Sunday, July 31, 2011

Leo New Moon TUSAL

Just a very quick quickie... still haven't unboxed my old TUSAL jar (I can't let myself unpack the stitch stash until there's a place for it), and haven't done a lot of stitching this past month..just enough to make a little coating of fibers at the bottom of the jar.

I should be able to do a real stitchery progress update soon, though!  There are a couple of things that are close to being finished.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

If it's Saturday, it's Farmer's Market Time!

More pretty farmer's market bounty - I'll meal plan around this what we still have on hand later on today or tomorrow.  Monday, we've got a delivery coming from a local creamery... how cool is that, to get dairy delivered??

The light on this is iffy, but we've got some okra, some pickling cucumbers, 3 squash (2 patty pan shaped, and one round zucchini), a bottle of bing cherry cider, and then some meat... tuna steaks, a pound of ground beef, a couple ham steaks and some bacon.

And here, there is some kale, regular slicing cucumbers, a few onions, green beans, blueberries and another big crop of fruit... peaches, nectarines, some plums, and a couple early apples.

Remember that little watermelon I picked up last week - I finally opened it a couple days ago, and look! The inside of it is golden and there is hardly any rind at all.  It's crisp and juicy.. still takes like watermelon, but how pretty!

 Yesterday I was in search of a snack and had just a few little cherry tomatoes left, and so I decided to put together something simple on the fly.

And this is just about as simple as can be - I sliced some of the golden watermelon in a bowl, sprinkled in the rest of my cherry tomatoes, halved, and then tossed in a little bit of feta cheese. 

The tomatoes were very sweet and 'warm' tasting, and it played well with the cool crispness of the watermelon, while the feta offered a bit of savory saltiness.  So simple, and so good.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Buy Local Challenge Check Up: Think Global, Eat Local

I didn't want to let the week go by without checking in on how we actually did this week, in our challenge to buy and eat local foods.  As I'd noted, the weekend was challenging - we were barely home at all, and in no shape to find one of the few restaurants we know of in the area that promotes local food choices (and I'm sorry that's the case too - it would have been fun to fulfill the mission while supporting local-food restaurants!).
But for the rest of the week we have done very well, I think, and eaten like royalty.

Summer produce this time of year plays very well with around-the-world cuisines, and ours landed in Mexico and India, with their shared love of chiles, cilantro and tomatoes.  I also did a little bit of preserving, which worked out haphazardly, but still tastes might fine.

I also kinda sorta failed at preserving my bounty of peaches - only kinda sorta, because the result tastes good.  I tried to make some freezer jam, and didn't get the details totally right so it failed to gel.  Which is A-Ok, because instead I have a lot of insanely delicious peach-nectarine SAUCE in my freezer to use for whatever I want to.

On Monday, I made Chile Rellenos using local poblanos, eggs and even cheese and onions to stuff them with.  We had these with homemade refried black beans, and a fresh pico de gallo (again, local tomatoes, jalepenos, onion and cilantro - although I am not sure if the cilantro itself was local).

Tuesday was Indian food!  Rogan Josh - a lamb and tomato curry has been my nemesis for years now.  My daughter and I loooove it, but my previous attempts have been sort of meh.  Now here I was with some lovely local pastured lamb and I was so afraid I'd mess it up - but it came out perfectly seasoned and simmered.  We ate that with brown rice, a cucumber raita (local tomatoes, homemade yogurt), and some homemade flatbread.

(So far, that's two days where everything not local was homemade at least, and less grocery store groceries than would fill one bag)

I also made up a little batch of vanilla peach ice cream to see how my 'peach sauce' tasted in something.  Answer: like peachy summer heaven, that's how.

Wednesday was pretty much all-American, with oven-baked chicken, patty pan squash, egg noodles, and corn on the cob.  It was a lot like my the sort of evening meal my mom fixed for us growing up - except the chicken wasn't breaded with Shake and Bake, and the veggies weren't canned. But it still yelled old-fashioned comfort food to me.  The 'local' part was the squash and corn.

Thursday was leftovers - chicken, a couple veggies (local), and a big ol' salad - local lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and a local creamery's feta cheese.

Today, we're going over to a friend's house - so it's back to grabbing a few cherry tomatoes and a peach to make sure I fill the challenge.  But I'm also doing some food prep so we can eat local LATER, too.

I really, really, really wanted to try some real canning (yes it scares me, yes I am well armed with knowledge enough to avoid actually killing anyone) but I need a rack to make sure hot water gets under the jars, and have to put things off til then.  Meanwhile, I still had a whole lot of plum tomatoes that need to be dealt with, so away with my thoughts of spaghetti sauce... and in with two racks of halved tomatoes drying in the oven.  The house smells insanely good right now.

