Friday, August 31, 2007

Uncrustables... Val Style

So a friend of mine buys these Uncustable Sandwiches. Her kids just love them and mine comment on them every time we eat lunch with them. I actually had this gadget in my drawer for months. I bought it after seeing it used, thought it was so cool! Fast forward 5 months or so, and I have used it once. lol... I am not a gadget person. But today, I lined up 3 loaves of bread (the crusts of which will be fed to the chickens and the local ducks) and made a gallon sized bag of PB&J and Turkey and Cheese "uncrustables" for my kids start of school. They fit perfect in the sandwich wraps I made a few weeks back and Cyan will love using them for our outings as much as Alex will love taking them to school.

This one is a PB&J with whole wheat bread, organic strawberry jam, and Adams all natural peanut butter. My only regret is that good bread, you know, the kind that has seeds and nuts in it, won't seal very well. But if that is my only regret about my kids school packed lunch, I think I am doing alright. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Save the World, While Eating Chocolate

I had my first MorsBag Pod Party last night...
It was wonderful! Four friends, making reusable shopping bags.
Someone on sewing mamas discovered how to make a bag that works just like a plastic bag, but reusable out of fabric. The instructions were wonderful and with a friends help we made a bunch of them. I think we got 32 started. Not all got done, it got late, but it was wonderful to hang out with friends, drink strawberry daqueris, eat good chocolate, chat and sew for a good cause. I have some wonderful friends. :)

Summer goodness....

It doesn't look that good, but let me list you ingredients.
2 summer squash and a head of garlic from my garden
a red onion, red potatoes, and a papipan squash from my local farm
Sage, oregano, and rosemary from my herb garden
a half a stick of butter
Now how can you be a veggie fan and not enjoy something like that?
Man it was good.
I took the last two baked red potatoes and cut them up and added it to the sqash left overs and then had it for lunch the next day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

I'm Lovin' it!

So in my quest to duplicate the fast food experience without the after effects of crazy high fat or nasty preservatives (not to mention my allergy to Sodium Nitrate) my dh requested blackberry shakes. And to go along with them, he made BBQ flavor burgers with his friends freshly canned homemade BBQ sauce (shipped to him via UPS). It was wonderful! I didn't take a picture because Don was insistent on eating the SECOND they were done. He was actually excited about it when we were picking up hamburger at the butchers... lol!

But here is my blackberry shake recipe. Very simple... but OH SO GOOD!

2 scoops of French Vanilla ice cream
(try to pick one without a bunch of junk in it... like Bryers or Tillamok)

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup fresh berries... We used blackberries for me and Don,
but blueberries for Cyan... both freshly picked.

I put all of these things in a wide mouth quart mason jar and used my stick blender to get the desired creamy thickness... It wasn't super sweet, they were just wonderful! In the true joy of fast food though, we used straws to drink them with. Somethings have to be preserved in the 'easy to eat' tradition.

I am sure we will be doing this again, so I can document then. But it was a darn good meal.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bean Harvest Day... I'm a mama.

I went out to harvest the beans this morning. I got a box of green beans from my local organic farm yesterday and was planning on blanching my beans and the case of beans from them together for freezing. Logan is sick however... he has a nasty cold. So him being away from me, even for a few minutes, just isn't acceptable to him today. So he came with me.

And so did Cyan... who was a big help in getting the beans out from the center of the bean teepee. She actually fit. lol...

Logan really enjoyed cutting that new top tooth on a fresh, organic, strait-from-the-vine green bean. He isn't a fan of them blended, he only likes baby food made from fruit. All savory things he has tried in baby food form he has hated. Even simple things, like peas and beans he spits out and makes a face like I just fed him a lemon (strangly, he ate a whole lemon peice out of my water at a restruant just two weeks ago, but blended beans make him shudder. lol!) He is a "real food" man.

My sweet teether.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Back Yard Modifications Step #1

See that second picture? Yeah... I am making that in my backyard as we speak.

Under construction...

These were donated from my neighbor (both) for around the outside... that will cover nearly half... and I need a 6X6 for another project so I will use that for the longer shorter beams... hopefully salvage those as well.

And here is the newest picture of my cutie pie.

He is getting so big... I was chasing him across the yard today...

...as he chased a chicken.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It needed something...

This was the highchair I got at Goodwill last month for Logan... I had had my eye on one at Toys R Us for $140... but finding this gem for $12 I couldn't pass it up. But it really needed somethings. Some cleaning, some oiling the all metal parts that went out of style sometime in the late 70's, tightening the screws, etc. Then I looked at it. I needed to claim it as mine... I could have pee'd on it, but I didn't think that would have given it the "crafty stay at home mom" look I was thinking of. So I came up with something else. It took me a month to do this. Every thing moves SO slow when you have a baby who learned to crawl at 5 1/2 mos. He is FAST now... pulling things down off shelves, climbing, trying to pull himself up... yep. He is 6 1/2 mos TODAY. I don't know what I am going to do if he walks early. YIKES...
...but I got it done tonight. I thought it turned out cute and wanted to share.
What do you all think? (Please ignore the pucker in the middle of the seat seam. I was NOT taking that seam out... I triple stitched it before I flipped it.)

