Monday, September 28, 2009

autumn: in a basket

autumn: in a basket, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

just wanted to share a little autumn with you~

Sunday, September 27, 2009

a few glimpses of our Sunday

Today's happenings included~

~taking my small pint of raspberries-they had gotten a bit soft, so I figured it was best to make some jam (oops! a little spill over)

~enjoying the weather outside with a bike ride on the sidewalk next to our house

~wondering what concoction I should make up with these dried herbs (lemon balm, coriander, and calendula)

~putting my little ole' jam into a cute little jar, can't wait to try it out on a piece of toast for breakfast in the morning.

I stayed around the house all day today-nothing scheduled to do today, but a lot to do (I know you get it :)

Have a wonderful upcoming week!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

little red beauties

little red beauties, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

I got these raspberries from the farmer's market last Thursday and I need to do something with them fast, you know how berries are-they must be used quickly. I wasn't particularly looking for them when I went to the market (I really just needed a couple of veggies), but when I saw them all boxed up in their cute green pint container, I couldn't resist. Maybe I'll make a crisp, I have some pears in the bottom of my fridge-a raspberry pear crisp, how does that sound? When I figure out what I'm going make with these pretty berries I'll be sure to take a picture of it for you to see, okay.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

baba ghanouj~revised

One of the joys I have in cooking is taking a recipe and switching it up a bit. Tonight for dinner I decided to make some baba ghanouj-which I have made many times before, just following a recipe from one of my many cookbooks. I went to the fridge to get out my eggplant and I also had fennel, which I had bought last week (I was planning to make a fennel apple salad, but that didn't pan out). So I thought, "why not roasted the eggplant and fennel together" and so that's what I did. I roasted them along with some garlic, got out the food processor and made the baba ghanouj.

Here's what I did~
I took half of a rather large uncooked eggplant (I had only used half of it for another recipe), then I took half of my fennel bulb, including the leafy parts on top and removed the core. I put the eggplant, fennel, along with 4-5 cloves of garlic (we like garlic, lessen the amount of cloves if desired) on a cookie sheet then drizzled the veggies with olive oil (along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper) and roasted them for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. After the veggies cooked and had cooled for a little bit, I removed most of the skin of the eggplant-then placed the veggies in the food processor along with some tahini (about 1/2 cup) and some lemon juice (two large tablespoons). As the veggies were being blended up, I added a very small amount of water (perhaps about two tablespoons as well) and some olive oil (about 1/8th cup) into the tube of the processor and kept blending. After the consistency was just right (nice and thick, shouldn't be runny) I tasted the dip and added salt and pepper accordingly.

This along with some good pita bread or anything dippable,yum-yum!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

fall days and meal planning (not so much)

~pumpkins in a patch, fall is here

Fall is here and it has greeted us with a bit of rainy foggy weather, which we needed some rain in the first place.
So far the menu planning has been a bust. I ought to know myself better, I cook from what I have on hand and sometimes its just easier to look in the fridge and freezer than to look through cookbooks to find recipes. That being said we do keep a lot of stuff on hand, simply because we eat a lot, a family of eaters-that's who we are. Tonight we had chicken breasts with garlic, curried chickpeas, potatoes and swiss chard with rice (not on the plan, but in my head).
Yet, I know that menu planning could work if I tried hard enough to make it work, but that's just it, I don't want to try too hard -I really think its easier for me to think about what to eat on the day we are to eat, and then go from there. As long as I keep cranking out the meals, keeping bellies happy, all is fine.

hey, I just had a thought after reading this, I guess I could look in the fridge and freezer before planning meals and base my meal plan around what I have, but such simplicity seems to elude me (:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

a few glimpses of our Sunday

Sunday, the beginning of a new week. A day for both rest and attempts at organization~

We started the day with breakfast~
potatoes, yellow squash, venison summer sausage

the kids played outside for a little bit~

I sat down with my coffee mid-afternoon (I needed a little afternoon pick me up) and attempted menu-planning, can you believe it?

I'll let you know how this menu-planning thing works out for me, since I'm usually a crunch time type of gal (:

Hope you have a wonderful upcoming week!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

the garden~end of season

squash sprout, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

I've been thinking now, as fall is on our heels, about gardening and how my relationship with seed and soil has influenced my view of life in general. Last year I tried my hand at Square Foot Gardening, and it was really a valuable experience. Last year I kept a written garden journal of sorts and I'm going to share one particular entry here:

June 11th
We have received so much rain, I mean almost daily, that really I haven't needed to do much except pull some weeds and hope for the best. Some of the plants are withstanding the rain pretty well (the tomatoes and the kale) but the lettuce and chard-oh boy-they are just hanging on. My sfg box is looking pretty dirty too because of all the rain. I have gained some perspective about life from gardening I think~

first, control is an illusion

second, give the plants what they need, then back off (somewhat)

third, be grateful for any harvest (whether small or large)

fourth, use gentle/organic pest control

fifth, don't be too
serious, just serious enough

Hopefully I can translate these
insights to my bigger-larger life.

As I re-read this, I realize that I garden not only to gain a physical harvest, but also to gain a spiritual harvest- working in God's nature, holding on to faith.

