Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Salty Pirates Argh or Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salty Pirates (Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies)

All I could think about when seeing this recipe come alive in my mind, was pirates. Argh. Why? Good question. But I think it's the whole salt thing. Pretzels argh salty. And Salty Dogs argh crusty sea-goers. And well, pirates sail to islands in search of treasargh and, conceivably, coconut oil. So there we go. These crunchy cookies taste a little caramelly (due to the brown sugar),salty with a wee hint of peanut butter and chocolate. Dargh I say almost worth a plank walk to get em? 

3/4 Cup peanut butter
1/2 Cup coconut oil
1 and 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar 
3 Flax Eggs (3 TBSP ground flaxseed, 9 TBSP water)
2/3 Cup applesauce
2 Cups finely crushed pretzels (mallet or food processor)
1 and 1/2 Cups coarsely crushed pretzels
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 Cups flour (I use either whole wheat pastry or a blend of unbleached all purpose and white whole wheat)
2 Cups chocolate chips

Put flax and water together and let gel while crushing pretzels (It takes approximately 3-4 cups pretzels to equal about 1 cup of crushed/powdered depending on size etc of pretzel).

Add the peanut butter, applesauce and sugar to the flax gel and mix thoroughly. Add in coconut oil and vanilla. Add salt, baking powder and stir thoroughly. Add finely crushed pretzels and flour, mix well. Finally, stir in chocolate chips and coarsely crushed pretzels.

Roll or drop spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Makes 72-80 cookies.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Chocolate Orange Cup Cookies, and Mint-Fudge Candy

Chocolate Orange Cups 
Makes 24

1 cup coconut oil
Juice/zest of one orange
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Combine ingredients well. Place in refrigerator 10-15 minutes. If you chill the dough longer, you will need to let it sit out a bit so it become pliable.

Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Press them into mini muffin tins and press down with your thumb so dough forms a cup. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes.

While cookies are baking put together the filling ingredients.

The filling makes a double batch. Save the remainder and eat it. Double the cookie shells or do what I did.

Keep reading.

Fudge Filling Fills 48 candies or cookies

1 2/3 cup melted chocolate chips
1 pkge of silken tofu
3 TBSP cocoa powder
2 TBSP agave
2 TBSP non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Blend together until a chocolatey silky deliciousness forms.

When the cookie shells are cool. Place a dollop of chocolate cream in each one. Refrigerate until firm and store them there.

With the remainder of the chocolate filling make delicious mint cups. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract and stir well. Error on using too little mint rather than too much. If you want more minty flavor you can add it, but you can't undo overminty.

Melt additional chocolate chips with a bit of coconut oil. Stir.

Fill foil candy cups, silicone molds, greased mini muffin tins with melted chocolate chips. Spread chocolate in cup until the chocolate becomes a cup. Place in fridge until they cool and harden. Remove and with a bag with a hole in the corner, a spoon, whatever, fill the cup with fudge. Return to fridge.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Bits From the Homestead

You haven't seen bunny pictures in awhile. So here's a picture of Edward Screwy-ears. One ear droops the other does not. How cute is that? The first couple of days it flopped he walked with a tilt.
 On my way out to the car the other morning I noticed a squawking mama bird and a rustling in the weeds (I'd say grass, but I must be honest, Creeping Charlie is not considered grass). A nestling was hopping it's way to the safety of the bushes.

My folks have a burbling fountain that apparently has another purpose, as a bird bath.

& poses with her first potato harvest. More coming in a week or two.
Our compost pile contained many squash guts and pumpkin seeds. Something took root and took over a 6 x 8 garden section. I don't know that you can see the really, really high squash/pumpkin hanging 6 feet up in the yew bushes. This should be an interesting process as it unfolds.
A closer view of another "fruit" of the vine that is a bit closer to the ground. Only four feet up in the bushes. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Lost Day

I woke up with an earache on Tuesday, which then progressed to a major sore throat. And by the time 11:00 rolled around I was freezing as clearly a fever took over. I'm pretty sure our 100 degree weather was climbing to reach that mark by the time I entered the oven of the outdoors, and it felt wonderful to my virus racked body. 26 hours later I felt human again. Not good, mind you, but human. 