I'm also going to turn the rest of the fresh jalapenos into pickled jalapenos (fridge style), and try making a bit of mayonnaise with some pastures eggs.

Tomorrow is Farmer's Market Day - I'm hoping some berries will be in, and will continue to scoop up the summer squash and cucumbers while we can.  We have plans to plow deep into some of these boxes (we're both 'grr grumble, can't get to my books' at this point), and dinner will be brats (local farm), home made rolls, German potato salad (a friend gave us a bunch of potatoes out of his yard!), and some sauteed cabbage and shallots - both local.

Sunday, I'm not exactly sure on yet... it's the last day of the challenge, and also Lughnasadh Eve - First Harvest, the grain harvest.  So I'm thinking a Three Sister's Stew of some sort, full of fresh corn and black beans and some squash (summer style since it's too early for winter varieties, I'm sure), along with some corn tortillas

All together - quite a winning challenge, I think, and one we'll try to stick to as much as we can.  Talking to people in other places and of course, knowing my own experiences where I was just living, we are terribly blessed to have the option to support local agriculture  - and to have a robust local food shed to support.  It would seem criminal and flatly ungrateful to me to not do so... and I am growing increasingly worried that if we don't, we (generic all-of-us we) may not have that option anymore.

Uh oh

This does not bode well - last night, while I was tapping out my to-do list for today (I know... livin' large!) my computer went blue screen...just blank, and it took a few seconds for it to respond to my pushing the shut down button.  We let it cool down for awhile and headed out to do a bit of shopping, and when we came back, it will power up but black screen and no responsiveness.  For example, pushing the cap lock didn't make the cap lock light turn on.

So... I'm scared.  Michael took it in with him to see about getting it looked at, and graciously is letting me use his for today, but I fear not only the death of the computer - but the death of everything in there.

Argh..bang head... go back up your files.  Sigh.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's Cookin' This Week: 7/24 - 7/30

How nice - my Tomato-Cucumber Gazpacho from last week was featured on My Sweet and Savory's My Meatless Monday.  The rest of her featured meal looks delicious too - go check it out!

This is Buy Local Week here in Maryland, with the challenge to eat something local every day - locally sourced items will be noted in each day's menu plan.

Sunday July 24

(Local: lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese)

Monday July 25
Cheese and Onion Stuffed Chile Rellenos
Mexican Seasoned Beans
Spicy Grits

(Local: onions, poblano chiles, tomatoes, jalepenos, onions, garlic)

Tuesday July 26
Lamb Rogan Josh
Brown Rice
Cucumber Raita
Flat Bread

(Local: lamb, tomatoes, garlic, onion, cucumbers)

Wednesday, July 27
Baked Chicken
Patty Pan Squash
Corn on the Cob

(Local: patty pan squash, corn)
Thursday, July 28

(Local: whatever's 'left', lettuce, tomatoes)

 Friday, July 29
(Local: pork roast, tomatillos, poblanos, jalapenos, garlic, onion)

Saturday, July 30
Brotchen (Homemade Crusty Rolls)
Sauteed Cabbage and Shallots

(Local: brats, cabbage, potatoes, shallots)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I love mason jars

The Old Block House is giving away a half dozen beautiful blue glass mason jars - stop over and sign up for them!  I am not sure what all I'd be doing with them - I know a couple would become soap dispensers.. they are so cute!

Buy Local Challenge Week - July 23-31

"I pledge to eat at least one thing from a local farm every day during Buy Local Week." - Maryland Buy Local Challenge.

Michael and I have been doing this pretty much all month, but we were happy to sign the pledge and make it official.

Day 1 was farmer's market day, so we grabbed out provisions for the week.  No meat needed this time around (the freezer's stocked with locally raised pastured meat), and no eggs were available, but the veggies and fruits are plentiful:

Clockwise from the back: Oriental Melon, Watermelon (can't recall the variety - it's very small), 3 patty pan squashes, 6 ears of corn, a feta 'sampler' pack, some Jack Cheese, a head of lettuce, 1 white onion, a pint of red onions, a bundle of shallots, and a half dozen poblano peppers.

A pint of tomatillos, and one of burstingly sweet cherry tomatoes.

A whole lotta plum tomatoes, so I can do some preserving this week.

And finally, peaches and nectarines - the ones in the bowl are perfect for eating out of hand over the next few days, while the ones in the bag are riper and will be used in cooking.

Later today, I'll plan our meals for the week around this bounty.

So... how did the local EATING go yesterday?  Not so great, honestly - we were on the run all day, and it was insanely hot and humid, so what food we did eat was grabbed on the run.  This is what I ate yesterday:

Homemade yogurt, topped with fresh cherry sauce and muesli.
A good breakfast... the milk for the yogurt was pastured, but it was store bought, and I'm not sure if it was local.  The cherries were also grocery store cherries, and I don't remember if I'd got them in the local produce section or not.  So I can't count any of this.

