Saturday, September 27, 2008

Dried Tomatoes

Dried Tomatoes
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

More deliciousness for winter...

My girlfriend, Ann, lent me her food dehydrator after telling me about drying her own tomatoes. I was so excited to give it a go.

It was such a simple and easy process.. only taking about 20 minutes to wash and slice all of the tomatoes, the just plug in the dehydrator! Large ones cut in quarter inch slices, cherry tomatoes cut in halves. It took about 10 hours to dry the tomatoes and now I have a stuffed quart of dried tomatoes to add to salads, stews and breads this winter. Yum!

Dried Tomatoes All Done

Preparing Tomatoes For The Dehydrator Sliced Tomatoes Ready To Dry

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cloudy Day Harvest

Cloudy Day Harvest
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

It's quite gloomy today, but they garden is cheerful. With plans for a nice big veggie dinner, I went out to harvest the broccoli and discovered that other things were ready for me as well.

- red bell pepper
- royalty purple bush beans (first handful)
- red radishes
- broccoli

I love the seasons of the garden. The tomatoes are finally slowing a bit but they are still keeping us in sandwiches and salads. I'm just trying my hand at drying them for the first time (more on that later) as the fall greens begin to steal my attention. I love how things change as the days click by. It won't be long until it's time to pull things out and fill the compost bin.

Meanwhile, my mind is already busy with details of how I'll do some things differently next year. Folia is good for making those notes. There is little free time for me lately with all of the school activities I've volunteered for, but it seems that the garden is patient with me... waiting until I can get in the back yard. Thankfully we're having mild weather right now... not too hot, not too cold. So everything is happy. And so am I.

First Royalty Purple Bean Harvest Fall Radishes Broccoli Bowl

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Caramel Apple Bites

Caramel Apple Bites
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

Andrew's class was doing a unit on apples all week. Today we sent in the snack. The idea is originally from Family Fun (I think) and passed on to us from a friend. Andrew said the class LOVED them!

Caramel Apple Bites:
melon baller
lollipop sticks (cut in half)
candy cups
soft caramel candy melted

Cut out bites of apples using the melon baller. Dab the moisture from the apple then insert a lolli stick. Dip into the melted caramel and place in candy cup to harden.

Best if made about an hour before serving or they will get juicy. Also fun to dip them in melted white chocolate morsels or butterscotch morsels.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Andrew In The FunRun

Fun Run Ribbon Winner
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

The high school cross-country team sponsored a FunRun this week and Andrew joined in the fun. He had a total blast! He was by no means the fastest (there are some flipping BIG kindergarteners around here, our town grows em' big) but he came in about 12th in a pack of 40 or so kgarten boys. I was so proud!

All 3 elementary schools participated and Andrew's school had the most participation so they won a trophy, almost as tall as Andrew, to display in the entry of the school. Andrew dragged me inside to see it, he loves being a part of the whole school experience.

Stretching before the race and crossing the finish line...
Stretching Before The Fun Run Crossing The Finish Line

Friday, September 12, 2008

Andrew Is Just SO Happy!

great day
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
I am amazed at how MUCH Andrew loves school. I knew he'd enjoy the friends and activities but he is really digging into the learning too. His teacher just has that special something that gets him fired up about the work.

They always journal first thing in the morning and she was telling me last night (back to school night) that he almost trips over furniture and other children trying to get in the door and hang up his backpack so he can grab his journal and get started. I am amazed at how much his writing is coming along in just a couple weeks of school.

He sprints down the sidewalk every day to get into the house and do a project that has been on his mind all day, based on something from school. I thought he'd just be ready to play, but he wants to paint something they did at school, or try writing a word from a book. It's crazy. I hope this enthusiasm can last. This morning he was watcing Peep on TLC while eating breakfast and he sound out TLC... tilc... "mom, that's not a word!" I explained about abbreviations and The Learning Channel. It's 6:30 son, let me drink my coffee! LOL

He goes to sleep singing about things from his school day. Last night he was singing in the dark about little yellow and little blue hugging so tight they both turned green. I turned off the TV so I could just sit and listen to him. It's infectious! I want to go to kindergarten!

