Friday, July 29, 2011

{This Moment}: Fly In

A Friday ritual from Amanda at Soule Mama.
A single photo (or two! :D ) – no words – capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your “moment” in the comments for all to find and see, including me. I have not quite figured out how to get DISQUS to include your website in your comment automatically, so please make sure to include so I can see your blog as well!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recipe Roundup {onions}

Without a doubt it can be said that onions are my "thing" this Summer. We are grilling, sautéing, dicing, slicing and baking these bad boys into everything. So I thougt I would look for a little added inspiration this week for the Recipe Roundup. I did throw one strawberry recipe in there that I HAVE to try. After the Roundup, I have a recipe for a quick and savory Onion and Tomato Tart that is perfect for those nights when you are heading out to something like Music on the Lawn. There will be a post on this later.

The very first link in the Roundup goes to Ree at The Pioneer Woman on "How to chop an onion". Master Chef I am not and I am always trying to learn how to improve my skills in the kitchen. This little didy helps out perfectly. Enjoy!

Tomato & Onion Tart (Thanks for the original from Suzanne @ Flour Arrangements!)

Pillsbury pie crust (Suzanne always makes hers from scratch the original recipe is at the bottom)
2 large onions, about 1.5 lbs
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, grated
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

In a large heavy skillet cook onions with salt to taste in butter, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes.  Remove lid and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden and any liquid evaporates. Remove skillet from heat to cool onions slightly.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Unfold dough into a pie plate, Fold overhang toward center and press against side of pan or dish. Spread onion mixture over dough and top with cheese. Arrange tomato wedges and olives in concentric circles over cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Bake tart in middle of oven 1 hour, or until pastry is golden, and cool on a rack. Remove rim of pan if necessary.

Serve tart warm or at room temperature.


Butter Pastry Dough for those who are dedicated to REALLY good food

 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
 1 1/2 sticks butter, cut in strips
 6 tablespoons ice water, may take more

 Notes: In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt and with a pastry blender or fingertips blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.

 Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork to incorporate, until mixture begins to form a dough.

 On a work surface smear dough in 3 or 4 forward motions with heel of hand to
 slightly develop gluten in flour and make dough easier to work with.

 Form dough into a ball and flatten to form a disk. Wrap dough in plastic
 wrap and chill 1 hour.

 Pastry dough may be made 1 week ahead and chilled.

 Makes enough dough for a single-crust 12-inch tart.
On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll dough into a 14-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick). Fold round in half and transfer to a 12-inch tart pan with a removable fluted rim or a 12-inch quiche dish.  Unfold dough, easing to fit, and trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold overhang toward center and press against side of pan or dish.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Transitions and the Lorax

While I should keep writing about the lovely produce in my garden and how delicious it is, I just can't. We are in transition hell in our house. K just started crawling this week and has figured out that if she scoots her barn around, she can *walk* wherever she wants. She has 4 teeth in and 4 more coming.  We keep telling her she is 8 months and still a baby, but she doesn't seem to care much.

Add to this, a 4 year old brother who is furious that his ability to play independently in our wee sweet house, is pretty much done with...forever. His retaliation? He won't let her nap. Also, he will scream or run quickly behind her to startle her when she is standing. KATHUNK, e v e r y   t i m e . After three days of this, I actually might just pull my hair out. My quick fix was to head out. Both kids are great hikers. K naps in the backpack and C is an explorer at heart. I packed up snap peas, PBJs, plums, nectarines, water and, of course, Cheddar Bunnies and hoped for the best.

K slept on the way out, approximately 20 minutes. I'll take it. C was "SUPER excited" about our chosen destination for today's adventure. We were at Lime Kiln Lake. It's a tiny little thing with a short, forested trail. My little man took off with a leap and the little lady was grunting behind me with some beloved bunnies in hand.

Spotting scope out. "Mom, there are birds".
"Ducks Mom, I think they are Mallards". Mergansers, but alright.
C's picture of the "Mallards". They are out there...see the specs?
"Do you see how soft this is? I think this HAS to be where the fairies sleep!" I think he is right.

"Look at this lovely little green one Mom". It is lovely indeed.
"Mom, I think this is the fast part!" 
"This is the dangerous part Mom. I will lead you and K through here". 
This is how he does everything: full speed and with enthusiasm. 
"Look what I found for you and K. It is just beautiful here Mom."

