Thursday, July 31, 2008

New recipes

I have tried a couple new recipes this week and both turned out to be keepers. I found both of them on this AWESOME blog I stumbled across!! If you love to cook, you will quickly mark this blog as a favorite!

I found it because I was searching for Ratatouille recipes. Leah has the movie and it is really cute. After watching the movie, Jason asked me what ratatouille was and if I could make it. I had never made it but wanted to try it out. Every recipe I've ever seen for it looked like a mushy mess so I was curious if Remy's (the rat from the movie) recipe was actually real. We had eggplant and zucchini from the garden so it was the perfect opportunity to try it out. You can find the recipe here. Let me just say it is 1. Beautiful and 2. Yummy! Mine didn't turn out quite as beautiful as hers but she probably didn't have a 4 year old helping her! It was delicious though.

There are lots and lots of recipes I want to try from smittenkitchen but so far I've only had time to try the Ratatouille and her version of huevos rancheros. It is SO good and SO easy! I had garden fresh tomatoes and onions to make the salsa.....oooohh my!! I did not have a jalapeno so I just put several dashes of green tabasco.
The next night, I had some leftover salsa & black beans so I mixed them together...cooked a couple of ears of corn and cut them off the cob then added that to the salsa/bean mixture. I cooked up some hamburger and seasoned it.....threw in some cheddar cheese....topped it with sour cream.....fried up some corn tortillas and voila.......dinner was served! Jason said they were the best tacos he's had! They were delicious and super easy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gifts from the Heart

I have always loved the idea of homemade gifts and have only recently decided that I could probably make some gifts from the heart myself. It is completely satisfying to make something with your own hands and then wrap it up to give to someone you care about. My only problem is that I have had SO many occasions this year that the gifts have been last minute creations, unfinished but gifted anyway, not even started so had to buy a gift or still frantically working on.

Let's see....I had my twin nephews' 1st birthday in February and they got these.

A second cousin had her first baby in February so Mom and I made this blanket for them.

A cousin had a baby girl in May so she got this.

Two nieces had May birthdays. One turned 14 so I figured she'd rather have something from the store. (I have something homemade in mind for her for Christmas.) The other turned 3 so she got these.

Mother's Day was in May also. I got a crazy idea just a couple of weeks before to make table quilts for Mom and my Mother-in-law. I had fabric in my stash to make Mom's, so quickly got it pieced then tried my hand at machine can definitely tell I'm a beginner! I didn't get the binding on but gave it to her anyway (it's back in my closet waiting for me to finish). I didn't make it very far on my Mother-in-law's.....I went to the fabric store and found the perfect fabrics for her but just ran out of time. It is still on the list!

A niece and Leah had birthdays in June. My niece wanted a Wii game so that took the pressure off for her! I really wanted to finish Leah's quilt for her 4th birthday but didn't get it done. Maybe for her 5th....?? The only homemade gift she got was this shirt.

The current gift is for my cousin who is expecting her first child (a boy) any day now! The baby shower was over a month ago...(missed that deadline)....her due date was 4 days ago...(missed that deadline too)! I have been frantically knitting trying to get it finished at least before he's a year old but just managed to get halfway through it today! I have spent many hours on is taking a lot longer than I expected. The good news is that it is knit from corner to corner so at least the rows will get one stitch shorter with every row I finish!! Don't get me wrong...I still have a long. way. to. go. I love it though. I love the shade of blue and I love the pattern. It is very simple....garter stitch all the way with a nice, simple eyelet around the edge. To me, it says "Boy"!

These are the gifts that have been (or soon will be) crossed off my list. The "to make" list is much longer and I can't wait to get more of these gifts from the heart into the hands of my loved ones!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No dish pan hands for me!

I have no idea what I'd do without a dishwasher. I put everything in the dishwasher....even things that I'm not supposed to. If I absolutely have to hand wash something, it will sit in the sink for a while and that is a huge pet peeve of mine - dishes in the sink. When a meal is over in this house, the dishes get put in the dishwasher immediately. The counter and sink are cleaned. Period. I can't stand a dirty kitchen. BUT....hand washing dishes throws me for a loop. Example...I made zucchini bread (which, by the way, I have an awesome recipe for) on Monday. I normally put the loaf pans and mixing bowls in the dishwasher but since the dishwasher was already full and running I put them in the sink with some hot, soapy water. I thought, "Surely I can get 2 loaf pans and 1 mixing bowl washed!" Nope. Tuesday morning I woke up and they were still there. I drained the now ice cold water and added more hot, soapy water. They sat there all day. This is Wednesday and I JUST NOW WASHED THEM!! They have been sitting in the sink since MONDAY!!! The crazy thing is that it took me maybe 3 minutes to wash them.

I have more zucchini that needs to be used and would like to make a couple more loaves of bread to put in the freezer. I better make sure the dishwasher is available before I start that again!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Animal anatomy, wiener roast and turtles

A recap of our weekend at the farm. Friday morning the vet came to work the calves. This was Leah's first experience with this and as usual she was very interested and very attentive. She asked lots of questions and we gave her honest answers. When Mom came home from work that afternoon, she asked Leah what she had done all day. Leah answered, "I picked flowers....and the vet came and gave the calves shots and put medicine in their eyes and cut out their testicles." Well asked!

We had a wiener roast Friday night. It was a beautiful evening and was fun to sit outside on the picnic table and watch Leah roast marshmallows. I lost count of how many she actually ate versus the ones that oozed off the stick before she made it back to the table! She had so much fun and wanted to "fry" hot dogs again the next night.

Leah found this box turtle in the yard. We kept him contained for a little while...long enough for Daddy and Papa to come in from the hayfield to see her treasure. She was reluctant to let him go but we finally convinced her it was best. It was reminiscent of my childhood days when an exciting day consisted of my brother, sister and I finding a box turtle and keeping it as our pet for a day or two. That's what I love about the farm....innocence.

The perfect dress

The only prerequisite for a perfect dress according to Leah.

It must be twirly!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crazy for chickens

The chicks are now all at the farm in the milk barn which we have turned into our chicken coop. The broilers are being kept separate because they grow faster, eat A LOT more, poop A LOT more and are in general pretty nasty. The pullets on the other hand are not messy at all and since they will be our "pets" we spend more time with them. They have all grown so much. I had not seen them for 5 days and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw them Friday night. They are entering that awkward "teenage" stage where feathers are growing in some areas and I think most people would say they are a bit ugly. I think they are lovely. They have such sweetness in their eyes when they look at you. I find my fondness for these birds quite strange because....I DO NOT like birds. Actually, that's not true....I am scared of birds. I love to watch them. It's so much fun to have feeders and baths out for the wild birds or to watch someones pet bird in their cage, but put a bird on me and I'll freak out! I don't want to hold, touch or be a perch for any bird....and I certainly don't want to take a shower with one (my sister Stephanie put one of their parrots in the shower with me one time while I was visiting at their house...can you say "FREAKED OUT"!!!) My craziness for these chickens is very baffling considering my bird phobia, but I really am loving these birds!

Here they are roosting. These girls are very advanced because everything I've read says they won't really start to roost until about 6 weeks but to give them starter roosts so they get used to the idea. I think they've got the idea!

This is Honey

and this is Sweetie-Pie.

I know, I're saying to yourself "They look like the same chicken." Well, Leah and I can tell the difference.

Leah loves to tend to her animals. Here she is giving the girls a treat from the garden.

She has such gentle hands for a 4 year old and the chickens seem to know that. They aren't afraid of her at all. She can reach down with one hand, slide it under them and lift them onto her lap.

Sometimes, they don't even wait for an invitation!