Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bacon-Fried Bananas

That's right. Good Sunday morning! I wanted bacon immediately following Mass this morning, and couldn't bring myself to eat only bacon for breakfast. I didn't want eggs, though, so i decided on the world's easiest and best instant grits. I ain't got time--or skills--for slow grits and Quaker does a pretty good job with instant! So I decided I'd do grits with a bit of bacon grease and a crumbled piece of bacon and that's when I remembered a post my step sister put on Instagram yesterday. A post that inspired this:

Beth, one of my crafty and talented step sisters, is constantly cooking up something amazing and unique. She manages to feed her family of four with whole, clean, yummy, and marvelously concocted meals and I want to take a cooking class at her house. I'd settle for a menu-planning and grocery shopping class at this point. Yesterday she put up a lovely picture of bananas fried in bacon grease. Whaaat? Yes, I'm trying that soon, I thought! It promptly left my head till this morning when my grits-and-grease plan came together.

look at that caramelized banana. sweet & salty goodness!

This is our at-home Sunday brunch. As much as I enjoy a Bloody Mary at such a meal, this morning I was great need of more coffee, so I added pumpkin pie spice to the Peet's in our Keurig filter basket and it was fantastic.

Now I'm ready for all the things I have to do today. What a list it is! But first I must burn off some of this calorie craziness!

Going for a run,


Friday, September 26, 2014

Apple Pie & Baseball

No, there is nothing more American!

These two proverbial pastimes made my afternoon. I got to listen to my Nationals shut out the Marlins (thereby also taking first place in the National League and winning home field advantage for the playoffs next week!) and bake with apples I picked with my good friend Kailey on Wednesday. There's a fantastic, tiny orchard around the corner from my neighborhood and I noticed they had a "U PICK!" sign out front. Then she invited me to visit the orchard and pick apples with the moms group she's in so I went, and we picked about 15 pounds each. We spent that morning in the honeycrisps, which are super yummy, and it was such a fun way to spend the morning. We definitely went back today. There's an apple extravaganza planned for next week--we have big plans for pies and apple butter and apple cocktails and anything else we can pin! Meanwhile, I had to try making something today.

I had originally planned to pickle my cucumbers, but I needed to run the jars through the dishwasher. So, while I waited on that to finish, I couldn't resist starting on some apple pie. A test run, if you will (or impatience, whatever. call it what you want). I also had some Pilsbury pie crust (don't judge me) in the fridge in its last days so I needed to get rid of it.

So I made pies. Plural, 'cause they're mini! I cut out dough with my Salty Dog Cafe glass and made tiny pies with tiny leaf cutouts made from extra dough.

I used this filling recipe from which was simple and smelled amazing. I even made my own brown sugar (1 T of molasses to 1 cup of granulated sugar, then measure & use according to your brown sugar needs)! Since I didn't use her crust recipe I guessed and baked at 425 for 23 minutes. A taste test will tell if I need to post some adjustments. I shall let you know.



Picking apples reminded me of when we were kids and used to go in the fall. Being in the apple trees reminded me of being back in Virginia, where Winchester rivals the North West's apple growing. Orchards make me happy! Eating apple pie reminds me I do like Autumn!

Oh, and I did also finish making pickles. I'll post that later this weekend.

Off to do dishes,





Thursday, September 25, 2014

Trick or Treat!

Here's a treat. I found loads of fun Halloween themed fabric at Joann's yesterday, and it was all 30% off. I found a bunch more at Hancock this morning, but I neeeed to finish one thing at a time. I cannot go to the fabric store with a head full of potential projects--it's like going to the grocery store hungry. I needed orange thead. I may or may not have left with more that that...

The trick is that it's already FALL. Already?! Really? Okay, not going to lie: I like fall. It's just that I like summer so much more, but we've been over that. It's apple picking time! Pumpkin baking time! Potato gleaning time (you'd understand if you lived here). The leaves are turning and nights are getting cooler, red wines come out and Sam Adams & Shiner have put out their Oktoberfest offerings. I might add that New Belgium is peddling their Pumpkick again, and it's even better this year! Autumn is good. "Life starts over again," as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "when it gets crisp in the fall." (Oddly enough it's 88 here in the eastern end of Idaho, but it'll be crisp soon.)

While I refuse to start Halloween decorating or purchasing fun Halloween stuff a minute before October 1st, I found myself in Joann's and suddenly got it in my mind that I should make cute aprons to sell in my mom's shop with this fabric. It turns out I didn't remember how much fabric I needed for said aprons, so when I bought some spontaneously (read: I need want to buy something!) I didn't buy enough. See how it's dangerous to go to the fabric store without a set purpose?

So, with this fabric I made my good friend's three-year-old chickadee a skirt. I am adoring this tutorial on MADE! A couple years back I sewed three in one day, which is a monumental feat for me, Mrs. Lazy Bones Afraid-to-Start Procrastinator. Three. In an afternoon. Which is how easy these are!

I wish this photo showed the skirt as dark as the black fabric actually is. Oh well. I just love the little candy! It's glittery, too. Cuteness.

Happy Fall,Y'all,



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Summer Time


...and the livin's easy! well, for me anyway. School's out, work's done, and flowers are planted.

the living isn't so easy for this little gal. just look at that load--check out all that pollen! back to the hive she goes, and then off again for another load. she just visited my cosmos, and i hope she'll be back. I'd really like a visit to my tomatoes. pollenation keeps everyone happy!

i'm so fascinated by these little bugs. they work so hard, know so much, and have so much to give. they are so amazing! I read a book last summer called Robbing the Bees, written by Holley Bishop, that is one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. It has a little bit of history, a little bit of personal narrative, and a lot of teaching. makes me want to buy some Tupelo honey (and a hive of my own)! you should check it out if you haven't and are remotely interested in bees, beekeeping, or something good to read.

