Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pickling Lemon Cucumbers – spears and slices


I’ve been a busy woman lately. The lemon cucumbers have been prolific around here…

And aren’t they gorgeous all quartered, salted, and ready to be pickled?


I thought so.


I chose another recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving:

Pick-a-Vegetable Dill Pickles (page 16) for all of you who might have the book or be interested in what this beautiful goodness actually is…


Garlic, jalapeƱo, red bell pepper, and dill seeds. It smelled heavenly!


Yeah, this makes mama happy.


And while I was busy in the kitchen, my sweet boy was out picking figs. Fig preserves, anyone?


These are the slices – absolutely perfect for a sandwich, if I do say so myself.

Just look at that big guy up there! Most laid flat, but I wanted you to see this one.

They are admittedly a little seedy, but I didn’t let that stop me. Nobody is perfect.


And these are the spears… or wedges, is more like it.

These are the most beautiful pickles I’ve ever canned. Lemon cucumber dill pickles – a new favorite is born.

There’s just something about those stripes that does it for me.


And just so you know, the figs are beyond delicious… words fail me. Fig preserves will be happening soon.


In case you’re wondering how I keep my littlest one entertained while I can…


We have lots and lots of puzzles…


And lots and lots of breaks!

Monday, July 26, 2010

No better way to start the day


Pancakes, butter, REAL maple syrup, and all natural bacon… this is my favorite breakfast.

I must admit that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. So much so, that sometimes I serve it up regardless of the time of day.  We all love grits and eggs, and they’re so easy to whip up on a day where maybe I haven’t had as much kitchen time as I would have liked. Served with a bowl of fresh fruit or a couple of tomato slices, we have a balanced meal in minutes. Omelets with fresh spinach and cheese is another favorite. And no one ever complains when I serve breakfast. So, I’m thinking we all have a serious love affair with the meal.

Wishing you many good breakfasts throughout the week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sweet little Emilie is home!


I am beyond excited to tell you that Emilie is finally at home where she belongs. We were able to visit today and love on that sweet baby girl and her precious big brother (who is turning 3 this week). All is right with our world today. Thank you, Lord!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My final summer harvest…


And, honestly, I can’t complain. I pulled in a wagon load (literally) of Sugar Baby watermelons, Amish melons (cantaloupe), and lemon cucumbers today.


It. Was. So. Hot.


Beyond hot. I’ve lived in Alabama my whole life, so I’m accustomed to the heat and humidity which might suffocate others.


This is different. Record breaking heat (as if our summers aren’t hot enough!)


My poor plants are withering in the garden.


So, I picked all that I could, and we’ll be tilling the garden under this weekend. Giving up the fight.


But, not before we enjoy a few Green Zebra tomatoes.


And some more eggplants, red bell peppers, and Yellow Jubilee tomatoes.

You know you’re in trouble when the eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers can’t take the heat!

I’m starting to plan my fall garden… and I’m dreaming of cooler days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes… YUM!


These tomatoes are not only beautiful, they’re delicious!

The plants are slow to produce fruit, and they don’t set lots of fruit, but they have been an enjoyable detour from my old standby – Homestead tomatoes. I must say, I’m happy to have them… remember this?


I’ve been enjoying them on grilled cheese sandwiches.


Grilled to perfection with a bit of butter in the skillet… sigh.

I know what I’m having for lunch!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lunchtime favorite


We eat a lot of sandwiches for lunch around here. And we don’t mind it one bit.

Especially when there are fresh tomato and cucumbers from the garden. That’s a Yellow Jubilee tucked between those slices of whole grain bread. Along with a bit of organic ham and lettuce (which I had to purchase from the store because it’s entirely too hot for growing lettuce around here), this is my favorite lunchtime treat. I usually pull out all the stuff and let my kids build their own. There’s almost always cheese involved. I would have a slice on my own sandwich, but the little people enjoyed the last two pieces on their sandwiches.

Some days, I make bacon and eggs for a change of pace, and we have BLT’s or bacon and egg sandwiches. Some days we’re in the mood for simple peanut butter and jelly. Each of us prefers a different jam or jelly. I’m a blackberry jam kind of girl, while my son loves apple jelly, and my daughter simply must have strawberry jam. There are also days when we get a little crazy and have tuna or chicken salad sandwiches. Sandwiches are a staple on my lunchtime table, especially during busy canning and gardening days. And we don’t mind it one bit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finally… eggplants and okra!


