Friday, May 28, 2010

The thing about summer...

While the rest of the country is enjoying the first tastes of local produce after the long cold winter, we're winding up the commercial growing season here in Florida.

This was our first year of belonging to a CSA and it was wonderful. Sweetwater Farm is a local (well, Tampa), organic community farm and I was delighted with the quality and quantity of food we got. We joined with a group of three other families, all with young kids, and the amount of food was just about perfect. Next year only three of us are in, so we ought to be swimming in fresh carrots, lettuce, kale and radishes by next January. Hopefully, supplemented by our homegrown tomatoes and herbs.

So, eat up Florida! The Florida blueberry crop is great this year, as are the local cantaloupes and the delicious Florida corn. By July all you'll be able to get is stuff brought in from elsewhere. Unless you need some scotch bonnet peppers. Then I can hook you up from our garden.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

So. Tired.

Three almost-sleepless nights in a row. Anders still running a small fever, so although he's got plenty of energy, no school until he's fever-free. I'm guessing he won't go at all this week, which is fine. If only he'd sleep at night!

On the up side, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," the final book in the amazing Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy just shipped from Amazon. Can't wait to read it!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The cook is in the kitchen!

Mondays are usually a "me" day since Anders is in school in the morning. My day to clean up from the weekend, put things (i.e., toys) away, and run personal errands. However Anders has been pretty sick since early Sunday morning and so I've kept him home today with his high fever & stuffy nose. He's very lethargic too, rare for him, so I'm indulging him with some Disney while he lolls on the couch.

But, despite getting a total of about 4 hours of sleep since Saturday night, I am raring to go! It's a beautiful hot morning and I'm in the mood to get stuff DONE. So after I buzzed through my chores I turned my attention to the produce I have lingering around the house: some almost-too-ripe bananas; a bunch of tomatoes & scotch bonnet peppers; some plums & blackberries*. I'm making roasted banana ice cream using a cool new ice cream recipe that doesn't use a custard so no slaving over a stove praying that your egg yolks don't curdle. Then I threw together a plum & blackberry crisp. I can't wait to have this for dessert with some whipped cream. And then the kids can eat it for breakfast. And finally I made a humongous batch of salsa using green scotch bonnets from our garden. They've got a little more intensity than jalapeno, but a fruitier, crisper taste than if they were totally red/orange-ripe. I've never made salsa before, but this stuff BLOWS AWAY the jarred stuff. I can't wait to have it with some tortillas & guacamole for lunch. Or on quesadillas for dinner. Or as a side with some jerk pork later this week. Or as part of a seven-layer salad for Memorial Day. Or on a late night bunch of nachos with pepper jack. Yum yum.

Definitely got the creative cooking juices flowing today!

*Plums & blackberries being the odd man out in our fridge. Watermelon, cherries, cantaloupe, and blueberries are eaten almost as fast as I can unpack & wash them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eat mor chikn

Free chikn!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

St. Gaetanus

St. Gaetanus is the patron saint of job seekers (also an attorney, so apropos for our situation). We are praying non-stop. Mr. J is trying to keep his spirits up; he's had tons of first interviews. Just can't convert to second meetings or close the deal with an offer. We are fighting off the fear and anxiety, but it is hard. Some days harder than others.

Did I mention that after our torrential rain last night a huge crater opened up in the backyard? Nice timing, huh? It's definitely not a sinkhole (thank you Lord) but now we have to figure out what/why/how to fix. All things that take money. Yikes. Our landscaper, bless his heart, volunteered that it might be a leaking sewer line. I guess I should say some prayers to the patron saint of plumbing.

On the menu this week

  • Sauteed shrimp with carrots, squash, zucchini and thyme; yellow rice
  • Oven fried chicken, green beans, noodles, fennel and orange salad
  • Pancakes & sausage
  • Tuna melts on homemade English Muffins; summer chopped salad
  • Vegetarian pad thai
I've only one dessert planned: pavlova with lemon curd cream and strawberries. I might make some mint chocolate chip ice cream later this week, but we've got a lot going on: end-of-year meetings Mon, Tue. & Thurs. night.

