Monday, August 31, 2009


Our pear tree delights us every fall - okay, ALMOST fall - by giving pound after pound of the tenderest, sweetest pears.

My mom was spending time with us last week and she picked a bunch of pears, then cooked them in water, with some sugar and cinnamon.

The result was so incredibly delicious, I think next time I might serve some over some vanilla ice cream. A2 ate three bowls, and we gave some to my playgroup friends.

Thank, Mommy!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Other people's gardens

If there's something I love as much as I my little garden, it's other people's gardens. I love to see what other people grow, be it to eat or to adorn, and I found these pretty succulents at our cousin's house. It was her birthday and while the boys were changing into their swimming clothes, I was snooping around for pretty plants to photograph :D

The boys had a blast, although one needed an intervention before he'd stick his toe into the pool. Once in there, though, it was only the lure of birthday cake that got him out.

Then on the way back, or 2.5 hour drive turned into a 5.5 hour drive because we ran into this fire and had to drive around the Bay Area to be able to get home. It was a loooong evening, but my pic got published in the paper, so I call it even.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mid-August goodness

Our cucumbers continue to produce like champs.

We pick a humongous cucumber - and by humongous I mean way, way bigger than market cukes - about once a week and there are usually a couple of more smaller ones around.

I keep wanting to make cucumber soup but the thought of giving up that light and lovely crunch in a salad stops me every time.

We have several little squash growing, of which this is the largest.

I look forward to more of these yellow beauties because the one we've eaten was so succulent and flavorful.

I have Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and I have several recipes in the wings for these little babies.

Our little eggplant from long ago is sure taking its sweet time.

It is growing at a rate of .5 inches per month apparently.

Maybe we can eat it for Christmas?

We've also started our winter planting, which includes spinach, various lettuces and onions. Next year I hope to be more with the program and actually plan and order winter stuff ahead of time because this summer totally got away from me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Well, not really disaster, but really, a sad thing in our garden.

My oldest and one of his little buddies decided it would be fun to rip out all my Early Girl tomatoes and throw them to the roof of our gazebo.

My baby tomatoes, the ones I was so looking forward to eating soon, mercilessly ripped from their uh, branch, before they were ready and thrown to bake in the hot California afternoon.

Sorry, no picture. I can't bear to take a picture of my poor destroyed plant. S said there's 6 more tomato plants that are already starting to sprout. Yeah yeah. These were MY babies. Indulge me in a moment of self-pity amidst the knowledge that I have a really good life and a great family.

Zucchini e Roma

Translated that means Zucchini and Rome, which is not actually true. I wish I were in Rome, but by Roma I meant Roma tomatoes, the first of which S picked today. And then I ate it before remembering to take a picture. It was tiny, two bites that were lively and tender. I have synesthesia and I have to tell you, it tasted as bright red as it looked.

I am desperate for fall weather. I long for cool mornings and evenings that DON'T turn into blistering hot afternoons. I want to put on jeans in the mornings and NOT have to rip them off and put on shorts because I can't stand to have my jeans on for one more second.

But as long as summer is still with us, I will do my best to cook accordingly. Light meals that don't add to the suffocating warmth that already surrounds us. Tonight, I chose a new (to me) recipe from Real Simple. I like their clean, easy recipes and tonight we had Basil Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Mint, which was much beloved by S, A1 and me. OK, A1 said he'd eat the zucchini only if he could watch cartoons, but STILL, this is the pickiest child alive and he ate his entire portion of zucchini. I'm happy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two Girls and a Boy

Aren't they pretty???

I just love how bright and luscious they look. They took about a week to turn from green to orange and finally to red. My oldest was very interested in this process.

I knew I wouldn't remember to dry-farm them, which is what some recommend doing with Early Girls, so I figured that, this year, it is a victory simply to have vegetables to eat at all.

Our corn took a while to mature, but last week when Mom was visiting, I asked her to see if they were ready, because I honestly have no idea when anything is ripe or ready to pick.

She said they were definitely ready and three ears of corn went directly from stalk to the pot, where they boiled a bit and then were devoured. The first two by Mom, me and the boys, and the last one by my husband, who promptly declared that he was "almost full" just from eating the corn alone.

My oldest, who hasn't touched corn in months, devoured his corn and even started to eat this one - that one I had saved for S's dinner - while I was taking the picture :D

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zucchini Bread

This was a good day for our little veggie garden.

Two gorgeous zucchini (one of decidedly monstrous proportions,) and a beautimous cucumber.

I decided that a massive zucchini like that shouldn't go to waste in mere slices. I thought of stuffing it, but then S requested zucchini bread.

Believe it or not, I think I found the one Paula Deen recipe that does NOT call for butter.

And it was for zucchini bread. It was really easy to make, I had everything in my pantry, and the results were glorious. The zucchini taste was not lost at all, and the bread was tender, moist, and delicious.

Thanks, Paula!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Whoo! Look at all this dust!

It's been ages! Well, I finally decided to pick up my sewing machine again, so to speak, and made some curtains for our gazebo. We LOVE our gazebo, love having dinner out there, love hanging out while the boys play in the backyard.


The afternoon sun hits the gazebo and although it doesn't look that strong here, believe me, it gets pretty uncomfortable. Even at dinnertime it is hard to enjoy yoruself out there with the sun right in your eyes.

So Steve and I decided to make some curtains:

This morning I tried out the gazebo and it was just lovely.

A shady little haven in our hot backyard.

And I can still see the boys (or at least their legs) as they run around the yard ;D

I was going to put a nice border on it but I like the rustic look better and just added some ties so we can secure the curtains on windy days.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Whoa Nelly!!!

You know, when I read the label that said Yellow Crookneck, I thought I would be getting the puny little squash I see at the store, not this bright behemoth that I ended up grilling for dinner. Or rather, S ended up grilling for dinner. It was delicious!

And not to forget the massive cucumber next to it. It took us three meals to eat that sucker. In tzatziki sauce, on a salad, and on falafel. Whew! It was fresh and cool and flavorful.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

And on this corner . . .

I had all but forgotten that S had purchased cucumber plants way back in April when all of a sudden I saw these long, spiny things growing in there.

Well, we do love cucumber in this house - in salads, tzatziki sauce, accompanying falafel, etc. so the sight of it was definitely welcome.

Why, thank you for asking!!

People keep asking me how our avocado tree is doing.

Sorry to say, but they're not ready yet!!

However, it is gratifying to see the dear things growing every week, at this point each is roughly the size of a golf ball. And just as hard.