Sunday, July 28, 2013

While The Zucchini Grew ...

... we were frolicking in the 
gardens and the streets of Boston!

The gardens!
The Streets and Buildings!
Fun Bronze Installations!





We were reminded
of that terrible
event!















With the actual 
"Finish" line, still
painted on the street......








We are back at the homestead
and the Zucchini ..... well it didn't waste 
any time growing.


These were just babies 5 days ago!

Well, I guess I know what I'll be doing
tomorrow ..... zucchini relishing.




Till next time ....... what do you do with bushels of zucchini?  What are your favourite zucchini recipes?



Friday, July 26, 2013

Sunday Drive

A beautiful Sunday Afternoon Drive
on a Loooong Weekend!
Discovering a Barn Quilt Trail ....
Worth the drive!

"Tall Pine Tree" one of my favs!




Love this classic "Log Cabin" too.



"Rose Bud" - this might be our favourite!!





Middlesex County Barn Quilt Trail - I LOVE THEM ALL!


Yep - it's two sheets of 4 X 8


Till next time ...... scheming on how I can make my own Barn Quilt!

Boston


The Boston "Hawbah" 
from the 33rd Floor
of the State Room!!!

Here we enjoyed a fabulous
melt in your mouth beef tenderloin dinner.

The next evening - dinner was at
the amazing
John F. Kennedy
Presidential Library and Museum,
a rare opportunity indeed!

We are having a fabulous time
in this beautiful city!!

The farmer/financial advisor is enjoying his sessions
and I am happy to be a tag along.....




More to come ....


Till next time ..... I'm off to do some shopping on Boylston.



Monday, July 22, 2013

Honey and Lavender Ice-Cream



My first taste of Lavender Ice-Cream
was in Tofino, BC

I had to try making some
because I have so much Lavender,
because I love Ice-Cream,
because this is such an exotic flavour,
because - well, just because!!

I used a Martha Stewart Recipe,
slightly modified,
and it turned out quite good.

Here's the recipe if you would like to try making this ....






2 Cups whole milk
1/4 Cup dried Lavender - I used a handful of fresh flowers and "muddled" them a bit with my pestal before adding the milk.
1/3 Cup Honey















Bring this to a gentle boil, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes (I left it steeping for at least 30 minutes). Strain the mixture and discard the Lavender.









Now combine 5 egg yolks with
1/4 Cup of Sugar.  Beat on medium-high speed until very thick and pale yellow (3-5 minutes).  Meanwhile, return the strained milk to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Add half the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture - whisk till blended and pour this into the sauce pan with the remaining hot milk.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat till "custard" thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.



Immediately remove from heat.
Strain mixture (if desired) into a bowl and chill
 in an ice water bath or refrigerate for several hours.

Now get out your ice-cream maker
start the freezing (according to your manufacturer's instructions).

You can weed the front flower bed
or go about your daily chores
while the ice-cream maker churns


then sit a bit and enjoy
this treat!





Till next time ........... what's your favourite ice-cream flavour?


Saturday, July 20, 2013

DIY Handsoap Dispenser

It's Saturday
and the house is getting cleaned!
Boy, does it need it ....

I noticed the bathroom soap dispenser
was getting low 
and then
I remembered the sweet dispenser that
my daughter had in her bathroom.
It was a plastic look alike mason jar.
I have a "million" mason jars and
even a nice little vintage green Ball jar.

I saved the pump from the old dispenser,
had the farmer drill a hole into a mason lid
and voila - a DIY dispenser is made....

So easy!


Everytime I see my "Blessed"
stone in amongst my little stone collection,
and next to my field stone sink,
I remember a special MGCC
friend Kathy!!!



Till next time ........... feeling blessed and enjoying my new dispenser.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Salads

This time of year
is the best time
to load the fridge with
Summer Salads
for quick and easy lunches
and side dishes.

Wheat Berry Salad, Quinoa Salad, and Potato Salad


I was inspired to make these
after enjoying a lovely evening meal 
on the back porch at our friends home
last weekend.
They served some refreshing summer salads
with roasted chicken and pork chops.
It was all so delicious!

I've posted the Quinoa and Potato Salads
in the past (you can click on these links to see those recipes)

But the best and easiest salad of all 
is the one my Mom always made with
fresh cut lettuce right from the garden....


There really isn't a recipe for this
Lettuce with Cream Dressing
but this is how it's made....

In a large mixing bowl,
Pour a good "splash" of heavy cream,
whisk in a Tbsp. of sugar
Season with salt and pepper
Stir in a "splash" of white vinegar
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking
Add some finely chopped sweet onion
and last but not least,
the secret ingredient that makes this salad
taste like no other,
"the leaf" (borage) - finely chopped
Mom always added this herb and would
send us out to her garden to get a "leaf" as she called it.

Now simply pile in some fresh lettuce
and toss just before serving!


Borage aka "the leaf"

Borage has a cucumber taste.


The pretty borage edible flower

Once you've grown a borage plant
and let it go to seed in your garden
you'll have no lack of "the leaf"
(I think it might be a weed!)