I don't get sick very often, once a year, once every other year or so. But this one came on so fast and was so intense that I literally lost 26 hours of my life. I slept from noon to 7 am getting out of bed just to stagger to the bathroom, then I slept all morning finally waking and feeling like I could stay awake for awhile around 12:45. 

I cried because I couldn't go to the farm and one of the ladies sent some carrot apple juice for me, Three fruity popsicles, a bowl of fruit and that juice was all I ate/drank. And they tasted so good.

Here are some pictures I snapped in my delirium. This morning the tree outside my bedroom window was a beautiful thing. Leaves blowing against the bright blue sky, lit from behind by the golden sun. The bowl of fruit. Delicious. (We loaded up on fruit a week ago, & had seen on Pinterest that you can spray or dip fruit in a water vinegar mixture (10 parts water to one part vinegar) to make it last longer. Something about the vinegar slows the decay process. So she tried it and I'm pretty sure it made a huge difference because our fruit looks pretty good, the stuff we haven't eaten anyways.) I tried to take pictures of the dogs who were my special companions throughout my sleeping and stumbling about, but their blackness against the dark couch they are not supposed to be on didn't turn out.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Lemon Ginger Snappy Bars

 Lemon Ginger Snappy Bars

I love Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Sparkled Ginger Cookies.
But I can't leave a good recipe alone. What is wrong with me? But even though I changed almost every ingredient in the recipe, I've got to give her a shout out. These suckers are not for the weak. The ginger and lemon flavors mingle, marry and pop in a freakishly delicious taste sensation. Ginger fans, sour/sweet/tongue party fans might want to give these a shot.

1 and 2/3 Cup flour

1/3 Cup garbanzo bean flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 Cup coconut oil
1/4 molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup chopped candied/crystallized ginger
1-2 TBSP sugar to sprinkle on batter.

Mix coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup and molasses together. Add vanilla and mix and stir. Add all spices and dry ingredients until throughly incorporated. Add half the chopped crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out. Sprinkle sugar over the batter and toss the remaining bits of ginger over that.

9 x 13 cake pan. Greased. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes.

Remove the bars from the oven. Poke holes in top of bars every inch or so.

Lemon Glaze

1 can beans (white) or 1 2/3 cup cooked homemade beans
1 cup water. Drain and rinse beans then simmer them and the 1 cup water til a mushy mess or at least until all the water is absorbed. (see fridge scrapings magical bean mush for the magical properties -- my non-scientific thoughts are that the extra cooking breaks down the bean casings so what you get is smooth, baby, smooth).

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 to 2 lemons

Process all ingredients in a food processor until fully incorporated. The more zest you use the stronger the bite.

When the bars are cooled, pour lemon glaze over the bars. You won't use all the glaze. Serve it with the bars for lemon lovers. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Suggested serving pairings would be non-dairy vanilla ice cream, non-dairy cinnamon ice cream or coconut cream whipped topping.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ Vegan Snickerdoodles

One of the most popular treats from our Goodies for the Girls party. 


3 TBSP ground flax
3/4 Cup applesauce
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 Cup sugar
2 tsp almond extract
2/3 Cup garbanzo bean flour
1 1/3 Cup flour

Mix flax and applesauce together and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Add the coconut oil, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, cinnamon and sugar, mix well. Add almond extract, stir. Finally, stir in garbanzo bean flour until well mixed. Add the rest of the flour. Chill for 10 to 20 minutes. Then in a small bowl mix approx 1 TBSP sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon together. Roll dough into balls into about an inch in diameter and roll through sugar/cinnamon mix. Place on greased cookie tray, press a bit, bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Successfully Pinked Post-1,000 Cooks for the Cure Report

Our 1,000 Cooks for the Cure dessert party went pinkingly well last night. 