In this crazy heat, these are probably the last of the peas we’ll get. These southern peas stand up to the heat better than your regular garden variety green pea. The beans around here have been long gone. I’m trying to talk the hubs into tilling that part of the garden under this weekend. We’ll be planting our fall garden in a few more weeks.


On a happier note, I picked my first Cherokee Purple and Yellow Jubilee tomatoes this morning. Beautiful!


I think a roasted chicken is in order for dinner tonight…


Smeared with olive oil, garlic, dried herbs, and coarse sea salt. I roast the organ meats right alongside the chicken (it helps to leave them in the cavity so they won’t be overcooked), and I slip them into casseroles with the leftover chicken. They're good for you. And this is pretty much the only way I can get my family to eat them.


This makes me happy.


Check out this gorgeous Brandywine tomato… and there’s a Yellow Jubilee hiding beneath it.

There are also chili peppers, Cajun bells, and red bell peppers in there.


I don’t fry very often (no more than a few times per year actually – makes too big a mess and we prefer healthier ways to cook), but the first okra and eggplant of the season insist upon it.


And fried green tomatoes. Sigh. Cooking doesn’t get any more southern than this, folks.

I slice and soak my veggies in buttermilk for about five minutes, and bread them with cornmeal seasoned with a little salt and pepper.

So delicious!


Some steamed yellow squash thrown in for good measure…


And a succulent roasted chicken.

Life is good, people!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


2010-07-08 16.52.48

As I write this post at 7:20pm with the sun setting across the pond behind me, it’s still a blistering 96 degrees here.


And, the humidity makes it unbearable to be outside even early or late in the day. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t checked on my garden at all in the last several days. I’ll certainly be making an early morning harvest in the morning and checking on the state of things. Personally, I wouldn’t hold it against my plants if they wilted in this heat. I can’t bear up under it.

A friend of mine summed up my feelings pretty well the other day. She said that if the guy who invented air-conditioning were still alive, and he needed a kidney, she’d give him one of hers. Yep. Me, too!

Like Maybelline, I’ve got my sights set on October.

***I wrote this post yesterday evening. I’m very happy to report that we just had a nice little downpour which cooled us off significantly. Yay!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Someone had a birthday this weekend!


How is it that my firstborn is 9 years old? Precious time passes so quickly these days…


He’s poised to make his birthday wish and blow out the candles.


He told me he got EVERYTHING he wanted. My sweet boy. I do love you, so.


Slip and slide fun!


It’s tradition. We do this crazy thing every year. No one complains.


My precious parents. Mom and Dad, thank you for everything... I appreciate you so much more now that I am a mom myself.


I caught my Dad and brother sneaking a cast or two. Can you blame them? Nope.


My oldest and dearest friend, Kellie, came with her husband and sweet niece Carly. She and Sara Lynn were fast friends.


A good time was had by all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Please pray for baby Emilie


It wasn’t long after I took these pictures of baby Emilie that she was diagnosed with a digestive disorder. She remains in the hospital at this point, but we are hopeful that her condition will resolve on it’s own. It’s been hard on her mama to leave her behind, and to only be able to visit for short periods, but I’m praying that very soon this ordeal will be but an unpleasant memory and little Emilie will be at home where she belongs.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Emilie Madison


I have a new niece. And she’s absolutely perfect. I’ve got to go now… and kiss those sweet baby toes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

So, she still sews…


Yeah, but not very often this time of year. Summer is for digging in the dirt. For being outside as often as possible.

For picnics. And camping. And swimming. And canning.


But when the need-to-sew bug bites, who am I to ignore it?


I started making these little potholders as practice for quilting. I’ve wanted to make a quilt for a long time.


But, the whole process seems so intimidating to me. I’m a small project kind of girl.

I love to whip up Sara Lynn an outfit in an afternoon. I’m not so big on those non-instant-gratification-projects.


I purchased the fabric for my first quilt well over a year ago… maybe even 2 years ago. Time to bite the bullet.


And break out the handy-dandy walking foot.


It wasn’t so bad after all.


Except for that darning foot. Little bugger.

No matter how hard I practiced, I was simply awful at free-motion quilting. (As evidenced in the bottom potholder above.)

Oh, well. I guess that means my quilt will have nice little symmetrical lines. That appeals to me. What a relief!