Friday, August 24, 2012

First REAL Harvest from the Garden

  Ai yi, yi. This blog is doing strange things to my photos. Anyway, I am super excited, since we had our first real vegetable from the garden with dinner! I couldn't wait any longer for this spaghetti squash to get more yellow, so I took a chance and harvested it.

   This is the healthy inside...
   This is how it looked after I cooked it; yum! Zapped it in the microwave, then scraped out the strings. Sauteed it in the pan with olive oil, butter and seasonings. It was awesome! Can you believe this grew from my compost? So far, spaghetti squash seems to be the easiest veggie to grow here in the mountains.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Delicious, Easy Cookie Recipe!

I am finally posting that recipe for the wonderful nutella cookies I have made twice now. Try it out; this is a super-easy recipe, and one of the most delicious cookie recipes I have ever made. They come out soft, chewy and very chocolatey. I found it on recipe goldmine. I changed it, though. I used a stick of butter, instead of shortening, and I substituted almonds for hazelnuts, which I think made it better. I think with hazelnuts, it would taste too much like a ferraro rocher candy.
Chewy Nutella Crinkles
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11 ounce) jar Nutella
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts
2 cups finely chopped hazelnuts, divided
Sifted confectioners' sugar
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Combine Nutella and shortening in a large mixing bowl; beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed
until combined. Add sugar; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and eggs; beat just until
Alternately add flour mixture and milk to creamed mixture, beating on medium speed just until combined.
Use a spoon to stir in 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts. Cover and chill for several hours or until firm.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Shape the dough into 1- or 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll the balls in finely chopped hazelnuts, then roll in
confectioners' sugar. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (The cookies will
spread and crinkle as they bake.)
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until surface is cracked and cookies are set. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Makes about 6 dozen.
   This is what happens in the morning at my house: hijinks!
   Poor Moose! Doesn't he look like Bono, though? "Hello, ladies!" That is what Bono said to me & my friend Christine when he & Aidan Quinn passed us one night, in the market in Malibu nearly 30 years ago...It's a beautiful day!
   The monkey assists me in preparing funny photos...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gardening Success and Failure

   Here is my miracle dog, Moose, with three of my garden tiers behind him. The corn has just stalled; sadly, I don't think we'll get any real ears. Next year, I will plant more (I think pollination was a factor), and be on top of any infestation (I think ants had an aphid farm).
   The first pumpkin stopped growing, so it's very petite. However, it is already turning orange.
   This pumpkin is continuing to grow nicely. It is a little smaller than a kid's soccer ball.
   This pretty pumpkin is shaped like a bell pepper, and the size of a skull.
   The biggest pumpkin has continued to get gnawed on. Strangely, it continues to grow. If it survives, we'll make this a zombie pumpkin (or zombie victim!).

   This is the largest spaghetti squash, close to the size of a football. It is finally beginning to yellow, and I think we will eat it later this week. A few grape tomatoes have ripened, but we gobbled them up before any photos could be snapped!
   Speaking of gobbling, I made some of the BEST cookies ever. An easy recipe with nutella. I'll post it tomorrow...

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Paintings!

   Now you know why I haven't posted lately; I've been painting! I painted this for the hub, after he admired another painting I just did. It's a Dia de los Muertos style portrait, and tells a lot about him...
   This was my first one, and it is a birthday surprise for my nephew (good thing I don't think he reads my blog). I hope he likes it!!

   The monkey had his first soccer practice the other day. We are so lucky; he has really nice coaches!!
   The other day, there were GREY shafts of light coming out of this cloud. Can you see them?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Frazierstock 2012

   Well, we finally dragged ourselves to Frazierstock around 5, and so glad we did! We brought my thai slaw to share, and a jug o'sangria. It was so much fun. The bbq tri-tip and pork was amazing. I have realized that I really need a wood fire bbq (and pizza oven!). C'mon job market (I have applications with BCSD & LACOE in). If I finally get a job in education, my first purchases will be a nice new bed for Moose, & a new side mirror for the hub's car. Then onto a horse!!
   Some adorable little girls sang before the band started. They sang an Adele song!

   The tie dye colors this year were a dark wine & yellow (kind of like USC). These are our creations...
   The monkey & I donned our cowboy hats (boy, do I need a makeover, latisse & botox!!).
   This was the scene around sunset. Much prettier in person. I am still having this issue with my blog taking photos that I have edited to be right side up, and turning them back sideways, so I didn't post those.
   The band was fantastic. They played well into the night. We left around 9:30 to view the Perseids meteor shower at our house, and could clearly hear all the songs they played. The clouds blocked the view for a little while, but when they cleared, we saw some amazing meteors.
   Our friends brought a bottle of the Riverbench brut rose sparkling. Wow! I want to go taste there more than ever, now. What a fabulous weekend. I even dragged my lazy self to the only progressive church on the mountain this a.m., Open Door.

Friday, August 10, 2012

August Gardening, Food and Fun

   It's been fun becoming more in touch with mother nature, through my garden, and with my first foray into cheesemaking. The squash blossoms were amazing, stuffed with cheese, dipped in batter & fried. The chevre was used on a few pizzas, including grilled eggplant.
Okay, I know this photo is sideways. Strangely, it is not in the original file. But, I wanted you to see my first harvest of Japanese eggplant! They aren't taking off like when I grew them in L.A. (was like a weed), but they are producing. Yum.
Hmmm...apparently the same thing is happening with this lovely photo of our first ever beer can chicken. Just tilt your head to the left. Wow! It was amazing. We had that with fresh grilled eggplant from my garden marinated in citrus Pasolivo olive oil & salad.
   Here is one of many new baby pumpkins in my garden...
   Thank goodness, because look at what some mangy varmint did to the biggest pumpkin!
   Rats! Again with the sideways. Turn your head to the left again to see the biggest spaghetti squash growing thus far...
   Remember the 'surprise' pumpkin? That dark green ball is it, and it has grown. A few gnaw marks...
   Here is another spaghetti squash, and a large pumpkin just beginning to turn orange at the top...
   This was the first pumpkin I found, & it is pretty much the same size. Just beginning to show hints of orange, it is apparently going to be a mini-pumpkin!