Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Vacation

Hey! Just a quick post to say I am spending a lot of time around the pool and reading books. I have been harvesting garden produce and buying flowers from the farmer's market. I have not been blogging. Life is good here, but I need to take a break from being inside and the computer. Until I blog again .... I heart you all and have a wonderful summer!

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Two boys bonding after surgery. One with a broken finger and had to have it operated on to screw the bones back together. The other went in the day after to get neutered. They make a lovely pair don't you think. The bandages on the hand are now a florescent orange cast.


I was at the store looking for canned vegetarian baked beans, but couldn't find any so I decided to make a double batch of Dreena's black strap molasses baked beans in the crock pot and decided to can several jars of it in my pressure cooker. I got 7 pint jars plus enough to eat for a meal, 2 jars did not seal correctly so I stuck them in the freezer to use first when I am ready for some more beans. While I was at it I canned my own chickpeas. I soak them overnight, change the water, bring them to a boil, and fill the jars 2/3 full before adding water and salt. Lid them and process for 1/ 1/2 hour at 10 lbs pressure. The clear jars allow me to see that the chickpea water turns to gel when it cools.


DH is the sound man for a Christian band called Piercing The Darkness. This past Friday evening they played for an event called JUNE JAM at an amphitheatre .... an out door concert in the middle of the forest. I thought it would be an awesome place for a music video with the lush greenery around.

City Wide Garage Sales were also this weekend in our town. I picked up this unique, brand new microwave cooking dish made by Tupperware. All of it's attachments (sold separately) and a cookbook were included. Supposedly one can cook a three course meal (including pasta in the water) all at the same time. After looking at the cookbook a bit I'm pretty impressed with the possibilities. I hope to show something impressive after spending a whopping $10 on this gadget ... the receipt was in the bag and the whole set cost $70 ... this was in it's original wrapping unopened. The entertainment value of trying this out will surely will be worth my money, hopefully I even be able to tell you it was a real steal!


I have been harvesting spinach and edible pod peas, Sugar Anne type, they have a plump pod . I like these better than other types of edible pod peas (aka snow peas).

To use these up I made a wrap using some thin sliced seitan, herbed tofutti soy cream cheese and thin slices tomato (purchased from the market not local) along side of the baked beans and peas. The peas were raw and fresh picked form the garden, I love the way they taste without dressing. I also made a schzeuan veggie stir fry. I didn't want to wait the 45 minutes to make brown rice so I served this over a microwaved red potato.
My stir fry consists of carrots, mushrooms, purple cabbage, onion, garlic, and a homemade schzeuan sauce. I finished this meal with a fruit smoothie and was very satisfied.

I have been drinking a lot of iced herbal fruity teas from celestial seasoning. My favorite is the peach, but black cherry and raspberry are good too.

In the mood to bake again, I also made some whole grain (white wheat) bread dough with wheat Bulgar and sunflower seeds added. The last bit of dough was formed into cinnamon rolls starring chocolate chips. This time I chose to bake the rolls in muffin cups, they turned out well .... err, so I heard I actually didn't get one of these.


My herb garden. This is how it looks a week ago, but I have several seeds planted that are just beginning to break through the ground right now. I have dill, thyme, Italian basil, chives, rosemary, radish, sunflowers (these will get big so I will only allow 2 but mainly for looks), English breakfast radish, and an early girl tomato plant because I had one left over and didn't want to waste it.

I love this time of year. I hope everyone is enjoying it. We have not yet hit high temperatures. It has been getting into the 70's by day and down to the 50's at night.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Camping, Pets, and Food (oh my)

We are back from our three day camping vacation. We "rough it" in the wilderness with nothing but our tents, air mattresses, propane cook stove, port-a-potty, battery operated DVD player, modern shower houses, firewood and mother nature. I did leave the laptop computer at home :). We drove approximately 2 hours to get to RATHBUN LAKE on Friday night and spent the evening setting up, starting the fire, and having a snack before watching Pirates of the Caribbean 2 DVD.

Saturday morning we woke up and it was raining ... most of the morning and again in the middle of the afternoon. We were not "water proofed" in our cozy eating area yet (we realized) and were in no mood to cook or eat breakfast outside so we took a 15 mile trip into town. I brought along a box of KASHI organic promise Autumn Wheat cereal and small asceptic (refrigeration not needed) box of soy milk with a pkg of raisins and ate inside with others at a not vegan friendly restaurant - the coffee was good. :) I did not expect to find much to eat in this area other than the local Hy-Store (a mid west chain grocery store) where I could get the soy milk, some smart dogs, etc in the organic refrigerated vegetable section. While there we decided to shop a couple of stores for "stuff" and purchased a Dora the Explorer cloth key holder type necklace to hold my room keys, a mini twist out pen to sign passes, and some lemon pepper. We were having a good time with the kids so we splurged on toys and a couple of stuffed monkeys that screeched like two girls in a tent having a grand time thinking about all sorts of scary things.