Lunch (snack):
a fresh nectarine from the farmer's market - this counts!

Late lunch/early dinner:
We ate out and I had a cubana sandwich and potato chips that were made onsite, but I doubt the potatoes are locally raised.  And a locally brewed beer - but I'm not sure that should count either!  So nope... didn't succeed at eating locally while we were out on the run.

Late evening snack (I was so hot and mildly sunstrokey from being out in the heat all day I couldn't eat):
a small handful of farmer's market cherry tomatoes.

So my challenge total was 1 nectarine and about 5 cherry tomatoes.  It's as start!

As to what had us out in that heat - after the farmer's market, we dropped our goodies off at home, and headed out to the library, and then went to one of the Borders that's in the process of shutting down to see if there was anything we wanted to pick up.

Well - apparently Borders has decided to stop spending money on air conditioning - it was 100F outside, and about 120F inside, which I think is a really horrible way to treat the employees that are about to lose their jobs!  They'd already sold off or removed their seats, so there was no way to rest in that oppressive atmosphere.  I would have picked up a couple magazine issues at 40% off (mainly British cross stitch mags), and tried to see what was on the shelves - but the books were mostly only 10% off and the lines to check out were snaking through the store - and after a bit, I couldn't even think straight, so we left and found somewhere to eat, hydrate and cool off. So that was a bust.

By the time we got home to give Sadie Beagle a chance to run around outside for a bit, it was time to head off again, back into the city for the last play of the this year's Fringe season.  We saw an interesting play about Picasso (older Picasso comes back to younger Picasso to tell him what's coming ... and in the process destroys his relationship with the woman that's been by his side through the starving artist times).  Very well done, and we'll keep an eye on those actors for next year.

Hmm...does 'buying local' include supporting local art??

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cherry Berry Clafouti

This is a lovely, cooling dessert that tastes like a lot more effort than it takes to actually pull together.  Clafouti tastes a lot like a cross between a puffy baked pancake and an egg custard to me, with fruit!  Add some fresh whipped cream and mmm...

I made this for dessert the other night, mainly out of necessity - I had some fresh blueberries and cherries in the refrigerator that needed to get used up, without a whole lot of effort because hi, we are having a humid heat wave here, and I am frail. (hee)

I should think any berries or bits of soft ripe fruit would work fne with this.

Cherry Berry Clafouti

1 1/2 cups fruit (I used 1 cup sliced cherries and 1/2 cup blueberries)
1/4 cup sugar, rapadura, stevia or other sweetener
2 Tbsp. flour (whole wheat worked fine)
2 eggs
2/3 c.whole milk (almond milk, coconut milk, etc, should also work fine)
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
pinch salt

If you're using cherries, pit them first (make it simple...cut them in half and take out the pit).  Sprinkle the fruit around the bottom of a greased pie pan.  Combine remaining ingredients and whip, either by hand, with a mixer or in a blender - make sure it's very well blended.  Pour egg batter over the top of the fruit and bake 20 minutes or until it's set in the middle and feels spongy but not sticky.

This tastes good either warm or chilled, and it won't last long enough to worry about leftovers.

Shared with: Weekend Wander, Weekend Wrap-Up Party, Whatcha Got Weekend, Check Me Out Saturday, Saturday Nite Special, Not Baaad Sundays, Sundae Scoop, Sunday Showcase Party, Think Pink Sundays, Show and Share Sunday, Mouthwatering MondayMangia Monday, My Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania, Midnight Mania Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Made With Love Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Homemaker Monday, DIY Project Parade, You're So Very Creative Monday, Motivated Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Made By You Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Your Recipe My Kitchen, Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits, Made From Scratch Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Beauty & Bedlam Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays At The Table, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth & Soul Hop, Glitter Link Party, Anything Related, Crafty Link Party, Creative Bloggers Party, Weekday Potluck, What's On the Menu Wednesday, What's On Your Plate?, Hoo's Got Talent?, We Did It Wednesday, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Show and Tell Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Penny Pinching Party, Healthy 2Day Wednesdays, Frugal Food Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Show Off Your Stuff, Somewhat Simple Blog Link Party, It's a Keeper Thursday, Cooking Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Fat Camp Friday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Foodie Friday, Frugal Friday, Fight Back Friday, Life as Mom Frugal Friday, Friday Favorites, Simply Link Party, Sweets This Week, Flaunt It Friday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's Cookin' This Week: 7/17 - 7/23

This next week involves more unpacking and organizing (or course!) and a visit some morning later this week with an old friend of mine (yay!).  And then this weekend, there's the Farmer's Market, another Fringe performance, church, and an afternoon of poker, so busy busy and fun, fun, too!

