Friday, June 29, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Today is Friday and that means it is time to join Quilting in my Pyjamas for Favorite Things Friday! 

I was going to post about my latest obsession favorite thing, cooking. 

While I was standing in the kitchen making Rhubarb, Blackberry, Lime Jam and canning some tomatoes, I decided my favorite thing is air conditioning.

One for upstairs, one for downstairs!

Tomatoes and Rhubarb, Blackberry, Lime Jam and Raspberry Jalapeno Jam
I am not sure how the women on the prairie did all the cooking and storing of food back then.  The poor things had wool clothes!!  They had to build a fire to cook!!  Even in the freaking summer!  Oh yes, lets not forget they also had to grow and pick the produce.

I think the wonderful person who invented air conditioning should be given a day of the year to be honored.  We could call the day, Cool Guy Day, or something great like that.

Thanks for visiting.  Sorry this is a short post.  I am catching up from being in Miami last week.  Love vacations, just not the work before and after them.  Oh yeah, I have a sinus infection that is really getting me down.

Matilde, Connor and I.  Wouldn't you know I would find a winery!

Have a great weekend.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Baking with Julia - French Strawberry Cake

It is Tuesday, so it must be my Baking with Julia day!  Today's recipe was French Strawberry Cake.  You can see the recipe at Sophia's Sweets.     Sophia is one of the hosts this month.  Stop by and check out her blog.  She is only 15 and already such an accomplished baker!

Back to the cake!  I was very afraid of making the cake portion.  It is called Genoise, and I have never heard of it before!  The recipe begins by telling you something along the lines of, "it may be intimidating," so you understand where my fear came from.

I actually did not have any problems with the batter.  It has few ingredients and my Kitchen Aid mixed it up to perfection.

We did not have an fresh strawberries in our CSA last week, so I had to purchase some.  I was afraid of using some of our 12 pounds of frozen strawberries.  I thought the consistency might not be right.

Other Baking with Julia participants, used fruits other than strawberries.  I think this recipe easily lends itself to most fruits.  I think I will use either blackberries of raspberries next.  We have an abundance of both!

This was a light and refreshing cake.  Perfect for warm summer days.  My only complaint would be with the amount of whipped cream that is used in between and on the cake.  I didn't feel there was enough to properly frost the cake.  Next time around I will be a little bit more!

 I was able to cut the cake into three layers!  Mmmmm...more surfaces for strawberries and whipped cream!

Hope you enjoyed the post today.  Perhaps it will inspire you to make a French Strawberry cake for yourself and your family!  Trust me, they will love it!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, June 15, 2012


I am so sick of vegetables, this is what I have become!

Image Detail

I don't want to clean them!  I don't want to cook them!  Right now, I don't want to eat them!

Big questioned my logic when we signed up for the CSA.  I swore I would never get sick of vegetables.  I swore I would always love them and never want the fresh goodness to end.

I was wrong!

I was very wrong!

Please don't tell Big!  I will never hear the end of it!

We have a freaking truckload of vegetables in our refrigerator.  I have quit opening the door because they call my name.  They whisper things like, "Eat us," Cook us," Puree us," "Freeze us!"  I just shut the refrigerator door and pretend I am unable to hear their wailing.

Last night, I made Big take me to the Mexican food restaurant.  When the waiter asked what I wanted for dinner, my response was, "Anything that doesn't have vegetables!"  He looked at me oddly and brought me a plate of chicken!

We will be in Miami for a week and boy am I happy about it.  I will eat so much seafood, that I will be sick of it.  I may be happy to see a vegetable when I get back.  (Or so I am hoping)

I was able to get to my sewing room today.  I embroidered a t-shirt for Big's Mom.  Her 79th birthday is on July the third and she likes all things patriotic.

I also began to embroider some napkins I picked up at Target the other day.  The napkin is a light yellow - sorry it doesn't show up well.  It is after 10:00 p.m. and the light sucks in the kitchen.

I would hate to think you didn't get a chance to enjoy a view of our dinner tonight.  Guess what we ate?  If you guessed vegetables, you are right!

Fresh, homemade salsa.  Hot and good!

As sick as I am of all things that grow in dirt, these quesadillas were great!  I will have them again, when the color green doesn't make me green!

Vegetable Quesadillas - To die for

I hope all of you have a great weekend!  I will be preparing for our trip down south.  We will visit a family that we were neighbors with while we lived there.  I am expecting lots of fun and lots of wine!  Good times ahead.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crazy Lady

I am sure that I secured the title of, "Crazy Lady" in the neighborhood today.  Why you may ask? Well, sit back and relax and I will tell you a little story.
Big was preparing for an out of town business trip 2 weeks ago.  While she was packing I decided that I must have mulch for the flower bed that we recently made and planted.  We had to go that day, because she would leave for Louisiana the next morning.  Keep in mind, I was sure I would get the mulch laid the very first day she was gone.

