Thursday, September 29, 2011


I was contemplating cookbooks while making breakfast this morning.  [Four itty-bitty zucchini fried with butter, garlic and salt and four over-easy fried eggs.]  A friend of mine, a former vegetarian, is looking for a new cookbook that incorporates meat-based recipes.  That's what got me thinking.

I keep a regular rotation of library-borrowed cookbooks to sift through for inspiration and new ideas, which is very helpful.  But I have two old standbyes that I reference on an almost-daily basis.

The first: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.  This is my all-time, most-used favorite-favorite cookbook.  I used this sucker to teach myself how to cook.  It was a wedding gift from a much-loved Soc. professor in college.  A paperback copy, it is water and food stained, scribbled in, and now exists in three pieces.  I look at this one almost every day.  If you have a piece of food or meal genre that you wonder what to do with, this book will provide 2-3 (or way more) answers.  It awesome, just awesome.

The second: Simply in Season by Marybeth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert.  When eating from a garden or CSA share, this book is extremely helpful in assisting the brain providing various options on how to use it on a daily basis.  I reference this book year-round, but it is particularly useful while the garden is putting out.

All this made me wonder . . .

What is YOUR favorite cookbook?

Please dish.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh no, oh yes --

A couple of weeks ago, Diego was outside and romping around in the grove (trees that surround our house) while we were in the garden picking for our baby CSA.  (We have two subscribers this year . . .  just the right amount with a babe, working FT, and picking from our home garden.) 

While he was out and about, he somehow ensnared a softball-sized mess of cockleburs in his hair.  He came inside while I was trying to organize the kitchen for dinner with a baby on my back, probably around 8:00 PM.  "Hold on a bit," I told him, "I can pick it out later . . . I really can't stop what I'm doing right now."

He disappeared and I forgot about it.

The next morning, I saw his head tipped at an odd angle in the sun and blanched.  Hack job.  "You cut your hair?!" I yelped, "I thought I told you I was going to pick it out."  Gak!

"Oh yeah," he said,  "I didn't do it.  Dada did."


Great.  Dada did.  So after a couple of weeks, I finally finished the job.  I shaved his head, ladies.  I did.  Just this weekend.  His beautiful curls, gone.  Just for now, of course . . . but I do miss them.  And I hardly recognize him from a distance.  It feels strange to see his hair so short.

 His new 'do
Check out that cow-lick!
(Truen's hair is my own personal hack job)

His hair hasn't been this short since infancy
♥ Awww, shucks ♥
I entitled this .jpg "Jellybean"
Precious and sweet are the days gone by...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ye Olde List Post

A few things I want to remember:
  • Jamie started "pbbbbt'ing" yesterday.  The cutest.  And very slobbery.
  • Diego and Truen have been playing a game called Mouse Town recently.  They set up an entire village for imaginary mice, complete with shops and bridges to get from place to place.  It takes up our entire living room, which is enormous.
  • The boys say "it broke to parts" or "it will fall to parts" vs. the more common description "fall apart".  I love how we have our own micro-dialect going on here. 
  • "Imn't" instead of "I'm not" is another common one.  It is used like this: "I imn't going to". 
  • Both boys also say "schickens" instead of "chickens".
  • I'm already missing eggplant and zucchini (both are kaput for the season).
  • Though honestly . . . I realized today that I don't mind.  Eating seasonally makes everything twice as wonderful.  It is something to look forward to, a seasonal delight that will be savored for a window of time.  It's fun.
  • Annnnnnnd . . . life seems to be going by so fast that I haven't had time to miss things like baked apples.  But we had some the night before last, and my goodness, but it was scrum-diddley.  Definitely worth waiting for.
  • With that in mind, I absolutely, positively cannot wait for next summer's garlic scape pesto.
  • Or the eggplant-and-cherry tomato pizza that my brother and SIL made for us a couple of weeks ago.
  • Our house has been c-c-c-c-old this past week.  We haven't turned on the heat or lit a fire, but I pulled out my wool sweaters and slippers.  It is chilly.  We had an early frost last week and many days with virtually no sun.  And even though it has been sunny the last couple of days, it hasn't been able to warm the house up.  It feels colder inside than out.  Thus, the slippers.
  • Ugh, speaking of slippers.  I've noticed that if my feet are cold, my legs and hips feel it.  This is new, like within the last couple of years.  My body is aging, and gak . . . that is hard to take.  My little guys have been running around barefoot while I'm holed up in slippers.  I keep on checking their feet and checking in with them about how they are feeling and they are always warm.  Say it isn't so.  Things are starting to change...?
  • I'll be 34 in a couple of weeks.
  • Truen will be 4 a couple of weeks after that.  He's wearing a 3T this fall, which means he is growing right on schedule (he was in 2T last winter).  No prob.
  • Meanwhile, our gigantic almost-9 month old is wearing 12 month clothing, some of it what Truen was wearing when he was learning to walk backwards.  He does still fit into the 6-9 month size, but not for long...
  • Jamie is 22 lbs (maybe more . . . that weight is from almost 2 months ago).
  • Truen is approx. 28 lbs.
  • Heh. :)
  • I'm so glad that I was able to have a little, tiny guy sandwiched between my two hulks.  My wish would be for people with small babes to stop worrying -- if they are developmentally on track, growing and bright-eyed, it is foolish to spin the mental wheels of worry.  Some kids are just small.
  • My little guy was (is) so easy to carry around and was always so darn cute because he was littler than everyone else.  And carry him, I did.  A lot.  Petite, sweet, and just darlin'.  It is also easier to pretend they are younger than they actually are when they are so little. ♥
  • Meanwhile . . . I dug into the storage bin for 12 month clothing yesterday and realized it is all SUMMER.  Oh no!  Oh yes.  But of course!  I never contemplated it beforehand, but Diego (who Schtinky matches for size) was a summer baby and the seasons are switched.  Doh.  Truby was always so tiny that the 12 month clothes fit him during the winter months, in spite of the seasonal difference.
  • So that means I have lots n' lots of onesies and cute little short-outfits and not much of the warm stuff.  None, actually.  Aside from the gifts we received this time 'round and the two outfits I snagged at the thrift store yesterday.  And the 12-18 month stuff is too big.
  • Oh well.  I have enough to make it until the remnants are thrifted.  (Good thing I discovered it in September!)
  • All three boys are sleeping simultaneously this afternoon.  A rare event and a blessing, indeed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I wanna shuffle too

