Monday, April 12, 2010

Big George Tomatoes

Do you remember me telling you about Mountain Man Bob? It was in this post that I introduced him.

In it, I mentioned the Big George Tomato he gave me... it went like this:

Recently, he brought me a huge tomato from his garden. It's called a Big George and when you slice it for a sandwich, it's bigger than the slice of bread! Oooh, it was tasty. He told me how to keep the seeds so I can plant them next spring and have Big George tomato plants of my own. The plants he's enjoying these days came from plants of his father's decades ago! And where did his dad get his seeds? Get this! From the wife of the man who rode the last horse and buggy mail route in the United States (which was right here, of course... Bob's family was on the route)! 1940s. Seriously. And now I have some.

Well, a little over a week ago I planted some of those seeds I saved... about 18, or so. I've kept them on the kitchen window sill, which is sunny and bright, and have been diligent in keeping the soil moist, but not overly so.

I'm very happy to announce that as of this morning, I have eight little shoots sprouting from the dirt. Right now, they're only as big as alfalfa sprouts, but I'm about as proud as a new mama of my strong little seedlings!

In about as much time as it took Zeila to grow her puppies (8 weeks), I'll have tomatoes bigger than my fist! Nature is super cool... to God be the glory.

You wanna know what else? I made another blueberry recipe today. Blueberry Iced Tea! Ooooh, delicious! Do you like Raspberry Iced Tea? This is even better!

Okay, calling it a day. I think I'll go catch the latest episode of House... I keep saying it's getting too predictable (the "I just had an epiphany" gaze he gets toward the end of every show is getting a little annoying), but I'm not quite ready to give it up... We'll see what the next couple of weeks brings. Oh, and then I'll see the latest DWTS. (I love DVR!!)

I have a feeling that the blog will be sorely lacking photos in the near future... thanks to dial-up. I'll upload when I can... but, whew, it's slow!

Enjoy your evening and when it's time, sleep slow and soundly!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I Love Blueberries

I didn't realize how much I love blueberries until I moved to NC where fresh blueberries are so abundant in the summertime. Blueberry season is just around the corner {happy grin}, yet we're still eating blueberries out of the freezer that I picked last summer... we had piles of them!

Lately, I haven't been using them for more than blueberry pancakes. I don't think I can eat pancakes plain anymore. There's something wonderful about the combination of the tart berries with the sweet syrup.

Since picking time will be here before I know it, though, I went in search of more ways to use up the berries I still have (about 8 quarts!). The other day I found a pie recipe I wanted to try... Polly's Perfect Blueberry Pie. Oh my! Perfect, indeed!

They say that for good health it's recommended to eat 6 smaller meals a day rather than the typical 3... increases metabolism, etc., etc... Do you suppose it's still recommended if 3 of the 6 "meals" are blueberry pie slices? You're thinking, "Oh, no, you couldn't have..." Ah, but I did! I had a slice for breakfast (what... they're rich in antioxidants!), I had a slice between lunch and dinner, and I had a slice between dinner and bed. I couldn't help myself. It is CRAZY GOOD!!

If you can get your hands on a couple of quarts of fresh blueberries this summer... you've got to make this pie.

Polly's Perfect Blueberry Pie

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup salad oil
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Pie Filling:
1 quart fresh blueberries, washed
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
Dash ground cinnamon
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons butter

Into a 9-inch pie plate, sift together the flour, sugar, and the salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1/2 cup salad oil and 3 tablespoons milk with a fork. Pour that over the flour mixture in pie plate and mix with a fork until all flour is evenly dampened. If it is still too dry to work with your hands, mix a little more oil with a little milk and add to flour mixture. With your hands press the dough evenly against the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan, allowing the excess to fall on the counter. (This will be the top crumble crust and is about 1/3 of the total crust mixture.) Sweep it into your hand and reserve in a small bowl. Crimp the edges of the bottom crust or use a fork dipped in milk to flatten the crust along the rim.
Berry pie filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
To the washed berries add cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir gently.
Place the berry mixture in the bottom crust and sprinkle lemon juice over it. Then with an ordinary teaspoon, place little 1/2 teaspoons soft butter evenly over the top of the berry filling.
Crumble the reserved crust on top of the pie.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Check it after 30 minutes. If crust is getting golden but pie filling is not quite congealed, tent the pie with aluminum foil to keep crust from getting too brown.

