July 03, 2014

Has it been 8 years?

I started this blog on July 4, 2006 (the birthday of a nation and a blog).  I know the country is far more important than any silly little blog but I will quietly celebrate the blog part in my own little way ;)   It just does not seem possible.  I have posted a lot of recipes.... though, I have not posted as many as I thought I would have by now but still.... a lot.  My time posting will be getting more frequent in the coming months with the slowing of other parts of my life.  My food adventures have progressed to more than food... homestead adventures, gardening adventures, real food and made from scratch adventures.  My heart has been drawn to family meals and homemaking endeavors.  I have read foodie books and watched foodie movies and graduated from culinary school with honors.  I sew and crochet more for my home and kitchen now and have been trying my hand at many things and hopefully many more in the realm of homesteading in the coming months and years.  I have had some business ups and downs along the way and currently have a local baking business which operates from my home, the occasional crafters fair sales and now an online Etsy store which will be growing more full with items over the coming months, too.  I am truly running a cottage industry which was a goal way back in the early start of my time online.

We will be celebrating the birthday of our country this year quietly in our home.  Dan and middle boy will miss it with us for the first time in forever but we will enjoy the day.  Our eats will include some good healthy real food... turkey burgers on Kaiser rolls, home baked "fries" and some homegrown goodness from the garden for salads.  There there will be a little banana pudding to finish it off and a good movie for a quiet finish.

How I celebrate my blog anniversary???  A little quiet planning for a coming year and maybe some photos of the garden and the above menu for you.  No giveaways this year... life has been too hectic for me to think about that in time to offer one but there will be opportunities... giveaways... other things to share with you along the way.

July 02, 2014

Summer Minestrone

It has been so hot the past two weeks and we have just not had very big appetites as a result.  Dan and our middle boy have been off at Boy Scout camp so the oldest two and youngest and I have been eating a little lighter.  Soup typically seems like a winter thing and the hearty minestrone with potatoes and carrots is perfect to warm you up but I decided to bring the summer garden into play and make it a little lighter.

I started with beans... I cooked Kidney and Navy beans ahead of time to add as I made the soup.

You could choose a smaller white bean but I had Navy beans on hand so that is what I used.

Kidney beans are hearty and nice in this soup but if I had Cranberry beans on hand it would have worked just as well.  They both cook up nicely and give the soup substance.

From the garden I had yellow squash and carrots so they got added.  

I also added onion but did not have celery on hand.  Celery would have been a nice addition so if you have it use it.  The classic Mirepoix is 2 parts chopped onion to 1 part carrot and 1 part celery and that is a good base for this soup.  Zucchini would have worked in place or in addition to the yellow squash.

I added a can of crushed tomatoes... a larger can (24-32 ounces works) and a can of tomato sauce.  I added water to cover it all and brought is to a simmer or you can just cook it in the crockpot for a few hours before serving.  If you want you can use chicken or vegetable stock but I just used water with the tomato products.

The classic winter Minestrone would have potatoes as a starch but for the lighter version I added pasta.  You can add wheat or gluten free to this particular recipe based on your preference or need.  I added it just before serving to let it get soft but not soggy.  If you make a big batch you may want to only cook pasta into the part you are eating right away and then add pasta to following leftover batches to keep it just the right consistency for serving at the time.

I also added clean raw spinach about half an hour before serving to let it wilt nicely but not overcook.

The sky is really the limit with this one... you can add pancetta if you want to add meat but for this veggie variety I just used beans as the a protein source.  Whatever veggies you have on hand would work... Brussel Sprouts, green beans, broccoli, etc... all add a nice chunky texture.

As always you can salt and pepper to taste and add any fresh Italian herbs you like.... basil, oregano, marjoram, etc... Taste as you go and make it just as you like it.  No specific measurements outside of the mirepoix mix proportions (onion, carrot, celery).  If you like more beans then add more... if you like more veggies add more... 



Let me know if you make it and what you think!

Happy cooking!!!

June 22, 2014

My Poor Little Peach Tree

She is full and heavy with fruit right now.  Dan has propped her up so she won't snap in half from all the weight.  I promise we lightened her load at the beginning of the season and then a hail storm took more of the fruit but she is still full and heavy.  I have been putting a lot more water on the tree this year so the fruit will be plump and edible and it worked but now she is straining to stay up.   

We have her covered right now so the birds cannot get to the fruit and if you take a peek... go ahead.... take a peek... 



the fruit is beautiful and almost ripe enough to pick.  



All the fruit will come off on the same day and then there will be a massive peeling day and putting it up in the freezer.  There will also be a cobbler or pie right away.  If I get really industrious there will be peach preserves to can.  One little tree with lots of fruit and we will enjoy what we can while it lasts. Someday I hope to have a whole orchard but for now I will settle for my little full tree and restore her to her upright position as soon as we can to strengthen her for next year.  

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