Thursday, September 29, 2011

The last of the Garden Wars......and the lucky winner!

Liz's watermelon hasn't been picked yet.......I think it will be a good one!
I hope you had fun following along as we had a friendly garden competition.  I really think my kids and their gardens out shined anything I did in the garden this year.  We are picking the last of the produce.

This was Mackay's little crenshaw melon
and even though the snails had had their
way with it we cut it in half and enjoyed it!
(not the snail part silly the other half was just fine with no snail slime)

Amanda's prized Casaba was the best melon by far!
It made a wonderful fruit salad.

Don't they just looked T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D?

A lovely garden array!

Fresh out of the garden cantaloupe, yum!

Liz's green beans were amazing!

So this brings us to the question of which kid won the Garden Wars contest?  Grand prize was set at $100.00!  Honestly I just couldn't decide.  Here's the thing:  they all did a great job planning and planting their gardens and looking after them for about 3 weeks.  After that they pretty much all ignored them except when I ordered them out there to weed.  I did most of the harvesting, which I didn't mind at all, that is the funnest part of gardening.  I would say Amanda gave the most loving care to her garden, tying up her melon and all.  Mackay was the funniest about his garden spraying it the middle of the night and throwing fits because the tomato plants got too big.  I loved Liz's cause she planted some stuff from seed....that takes a lot of faith!  Her's was also the biggest producer with zucchini and green beans beating everything else hands down.  So here is what I decided to do.  Call it a three way tie and split the prize money!  So nicely done Beagles kids....I hope you learned a thing or two about gardening.  Mostly I hope you found out how miraculous it is to watch a garden grow.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Super Easy Tomato Basil Soup

This recipe has been one of my favorites this summer.  I think it is the best soup and the best spaghetti sauce ever!  It takes all of about 5 minutes to make it.

Garden Fresh Tomato Basil Soup

2-3 large tomatoes, fresh from the garden
Fresh Basil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Celtic Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Wash and core tomatoes and put in a blender (Blend-tec or Vitamix) add several large leaves of basil and two pinches of salt.  Blend until smooth.  With blender running add the olive oil.  Now blend until it warms up and you can serve it straight from the blender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  This can be served as a soup but it is also wonderful on spaghetti squash and pasta.  Enjoy!

Just showing you these are not he most beautiful tomatoes.

And certainly not the most beautiful basil

.....but with a little luck and some blending

They make a beautiful soup!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Enjoying Fresh Herbs from the Garden

I was making my usual cup of tea this morning and I thought you might enjoy having this recipe.  It's not really a recipe but since I enjoy seeing a step by step with pictures I thought I would do that for you.  So you can enjoy a cup of herbal tea with me today.  Normally we use dried tea, loose or in little tea bags but I thought I would try just cutting some herbs from the garden and see how it tasted.  I used the  mint growing right outside my back door in a pot.  (You should always grow your mint in a pot....otherwise it takes over the world in short order.)
Pick your mint and put the leaves in a mason jar, bruising them a little.

I also add loose raspberry leaf tea it's very healing

Stick all that in a jar

Heat the water just until it is about to boil.  Pour
into the jar and cover with a lid.  Let it steep for about 20 minutes.

Strain it into your favorite tea cup.

Add honey if you this one I get at the health food store.
Sit back and relax, take a deep breath and enjoy a few minutes to yourself.

A Weekend in Seattle

My sister and I took a trip home to Seattle to visit Mom and Carol and check up on how things are going now that the cancer treatments have begun.  We are happy to report that all is well!  Everyone seemed good and happy and thriving.  Such good news.  I also learned that "Cancer" is a word not a sentence.  This from a giant poster at the hospital while we were with Mom for her radiation appointment.  Ha, ha, I had to laugh....good point.

So we arrived on friday morning and went over to visit with Mommy.  She was doing fine just reading and wasn't expecting us until Saturday.  We had a nice afternoon chatting and poking around the apartment complex, which is great by the way, I almost wished that I could live there.  Just out the back door of Mom's apartment it looks like this:

And further down the path they have square foot gardens that the residents can rent and use for vegetable gardens.  Lots of tomatoes and herbs and lettuce growing there.

So lovely.....and Jeanette kept seeing the cutest little frog....isn't he fun?

We of course had to make a Spud's run first thing when Carol got home from work.
It is still sooooo good!  I'm a Spud's girl and not so much an Ivar's girl.  

