Thursday, September 24, 2009

Turkey Burger Recipe - the best ever!

We had these last night and they are fabulous. I changed it just a little bit from a Rachel Ray version.

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 t salt
2 t cumin
1/4 t turmeric
1 t paprika
1 t coriander
1/4 t cayenne
1 t curry powder
1 small onion finely chopped, or grated
1 large garlic clove, pressed or minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
1/2 lemon juice and zest

I like to mix all of the spices all together first to be sure they are evenly distributed throughout the burger. Then mix all of the ingredients together and form turkey burger patties. Grill for 5 minutes per side. I served them on whole wheat buns, with mayo, barbecue sauce and bread and butter pickles. Rachel baby serves them with 1/4 C mango chutney (or any), 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt and one sack of shredded cabbage -- mix together to make this slaw, and serve inside a pita bread, or (not as messy) on a whole wheat bun. Eat up and enjoy! Yumola.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sole Sisters

(A group of the Sole Sisters, after running the Willow Tree Half Marathon this spring)

The running group that I'm apart of made it on television, featured to highlight the upcoming Caremark 5K this weekend. As my mother (and husband) stated, I sure know how to "hide" from the camera. Really I wasn't hiding, that's just how it worked out. In the video at first I'm wearing black running shorts and a black running jacket, with my hair down. When we start running (a four mile run apparently, but when you're running with friends, and being filmed for a news piece it sure goes by quickly!) I'm wearing a blue running top and my Princess Leia buns (because my 'pony tail' looks like a small powder puff).

Here is the link to the video:

Enjoy! And all of you local aspiring runners out there -- join in!
If you're feeling intimidated, start out with our walk / run group.
You know where to find me . . .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free-Form Raspberry-Rhubarb Tart

As you may recall, this spring we planted 12 raspberry plants this year. Some are early bearing, others later -- which is nice because you get a steady flow of gorgeous raspberries. On the first year you can't expect to get much of anything, but perhaps because of all of the rain we received, we have a nice little smattering of raspberries. Even though I figured my rhubarb was tough at this point, a found a few relatively new shoots and cut them off. Together with the raspberries I made a free-form raspberry-rhubarb tart. Boy was it good.

For the filling, a free-form tart is great because it doesn't have to be a certain size and you can just try different things. It takes a lot less time than a pie, and is smaller.

I added:

Approximately 1 1/2 pints of raspberries
4 small stalks of rhubarb, thinly chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1 T flour
shake of cinnamon
shake of nutmeg
few slices of butter for the top
sprinkle sugar on top, including crust part.

mix all of the non-fruit ingredients together first, so you don't damage your raspberries too much when you mix everything together. Then add your fruit and gently fold to mix.

PreHeat oven to 425 degrees.

Basically, you use your favorite pie crust recipe (just for one crust). Roll out into a rectangle shape (or small circle, just as long as it could fit on your cookie sheet). Flip onto a cookie sheet. Pour your filling into the middle. Flip the edges of the tart up and onto the filling with a knife (a flexible one is helpful, like a frosting knife). Make sure that any holes on the bottom edge are pushed back together with your knife or finger -- otherwise the syrup will ooze out. Once all of the edges are flipped up and over onto the tart, put a few thin slices of butter on top, sprinkle with a little sugar and pop it in the over for 25-30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden. Cool slightly (so the filling isn't too soupy) and EAT. Yumola. So good. We serve with vanilla icecream. Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hens, Bees, Peaches and Apples

How are my little hens doing?
They are almost full grown. In two weeks or so, they should start laying tiny little eggs. How exciting! We have one Barred Rock who likes to exercise her wings. At first we were concerned that she was a he, but other than being slightly larger and able to fly a little bit, she doesn't display any other "he" characteristics. But we're still watching, just in case. She occasionally hops out of their chicken run and waddles around outside, but she wants to be with her friends, so shortly after doing a little exploring she pops back in.
Don't you just love the barred rock feathers?
So pretty.
Here is one of our New Hampshire Reds, Pearl.
Uncharacteristically, her legs are pearl color. Usually, when a chicken is older their legs slowly bleach out. Pearl's legs are literally pearl colored. Recently highlights of brown have shown up.
Here are six of them (out of eight) giving me the one-eye.
My bees. Oh, my bees. As you know if you've kept up with my bee saga since April, my left hive swarmed in spite of all of my efforts to make sure they had "room". I'm starting to think that eight frame hives tend to make bees swarm -- I have got to research it. Has anyone read anything about this? My left hive made their own natural queen who was able to return safely from her mating flight, and starting laying. The hive is calm, thriving, and I happened to see the darling lady two weeks ago, and she's HUGE. Wonderful!

