Refrigerator Pickles

Refridgerator Pickles

Few things make me feel more lucky and secure than a full fridge. Right now with the garden and farmers markets so abundant with veggies, I’m finding it necessary to think up new and creative ways to prepare and preserve the bounty.

Last week my husband and I made up a big batch of refrigerator pickles. The above picture is what is left. The whole family sneaks a pickle of two every time we pass the fridge šŸ™‚ Here is a link to my favorite recipe.

http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Refrigerator-Dill-Pickles

Today, more zucchini bread is in the oven as I type. I plan to make a few more loaves as gifts. Then this afternoon we are pickling some sweet banana peppers from the farmers market and I think I’ll try to pickle some carrots too. If they turn out, I’ll share the recipe.

Anyone have any ideas for all of my tomatoes?

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August Theme: The Farm

August Theme: The Farm

I like to switch out a couple of my kids toys and books to fit a new theme for the week. It keeps things fresh and they love to wake up Monday morning to new books and toys!

Last week’s theme was The Farm. With our garden providing so much produce to harvest lately, it seemed a fitting theme. Here’s a list of the books I included (I keep theme books in a basket in the living room. This keeps them special):

Around the Farm by Eric Carle
This is a book of animals and sounds. It has push buttons with the sounds of each animal.
The Farmyard Jamboree by Margaret Read MacDonald
This is a fun song book. It can be purchased with a CD. I just LOVE this book as do my children. Check out the song here.
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
A cute rhyming story of a truck and its animal friends learning the value of working together.
Mommies Say Shhh! by Patricia Polacco
A soothing story that teaches animal sounds.
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
A rhyming story of animals on a farm.

Because we are entering Autumn, I included a couple of books about the changing seasons which I will leave out until we have officially entered Fall. These titles are:

Joy by Joyce Carol Thomas
This is a lovely poem about the joy of experiencing the seasons with your child. It appears this book is out of print. If you can ever find it, I highly recommend buying it. It has been one of my son’s favorites since he began to show favorites with books šŸ™‚

One Tree by Leslie Bockol
This book follows the life of a tree and the animals around the tree through one year.

Do you have a favorite August theme, or favorite Autumn book? I’d love to hear about it!

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti

I learned that this was even possible from an article in a Martha Stewart Living magazine a couple of months ago. The key to this recipe is the liquid to pasta ratio. About 5 cups water to 16 oz. pasta and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Then just let your imagination run. I used about 4 tomatoes from the garden, an onion, lots of basil from the garden, about 5 cloves of garlic, button mushrooms, and water. You don’t need a lot of produce, but I’d go heavy on the herbs. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and boil for about 10 minutes (until the water is mostly gone). I served it with grated parmesan and red pepper flakes on the side.

I can’t believe I never knew you could do this, because it is so easy and fast! It’s also an excellent way use up produce and makes a light summer meal.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with different liquids (stock, wine — with water of course) and different veggies. I might even add some cooked meat (chicken, sausage) next time. Please let me know if you try a yummy combination. I’d love to try yours šŸ™‚

Blessings…

A weekly moment to reflect on and appreciate the little things that make my life joyful…

Watching my daughter practice using a spoon while eating oatmeal across the table from me.

Cuddling my son while he battled a fever.

His sweet voice announcing, “I think I’m a little bit better, Momma.”

The time and energy to talk and plan with my husband.

The air conditioning (that we thought we didn’t need when we bought the house) that is keeping us cool through this HEAT wave.

The time to witness the sibling love that is growing stronger everyday as both of my children grow.

What are the little things in your life?

Happy Friday :)

Happy Friday, everyone!  Hope you’ve had a productive and joy-filled week.  We’ve been baking zucchini bread, watering all of the new plants we planted last weekend (it’s been so hot), keeping cool by the water table and kiddie pool, reading & reading (my daughter can’t get enough books all of a sudden), visiting with a couple of new friends, and listening to and watching a Daiko (a style of Japanese drumming) group play outdoors. 

Thought I’d leave you today with a song from my kids’ and my favorite album lately, Elizabeth Mitchell’s  Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie.  It’s becoming the soundtrack to our days.  We often find ourselves humming the tunes while going about our day.  My favorite is, Little Sugar.  Take a moment to listen and let me know if you love it too!

http://youtu.be/lmaNCtGHkIY

Hope you all have a peaceful & happy weekend.  I’ll see you next week with a word or two on our theme last week, a tasty and easy pasta recipe, and maybe some pickles šŸ™‚

In the mean time, I’d love to hear about your week?

 

Here Come the Zucchini!

Here Come the Zucchini!

With zucchini beginning to come from the garden, the dance of trying to use them is ramping up! I attempted a new recipe for zucchini fritters that was delicious, but the texture was awful (and I had to take them to dinner at our neighbors). So yesterday, with a brand new large one picked fresh the day before my son and I set out to make zucchini bread…Yummmm…

I used a recipe from my old trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook (you know the one with red and white plaid) handed down from my grandmother. But there are many good recipes online too. Check out these links that are close to the recipe I used:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/zucchini-bread-recipe/index.html

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/summer-of-the-bats/

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/moms-zucchini-bread/

Like the Paula Deen recipe, I used nutmeg and lemon juice. Like the Smitten Kitchen recipe, I used chocolate chips in one of my loaves. I used whole wheat flour.

The point of this post is to simply celebrate the abundant zucchini that promises to take over my kitchen soon enough. Right now though, my family can’t get enough zucchini bread! We’ve just about polished off two loaves since yesterday afternoon, and we plan to make a few more loaves today. One for us, one for Grandma, and one for the neighbor that keeps bringing tomatoes to our porch. He’s taken pity on us and our tomato plant planted late and not doing very well in our garden.

Mister Golden Sun

Mister Golden Sun

We did this project last week after singing the song, Mr. Golden Sun. My son has been really taken with the song lately, and asked if we could make a “golden sun.” I said, “of course” and got out the finger paints and cut circles out of construction paper. My son told me the colors we needed for a golden sun (orange, yellow, and “a little” red). I let both him and my 1.5-year-old daughter paint. When the suns were dry, my son cut the sun’s rays out of orange paper. He has just begun cutting with safety scissors and it’s his favorite activity at the moment (this was his second time). Then we glued all of the pieces onto a blue piece of construction paper. When we were done my son reminded me that it was Mr. Sun and he needed eyes…so he drew on eyes and a nose and mouth with black crayon.

I hope this inspires some creativity in your day! I’d love to hear about your projects with your little ones.

Happy creating!!