So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there', and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you".
Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

Friday, September 18, 2009

a day at the farm

We visited a local farm this week and had so much fun looking, observing, learning~

~sheep grazing

~a meal cooking on the open fire

~beans and pumpkins out in the sun

~a beautiful brown calf taking a rest

We had a lovely day, and for some reason I could see us embracing the farm life (small time farm life, that is)-maybe, someday.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

breakfast made the night before

buns, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

I made these cinnamon buns way too late Friday night, set them in the fridge and took them out to bake up this morning. I was having one of my late night cooking sessions. Sometimes I just want to cook, cook, cook, and try out every recipe in the world-then reality sets in as I stare at the ever looming tower of dishes that have accumulated in the sink-luckily these buns were worth the dish pile up (:

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

baby blanket

blanket for baby, originally uploaded by *nichole*.

Around late June/early July of this summer I started making a small quilt for my lovely new niece. The quilt is small-measuring around 26 inches by 36 inches. I used squares from moda's Hello Betty charm pack. I sewed six squares together then sewed these six squares to another group of six squares (to make a bigger row). Then I sewed these twelve squares to large strips of pink fabric. I used cotton batting, and one piece of green fabric for the backing (the quilt is hand tied). The binding was machine stitched on the front then hand stitched on the back (hand stitching is great for a quilt of this size :).
This was so fun and gratifying to make, but I haven't done much sewing since. In fact my daughters have been asking me when I'm going to sew something again, and really I don't know-I'm thinking most likely when it gets a bit colder and there will be more time for crafting in general, I hope. But I am knitting up a dishcloth using this pattern and I kinda messed up on first couple of pattern rows, but I refuse to frog it-after all it's just going to be a dishcloth you know?

Tonight I'm thinking of making this for dinner, this soup along with some homemade pizza should do it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

what a dollar can get you and more on tomatoes

I kinda got a slow start to this week, I think Labor Day threw me off a bit. We didn't do much over the holiday weekend-but Sunday I did get together with some of my friends from church to make strawberry jam and that was fun. Monday we all stayed close to home and for dinner ordered Chinese food, and now its already Thursday-wow! Talk about a quick week.
Well I hit the thrift store today and found an old TV stand for a dollar. As soon as I saw it I knew that I wanted to put it on the deck so it could hold my pots. I think I might paint it up a bit-what do you think, I'm thinking about painting it white.

In the kitchen I've been in a little rut with what to cook for dinner.
I want to be one of those people who do menu plans and all, but so far that's just not happening. As I was looking at the bowl of tomatoes next to the window, salsa came to my head-just to give a little kick to tonight's dinner.

~five medium chopped tomatoes
~half of an large onion chopped
~two small jalapenos chopped (add seeds if you want heat)
~a big handful of chopped cilantro
~3 cloves of garlic minced
~1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice (I used lemon because that's what I had on hand)
~1 teaspoon of salt

mix then eat

Hope you all are doing well-I'll be sure to read about your crafting/life happenings soon.
Take care~

Sunday, September 6, 2009

getting up my canning nerve

This years community garden has been such a huge blessing, not only in terms of what it produces, but also in terms of how it makes me feel being out there working, planting, observing. As we began to bring home produce I would often have thoughts of canning-but then I would just resort to freezing. Something about canning seemed intimidating and just plain scary to me-which I found both intriguing and ironic because I grew up seeing my own grandparents can a lot their own homegrown produce.
Partly, in my younger years, I think I began to view canning as something that only "older" people did. Both of my grandparents were born in the rural South, so canning was just a way of life for them-but this wasn't the case for me. Need food-go to the grocery store, right? However, as I have gotten older I've noticed something strange happening. I seem to be looking toward those "old ways" for some reason, looking to hold on to them I suppose. Eating the best dill pickles from mason jars, putting homemade chow-chow over my pinto beans-just enjoying the simple goodness of food raised by my ones own hands, canned by ones own hands. So this past week I got up my nerve, went to the hardware store to buy my boiling water canner, jars and other needed items. Now after I made all the appropriate purchases-you know what I did next? Of course, I called my grandmother. She gave me such great information and told me exactly what I needed to do for my tomatoes (while she was talking to me I could hear my grandfather in the background giving instructions as well :) She also told me what things could only be processed with a boiling water canner and those that could only be processed with a pressure canner (I already knew this from my frantic reading), but as I was writing her words down on a paper-I felt that she was giving me something more than I could ever get from a book, she was giving me part of our family-a part that I needed.
After I talked to her I felt better about my canning pursuit.
I suppose my biggest fear with this all is the fear of botulism-which is a real and scary thing-but with the proper information fear is lessened and new abilities are acquired. You know it also occured to me that while it was hard for me to get up my canning nerve I rarely think twice about eating something that has been processed by "someone else" (someone else being the food industrial complex)-yet people fall ill to glitches in that system as well (just typing out loud here).
It seems like more and more of us are looking for those "old ways" now days, when life wasn't particularly easy-but still not so full of the noise and distraction that surrounds us today. Perhaps all this distraction prevents us from honoring our past, the very past that could in part enhance our very own lives-here in the now, and as well as our own futures.

~putting the sauce into the jars

~hot water bath

~canned sauce

~canned sauce, from above