Many of the foods that I ate today came from our local farms or my garden. The cabbage and the dill I seasoned it with. The applesauce the kids had for snack. The potatos and leeks for the soup. The eggs, cilantro, and tomatos out of which I made a sandwich for breakfast. There is beauty there... Eating on a 100 mile diet, buying locally, and enjoying the bounty that is all around us this time of year. I find joy in knowing where my food came from, from the ground to the table.
lots of pepper
I call this Goddess Pie. That sounds kind of kinky... but how can you cook for 7 hours off and on AFTER cleaning two freezers and not have some goddessness to show for it? Blueberry/Rasberry with just enough sugar to make it super yummy... and yes, that is bought pie crust. I am a goddess, I am not crazy.
Beets, roma beans, onions, garlic, and purple califlower... all done with salt and pepper and butter. Yum! I will make this along with some brown rice... (and they will eat it. lol...)
I think the worst was opening it up and having berry juice go all the way down the front and splash all over me, the floor, the wall... what a mess! Then when I went to clear out room in our small freezer for the absolutly necessary stuff (like icecream and the berries and beans that were still mostly frozen) the freezer had dripped down into the bottom so the ENTIRE bottom of the thing was frozen solid. Peaches, pie crusts and all. AAaaaaaaaaaaaagh! So here I am, on my hands and knees with 4 towels, two covered in berry juice (not to mention ME covered in berry juice) with a screw driver and a measuring cup of hot water sitting next to a LAUNDRY basket filled with about half what I needed to fit in that tiny freezer...
It will be amusing one day right?
Taupe and the Orange. I like it, but don't know about the rick rack shower curtian. All of mine have been grown up and beautiful... not fun looking like this one.
Tiny fairy lands are all over my yard this time of year. Delicate steps of wistful playmates, early eves and dancing. These beauties were coming up under my overzellous beans and I couldn't help but take pictures. It was like party decorations were left for me to admire... along with the tiny little clover that is so delicate with the itty bitty dew drops covering the edges of the leaves. I felt, for a moment, like I was in that Fantasia film, the one with the fairies dancing and turning everything the yellows and browns of fall. The dew fairy coming behind with her wand and carefully depositing dew drops in their exact places...
Happy Mabon everyone... Fall is offically here.
Light patter all afternoon on my bedroom wall. The kids playing in the backyard with umbrellas. Everyone wore a coat.
Fall in the northwest is filled with longing for warm soups and fresh baked breads. These rainy day moments are what a lot of us live for. We wait for the heat of summer to disapate and the cool breezes and light rains to move in.
When I went to the garden to pick tomatos for dinner I saw unimagined beauty just waiting to be captured. It is the only time since I have had this camera that I have wished for a better one. The dropplets were too intense to catch on film, the beauty to small and delicate. I tried, but I truly fail to do it justice.
Some really smart chick on these here blogs said that I should make apple pie filling with the rest of the apples off the tree. And I did... and on this first rainy night of Sept I made some absolutely decadent apple crisp.
All that was needed was french vanilla ice cream. This will be remidied tomorrow. :D
My Aunt Barb recently sent me this picture. Apparently there is one mama who found the feeder and now, two years later, she has brought friends and children. My aunt lives on the shore of a lake about 10 miles from me. I love her house and she has done some really amazing things with it. She is dedicated (as I am) to nature, and I really enjoy it when she sends me little things like this.
Oh man was this good! I wish I had more roast chicken but we ate with a friend and she let us keep the left overs. So I made a white sauce (a roux (ie; butter melted then added 2T of flour), chicken stock, milk, an a bit of salt) and added a handful of fresh terragon and flat leaf parsley out of the garden. Then I tossed the chicken and the sauce with penne and we ate it with a ceaser salad and freshly made (bought dough) sour dough loaf. Good grub. That is all.
Some have been gifts, but many have been for me personally. I use recycled calanders and just my eye and imagination. It took so little to get started and I have enjoyed it more than any other hobby so far because it takes next to no money to maintain. I haven't even had to pick up a new bottle of decopauge.
I am thinking that I may make a few more of these for christmas gifts this year.
I also am writing a book for the baby. Called "What I Grew when I was Growing You." In it I will put my best writings, my pictures of the garden, and some other beautiful things I have found along with my birth art and hopefully Don's as well. All of our children have a book like this. In them I place my thoughts from pregnancy all the way through their preschool years in the form of letters to my children. I don't update them often, but when Cyan says something cute, or when Alex does an amazing project, I always add that to the book, along with their best art from their before school years. I just finished Cyan's and am ready to put it together.
Alex and Cyan's are in white binders with their pictures on them... they may soon be looking for new covers. ;)
There are 15 candles on this monster (which was about 3 1/2 ft long) 5 for Cyan and 10 for Alex. I thought it turned out really well. The instructions I ended up finding were here:
Here are the invitations to that same party. I made port holes out of CD envelopes. They were SO super cute! They didn't go through the mail well for anyone who is searching for ideas for a 'under the sea' birthday party. But they would be great hand delivered, or perhaps stuck in another envelope for easy shipping. They are just sea landscapes, made out of puff paint, stickers, and glitter glue with sand, and then printed on the back with the invite information. I believe (as do my friends who are also crazy about parties like me) that the invitation sets the whole mood for the party. Weeks before hand, when a child opens a birthday invite, they see what lies ahead, and from that second... the party's on!
