovely stems? I must admit, since I am no beet fan, I never cared to see what a full beet looked like! From my addiction to food network, and other culinary tv shows on PBS since I was a young boy (Yan Can Cook, Gourmet Cooking with Chef Earl Peyroux, The Frugal Gourmet pre-scandal, Great Chefs Great Cities... these were all shows Joe and I watched when home from school on random days off, and we watched them all day, they cultivated my love for culinary misadventures). The stems reminded me of Swiss Chard, or any other cooking greens I had seen.

A quick google search revealed this recipe for beet greens, and I was intrigued. NJ Transit made my morning and evening commute interesting today, but I made it home in time to try it out. The recipe was modified as such.


  •  beet greens from three medium sized beets.
  • 2 strips of extra thick cut bacon
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion ( I used the onion from our CSA Box)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/6 cup of cider vinegar
  • 8-12 oz bow tie pasta 
  • Parmesan Cheese to taste 


1 Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside stems and chop up into pieces 1/2" - 1" inch in length.

2. Start water to boil for pasta. 

3 In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat. Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic and beet green stems. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil for 3-5 minutes. Finish Bacon in the oven at 375 degrees for 5 minutes or until really crispy.

4 Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar.

5. While waiting on step number 4 to complete, and keeping a careful eye on it, boil the bow tie pasta.

6. Drain pasta and toss with the greens/onion/garlic mixture... add chopped up bacon from step 3. Serve....(if desired add parmesan cheese... I had planned on it, but it tasted so good I didn't add it)

I broiled a bunch of tilapia fillets seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon and served it with this side dish.

I was expecting disaster based on last nights zucchini experiment, but it was awesome, and I recommend anyone who reads this, head out to your super market, pick up a bundle of beets with the stems attached and give this recipe a go. I have never really tried any type of "greens" before, but this was an awesome dish, and I will be making it again for sure.

Our CSA experiment is already a great success, we were hoping to try new things and experiment with new foods to hopefully get our diet healthier... I don't know if cooking greens in bacon fat counts for healthy, but it sure was tasty. We chose a "conservative" farm for our tastes...lots of fruit, that we knew wouldn't go to waste. We were a bit leery of a lot of strange vegetables. But I think this experiment of using something that would have otherwise ended up in my compost pile, is an indicator that it's going to be a fun summer, and hopefully something we will continue in years to come.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

CSA Week #1

I'm hoping to do one of these posts each week after we get our box from the farm stand. Today Alison picked up our first CSA share from Melick's Town Farm in Oldwick NJ. They have a farm stand in Bridgewater so we are able to pick up our share each week without traveling too far which is a nice bonus feature.

Week #1 Loot

An interesting first box for me, this week we got peaches, pickling cucumbers, cucumbers, wild onions, beets, zucchini, sweet corn, plums, and lettuce. I've never really made anything with a bunch of these ingredients so I'm looking forward to experimenting this week and all summer with an abundance of fresh produce.

Tonight to celebrate the first week we had fried zucchini, corn on the cob and some grilled sirloin steak. Jackie loved the corn and the steak. I absolutely loved the first piece of zucchini that I made. I used this batter recipe modified slightly ( I used beer instead of water and added some Parmesan cheese to the mix) it was awesome... unfortunately the batches that I made were greasy, the batter fell off, overcooked, undercooked, etc. There were still some salvageable pieces but if I make them again I will use a skillet, not the deep fryer. The first batch all clumped together and it was all down hill from there.

I found a good recipe to use the beet greens and onions, and I'm probably going to make some pickled beets, dill pickles, and figure out a nice peach dessert to bring to Grandma T's Fourth of July party. We still have some zucchini left, so I'd like to try my hand at zucchini bread.

So far so good, if I actually do any of this other stuff I will post the recipes. If not, well I'll make another post next week with the contents of that box.

Stay cool everyone. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Corpus Christi

A few weeks ago I received a seemingly random email from our parish office asking for me to volunteer to carry a statue in a Corpus Christi procession. For those who don't know, we attend Christ the King Catholic Church in Manville, a mission parish run by Redemptorists from the Warsaw Province (Warsaw as in Poland). We have a sister parish a bit further down the road Sacred Heart.

After consulting the weekly bulletin I learned it was to be a procession down Main Street after Mass from one Church to the other. I talked with Alison and I decided it sounded like something interesting to do. So not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into, I said I would participate and we headed to the early Mass at Sacred Heart on June 10th to participate in the procession.

Jackie was being her usual Jackie at Church self, and after several loud outbursts, I headed to the narthex to hang out with the other loud kids, and late attendees. This Mass had a lot of interesting things; we had the Knights of Columbus in their full regalia with swords and frilly admiral type hats, (Chapeaux?). I have seen this several times in our Parish, but never anywhere in the Archdiocese of Newark, ( I guess they are afraid of swords up in civilized North Jersey), we had the Holy Name Society with their banners, the First Communion Kids in their suits and dresses, Confirmation students in robes, and a whole slew of little kids in traditional Polish folk costumes (Alison's research shows these outfits originate near Krakow), parts of mass were in Polish. Sacred Heart has Mass in Polish, we don't at Christ the King.

I met up with the Statue carrying group outside of the Church. I guess they asked for a bunch of volunteers, and didn't get many, I was the only one that showed up in a suit so I was asked to join in. I was the only one that didn't speak Polish, so I just followed along. Alison and Jackie also joined in the procession.

The procession starts at Sacred Heart

The First Alter: The Eucharist is Sacrifice

Second Altar: The Eucharist is Food For Our Souls

Third Altar: The Eucharist is The Pledge of Eternal Life

Fourth Altar: The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity

The procession concludes at Christ the King Church

For our tiny little Parishes it was a pretty neat little event. We shut down traffic through Manville for a little while, and I was surprised to see so many participants. Both of the Churches were packed.

We are currently going through a "Renewing the Faith in Manville" process directed by the Bishop to determine the future of the two Parishes. With an older congregation and a number of catastrophic insurance claims from storm damage in recent years the status of both parishes is in question.

I'd say the faith is pretty strong in our community, I still fear that Christ the King may end up merging into Sacred Heart at the end of the process, but it's a pretty strong little community, and we are happy to be a little part of it.