There may be a bit of juggling here, deciding what we eat on one day, but here's the basic plan:

Sunday, July 17
Broiled Salmon
Cucumber-Onion Salad in Yogurt

To do:  
Make chicken broth.

Monday, July 18 -MEATLESS
Vegetarian Taco Salad

To do: 
Make Yogurt.
Make laundry soap.

Tuesday, July 19
Pan-Sauteed Chicken
Sauteed Beet Greens
Corn on the Cob
Homemade Bread

To do:
Make bread

Wednesday, July 20
Pita Sandwiches
Onion Rings
Cole Slaw

To do: 
Make cole slaw
Thursday, July 21
Spaghetti and Homemade Meat Sauce
Garlic Bread

To do:
Make sauce

Friday, July 22
Fresh Sausage and Veggie Frittata with Potatoes

Saturday, July 23
Eat Out or Something Simple

Shared with Menu Plan Monday

Tomato-Cucumber Gazpacho

Late last night found Michael and me chopping veggies that were still growing yesterday, and running them through the food processor to make a refreshing chilled Tomato-Cucumber Gazpacho.

Our Unitarian-Universalist church designates the third Sunday in each month "Soup Sunday" and when I sign up for it, I like to make my offering seasonal.

So what could be better during July then a cold soup made up of (mostly) locally sourced foods?  I was a little worried last night - that initial taste seemed a bit bland (this version doesn't include bell peppers, and I held the sliced jalepenos out for people to add if they like - not everyone there cares for spicy).  But after an overnight chill, the flavors have melded and the taste is refreshing and awesome.

Mind you - this is for folks that like cilantro.  I don't even know how it would work without it, or what could possibly replace it.

Farmer's Market Tomato-Cucumber Gazpacho
8 large fresh tomatoes, cored and quarters
(home grown or farmer's market - the grocery store tomatoes don't have enough flavor for this)
3-4 large fresh cucumbers, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
4 ears of fresh corn
1 large onion, diced
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 cups ice cubes
Juice of 3 limes
adobo sauce from 1 small can of chipotles
(the chipotles can be put in a freezer safe container and frozen for future use)
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
3 fresh jalepenos, cored and sliced

Run tomatoes, cucumbers through food processor until coursely chopped - this will be very liquidy, but shouldn't be pureed.  I did this in batches, turning it all into a large aluminum bowl. Add corn and diced onion to bowl.  Run cilantro leaves through food processor to finely chop and add to bowl.  Run ice through food processor to 'slushy' consistency - side effect of this is that it will pick up all the bits of cilantro still in the container, creating a tasty cilantro 'gratina'.  Add ice to bowl.  Mix in adobo sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

At this point, I put the jalepenos in a small container (if you like, you can just add them to the gazpacho, making it more spicy than my version) and transfered the gazpacho into a sealable container for transport.  Either way, let this chill overnight or at least a few hours - the flavors meld beautifully.

If this were for at home, I'd want to chop some avocado to top the soup with, along with the jalepeno slices.

Update:  It was finished off quickly - the adobo sauce gives it just a bit of spicy zest, while the sliced jalepenos ramped the heat up to something wonderful. Without either, this would be cooling and vibrant - this tastes like summer.

Shared with:
Show and Share Day, Weekend Wander, Weekend Wrap Up Party, Whatcha Got Weekend, Check Me Out Saturday, Saturday Nite Special, Show and Tell Saturday, Not "Baaaad" Sundays, Sundae Scoop Link Party, Sunday Showcase, Think Pink Sunday, Show and Share Sunday, Mangia Monday, Mouthwatering Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, You're So Very Creative Monday, Market Yourself Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Craft-O-Maniac Monday, Motivated Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Making the World Cuter Monday, Making Monday Marvelous, Made By You Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Made with Love Monday, Homemaker Monday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits, Your Recipe My Kitchen, Tasty Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Hearth & Soul Blog Hop, Traditional Tuesdays, Get Your Craft On Tuesday, Glitter Link Party, What's on the Menu Wednesday, What's On Your Plate?, Real Food Wednesday, Works For Me Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Frugal Food Thursday.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Farmer's Market, Fringe Festival and Crepes

Another nonstop Saturday in DC - starting with an early trip to the Farmer's Market, this time to the Cheverly Farmer's Market, where Michael normally goes.  This one is only in operation ever other week, giving us plenty of room to graze the others, but it had lots to see and choose - veggies and fruits, all kinds of meat, cheese, potted herbs, homemade soaps... it's really hard for me not to take a little bit of everything there is.

