blendtec, fresh, garden, gardening, grateful, pure goodness, recipe, summer, vegetables, wellness

tomato round up, yeehaw

20170913_132317-1_resizedThis year, the first weekend in May,  we planted 2 tomato plants.  The varieties were Early Girl and Big Boy.  One we purchased and the other was a free start!

Boy Howdy did we have a good year!  Gorgeous color, amazingly rich, bold flavor.  These beauties made some of the best sauce to come down the pike.

Sad side note:  Because of the wildfires in Canada and Eastern Washington and wind,  our tomatoes had a light covering of ash.  While good for the soil, we did rinse them off before bringing them inside.

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Once ripe, we ate fresh tomatoes almost daily.

20170907_180035_resizedOne older neighbor wanted one, plump, beautiful tomato to enjoy.

We gave away 3 bags full along with fresh picked Basil.  (I save those small gift bags through the year, then use them to nestle fresh picked produce in to share with the neighbors. So much cuter than filling a used grocery bag.)20170919_172531-1_resized

Then I kept track of how many pounds we picked & brought inside for us to process and use.  Are you ready?  Hold onto your cowgirl hats!

We had a grand total of 27.4 pounds!  That was from just 2 plants!!!!!

After I make yard sauce, which I use as a base for other sauces (rough chop a pan full of tomatoes, onion, and basil, sometimes Rosemary… olive oil, S & P, roast for 50 minutes on 425*, plop in Blend-Tec and push the button)

 

or spaghetti sauce, I freeze the bags flat.  I can stack the frozen packages book style, save oodles of space in the freezer and can easily see what each package contains.

 

 

Our evening temperatures are dipping into and below the 50* mark.  That means our on the vine tomatoes will not ripen any longer.

We do have a couple left ……………

I spy with my little eye………………something green.   I have a wonderful feeling that Fried Green Tomatoes will be making a debut on our plates in the very near future! 20170921_112458-1_resized

We are so grateful to have grown such a beautiful, lush, prolific garden with enough bounty to eat, share, process and freeze for later.

Already planning on what to plant next year and where.  Yes indeed, we will be rotating where we plant things.  We will nourish and feed our soil this winter.

How did you do?  Did you have extraordinary success this year?  I would love to hear how your harvest turned out this year and share any tips/tricks or common sense ideas you figured out from this season.

In this together, friends. Happy Harvest.

Chat soon.

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crafts, cross stitch, cross stitching, haPPY

and a forest grew

This morning it is pouring down rain with dark clouds all around me. To me, the ideal morning for stitching & drinking steaming hot coffee.  The sound of the rain, the aroma of dark, rich coffee, the feel of the fabric, and thread in my hand……doesn’t get much better.

Today I wanted to share my latest counted cross stitch project.  I made the first stitch on August 16, 2017.  The fabric is 28 count, cream-colored linen.  I stitch 2 threads over 2 threads.  I use a size 26 needle by Bohin.

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I will share updates now and then.  This piece will most likely take quite a few months to complete.  I work on several different pieces at once.  It is such a pleasure to work on, I will venture a guess and predict this will come up in the rotation more often than not.

This beautiful piece designed by Karen Kluba will be my biggest project to 20170616_100630-1_resizeddate.

(side note) Stephanie Webb of Lindy Stitches on Etsy charted different words.  I prefer her more uplifting and happy word selection.

“You will go out in Joy and be led forth in Peace, the mountains and the hills will burst into song before You, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands!”

 

By using one of the trees, a bird and a bunny from this pattern, I stitched & traded a pincushion for her graph of the new charted words.  I really enjoy the graceful art of bartering. We both felt like we got a good deal so we were equally pleased and happy.

For this piece, I am learning and trying a new method.  Whereas I split apart the threads of each stitch with my needle before making the stitch.  This causes the threads to lay flat and not be twisted. 20170919_075412-1_resized

I really fell head over heels in love with this design.  All of the whimsical birds and animals tickled my fancy right away.  The trees are unique and just different enough to hold my interest.  Up to and to include several shades of green, there are 105 colors of thread that will be used to complete this piece.

 

As my forest begins to grow, here is a picture from this morning.

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I love share ‘n tell.  I’ve been brave enough to share and talk about my current work in progress.  I would really appreciate and enjoy seeing what handwork you are working on.

Yes, I know you are “busy”.  However, it does your heart and soul such good to make something with your hands, then share the beauty.  So whether it is baking or knitting, card making or quilting, by sharing our solitary craft endeavors, the journey will feel less lonely.

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

cooking, goodness, grace, grateful, recipe, recipe comfort food, vegetables

Brilliant Sunday Supper

Last night, the rains started, it cooled way down and seemed like the perfect Sunday evening for comfort food.  You know?  The warm feel of soup in your belly.  The blend of flavors in a well planned out sandwich……oh baby, so good.