My niece uses the pretty flowers by
freezing them into ice-cubes.
So pretty in a punch bowl 
or glass of lemon aid.

Lunch is served.





Till next time ........ what are your favourite summer salads?



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gaps

Gaps

When a dear one dies or when a 
good friend goes away - it leaves
a gap in life
that's wide and deep.
A gap that you are conscious of
with every passing day,
A gap remembered
when you wake from
sleep.
But it is the gaps that make the 
pattern in the lace - the sudden
break in continuity ....
Here and there you have 
to have a blank,
an empty space - to make the
strange and beautiful 
design of destiny.

                                                   Patience Strong



Today I remember fondly and celebrate the life of a childhood friend's dear mother!  Our families
lived in the same neighbourhood, had almost the same number of children with similar ages. We all became very good friends and our mothers, although very different (mine Amish Mennonite and hers Roman Catholic), were good mothers, kind mothers, nurturing mothers, loving mothers, and raised us up the best they could. 

What a privilege it was growing up in that 'hood where we felt safe and protected, where we played, rode our bikes, walked to school together, spent endless summers in the park and on the farm, learned to skate on the village pond, helped each other with chores, had paper routes, had parents that loved us, and felt like we belonged!

In our parent's senior years we would meet each other once again on visits to the "home" in New Hamburg where both sets of parents were being cared for. It brought back many childhood memories and was such fun to reminisce.

Miriam Zettel, a wonderful caring mother and almost like a second mom to me!  You have left a huge gap, have made the lace ever so beautiful and will be missed by all!

Theresa, Liz, Charles, Michael, Peter and Tom - may you and your families be comforted during this time of great loss!







Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Morning Walk About

I love lazy Saturday Mornings
(even though I should be blitzing
and getting my cleaning,
weeding, and laundry
done) when I can take my
cup 'a and camera for a "walk about" to inspect
the gardens!









My little pal "Poppy"
comes along....















The rain, rain, and more
rain
left it's droplets on the
tea roses.












The Lavender is in full bloom
Hmmm - what can I make with 
it this year???







The clematis is "taking over"
the front flower bed
and climbing on everything
besides the trellis!
Some pruning needed here....














The old garden hydrangea
is blooming nicely.
I like to leave it till Fall
and pick some for drying when it's turned
a pretty rusty colour.






And speaking of rust - my sunflower
is getting a nice patina from all
the rain and dampness!







A healthy patch of lamb's ear
this year - love the dusty colour
amongst the greens.










Oh, Oh, the zucchini patch is
in full bloom and I can almost
hear the weeds growing!!!
Better get off this computer and get at it.....





Till next time - I'll be digging out my zucchini and lavender recipes ....... 




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

To Mint or Not to Mint?

So we got back from a two week vacation
and the garden had overgrown
as had the weeds!!! - eek.

My herb bed was really needing attention,
especially the mint (seemingly on steroids)!
I began pulling and cutting ruthlessly
but just couldn't bring myself to
throw the cuttings over the fence.
So - instead of getting some
real work done I took the mint
in and decided what to do with it. 

First I dried some of the leaves:


Wash and spin dry plucked
mint leaves. I used my lettuce spinner.
Heat oven to 170F - turn off.
Single layer leaves on parchment paper
and place into warm oven for approx. 1 hour
or until completely dried and crunchy.

This was a good time to get my
laundry done and "almost" get 
the luggage unpacked!








Store uncrushed dried mint in an 
airtight jar.

Some uses:
Steep in boiling water for Mint Tea
Crush and use in soups and stews
Sprinkle on steamed vegetables









Next - I decided to make Mint Jelly....




2 Cups firmly packed mint leaves
Chop Mint finely to release the oils
Place in sauce pan and add:
2 Cups Water
Heat to boiling - remove from heat
and allow to steep for 20 minutes.







Pour prepared "tea" into a dampened
cheese cloth lined sieve.
Allow to drip undisturbed for at least
2 hours or overnight.
(I let mine drip while I went into town
to finally get some much needed 
groceries and also to pick up some
liquid pectin)
Prepare jars and lids 
(This made approx. 8 small 125 ml jars)





Measure 1 3/4 Cup of Mint infusion
Stir in 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 3/4 Cups Sugar
5-7 drops green good colouring (optional)
I chose not to add the colouring
but after filling 3 jars without I 
decided to add just a wee bit (3 drops).
Over high heat bring mixture
to full rolling boil that can't be stirred down.
Add 1 pouch (85 ml) liquid pectin
Boil hard for 1 minute - stirring constantly
Remove from heat and quickly seal
in prepared jars.


This is how it turned out.
I like the one with a bit of food colouring
and I even added some of the mint leaf pulp into
the last jar - just to experiment.
(not recommended as it's too chewy but it did look nice).




Mint Jelly uses - A traditional condiment to serve with
pork and lamb or as a delicious glaze
brushed on roasted meat and turkey.
Decorate the jars and use as hostess gifts???

Well - there you have it.
I "saved" the mint but didn't get much of anything else done - sigh!
But I had fun .....


Till next time ......... mustering up some ambition to weed the rest of the garden!