Bird Poop Mask Anyone?

While I was wasting some time online earlier today, I found this article about weird treatments for acne. Of course, I am all about using natural products when possible, but uh… nightengale droppings? Yeah, I think I’ll pass on that one. It made me think of a tidbit I learned in the 4th grade on one of our many field trips to Old Sturbridge Village. In colonial times, people would rub ear wax on the lips to keep them from chapping. All together now: Ewww! Aren’t you glad we now have Blistex? I know I am.

What a day

Why is it that on the days I am cranking and getting so much done, that the day seems to drag on an on? I swear it makes no sense. I’ve gotten a ton of things done today. I’ve washed and folded 8.4 billion loads of laundry (OK it was more like 3). I cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer. I reorganized our Tupperware cabinet (why does nothing match up?). I redid the binder I keep all of Jake’s school papers in (permission slips, lunch menus, etc.). I started cutting paper for the birthday invitations to his party. I cleaned out the recycling. I took out the trash. Seriously, I feel like I’ve done everything except hang a
TV wall mount! Not that we have one, but I mean that I really have nothing left to do except make dinner. And it’s barely 3 PM! How does that happen?

CSA Share: Week #10 (Or… enough with the eggplant!)

CSA Distribution #9

If it’s Tuesday, that means it’s farm share pick-up, and I get to bore you with a photo of vegetables! I know it might not be as cool as checking out used Harleys (how’s that for random?), but I’ve been doing it for eight weeks and there ain’t no stopping me now. Another bountiful share this week. We received:

  • 3/4 lb. green beans
  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 onions
  • 2 Italian eggplants
  • 1 Japanese eggplant
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 bunch of leeks
  • 2 tomatoes (!!!)
  • 1 cabbage
  • 2 melons (I chose 1 watermelon and 1 cantalope)
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • PYO flowers

I Skipped the PYO dill, basil, and parsley because I didn’t need them and because the boys were being royal pests and I just wanted to go home.

csa flowersI’m getting really sick of eggplant. Have you noticed how much we get??? I don’t even like eggplant all that much, and I have given some away, but I don’t want to be known as that crazy eggplant lady. I found a recipe for eggplant burgers – maybe I’ll give that a try. Maybe try making some caponata, I don’t know. I am, however, very excited about the tomatoes (naturally), and I really love all the green peppers we are getting. We eat a lot of green peppers here so it’s hard to have too many. We had the melon for dessert tonight and they were so juicy and sweet – delish! I am again awash in green beans so I am going to set about to pickling a couple jars. And I’ll probably make a potato leek soup at some point too.

What new recipes are you trying this week?

Wonderful Weekend!

I had so much fun this weekend! For our anniversary last month, Drew planned an overnight getaway and Sunday was it 🙂 We went to Bounty of the Hudson Food & Wine Festival and really enjoyed ourselves. I have to admit, it was kind of fun not having to spit out every taste of wine since I’m not longer offically “in the biz.” I was feeling pretty good by the end of the afternoon. Not good enough to get all crazy and shop for school girl costumes or anything like that, though I did insist we stop by the Kedem tasting room when we saw it coming up. The folks over there were fantastic, though, and I know people tend to think Kosher wines are awful but there are some GREAT ones being produced these days. That was also fun.

Then we stayed at a beautiful bed & breakfast in New Paltz and just enjoyed some time without the kids. Yesterday we got a bunch of errands done and then picked up the boys around dinner time. It’s so nice to get away once in a while!

Summer Dishcloth Swap Package!

summer dishcloth swap packageA very special thank you to my wonderful swap partner Sarah who sent me such a great package for the Keepin’ Cool in the Summer dishcloth swap. It arrived on Saturday, but I have not had a chance to blog about it until now. Sarah sent along some delicious treats (oh, how I love biscotti!), pretty yarn, Badger Balm, a yummy smelling scrub for dry skin, soaps, blueberry syrup, a dishcloth that will perfectly match one of our bathrooms (plus she said she had one more she’s sending that she forgot to include in the package!), delicious Chex mix which the boys devoured (but don’t worry — I grabbed a couple handfuls, LOL) and lovely thank you notes. I hope I got everything.

She is down in Atlanta where it’s got to be more humid than it is up here. I’m sure in the winter we’ll be busting out a humidifier at some point (I forget what brand we have, but I know it’s not from Air O Swiss humidifiers). Today I can’t even imagine needing one though! At any rate… my spoilee, Maria also got her package 🙂 Thanks to both of these lovely ladies for making this such a fun swap!

dilly pickled green beans

pickled green beans & carrots I decided to make pickled green beans the other day. I had no idea what to do with all the string beans from our CSA and thought pickling them might be fun, and potentially tasty.

I was right on both accounts 🙂 (And if you think that trimming beans is more boring than searching for life insurance quotes, you’re wrong — its so relaxing! I could have done it all afternoon.)

