Monday, June 20, 2011

The Cuz Gets Married

At the end of May we journeyed up to TN to celebrate Jon and Leigha's wedding.  The girls love their cousins, Jon, Josh and Jacob, and their cousins are super sweet to them them.  Now the girls finally have a girl cousin and they are super excited about it.  

All of us gals ended up matching in our black and white dresses, which was quite by accident, but I am sure it made for great pictures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fourth Year of Strawberries

About a month ago we trekked out to a farm not too far away for some yummy strawberry picking.  This was actually our fourth year at this particular place, and we managed to pick our usual two buckets.  True was on my back this year, as opposed to inside my tummy, so I came away with different aches and pains. And then the following night, Dave and I made our first batch of strawberry jam.  I gave jam making a whirl last spring for the first time, and quickly became obsessed.  We go through jam quickly at this house, so after the strawberry batch, I made peach, and plum and triple berry.  We opened our last jar the week before we went picking, so I went through an entire year without having to buy jam.  Sweet!

I think we were successful with our strawberry jam this year, and I am looking forward to making peach and plum in the coming weeks.  Random side note: as I was taking these pictures of the girls this crazy lady kept jumping into the picture and trying to tell the girls how to can only imagine their reaction to that, but it did make for an eventful picture taking moment.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I love risotto.  I also love gnocchi.  A few winters ago we planned to go to Prague with our buds Jim and Kristen.  The morning we were to leave it dumped 18 inches on us and we had to cancel our trip.  Instead we bummed around our little place in Hensctal, ate some spicy, BB (butt-burning) chili, rode sleds, and ate at our favorite Oriental restaurant.  The next morning we decided to go to Lucerne, Switzerland, which was much closer than Prague and we could drive there for one night.  That night it was raining and cold, and after walking around all day we stopped for dinner at this little Italian restaurant.  The first thing they served us was a bubbly aperitif.  I usually do not like bubbly alcohol drinks, but it made me warm inside and it was a perfect start to our dinner.  I ordered gnocchi and I cannot think of gnocchi without thinking of that night.  It was a great night.

The nice thing about risotto is I can actually make it, unlike gnocchi, which I will leave to the professionals.  So here is a wonderful recipe from P-dub.  I did not use wine in this, and I added my own variation of veggies.  It was WONDERFUL!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little Ballerinas

The girls took ballet this year.  I signed them up late (October), but it was a sweet little program at a local church, and they could be in the same class.  They loved it, although at times I wonder if that is really Annelise's thing.  Hadleigh Claire loved every minute of it, and Annelise especially liked jumping from dot to dot and making faces in the mirrors.  She did pick up a few moves, and overall I think it boosted their confidence.  We missed their "big" recital, but still were able to dress up for the rehearsal, ballet buns and everything.  It took me an hour, lots of gel and hair spray and bobby pins to get their hair up.  I am hoping to get their hair a bit longer for their next rehearsal (next spring).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Victory Garden

We have a victory garden!  This is our third year with a vegetable garden and it looks like it is going to be a great year.  I am so thankful that we started this three years ago, and we have gotten a lot of practice and experience over the last couple of years.  We started small and keep growing it, so it has fun to see the garden evolve.

Dave and I read several gardening books this year and decided we wanted to give the square foot gardening method a try.  So far, so good.  I am still not exactly sure where my cucumbers and zucchinis are going to grow, but we will see how it all plays out.  We also decided to move the garden, so it now sits right outside our kitchen door.  This is a nice location for watering purposes, and it also helps me to remember to check for veggies and bugs that might kill the veggies!

Our neighbor had a bunch of granite stone sitting in his side yard, so Dave went and asked them if we could haul some away for them, and they agreed!  Insane!  So our garden is made out of granite and it looks lovely.  My only complaint is that I think we barely get 6 hours in its current location, so it seemed to take the veggies a little longer to get started, but now they all look great, and we haven't had to put any pesticides on it yet (of course we have organic pesticides).

We planted most everything from seeds, except those dern tomatoes.  I just cannot seem to grow a tomato from a seed.  We also bought the sweet potatoes, but I think next year I will grow those from seeds.

This year we have enjoyed spinach, which is already past its prime, romaine (and I am so happy with this variation).  We also planted basil, and have a huge rosemary bush in the front yard.  Yum!

Tri-colored Bush Beans (purple, yellow and green)



Sugar Snap Peas (Holy Moly)

Red and Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Beef Steak


Jalapenos and Tri-Colored Bell Peppers (yellow, orange and red)

Lemon Cucumbers and Persian Baby Cucumbers

Pumpkins and Sweet Potatoes


Monday, June 06, 2011

Speckled Butter Beans

We have a wonderful, amazing produce stand near our house, and I swear by them.  If they say it is good, it is good.  If they don't have blueberries it means they are not good yet.  I have made a couple new finds this year because of them.  The first was baby Vidalia onions.  Holy Moly.  They are out of season now, so you'll have to remember to look for them next March/April.  I could have eaten one of those onions straight up.  The second thing I discovered was fresh English peas, which are amazing, and I still have one bag frozen int he fridge (OK, they were fresh and I bought several bags and froze different than the bag of green giant peas I usually eat).  Last week I bought a bag of fresh speckled butter beans.

I usually only buy things that I know what to do with, but we LOVE beans and eat them often, so I thought I would figure it out.  It is actually hard to find a recipe that doesn't involve bacon or ham.  What is it about pigs and beans that go together?  Not sure, but it seems to me I would be ruining a really good cup of beans if I cover them up in bacon.

So I found this receipe off Myrecipes and we all enjoyed it.  I did not make their version of cornbread because I love my mom's recipe, and that worked just fine.  The girls devoured it, of course it helped that cornbread was on the top of it, but it really was pretty yummy.  This was our main dish.  Enjoy!