But I'm making gazpacho for our church's once a month 'Soup Sunday' tomorrow, so I wanted to focus on what I needed for that, along with a selection of free range and/or grass fed meats... and once again, we've got a nice fat haul which we'll meal plan around tomorrow:

We've got lots of cucumbers and tomatoes, some broccoli, onions, corn on the cob, and kale here, along with potted lavender, rosemary and orange-mint.

... and then there is a pork roast, some lamb stew meat, a whole chicken, some eggs, ground beef, a pack of bratwursts and one of chorizo, and some cheddar-horseradish cheese.

And finally, a couple jars of jam - pineapple-ginger and spiced fig. Yum....

So we were back home with all this by 10:30, chilled out a little while and then headed back up into the city to play.  This is Fringe Festival month in DC, with hundreds of live performances - plays, dance, music, comedy - are available all over town in dozens of small venues.  If you live near a major town, check out if they've got a Fringe Festival... it's a fantastic way to support the arts, and see some really good performances.

This year, we budgeted to see three - last week we saw Fat Men in Skirts, put on by Molotov Theatre (we never miss a performance of theirs and they never disappoint).  Today, we decided to check out some improv by the Washington Improvisational Theatre (WIT) - and by luck we were allowed to see both of their performances.  The first was iTOONsicle, an improvisational send-up of animated musicals... they ask the audience to jot down a setting, and pull one answer from a jar, and then they make up the whole thing on the spot, complete with songs and a mostly cohesive plot. Today's turned into an odd musical set in a Starbucks in the deep south - and the main characters were a Grande coffee cup, a Michael Bolten CD, some coffee beans and cocoa beans and a very perverted South American orange soda. (You hadda be there).

The second performance was divided into a 'radio play' improv using a few audience suggestions to built a speaking-only plot and a series of improv vignettes based on randomly grazing an audience member's ipod... turned out they used mine, so it was both out of date and a blend of the obscure and the embarrassing. hee...  Lots of fun!

We'll be catching one more play before Fringe ends next weekend.

After the play, we had a lovely light dinner at a small cafe near the theatre that is devoted to crepes - every filling you can imagine, both savory and sweet, and sooo good.  Man, I've missed DC.

Finally, we walked a few blocks to a Whole Foods to pick up a couple more items we needed and home again.  Such a full day, with soup yet to make... and I loved every minute of it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Full Moon Musings

As we continue to work toward melding our household, Michael and I are also putting conscious effort into establishing the sort of habits we want to incorporate - we've each been the solo head of household for a long time (and in his case, living alone), so we're both used to doing things our own way.  It's been fun learning to adjust to doing things OUR own way.

One of those habits is a nightly walk with Sadie Beagle sometime after he get's home from work... usually after dinner when the sun has gone down and it's a bit cooler outside.  Last night it was nearly 10:00 pm - the summer bugs (locusts, I'm sure, along with who knows what all) were loudly buzzing, and the full moon was so bright it competed, and won, for dominance over the street light.  There was a light breeze, and we strolled along in the dark, with the conversation easily moving from what we needed to do this weekend to the way the little things, like the sight of the full moon, or even the sound of insects in the dark, made us feel centered in the nature... feeling the timeless huge expanses of the universe, and the ethereal briefness of life - that of summer bugs, and our own.

The Capricorn Full Moon and the Cancer Sun - seems to fit very neatly into what I'm focusing on right now.  Cancer is domestic and emotional, Capricorn is practical and logical - everything I need to find a place for everything, to bring order to domestic chaos.  It is coming along steadily, if slowly.

One of our goals is to create a lifestyle together that is healthier for us both (and for Sadie!), frugal, sustainable and ethical - a tall order, made easier in that they are not contradictory intentions for the most part. By next year, we'd like to be able to legitimately call ourselves urban homesteaders - this year is the year of adjusting and learning what we need to do to proceed.

I hope this month's moon brings us all the blessings of meaningful work and the groundedness to make our goals happen!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

I totally forgot to take a picture before we ate last night - so no picture of the Swiss Chard, but there were a few potatoes left to show off.

These and the chard accompanied a roast chicken, making for a dinner with very little talking but a lot of grunty 'mm mm' noises.

Other than the chicken, everything came from the farmer's market, and the roasted potatos and shallots were the star of the show.

The little red potatoes turned out to have a rosy pink interior (it was all caramel brown after cooking), very pretty little things, and they taste amazing.

The prep was very simple - washed and unpeeled, quartered potatoes, tossed in olive oil with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Roast at 400F in a baking dish for 30 minutes, then add peeled, halved fresh shallots, toss with more olive oil and little bit of dried rosemary (or throw on a fresh rosemary sprig) and bake for another hour, until everything is richly caramelized.