He is so happy... it does my heart good.

One Great Day

Abi's Preschool
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

Monday morning... I sent Andrew out the door with Don to walk to school. Abi woke up a little later, had breakfast and got ready then I walked her down to her first day at preschool. We had a brief parent meeting and I headed back home 30 minutes later. As I did I looked over and there was Andrew on the playground at the school across the street. His teacher saw me and waved me over. We stood there for about 10 minutes chatting, laughing and watching the kids. (I love my town and that the schools are on my street... it's all very Norman Rockwell.)

Basking in the afterglow of a beautiful start to the day with beautiful children who are doing beautiful things... I walked him enjoying the alone-ness that comes with having school-aged children. I came in the house, folded a quick load of clothes and put them away, dusted the down stairs then sat down at the computer with a cup of coffee to catch up on things. I made couple phone calls. Then I sat out on the front porch for a bit, thumbed through a magazine. I decided the kitchen sink needed scrubbing so I got out the Comet and a toothbrush. Did that. Walked around in the garden for a bit. Still more than 30 minutes left before pick-up time for Abi. Put out some ground beef to thaw for dinner. Ran upstairs and made the kids beds.

What in the heck? I know every day won't be like that.. I will be volunteering in the classroom, I'll be constantly chasing things down as room-mom, the house keeping will fall behind at some point. But for that day, just that moment in time... I felt in control of my little carved out world. I felt like I had a handle on things. Duties were done. Everyone made it where they were supposed to be with matching socks, clean faces and full bellies.

It all sounds so good right? But why did it have to go so well? Now I'll be so disappointed when it goes bad next time.

Abi Ready For Preschool

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

One Happy Salad: Fall Plantings Coming In

One Happy Salad
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.
I'm beginning to get some things from my fall plantings that are big enough to enjoy. I pulled the first 2 radished today and some of the mesclun, both planted just about 3 weeks ago. I put them with some yellow tomatoes and onions from the garden as well, topped with some ginger sesame dressing.

I am a pretty happy gardener.

Radishes First Fall Harvest

New Sock Yarn!

Sanguine Griffon Yarn
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

NO, I DID NOT BUY SOCK YARN! The sock yarn diet is still in effect! (That's for my knit circle girls)

I received a lovely message from Hello-Knitty via Ravelry last week. She was drooling over my lightweight Socks That Rock in Jonagold that I bought at Stitches last fall. We worked out a trade for this delicious Sanguine Gryphon sock yarn. Yarny details: Eidos in Parmenides... mossy greens and a touch of midnight blue.

It's nice we can both be happy. I loved the Jonagold, but I love this EVEN MORE!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Hot Salsa - Homemade Variety

Salsa In The Making
Originally uploaded by wenjomatic.

Today I skinned and stemmed my available tomatoes then gathered all the other ingredients for home canned salsa. The chopping, as always, is the most time consuming part. I boiled hot water first and poured it over the tomatoes, making the skins slide right off. The onions and bell peppers are from my garden too, hot peppers a mix of jalapeno from a neighbor and serrano from the market.

My house smells so good... and pretty spicy. I went out back for a bit, then walked back into the kitchen. Whamo! I was hit with the aroma of hot peppers. This stuff might be very HOT in a few weeks. We shall see.

Recipe shared by gubeedal from Folia....

4 cups tomatoes peeled and chopped, 2 cups seeded chopped long green peppers (I used a mix of regular bell peppers and banana peppers), 1 cup seeded chopped hot peppers, 3/4 cup chopped onion, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar, 6 oz tomatoe paste, cayenne pepper to taste,

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. pour into sterilized jars. Process 30 in boiling water bath for minutes. Makes 3 pints.

**note: to adjust the heat of each recipe, remove the seeds and veins of the hot peppers.

Hot Salsa Macro Bell Pepper Harvest 8 pints Hot Salsa