Friday, July 31, 2009

Furlough Days

Today was another furlough day for Hubby. We stayed home and hung out. I worked in the yard a bit - tried to tame the rosemary. I don't love pruning rosemary, but I sure do smell good after. Then, I picked these. Can someone please tell me what I'm supposed to do with these? I've already canned about a dozen pints, we eat them every day, I make tons of fresh salsa, and I still have tomatoes. And this isn't counting our cherry tomatoes. Oh my word. Do we have cherry tomatoes.

And this evening after dinner we went on a walk. Missy Lou rode her little trike. She's too big for it, and doesn't really like riding it anyhow. She complained the whole way. And then, our cat Smokie came with us. She followed us all around the neighborhood, panting like a dog and getting harrassed by mocking birds. I have no idea why mocking birds like to harrass cats, but they're pretty brazen. It was a pretty nice evening for a walk - wasn't nearly as hot as it has been.

All in all, we had a pretty good day, just hanging out at home.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mini-vacation

Hubby's been having to take some furlough days this summer, so with this hot weather, we decided to head for the hills. He wanted to take a hike, so I figured I'd just take the kids up to Hume Lake and he could take his hike and we'd play in the water and he could join us when he was finished.
It worked really well. There's a beach on the opposite side of the lake from the camp. It's got nice, shallow water for quite a ways out and the kids had a ball. I sat under the shade of some pines and browsed through my magazine a bit, but mostly just watched the kids play and watched everyone else that was up there. There were a lot of people up there and I'd forgotten one of my favorite hobbies was people watching.
So, of course I critiqued swim-suits, eavesdropped on conversations that I was close enough to hear (there were that many people up there) and generally had a good time. Hubby joined us when he was done with his hike, and he'd had a good time doing that as well. About mid-afternoon we took a walk to the dam and then had dinner at Bear Mountain Pizza in Squaw Valley on the way home.


It was a very good day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hibernation

I definitely feel like I've been hibernating. It's been so hot this past week that I make the kids go outside and play in the morning and then by noon we draw the blinds, close everything up, turn on the air conditioner and... well... hibernate. It's not bad, really. I'm used to summers in the Valley and the air is so dry that it does get down to about 69 degrees by early morning, even when it's 105 degrees that afternoon. So, it's tolerable. But, it's still hot.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Preserving the Summer Bounty


This year I'm trying a new way to preserve zucchini. I'm making them into muffins and freezing them. The past couple years I'd run them through my food processor, portion them into ziploc bags and then freeze that. The problem with that is that then I'd still have to make the bread. And, zucchini doesn't freeze that great. It's ok, but it's very full of water and so when it freezes, the water comes out and makes the pulp really soupy. It's a lot easier to work with and makes better bread, in my opinion, when it's fresh. So, I got the brilliant idea to make the bread first and then freeze that. But, then I had the problem of having only two bread pans. Generally, this is not a problem, but I wanted to make like three batches of zucchini bread. And it takes an hour to bake. So, I paged through my handy dandy Betty Crocker Cookbook and discovered that you can make quick bread into muffins. It even gave cooking times and everything. So, I made three batches of zucchini muffins and they turned out really good. Only took me a couple of hours from start to finish, too. Now I can put them in the freezer and my kids have snack food for a while.

In the words of a famous American, "It's a good thing!"
PS: Here's the recipe, in case you're interested.
Zucchini Bread, makes 2 loaves
Ingredients:
3 cups shredded zucchini
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour (sometimes I'll put 1/2 of that in whole wheat, doesn't make a difference with the taste)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c raisens
Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans or muffin tins. Mix everything together. Divide among loaf pans or muffin tins. Bake 8" loaves 50-60 minutes, bake 9" loaves 1 hr. 10 minutes - 1 hr. 20 or bake muffins 15-20 minutes. (in my oven 18 minutes was perfect).
Cool and freeze. The loaves, I generally slice before I freeze. They keep really well!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Yummy!

Isn't summertime grand? Our garden is absolutely out of control and we've just been in heaven. The green beans are producing like crazy and we eat them steamed with some bacon bits (the real kind) and sauteed mushrooms. I've been grilling the zucchini and thanks to a tip from a friend, spraying them with cooking spray first and then sprinkling a little Montreal seasoning on them. Really makes a difference.


And then, get a load of this beauty. Every year I try one experiment in the garden. This year, it was canteloupe. Boy, what an experiment it has been. We've gotten quite a crop and they are sugar sweet. They're smaller than the ones you'd buy at the store, but they are infinitely tastier. And then, today, I picked a ton of tomatoes. I guess I'll have to can them. I'm not too in to canning tomatoes, but there's no way I can eat them all. I have been making salsa, though. And, I must admit, I make good salsa.