{Recipe} Sun(less) Dried Tomatoes


Although I have not yet finished this week’s CSA post, we got another 7 lbs. of tomatoes! Hooo-wee! So, I decided to whip out my dehydrator and make some dried tomatoes. They taste like sun-dried tomatoes, but you don’t have to leave them on a screen outside for several days 🙂

The first thing I did was to peel the tomatoes. This step is totally optional, but I don’t love the skin so I took the extra step.



Next, slice them very thin — 1/4-1/8 of an inch. Use a serrated knife. You may keep the seeds or remove them. I think removing them helps speed the drying time, though.


Arrange the slices on your dehydrators trays that have been misted with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Don’t crowd them — leave plenty of room for the air to circulate! At this point, feel free to season them if you’d like. I sprinkled on some salt and oregano.


Turn your dehydrator to 135 degree and let it go for 8-12 hours. Check on the tomatoes periodically and rotate your trays if necessary.


Make sure the tomatoes get very dry, not just chewy and tacky. Once they’re done, let the tomatoes cool off and then package them in an airtight jar or bag. Store in a cool, dry place. For long-term storage, stick them in your freezer.


Use the dried tomatoes on pizza or salads, or add to stews or pasta dishes. Or just eat them for a snack. I don’t really care for raw tomatoes, but these are oh so good!


I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

A (Light) Green Thumb

Seems as though one of my cherry tomatoes is having an identity crisis.

I really should take some photos of the plants around our house.(Of course, things are not as beautiful as they were a few weeks ago, but…) This year I’ve made a real effort to take care of the flowers around our home. We don’t have a whole lot of extra stuff like gazing balls or outdoor wall fountains, but we have our giant turtle sculpture, our happy frog, and some garden flags. It’s enough to accentuate the ivy, begonias, various bushes, impatiens, and plants I can’t identify.

Heck, I even kept a cherry tomato plant alive (as evidenced above)! Next year I’d like to dive into vegetable gardening a little more. I’m not ready for a big backyard garden, but I’d like to try a few more things in containers. Maybe I’ll get lucky again!

Going Out of Business (Again)

Do you have any stores by you that seem to be in a continual cycle of liquidation and grand-opening? There are a few by us. Typically they are furniture stores or mattress stores. Every couple of months the “Everything Must Go!” signs go up (assuming that includes both featherbed as well as latex mattress). Then, before you know it, suddenly they are back open for business. I don’t get it! I suppose the sales tactic might work once, but trust me… after the third or forth time, people have caught on!

Lazy Evening


Oh man, I am so tired tonight for some reason. The boys had their well-visits at the doctor’s today and for some reason we were kept waiting for over an hour (very unusual for this office). So that kind of set the tone for the day. On the plus-side, I came home to some great mail: the new issues of Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes and Gardens, a package from BzzAgent, and a sample pack of Starbucks K-Cups (everything for free — yes, even the magazine subscriptions!). So I think after I get the boys in bed, I’m going to make a cup of coffee and just relax with my new mags. And get up and do it all again tomorrow, LOL…

tuesday tidbits

Pathetic showing on my hydrangea this year. The one and only (sad-looking) bloom.

Wow, last week flew by! This summer has seriously been a blur. So you know what? Let’s just start new this week. With a quick recap. Sometimes bullets are just the way to go.

  • Both of my boys are a year older! They celebrated 10 and 7 last week. I find it so hard to believe that I’ve now been officially a mom for a decade, but it’s true. There was much celebrating all week, and way more sugar consumed than I usually allow. Plus, they had some friends sleep over and we had a party with our family. All in all, I think they had a pretty great time.
  • My tomato plant is going gangbusters, but as you can see, my hydrangea is pathetic this year. I think the hot weather we had early in the spring really messed it up. 🙁
  • The boys have gotten some good pool time in lately. Last week we went to the pool with a friend (you’d think I brought my tanning supplies because after just a couple hours I had more of a tan on my legs than I got all summer!). They also went to a nearby water park yesterday with the Cub Scouts. Summer is definitely ending on a fun note for them.
  • I’ve just been busy with the regular stuff: cleaning, cooking, laundry… nothing terribly exciting, but stuff that does take time. My sewing and crochet have been sitting there, neglected. Maybe this week I’ll pay some attention to them.
  • Oh, one fun thing. I did order my 2013 Erin Condren Life Planner. Last year I was able to buy one at a good discount, thanks to a daily deal site. But no luck this year 🙁 Nevertheless, I feel that it’s worth every penny. It helps me keep track of everything and I can’t wait to see the improvement they’ve made to the new edition! It should arrive just in time for the new school year.

What have  you all been up to? I’ve missed chatting at my little bloggy place. Seems as though the last few entries have been rather boring and impersonal. Well, I’m sure you know how it goes. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

CSA 2012 | Share #6


Mid-August. Here we go! Another huge share this week — the kind of share that makes me glad we opt for a bi-weekly option. Although we really do eat a lot of vegetables, it would be tough to consume all of this every week! Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • 7 lbs. of tomatoes
  • 1 head of garlic
  • parsley & lemon basil
  • an enormous zucchini
  • carrots
  • beets
  • scallions (2 big bunches)
  • kale (other option: swiss chard)
  • 2 peppers (other option: 2 leek and 1 eggplant — this one was a tough call)
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 3 onions
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • green beans
  • PYO cherry tomatoes (also tomatillos, but I skipped them this week)
  • PYO flowers

As I write this up, I cooling down some salsa. I had a package of the Ball Fiesta Salsa Mix, which people generally seem to like, so I’m giving that a try because it’s quick and easy. We eat so much salsa in this house that it’ll just go right in the fridge (if there’s any left after my taste-testers get a hold of it). With the rest I might make some roasted tomato soup. We’ll see.