Needless to say, the mulch did not get laid the first day she was gone, nor the second day, nor anytime that week or the next week!  It was hot outside!  It was humid outside!  And, honestly, I just didn't feel like laying mulch!

When I woke this morning, I had a bit more energy than I have had on previous days.  The sun was hiding behind clouds and it seemed like a perfect day to lay mulch. 

First things first.  I had a few plants that needed to go in the ground before I laid the mulch.  Eight plants, to be exact.  While planting the fourth perennial,  the rain began.

It was a soft and drizzly rain.  It reminded me of the rains we used to have in Miami.  They were wonderful and refreshing and usually lasted 20 or 30 minutes.  Residents of Miami didn't even pull out an umbrella, they were so used to these rains.  I thought to myself,  This rain will stop as soon as I quit working, so just keep going.

One and a half hours later, I decided to stop laying mulch in the rain!  I was soaked!  Water was dripping off my nose.  My back was saturated.

I think the clincher was when a mini van drove by and a kid stared at me and his mother shook her head in disbelief! 

Sneak peek at the back yard garden

I proudly accept the title of, "Crazy Lady."   I think it will keep the neighbors guessing!   I suppose it could be worse.

Hope you all had a great day!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you visit again soon!

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Good Day? Bad Day?

Hello All!  Hope you have had a great day.  Mine has been one of those days that you are either happy about or would like to scream about!

Here are a few examples:

Big had an appointment with her Ortho Doctor.  He said she was, "Good to go." and released her from visits - good.  We waited over an hour before I forced Big to ask why we were not going back to see the Doctor (everyone else had been back and some had left), the receptionist realized she still had Big's file and then charged her $30.00 for a co-pay.  Her  surgery bill was supposed to cover all follow-up appointments within a certain amount of time, her last appointment should have been last week.  No one let her know that - Bad.

Daisy, the dog, had two poops on her evening walk - Good!  My nail poked a hole in the poo bag and I had dog poo under my fingernail - Bad!  (Big almost gaged when I told her)

My mojo finally came to visit me again - Good.  We have been busy running errands and visiting Doctors today and I have accomplished nothing - Bad.

I watered all of the plants this afternoon.  I even drug the plants form the sun room outside for a good soaking - good.  It began to storm - bad.  Well, this was not really so bad, I just wished I had not watered 30 minutes before the storm broke!

I could go on about a few other things, but I think I would get depressed and hide in a corner for a month or two!  I hope to find my mojo tomorrow and get a lot of projects completed.

Big and I will be in Miami next week, and I hope to visit with a friend that was our neighbor when we lived there about 11 years ago!

Have a great evening! 

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blackberry Envy Smoothie

My daughter, a.k.a., The Baby, will be so envious that she is not home to try my new creation, "Blackberry Envy Smoothie".  She absolutely loves smoothies!  If she sees fruit, fresh or frozen, her first thought is to blend them up  and make a delicious drink.

I, on the other hand, am not so fond of smoothies.  I think it is because I am lazy!  I find it too much work to pull out a multitude of ingredients for such a small prize.  Now, don't get me wrong, I am happy to make a recipe for a main dish that has a lot of ingredients, but the payoff is much bigger.

So, I thought to myself, "If I could just come up with a lazy way to make a smoothie and keep it healthy, I would do it more often."  Well, The Yummy Life has done all the work for me.  I love her smoothie recipe, not only because it tastes good, but because it makes more than one and they will keep for a couple days!

Monica, of The Yummy Life, gives recipes for 7 variations of the Make Ahead Oatmeal Smoothie.  One of the recipe options,  is an "invent your own," recipe.  The "invent your own" recipe was the basis for my "Blackberry Envy Smoothie"!  Throw in a little envy and I had a wonderful creation!

I had fresh blackberries from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) so I decided to use them in the recipe.

Make Ahead Oatmeal Smoothie - Create Your Own Version

1/4 cup uncooked oats
1 1/2 tsp dried chia seed
1 cup liquid (juice, milk, combination of the two)
1/4 cup low fat yogurt (greek, because of the protein, but any will do)
1 cup fresh fruit (or 1/2 cup dried, or 3/4 cup pureed, i.e. applesauce)


1 or more tsp sweetener (honey, agave, etc)
1 or more TBL jam or spread
1/8 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon or other sweet spice

Add oats and chia seeds to blender; blend on high until texture of flour. Add liquid (milk/juice) to blender.   Add yogurt. Add fruit and any additional flavorings. Blend on high until desired smoothness. Taste and add sweetener.  At this point, I decided to add a tsp. of vanilla extract.  The end result tasted like a blackberry muffin.  Then, I blended again.

