On the road again…

green bean canningTowards the end of this week I will be traveling to the west coast for a week  to assist a family member, so I am spending the early part of the week  picking and processing what is ripe in the garden. Today I picked and processed a dozen jars of green beans, some dilly beans and carrots. Since the kitchen was over heated with the water bath canning pot and pressure cooker the oven was turned on to slow roast a batch of cherry tomatoes and garlic for a Mediterranean pearl couscous salad recipe I found on “The Little Spice Jar” blog.  The vegetarian couscous salad is tossed with a lovely tomato garlic sauce created from the roasted vegetables and a number of fragrant fresh herbs. After a long day of food prep and preparation the   salad will be a nice reward for dinner tonight.

couscous saladIt will be interesting to see what will mature in the  gardens during me week away…

Sunday on the hill

The unusually cool and wet summer that we received this year has encourage our herb gardens to flourish.  This bounty has encouraged me to seek out new recipes and storage methods for the different herbs and spices from the garden. Today I made a cherry chutney from some of the fruit from our trees. I will be using this dish  to complement an afternoon snack of cheese and crackers.

Three-Grain-Meditteranean-Tabbouleh

While the chutney was cooking down I used a number of fresh herbs to make a yummy three grain Mediterranean tabbouleh and braided pesto bread for dinner  tonight. The hardy salad is bursting with flavor and the bread is soft yet stable with wonderful pesto flavors.

braided pesto breadAll of the flavorful  items in this post are vegetarian and can be be made vegan if the Parmesan cheese in the bread is replaced with cashew cheese or nutritional yeast.

Click on the names of the dishes if you would like to try any of the recipes.

Sunny Days

The past couple of weeks have been just wonderful. It has been sunny and warm almost every day and evening rains have taken care of the garden watering. For the past week we have been able to pick blueberries, sour cherries, raspberries, asparagus and kale daily, so needless to say we had wonderful salads and smoothies for our meals.

Last week between tending the vegetable gardens and house chores I finally got around to splitting and re-planting a few of the hosta groupings around trees, by the pond and along the hillside on the side of the house. I was really surprised by the number of plants that I ended up with after the splitting… I really shouldn’t let this process go for so many years :(… this fall I need to attack the long overdue splitting of the iris patches…

Quite time on the patio has also allowed me to  work on a few needlepoint pillow tops (normally have 2-3 going at a time), and the late nights even provided time to finish a few of the units.

pillows

Over the next few weeks I will be finishing up 2-3 more pillow tops before I move onto a few quilt projects waiting in the wings, and dehydrating and  canning of some of this seasons produce.

June in review

June was a wet and cool month here in the northeast. Our temperatures were below normal and rainfall levels at a record high. Most of our plants loved the weather and the wetness allowed us to get a number of things done indoors. The herb garden has allowed me to dehydrate a number of different items for the fall. The asparagus bed provided and is still providing tasty treats, and the radish beds have provided for some tasty roasted morsels and enough greens to make pesto for the the entire fall.

The yummy treats on fruit trees, berry bushes and grape vines are coming along nicely. A number of our flowers made a quick showing before the rains drove them away, but the blooms on the houseplants made up for the short garden showing.

I finished a number of potholders that will go in holiday baskets for friends and family this year, canned two dozen jars of strawberry and carrot cake jam, and got a bit of work done on a few needlepoint projects (have 4 going at once at the moment).

On the sunny days this month we tried to keep up with weeds in the garden (an impossible task), split and stacked food for the winter, played fetch with the dogs, took in an outdoor concert, did a bit of hiking and even got out kayaks on the water one day. All in all it was a very good month.

We plan on kayaking part of the Connecticut river on the fourth of July weekend after a few items on the honey do list are completed.  Hope you all have a wonder 4th.

Two-handed pot holders

the rainy June that we were given this year has allowed me to finish one of the items for our friend and family holiday baskets. Over the past few weeks I completed a number of two-handed pot holders using a patter found on the Sew4home website.

Two handed pot holders

if you are interested in creating a few of these pot holders go to http://www.sew4home.com/projects/kitchen-linens/scrapbusters-two-handed-pot-holder. The patter is super easy to follow and goes together quickly. The only modification that I made was to use a walking foot on my machine to reduce fabric puckering.

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