I don't have a total number on donations yet, but 12 ladies (and two men and one child) attended. Two other ladies gave donations prior. 

I'll share recipes later, and totals, too. However, I want to share a few pictures and some of the activities and ideas we enjoyed. 

All our desserts were Vegan with minimally processed or organic ingredients. Because we think that is an important part of avoiding cancer. Not a silver bullet, but what we eat affects us systemically. 

Stress and chemicals and ingredients we slather on our body are other areas we can help control. & helped everyone who wanted to make a scrub with sunflower oil, sugar or salt and essential oils. Scrub and relax with safe ingredients. She also found an Erma Bombeck quote for a bookmark. 

"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart."

We played a few games, too. 

Pin the accessories on Accessa-Annie.  And the following song titles "I Will Survive" "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Beat It." became a word find game. One of the girls found 27 words in two minutes. & didn't allow any proper nouns or any of the words in the songs titles, either. Tough game. 

Finally, we snacked on Peas and Thank You's Black Bean Brownies and frosting, Alicia Silverstone's Cupcakes, my creations Pirate Booty Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Lemon Bars, Orange Cookie Cups filled with Chocolate Ganache, Mint Chocolate Filled Dark Chocolate Shells, Lemon Glazed Ginger Poke Bars, and a fruit salad. 

More details to follow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Cake Walk errr Duck Walk eerrr Goose Walk...

 An unusual sighting, even in the Midwest. 

At dusk, in Omaha, across a major 4 lane intersection...wait, there may be six lanes... This flock of Canada Geese (Actually, I want to call them Canadian Geese, but someone told me that they are Canada Geese, unless, of course, they are actually from Canada, then they could be Canadian Geese.) anyhoo, I digress, these little cute feathery guys crossed said busy street. 

They crossed, a wee bit jaywalky across one side, then stayed smack in the middle of the crosswalk on the busier section of the road. They started crossing on the green, and finished more in the orangey-red tones, and for the most part, traffic was respectful.

One tooter sped the process up a bit. And another impatient traveler squealed out once his path was clear. 

 So, yay, Omaha drivers, you get an A- in patience. 

It was so dang cute. I mean, you can see flocks on the water, in fields, flying overhead. But I have never seen an entire flock hoofing it over the pavement.

This would be a major reason I like living in the Midwest.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Is a CSA For You????

Is a CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture or Community Supported Agriculture) for you?

Good question. Most of the ones in our area are halfway through and you may be hearing all about how awesome the hauls are and are feeling jealous that you didn't get on board.

Before you leap into one these are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

What is your goal/motivation? 

It might be to support local farmers. Maybe you want to force yourself to eat more vegetables or try new ones. Possibly you think local is better nutrition or less poisonous. You could be looking for a way to save money over farmer's markets or just can't get to farmer's markets. Or friends or co-workers are going on and on about their CSA hauls every week and you are tired of drooling on your keyboard.

What are your expectations?

Every single CSA is going to be unique. And not all of them are organic or completely local. What? Yep. The definition of local can be a little wishy-washy. You can hook-up with a cooperative, or a single farmer, or a CSA that is a single grower with an occasional collaboration. Some CSA's contain fruits and other products, some contain only vegetables. The organization you are going with should have a website or pamphlet, or can verbally tell you what they grow, how long the season typically is, and what you should expect in your weekly box. If you are thinking about joining one, get your facts, do your homework before signing on the bottom line.