My right hive has been thriving. There have been a TON of bees in there. I have carefully added on supers to give them room, but ultimately I think I had a case of "my queen only wants to travel UP" syndrome. I hadn't gotten down to the bottom box to check in 2 weeks because I was inspecting on my own, which would have been fine, except that I was getting a bit overwhelmed by HOW MANY BEES there were. It was set up just as you see it here and every frame was PACKED with bees. This is when the foragers are out, so at night and early morning there were even more in there. An extremely healthy hive. Anyway, I dutifully went to do a hive check and go down to the bottom box when I'd noticed eggs in the first honey super the week before. I should have done it THAT week, but the bees were crabby with me.

I let a week and a half pass and they had made swarm cells. There were about ten of them. I'd just talked to a life long beekeeper and he'd suggested that at this time of year it is possible to stop a swarm. As a new bee keeper, I was very proud of myself for removing all of these cells. For me, when crazy things happen in the hive, my brain short-circuits and goes to mush. All I can focus on is the crazy thing (whatever that might be). This is where my error was. I didn't look to see if there were fresh eggs in the hive, to know that the queen was still in there. There were still so many bees in there, frankly I couldn't tell that any of them had left. I know, it sounds crazy. What can I tell you, I'm new at this. So, without a queen in the hive, I removed all of the queen cells. What does that give you? A hive without a queen! Not a good thing.

The woman I was working the hive with that day thought that she'd seen some queen cells that were torn open, which would mean that at least one queen hatched. So there was the slight possibility that a virgin queen was in the hive. I checked two days ago for eggs and still saw nothing, so I made the call to get a new queen. Just in case. It's getting a little too close to fall and cold weather to play the waiting game for two long.

So, just yesterday, I put my new queen, in her cage, into the hive. The bees noticed her right away and cruised over. The big question now is, if the hive DOES have a virgin queen in the hive (that should start laying within days), they will kill the new queen. But, I was willing to take the $25 gamble to make sure I got a queen in that large hive pronto.

I'll let you know how it goes.
I wasn't able to use my organic sprays this year because of the lack of time spent at my house, so my fruit trees have had some issues -- but all in all, they are okay. The peaches were finally ready on our two dwarf peach trees.
These apples weren't quite done yet, so they are still doing time.
One apple tree, and Empire, had apples that were ready. It was a very small harvest and each apple had issues. But hey, it's only my second year. Right?
We gardeners live for the hope of the next growing season.

Ripley's first day of school

At long last, Ripley's preschool finally started up on Wednesday. They hold three days of abbreviated days that nearly drives the parents to skip them all together, but we hung in there and drove back and forth in obedience. Ripley was so happy to go. Benjamin had been for a whole week already! Today, Monday, Ripley's school schedule is as it will be for the rest of the year. He (and I) couldn't be more thrilled!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Recipes, by request

We had a last hurrah, labor day celebration at our little beach house this weekend where five families came and joined in for everything from a trip to the beach to volleyball to croquet. Four of the families pitched tents in our yard and stayed the night. What fun we had!
Here is the "grown-up" table.
L-R: Jon, Ann, Jacob, Michelle, Vivan, Carl, Sue, Dave, Kara and Victor (being a goof in front of the camera, as usual)
What are we eating you may ask . . . well, everyone contributed to the meal -- potluck style.
One of the things I made was pulled pork sandwiches. Here is the recipe, by request:

  • 2 lbs pork (I've used everything from pork butt, to pork tenderloin, to stew pork)
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 2/3 C vinegar
  • 2/3 C water
  • 3/4 t garlic salt
  • 3/4 t celery salt

Mix all of the ingredients besides the pork, then pour over the pork in a oven safe casserole.
Cover tightly with tinfoil, then put in a 350-325 degree oven for 3 hours.
When it comes out, drizzle your favorite BBQ sauce over the top and pull the pork apart with a fork, or smash with a potato masher. Serve with BBQ sauce, Mayo, Bread and Butter Pickles and hamburger buns. This is so easy, and everyone loves it. Yumola!
Chillin' by the campfire, s'mores consumed, kids tucked in.
Here we are enjoying a hide away beach . . .
When we returned from the beach, we enjoyed a late lunch one part of which was a new pasta salad that my husband Victor is in love with. He OOoooos and Aaaahhhhhs when I make it.

