Thursday, August 30, 2012

Family Visit in Summer 2012


That is what it has been the past few weeks.

Crazy busy and crazy nice to have family come visit.

My Sister visited a few weeks ago and then a few days later my folks came up from Texas.

This is what we did.

Went for walks around the block. 
Around our block is a 45 minute excursion at a brisk pace.

But, you can enjoy the scenery and make a few friends along the way.

A word of caution... 

When you come to visit family on a farm or homestead you end up working.

Pitted the mother-load of cherries.

Pops busy poppin' pits.

Canned them.

The apples were starting to fall again and they are a bit tangy so...

Apple butter is the product. 

Had to can it too.

Mom busy slice'n-n-dice'n.

Did a ton of shopping.

Had dined every nite on the deck and had food cooked on the grill. 

Deer and bird watching from the deck (throw in one black-bear). 

My sister is moving back to Texas :-(      BOO!
I will so so so miss her being only 4 hours drive away but, they will be happier back inthe sun and heat, close to family (minus one).
We helped her pack up.

And I spent time soaking in my niece while I could.


She did this "scrunchy face" thing. She scrunched her face up like she was gonna bawl and  would try and try to force a cry but wouldn't. Right between grins.

I cant say that I didn't cry a little when I put her down for her nap before we left.

my fam in the willamette valley, oregon

We got back and took a ride on the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad before the folks returned to Texas.

It was a nice day. A relaxing train ride.


They practically stopped the train along the river valley so that folks can take in the mountain view.

We did the BBQ ride with BBQ by Mineral Lake. The lake view wasn't spectacular. They needed to clear off some of the vegetation for a good lakeside view. I thought the BBQ meal was really good. 

mom at the lake

Miss you fambily!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Zucchini Bread For Ian

 So, this spring I purchased one zucchini plant.
This one zucchini plant turned into a three foot mound.
So far, I have harvested over 16 pounds of this monstrosity.

This is one of my recipes.
I call this one "Zucchini  Bread For Ian" because Ian likes it.

Zucchini Bread For Ian

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
One teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
2 cups raw unpeeled zucchini shredded, tightly packed

In a mixing bowl beat sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, apple butter, and vanilla together until smooth.
Mix in remaining dry ingredients just until moistened.
Stir in zucchini.
Pour batter into loaf pan and bake at 350° for about  1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes.\
Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool a bit more before serving.
Store in refrigerator. I wrap mine up in parchment and put in a "Ziploc" bag.

Photo: Ian ate--and LIKED -- zucchini bread! And here's the pic to prove it! :oD
Ian (photo by Kellie Young - used with permission)

Blogfest Favorite

Bench with Pops

This time I had tons of fun with my good 'ole Pops, making a bench for the $2 table.

The Chicken Chick

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2 dollar table

Well, not really $2.

We had to go and buy some glue - that was $2.

Anyway... now that the deck is finished, we have been enjoying dining Al-fresco. Our kitchen table has been re-located to the deck while we look for on sale patio furniture deals.

$150 bucks for a flimsy table and then another $150 for 2 chairs - not our idea of a good deal.

So, I was thinking about furniture and it HIT me! We can make a table out of the salvaged cedar floor boards. It will be rustic, and pretty.

We decided on a size to fit up to 6 adults and got to work. It only took 3 days. Most of the time was waiting for glue and finish to dry. The assembly and cutting was only a few hours really.

All the materials (except the glue) we already had on hand.
Salvaged flooring for the top, frame and support.
Left over 2x4 scraps from the deck and salvages 2x3 scraps from the wood shelter for the leg supports.
An extra landscape post for the legs.
Leftover wood-screws from the deck for assembling.
one canister of outdoor liquid nails for the glue ($2)

Photo timeline of the build:

Now onto the chairs?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Girl Time

So excited that my sister came to spend some time with me this past weekend!
She brought her husband and baby Brooklyn of course. (Her blog)
But, she and the baby stayed a few days while her hubby went to go to meetings up north.

