Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Turn Back the Calendar!

That's right...turn it back.
Back to June...I want a do-over.
Not because it wasn't right the first time, but because it was so sweet -
great weather,
great houseguests,
fun parties,
things got DONE!
The garden...oh the garden - the best year ever. The freezer is filling up fast with organic fruits and I'll pick-shuck-blanch-cut-freeze another 50 ears of corn. I think that will get me close to the 200 mark, 200+ ears of corn, beans, raspberries, squash and goal this year was to focus on not letting my garden produce get away from me and go to waste - it happens too often.
My only garden regret is rhubarb, I didn't get one single stalk into the freezer, oh well...there is always next spring.
And speaking of next spring...maybe we could just turn the calendar FORWARD!
The kitchen remodel is freaking me out, can't turn the calendar back on that one, the cabinets have been ordered and should be finished pretty soon. Yiiiikes.
I've been in the garden, hiding from the decision making process.
I haven't started demo,
I haven't decided on countertop.
Hey...I have an idea ;) pick.
Hubby and my BIL picked the exact same one - I think it's too busy.
What say you?

While you're making up your mind I think I'll go make a giant batch of applesauce and put it in the freezer.
Happy choosing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Making Marinara

There are a whole lot of cherry tomatoes in my garden. This year I'm trying really hard not to waste any of my garden produce. The tomato plants I bought this year were miss-marked so I ended up with four cherry tomato plants, two golden and two red...hubby doesn't really care for tomatoes and the yield of four plants is a bit much for just lil' ol me.
I decided to try to make marinara, what the heck...never done it before - thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm two batches in, the first one was a little bitter, the second is a bit too sweet...this weekend I should have more ripe tomatoes so I think the third batch should be just right...sounds a little bit "Three Bears" doesn't it?

I looked online for marinara recipes that I could freeze, I combined three different ones and thought I'd post the recipe just in case there is anyone else out there with a garden full of tomatoes and a little bit of time to putter in the kitchen.

This Old Farm Marinara
10 cups cherry tomatoes, a mix of gold and red
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, I use an 8 qt Belgique...add the onions and saute for about five minutes, add the garlic and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
While you saute the onions and garlic, put the washed uncooked tomatoes into a blender in batches - blend on medium speed for a minute. When you have blended all of your tomatoes strain out the seeds with a piece of cheesecloth. Add the blended tomatoes to the sauteed onions and garlic, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a couple of hours, stirring every fifteen minutes or so - just make sure it doesn't scorch. I simmered mine for about three hours because I wanted to reduce it a bit to make a thicker sauce.
Cool and freeze!
In a couple of weeks my spaghetti squash should be ready ;)
Spahgetti squash, homemade marinara and fresh parmesan.

****If I was using regular size tomatoes I would have peeled and seeded the tomatoes, a ridiculous task with cherry tomatoes. The first batch of marinara I made I just quartered the tomatoes and threw them in the pot...the seeds in the sauce made it quite bitter - there is a remarkable difference in taste when you strain out the seeds... do it, it's worth the little bit of effort it takes.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Again

This little birdie had lunch with us on Catalina Island. My goodness...such a charming island, I found another fantasy place where I would like to live someday...guess I better get busy and buy lottery tickets.

All six little birdies in the family are home safe from a wonderful vacation.
I'd never been on a cruise, never had a strong desire to go on one...but now I understand why some people are so fond of them. A cruise ship is a little crowded for this farm girl, but our service was fantastic...the staff on the ship was charming and attentive.

I haven't unpacked, haven't started the laundry...but I've spent several hours in my garden, I've made two batches of marinara with my home grown tomatoes, garlic, onions and herbs.
Nothing helps me settle back in like playing in the dirt and stirring up something in the kitchen.

Now...about that laundry.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

How Grandma Stimulated the Economy

Here's where I'm going tomorrow night.

And here's where I'm going on back on Saturday.

Mom gave us kids a money gift last Christmas. I asked my baby sister what she was going to do with hers and she said she wanted to go on a cheap four day cruise with mom. I told her that sounded like fun to me...count me in!
We took our Christmas money and bought tickets for a cruise.
Then we needed to find air fare to San Diego.
Of course we all needed to buy a few new things to wear, ya know a girl has to dress up for dinner on those cruises....don't forget accessories...and cute shoes!
Maybe a new bra for that cocktail dress that dips a bit too low in the front.
Sunblock...4,8,15 & 30.
Sunglasses, readers for hanging out by the pool and reading a book.
Spanks...duh...remember that cocktail dress? Mandatory.
Maybe some new flip-flops.
Tank tops are on sale right now!
Does my sundress look too shabby? Oh look...there's one on sale.
Assorted toiletries in those oh-so-handy travel sizes...keeps the weight down on the luggage - I'm all over lightening the load when I don't have hubby with me.
Of course we can't fly down there and get on and off the boat and then fly back! We have to add a day at the beginning of the trip and at the end...wouldn't want to rush too much ;)

So...multiply these purchases by six. Mom, me, baby sister, middle sister, sister-in-law and darling niece.

That's how grandma stimulated the economy!


I know the stories will all be worth that big Visa bill next month.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I know I'm not the only one

It's a little out of control.
Just a little.
It's not something that bothers me, or my husband.
But I know it's a little over the top.
I've heard it tagged a few different ways.
A friend openly calls herself a dish wh*re.
I'm right there with her.
It's time to clear out the kitchen and dining room to get ready for the big smash-up in the they call it.
I started with the stemware. There's a lot of it, I'm just moving it out to a cabinet in the party barn so it's safe and easy to get to if I want a champagne flute while I'm sweeping up sawdust, plastic cups just don't do it for me...especially with champagne.
I giggle when I go out to the party barn and see all of the stems lined up.
Looks like we should have a party...pick a glass and we can make a beverage to coordinate with the stemware.

Moving on to dishes...and china...and teacups.
Guess there should be a tea party too...
And maybe a girls coffee time.

It can't be all's not like there's a twelve step program for it or anything.

Is there?