- - - - - - - -

That's how the recipe went... but here's what really happened - By the time I pressed the crust into the pie plate, I didn't have enough for the crumble. You can't have a skimpy crust, afterall. So, I made half of the recipe again and set it aside solely for the crumble. I recommend doing it that way... the crust and crumble is really delicious.

I also added more berries and accompanying ingredients accordingly. Just thought it needed a boost. Whoa. I was in berry pie heaven.

Today, I made a blueberry coffee cake ala Paula Deen. Now, Joe is swooning over it the way I was the pie!

Lookout blueberry season, we're armed with recipes!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Back to Blogging

Oh, my goodness. It's been THREE months to the day since I last posted to the blog. Jeepers creepers. Time flies... whether you're having fun or not.

The last time I was here, I posted from Vermont when I was there to meet my precious little grandson. And precious he is! Wanna see what happens in three months' time?

Check it out...

Kingston on his 1/4 birthday 4-6-10

He grows! And he is still seriously adorable - and he is still the deep thinker he was when he was just a newbie. His mama took this picture of him three days ago... the day he turned three months old. Is he not the most handsome thing?

Okay... wait. I have to show you that he's not always serious; he has a killer smile, too. Here ya go:

smiling 4-4-10
"Hi you handsome smirky smirker!" I could just gobble him up!

So, why have I been gone so long? Changes.

I don't work where I did, and I don't live where I did, the last time I was here.

We have relocated to a lovely home 9 miles down a country road, away from main-stream Murphy (and away from high speed internet), where roosters crow morning, noon and night, rain or shine, light or dark. I really thought they only did that to announce the dawn of a new day. My childhood story books always led me to believe that the farmers woke up to start their long farming day when the rooster crowed, then the rooster's job was done (and I never gave a thought to their role in the chicken coop). But then again, I've always been a city dweller so I'm not familiar with these things.

I have to say that in this environment, the continuous sound of the rooster is appropriate... even comforting. I don't mind hearing them all day (and night) long. But I admit that I am thankful they are far enough away from us not to be intrusive... they're more like a background sound... sort of mood-setting.

Okay, so that's where we live now. As for work; I'm still among the many, many unemployed in our country. But, sparing you, I won't pontificate on that situation.

Our hope is to soon be in Vermont so I can take my own unending pictures of that beautiful boy and his parents, and not have to rely on the pictures his mom takes (which most of you have already seen on Facebook, anyway).

That's that. I hope to blog more often. Although, in our new ultra rural location, we have to contend with a dial-up connection. Here's hoping it doesn't inhibit my ability to hang out here more often!

Time to go make dinner: mushroom swiss burgers, sauted mushrooms and baby spinach, and homemade sweet potato chips. ~Those are good, and so easy! Slice the potato(s) as thin as you can (and it would be a whole lot easier with a mandoline, but I don't have one). Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and put the chips on it in a single(ish) layer. Put a pea size dollop of soft butter on each chip (okay, admittedly, that part can be tedious), sprinkle with salt (and whatever other spices you like) and bake in a 375 oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them. Mmmmm, mmmm, good.

...till next time.

UPDATE: Forget what I said about pea-sized dollops. In the past I was being OCD about making sure each chip had it's fair share of butter. Thankfully, I'm over that. I didn't have the patience tonight, so I just melted a couple of tablespoons and drizzled it over the pan. So much easier and just as tasty.

About Me

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I'm a wife, mom, and grandma living in rural Vermont. I spend 40 hours of my week working outside my home and away from my garden, but am nevertheless passionate about healthy eating and sustainable living. By sourcing nutrient-dense food from local farms and avoiding processed foods, we are realizing how our over health is being impacted for the better. I’m excited to have you join me as I share what we’re learning and invite you to offer your insights in the comments. “…giving thanks in all circumstances…” 1 Thess 5:16-18