We cooked out, went "into town", painted nails and just had plain ole girl-time. Nice!

Enjoy photos and a video from the visit.
Oh, family... these are low-res. If you want full-resolution copies, let me know and I can email them to you.

My Sis and Brooklyn

My Baby - check out the nails courtesy aunt A.

A B&W of the photo above

OMG Why is this SOOOO GOOD? - Grilled pizza!

Feet (no sound)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beef-Zucchini Italienne

A family Recipe by Fannie Ruth Sanderson Tenney

Zucchini season in here and there are SO many great recipes out there on the blog-sphere.

I debated what to do with my first harvest of the season. Well, the firsts went onto the grill to accompany some smoked ribs when my sister and her family visited this past weekend.

The next few were dreaming of going into a favorite - zucchini bread - oh yum!

Fannie Ruth Sanderson (circa 1900)

Instead, I remembered an old family recipe and thought it better fitting to use them in my dear, late, great grandmothers' recipe "Beef Zucchini Italienne".

I love the simplicity of this recipe. Using ingredients that most folks have around in the fridge and pantry, it is easy to throw together. I imagine this would be just as great using sauteed eggplant in place of zucchini.

My dear great-grandmother (Gommy) was born in Louisiana in the 1890's and lived 102 beautiful years.
She grew up among 7 older siblings on a farm.

I miss her dearly and am honored to have had the opportunity to know her and to share a little bit of her life with you.

Here is how she wrote down her recipe.

Gommy's Original recipe

3 tbsp butter
5-6 small zucchini (about 2 lbs)
3 tbsp flour
1 lb ground beef
1 (20 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1/2 green pepper chopped
1/2 tsp basil, chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, melt butter and blend in flour to make a rue. Add the rest of the Ingredients except zucchini and cheese. Cook on medium for 8- 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice zucchini thinly (do not peel) and parboil 2-3 minutes, drain well. Arrange zucchini in 9x9 baking dish and pout the meat mixture over it. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes. Serves 4

My Modifications.

I forgot how delish fresh parboiled zucchini tasted. I love it!
My recipe is basically the same.
My method was changed to make it easier to make the sauce. (I haven't gotten the hang of making rue.)

2 tbsp butter** (or Smart Balance if you need to cut cholesterol)
2 large zucchini (about 2-3 lbs) Sliced into 1/8 inch thick medallions.
3 tbsp flour
1 lb ground beef
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (that's what I had and it was still good)
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper (optional)
1/3 cup diced onion or green onion (if green onions use the tops and bottoms)
1/2 tsp basil chopped (dry or fresh)
1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I added more 'cause I love cheese!)
salt and pepper to taste

10 inch skillet
large saucepan
9x9 casserole dish

Place the sliced zucchini in the saucepan and cover with water. Bring zucchini to boil over medium high heat. Cook till just tender (about 3-5 minutes after boil).
Meanwhile, in the large skillet, over medium heat, brown the beef.
Add the onion (and green pepper) and cook till tender about 5 minutes.
Add the butter & flour and mix to coat the beef mixture evenly. Add the diced tomato's and basil. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the beef mixture.Stir for about 5 -10 minutes. It will thicken to make a sauce.
Remove from heat.  Drain zucchini* and layer the medallions evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.
Spread the beef mixture over the zucchini and top evenly with the cheese.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Let cool for 10 minutes and serve. Serves 4-6.

You might want to pat the zucchini, after boiling them, them with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to get the excess moisture out if you don't want the bottom a bit soupy. Depends on the juiciness of the zucchini. Mine were really juicy but, I don't mind cause in the summer it tastes great!

**I found that the butter is optional if you make it using my method becasue I dont make the traditional rue.
This can really help make the dish less calories and lower in cholesterol especially if you use a very lean meat or vegan meat substitute.