Wait.  I will explain what I made, then I will share a picture or two.

The soup.

Hang on to your cute beanie. This savory soup is Sunday dinner, Easy Peasy.

20170917_143546_resizedCut up some beautiful (homegrown if you have them) potatoes and a couple of leeks (remember to wash the dickens out of those leeks).  Drizzle with olive oil and S & P.  Roast at 425*for 50 minutes.  Next put them into the Blend-tec with some vegetable broth.  We’re blending, we’re blending………………  and we are done.  That was easy.20170917_172055-1_resized

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sammy.

20170917_170912-1_resizedCaramelize an onion.  Roast a red pepper (then put into a zippy bag and take off the brunt outer skin).  Also, have in the lineup and ready to go:

Tapenade, fresh pesto & shred some beautiful Fontina cheese.  Assemble and grill.

Say Grace and just like that, A brilliant Sunday supper is toasty and ready to enjoy. 20170917_172332-1_resized

I ask you, who would not be grateful and find comfort in this beautiful meal?

We need to cook like this for our families/ourselves more often.  We are all worthy of simple, satisfying food layered with love.

I gotta say, the flavor of that combination was brilliant.

Hope you enjoyed a savory Sunday meal, certainly a lovely way to begin the week.  Or might I suggest this meal as a solution to what to have tonight?

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

product review, travel, vacation, vacation tip

2 travel goodies

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N….in the summer time…..  can’t get that song to stop looping in my noggin.

Vacation is exciting and different and wonderful.  However……  by the sheer fact of the exciting and different part….our  “normal” comfortable routine is mixed up patty whacked.   Today, I wanted to share two things that might make your next trip a bit easier and happier.

I found a lush creature comfort that I knew I wanted to share.  (Side note:  don’t you just slump in your chair and throw your arms up when someone says, “Oh, I’ve been using that for two years now, you didn’t know?”  Urgh.)button scarf

Right, this minute, as I type, my lush, dreamy soft, Scarf/Poncho/Wrap is rolled up and stored in my carry on satchel for use next trip.

The store that I purchased it from is called Lace & Grace.  Quick service and quite a large variety of items.

http://www.graceandlace.com/

These are my own opinions & sadly, no, I was not paid to endorse my new favorite travel items.

First the details.  It is huge and yet manageable. Excellent quality, reversible with substantial buttons and rich saturated colors.   The fabric is soft, you sort of want to pet it, but that would be weird.  By the way, this company has several colors and patterns to choose from.

I have a tendency to get cold on the airplane.  Out came the scarf.  I had it rolled up inside my carry on bag, easy to get to.  button scarf, lace and graceI wore it like a poncho so it covered my shoulders and kept the chill at bay.   It looks great with jeans and a t-shirt, however, I did wear it one evening with bold jewelry and as a scarf, it looked rather fetching, if I do say so myself.

Next option,  I just buttoned only one of the buttons, turned it a couple times and wore it as a scarf through the airport as we caught our next flight.

During the driving….. Mr. Right logged 1,873 miles during this vacation…… I folded the scarf/poncho/shawl over my legs and was nice and cozy without blasting the heater.

I must say this garment construction is beautiful and the reverse color of soft gray and white herringbone complemented several outfits.

Overall, extremely pleased with this piece.

Next:

berkey water bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other best travel piece is my Berkey travel Water Bottle.   http://www.getberkey.com/

It has the filter right inside.  I pack it empty in my carry on and once past airport security, I can fill it up using a water fountain or any tap water.  (Note:  It does not filter out fluoride. I keep a list of bottled waters sans fluoride and when available I purchase those. Then I pour those into my bottle. )  Travel choices are not perfect, we do what we can.

When not traveling, I store this item alongside my travel satchel and suitcases.  A quality product that works very well.  I can’t imagine traveling without one.  I highly recommend.

I hope these gentle suggestions will make your next trip ( you are planning your next adventure, right?) a bit smoother.

In this together, friends.

Just sharing the goodness.

Chat soon.

 

 

beauty, friendship, good marriages, good times, goodness, haPPY, travel, vacation

empty envelope

7 states, 2 provinces, 1 salt cave, 1 aero car, 1 boat, 4 airplanes, 1 rental SUV, 2 Ubers, 1 Buddist Temple, 1 Greek Orthodox church, 1 beach wedding, 1 Big Fat Greek wedding, 1 Great Lake, 1 Lighthouse, 5 hotels, 26 restaurants, 2 home cooked meals, 2 catered meals, 2 foxes, 1 beaver, 5 pheasants, 2 deer, 2 t-shirts, 1 sweatshirt, 2 pieces of Polish pottery and one empty vacation envelope.

I have been quiet as a church mouse. The reason?

 VACATION!

