Garden Ramblings


I have been doing my best to keep up with what is coming out of our garden... but I am starting to fall behind.  There is just so much out there (despite the weeds).  This afternoon I made a giant batch of soup with our tomatoes- some for dinner tonight and some for the freezer.   Then I froze two more gallon freezer bags full of tomatoes for another day when I have more time. I don't know how many melons I cut up today and fed to my children- maybe 10.  I had to feed a few over ripe ones to the chickens too.  And what am I going to do with all of those cucumbers?  I have caned 21 jars of pickles this year, I think we are all stocked up in that department.  I did find a really, really good salad to make with them today.  Perhaps I can eat that everyday for the next month. Nora has started this new thing where when she is done with her food she simply throws the whole plate or bowl off the table.  Today that equated to three broken dishes and a good chunk of my time spent picking fresh garden produce off the floor (I am apparently a slow learner).

Thankfully tonight at dinner- with all of this homemade, homegrown goodness in front of me- I was reminded of the point of all this cooking/canning madness (or at least one of them anyway) and was inspired to keep at it again tomorrow.  


The State Fair









~ The heat (which was not a highlight) made for some very short lines
~ French Meadow at the fair (have they always been?  how did I miss them?)
~ My mom, who offered to watch Nora at home so that I didn't have to spend the entire time running after her
~ My dad, who came with us (and of course took every opportunity to pay for anything and everything)
~ Watching a cow give birth in the Miracle of Birth Barn
~ The ferris wheel
~ Macaroons, malts and the many other things we sampled

We missed not having Ryan there this year but we still managed to have a really good time.


Back to the Beach





How to Feel Like Superwomen in 3 Easy Steps


1. Grow tomatoes
2. Pick 25 pounds of them
3. Peel them, cook them into spaghetti sauce and can them


I know, I know, people can tomatoes everyday.  In fact there is probably someone down the street from me doing it right now and thinking nothing of it.  I really shouldn't feel so triumphant about it.  But I do. I really do.  I have been looking at recipes for making and canning tomato/spaghetti sauce for about three years now.  It is something I have been wanting to do so badly because it feels so much closer to making a meal then say, canning pickles.  But I always end up being overwhelmed by it all- the peeling alone was enough to intimidate me.  But this year, with a fairly good tomato crop in the garden, I finally got up the courage to do it.  Sitting alone in my kitchen (Nora napping, Grace at a friends, and Jackson at the park with my mom) with pots boiling on the stove and tomatoes spilling out of baskets in front of me- I was in complete heaven.  I used the recipe from this book with just a few changes which I will note for next year (or maybe next week...)

~ I doubled the recipe which made 7 jars of sauce- 3 quarts and 4 pints
~ I simmered the sauce for 45 minutes but in hind site I wish I would have cooked it longer, I think we would prefer it just a bit thicker
~ I added fresh basil
~ I used some sort of net thing (I think it is suppose to be for washing dedicates in the washing machine) to put the tomatoes in for the boiling water and ice water when I was peeling them.  It worked really well.
~ The whole process took about 4 hours

Next up... enchilada sauce.



Weekend Highlights





~ Breaking open our first ready batch of pickles... they are delicious!  (not like last time thanks to this book)
~ Making more pickles (that makes 21 jars so far)
~ The beautiful, beautiful weather
~ Playing in the barn and watching the transformation of Ryan's shop
~ Going to Grandma Sam's house on Sunday with the kids
~ Ryan would want me to add that for him going to the twins game and sitting literally in the best seats in the house
~ Watching Ryan on tv sitting at the Twins game in the best seats in the house
~ Getting together with all of my girl friends and all of their little ones
~ Nora putting her pajamas on all by herself (see above)
~ Sitting down on Sunday night when everyone was in bed and painting


Time to Get Cookin'




The Beach... All Day




This morning we woke up and headed right to the beach (Secret Beach of course).  It was a perfect sunny, breezy, beach day.  Kirsten and her troop met us there and beach blissfulness ensued.  Soon the day turned into the afternoon and then the afternoon turned into the evening.  Dinner at the park and ice cream for dessert completed our perfect day.

There are only two weeks left of summer... we must fit some more of these days in...




I was officially spoiled rotten by my people this year on my birthday... and I of course loved every minute of it.  On Friday night we went out to dinner together at one of our favorite restaurants.  As always it was delicious.  Then I was handed some money and sent in to the Goodwill- all by myself- while they went to play at the park.  Shopping alone is indeed a treat these days.  They also gave me an hour long massage which I went to on Saturday.  Saturday my mom also came out and got the big kids for an overnight so Ryan, Nora and I had a nice relaxing day/night just the three of us.  THEN (as if all that wasn't enough) yesterday evening we met my parents and Katie and Kris out to dinner at another yummy restaurant!  Seriously, I was spoiled, and it was wonderful.


Garden Dinner


My new favorite meal that I made up tonight- quinoa with homemade pesto and just picked tomatoes sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.








Beach Month is Here



As much as I love all of the up northing that occurs in July, I might love the nothingness that occurs in August even more.  No classes or trips planned, just full days open to whatever our hearts desire.  Which on warm sunny days almost always turns out to be the beach.


Today we spent the afternoon at one of our all time favorite places, Secret Beach.  This year, with a toddler in tow (and being that we walked in the long way) I was reminded of our very first trip here (just look at those two).  Oh how we love this beach.



On our way back I as I turned around to check on my troop, I had to chuckle at the line up.   Jackson- lingering far behind probably because he was captivated by something shiny on the way, and carrying a ridiculously large stick because it is "just perfect for a giant sling shot".  Grace with her cowboy hat and clam shell that she insisted on bringing home.  And of course Nora, stopping to get up close and personal with something exciting on the ground.


I do love this troop.