Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Friday Brunches

Our daughters, both teachers, are enjoying their summers home with their small children.  Our oldest daughter was lamenting the days gone when we used to spend time together (before children), going out for lunch or going to museums and other such outings.  So she came up with a plan.

Every Friday morning this summer either she, her sister, or her father and I host a brunch for the four adults and three little ones.  I love it.  I don't know which I enjoy more, watching our daughters sharing the bond they have as sisters, or their children bonding as cousins.  Either way, Grandpa and I are just happy to be included.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weekend Cooking

I realize the title of this post doesn't quite match up with the date of the post.  But here's to cooking on the weekends.

If you're in the mood for that wonderful yeasty taste of homemade bread, and you're grilling this weekend, I have the recipe for you.

Last Saturday I made grilled flat bread.  I followed this recipe from Food52.  If you haven't been on their website, and your're a foodie, I highly recommend you visit.  I get their email updates and follow their Facebook page.

This is the simplest yeast bread I've ever made.  I made it on the indoor grill so Paul didn't have to mess with it while he had a grill full of meat.  But really, it's so simple to do it wouldn't have mattered.  It's a great way to have fresh bread in the summer time.

Also, last weekend I noticed the stores had pickling cucumbers in the produce section so I was able to make both sweet and dill pickles, two of my favorite things about summer.

When I was younger I canned old fashioned hot water bath pickles.  Then one day it dawned on me that refrigerator pickles would be so much easier.  Not only are they easier, they're so much better. The pickles stay really crisp. The only problem, well two problems are waiting two days to eat them and keeping up with demand.  I can't wait for the farmers' markets to have the minis available.

You can find the sweet pickle recipe here.  I add sliced sweet mini red peppers and mustard seed to this recipe.

The dill pickle recipe is here.  My first jalapeno was ready so I picked and sliced it and added it to the jar.  I wish I would have had two ready to pick, one isn't quite hot enough.  Next batch I will add two.

Summer is such a great time for cooking and eating!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bulldog for Baby

I just finished knitting this little bulldog for our granddaughter, Amelia.

The pattern is in the book, Knit Your Own Dog.  I found a copy at the library.

The bulldog is a little bit of a challenge.  Those wrinkles and folds take some maneuvering.


Amelia lives in a house with two English bulldogs, Frank and Beans, roughly the same age she is.  
 She turned one yesterday. 

Now on to making her book.  I have one week till her party.  I'm always working up to the last minute on gifts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekend Cooking

I enjoy cooking, when I'm trying out new recipes that is.  This past weekend I tried out a few.

Last week we picked, pitted and froze 24 and 3/4 quarts of sour cherries.  Yesterday morning I made cherry turnovers.  I used the recipe from The Vanilla Bean Blog.  Since I was pressed for time I used frozen puff pastry.  Delicious!! 

You can find the recipe here.

I also tried two other amazing recipes this weekend.

I made this awesome sauce for fish.  I think it's by far the best fish I've ever made, simple, fast and wonderful.  

I did substitute cod fillets for the tilapia.  The recipe is here.

And finally, I had some sirloins in the freezer so I thought I would fancy them up a little by adding some crab meat and an indulgent sauce. I made this Steak Jalisco.  I think next time I will omit adding the lime juice at the end.  

The recipe is here.

I usually try a new recipe at least once a week.  My husband is tolerant of this hobby.  When he doesn't like something he'll say, "So, what do you think?"  I know then I won't be making that dish again. 