The true test of a good recipe is if you can duplicate it. Tonight, my children asked for chili. Specifically, the "best chili ever that you made the other day". So I came here, looked up what I had done, and did it again. This time, adding some firm tofu to the mix for some protein and some texture. And it was again, the 'best chili ever' sided with WW tortilla quesadillas made with sharp cheddar cheese.
But this time, with photographic evidence. ;)
I went around the fence (into my neighbors front yard) to take some pics of the multi colored flowers (because the birds were now gone ) and out he comes... RUNNING down the fence.
What does he have?
A WHOLE sunflower head! lol! Obviously complete with tasty seeds.
He stops about 20 ft down the fence and starts munching away.
Cute little thief isn't he?
Now comes the milling. I have found that the easiest way to mill apples is to have two pots. Take laddlefulls out of the full pot and put them into the mill on top of the other pot. (This pot can be smaller as this is only going to produce 6 qts of applesauce in the end.)
Cyan decided she needed to do this part. If you cook the apples enough there is VERY little waste. (I think I got just over a cup of skins)This is the point where the taste testing is important. Call you friends and neighbors over to see if the applesauce will pass mustard. If you need a little sugar, add a little sugar. Most of the time I have found that the juice concentrate is the only sweeter we need, but with some of the varieties (like the cherry) I added 1/4 cup of sugar to the mix before canning and that brought out the 'cherry' much better than before, but added VERY little sweetness... just have fun with this part.
But becareful... it doesn't seem like it, but 1/2 a cup of sugar in this mix has been TOO much. So add slowly and taste often.
And here is the finished product. This batch passed unaltered...
Ok... getting off the computer and going and planting my winter peas and kale now.
Today it was Hummus. I saw Laurie's hummus post a week ago or so and have been thinking about it since, and what did I find the pantry last night while looking for chili beans? Two cans of organic chick peas. Ahhh... sweet heaven! I made a double batch of the stuff, and put half in the fridge, and then added feta cheese and spinich to the other along with a couple garden cherry tomatos and we had the after school snack from heaven!
All of this with fresh carrot sticks from the CSA picked this morning. Can't get much better than that.
The Best Chili EVER!
1 med onion
5 cloves of garlic
Grape seed oil
1/2 tea 21 Seasoning Solute (Trader Joes)
1/2 tea Basil
1 Tbs chili powder
2 tea taco seasoning
2 cans kidney beans
1 can black beans
10 cherry tomatos (or one lg tomato)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 can corn
1 Tbs butter
1/2 green pepper (I used the chili peppers out of the garden)
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
I saute'd the onion and garlic in the grape seed oil (has a high flash rate, but any unflavored oil will do) until the thin cuts of onion started to go clear... then I added the seasonings. Yes this is a strange step, but for some reason it turns up with less spice and more flavor when infused with the onions instead of the beans. Add water as it starts to get gummy.
When the seasonings are completely infused and the water is boiling, add drained beans and stir until everything boils again. Process the tomatos and the cilantro in the blender or food processer. (Have I mentioned yet that none of my family are "into chunks". lol! This step also infuses the flavor and not the texture of the tomatos with the chili.) Add this mixture and bring back to a boil. Then add the butter, corn and green peppers and let boil for at least 10 mintues.
I served with chedder, more chopped cilanrto, and sour cream over brown rice. It was SO good!
The weather turned last night. Here in Western Washington it is offically fall. Just in time for my children to start school tomorrow. We woke to cool mist and a chilly breeze... when I looked outside the leaves were starting to fall right before my eyes. I feel honored to have witnessed the start of fall so aburptly, and so completely. Before I even got out of bed I grabed my down comforter and threw it on the bed. I will do the same to the kids beds today. The fans will be put away, and the sweaters will be put back in the closets. Cleaning and purging is starting.
Autumn has begun.
But first... my morning cup of tea. This time of year is my favorite to get outside with a hot cup of something...
and of course, my camera.
Ah yes... I do love fall.
Many of you probobly feel like my husband about squash. Can't eat it, won't eat it, don't like the flavor, the texture, or anything about it. But this one will change your mind. It has an eatible skin, but it stores just like acorn squash. (Ie: forever... lol) it is mild, but can be used in anything and it is good just with salt cooked in it's own skin. What kind is it? The Delicata winter squash. It was popular in the early 20th century but was susceptibile to disease and there for went out of style for a while. It is now back with a new hybrid that helps the disease factor and the two years my farm friends have grown it they have had no trouble with disease or needs for fungicides. These somewhat normal looking squash pack the biggest flavor punch you could imagine... but are mild enough to be used in soups (savory or sweet) and are wonderful enough to just be eaten alone whole and unaltered baked in a 350* oven for 30 minutes.
I cook it split in half, upside down, with the seeds etc still inside, on a bed of mild flavored olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Then I flip it when done, take the seeds out and use it for whatever I want. I love it with a bit of cinnamon and butter. Like the picture above. :)