Monday, July 28, 2008

Tomatoes Take Over the World!

Seems like just a day or two ago that I was wishing for--no, lusting after fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes. Happens every year. I think I can't wait another second for that first juicy bite of that first yummy tomato off the vine. Ahhh...was there ever a more perfect taste? Well, yeah, chocolate. But I don't know how to grow chocolate.
Okay, so the first one comes and goes. Then another and another and then...thirty of them are sitting on the kitchen counter!!! So this morning was the time to make the salsa. Here's a quick shot of the bounty before it goes into the freezer.

And here's my favorite salsa recipe. You're gonna need 25 to 30 ripe, peeled, chopped tomatoes, juice of 1/2 a lemon, a chopped green or red bell pepper, a chopped onion, 1/2 can mild green chiles (freeze the other 1/2 in a baggie), 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup honey, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and 1/2 t. paprika. Place all ingreds in a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and cook till desired consistency is reached (at least an hour.) Let cool. Freeze in smallish containers. Now if you are thinking, "This doesn't sound very spicy!" then you would be right. DH and I are the king and queen of bland. But it would be very easy to add some heat to this recipe. Think chopped jalapenos or habaneros or whatever your fire of choice would be.

Okay, salsa is put to bed, cook is relaxing, all's well with the world when....the kitchen counter suddenly looks like this---AGAIN!
Hmmmm.....I think I foresee a science fiction movie in the future. Those darn tomatoes are definitely multiplying at an alarming rate. Thank goodness, I have neighbors who are always willing to take a sack or two off my hands.

Friday, July 18, 2008

WARNING: This Post Is Not About Quilting!

"You Don't Just Buy the Horse." Several years ago Younger Son gave me an iPod for Christmas. I was thrilled! Not so much for the fun of a new toy (though there was definitely that) but because he viewed his mom as "hip enough" to handle this gadget LOL! Soon after I received it, I decided it needed a cute little Liz Claiborne case, then better earphones, then a contraption with speakers that would play the iPod's tunes and I could listen without earphones--and on and on. I mentioned all this to a friend and she commented, "You don't just buy the horse." That became my constant saying as I started to notice that about a lot of things in life. Well, recently we purchased two much-needed new sofas.

And, yep, you don't just buy the horse. Now I am knee-deep in planning new throw pillows to sew and, of course, a new quilt to lay over the back of one sofa or the other! And, yes, of course, we need two new smallish thingies to use as coffee tables. And, well, now, don't those old chairs look shabby??? And, hmmmm, wall art looks a little ratty....

"Ellie Krieger Rocks." Confession: I am a Food Network junkie. My current fixes come from Paula, Giada, Sandra, Rachel, Robin and Sunny. Lately I've discovered Ellie Krieger, a dietician, nutritionist and foodie, who gives such common sense tips on making recipes more healthy. I found her cookbook on Amazon and HAD TO HAVE IT. Notice all my sticky-notes--recipes to try. I love her non-threatening approach to sensible eating. It is not a diet book, just a great way to eat well and healthily.

Off to snap some fresh green beans from yesterday's organic Farmers Market visit. Have a superb weekend!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't know why the couches look so gray on my monitor--they are actually celadon green!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Technique

Our guild had the most amazing speaker yesterday! She is Margaret Bucklew of Chiseled In Cloth. Being the rank amateur photographer that I am, these photos are not going to begin to do justice to her awesome work. But basically her topic was how to turn photographs into beautiful detailed portrait quilts, using Photoshop on the computer. Of course, it helped that she was a retired college computer graphics art teacher!!! But after showing a delightful array of her small quilts, she gave us a demonstration of how she uses Photoshop to convert a photo into a quilt pattern, complete with value, shading, etc. Just a most amazing program. As is the case in most groups, there were all kinds of varying degrees of computer abilities, but the entire audience was engrossed in this demo!!! I would wager to say that Photoshop's sales went up by at least one or two yesterday!!

I realized after loading these photos into my own computer, that I did not even capture the most amazing ones---darn it!! She had two or three of military men that were just downright tearjerkers. And one of her own dad that she used for the computer demo that was just fantastic. Maybe next time...

Later in the afternoon DH and I journeyed to a local shopping center where an organic farmers market was going on. Just the most beautiful produce you've ever seen! I restrained myself and bought only what I thought we'd eat in the next couple of days--yummy, just-picked-that-morning green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, blueberries, 9-grain bread, and for DH's sweet tooth, the most delicious blueberry pie! It was a very small market but everything looked so-o-o good. And, of course, after I got home, I was wishing I had bought this--and this--and this!!! And, again, maybe next time.....

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Bloggy Bits

Overheard: Whew! Glad it's over--the Fourth, that is. Loud noises? Not so much. Really now, is all that boom-pop-bang REALLY necessary?

Seen: Of all the bugs in all the world, is there one more welcome in the summer night than the firefly? (Or, as we called them back in the day, lightning bugs?) Sitting out on the front lawn in our foldup chairs, watching the neighborhood fireworks display, Dear Sister and I both felt the same little nostalgic tingle of childhood memories well up when the fireflies started to "turn on". Watching them seemingly come to life just as darkness settles in is such a delight. The on-and-off glow plays tricks. Where will you show up next, little buggy? It's as if there is a tiny built-in switch. Now you see 'em, now you don't. Of course, the not-so-sweet childhood treatment of these marvelous creatures crowds into the enjoyment. And we wish we could go back in time and undo the ring-making and jar captivities. But, for now, we enjoy them in all their glorious freedom and say a simple "sorry".

Thought about: Poor ole' lonely sewing room! Not much progress in there for a few weeks on DH's Star Quilt (see May 26th post). Not much progress on ANYTHING in that room, for that matter! Here's the paltry progress:

58 Snowball Blocks (untrimmed)
18 Nine Patch Blocks of assorted turquoises
and assorted creams
Ready to start on the 17 Nine Patch Blocks of
assorted red-oranges and light red- oranges

Does anyone else out there in Blogland find it difficult to get motivated to sew in the summer? Please, lie and say yes.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!

And a safe and happy Fourth of July to YOU!!!

Here's my very favorite Potato Salad recipe:

Boil, then peel 6 large russet potatoes; cube.
Hardboil, then peel 6 fresh eggs; dice.
Chop 4 nice-sized sweet pickles.
Dice a small yellow onion. Put these ingreds in a large bowl, preferably a pretty crockery one!! Dress with this amazing concoction (this is what makes it my fave):
3/4 cup mayo (I use Kraft light)
1/4 cup sugar
1 T sweet pickle vinegar (the secret ingredient)
1/2 t. dry mustard
2 t. prepared mustard
1/2 t. salt. Whisk these ingreds till smooth & creamy. Add to the potato mix in the big bowl and coat everything well. Wait for the raves.