The cherry tomatoes are all but gone. The kids have been nibbling on them like crazy (even Laura who never was a tomato eater until we picked them off our own plant on the deck). I’ve successfully pawned off my beets to a friend. And everything else is pretty straightforward – salad stuff, easy dinner sides… It’s been kind of a crazy week (and the busy-ness continues through next Monday) so I’m not sure if I’m up for trying anything new.

{Recipe} A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

I’m a New England gal. OK, yes I’ve lived in New York for the last 12 years and that’s not technically New England, but it’s close enough in my book. My point is, I am ignorant about all things Southern. I revel in my Northern-ness (much as southern gals are proud of their own heritage). But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a tasty Southern treat (or all of them!). So when my friend Stef at Down the Primrose Path started talking about something called “pimento cheese” I was intrigued.

I, lover of all things cheese, had never heard of this. Pimento loaf? Yuck, but yes. Pimento-stuffed olives? Of course — I eat them all the time. But not pimento cheese. (Unless you count the cream cheese/green stuffed olive mixture I use to stuff celery on Thanksgiving.)

Then, one night I was flipping through an issue of Rachel Ray’s magazine and there it was: a recipe! Of course, I trust my Southern friends a little more than RR, so I took tips from Stefani and whipped up a pot the other night. When I took the ingredients out the fridge and looked at them all together, I questioned myself a bit but continued with the recipe anyway. And when I tried it… well, I was hooked! I think I scarfed down about half the batch that afternoon.

From what I understand of pimento cheese, everyone makes it a little bit different, but the three primary components are cheddar, pimentos, and mayo. In every article I’ve read, a brand called “Duke’s” is preferred, but I’ve never heard of or seen that up here so I went with good old Hellman’s. As I mentioned, my version was thrown together with tips from a friend, so feel free to change things around, use different cheese, whatever! And if you have a favorite pimento cheese recipe, please share it with me!

A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

4 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 heaping Tbsp. chopped pimentos
Mayonnaise – just enough to mix it all together
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl. Mix in a small amount of mayonnaise. Add more mayo, just a little at a time, until the mixture comes to your preferred consistency. (I like mine less mayo-y and a little more thick). Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Traditionally, pimento cheese is served as a sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off (at least according to this NPR story). But I really liked eating them on Oopsie Rolls – my favorite low-carb “bread.” I definitely see this recipe become a kitchen staple. It’s the perfect little extra yummy bite to have with soup or a salad!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village

Any kid who grew up in Western Mass. is all too familiar with Old Sturbridge Village. They’ve gone there on a field trip at least once, but more likely multiple times. And by the time they graduate from high school, chances are they are pretty tired of the colonial New England stuff. I know I was! But then I grew up, moved away, renewed my love for all things old (and especially colonial) and I’ve been dying to take my kids there.

Old Sturbridge Village

Last week while we were up in WMass, I wanted to make time to see my good friend Jenn. And when she suggested we spend the day at OSV, I think I was more excited than anyone! Old Sturbridge Villlage is a living museum. The people who work there are all dressed in costume and their jobs are showing what life was like hundreds of years ago. Once you walk through the doors, it’s as if you’ve stepped back in time. (I kind of wanted to hole up in one of the houses and live there!)

Old Sturbridge Village

We saw a shoemaker, a blacksmith, and a potter.

Old Sturbridge Village

We saw women dying and spinning wool into gorgeous yarns. Aren’t the colors yummy?

Old Sturbridge Village

Some handmade quilts were hung over a split-rail fence to air out (I love this picture so much I had to make it my new blog header!).

Old Sturbridge Village

There’s also a working sawmill, but it wasn’t operating while we were there. The water levels are so low this year. It definitely makes you wonder how people would have handled such a dry summer back in the 1700s.

Old Sturbridge Village

And there were, of course, plenty of chickens wandering around! I still really want a few chickens, and seeing these guys did not help, LOL… Is it weird to think that chickens are cute?

Old Sturbridge Village

We packed in quite a bit, considering we had 5 kids in tow (4 rambunctious boys and one strong-willed 3-year-old). Still, we did not get to see it all so I’m looking forward to going back another time.

Old Sturbridge Village

I do have a few Groupon vouchers for a place here in New York called Museum Village, so I think we’ll take the kids there soon. I’m curious how it compares and how things were different here in NY versus Massachusetts all those years ago!

Home Again!

Ahh, there’s no place like home, is there? The kids and I spent the last few days visiting my parents so Drew could get some painting done around the house (it’s not exactly easy to paint ceilings and stairways with kids running all over the place). We had a great time and did a bunch of stuff and wore ourselves out.

Today has been a pretty lazy day. We ran a couple errands, I scored a $54 cardigan at Kohl’s for $5.40 (yeah!), got lunch out, did the grocery shopping, and now we’re just hanging out. I was really enjoying the rain as the cold front pushed through, but it looks like the sun is trying to come out again. Ugh… I really just want this humidity to let up!

Getting Organized

I need to get my act together soon in terms of getting the kids’ stuff organized for school. I’d like to redo my home management binder this year to include sections for each of the kids. I think it will make keeping track of school paperwork easier. There are a lot of great downloadable forms out there, though. Seems you can find just about anything. Heck, when I was searching I found a funeral planning worksheet — but hopefully I won’t need anything like that soon!

I’m thinking more like freezer inventory sheets, freezer cooking worksheets… you know, things that will help make it easier in Septemeber when we all have to adjust to schedules again. I’m actually looking forward to this project. I’ll keep you updated on how I come along!