These recipes got three thumbs up.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


One sunny day at the end of March I was doing my initial clearing out around my peony bushes, prepping them for blooms, when something small scurried from underneath.  Startled, at first I thought it might have been a mouse, but then I saw it was a tiny baby rabbit.  He was really tiny and seemed to be all on his own, no sign of a nest or siblings.  Since then, and until recently, I only caught a few glimpses of him

But lately we've been meeting each other regularly.  I have an herb garden planted right outside my door next to the house and deck steps.  I believe he's living here, or possibly the flower garden and lilac bush on the other side of the path.  He particularly likes the Italian parsley so I've left him one parsley plant uncaged to share. The area really is a perfect home for him, gardens backed by a hedge, deck and house 

The other evening when I opened the front door I saw his two little ears popping up over the ledge of the top step on the path.  He ducked back down giving me the needed seconds to retrieve my camera.  From then a game of hide and seek ensued with him popping up and then ducking again below the ledge of the top step.  I remained frozen.  He must have decided I was only a mild threat so he hopped the top step onto the path and allowed me a few seconds of photos.

Feeling a bit like Beatrix Potter, I've started calling him Pete, which I think could work for either sex: Peter or Petunia.  I look for him every morning and afternoon.  Each time I see him brings me a ridiculous amount of joy.

The night before last while I was dragging the hose out to water the potted deck plants, a black snake was making his way across the deck.  Paul removed the snake from the deck, leaving me to worry for Pete.  But yesterday there he was, relaxing by the parsley and the cilantro, safe and sound. What a relief! 

I'm hoping he'll stay for the summer, making my garden his home, and then I will get to watch him grow. (Which by the way, shouldn't he be bigger than this by now??)  And who knows, maybe I'll attempt a few Beatrix Potter like watercolors along the way.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Handmade Birthday Present

Last weekend our second grandson turned three.  This little guy usually has one thing on his mind, cars, his most favorite things.  So much so, he takes one special car to bed with him each night.  And when he leaves the house for an extended time his favorites go with him. So when I saw this DIY on Pinterest I knew I had to make it for him.

Here are some photos of the car caddy I made for Jools.

I was hoping his name looked like a car, but I might be stretching here.

You can find the full, easy to follow tutorial here. Thanks homemade by Jill.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why have a Mother's Day?

I was lucky enough to spend Mother's day with all four of our children, albeit not at the same time.  That doesn’t happen every year.  We juggled schedules and extended families' celebrations to make it happen.  My two daughters and I went out for a lovely brunch in the morning and later my husband and I threw a barbecue dinner for our sons' families.

Thanks to social media this year I read all sorts of opinions on Mother's Day.  Sure, we don't need a commercial holiday to tell us to appreciate our mothers.  For that matter, why do we need any designated holiday to honor any specific person or event?

There's no one holiday I can think of that's celebrated by every person.   But in the reality of most of our busy lives, holidays make it easier for us to come together as a family, or surrogate families, and spend some time with the people who are important to us, should we choose to do so.

When it comes to parenting, my husband has often said that we parents of each generation take the best of how our parents raised us, leave behind the bad, and hopefully become better parents than our own.  These recent years Mother's day has been for me a time to not only think of myself as a mother, but of my children and the parents they've become.  I'm proud to watch them take the good, eliminate the bad, and become better than we were.

A few weeks ago one of my daughters was relaying to me a conversation she had with a friend.  They were discussing the everyday fear you have of just getting through the day with toddlers and keeping them safe.  It reminded me of a passage I read in a book I was reading at the time when my own children were teenagers and young adults.  It resonated with me so much I copied it down. 

"All the times when he and I lay like this, side by side, in the dark, unsure, unknowing, scared as children; while the children moved dangerously around in the world, learning to be adults."

I didn’t mention at the time that the fear they feel today will never leave them, mostly because I know she already knows that.

So this past Sunday I was able to tell my daughters how proud I am of not only the women they are, but the mothers they are.  And on Father's Day I will take the opportunity to make a special point to tell my sons how proud I am of the fathers they've become, as well as thank my husband for being the father he is and my partner in parenting.  And I will remember my own father even though he is gone.  I'll do this because parenting is a damn hard job and I think it’s nice to have a day to remind us to remember those who helped us become the people we are and appreciate those who choose to take on the job.