Generally, each contract is going to look a little different, too. Some offer whole shares, a big box every week, from mid-May thru September or October, but offer half-shares as well. A half-share could be a weekly 1/2 portion of what the full share gets or a full share every two weeks. You need to understand that and know what works for you and your family. If you are getting a half share because you know you can't eat 7 tomatoes, a pound of lettuce and 8 ounces of basil in a week on top of the cabbage, kale and chard, an every other week box of that quantity will probably result in waste for you and you'd do better with less every week. If you are trying to feed a family of four on a full share, but that family is picky and only likes sweet corn and tomatoes but hates anything green and leafy, you are going to be disappointed. If you don't do your homework and find out halfway through the season that half of the produce in your box is organic but the rest is traditionally grown, you will likely not enjoy your CSA experience. If you sign up for organically grown produce and expect it to be untouched by bugs, that's unrealistic.  

Why a CSA may not be for you. Period. No matter how neat you think the concept is, here is why you should not jump in.

If you are picky. Here’s the deal. You get what you get. Two weeks of sweet corn might be all you get out of your organic CSA. If your palette hates green leafy veggies and you let those go to waste, why invest the money? And all of May and throughout early summer and then again at the end of the summer season (September/October), you are going to get lots of green leafy. Tomatoes (organically grown heirloom) are going to be 4-6 weeks in your boxes, depending on weather and bug conditions. Sweet corn, 3 to 4 weeks, and that’s if the farmer staggers the crop to extend it and the weather is cooperative to growing corn. Case in point. Last year we got 3 weeks and the last week was small chopped up portions of salvageable ears harvested after the softball sized hailstorm that rocked the farm. Expect cucumbers and zucchini, but not enough to make pickles every week for 6 weeks, or enough to supply your co-workers. If you don’t know what to do with an summer squash or swiss chard, you may not want to invest in a CSA until you do some serious homework.

If you are looking for a bargain. Honestly, speaking organically here, and with a minimally involved point of view regarding the man hours that go into growing organic, organic CSA’s are a bargain. The prices charged at farmer’s markets and grocery stores/health food stores and coops are a bargain, too. 

Conventional farming is designed to get the biggest bang for the buck and to produce quantity and the quantity that looks picture perfect. Consumers want red tomatoes without defect, shiny apples, and lettuces with no bite marks. To that end, conventional farming is scientifically and mass-productively making those items. Tricks, chemicals, tools and timing are keys. 

Organic farming is sweat and tears. In organics you can’t shoot a mist of chemicals over the field and know that you just likely wiped out the nymph cycle of a pest. Nope. You go out, look under leaves and scrape the eggs off of the back side of said leaves. And you crush every adult bug you see, unless it’s a lady bug, or a spider. And then you watch those plants for any evidence of nearly invisible hatchlings. Because within a day or two you could have overrun plants and lose your harvest. 

Weeds? You don’t spray those either, you bend over and pull them out. Gotta make sure they don’t end up choking your plants. And, after harvest, you have to make sure you don’t let either weeds or bugs go unchecked because some can over winter making your next growing season challenged before it even starts. Then, the produce, if it survives and thrives through weather, bugs and weeds, needs to be picked and prepped. No mass picking in a small 1 farmer CSA. Nope. All picked by hand. You will never, never, never fully appreciate organically grown vegetables until you’ve spent a few hours weeding, whacking bugs, and picking the produce. Back breaking, thankless work. Then. Washing, drying, looking over and bagging produce. Counting, weighing, measuring…and delivering. Oh, and any newsletter or recipe page, and the picking up of boxes from the last round. And dealing with any phone calls or emails while doing it all again the next week. Trust me. Organic, local CSAs are a bargain.

If you love one or two or three kinds of veggies but not so much the rest, or you think this is a great opportunity to be buried in produce.

Do not, do not, do not expect a plethora of the things you love. If you want 7 pounds of broccoli or enough cucumbers to put up pickles, then go to the farmer’s market or nursery or big box grocery store.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Birthday Bash and Bunapolooza....

Saturday was the baby bunnies one month birthday. In celebration their human invited the new owners of two of the three to come take a peek. Whew. They will be a perfect fit. The family loves them and the bunnies snuggled in and bonded with the kids. In two or three weeks they'll be moving to their new home. 

