Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zucchini Bread and More for the Freezer

As will everything in the garden this year, the zucchini took a while to get going. However, with the hot and humid weather we've had lately the zucchini is thriving. So what to do with a bunch of zucchini you ask? Make zucchini nut bread of course and . . .
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients with wet and mix well. Add the nuts last. Pour into 2 baking loaf pans and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

. . . shred the rest for the freezer to make bread later or add to spaghetti sauce or casseroles. I plan to be cubing some zucchini for the freezer as well. Oh the joys of a summer harvest on its way to the freezer.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sharing the Harvest

We were blessed to receive this basket full of garden fresh goodies from our neighbors. Their two little boys showed up full of grins and giggles to deliver it. How blessed we are to have such thoughtful neighbors.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Soule Mama Book Signing

I have been following Amanda Blake Soule's blog, SouleMama, for about eight months now. It sounds a little crazy, but it is pure inspiration - from her family friendly craft projects to her re purposing of vintage materials to her pure enjoyment of her family. I love taking a peek into the lives of this creative family. It never fails to inspire my day with mine.

It wasn't long before I was hooked and purchased Amanda's first book The Creative Family. You can read my review of the book here. Four months later, we still turn to it for inspiration and ideas. So when her second book, Handmade Home, came out this month it was on my wish list. Little did I know that not only would I get a copy of the book, but I would also get to meet Amanda and get her to sign both books!

The whole family headed to Boarders in Portland, ME, but only Sarah and I were truly excited about this part of the trip. Here is Sarah with our books in her lap waiting our turn to sit and chat with the author. (The rest of the clan was exploring areas of the book store that suit their tastes.) Hannah was only curious to know it Amanda had on her red sandals.

Amanda was so real. So genuine. She was truly touch by all of those that turned out to hear her speak. And she graciously took time to chat with each and every one of us. It was a great experience for Sarah to meet an author, especially one so real and passionate.

So far Handmade Home has lived up to my expectations. Filled with essays from the author and projects for the whole family to make and enjoy. Sarah and I are having a hard time deciding which to do first. You can preview some of the projects from Handmade Home as well as tons of other inspiring ideas on the SouleMama blog.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dill Pickles

Dill pickles are a family favorite. So with the abundance of cucumbers in the garden what better to do than make some of our own. We didn't have a favorite recipe so I headed over to some of my favorite blogs in search of a tried and true dill pickle. Luckily I found just what I was looking for at Stitch and Boots. You can find the recipe here.

Here are our yummy dill pickles. We are looking forward to making more - slices this time.

Don't forget to check out some of the other delightful recipes at Stitch and Boots. We are looking forward to making the Vanilla Pears soon.

Midsummer Dream

Sarah returned to the White Mountain Children's Museum Theater Camp for the third time. The show this time was Midsummer Dream - a take off on Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream. As always, Children's Stage Adventures did a FABULOUS job with the kids. It is amazing what these kids are able to put on the stage after just four and half days of rehearsal.

Sarah played the part of Peasblossom, the fairy. She did a beautiful job, acting, singing, and dancing. The theater is truly one of her passions.

The week flew by and Sarah is sad it is over. Luckily for her she just found out she was accepted to Perform It Young People's Stage Company. And she will be back with Children's Stage Adventures in November with one of the local homeschool groups.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Foss Mountain Blueberries

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits - by the handful or in muffins, pancakes, yogurt, smoothies, and of course pie! So when rumor had it that the wild low bush blueberries on Foss Mountain were more than abundant this year our homeschool group just had to go and see I mean pick. After a short hike up Foss Mountain we found ourselves in oceans of blueberries. Oh I could have picked for hours, unfortunately the kids didn't agree. So after a couple of hours in the blistering sun, we hiked down the mountain promising to return. And we did the next evening armed with dinner and bug spray. A few hours later we were full from our picnic dinner and desert of blueberries and had buckets full of beautiful blueberries.

Cleaned and picked over we ended up with about 20 cups of berries! Here are 17 cups ready for the freezer. I love having little bits of summer in the freezer to add to meals when the mercury dips below freezing.

Sorry there aren't any pictures of us picking. I couldn't bear to stop and snap the pictures.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Knitting Hats

It is hard to believe that we are all readying thinking about winter. However, up here in New Hampshire it is really something we never stop thinking and planning for.

One of my goals for this summer was to knit hats for everyone in the family. I know it doesn't sound all that difficult, but if you only knew my knitting experience you would see this is quite a task. I have knit a few things in my life - a sweater for a college beau, a baby blanket 10 years ago, and most recently a vest for Rebekah's doll, Rosie.

Well with a little inspiration from one of my favorite crafty living blogs, SouleMama, and a free online pattern I jumped into my project with both needles.

I made the purple one for Rebekah first. I knew she wouldn't mind if there were a few mistakes-and a few mistakes there were. With the help of some videos on you-tube and a sweet lady at the knitting shop by my in laws I figured out some of my mistakes and tried again.

The raspberry hat came out so much better. Well enough in fact that Sarah is excited for me to start hers. Hannah's will be purple as well, but she thinks the wool is a little too itchy. Speaking of wool, I was blessed to find skeins of 100% virgin wool at a small general store of $3.00 each. So for $3.00 each and a little of my time everyone will have a warm, made with love hat this winter.

Garden Harvest

Well after a slow and rainy start we are starting to reap the benefits of all our hard work in the garden. Now we are praying for an Indian summer.

The pepper plants look great! we have harvested some banana peppers, salsa peppers, bell peppers, and some purple hot pepper. They have all been very yummy! We have a bunch more growing as well as numerous flowers. You can see some of the tomato plants in the background if you look. Some of them are just starting to turn red!

The cucumbers are not doing as well as I had hoped. We have about half a dozen little pickling ones growing. Doug brought home a cucumber plant someone gave him from work and it looks GREAT! Just a little behind. Hopefully we will get a bunch from it. The girls and I really want to make pickles.

Bekah loves peas from the garden. So much so that I can't seem to get enough for a meal. She visits the garden numerous times a day to pick and eat the fat pea pods. We did plant a second crop of peas and they are doing great. Lots of peas and flowers.

Here are the red potatoes we harvested the other day. They are just the size we like for reds. We had hoped to get more, but the plants seemed to die off early. Don't know why. All said and done we ended up with just under 20 pounds.

We have picked green beans a couple of times so far, but this is the most we have gotten at one time. The girls are looking forward to Alyssa's Special Green Bean. I'll share the recipe soon.

I love having a garden and am learning more every year. I am making notes so next years harvest will be even better.

Cheesy Bow Tie Pasta with Peas and Ham

Looking for a quick one dish meal? This updated version of mac & cheese will fill the ticket. Quick to throw together and kid friendly, this dish will quickly become a family favorite. Pair it with some homemade buttermilk biscuits and dinner is served.

1 pound box bow tie pasta

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

4 cup extra sharp shredded white cheddar

10 oz frozen peas

8 oz diced ham (great use for left overs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9x2 inch baking dish with olive oil or non stick spray. Cook pasta in lightly salted water for about 12 minutes. drain.

While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until well blended and cook for about one minute. Whisk in 1 cup of milk and cook, whisking continuously, until smooth. Whisk in the second cup of milk and continue to cook, whisking continuously until smooth and thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk in 2 cups of the cheese.

In a large bowl toss pasta, cheese sauce, and 1 cup of the remaining cheese. Stir in peas and ham. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with reamining one cup of cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool of 10 minutes.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I seem to be having some difficulty with this blog so this is just a test. Sorry for the inconvenience.