The next morning was the big event!  You know, THE BIG EVENT, that hasn't happened in about 15 years!  BLACKBERRY PICKING!  Yes, the thing we dreaded as children because we were made into slave labor to go out and pick buckets and buckets of berries even if they would be turned into yummy pies, and delicious jams, we still felt a little like slave labor.   I wanted to go blackberry picking!  I have over the years been able to obtain blackberries in Utah. But somehow they just don't hold a candle to Seattle blackberries.  I don't know if it is in the picking or if it is the climate or if it is the berries themselves but I gotta tell you, there is nothing like Seattle blackberries.  So I hatched a plan.  I decided to try a patch I had seen when we had stayed out by Southcenter.  My hunches were good, not that that particular patch was still there but there was others that were great, right along a walking path.  I was also in luck because someone had been there before me and cut in several great patches to pick from.  I was miserably unprepared with closed toed sandals and cropped pants.  I had forgotten what those stickers can do to a person.  I had seriously underestimated the size of those blackberry branches, some of those thorn could stick you through a shoe!  I was cautious but persistent and I like to think that my yoga training had done me some good here.  By the end I was one happy, sticky and scratched up girl with my three pans full of blackberries!  

Next on the agenda was a trip down to Pike Place Market.  Me, Jeanette and Carol, (mom opted to stay home for this one.)   Headed out for a whirl wind tour of the market, which happened to be packed with people because it was Saturday but we didn't care.  We got to mix and mingle with all the eclectic people and sample yummy food and buy fresh flowers.  Nope, nothing better!  It is so fun!  Even in a crowd.
Three Crazy Girls Heading off to the Market

We all agreed it only matters if Karen looks good in the picture!

I wanted to take you on a little tour of our fantastic accommodations for this trip.  We stayed with Jeanette's childhood friend Kim.  Her house is so darling I want to show you!
Super cozy bed....had a really hard time getting Jeanette out of it

Cute little corner of our room

Kim's cute office

Office and sitting room just off our bedroom

Kim's obsession with Sonny and Cher

This is where Jeanette and Kim were while I was picking blackberries....just saying, not BB.

Darling hallway

Cute kitchen

Fun dinning room!
See!  Wasn't that darling?  Special thanks to Kim and her family for putting up with us for the weekend.

On Saturday evening we had Esther join us for dinner and we ended up going to the very quaint and delicious Luna Park Cafe.  I was not aware that near the West Seattle Bridge there used to be an amusement park called Luna Park.  All that is left to represent is this cute little cafe.  
We all totally enjoyed the little sign above Esther that said
"Flush twice it is a long way to Georgetown"
You have to be from Seattle to get that made us laugh!

Hot Fudge Shake, yes that is hot fudge around the outside of the glass
totally yummy smooth hot fudge

So quaint!
Sunday was a really fun day, guess what we decided to do!  We went to the grave yard!  Doesn't that sound fun?  Well, first we went to church and can I just say that 6th ward has changed, it is tiny now and not too many that I recognize.  Sister Janice Christensen was still playing the organ, bless her and Sister Spendlove came in with a walker on the arm of Brother Simonsen.  It was nice to attend church.

Next it was on to the grave yard.  I really wanted to go and take some flowers to Daddy's grave and bonus Uncle Bill is buried in the same Cemetery.  So off we went.  It is quite a drive, about an hour out to Kent and through the countryside.  I do love this Cemetery it is so beautiful and peaceful.  
The beautiful widow

Mom, Karen, Jeanette and Carol

Mom, Esther, Jeanette and Carol

Daddy's Grave

Lovely flowers

Uncle Bill's Grave

Rest in peace Uncle Bill

Our plane was leaving on Monday afternoon so we spent the morning at Mom's doing some deep cleaning for her.  Her apartment was in great shape but she can't exactly get down on hands and knees to clean so we scrubbed and cleaned everything really well before we left.  As hard as it is having her so far away she is very happy in her little apartment and really doesn't have to go very far or do much.  So it is perfect for now.  I was very grateful to be able to go up and visit with her and help out in a small way.  Carol is doing a great job keeping everything going.  

We decided to head down to Alki for our final Seattle goodbyes.......until next time!

Beautiful Mt Ranier (from the airplane)
Goodbye Seattle, Mom and Carol!  Big hugs until next we meet again!  (Soon, I hope)

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