Thursday, August 27, 2015

Kitchen notes





I got the kitchen window opened for the first time this week - I woke up yesterday and it was 65F outside! It felt wonderful to have the misty morning breeze coming into the kitchen, though really I should keep it all shut up because of the humidity. Welcome to the tropics (not really, but really).

I have done a bit of real cooking this week. I am struggling to get a routine down to have dinner on the table at a reasonable time. I also failed at my menu plan this week. Think those two problems are connected?

I did get some "real" cooking done this week, but didn't take many photos. I fried our first okra from this garden and made BLTs on homebaked bread. Above you'll see the dirty rice {recipe} that was dinner one night and lunch two days. The blondies recipe is the best I've ever tried and the only one I will use. It is sinful, but I will share the diabetes love anyway. And pah-leese, don't go substituting applesauce instead of butter or leaving out the nuts, just bake it the way it says to.

Suzi's Blondies 

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Combine these ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to incorporate.

2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs (room temp)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. butter, melted

Combine these ingredients in ANOTHER mixing bowl. Stir, stir.

Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients, folding in until just moist throughout. Fold in 3/4 cup each chocolate chips and nuts of your choice. Pour batter into greased 9x13 pan, sprinkle top with another generous handful of nuts and chocolate chips. Toffee bits, coconut and other things do nicely here. THIS is the part where you can improvise. Bake in 350F oven for 25-30 minutes or until edges are crispy-chewy and center is done but not overbaked.




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Yarn Along




Is it starting to feel like fall where you are? No? Not even a little bit?

Maybe it is just wishful thinking on my part. As I type this, the thermometer reads that it is a cooler temperature outside as it is inside: 65F. Fall MUST be on its way. 

I've cast on a new project AND I'm actually taking time to work on it. What a concept. I have given myself the deadline of my birthday - October 3 - to get it done so I can wear it when we go on my birthday adventure. I also snagged a Dottie Angel Frock pattern this past week that I am beyond excited about. I have had three yards of fabric set aside for a "play dress" for over two years. It just sort of came together that the frock fabric matches my stash yarn - happy birthday to me!

***

On the reading front, Julian has been devouring Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books. In the past month he has made it through six of them. They've got the best characters and lots of wit, but I struggle to read them because there is so much colloquial conversation. I'd like to get them on audio and catch up with him soon. 

I am currently reading Summer World by Bernd Heinrich. It is completely fascinating to me and I have no idea why. Well, I know why - it is a nature book written by a naturalist. But it is also a science book written by a scientist. I am a third of the way through the book and there are parts of it that make me want to slam it shut and shudder (learning about mud dauber wasps paralyzing their prey before caching them in their mud nests and laying parasitic eggs in them) and other parts that keep me spell bound (his observations regarding the leafing out of the trees in spring). The book is written with an easy tone, as sort of "you wouldn't believe what I found on my morning walk" but with such scientific detail that I am learning so much. 

Last but not least, if you're looking for a new book - you should read this essay and then read some Noel Perrin.

What are you working on? Show and tell with Ginny and the others. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

In Our Garden










Mr. Bunny :: volunteers that lived :: my veg patch :: marigolds :: beautyberry 
snapdragons :: the yellow rose :: the compost heap

We've been putting quite a bit of time in on the yard, even if the mosquitos try to keep us inside. The people we bought the house from obviously loved their yard and did well with it, but the house was vacant all spring, so part of our task now is reclaiming the property from the wild. I am trying to beat back the strongest things - the mint, the dwarf iris, the WEEDS - and I am trying to be wise regarding what to keep as homage to the people who established the garden and what to toss so that I may have my own fingerprints on the land.

We have found an underground irrigation system that takes water from the house to the road, but only two spigots are currently working. One is blocked and the other is non-existent and causes water to bubble like a spring from one of the flower beds. An unlikely "water feature" perhaps?

Aside from water, another thing we are lacking around here is four-season color. I find myself threatening the plants, "You'd better do something showy and impressive come spring or you're toast!" Several of them already have done something impressive (like show that they are PG hydrangeas, or bring in butterflies of all size and description) and others of them just sit there like twiggy skeletons, hungry for a bit of something that isn't just hot sand.

And that brings me to the compost. Julian rigged a compost heap for me, but I need to work hard collecting enough to fill it up. Even just in the past few days it has sunken down under its own decomposing weight. Keeping the mass helps keep the heat and helps it all work better, so I pile and I pile. (Note all those rocks that had to come out of the ground before the posts could go in!)