I'm obsessed.  Hammer pants and all. 
It just looks like so. much. fun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Bountiful Harvest" 2011

I adore tomatillos
On the vine: beautiful and intriguing
In the mouth: delicious

Garden path
Mah boys.

Mid-August Garden
It is starting to look dry at this point in the season,
and some things are going to seed.

Lemon cucumbers, a scalloped summer squash, zucchini

A Sphinx moth caterpillar!
These suckers are gigantic --
as thick as my thumb and longer than an index finger.
He was feasting on immature garden huckleberries.
He swung himself back and forth threateningly
when the boys poked at him too much.

Cabbage waiting to become sauerkraut --
My favvvvvvorite.

I am crazy-in-love with eggplant this year --
Gorgeous and delicious.
My brother and SIL made an eggplant and cherry tomato pizza
while they were here last week (ugh, pictures coming) --
I drool every time I think back on it.
It was muy delicioso.  Muy.
I want more!
(btw, you can go to her blog for pictures from the visit)

Black Plum, Cream Paste, Tangerine Mama,
Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, German Pink --
and Jimmy Nardello's peppers

A gorgeous Charantis melon
Such a sad story --
This year's growing season is about a month behind
and with approx. two weeks before frost,
combined with a 30 degree night this last week,
very few melons, if any, will ever mature.
This little beauty wasn't even ripe.
Every year there are
and losses.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Worn out

Friends, I am weary.  Weary.

Both Blaine and I are nearing burn-out this season, amplified by the screeching baby on one back or the other.  No, I shouldn't say that . . . he is happy most of the time (while he's on our backs), but having a baby has definitely complicated and/or added to the workload this year.  Burn-out always seems to rear its ugly head in September anyway.

Our house looks like it has been hit by a cyclone.  One task after another glares at me as I walk by: tomatoes, dishes, laundry, tidying, the sandbox-like kitchen floor.  It seems insane, making me wonder what I do all day long.  Am I really just spinning my wheels?  It feels like it.  Then there is the little boy who wants me to cut out paper bats for him, and the littler boy who wants me to read to him.  And the even littler boy who needs to be held and cuddled just a little bit more.

I can't wait until winter.  I want to be snowed in, totally unable to go outside.  It sounds delicious.

But then . . . I look at my cupboards and I do realize what I am doing.  I have a whole list of things to offer up as proof.  I have all year to battle my housework, but a window of only a week or two to make grape jam.  Grape jam that we will enjoy all winter and spring.  And little boys that need to be loved on while they are still little.

Yes, it is worth it . . .

2011 Food Preservation Record
  • 12 quarts sauerkraut
  • 9.5 quarts fermented salsa
  • 7 jars grape jam (3 pints, 3 jam jars)
  • 3 quarts pickled pearl onions
  • 3.5 quarts dried plum tomatoes
  • 1 pint dried peas
  • 3 quarts dried green beans
  • 2 quarts dried celery
  • 1.5 quarts dried zucchini
  • 1 cup basil leaves packed in olive oil
  • 1 cup dried dill leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried marjoram
Huah!  I am proud.  And there is more coming.


This coy look displayed by Schtinky was a limited, one-time-only, special-edition head-tilt available for purchase on one day alone: Monday, September 5th.  The cost?  Saying, "Jamie-Jamie-Jamie-Jamie-Jamie-Jamie" over and over and over again.

He had never done it before and hasn't done it since, but it sure was cute while it lasted.  He also learned to clap that week and added high-pitched, piercing shrieks to his repertoire.

Oh, Schtinky ♥
(I mean . . . Jamie)

Monday, September 12, 2011

A quick list of why you haven't heard from me

  • Gallivanting (to the TCs for a cousin's wedding)
  • Visitors (brothers and SIL)
  • Grapes (jam)
  • Tomatoes (salsa)
  • Cucumbers (refrigerator pickles)
  • Three squirrelly boys
  • Manhandling living quarters back into submission