The potatoes will have a crispy outside and buttery inside and the shallots will be tender and sweet.  Amazing, earthy, and we'll be doing this one a lot.

Shared with Mouthwatering MondayMotivate Me Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Homemaker Mondays, Market Yourself Monday, Made With Love Monday, Monday Mania, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday's Tasty TidbitsGet Your Craft On, Anything Related, Tasty Tuesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Strut Your Stuff Thursday, Show Off Your Stuff Thursday, It's a Keeper Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fresh Food Friday.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Peachy Chicken and Buttery Patty Pan Squash

I was very happy with the recipes I tried for dinner last night - the Peach Chicken was from the July 5th menu mailer put out by Cooking Traditional Foods - baked chicken in a lovely fresh tasting blend of fresh orange juice, diced fresh peaches and grated ginger.

The fruity sauce was perfect over brown rice, and the chicken was fall of the bone tender.  Between us we finished off every morsel of warm baked peach, and would have happily had more if there'd been any left.

The buttery patty pan squash was a huge winner, too - I added the unidentified Italian zucchini to the two patty pans, sliced and layered in a small dish with fresh basil, sea salt and drizzles of melted butter. So, so good.

Michael's verdict: Please, let's put this on regular rotation.
My verdict:  Strongly agreed as long as peach and summer squash season holds out!

Shared with Mouthwatering MondayMotivate Me Monday, Mad Skills Monday, Homemaker Mondays, Market Yourself Monday, Made With Love Monday, Monday Mania, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tuesday's Tasty TidbitsGet Your Craft On, Anything Related, Tasty Tuesday, What's Cooking Wednesday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's Cookin' This Week: 7/10 - 7/16

Yesterday turned into a ridiculously full day - church in the morning at Davies UU, with a really interesting speaking talking about plants, ethical eating and the understanding that all food sources ultimately go back to plant life.  We stuck around after that for the first in a series of adult religious education classes (not having been raised UU, I mentally call it "Sunday School") on the subject of development of spiritual practices in our daily life.  It looks to be very interesting!

After that, we had some errands to run, looking for a few household items. I'd also hoped to buy myself a couple cool sundresses, but I'm at a very awkward size where I either need to lose some or gain some if I want anything to fit.  So no clothes for me until I've worked off a few pounds.  So... a new age book store for fun, then Target, then Home Depot (there are no shelves that will replace the ones in the china cabinet that broke - so we're going to need to go to a glass cutter for that).

By the time we got home, we were tired and it was late - but there was still grocery shopping to do and dinner to make.  Michael headed to the store, while I hunted for my waffle iron and got the kitchen ready for a good breakfast dinner, with our yummy free range eggs.  As tiring as the day was, it was a really good one.  We need to schedule in some weekend down time next week, I think, or Michael won't be slowing down for a second on his days off.

Here's the meal plan for this week - chock full of Farmer's Market goodness:

Sunday, July 10
Homemade Waffles with Fresh Blueberries
Maple Syrup 
(we get ours from Mack Farm in NH, where a friend of ours makes it each year!)
Fried Eggs

Monday, July 11

Peach Chicken
(from Cooking Traditional Foods Menu Mailer)
Brown Rice

Tuesday, July 12
Make beef broth from marrow bones.

Roast Chicken

Wednesday, July 13
Salad Bar dinner -
Serve Yourself Salad fixings, including leftover cold roast chicken
Roasted veggies:
Thursday, July 14

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches
(from Nourished Kitchen Simple Dinners Menu Mailer)
Buttery Sauteed Zucchini Ribbons
Dill Pickles

Friday, July 15

Shredded Beef with Mushrooms 
(from leftover shredded Italian beef)
Assorted leftover veggies

Saturday, July 16
Eating out (Crepes)
Make gazpacho for Soup Sunday at church.
Make chicken broth from roast chicken carcass.

Sunday, July 17

Baked Salmon
Cucumber and Onions in Yogurt

I planned for every day, because Michael takes leftovers to work for his lunch, making it much less likely that a meal will involve leftovers.  It'll take awhile to figure out how much to make for the two of us, and how far leftover food stretches.  Eventually, I will work out a way to give myself a day off from cooking each week, but for now, a little extra time in the kitchen just means I'll get used to it faster!

(shared with Menu Plan Monday)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Farmer's Market Saturday

There is a Farmer's Market Michael goes to each Saturday that wasn't open today, so we decided to use this as an opportunity to go check out a couple others in the DC area.

Our first stop was FreshFarm Market at H Street - and wow, this is very nearly one-stop shopping for local in-season food.  Fruits, veggies, meats, egg, cheese...   I think we managed to buy at least one item from almost every shop there (and those we didn't, we earmarked for 'next time').

Yum yum yum...

