Saturday, August 30, 2008

We went to a dahlia farm today with a friend of mine and her family. It was a fun trip that was desperately needed. I am having a really hard time emotionally right now. I can't really fill everyone in. I just need to sort it out.

So for now, I just am going to share great pictures.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Notice anything new about the place?

Yep, after four years I finally changed my name. It was 'Hobbies of a Domestic Goddess'. This blog has morphed from just hobbies, into every good memory, every accomplishment, and even some disappointments of my life. In essence, it has changed into a running account of collected moments of my life, and the joy that comes along with that. I wanted the title of the blog to reflect that change. 'Collecting the moments' seemed right. For that is what I do. That is what we all do. We collect the happy moments in our lives to support us... to show us what we have done and how beautiful life can be. My life is truly beautiful... with little pitfalls, dirty diapers, and broken jars of peaches thrown in for color.

Now that...


...is beautiful applesauce!

I wish I had a better window to take pictures in. The flash just doesn't do it justice... but at this point, it is so piping hot that I couldn't move it out of doors without breaking some of the jars due to uneven cooling. I guess the inside picture is what we get. I fixed the problem of head space on these, so there should not be any strange coloring next week when we start to dig in.
Oh, and it is good! I had half a jar left after filling all these and the kids had it for lunch.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chili Rellenos



One of the guys from the farmers market gave me a bunch of Anaheim Peppers on Sunday. My plan was to make taco salad tonight out of the lettuce, cilantro, and organic beef from the farm and then tomatoes from my own garden. I thought the Rellenos would make a wonderful addition to my local, but completely delicious meal with my chickens egg and cheeses from Oregon.

My process:

Broiling.

Charred pepper ready to peel.

While I was peeling the peppers, I whipped the egg whites.

Peeled peppers.

Egg yolks, whipped.

Sliced and deseeded peppers.

Stuffing with cheese.


And a token bad pic of me, but I look happy. So I will leave it in the line.

I used a toothpick to keep the peppers together after stuffing.

Floured and ready to be battered.

Mixed fluffy egg whites and beaten egg yolks.

Dipped in the batter and placed in a 1/4 inch of olive oil (I know that olive oil isn't really authentic, but it was in lieu of lard or canola oil).

Results:

Oh, and it was really really good.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The big food budget debate

Once again, our budget was overrun by the food budget. We spend WAY too much on food. It is insane considering that we get half our food for free and I make enough that we really honestly shouldn't EVER be eating on Don's paycheck at all. But yet, we did. YIKES!

So in comes the budgeting, and the recipe filing, and the planning with ways to save in that area.

I have gotten some really wonderful ideas from these two ladies.


This is a whole foods website that does about 4 recipes a week. Each and every one is whole foods. Many are dairy free and vegan as well. She does a great job posting the shopping list for the following week at the start so you don't have to wonder whether or not you have enough Agave Nectar to make all four recipes this week. Many recipes are "out there", but I find myself very compelled to try them out. It is a wonderful format and I can't wait to search through her recipes and find new favorites, which I am sure to with beauties like Walnut Banana Muffins.


This lady is very special in my life. Not only is she constant inspiration for me in many ways, but she also happens to be my best friend. :) She and our other dear friend Heather came up with this amazing binder idea for food recipes. I think it is brilliant! I haven't yet tried to figure out how to do this on a local diet, but it is worth a try as it would make meal planning SO much easier!

I also just got the book "In Defense of Food" by Micheal Pollan (the author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma") from the library and I can't wait to dig in and get back into food on the intellectual level as well. The first line makes a great start for a good conversation:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Yep.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Favorite pictures of the day

The kids and I had a long, but beautiful day today. We spent a lot of time with family, mainly my Aunt Barb and Uncle Fred (Laura's parents) and then my dad and his great girlfriend, Margret. I have a very long day ahead of me tomorrow... I have to work early, and then when I get home, Alex will be home too! Which I am excited about. But wow... today... What a wonderful family I have.