For lunch the rain had stopped long enough for DH and I to extend our canopy covering with a tarp over the picnic table so that we could have a dry place to sit if the rain continued. I ate guiltless gourmet corn chips with salsa, a vegan genisoy protein bar, and washed it down with some cold herbal "sun" tea before heading into another town the opposite direction 25 miles away. My son's girlfriend camped with us this weekend and on Saturday we had to make arrangements for my daughter to see her favorite beau for a few hours. While Melissa was off with her guy friend I went with my son and his girl friend to an antique store, watched Shrek 3 in this town's one screen Victorian style opera house, and checked out various restaurants looking for some vegan friendly options for supper. We found one that served pasta with a vegan garden veg mushroom pasta sauce, vegan Parmesan style cheese (on hand due to a request by other customers), a nice very veggie green salad with Newman's own balsamic vinaigrette, and a piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (crust made with Crisco which is vegan). I was pleased that they were familiar with my request (I'm not the only one in the rural part of a rural Midwestern state who eats "funny") and when I started asking questions the waitress knew what I was after and could tell me options.

When I asked for the ingredients to the pasta sauce, she replied with ,"Will the recipe work?" Awesome I said. I write it here for blog land to see also, I really enjoyed this meal! The recipe was a print off from recipe search. I left an excellent tip and they have no "trade secrets" going on here, just a simple desire to please a customer (SCORE!).

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup shredded carrots
28 oz can diced tomatoes, juice and all
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 jar garden veg style Ragu
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Fry first 5 ingredients until golden. Add remaining ingredients and simmer an hour, serve over spaghetti. Add a second jar of Ragu to leftover sauce to make another meal.

At supper, I had a strange sensation that my kids were growing up when my daughters friend paid her bill, my son paid his and his girl friends bill and I paid my own ... wow I thought to myself is this what it feels like to watch my babes grow up?! Last night I was checking out their my space pages and I see my sons new name is "I love K***" and her new name became "I Love My Matt!" I also see my daughters young man friend is seeking out what he wants to be when he grows up so he can earn enough money to provide for a place to live one day for his future wife (hopefully my daughters name). After a moment of breathless silence, I realized I liked the thought of more in my family. I do like these extra kids around me ... my babes are growing into fine people. Part of me wants to resist and cling to the old and familiar and part of me yearns to see what's next.

Sunday was all that we hoped for! Sunshine, sights, boats, camping food, water. The swimming areas were closed due to high water, but the kids found a way to play anyways, although in the water they were obedient and did not swim (I didn't ask then to define the word swim though). My absolute favorite new food from this weekend. Dave sliced some red potatoes into 1/3 inch round slices, dipped them in olive oil, sprinkled with lemon pepper, and grilled them until cooked and had beautiful grill lines. I ate these with grilled cabbage (made in foil) mixed with some natures seasoning, a little ketchup, and a couple of ice cubes with a sliced up vegan Yves Italian sausage link as well as a little vegetarian baked beans. I also enjoyed that I had some DREENA COOKIES to snack on throughout the weekend along with gala apples.

Monday we packed up in a light rain and had to set up at home again for everything to dry out. Although DH said that it is less work without the kids, I agree, we had a great time together and it was worth the work. Matt is home for the summer now, sis's school is out and today was my last day also - meowza summer is really here now. DD and I were able to stop at the farmer's market today and my favorite vendor had wonderful flowers just as I hoped. She picked this bouquet which has a beautiful fox glove in it.

While we were camping I must have been feeling those mothering hormones rise again because we saw a dog that looked a lot like our old previous faithful named PUP at the marina. We all could not resist scratching his sides and telling him what a beautiful dog he was. Later in the day the marina manager found us and said we had been reported loving up a puppy. She wanted us to know that the puppy was a stray that someone dumped last week, she had been caring for it a few days hoping someone would come by and claim it, but as skinny as he was .... he's definitely a stray. Well, longer story short the poor stray puppy is now RICKY and joins our other loved one LUCY at home with us now. Ricky is maybe 4 months old and goes in for neutering this coming Wednesday. We are filled up now with two dogs and two cats now. Fortunately we live on an acreage and can handle this. Ricky's story is having a happy ending .... many stray's and breeder "dumps" do not.

I encourage everyone to check out their local animal rescue shelter, many great "best friends" are waiting to give you much love.