"This spot is magic.  It is where the Lorax lives".  I love this kid.
Thank you for letting me use your readership to find my kid again. It lasted for an hour after the fact, but I wanted to remember our wonderful afternoon together.

How do you reconnect with your kids?

Monday, July 25, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow? 072611

Today felt like a garden love story. I had about 5 minutes to take pics in the garden before the day got too bright and I headed out with a feeling of despair. What WILL I take pictures of today? At first I was a grump, the deer nipped off all of my strawberries and plants in one barrel because the netting came off and I for got to replace it AND my beloved snap peas were on their way out. Grrrrrrr.
I hope you enjoyed them Bambi.
Bye Bye Snaps
But then, the zukes, the shelling peas, oh the shelling peas and their beautifully frantic tendrils. Then my onions which are the LOVE of my garden this summer. They are gorgeous, deliciously sweet and plentiful. What more could I ask for? Then I continue on to find new pumpkins, a RED cherry tomato and more. Here is a photo tour. Enjoy and Angela, please don't lick your screen! ;)

Canoe Shelling Peas
More tendrils
Tendrils, do you see why I love them so?

Onion love. These babies are a gardener's dream.
Sorry broccoli, I forgot about you. But did you see the onions? and the tendrils?
Baby pumpkin  
Protecting my babies 
Do you see the RED?!?!
Vegetable Jungle Madness
How does YOUR garden grow?? Please share I want to see yours. I showed you mine. ;)

iStockphoto and SheBlogs ReDesign

No matter how great you look, it’s always fun to change things up. Breaking out a different cut and color, a new pair of shoes or an entire new wardrobe is always invigorating. The same is true for your blog. A new design can put a skip in your keystrokes and a song in your prose.
And now, thanks to iStockphoto, one lucky SheBlogger will have the opportunity to have her blog professionally redone by Synotac Web Design, an award-winning firm based in Portland, Oregon.* She’ll also receive a one-year subscription to All participants (along with their readers) will get three free iStock images and 10% off all purchases through the end of June **
* Certain restrictions may apply.
** Discount applied to purchases of credit packs of 50 credits or more.
(text from contest)

I have chosen this wonderful image as the inspiration for my wishful blog makeover for several reasons. First, it has a strawberry as the focus, much as my garden is the focal point of my blog. Next, it has an adorable little girl in the background. In my blog, my kids are the secondary characters of my blog (although they are most definitely number one in my life). Finally, I like that the colors are natural and fresh looking. As someone commented on my blog, "That picture just makes you want to lick your screen". That is what I am going for! 

iStockphoto is the world’s leading royalty-free stock multimedia destination, with millions of photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash files starting at $1. Find inspiration for your blog and dozens of other creative things including business cards, websites, flyers, invitations, newsletters, craft projects, advertisements, presentations, décor and more.
They needed me to say that. So there it is.
What's more, iStockphoto has an offer for three free images (click the link)!! Heck ya! Ok, I know the issue is that once you see three you want, you see 10, right? But hey, three free images is a great offer. There is also a 10% discount code. Nice. So you can save on those 7 other images you want to get, so thoughtful. 10% discount code: (5HEB10G511)

Go check 'em out already. Get on it.
Click to leave a comment. We are working on this. THANKS!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I just asked my husband if we could get a mini donkey while he was sleeping and he said, "Huh?" that means "yes", don't ya think?

Apparently, he hee haws really loud. The donkey, not my husband. But I really want him. Less mowing, better fertilizer. Tah dah! Hmmmmmmm.

Summer is here!

Zukes, Patty Pan and Sweet Onion medley for dinner. Oh sweet Summer, I have missed you!
Please click the title heading to leave a comment. We are working on this. THANKS!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Each and every day starts with the best of intentions to get out and work in the garden, but then the kids wake up. I look out our picture window at the raised beds while eating our oatmeal and think, "I WILL get out there, just after breakfast." This is always followed with getting ready and heading to preschool/ baby group/ library/ park/ play date. The van starts with the kids strapped in and I think, "Ugh. I WILL get to the garden when we get home." You know this part. The play date goes late and you come home with these crazy little beings who physically resemble your kids, but have lost their minds. Every ounce of your energy is used from deep within that reserve you have just to the left of your spine (that is where the extra mama energy is stored, just in case you were wondering) to get the beings to sleep so they can return from their nap as your delightful children again. Oh yes, and now it is time for the garden. Sometimes. My littlest one has a quick recharge on her battery.