Lots of nature pics.

And baby pics too. :)

For a link to the rest of the pictures (which are REALLY awesome BTW... I just can't do a 21 picture post), follow this:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Peaches & blueberries have taken over the world...

Well, that, and it's pizza Friday!

An experiment with my first calzone. It needed more cheese, but it was pretty.

And for dessert, peach-blueberry cobbler, made with some blueberries that I canned within a jar of peaches. I did just one jar this way, because I was experimenting. But I think I may do more this way next year. It made a great cobbler fill.

Cherries, Applesauce, and Peaches. This is less than 1/4 of the peaches, and the very first batch of applesauce, but I am proud none-the-less because the season is about half over now. The applesauce has too much head space, and so it colored kind of funny. But I can fix that with the next batch.

And with the very last of the peaches, I made peach butter. (to the left) It hasn't really set yet, but it is super tasty, and hopefully it turns to a nice jelly consistency as it cools completely. If not, it will be a great topping for ice cream.

This season has been really crazy. Literally everything has come in on top of one another. I hardly know which way is up. Funny things too, summer squash came in before carrots. Snow peas are still going strong, right along side green beans. Blueberries were late, and apples are early, making peaches (which are usually between) at the same time as well.

This crazy year has spurred me to ask for help, and wonderfully, I have gotten great response.

Yesterday was really wonderful. Don was so helpful! He blanched and pealed an entire box of peaches while I was out weed whacking and mowing the lawn. I honestly didn't even ask him to. I came back in and they were sliced and ready to be put in jars. My amazing man. Sometimes I think he is a caveman in clothes... but other times? I think he is the most amazing creature I could have wished to share this world with. Beautiful day.

Something Fun for Friday

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Millions of peaches... peaches for me...

This is my peach canning team for Wednesday, August 20th, 2008. :)

With our cute aprons as armor, we decided to attack the last three boxes that we had of these monsters:

We should have 60 quarts or so of peaches by the end of the day.

A bit more of my past

I have been looking for pictures of Laura and I from when I was little for the last two days. I can't seem to find any. I remember there being pictures, but I may not have them. These are pictures I found while looking however:

A farm haul from my mom's farm, August 1984.

Onions, zucchini, fresh baked bread, about 3 dozen eggs, a 'loaf' of cheese, fresh goats milk, a box of potatoes, more beans, cabbage, cucumbers, and lettuce than anyone knows what to do with. And that didn't include the apples that were about to come on to the trees that month or the hazelnuts that were falling off the tree that fall.


Here is my big brother Jay with our sweet milking goat Regina. In this picture, Jay is 12. The same age Alex is right now. Alex and his uncle Jay are similar souls. But that is another post.

Me eating canned applesauce and fresh waffles at 4 years old. I still have that highchair, although Logan eats in it now. It is even still yellow.

Ok, back to my 2008 peach canning marathon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm sad tonight...

My cousin Laura died last night.

She babysat me when I was really young and we were very close when I was little. In the last few years, life has taken us apart, but just a month ago, she came by my house and gave me a beautiful blue glass rose, in honor of my daughter, whom she said, had always stuck in her head as 'Val's blue rose'... to those of you who don't know off the top of your head, 'Cyan' is a beautiful vibrant blue. Thus is named my daughter and why I am 'bluerosemama' pretty much every where online. Well, she saw this rose, bought it, and knew she had to connect with me last month. We had spoken at holidays, and sometimes the summers, but really, we hadn't met one on one for 8 years or so.

She always had a special place in my heart from those early years. I remember the 4Th of July she spent with us especially (It was a memorable one. My dad lit the field of grass next to our house on fire. I was 5 or so). Some of the memories, I am sure come in the form of pictures I have seen, but others... The feeling of her hands on my shoulders. Riding on her back down the driveway. The way her white/blond hair was feathered and how it felt when she hugged me goodbye. How she helped me learn to ride a bike, and the year she helped blow out my birthday candles. You can't really take photos of moments like that. They stick in your mind, and sometimes in your heart.

