Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Treat for Me

I found a surprise message written to me on the back of this one

For Mother's Day, I asked for a trip to the Clayground ceramic studio to make garden markers - I love the results! Sela and I made a whole batch together.  Daddy and Linus played outside and popped in periodically to visit with us, adding to my delight.  I highly recommend a trip there - on your own or with your favorite people.  The owners are fantastic - so helpful and friendly.  And they sell beautiful handcrafts of all kinds, too.  I don't think we've ever gone and then not gone next door for a delicious treat, too - if you needed more incentive.  (You get your creations right away - I was just very slow to post this!) 

My experimentation with gardening is getting better every year, and these markers add to my joy of gardening.  I'm learning a lot, we're eating A LOT of greens, and trying out new recipes.

We each get something different out of our garden, and out of our gardening experience.  I can't say enough good things about family gardening.  At every stage, we each find our niche.  We each spend as much (or as little) time doing our thing in the garden, as it fits us.  We use the space and supplies we have on hand, and make it up as we go along.  I love that gardening can be as planful or as spontaneous as works for each gardener.  You can "garden" with one pot, with one small patch of dirt, or something bigger and more formal.

Picking their first zucchini of the season. 

Linus was so happy to pick this all by himself.  He could barely hold it on his own!  I have some great shots of the process - but, as you can see, some of those were a bit... revealing.   They chose zucchini muffins as the recipe of choice for these.  Next up... zucchini pancakes, and then fried zucchini spaghetti.  We'll see...
Some garden-related books I'm enjoying this season:
The Family Kitchen Garden by Liebreich, Wagner, and Wendland       
The Herbal Kitchen by Traunfeld
How Does My Garden Grow? by DK Publishing
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Karen Lovejoy

But, every time I go to the library I find another great one on the shelf!                   

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last Night's Sweet Moment

She's a rock star singing her solo

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Moments

Driving in the car after swim lessons and lunch out with Daddy, Linus said sleepily from the back seat, "Mama, my eyes are tiiiiired."  "They are?"  "Yes.  My eyes are tiiiired, and they need to go hooome."  "Okay, we're on our way home."  "My eyes are tired of vrooming." 

It's a challenging job sometimes, but these are the sweet moments that linger and carry me through.  What was yours today?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ending on a High Note

Lately, my garden has inspired me to cook.  I always thought that I didn't enjoy cooking.  I think maybe I wasn't cooking the right things?  Or, I didn't quite have the angle I needed on cooking?  In any case, I'm inspired.  And right now, I'm inspired to try to figure out what to do with all this arugula!!  J and I made yummy faces at each other all through dinner tonight (ok, maybe me more than him because, well, I'm me, and I felt so proud of finding the recipe and making it turn out!).  And although it used a good amount of arugula, it barely made a dent in the garden : / 

After dinner, Sela moved out to the living room to read, Linus asked Daddy to read his favorite book to him on the couch, James Taylor was still playing in the kitchen, and I contentedly settled in to clean up with all these peaceful sounds surrounding me.  A new jar of chunky peanut butter sat waiting on the counter to be stirred and put in the fridge, so I dutifully obliged.  As I stirred, still savoring the memory of dinner and craving dessert, I realized I MUST have peanut butter cookies!  So what that it was 9:00.  That's what summers (and Saturdays) are for, right?  I took my time mixing them, rolling them, making each cross-hatch with the fork, lifting them off the pan with the spatula.  A simple, meditative, full heart and soul kind of end to the day.  I love when life works like this.

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)
Doesn't get any easier than this...
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour

Cream butter and peanut butter together.  Add baking powder, baking soda, and both sugars and mix.  Add egg and vanilla and mix.  Add flour and mix.  Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in additional sugar.  Place on cookie sheet and use fork to flatten slightly and make that sweet little cross-hatch design.  Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.

Shrimp Bruschetta (adapted from Giada At Home)
I didn't get the exact measurements, so these are what I used.  Please eyeball yours as you make it, based on what you think you would like.  You have to try this.
2 shallots
1 large & 1 small clove garlic
olive oil
5 roma tomatoes
14 peeled shrimp (large)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup mascapone
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/2 cups chopped arugula
loaf rustic bread

Slice bread, drizzle with olive oil & toast in 400 oven for 8-10 minutes.  Heat olive oil & cook chopped shallot and chopped large garlic clove for a couple minutes.  Add shrimp.  When shrimp are cooked, remove them and chop when cool.  Add chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, and wine. Simmer until liquid is reduced. Remove from heat and then mix in shrimp, mascapone, tarragon & arugula. Rub small garlic clove onto each slice.  Scoop bruschetta onto bread slices.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Our first plums of the season!  It's only the second season we've had a fruit tree, and we are EXCITED!

Linus had help picking one that was ripe this time...

We don't have enough to bake with, but the thrill of going out "to check" makes us giddy.  Sela said, "These are so good, I can even bear the skin!"  Now that's saying something!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Which Way to the Beach?

I can almost smell the ocean and hear the waves crashing when I look at this picture.  A soul-restoring trip to San Diego -- coffees with a sweet friend, beach beach beach, and busy, busy kids.

Moonlight Beach is our very favorite

                                            We made these super cute softies one day during little-one naptimes.  We used whatever was handy: felt, cut-off legs from jeans, and beads. Very fun impromptu craft.  Meet Fern. 

We end our visits with a delicious trip to Honey's in Encinitas (and, of course, the beach).