Monday, May 17, 2010

There's going to be a floody, floody

Have you ever heard the super cute song "Rise & Shine" (aka Arky, Arky)? Anders' class put on a Noah's Ark play for their end of the year project and this was the highlight. Anders was an elephant (so funny, since he's the smallest boy in the class) and it was just great. What's that? You want pictures? Well, Mr. J was the photog for this event, so maybe in about 5 years he'll get his camera offloaded. He's terrible about that stuff.

Anyway, all so apropos today since it is POURING here. Good for the garden; good day to stay inside and chill, relax, laze. Or clean. I could clean.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ripe for the pickin'

One of the few benefits to Matt being home these days is that stuff is really getting done around here. Our yard is fenced about 60% of the way, curtains hung, and the backyard is looking awesome! In March we decided to put in a small vegetable garden that has since grown to be quite a good size.

The first of the tomatoes are just coming in. Talk about DELICIOUS. They're even better than the ones from the Farmer's Market (for some reason our CSA farm doesn't do tomatoes). Last night, in addition to a great grilled flat-iron steak, we had a wonderful yellow-boy tomato, sliced, sprinkled with fleur de sel, and served with buttered bread. Yummy! (Note to self: this would taste even better with homemade bread. Might be worth heating up the house one or two days a week.)

Plus we've got sproutlings/seedlings everywhere! In the next few weeks we'll have LOTS more tomatoes, including some little cherry tomatoes (homemade salsa anyone?), radishes, green onions, scotch bonnet peppers, pole beans, yellow squash, watermelon, cucumbers, cilantro, basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint, lemon balm, dill, chives and sunflowers! I can't believe we can actually grow all that stuff in our own backyard! If everything goes well, maybe we can even do lettuce and carrots one day and at that point we won't even need to belong to a CSA share anymore.

Plus, even though I truly dislike gardening, it's different when you can eat your work.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Who's your daddy?

There are two kinds of husbands*:

One that will, when told at 12:30 a.m. that there is a rustling, crackling, creepy sound coming from the corner of their darling daughter's bedroom, will grab a shoe, a roll of paper towels and a can of Raid and hunt mercilessly for the offending critter; a hunt that will only end when, to the relief of all concerned, proof-positive in the form of a corpse is presented and then unceremoniously thrown out the front door.


The other kind that will, when informed of the same scenario, poke around in the corners for 2 minutes and then declare that is was "just the window shade rustling from the ceiling fan."

* Honey, I love you no matter what you do.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Countdown to summer

22 more days of school! Woohooo!

Dagny adamantly refused to participate in any camps, Vacation Bible Schools, sports, classes or other organized activities this summer. Anders isn't quite ready for sports or lessons either (although he'll do swim classes and T-ball in the fall when he is 4, thus officially starting my life as a taxi cab mom. I'm glad Dags is pretty lazy low-key and I haven't had to drive around to too much yet.). So what's a Mama to do? We're ROAD TRIPPING!

First stop to see my BFF and her family in Atlanta to do some major catching up (we haven't been up in two long years!) Then on to Kansas to visit my BIL, SIL and their family on their farm, give the kids a taste of country life, learn how to milk goats, and stock up on homemade soap and jam. Woo! Then, from Kansas, we're driving to Denver for a few days for a mini-reunion with some of my sorority sisters! I haven't seen these ladies in about 20 years, so it will be a blast! 1H1W!

In between friends & family I'm hoping to do a bit of exploring and I know I'll enjoy checking out America from the driver's seat instead of from 30,000 feet up in the air. We were planning a stop in Nashville, but given the flooding we might pass. Definitely St. Louis for the Arch though and other than that, we're playing it by ear.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to the two special Moms in our lives:

Grandma J, Anders & I at Pisgah National Forest in 2007. Dagny took the pic.

My mom & I at Anders' baby shower in 2006.

We love you very much!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Squeee! Talbots giveaway!

Puttin' on the G.R.I.T.S. is hosting a giveaway for a Talbot's gift card! To enter I have to post a link to (one of) my favorite looks from their new collection. So hard to choose! I already posted the beaut green dress that I have to have, so I'm going to pick:

paisley crops! so cute with a crisp white shirt
straw tote! great size.
possibly the cutest one-piece I've seen in a while

Check out the Talbots' blog Red Chair Confessions! (Jenn - scroll down to check out the cool aqua cuff! I see you in that!)