What makes someone look you up after years of barely talking? I don't know, but I am really glad she did.

I will remember her well. And fondly.

I am sad.

Overload...

What would possess a woman with a nasty cold to can 100lbs of peaches and blanch/freeze 28lbs of green beans in one day?

You got me.

But that is what we are up to today. We have a park date that we are going to have to cancel because it is raining... but honestly, that is good weather for canning... and at this point I will take all the good luck I can get.

Recap of my weekend:

10pm Saturday night, my babysitter canceled on me (for 7am the next morning). Luckily, I have wonderful babysitter friends across the street that saved me from my babysitting emergency. Sunday morning, I wake up with nasty cold. I was dripping. Starting at 4:30am. It was gross. I made the choice that I was going to make the best of the day and after a hot shower that cleared my sinuses somewhat and the conviction that I was buying lunch AND massive amounts of coffee out that day, I was out the door to work.

First day of beans/last week of peas. It was crazy. In 5 hours we made $1700 at the market. That is BUSY. Set up went ok, except that I hurt my back trying to pick up a double lug (which means HUGE box) of kohlrabi. It was stupid, and I did not complain until the end of the day, because it was really dumb. lol... which is of course the natural sympathy I got when I finally told Hannah (market partner) what I had done.


My best friend Sarah came to visit me at the market with her family. That was super fun, although I didn't have much time... but I like stuff like that. She took pictures too. I will post those some other time. :)

Cold came back to full force right as I was getting really tired around 2pm. Luckily, a wonderful little two-person blue grass band came in and played right across the sidewalk from us. They were GREAT! And lifesavers for me, because I was fading fast and the beat kept me on my feet. All day long I had been in a cloud. I would turn with a $20 bill to forget between the cashbox and the customer what the heck they had bought! It was a brainless day. I don't think I made too many mistakes, but I wasn't in top form, that is for sure. Lots of moments turning around and asking them what I owed them in change. Lots of moments where I had to say "Wait! I owe you another dollar." and such things. Definitely not top form.

Then, as Hannah was going to get the box truck, I was pulling down tents and one fell full force, on the top of my knee. I hit the ground in a crouch and people around me were asking me if I was ok. I was fine. Embarrassed, a bit bruised, but ok.

So this morning. I wake. Cold is back, full fledged and I am dripping. Blech. I am just happy it didn't happen yesterday while I was at work, because I am barely functional. However. I have 4 boxes (25lbs a box) of peaches, and a 28lbs box of beans to deal with today. Today.

Sigh.

So here I am, meditating while I top beans. I have set up my station at the table with cold care tea (the kid kind) and some good music (from here of course, I updated my list) and hopefully kids that can occupy themselves for the morning while I attempt to top, blanch, and bag these beans before attacking the peaches, which will easily take all afternoon.

Maybe the steam from the water bath canner and blanching pot will help my sinuses.

I can try to see the silver lining right?

This is the true meaning of 'a mothers work is never done'.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olivia, oh wait... Cyan...

See anything familiar?

I have a spirited daughter. I have been getting messages lately that I need to 'fix' this. I keep wondering why. Aren't the spirited women the ones who do great things?

Yes, oh heck yes! She tires me out, makes me use my brain to find logical consequences for doing things like finger painting the dog at 3 years old, using bad words (correctly, I might add) at 5, or just the other day 'experimenting' with a 'very small glass of water' and our DVD remote control.

If you have ever read the book Olivia by Ian Falconer, it IS my daughter. Right down to 'moves the cat'...

She wears me out! But she has one of the most amazing minds I have ever met. And she reminds me a lot of me... but only after I grew a spine from all the crap I had to deal with as a kid. Oh, the things I could have done...

