Sunday, August 31, 2008

A New Puppy and updates

Hi all,

Busy summer so far, and it doesn't look like letting up yet. I have just picked over twenty tomatoes (some are the small cherry/grape tomatoes, so it sounds like more than it really is. Good thing I have some friends to help me eat them though!). Those yellow pear tomatoes are really lovely & good too & I'm having a blast eating these & using them in recipes.

Got back from Madison, WI just fine, and had a nice family oriented vacation. We did get to see some of the downtown capitol & a tiny bit of the University of Wisconsin campus. Easily the highlight of the trip was the trip over on the Lake Express Ferry. It does cost money, but it is worth it in terms of cutting out the Chicago detour (and that horrendous expressway traffic. I used to live in Chicago & expressway traffic is not my favorite thing at all). And the staff are wonderful, gracious, kind, and the seating is terrific. You meet a lot of interesting people too. Lots of families, which makes sense, since handling a young toddler & a baby is probably a lot more fun on a ferry boat than while driving through Chicago.

We met a couple & his friend who were driving classic cars to a competition. Turns out they have 100 classic cars. Wow. Where can you keep a 100 cars? They must own a parking garage.

New puppy coming soon, I hope, if all works out, probably around October 10 or 16. Parents are a pair of Welsh Springer Spaniels; dam is Kate & the sire is Walker. The two of them are lovely dogs. There are 7 females & 1 boy, so right now I don't know which I'll be getting, but I already have puppy names.

More suggestions are welcome.... I'll share the names I've thought of so far in a separate post. It would be utterly lovely if, like Bonnie (sis's dog) and Annie (my very own kitty) the puppy would suggest its own name. I love it when that happens.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer is flying by

Sorry to be so dilatory about posting here. I've had company, I've had to work longer hours (we're approaching fiscal year end close for my workplace) and... its just been busy. We also went to Williams & Sonoma for their big end-of-summer sale and got some nice things, including Tartine for 9.99. Not bad! Also visited a local yarn shop which just reopened and they had some nice things for reduced sale there.

Met up with a long-time friend at Travelers Club, which is in East Lansing, Michigan. She'd heard it was a Tuba museum, and we'd both wanted to go see it. Very nice eccentric place, food was plentiful, and full of wonderful fresh vegetables from the garden. We had a good time. Her oldest daughter was also along, and it was great to get reacquainted.

Sis & I are going to Madison, Wisconsin weekend after this coming one, and taking along one of our aunts. Ferry boat ride in our future, which should be fun.

But you can see why I have been busy. This coming weekend is the Fiber festival, which is fabulous.

And here's quote for y'all, taken from sparkpeople :

Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul

- Simone Weil

What we can learn about patience from a diamond

Trying (but failing) to see your goals realized can be frustrating. Margaret Thatcher once said "You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it," and she was absolutely right. You've got to believe that you will succeed! Never admit defeat as long as time and effort remain. Our greatest asset is patience; our greatest weakness is throwing in the towel. Banish discouragement and feelings of impossibility by working hard, doing more, and not giving in! A diamond was only made beautiful after millions of years as a lump of coal.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Red Pepper Spread

I think I hinted at having lots of lovely red bell peppers to use in canning. As chance would have it, I used the Roasted Red Bell Pepper Spread from the Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving. Fantastic book with loads of great recipes. Not sure how I feel about this particular one, because it requires red wine vinegar, a full 1.5 cups of it. Highly vinegary recipes are not my favorite, so we'll see how I like it. I hope it turns into a spread rather than a sauce. ;)

Given my dislike for some of the pickled stuff, I think I will just try to freeze the red peppers I have left & eat as much as I can in the meantime.

Made Smitten Kitchen's Blueberry Crumb Bars. They've been a hit so far, so I hope the Master Gardeners Group I made them for likes them too.

Onward to the next reading project....

Saturday, August 02, 2008

quoting and red bell peppers

Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man. Sir Francis Bacon

Just because I like the quote, I thought I'd share.

Found red bell peppers for 2.99 a pound and they are delicious looking. So I brought a lot of them, felt guilty about spending the money, looked for canning recipes & lo & behold, found TWO. So I went back & brought MORE red bell peppers.

I'm going to make (and can) roasted red pepper spread and Pickled Roasted Red Peppers. Will use that lovely white wine that I got at a local wine tasting too, because they always say to use the best ingredients possible. I love that wine, and now I will have a chance both to cook with it & to drink it too. ;)

I promise not to drink it before I go out to paint the garage, however.