right now

right now

Apr 22, 2011

Where did we go?

To the Middle East!  

(or as hubby thinks of it - "home cookin'"!)

Kebabs,  Naan, Hummus, Iranian Tzatziki, Olives, Basmati Rice & Slata Jida

Funny to think that after cooking most of the day, it was all over in 30 minutes!  I couldn't wait any longer and ended up pouring a home brewed ale before hubby got home.  He then proceeded to point out that there is no beer in the Middle East :) 
The meat substitution turned out great, I used a lean beef tri-tip cut and marinated it in garlic, olive oil, mint and rosemary - hubby said he thought it was lamb, and he's the Persian Gulf food guy so I guess it was a good substitute, and was much cheaper.  

The kids did okay, they loved the meat and "dip", and each ate one spoonful of Slata Jida, which is like a Middle Eastern version of a fresh salsa, they only did that since I promised them dessert if they ate it :)

I can't wait until the garden really gets into high gear since that's when these dishes really take off, there so many of our favorites that I can't even think about making until then.

Where are we going tonight?

A little cool and blustery gray today, so I don't feel too bad about not being outside in the garden (excuses, excuses).  I did decide to cook up a storm today, however.  We've been cooking on and off since about 7 am this morning, and I'm not sure the kids know what they are in for, although they helped with bits and pieces of it :)

First we needed a trip to the market to stock up on a few things I was missing, and it turned into the shock of a lifetime...

I needed tahini... needless to say I did not buy it at the natural foods market - check out the price... $22.69!  What???  I went here to save myself the 15 minute trip to an ethnic store that  keeps several varieties, duh... I ended up going there anyways and buying it for the more normal price of $6.59 which will give me enough to last for months.

Another gem at the natural foods market... I just had to get a picture of this - individually wrapped turnips, has everyone lost their d@mn mind?!

I was able to stock up on a variety of dried beans and whole grains, what a savings over buying canned/prepared stuff.

Luckily all my herbs for tonight came right from the garden: rosemary, parsley & mint.  Also from the garden for tonight is the garlic and peppers.  I also pressed my own olive oil... gotcha!  :)

I made pitas first thing this morning, this was my first time making them from scratch and I'm really happy with the way they came out.  Next time I think I'll try whole wheat.

The kids helped me with the marinade by peeling garlic, I hate that job :)

I then decided to sub beef in for lamb due to the ridiculous price of it at the store.  I really need to be raising a few of my own for meat, or at least get an order in locally, but it won't happen in this area.  Ideally, what I'm cooking tonight would have lamb or goat ('chevon' for the trendy folks), neither of which is something sold very much around here.

I'm finally getting this dry bean thing and remembering to soak them! Sooooo much cheaper and healthier.

Finn helped with draining cucumber

Here he is cleaning up my mess... what a strange child...

An hour ago, as I prepared the "dip", they couldn't keep their hands off it.  This is due to them not seeing what went into the food processor, and me making up a fake name for it... can you guess what it is?

None of this kitchen flurry means I have any real energy for outside chores, I am stumped by this latest behavior of mine - I seem to be constantly moving inside and am really enjoying cooking again, but the thought of pulling weeds and building garden contraptions instantly has me depressed.  Maybe just a cyclical thing?  At least I am dealing with it by cooking and not gambling some other destructive avoidance technique LOL.  Although I've been having such a good time in the kitchen today I kept looking at the clock wondering if I could yet imbibe in a glass of wine or homebrewed ale...not very mom-like but my favorite time to enjoy an adult beverage is while I'm cooking.  If I would have started at 7 am though my kids would have walked to McDon@lds by now, stepping over me to get to the door.  Hubby is at work now so this is for him:  don't worry, I'm waiting for you!  :)

So who can guess where our dinner table is taking us tonight?

I'll post the dinner and the answer later this evening...

Apr 20, 2011



It's about d@mn time!  I've been picking a few spinach leaves here and there, just enough for a pizza occasionally, but feared taking too much too soon!  I have one bed with several varieties now and they are big enough for 3-4 of these salads a week now.  I just have to remember to get out there next week and plant more so we can continue to have enough.

I picked Mizuna, Olympia Spinach, Deer Tongue, Mache, and some random spring greens and lettuce mixes, as well as some leeks and scallions.

Of course now we are anxiously awaiting some real tomatoes, peppers, broccoli & peas to top the lettuce instead of relying on cheese and "fake" hothouse tomatoes (ever notice how those store bought "hothouse" heirlooms have lots of color and absolutely NO flavor?!)

Yesterday Finn surprised me by announcing that he wanted to have dirty hands that day.  I took him outside and he helped me plant all the peppers and eggplants.  Here he is putting a "dog catcher" around one of the eggplants.

I didn't get much of anything done outside today.  I admit I have been feeling a bit down lately, not sure why, maybe just overwhelmed.  I would feel bad if it didn't look like at least something happened while hubby was off working hard, so I decided to make my first loaf of bread the real way.  I'm ready to use the bread machine for bb gun practice in the backyard, I hate that thing!  It takes 3 hours to mix a dough and then it's only halfway mixed LOL.