I altered a basic "overnight pickle" type recipe to suit my tastes and just used the beans and carrots instead of cucumbers. They are so good I’m making more! Only I think I’m going to add more garlic to the next batch and less sugar. The were more on the "bread & butter" side in terms of pickle flavor. But yummy nonetheless. If you’d like to try it, here’s a starting point for you:

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. dill seed
crushed red pepper flakes to suit your taste
fresh dill
sliced onions, carrots, and green beans (enough to pack the jar full)

Blanch beans and carrots in boiling water and immediately cool in ice water bath. Bring vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, peppercorns, dill seed, and pepper flakes to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a quart-sized canning jar with your vegetables. Pour hot vinegar mixture over them. Refrigerate at least 24 hours. The longer the vegetables are in the brine, the more flavorful they’ll be.

Of course this is not shelf-stable canning. That’s an art that I want to learn, but have not yet tried. I have memories of my grandmother canning vegetables from my uncle’s garden and even though I wasn’t doing that process while making these, it reminded me of time spent in her kitchen while she was canning green beans. I am honestly not sure how long these will last in the fridge. I think I read somewhere that they’ll last up to two months, but in our house anything pickled lasts for maybe two days, max. I hope you enjoy them if you try them yourself!

Beautiful Notecards Made by a Beautiful Friend!

DSC_0118The other day I received this beautiful notecard in the mail — it was a lovely note from my friend Lisanne. The photo looked familiar to me and it dawned on me that it was a photo she had taken. Well, as it turns out, Miss Lisanne has started to make these notecards out of her original photographs! Her Etsy shop is called Shining Moments Fine Art Stationery I have always loved snail-mail. In fact I started writing to my first pen-pal when I was in second grade. I’ve lost touch with her, unfortunately, but I am still very good friends with a girl I became pen-pals with in 7th grade. We even attended each others’ weddings!

I hope you’ll take a moment and check out Lisanne’s cards. It would be wonderful if she could make enough money to start saving for European cruises, don’t you think? 🙂 Or at the very least, some fun spending money!

Free Diaper Coupon to 1st Commenter

Noah is just kicking butt with potty training. We’ve graduated from having to be pantless all the time to being able to wear his shorts. Just yesterday he finally started actually pulling down his pants when he had to go so that is great! Just as with Jake, the ordeal was super easy. I am a big believer in waiting until children are truly ready, as it has worked effortlessly for me.

With that said, the other day in the mail I got a $5 off coupon for Luvs diapers. Granted, diaper coupons are not as exciting as Blockbuster coupons, but hey — saving money is good and diapers are expensive. If you could use this coupon, comment below and I’ll e-mail you to get your mailing address. I only have the one, though.

CSA Distribution: Week #9

CSA Distribution #8

Oops! I forgot to write about this week’s farm share until just now. This week we got: 2 green peppers, 3 zucchini, 1 squash, 1 head of garlic, 1 sweet onion, 1 lb. green beans, 2 Italian eggplant, 1 Japanese eggplant, 1 bunch beets, 1 head of cabbage, 1 bunch scallions, 2 heads of lettuce.

I skipped out on the pick-your-own flowers & herbs this week because it was pouring rain when I went to pick everything up and not worth getting soaking wet. I’ve been enjoying incorporating everything into oure meals. The beet cake is a huge hit, and I will be using the bunch of beets in this picture to make another cake for a potluck dinner at the farm Saturday. I could make something that incorporates more of the veggies we have, but… I don’t know. I think beet cake is a bit unusual and hopefully no one else will bring it! Last night I made a delicious Indian dinner:

Indian dinner

Months ago my friend Kathy pointed me to this eggplant bharta recipe that she enjoys and I was excited to try it. I also made Dara’s recipe for Tandoori Tofu. Both were big hits. I especially loved (and I mean loved) the bharta. I have three more eggplants in the fridge (though one is of the Japanese variety and I’m not sure if that would work) — you can bet I’m making another batch of this. Lots of heat and delicious flavor. We had it with a bit of plain yogurt to cool it a little — what a wonderful combination. The tofu was also well-received. Jake gave it a one-thumb-up-one-thumb-down rating. I think he didn’t like the texture of the tofu. I think that I’d enjoy it more with chicken (or a mix of chicken and tofu), too. But the flavor was amazing and I think the marinade would be delicious as a dip, too. I’m going to play around with that one a bit.

I also made some pickled green beans and carrots yesterday. I’ll give them a try later today, but they’ll need at least another day or two for the flavors to develop. So it has been a busy week in my kitchen, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!

The Beet Goes On

Beet Cake

In a desperate attempt to use up beets from my CSA, I decided to try baking with them. I was a bit apprehensive after Dara didn’t have great success with beet brownies… I wondered if perhaps it really was just not possible to incorporate a root vegetable into a dessert.

I decided to take a different route and started looking at cake recipes. There was one that sounded interesting, plus I had all of the ingredients! Bonus! The recipe is here. The only thing I did different was I added nutmeg instead of allspice (which I did not have).

I’m not going to lie. I was nervous. I had memories of my Babci G.’s borcht. I began to doubt that this cake would turn out well. After all, I am not a fan of the beet. I dislike their earthy flavor. Face it — they taste like dirt. But luckily I was wrong about the recipe. It came out moist and delicious! Somehow I don’t taste the beets at all in this recipe. It taste more like a spice cake or a carrot cake (just as someone had commented on the recipe’s page). I frosted it with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut. I also sprinkled some walnuts on top.

Cake is a worthy use of beets.