maybe I should go to La Tomatina

During the last half hour of G-tot’s nap today I went out and picked some veggies from our garden. Cucumbers, green peppers, jalapeños, and tomatoes. Good God the tomatoes. I had to go back for a third container I have so many tomatoes. And I’m not talking about big beefsteak tomatoes either. I’m talking little 1–2 inch Cherry & Golden Pear tomatoes along with some Romas.

Need proof? Here’s a picture of what I picked just now. The cukes, peppers, and Romas are in the basket. The two bowls are all Cherry & Golden Pear (with the exception of a few jalapeños).

This is not an accumulation of several days harvest. Trust me, there are many more on the counter & in the fridge (cukes & japs only in the fridge) that I picked the other day. Nope, this it just what I could pick in that 30 minute window before G-tot woke up. The gallon of milk is there just for a size comparison. Everyone knows how big a gallon of milk is, right?

It’s not like we planted a ton of tomato plants either. Just six. Two of each variety. Now I need to figure out what to do with all of them.

Does anybody have any good tomato recipes?

ice cream in a bag

A couple of Saturday’s ago JQ, G-tot, and I made some homemade ice cream. Which really translates to, I made the ice cream and all three of us ate it. Making ice cream—without an ice cream maker—is one of the items on my 101 in 1001 list. I found a few recipes online, picked the one that suited my needs, and gathered up the necessary ingredients (including rock salt). Not having any idea how the recipe would turn out, I opted to make a single serving size.

I can’t get much easier than this. The ingredients are put in small ziploc bag, then placed in larger ziploc with ice & rock salt. Shake, shake, shake. The salt/ice combo brings the temperature down to make the freezing conditions necessary. It was pretty cold so I wrapped it in a towel for the majority of the shaking.

After just 5 minutes we had ice cream.

It turned out yummy and was fun to make. It would be a perfect activity for a sleep over or any summer event with a bunch of kids. G-tot is a bit young to really understand what was going on but he liked eating the outcome.

I bought more half & half today to make it again this weekend.

Looks pretty good doesn’t it? I mixed in some fresh strawberries after I took this shot and gobbled it up. If we make individual servings again I might throw in some different fruit. Or nuts. Or bacon… (I’m kidding. Just seeing if you’re still paying attention.)

Want to try it yourself? Here’s the recipe I used.

Ice cream in a bag

What you’ll need:

* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 cup milk or half & half
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 6 tablespoons rock salt
* 1 pint-size Ziploc plastic bag
* 1 gallon-size Ziploc plastic bag
* Ice cubes

How to make it:
1. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
2. Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
3. Place the small bag inside the large one and seal again carefully.
4. Shake until mixture is ice cream, about 5 minutes.
5. Wipe off top of small bag, then open carefully and enjoy!

hand picked

I picked these cherries this morning while G-tot napped and JQ sprayed the weeds in the front bed. The tree in our backyard is full of ripe cherries and I wanted to get to some of them before the birds descended upon the fruit & took off with it all.

I needed the ladder to reach the majority of the little red cherries and even with the 6 foot ladder there are huge sections of the tree that I just cannot reach. My take was two full quarts and I barely scratched the surface of the tree. I could easily get another six quarts—but hand picking them is tedious. What I need is one of those scoop type things they use to harvest cranberries.

These are really tart cherries and I’m not sure what to do with them. I may try my hand at canning some. I may make a cherry bumble (with vodka and rock candy) or soak them in brandy. I may even try a cherry tart (although I’m not crazy about baked fruit). Any other suggestions are welcome.

My Mom stopped by while I was on the ladder, head up in the branches of the tree. Her first words as she stepped out of the car were, “You look like a farmer!”. And you know what? I sort of felt like a farmer. Tending to the gardens and the fruit tree makes me feel very earthy and domestic. It’s a labor of love and I really do enjoy it. When we eat the food we’ve grown on our property I get that earth-mother feeling all over again.

snack time

Sugar snap peas and a Faygo Creme Soda. What did you have?

tato tales

When you have to remove the skin from a raw potato, do you use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife? Why?

you’re not supposed to play with it

That’s the number of hours of sleep I got last night. At 1:50 a.m. I gave JQ the evil to stop reading his book and turn off the light. Twenty minutes later, Gideon decided it was time to wake up and play—until 4 o’clock. We finally got him back to sleep and at 7 a.m. he decided it was time to get up and have breakfast. I had to be at work by 9 this morning which meant no more sleep for me. So…I’ll leave you with this: more fun with Bugles.

oh, the butter goes second

About a decade ago, just as I was getting my first real apartment, my Grandmother was getting rid of a bunch of cookbooks. Knowing that I like to cook—and that I was probably lacking a good collection of recipes—she offered the books to me. I don’t remember how many of the cookbooks I took or how many of them I still have with the exception of one—Betty Crocker’s Good & Easy Cookbook.

There is no copyright date to be found but I would put my money on it being from the 50s or 60s. I doubt that I have ever actually made a recipe from the cookbook. However, the content is so hilarious that I had to have it. And, I have to keep it—forever.

Just look at these photographs of the wonderful culinary delights you can concoct.

Check out the description of this breakfast spread.

Click on the picture to read this one.

Fourth meal came long before Taco Bell started using the phrase.

These are all priceless but there is one particular section that made me take the book. Behold, one of my favorite entries:

Tricks with toast. Please click on the link to read the very important first tip. It may just save breakfast.

string cheese

Absolutely. Completely. Uncontrollably. Addicted to these.

So much so that I can taste the difference between batches each time we buy them.

chicken of the shelf?

I love to cook. I don’t think that’s a secret around here. I like to keep a well stocked kitchen. Lots of spices. A pantry full of non-perishables. Produce. Dairy. The works. While we normally have a freezer full of meats, thawing and cooking said meat isn’t always convenient. Or quick. Enter my new favorite pantry staple: canned chicken breast.

I can’t say that it would be good right out of the can or on some bread for a sammy. I can say that is it awesome when you are combining it with other ingredients. Like a stir fry. Or a casserole. Or in some homemade chicken noodle soup I made this afternoon with things we had in the fridge and pantry. Mmmm…homemade soup in less than a half an hour.

Doesn’t that look yummy?

movie night

I’m glad it’s Saturday. This long holiday weekend has me all messed up and I keep thinking it’s Sunday. It’s not. I’m glad. Although, I’d be happier if it were still Friday. Saturday just means Monday is not far behind.

We are going to enjoy the rest of our Saturday with Ratatouille, a bowl of popcorn w/ chocolate chips, and a pizza.

Just popping in to do my NaBloPoMo duties. I think it’s time for my comfy pants.