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June 27, 2010

Wonderful weekend

It has been a wonderful weekend at home.
Thanks to a dear friend supplying me with milk we not only had the best milk to drink, but I was able to make butter and then make wheat bread with the buttermilk. I have missed cooking and especially cooking with wonderful fresh dairy products!
I also made salsa, it turned out fantastic! Basic recipe:
In a large saucepan, sauté diced onion and garlic in olive oil.
Add to saucepan: 2 quarts diced tomatoes, 1-2 cups of chopped cilantro, 2 TBS chili powder, 3 TBS lemon juice, salt to taste, one jalapeño (chopped and seeds removed), 2 cups banana peppers (or bell) chopped. Heat through, stirring and sampling as needed! Serve warm with tortilla chips and a frozen margarita. Ole'!

The homemade granola, well lets just say it will be repeated!
4 cups oats
1 cup flax seed
1 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (mine were pre-spiced, leftovers from holiday baking)
1 TBS cinnamon
2 tsp sea salt
In a large bowl mix all the above ingredients (may add a couple TBS of brown sugar, ginger or some shredded coconut, if desired).

Heat slightly until well mixed:1 cup honey and 3 TBS olive oil (or butter melted)

Toss dry ingredients with honey/oil, spread on large baking dish covered with parchment paper.
Bake at 300 for 40 minutes, stirring and rearranging every 10 minutes.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes and mix in 2 cups of dried fruit (raisins and cranberries in mine).
When completely cool store in quart jars for up to 3 months.

In other news, I looked at 4 rental houses while in Fla last week; all were doable, and one was spectacular. We have dropped the price on the house again and hopefully the Realtor is on the same page for getting a contract in the next 30 days. Otherwise, we will be here for another year. School starts in Florida on August 9th--not much time for messing around!

Our anniversary is this weekend, we have the same debate every year "is it the 26th or 28th?".
This year we have decided to celebrate it all weekend and wish each other happy anniversary every day. Quite romantic! Dave surprised me with the most beautiful, gorgeous suitcase I have ever seen! It is red leather(ish) and matches my red leather work bag. I feel like a princess!
I am making the wheat rolls and honey butter mainly for him--two of his favorite things he has not seen in many months!
I am looking forward to getting moved and settled for many reasons, but this weekend has reminded me how much I have missed cooking with real food.

After harvesting 20 more pounds of cucumbers, I pulled the vines out and covered the bed with black landscaping fabric. The bean bed (pole beans that are not setting fruit) is next on the list, and then the carrot/weed bed after I harvest the carrots. Slowly but surely the garden is getting put to bed, and the number of beds that need to be weeded is reducing! The Roma tomatoes are not far behind, they are a determinate variety so once they are finished setting fruit in a couple of weeks that bed will get shut down too. The cherry tomatoes that looked so horrible at the start of the spring are now enormous and producing well. The melon patch that we planted in the old pig pasture is doing very well. It must have been fertile soil! The produce is such a blessing and I am constantly wondering what our next garden will look like.

This week and next is the official break between semesters. Thankful for that too.

Wishing you all a great week!

June 13, 2010

Wow! Time flies!

Two weeks since I have posted, good golly!
I have traveled to Florida the last two weeks for work, and it has been great. Getting to know the facilities and all the people is a challenge and a lot of fun too. Driving from Central Florida to North Miami last week we went past miles and miles of orange groves. The crops were almost all in, and the last of what was being picked was for the orange oil production. On a medical note, seems the hospitals see a fair number of people with chemical burns from it. We also passed the Florida Orange Growers plant where the majority of orange juice in the US is produced. The weather there is about the same as in TX, just more breeze and less humidity. The daily shower helps to cool things off too. I have found a source for farm goods when we relocate, that makes me very happy!
No contract on the house yet, despite lowering the price significantly.
The kids are enjoying being out of school, Josh spent a week at ROTC camp, Charlye is looking for a job.
The garden is in full production. The bounty collected today must have weighed close to 50 pounds between the 4 containers. It was tomatoes, cucumbers and banana peppers.
The squash has never really come back from the squash borer attack, so I will pull it all out and cover that bed (no weeds!).The carrots and garlic are begging to be harvested, I hope to get to them tomorrow.
Dave is teaching me to shoot a handgun, a 9mm. I got it to qualify in the concealed handgun class. I thought about buying the pink model, but it was a double magazine size and was too thick in the grip.