Transfer to a jar or container; refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of 4 hours, so oats & chias can soften. Will keep in refrigerator at least 2-3 days. Shake before drinking

I love the ease and versatility of this recipe.  It is so healthy too!

Nutrition breakdown (approximate - taken from Monica's site):

Calories - 268
Fat - 4.8 g
Carbs. - 53
Protein - 12.6 g
Fiber - 7g
Weight Watchers points - 6 -8

I hope you will take the time to check out Monica's site.  There are so many other wonderful recipes there.  I can tell you, I have been back often.

This is my first time linking up to the Crazy Cooking Challenge and I am excited to see what everyone else created!

Thanks for stopping by! 

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It is Wednesday and that means CSA!  We got some great veggies in the pick up today.  White and red new potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, spring onions, 3 pints of raspberries, 3 cucumbers, sugar snap peas, swiss chard and about 5 pounds of green beans!

Since it is just me in the house this week, I will freeze most of the veggies. As a matter of fact, the raspberries are in the freezer on a cookie sheet as I blog!

While The Baby and my Mother were here, we (I) decided we must go pick strawberries.  We went to Miller Farms Market and picked for about 2 hours.  It was hotter than heck and humid to boot, but we persevered.  I think the amount of strawberries we picked was worth it. 

All together, we picked 12 pounds.  We only paid $1.00 per pound!

Our bounty!

Ready for the freezer!
 The baby decided to make a Strawberry, Rhubarb bar!  It was delicious!  She had never tried this recipe before, but was happy she did!

There is still some in the freezer, come on over!


I am seriously thinking about picking strawberries tomorrow.  The season ends Friday and at $1.00 per pound, I can't resist!

I know I have been blogging a lot about food lately.  I suppose the CSA has got me going in that direction.  I hope to get to my sewing machine tomorrow - I have so many projects on my list of things to do.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you had a great day!

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It is Tuesday and that means Tuesdays with Dorie.  The recipe for today is Oasis Naan.  The recipe comes from the book "Baking with Julia."

I actually made the recipe last week.  My daughter, The Baby, was home from college and we decided it would be a fun adventure!  We both love baking, but our skills are somewhat limited.  So with great anticipation, we began the adventure!

We used our Kitchen Aid to mix the dough.  Although I love kneading, we decided it was the best option for the recipe.  We had a house full of company and didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen,

The beginning of the rising process
When the dough doubled, we rolled the naan out, got our forks in hand and pricked them all over.  The Baby and I had fun with this part, we decided to have a race to see who could prick the dough the fastest!  As you can tell, we are not the most serious bakers!

In the oven the bread went.  I am so glad to have a gas oven.  It heated up to 500 degrees perfectly.  Our biggest challenge was getting the bread off the board and on the stone.  One or two of them folded over.  By the last batch, we had the technique down.

We opted for sesame seeds as a topping.  We are not big fans of cumin and had run out of scallions.  I think the final product came out pretty good looking!

We ate the naan with Beef Shish Ka Bobs and grilled vegetables that evening.  The naan was a hit! 

I look forward to making the next recipe, French Strawberry Cake.  Sadly, my daughter is off working for the summer and I will make the cake on my own.  I am glad we had this experience together and I know we will have more. 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Home Alone

No, I am not talking about the movie!  My Mother and The Baby left yesterday and Big is on a trip.  So here I sit, all alone!

I miss them all, but I don't really mind being alone.  It gives me a chance to get caught up on things that I let slide while the house was full. 

The Baby turned 21 on the 23rd of May.  Her day was spent opening presents (Big and I bought her 21 gifts), picking up vegetables from the farm, trying a new restaurant and having vegetarian lasagna (made with love by Big). 

The Baby's boyfriend drove in from West Virginia to spend the weekend with us.  Having him here was a nice gift for The Baby.

Marshall and The Baby

Saturday was spent visiting a couple local vineyards.  I never knew Virginia was known for its wines.  It was a special "grown up" gift for The Baby.  Her first legal drink!

After a tasting at Hartwood Winery

The Baby and her first legal drink

I will post more in the next day or so.  I have some more photos I want to share.  Our produce from the CSA has been fantastic.  I will show you the photos and tell you about our strawberry picking adventure!

Tomorrow I will be my first Baking With Julia post.  I am so nervous about it!  Wish me luck and come back to see what I "cooked up"!

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