I followed instructions from the book "BREAD" (go figure)

Here's me the first time mixing by hand... I don't even watch hubby when he makes pizza dough so it's all new to me at this point.

I won't show the kneading process since I got so messy and glue-y that I didn't dare start walking around looking for the camera at that point.  I think I added a couple of tbsp too much water since it didn't rise like I had hoped.  The good news is that although it was kind of flat, it tasted good and I finally got that chewy crust I like.  I used the spray bottle of water on the oven walls method.

Here's Finn smelling it... he must have sat there for an hour picking at the hot loaf burning his fingers, waiting impatiently for dinner :)

Below you can see what I mean about the loaf coming out "flat".  But it was much easier that I expected and I think I can fix it for next time and bonus:  no stupid bread machine or kitchen aid to clean up!

Off to go have 'Family Reading Time' and then lounge the rest of the night away, hoping my energy and attitude improves very soon.

Oh! - I also made my first sourdough starter today which promptly overflowed it's container all over a wood cabinet hubby built... ooops!

Apr 19, 2011

random stuff

The kids are on spring break - anyone else out there want to see this little vacation disappear?  Does anyone out there really have the money to actually go somewhere during this little hiatus?  Never mind, I don't want to know if there are LOL.  I personally wish they could do away with this and just get out of school a week earlier, they already go to school until the last week of June and it really interferes with actual summer plans where we might have enough time to head back to MN for a bit.  We drive, as it's cheaper and also we take our dogs everywhere, so one week is definitely NOT enough time to do this, and sorry to my fellow northerners, but a week of mud season isn't much of a temptation this time of year :).  So what to do with them?  

The other night we took the boys and a friend to see a movie on base.  I really hate movie theaters and we only go about once or twice a year for the kids, but I should do it more since they really enjoy it, and on base the movie is $2 and for $3 they get a kids tray that includes popcorn, drink and small candy - where else can you get that anymore?  Here's a tip though:  if you have kids and they want to see "Rango", send the hubby or someone else, it was horrible!  I kept thinking I should have sent hubby and I could have stayed home for some sewing LOL, but it was nice seeing them have such a good time!

Upon cleaning out my purse of spilled Goobers from our theater trip before they melt, I ended up dumping out the contents of the purse... anyone else have things like this in their purse?  LOL, the photo is missing the length of 550 cord that was in there somewhere... just what do you suppose I might need this for?  Maybe a mob job?  Maybe a redneck style gut & clean game job while on the way to music practice?

Upon arriving home from some errand, we found Sprocket up to her old tricks...

Oh yes... those are my glasses...

I finally gave in to Finn's pleas for a "big boy haircut"... I don't normally get all emotional and stuff about my kids growing up, but this haircut aged him about 3 years and I want his bowl cut back!  I normally cut their hair but had to have the initial big change done for me... I think I'll pay him to grow it back :)

Today I will be planting the rest (only 3 more) of the tomatoes, the eggplant and maybe the peppers.  The nighttime lows are really warming up and the days are now into the 80's.  Below, check out the 'Jake Gyllenhall' (mystery heirloom) tomato, it's the one on the left.  I have 2 of these, and they are HUGE.  What's even crazier is that they are sturdy like a tree!  There is an heirloom Long Keeper next to it for comparison, as that's the size of most all of my seedlings.  I'm thinking maybe I should plant those right up in the patio area so they can serve as a nice shade tree come August?!

Anyone else dared put in the peppers and eggplant yet? 

Apr 17, 2011

A wild evening!

I know we made national news last night with our storms and tornados, but we're okay here!  It got a little hairy for awhile and the kids retreated with their handheld video games into the bathroom for about 30 minutes, but we escaped with just wind and rain, little damage compared to other parts of our area.  The wind upended and tore through the patio umbrella and scattered objects around and that was about it.

In other parts the outcome wasn't so great.  We had several tornadoes and there were several fatalities.  Below is the line of storms that came through.

About 8:00 p.m.was the worst of it, we kept power throughout, suprisingly.  Winds in the area were topping 74 mph, with reports of over an inch of rain per hour falling.

One of the tornadoes leveled a path of homes a bit north of us

Below, here is a shot of a tornado's aftermath in one of the neighboring communities.  This is a school, and those are all school buses that had been upended and dropped.  

Had I known about the impending storm I wouldn't have planted those tomatoes the other day, but it wasn't in the forecast until yesterday morning, so I was pretty worried about them in the high winds and downpour.  I went out to check last night after the worst of it passed, but not a very good quality video:

Considering the damage around us, I'd say we were very lucky.  I hope any of you readers in N.C. fared as well as we did, and Lorie at 'Gotta Dig it' is okay, she is just north of us and I believe right in the line of things as well.  My thoughts are with any of you who suffered losses or property damage from the storms.