So my little lady and I head out to the garden with the camera, of course, and I grab my gloves and start checking the barrels. Lots of green strawberries. This is good. We will need to put some netting over them this week if we plan to actually eat them when they ripen. Check.

The peas are growing, but no pods yet. No surprises. Despite our initial difficulties with this veggie of choice, I find myself wishing we had more of them growing.

Time to look under the first cloche. Nice growth. Oooh it has been awhile. Look at that lettuce tree. Hmmm. I guess we are having a large salad tonight.

Second cloche. Growth is happening here. Phew! We have spinach, of course. I am taking mental notes for the upcoming week's menu.

Then I hear giggles. I get distracted. I look. The gloves are removed. Now I am giggling; she is a cute one.

Next thing I know I am on the ground looking at things from her perspective and there is drool running down my cheek. It is not my own.

We are rolling around on her baby quilt and she is "talking" to me. Then I send a rapid fire of kisses on to her squishy little cheeks and she smiles. So, I HAVE to do it again. 20 minutes passes and then 45. Sorry garden. I have a little sack of sugar to enjoy.

Yes, I love my garden and these days it isn't as marvelous as it could be. I get distracted, quite easily to be honest. I get distracted by flower trails and giggles, drool and new perspectives, and important little milestones that dart in front of me without warning.

Someday Garden, I promise to focus on you. Right now, I need to focus on my distractions.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recipe Round Up - Keep it Cool

I am always gathering recipes. Always. These days it is more fancy than feast since my newly moving babe and 4 year old tend constant intervention. These are some recipes I have gathered over the last week that just feel like summer.

The recipe for the pub burger has been tried and tested over and over and it is AMAZING. Get ready for the juiciest burger you have ever eaten. We use island beef and these have become our go to burgers. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget the pub sauce.

The creamed corn with lime was a hit at our 4th of July potluck. I just need to find a way to to continue cutting off all of the kernels without losing a finger. This recipe is going on next week's menu.

I included a few desserts since I love bringing them to Potlucks and these seem like good ones.  I think I will be trying the Frozen Pudding Cream Cake with banana pudding, strawberry ice cream and fresh berries. More to come!

Next week I will be sharing zucchini recipes because that is what we have en masse. Send me your favorite recipes to try out.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Widget Wonder

I don't usually write about blogging itself, but after floating around some of my favorite blogs, I started doing a little research. DANGER! Why are there so many wonderful widgets out there? Which is your "must have"? Feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

This week we have had rain and more rain to go with the rain we already had. Welcome to summer in the Pacific Northwest where you grab your polar fleece from the hook before you head to the Farmer's Market.

We are overwhelmed with green right now. This week we have been harvesting broccoli, zucchini, yellow zucchini, snap peas, lettuce and onions. Our shelling peas are just getting started and we now have green CHERRY TOMATOES. Thank goodness. I thought the day would never come. Tiny little patty pan are starting to emerge as well as some of our pumpkins. We have one tagless squash that is going gangbusters and I have absolutely no idea what it is. Time will tell. 

For a year that I vowed to avoid tomatoes, due to the heartbreak they caused last year, we have about 7 plants that have come up as volunteers and just popped up several weeks ago. I am leaving them and attempting to ignore them. If it happens, groovy, if not, my heart will not be broken twice, right?

Here is my weekly trip through the garden. I had a little PhotoShop fun at the end since I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of green in my first draft. Let me know your thoughts and please please share a link to your garden photos from this week.

Our native rose

The perfect combo of sweetness

Volunteer tomato flowers

Emerging dahlia

Squash flowers

My baby greens. Can't wait for them to change!!

Mystery squash. Any ideas???

My lovely, dreamy sweet onions.

Significantly happier raspberries

garden color

Mystery squash cluster

simple yet settling

My helper

This week I am using LinkyTools to help us share our gardens. Please join below or leave an old fashion link in the comments area. THANKS!