Here is the recipe for Late Summertime Pasta Salad:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 small head of garlic -- the whole thing, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 t kosher or sea salt
  • red pepper flakes, to taste -- about 1/4 teaspoon.
  • 1/4 cup toasted or roasted pine nuts.
  • 2 boxes of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • big bunch of arugula, just barely chopped, for easy eating.
  • big bunch of fresh basil, slightly chopped.
  • lots of freshly grated parmesean cheese
  • 1 lb. pasta, we used penne, but you could use any shape.
  • 1 T salt, for the pasta water.
  • Reserve about one cup of pasta water when the pasta is done cooking.
Put water on to boil for your pasta, salt it. Put 1/4 C olive oil in a deep saute pan, on medium low heat. Put crushed garlic, salt and red pepper flakes into the pan. Stir occasionally, until garlic is soft. When the water is boiling, put in your pasta. Turn up the heat to medium high on the pan with the olive oil and put the cut tomatoes into the pan, stirring occasionally. When your pasta is done, pour a ladle-full of hot pasta water into the other pan with the olive oil, garlic and tomatoes -- stir. Drain your pasta and dump it into the other pan, or vise versa. Add in the arugula, basil and pine nuts to the hot pasta mixture. Toss and mix. You will see that the basil and arugula wilt. This is good! Add in about a cup of freshly grated parmesean cheese and toss. Serve immediately, or at room temperature. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Friday, September 4, 2009

For Victor . . .

My bees, on Victor's flowers.
(Well, okay, there IS a bumble bee on this particular flower along with one of my honey bees.)
I'm hoping to train Victor to become a beekeeper.
He is patient, calm, observant and isn't fazed by buzzing honey bees in the least.
He would be fabulous at it.
Would you just LOOK at those pollen baskets?!
Really, click on the photo to enlarge it. Amazing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Letting Go

My first born boy. Off to middle school. For the first time he walks to the end of the road to wait for the bus. Because our town is so rural, school buses pick up children at their driveway all the way through elementary school.

Yesterday Ripley and I walked with Benjamin to the bus stop. Today I just let him go. It seems so silly in retrospect, as I walked to school -- a long way -- from 2nd grade on, with my kindergarden aged brother in tow. Crossing streets without crossing guards. So, walking down the street to the bus stop is nothing compared to that. But it's hard for a momma not used to such a thing. Lord, watch over him. Send your angels to protect his path.
Incidentally, yesterday afternoon Benjamin covered his first school book. We did it the old fashioned way with a used paper bag. Half way through Benjamin says, "Mommy why don't we use the ones you buy?" "Awww," I responded "those paper ones always ripped." "Mommy, now they have plastic stretchy ones, or ones that are like felt that stretch and they're really cool." "Oh" I said. "Well, I like the tradition of the old kind anyway ... and then you get to decorate it! That's fun, right?" I'm going to be 42 in September, is it showing yet? Good grief.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Where to begin?

It was a lovely summer. We have been away all summer, removed from wifi, facebook, cable t.v. (we receive one network channel and one PBS channel via rabbit ears), shopping, highways, schedules and the rat-race. June and July were rainy, as in record breaking rainy. But finally when August rolled around, the sun decided to come out and we made the most of it. Here are some highlights to get you (and me) back up to speed:

Our Beautiful Summertime Seaside Town
Blowing Bubbles Late into the Night
Chatting by the Bonfire . . . Spontaneous Evenings
Life Long Friends Going For a Sail
Teaching the Small Ones
A Handsome Boy Embracing his Boyhood
Friends on a Rock
Wine after a day's Festivities
(and lessons on the decision to stick your tongue out at the camera)
Good Clean (wet) Fun
Sailing School End of Season Cookout
Badly Behaving Bees . . . but that's another L O N G story for another day.