We also discovered a bottomless and removable topped cage that may have been an old guinea pig cage back in the day that works as a baby playpen. The bunnies had their first grass grazing fest and Lizzie (Mama Bunny) got a much needed respite. There is a ramp that was loads of fun for all, too.

And, in a hilarious turn of events, a friend sent & a Craig's list link that someone was selling a terrific bunny cage for a great price. & emailed and said she was interested, then read the whole description which mentioned that the folks were moving and couldn't take the bunny along. So the cage came with a bunny. And that they were going to screen carefully for a good home. Oops. So she emailed and said she'd take the bunny, too. Cute lop ear, sure, why not? 

The people emailed that they'd found a taker, but would let her know if it fell through. & really wanted that cage. So she responded that would be great, and by the way, the bunny was really cute, and looked a lot like her male bunny that she'd just rescued. 

Oh, that got em. The rescued thing clinched it. They said they knew their bunny had a perfect home with her. A few more emails later, it turns out, that the perfect home got just the bunny. Not the cage. 

Ha. Ha. Now. We have another bunny, Charlotte. And there are plans to build another bunny cage.  Moral of that story. If you don't want free bunnies, be very careful what you say. They are apparently EVERYWHERE.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Let's Hear it For the Girls ~

On this upcoming Sunday night, July 22nd, & and I are going to have a little party.

KitchenAid is sponsoring a fundraising event for breast cancer called 1,000 Cooks for the Cure. From July 20th through the 29th they are hoping for 1,000 people to sponsor some sort of food related event. 

The guests can donate to finding a cure for breast cancer, the hosts provide whatever food they chose to provide, and if $50.00 of donations come in from that party, KitchenAid also plans to keep on giving. Each qualifying party host will receive a special plate. When that plate is loaded and passed on to someone else, who then goes online to register the plate, KitchenAid will donate another $5.00 each time the plate is passed. Cool idea.

We can designate the local chapter or nationwide breast cancer organizations with our donations as well.

If you live in my metro area Omaha (or will be out and about traveling through my neighborhood) come on over at 6:45. (You might want to email me for my address, unless, of course you already know it, or are a creeper, then I won't give it out. )

Did I mention all the treats will be Vegan? Oh, let me mention that. Why? Well, & and I think Vegan is a great way to lessen the chances of getting breast cancer. And these particular treats are darn tasty. Did you notice the works of culinary art in process pictured above?  The lemon bars. OH MY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Just saying. And they need just a tweak or two more before utter perfection is achieved.

The cookies are in the final trial and one tweak away from utter mouth bliss. And the stuff in the jar, a crazy idea that came to me last night that is brilliantly easy and tasty. The chocolate/mint combo needs to be smoothed out, but the texture is amazing.

If you can't attend, well, feel free to donate. Our party is #13. Or feel free to sign up for a party of your own.

We plan to do a game or two, a craft should those in attendance care to make something to take home, eat, of course, and have some fun conversations. 

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Furry Fun-Fun...

This weekend contained plenty of wildlife and fur. 

We visited our friend who housed the raccoon babies in her bathroom.  (Note for anyone tempted to do such a thing... some raccoons consider shower curtains to be the equivalent to mammal rope swings.)

Now that they are no longer bottle fed, they've been released and are doing great. When she goes outside and hollers "Babies!" They come running. A fountain keeps them entertained and they love dog food and applesauce. Oh, and shiny objects. And biting. Fortunately, I wasn't in the nipping zone, but & got a few little chomps. Ha. Ha. No broken skin, and she's up-to-date on her rabies. :  )

Friday, July 13, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Some Bits From Our Trip...And

This doesn't need a caption, right?

pretty. that's all.

Uhhh. It was H O T.
cool rusty thing


cool rocks in a rock.

Enter the mosquitoes. 
the 4th on the lake.

Only firework photo that turned out due to the frantic mosquito flailing dances.

a leech. shudder.

So cute. Made out of silverware!