You read that correctly, for the first time in ages and ages (read that as 17 years) Mr. Right and I took off on a couple of weeks vacation.  No, not stay home and heal kind of vacation.  An actual pay way too much for a breakfast in a resort town, pay the toll twice in 2 minutes because you get turned around, buy a banana at a gas station for .99 cents kind of VACATION!!!!

As much as I enjoy writing, I/we also need to go out into the real world with real people and experiences. We needed to jump in and learn, giggle and come home plum tuckered out.

Mission accomplished.

We experienced so much good,  my mind is still swirling.  I want to sit on the porch and drink coffee (oh, I’ve missed you dark, rich, bold, Italian Roast from the Pacific Northwest, with cashew cream) and tell you about our adventures.

I’m guessing, for days to come,  I will slip in little moments of vacation happy, here and there.  You know the stuff you never dreamed about, however, somehow managed to make the hit parade of goodness when you think back?

Noticing the first leaves changing for fall in Northern Vermont.

Hands down, the best Italian meal we have ever enjoyed.

The moment you sit with your friend and her family around the kitchen tables with different colored Fiesta ware plates.  You eat, listen, giggle and share. Wishing you could already come back and you haven’t even finished your plate yet.

The exact moment, while standing next to your niece as she shares her completed piece of crochet work.  Stunning, inspiring and privileged that she shared with me.

Sitting in a hotel room, doing nothing, goofing off with your family, drinking Ginger Ale and eating a sinful, delicious piece of chocolate.

Shopping in the flagship April Cornell store.  I know, I know, I always say I don’t like to shop……….I mean I don’t like to shop unless it is one perfect shop in Burlington, Vermont.  Then….. actually standing there when April Cornell comes in and walks around like she owns the place  Wait!  She does own the place.   Something happened to me in that place.  Instead of me agonizing over one new blouse to buy……..I kind of lost my mind.  I bought 2 new gorgeous blouses, 1 beautiful, special dress, 1 lovely tablecloth and a grown up, beautiful pair of pajamas,  just like that.

Riding shotgun in a rental car for 1,873 miles.  Read that as talking time, singing time, eating snacks time and reading the map time. Yes, an actual paper map.

The feel & sound of your feet the moment you step on 4,000 pounds of ground salt inside a salt cave.

The water dripping off your face, on “the” (bucket list) boat ride.20170831_191906_resized

Opening your hotel door, to see your brother-in-law, waiting patiently outside, because YET AGAIN, I can’t seem to get my hair to do what I want and be early to breakfast in the same morning.

Meeting table mates at a wedding that you connect with seamlessly and want to be friends for life.

Drying dishes, while sis in law washes……….like we do it every day of our lives.

Maybe for today, I will stop talking and share some pictures?  They might speak more eloquently than typed words.

It was a beautiful thing to anticipate and save for a holiday.   The adventure will bring color to our lives for days to come.

Grateful for an empty vacation envelope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

garden, gardening, haPPY, vegetables

we struck GOLD

Oh, glory be!  After months of remembering to water and fuss and crossing of fingers…….the time had come to get a little dirt under those finger nails.

The great backyard potato harvest of 2017.

We struck Gold! Yukon Gold that is.

I will let pictures tell the story.  I am off to start the water to boiling.  I foresee glorious mashed taters on my dinner plate tonight!!!

 

 

Just a little potato humor.  You’re welcome.  🙂

On with the show!

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I predict a whole bunch of crispy, wonderful home-made potato chips in our future!

How did your garden grow this year?

Chat soon.

 

 

beauty, before and after

“new” kitchen

Hello, friends!

Today, I share pictures of our Before and After kitchen.  Beautiful, bright, spit spot clean, refreshed,  kitchen happiness.

This is not a 60 minute make over television show.  Real life time is more like a few weeks, several trips to the hardware store, waiting for handles to be shipped, an envelope full of home repair money, and one heck of a lot of elbow grease.
The process seems simple enough. Scrub, sand, prime, paint X two coats of Sherwin Williams Alabaster White, new hardware, clean absolutely everything behind those cupboards and inside those drawers.
I am so happy with the results!  Every thing is so bright and clean and the handles feel substantial.
Next up, goodbye microwave and new hood in its place.  Hello, back splash of color.   Yes, it’s time to add in some gorgeous saturated color. 
For now, I am going to cook and bake and fuss in my new bright, happy place.
First, I will insert one picture from the real estate company.  This was the kitchen picture before we purchased this house.  ….mind swirling………………blank canvas……..oh, the possibilities!before kitchen
Nice Before picture.
Here are the After pictures.
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I am going to take a couple weeks off from painting.  Clean my brushes well,  fold up the drop cloth put away saw horses and tables in the garage.  Next on the list?  Amazing Gray paint going up in the hallway and laundry room!

For now, I am trading paint under my fingernails for dirt.

I am headed out to the garden to harvest the fruits of our summer labor.

Chat soon.