By the time we were done with H St. we were just about spent out - but we took a trip to the Ward 8 Farmer's Market in SE DC because it is closer to home, and also run by an organization we're eager to support.

We bought a couple items here, mostly to be sociable, and chatted a bit with a few of the people, which noshing on a snack of fresh mint tea and a blueberry muffin.

And by then, it was time to head home and fill up the fridge.

Tomorrow, we'll be menu planning for the next week or so based on what we nabbed and filling in the corners at the grocery store.

Check out this haul!

Looking a bit closer:

Squash was 3 for $2.00, so we picked out 6 - two regular green zucchini, 1 Italian style zucchini (it's the pale green one you can barely see), 1 yellow zucchini, and 2 pattypan.  No crookneck summer squash - Michael doesn't like those.  Thinking maybe the yellow zucchini and pattypan will be a desireable replacement.

Three cucumbers, a few jalepenos, 1 head of garlic and a bunch of Swiss chard...

How pretty is this??  Peaches, blueberries, and there are some beets back there, too (along with the beet greens).

Some red potatoes and cabbage, white eggplant and some gorgeous yummy shallots!

And lastly - not nearly as picturesque but quite exciting, some local farm fresh free range eggs, a grass fed sirloin tip roast, and two bags of beef marrow bones for beef broth.

There was also a local pork dealer, and the beef guy had lamb as well as beef. It was hard to not want one of everything!

I can't wait to start cooking with all of this!  Yay, summer bounty!

Unpacking in Earnest - Day 2

Yesterday - Day 2 - was not a good day.  Ever feel like, quite against your will, you are a destruction magnet... Godzilla smashing the city, and maybe it's just best to sit down quietly somewhere before you cause more mayhem?

That was me.  I happily went to work on the China cabinet... once I get things put away there, that frees up a lot of space for other things.  My positive attitude lasted about 5 minutes.  I laid out the serving pieces that would set upright to the rear, making sure they were in the little grooves in the glass shelves so there would be no sliding (I've done it this way for 10 years, in three different homes before this one - I know it works! Darn it!).

The big turkey platter.... the three sectioned snack platter... the long bread tray....   I went to pick up the round serving platter when...


Both glass shelves, and the serving pieces I'd already placed came down in a sound you NEVER want to hear that close to your fingers and toes and other assorted body parts are.  I was standing right next to where those huge lethal pieces on the floor are, but managed to not get cut.   And by some miracle, only the turkey platter actually broke.

But this scared the hell out of me and I had to go sit down for a bit and just contemplate how much it was going to take to clean this up without stabbing myself (or letting any glass bits stay on the floor where Sadie Beagle could get to them), and likely it was I EVER risk putting anything on the remaining two glass shelves.

So my afternoon was all about carefully picking through those glass bits in the cabinet so they wouldn't avalanche down and shatter into more bits, vacuuming (and then NOT vacuuming when a bit got in there and rattled around in a loud and terrible way - I waited on Michael to take care of that), and just generally shaking my head over the whole thing.

Then, just for fun, I overcooked a batch of pasta, which I can normally do in my sleep, but this was a day for everything simple to be Too Hard, and about mid afternoon, I decided it was time to take a couple hours off before I managed to completely destroy the house. Erk.

We've decided to get some wood shelving for the china cabinet, and paint them black to match the upholstery on the chairs.  If they come down again - and here's hoping they don't - I would rather it not bear any resemblence to a half dozen gory horror movies I've seen.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Unpacking in Earnest - Day 1

Just a little update, before I dive into the day - the College Hunks Hauling Junk guys got the china cabinet set up in about 10 minutes (poor Michael, he's feeling a bit middle aged after he and two friends tried without any success to get the top lifted up onto the base - that sucker is heavy!) and then spent about 45 minutes putting together the table.

I was not a lot of help there - it's been stored, in parts, in my basement for the last 3 years, so I was trying to remember how it went together while we all eyeballed the screw holes and tried to guess how they lined up with the pedestal legs.  The legs attach to a slider that is attached to the table top, so it can slide open to make room for the leaf, when needed.

Eventually, they figured it out and now the dining room is set up!  I'm so happy it all fits and looks good - and today I'll be unpacking dishware for the china cabinet, melding in Michael's Fiesta dishes, and opening up some space in the kitchen cabinets for other things. Hopefully, the kitchen and dining room will be functional by tonight.

(And then I live with it a bit, shift things around a few times, until it feels 'right'.  I hope I don't make him too crazy - he's not used to this!)

I am getting aggravated about NO PICTURES, including my overdue picture TUSAL picture (which would be one I took before I packed it empty mason jar since I haven't yet found it.  The New Moon hit smack on moving day, when there was no time and no internet.)  My LG Rumor Touch has suddenly decided it doesn't wish to sent photos via email - I have three tries 'pending' - and worse, I can't seem to cancel the pends either.  Grrr.