Buzzing off,



Friday, March 28, 2014

Blackberry Morning

Good morning! In this indecisive season of March (65 tuesday, snow yesterday, cold today), I have had enough of winter mode. I found a muffin recipe a few weeks ago on Pinterest that I had to try. I started to make them last Saturday for breakfast, but ran out of time. How do I always think there's more time than there is? This morning there is plenty of time. It's my last weekday morning off and it's an off Friday for my fella (I love this schedule of every other Friday off!), so we get a free day together. Muffins that taste like summer are the best way to start such a day.

The recipe was for blueberry jam muffins, and their photo looks fantastic. They are blueberry with blueberry jam & lemon zesty sugar topping. This berry and citrus combination is something I've always enjoyed, and when I think of the colors of blueberry & lemon I have to smile. It's so so summery and fresh, no? I have been thinking about those muffins ever since I pinned them, but with no time to make them. I haven't baked since Christmas. What?!

Alas, I have no blueberries. Nor a lemon. But there is a handful of blackberries (frozen, but from the new Natural Grocers store that just opened in town! They'll do) and a handful of raspberries (frozen too, but I picked them at my friend Mary's house last summer to round out a super fun quintessential summer day). I rather enjoy when I find I have exactly the amount of something I need. I needed two cups and had a cup of each. So I made these muffins and just ate one with a full cup of hot, uninterrupted coffee and I'm a happy girl.

I adapted the recipe from Damn Delicious, and am looking forward to baking them just as she instructs in the very near future. In the meantime, my muffins have raspberries inside and blackberry jam on top. Sprinkled with a little bit of sugar, they've got such a good light crunch on the top. Yum.

You can find the original recipe for the blueberry muffins here. To make my Raspberry Muffins with Blackberry Jam Topping, I used one cup of blackberries for the first step (making the "jam") and one cup of raspberries for the batter.

And so I start my day with a tiny taste of summer. These muffins reminded me of a raspberry jam from last summer that I made. I am very, very much looking forward to doing that again soon. Not soon enough. I hope you have a fun Friday, and are staying warm wherever you are. Has it stopped snowing back East yet?!


With summery thoughts,


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Break

I just went for a run in shorts and a T-shirt. short sleeves! It is 65 degrees at the moment, and I decided to take advantage of the sunny, warm afternoon. I started out for a quick out-and-back that would have been about a 1/2 hour, then decided once I was out there that going back would be a waste of weather. It snowed this time last week, and it's supposed to be miserable on Thursday, so I needed to take in all I could.

While I was out there I saw a flock of new, tiny, black lambs and their mommas, got hit with a bug (the deep freeze is over!), and spied so many teensy buds on tree branches. I had to go around a parked landscape truck in two different places, and can smell the burn of the farmers clearing the canals of overgrown, dead grass and leaves. We're a week into spring and I'm getting teased by the indecisiveness of March. It generally makes me crazy waiting and wondering when warm is going to start and finally continue until further notice, but I've started to take it as it comes and try really hard to not worry about tomorrow's forecast while I enjoy today.

Including a full glorious hour in the garden just before putting on my running shoes, I've been outside for two hours straight. With no coat. Or hat. YAY! I weeded, hung out with the cats as they patrolled the fence line, and took a count of rhubarb buds and leaves. TWENTY SEVEN! If I can remember to do it, I'm going to take a picture daily of the plant and see what it looks like growing in time lapse. Two days ago there were 25; it's taking off! We'll see how it goes.

So, day two of spring break. Warm or not, I don't have to get up early, I'm drinking hot coffee, and I don't have any lesson plans to write. It is nice. Hope you're having a great week and a taste of warmer days!

with open windows,



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Real, Good, Slow Food

We went to dinner with a friend from Charleston tonight.  Rob and he worked together in South Carolina and are still with the same company, but he's in Pittsburgh now and we're here in Idaho.  This gentleman came out for work--he's Management now--to see "The Site," as it's locally known, and learn what goes on out here, as some of the Idahoans do when they go inspect East occasionally.  Anyway, we've been planning on dinner out with him for some time now, and weren't sure where to take him.  We noticed a new restaurant several weeks ago, and wondered how it was.  It looked great, but unique and interesting restaurants don't really happen in this town.  There's the clever and refreshing Snake Bite Restaurant and the fancy, date-night Cellar, but that's it for interesting here.  Tonight we decided to try this new place with the modern sign and hip web page (and two terrific Yelp reviews!).

We came from Charleston, a town with more James Beard Award winners per capita than anywhere ever (that might be not quite right, but it cannot be far off the mark), and I miss good food so much.  I have a thing for food that was thought about, really and truly cooked with love, with ingredients that are appreciated and enjoyed, and served by happy, attentive and vouching waitstaff.  I am not a snob, or a foodie, or an afficianado of any sort--i can't even spell afficianado--but i LOVE food that is good.  I especially like food that is good that was raised and grown here.  I like a glass of wine, a conversation, laughs, some stunning food, flavor I can't stop thinking about, and someone who genuinely wants to know if we're enjoying the meal.  I like when my food makes me think, this is it.  this is where i want to be, doing this.  This was my dinner tonight.

Who knew this town had Tapas?!  It does.  Fried goat cheese with cracked-pepper honey.  Chorizo-stuffed jalapeno poppers.  Sea salt fingerling potatoes (local, of course, and purple!), bacon wrapped dates, crab cakes.  Oh my.

Good conversation, laughter, and catching up ensue.  We have a third good restaurant.  One I won't see in another town, on any other day.  It is going to be something that makes us who we are, a town with a personality and a fight for what's good and what's important.  Somewhere we can visit, enjoy and contribute to what's local and good.  We'll be back!