Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yes, it's another post about food!

A while back, when I went to my farm share, I got some really cute 8-ball zuchinni.  I just love these little guys and if I ever get any better at gardening, I want to try and grow them for myself.

Someday, when I don't have hungry athletes to feed, just ONE of these, stuffed with random yummy goodness, will be perfectly adequate for a meal for me.

Also at the farm that day were sweet potatoes.  It was a logical step to stuff the squash with that!  So, dice it finely, and sautee with the ubiquitous onion.  And a bit of chili flake, 'cuz you know, I cook in Texas.

Also, the insides of the squash went into the sautee, and then the whole mess got stuffed back into the squash, which had been lightly oiled and well seasoned.  Next, they are roasted in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Surely stuffed squash is a perfectly fine mean on it's own!  But nooooo!  I had to add garlic bread, grilled artichokes, and a bit of steak as well.  Bon appetit!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bridgie's Room

Once Bridget hit middle school, she decided that it wasn't exactly "cool" to have Barbie stuff strewn about one's room.

With needing to make space for her new desk, the time was right for a major overhaul for Bridget's room.

Fortunately, she has two closets.  The smaller one we put in lots of bins and shelves so she can now keep her toys out of sight, and the larger closet is dedicated to clothes.

We took all the artwork off the walls and then Bridget decided how she wanted her furniture arranged.  She wanted a lot of space in the middle of the room, her bed set up like a couch for lounging, and a reading area.  Since it's her room, I pretty much gave her free reign.  Once the furniture was all moved around, the posters and artwork went back up on the walls.

Bridget then photographed her room.  I just love her photographs, she's got an unusual way of looking at things.  I thought she'd eventually put these pictures up on her blog, but she hasn't been blogging much, so here they are.

Bridget's reading nook.  Looks comfy, I think I'll try it out!

Bridget made each of these items at different birthday parties.

She loves the lock and key on her new desk.

It seems like the quintessential "tween" room to me!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Something I've never had until moving to the south is okra.  Gardeners who grow it say it's one of the easiest things to grow around here.  Judging by the overflowing bushels of the stuff every week at Sandra's farm, I would guess that to be no lie!

The classic way to prepare okra is to deep fry it.  That's all well and good, but I searched for a healthier way to use it.  I tried roasting it in various iterations (with garlic, with cherry tomatoes....) and didn't really come up with a way to use it that my family would eat.

Until..... my neighbor shared a jar of pickled okra with me.  It's yummy!  And Bridget loves it!  Time to pickle my own okra, and teach Missy B in the process!

Into the bottom of each jar goes mustard seed, dill, crushed garlic, one fresh jalepeno and one dried red chili.

The pickling liquid is equal parts cider vinegar and water and a whole bunch of pickling salt.  Packing the okra in the jars was a bit of a challenge.  I don't like to use wide-mouth jars so that my canning rings are interchangeable amongst my smaller jelly jars.  But, by alternating big end and little end, and starting with the largest okra pods first, we got the jars stuffed tightly.

Ladle in the hot pickling liquid, and drop them in boiling water to process for 10 minutes and voila!  Pickles!  Bridget loves them in her lunch and I hope we've made enough to get through the winter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Well furnished

This year, Ray decided to make each of the kids their own desk.  They are old enough to do their homework in their rooms independently, and it was time to relcaim the dining room so that it no longer looks like a one-room school house.

Ray looked at a lot of plans, catalogs, etc. and eventually came up with his own design.  (Kind of sounds like how I cook!) Lots of storage room, lovely lines with tapered legs, beautiful dovetail joinery.  The desks are similar, yet different.  Aidan's top is chunkier, more masculine.  Bridget's is more elegant, with detail routed into the edges.  The legs on Bridget's are slightly slimmer than Aidan's desk as well.

One of my favorite features is the slanted top.  It isn't so steep that things slide off, unless you pile the clutter too high.  Sort of a self-regulating clean-up reminder!

The wood is maple, and beautifully figured.

I know Ray had a lot of fun building these, and I had fun during the times that I helped.  Woodworking is often like a big logic puzzle and I've learned a lot helping Ray.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one, but the light bulb must really want to be changed.

Our light bulbs are not so open to psychologic enlightenment.

Above our kitchen, we have five niches.  Four contain artwork, one contains a clock.  All have a spot light above them.

Twice a year, when it's time to change the clocks, we drag the 20' extension ladder in, and Ray goes up to set the proper time on the clock.

This year, we figured we'd replace all five light bulbs as long as he was up there - easy, right?  Um, no.

  1. Get the wrong light bulbs from the store.
  2. Go back and get the right light bulbs.
  3. Haul the ladder in, trying hard not to bash it too many times on the walls, or the 120 year old suite of furniture in the breakfast nook.
  4. Reconfigure the ladder to the proper positioning for the job.
  5. Insert finger in the wrong place at the wrong time as telescoping ladder collapses.
  6. Take a first aid break.
  7. Painstakingly wrestle ladder into a position that allows access to the recessed lighting.  It is scarily veritcal.
  8. Head up with light bulb in hand.
  9. Drop the light bulb.
  10. Take a cleaning break to deal with shards of glass projected in a 20' radius.
  11. Head up with another light bulb.  One down, four to go.
  12. Painstakingly wrestle the ladder into the next niche.
  13. Discover minor electrical problem too high to reach from ladder.
  14. Find a bench that will fit on the ledge and that is high enough, carry it up the ladder.
  15. Three trips up and down and out the garage for the proper tools.
  16. Insert light bulb.  It does not work.
  17. Send light blub back down to be tested in another fixture.
  18. Test light bulb in fixture and realize how very dirty the fixture is.
  19. More work on the recessed fixture.
  20. Send light bulb back up.
  21. It works!  Two down, three to go.
  22. Painstakingly wrestle the ladder into the next niche.
  23. Remove clock to change time.  Decide that it needs cleaning.
  24. Clean clock.
  25. Decide the batteries should be replaced.
  26. Back down to find proper batteries.
  27. Adjust time, change bulb.  Three town, two to go.
  28. Painstakingly wrestle the ladder into the next niche.
  29. Have a lot of trouble getting the ladder in the right position.
  30. Bash the wall in the niche a couple of times.
  31. Head back out to the garage to find the special paint the niches were painted with.
  32. Remove socks and put them on the ladder to avoid this problem in the future.
  33. Head back up with light bulb and paint brush.
  34. Change bulb, paint niche.  Four down, one to go.
  35. Painstakingly wrestle the ladder into the next nook.
  36. Realize that since one was broken, we are now out of light bulbs.
  37. Take another trip to the store to buy light bulbs.
  38. Head back up and change the light bulb.

Success!  Illumination!  Cocktails, please!