This girl will soar.

Apples, full moon, and neighbors

The tree at my dads house is FULL of apples right now. They are falling off green it is so full.

We picked a bushel up off the ground to make applesauce yesterday and if it hadn't been so hot, that would have been done today. But alas, it was 94* and we have no air conditioning. Standing in front of a hot water canner sounded very much like hell. lol! So I didn't do it. But I need to in the next two days so wish me cooler weather.


The moon is full tonight. What a beautiful moon!

And here is our neighbor toddler with Logan. She and Logan will 'chat' through the fence for an hour if we let them. Mostly saying things like "Hi!" and "Bye Bye!" and "Look!" as they point at a plane, her dog, or our cat and chickens. She is a year and a half older than he is, but they still really enjoy watching each other and talking through the fence. I just thought this was a perfect picture of innercity childhood. :)

A bit of Nostalgia

I went to the glass shop site today for the first time in about a year. For the first time since Don left 4 years ago, his picture wasn't up on the site. It was sort of bittersweet for me, as I loved him being a glassblower. But we never would have made it as a one income family if he had stuck with it. He doesn't miss it. But I do.

This picture above was taken when I was pg with Cyan over 7 years ago now. We got him the pager in his pocket just in case I went into labor. He had been at the glass shop then for 9 years. It was another 3 years before he left for good.

We spent most of our courting and early relationship at this glass shop. Me sitting behind him while he wielded 2100* molten glass around making it into something pretty. He was often there at 5:30am (always a half hour late, he has never been a morning person...), and left around 2pm.

This is Brian, he owns the glass shop now, but back then, he was the Foreman. He made a good boss, and is still a friend.

This picture is when we first met. He was doing a demonstration with dry paper for the crazy high flame effect (they usually use wet). Don had just turned 22 here. That was 10 years ago. It is amazing how time flies, we have been together nearly 10 years. We have had two children, and both have gone through college. We have switch careers, and built a life. We have made choices and found ourselves. And we have done this together. I know that is pretty rare, but I am realizing that it isn't as rare as I thought. More and more people I know are finding that they are in their marriages for the long haul. But it doesn't seem like a 'haul' at all!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Low Impact Woodland Life

Yes, this is a real house. I stumbled across this site from Patti's blog, and have just been enamored for the last 20 minutes. If only I had the guy to go with these types of project (and of course, still be my husband, which he wouldn't be if he was completely into stuff like this. lol!). I would be ALL for it. Buy a piece of land, live with candle light and a propane stove. I would be in heaven. Don, not so much.
Anyhow... for my last (and third) post of the day, I will give you my latest picture site obsession, complete with link.
Nighty night, blogland.

Having fun with my flowers and my camera

I don't plant flowers. They just happen to like planting themselves by me. I planted small sunflowers this year, but that was all, and I have calendulla (white (above) and yellow), sunflowers (big ones, red ones, tiny ones, yellow ones), dahlias, and one random poppy, that I think is SO cool and random that I didn't even try to take a 'good shot' of it... it is just randomly in my tomato bed. Which means you can't really get to it to get a 'good shot' anyway. So without further ado, my pictures of today's flowers:

Pink dahlia. I planted these years ago and they just come back again and again. Love that!

Red velvet sunflowers... these are STUNNING. I got one seedling when I was in another house 6 years ago from a friend. I planted it in the center of my garden, and for some reason, it has reseeded itself (even when we moved!) and came back over and over again.

These are the sunflowers I actually planted. Mini yellows. They are about 14inches tall and were in Cyan's Math in the Garden Box. They sure are cute though!

And random poppy! Isn't that beautiful? It is in the center of my crazy taking over the garden tomato and pumpkin bed. lol... seriously, I can't get close to it. I am wondering how I will get close enough to get my tomatoes out of that bed. It is like a tomato fortress. But what a neat surprise stuffed in the center. :)