Nice fence.

Cool building remodel. I love it when people reclaim history and make it beautiful.
But it was nice to get back home....and to see these cuties.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Scraps and Snippets ~ "Creamed Mock Tuna" On Toast ...

Back in the day... a long time ago...one of our favorite comfort food meals was creamed tuna on toast. 

Now. I'll admit, on several different levels, that's just gross. 

Not pretty. That's why it's a teeny picture.
But. Oddly, I had a hankering for something creamy and chunky over toast. 

Here's what I came up with. And though it's not "pretty" it tasted good. Especially if you like dill. 

Ditto that. Ha. Ha.
"Creamed Tuna " On Toast

2 TBSP Earth Balance 
3 TBSP Flour 
2 Cups Veggie Broth

1 Can Garbanzo Beans
2 TBSP Lemon Juice
3 TBSP  Nutritional Yeast
1 TBSP Mustard
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Dried Dill
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 to 2 chopped Dill Pickles
Smash garbanzo beans in a bowl (chunky as you want them) add lemon juice mustard, nutritional yeast, salt, dill, garlic and chopped pickles (again chunky or small as you want).  Let sit and marinate while you make the white sauce. 

White Sauce.

Melt Earth Balance, add flour and make a paste. Add vegetable juice and simmer until it thickens. 

Add the garbanzo bean mix. Stir. 

Serve over toast. It's juicy. But it's supposed to be. The dill is a strong taste so if you want a bit less dilliness, either cut down on the pickles or the dried dill.  And if you aren't a mustard fan, you can cut back a bit there, too.

I think I'll tweak it and make tuna salad. Swap out the dill pickles for sweet, the white sauce for Vegan mayo or a thicker white sauce. Maybe add some crunchy onion bits. Could be the perfect spread. I'll be back with that if it tastes as good as I think it might.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Farm Days and Back From Vacay...

Last week was beastly hot. We didn't have the farm experience because we were headed up north for the fourth. And given the 100 temps that were reported to me, I'm not complaining about our choice. 

However, we did miss the produce. Rumor has it the first tomatoes were given to the CSA members. 

Yesterday, the temperature was perfect. Absolutely, perfect. A wee bit warm. But in July we gotta have some serious warm, otherwise it wouldn't even feel like summer, ya know.

The most interesting topic of conversation was bugs. Now, I'm sure most of you are very aware that GMO and pesticide laden produce are not the best items to consume. However, organic has a certain ick factor you just don't see a lot in a grocery store setting. We sat in the sun and partially shucked ears of corn, looking for some ick. And we found some. Corn Borers had visited every other ear. Most were at the top and a simple whack with a butcher knife took care of the problem. Others were buried deep. The farmer summed it up like this. "Let's consider that the occasional creature or evidence of them is like the canary in the mine. Absolute proof that all is well." Meaning that if you see a bug in your CSA box, proof positive that the produce has not been sprayed with poison. And, well, pick your poison. I choose the creepy crawlie poison. I can at least do a Mexican hat dance on them and chop of the evidence of their existence. Pesticides are doing damage within me that I can't see but may have to deal with the evidence of later. 
Our farm box contained:

Kohlrabi. (Delicious, snappy and almost the texture of raw potatoes or jicama.)  Sweet corn and TOMATOES. Dinner was pomodoro (tomatoes, garlic, basil) over pasta and with a glorious side of sweet corn. Yummo.
(and not so yummo, other organic product of the bug variety)
And the bunnies. Well. They are stinking cute. See. 

By the way. The stay at the cabin was heavenly. The lake breeze took the edge off the higher than normal temperatures. Other than the 4th of July fireworks mosquito attack, it was fabulous. In Minnesota, mosquitoes are wicked big, band together in swarms, relentless, and come out as the sun goes sets. Bodies pelted us as we tried to get a gander of the fireworks over the water. Note to self: Take a beekeeper suit or mosquito netting to the lake if I want to be out after dark.