I am a huge fan of Penzeyâ€™s Spices, and find that their spices add so much to the simple, mostly vegetarian, dinners we cook around here. Their Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle is awesome mixed with sour cream and tossed over garden veggies.
Â We had a heat wave last week that sent our potatoes over the edge a few weeks early, so two days ago we dug up the baby potatoes and tonight weâ€™re enjoying the creamy new potatoes with the first of our fall shell peas in Brady Street sour cream sauce.Â So yummy and so very easy.
Here in Pacific Nortwest, our tomatoes aren’t usually ready until September.Â I’ve been reading other ladies’ blogs with so much envy as they enjoy salsa, tomato salad, panzanella, fresh pasta sauce.Â Now my beefsteaks are ready, and I’ve been enjoying fresh tomato salad almost every day.Â I have Better Boys and Brandywines from my own garden, and Green Zebras and Black Krim’s from a fried.Â Throw in a few yellow beefsteaks from my sister and some cherry tomatoes, and i’m in heaven.
Easy Tomato Salad
Handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
5 large beefsteak tomatoes, cubed
1/4 lb mozarella, cubed
Handful of kalamata olives ( pits removed)
Italian salad dressing to coat.
Toss together and enjoy immediately.
I have a weakness for worn old tea cups that no one else wants, especially those with fading designs or teensy chips in the rim.Â When i have a cup of tea in one of those cups, I think about what conversations they must have overheard or the comfort they brought on a chilly afternoon.Â There’s a special beauty in their aged state and imperfection.
Â Last week i scored some great tea cups at my local thrift store.Â The tea cups were each 50 cents and their mix-n-match saucers were a quarter each!Â They’ll enjoy a nice new life at my house – they won’t be forgotten here just because they’re well-loved.
Firecracker and Little Hen’s fascination with pioneers and prairie girls began last year when our homeschool group learned about the Oregon Trail for our Oregon History Days.Â But lately, their interest in the subject has really blossomed as we read the Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.Â Firecracker wears her bonnet everywhere, and Little Hen is begging me to sew a big, twirly calico prairie skirt.Â
I forgot how wonderful the Little House books are.Â How much they define an important part of childhood, especially for little girls who want to step into Laura’s life.Â It’s even more magical reading them this time, enjoying the stories and examining the history with my girls.Â Thank you, Marcela from unschooling group, for recommending them!
Check out Grosgrain’s giveaway hereÂ – it’s an uber-cute cowgirl outfit.Â Firecracker’sÂ “what i want to be when i grow up”Â of the momentÂ is a horsefarmer/cowgirl.Â Her birthday is on Halloween, and she would love love love to unwrap this little goodie and wear it trick-or-treating!Â Fingers crossed!
I am so inspired by unschoolers, like Amanda, but find that I still need a little bit more structure to feel that my kids are learning what they’re “supposed to learn”.Â AboutÂ two-thirds ofÂ our day is spent in free play, crafts, and books of their choosing, and I weave lessons into their interests.Â Â However, I just can’t let go of those set lesson plans for some writing and math.
Sigh…we had such a beautiful summer.Â Today was the first day it actually felt like autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, and i’m a little sad to see days of peach picking and making raspberry jam come to an end.Â
I’ll just try to look forward to the pear butter, bread baking, and hours and hours of knitting that the short, dark, rainy days to come will allow.
In the front yard of our old house we had a very productive Italian prune plum tree.Â The girls would eat several every day, and I would make tarts and pies.Â Now we have moved back to the city, and I miss my plum tree and its bounty.Â So, when my husband’s coworker gave us a bowl full of Italian prune plums from her tree yesterday, I knew exactly what I’d do with them this morning – country plum galette.Â We glazed it with some black plum jam that Firecracker and I made in August.Â There were even enough left for the girls to make their own mini-pie.
Country Plum Galette
One batch one-crust pie dough, chilled (I use the old Betty Crocker – 1 cup unbleached flour, 1/3 cup lard, 1 tsp salt, 2-4 tbsp ice water.Â Cut lard into flour and salt, add water until dough forms)
6 tbsp brown sugar, divided
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp flour
10-12 Italian prune plums, sliced into 6ths
Â½ tsp vanilla extract
Â½ cup homemade seedless blackberry plum jam (or storebought plum jam)
1 egg white
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling on crust
- preheat oven to 425 F.Â Roll pie crust out until into a rectangle (I like a rustic look, so I don’t trim the edges).Â Transfer to a parchment lined jelly roll pan (to catch drips – somehow it always drips!)
- combine 3 tbsp brown sugar, flour and cornstarch.Â Sprinkle over the center of the crust, leaving a 1-2 inch border.
- toss plums with the remaining brown sugar and vanilla.Â Lay in the center of the crust.Â Fold over edges, brush with egg white and sprinkle with white sugar.
- bake 15 min, then reduce heat to 400 until plums are soft and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes more.
- remove from oven and brush with warmed plum jam.Â Serve with vanilla ice cream.
This crafty/knitting/baking/homeschooling mama blog under construction Please check back ina bit! thanks!
Hello, and welcome to my blog.Â i’m a knitting-obsessed homeschooling mother of 3 beautiful little children who hopes to count her blessings by using this blog to linger in the joyful, hopeful moments of each day.Â Thank you for stopping by.