One more thing to solve, but meanwhile this means I've got no cameral.  Michael's promised to hunt for his tonight - but for the next little while, everything is hard to access, and I'll sprinkle in pictures when I can.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wow - great stitchy giveaway

Check out this incredibly generous Christmas in July giveaway from Seasons of the Mind!  Three, count 'em, three Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issues, 5 lovely Little House ornament graphs, a packet of cute pins, and some gorgeous, gorgeous floss.  Just the right collection to forget about the mugginess for a little while.  If I win, I'll have to hand this over to Michael to hide for a few weeks, until I finish getting things unpacked and organized, or I will leave it all undone to play with my stash and mentally fast forward to Christmas.

I've located most of my stash (yes, I took extra care to not let that get lost in the move) - except I can't find my TUSAL jar!  Because - you know - I put that in a SUPER DUPER SPECIAL place so it wouldn't get lost.  Sigh...

This afternoon we've got some guys (they bill themselves as College Hunks Moving Junk) coming over for a couple hours to do some heavy lifting - to place the top half of my china cabinet on it's base, put together the dining room table, move his washer and dryer out and put mine in.

That last sounds silly.. my machines are more heavy duty, but his are newer - but the bottom line reason why is because starting his involves pulling out a big round knob that has NO way to grip it, and it's beyond my arthritic hands to do that about 80% of the time.  So excess labor now so that for the next few years, laundry doesn't have to wait until he's around to do it.

Once those items are in place, it'll be easier to get a good chunk of stuff unpacked - dishes into the cabinet to free up space in the kitchen, etc, etc.  This isn't going to be a fast project, but that'll be a critical early step.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

.... And a New Era Begins

Oh my, we made it - I am now moved, finally!  This past month has been so incredibly full, and I've missed updating here so very much.

June included:

- my 50th birthday!  My oldest daughter and her family conspired with the two youngest daughters and Michael to give me a surprise party out at a cabin in a national park a few miles away.  It's been a long, long time since that much of my family were all together in the same place at one time (not to mention, working together on something!)

- my youngest graduated high school.  A huge milestone for us both!

- she also had her 18th birthday - I am no longer the mother of any minors, after 30 years! wow.

- then there was the big yard sale to try to weed down some of the stuff we no longer wanted.  Hard work, yard sales!  It was successful enough - but it sure didn't eliminate the excess.

- right after that, Deanna headed out to Nebraska for the International Thespian Festival (and while she was there got to meet up with her big sister who lives out that way).

- While she was gone for the week, I was packing, packing, packing, and trying to figure out how minimally I could live, because anything I held out would have to fit into a small car when the time came.

- The day after she came home, it was time to get her moved out into her new living rest for the weary this June, no sir!

- and then THE MOVE.  Michael, my son-in-law, Deanna's boyfriend and one of his friends got a huge UHaul loaded up to the gills... a bit of panic at the end about what was possibly not going to fit. Aii... somehow they got it all in.

- Then Michael drove off with the truck, and headed to Maryland, and I stayed behind to give the house a good scrub (and crashing on my daughter's house at night).  Thank goodness for ipods - that was really boring.

- as soon as he unloaded, with he help of volunteering neighbhors, he had to hop on the Greyhound and spend a day coming back to wear I was (dizzy yet?).  One fitful night's sleep for us both and then...

- a whirlwind of final errands, a bit of time with the daughters to say goodbye, and we headed off in his (really packed full) car, and drove here, which is no longer 'his place' but HOME.


His mom had come up through all of this to watch his/our dog Sadie and generally help out, and I've really enjoyed getting to spend a little bit of time with her before she heads home tomorrow.

And then, the UNPACKING begins -  right now it looks like at least another month's work to do, getting these two households worth of stuff unpacked and put in order.  But I'm not worrying so much about that - a little at a time, and meanwhile, WE DID IT.

This has been many years in the making.  I miss my girls - but I am very very happy.

Friday, July 1, 2011

July TUSAL (8 Days Late)

I'm cheating on this post - I have it backdated to July 1st, but I'm posting it on the 9th.  My attempts to post my TUSAL jar on the new moon were thwarted by:
  1. Moving that day
  2. The picture I'd taken the day before packing my actual jar is stuck in my phone and won't sent to me.
  3. Now I can't find that jar.
  4. ...and really haven't done a lot of stitching since then.
There are actually a few little threads down in my new jar (whenever I manage to unpack the other one, I'll add my orts to this one), but for the most part, as you can see, finding a place to put all my stuff has to take a higher priority!

At least I can borrow Michael's camera at will now.  Happy stitching from Lynda at Chaos Central!