My camera has decided to be pissy tonight. The tree is actually a light blue fabric with sage green vines on it.

And the idea that shook the whole house. A pocket for Logans bibs in the back!! I felt SO creative...lol!

Streusel Bars

Yesterday we got 27lbs of blueberries! The bushes were so full they were falling off into the bucket. It was amazing! And the day never got over 80* either. Perfect berry picking week this week. Just perfect! Anyway... we invited friends and my dad to come picking with us (they got even more than we did) and we needed to make a snack, so we decided to make the cloud berries into something yummy. :)


AnyBerry Streusel Bars

1 1/2 c Rolled oats, uncooked - (quick or old-fashioned)

1 1/4 c All-purpose flour

1/2 c Brown sugar, firmly packed

3/4 c Butter; melted

1 c Fresh or frozen berries

1/2 c preserves (pick one that compliments your berry)

1 ts All-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 F. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar and margarine; mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup for topping; set aside. Press remaining oat mixture onto bottom of ungreased 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly. In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix gently. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture, patting gently. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely; cut into bars. Store tightly covered.

For this recipe I made a double batch (yes that is 3 sticks of butter, but it was well worth it), with the cloud berries the peach preserves I made last year. They were wonderful! In fact, I can't stop eating them. Aside from the sugar content, I can't find a reason to either.


I found a good description of the cloud berries taste yesterday. Eat a raspberry, with a half a slice of tangerine. That is what they taste like. A perfect compliment to the peach preserves.

Off to more berry foraging today!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

And so it starts...

A new season of bounty. The beets, squash, beans, and carrots are starting... lettuce is in full swing. Cucumbers are turning green or yellow depending on variety, and peas are finally done... ready for the second planting.

Today I got a case of white beets from a friends organic farm for a KILLER price, and have been topping, steaming, blanching, slicing, and freezing for a serious portion of the afternoon... taking a break only to go and pick 3 pints of wonderfully ripe blackberries on a walk down the street.

White beets are so sweet, and don't have that pungent metallic taste of their red sisters. I love to put them in casseroles, or in that fried rice recipe I mentioned earlier... I am very excited to add them to my winter stocks (along with the blackberries).

Tomorrow.... Organic blueberries!

Oh yes... my season has definitely started. *glee*

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Happiness is...

First sunflower of the year.

Pole beans and a blue sky.

Ripening blueberries... in my yard.

Garden friends.

Going out to your garden, collecting food, bringing it back in, feeding your family an amazing meal with it.

Vegetable Fried Rice

Start with a half head of garlic and an onion saute'd in peanut oil until slightly clear.

Then pick/wash/top whatever veggies you have. Yesterday it was purple beans, the last of the pod peas, and a crookneck squash. Saute' these until almost done (done as you like). Add in 2 1/2 cups of short grain brown rice (cooked and cooled). Mix in 2 Tbs of mayo, (strange but true) a splash of soy sauce, and a scrambled (beforehand) egg.

So good!

Off-hand note:
The other day I made this with broccoli, zucchini, and snow peas from our CSA, a bunch of beans, Swiss chard, crook neck squash, and carrots from the garden. I saute'd the veggies in butter (after cooking the onion and garlic) instead with a handful of oregano, three leaves of fresh sage, and a bit of rosemary from the herb garden. Then added the rice mixed with a small jar of medium salsa. That time I topped it with Cheddar cheese and put it in the oven to broil. Even dh liked that one (he picked around the squash, but ate the chard along with all the other veggies. I felt triumphant!).

This has a million and one possible creations listed all over it. And it is GOOD... like 'have a bowl and you've eaten a good meal along with all your vegetables' good.

Awwww... happiness doesn't always come in the form of food... but sometimes even just looking at it makes me happy.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Adventures in Berry Picking

Don, Cyan, Logan and I took a nice long walk around our neighborhood yesterday. We foraged a few blackberries that are so prevalent here this time of year, and then saw this:

I read up on it in my wild plants book last night and they said that this variety of berry (called Rubus, meaning Ruby, but names berries that have one seed per part and a cluster of parts on one fruit, also covers the hollow varieties (raspberries) as well as the solid varieties (most blackberries)) has NO poisonous varieties. I was thinking what would fit in better with Pioneer Week than foraging native, wild berries and making something out of them?

This particular type of Rubus berry, called a "Creeping Cloudberry", apparently grow from the northern part of North America all the way into the Arctic Ocean. So when you find Rubus berries, creeping, vining, or on stalks, red, black, purple, or orange, eat them all and file the site they grew on away for next year to get more (nearly exactly in those words in my Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: How to Find, Identify, and Cook Them by Katie Letcher Lyle)...

I took Cyan and Logan on a walk this morning with my picking baskets and we picked a bunch! We found, to our dismay, that they also have little thorns, but it just reinforced the fact that they were in this family and this type of berry. They have a sweet tart flavor, very similar to a Salmonberry, but a bit sweeter. Like a VERY light flavored blackberry. They will make something yummy for dessert tonight.

I am going to try to move a piece of the plants the 10 blocks into my yard and trellis them... that would be awesome.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New sling!

I have been using my friend Sarah's bright pink sling, and although I love it, it was demasclinzing my son every time I used it, and my husband wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. lol! So I made myself a new one. :)