Sunday, December 05, 2010

Here's my easiest, cheapest, everybody-likes-it-est recipe.

Grandma Carolyn's Vegetable Soup

1 bag of carrots (6 or 8 or 10 carrots, whatever you've got), peeled and chopped

1 large onion, peeled, halved, and sliced thin

1b can crushed tomatoes

8 oz tomato sauce

1/4 - 1/2 cup barley

6 vegetable bullion cubes

4 cups water

Throw it all in a pot and cook til the carrots are soft - about 40 minutes to an hour.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Here there be monsters.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yesterday we visited Breakwater Beach, a bay-side beach in Brewster, right about where the Cape bends its elbow. Beautiful, right?

Beautiful, but much too cold for turtles. Rowan, Jon, and I joined the Dorseys on an (let's call it) invigorating walk. We were excited by the prospect of coming to the rescue of a chilly turtle, but glad in the end that there were none to be found. Hopefully they've made their way to warmer waters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"If you can control your family, you've gone terribly wrong somewhere."

~Louisa Durrell, My Family and Other Animals

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cleverest witch of her age, indeed.

(Outfit designed and sewn by Rowan. Patterns are for Death Eaters.)

(Wand created by Jon.)
This week Dagny turned 81.

Or 18, depending on who you ask.

Either way, we got to eat Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do you think I am very lucky to have a piece of Laura Bowman's art in my house?

I do too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten years ago, when we moved into a neighborhood of farmers, I didn't know when strawberry season was. My food all came from the grocery store, where regardless of cardboard cut-out holiday decorations, seasons don't exist. I had dreamed of growing things, imagined gardens and fruit trees, but I knew so little and was so disconnected from how food grows that I didn't have any idea what I didn't know.

For me, this has been the year of the garden. I've spent hours preparing soil and planting things, but many more hours reading. I'm learning and learning and most days feel I can't learn fast enough to suit myself. I pick up a tip here and a tidbit there, and realize that even some of the things I thought I had figured out - you pick strawberries in June, with the new summer sun on your back - aren't quite so simple.

For weeks now I have gone outside with my colander, expecting this to be the day it comes back empty. It hasn't happened yet. I go out in a sweater and a jacket and pluck strawberries with cold fingers. Bright red berries poke out from under fallen leaves, and I feel exhilaratingly off balance.

I can't wait to find out what else I don't know.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just for Anna, here's some of what's going on at our house:

The beehive got taller.

There are lots of bees in there, and the smell of beeswax is amazing.

The hydrangea are putting on quite a show.

I'm growing summer squash and zucchini for the first time.

The craft room smells like garlic.

Critters are eating all our strawberries.

And if this is what your 'weeds' look like, don't pull them - they're tall phlox.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Bread

3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups milk
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix peanut butter and sugar.
Add vanilla, salt, and baking powder.
Mix in half the milk and half the flour.
Add the rest of the milk and flour, and mix until smooth.

Bake in a well-greased bread pan 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pancake/Waffle Mix

7 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
8 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt

Whisk together and store in an airtight jar.


2 cups of mix
2 eggs (can substitute applesauce - about 1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir until just combined.


2 cups mix
2 eggs (can substitute applesauce - about 1/4 cup)
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir until just combined.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jon found this. You can get a bunch of games, pay what you can/want to, and have whatever portion you want sent to a charity. I think it ends tomorrow, so check it out today if you're interested.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Fran-Fran-Fran's Pizza Dough

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
3 1/2 cups bread flour (or 4 cups all-purpose flour)

Mix yeast with sugar and 1/4 cup water.
Let rest 5 minutes.
Add the other cup of water, the salt, and the oil.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix til smooth.
Add another 1 1/2 cups flour (2 if you're using all-purpose) a bit at a time.
Knead for 10 minutes, adding just enough of the remaining flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
Rub the ball of dough with a bit of oil.
Place dough in a bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set in a warm spot for 1 hour.

(I do this in my mixer using the bread hook, and knead for about 5 minutes.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

I spend a good amount of time sitting on the steps outside our kitchen door. For most of the day, if the sun's out, it's a warm spot. I get a double whammy of heat from the sun as it shines on me from the sky above and radiates up from the steps below. I grab at least a few minutes a day out there in the spring, mostly just to convince myself that I'm not going to be cold forever.

So, there I was a few weeks ago, when I realized that in the tree directly in front me a bird was sitting on a nest. Considering how long I had been looking right at that spot and how often I sit and look right at that spot I had a few minutes of amazement at the fact that as here and now as I like to think I am, there must be lots of moments when I look and do not see.

That epiphany processed, I called everyone outside to see the bird.

We've all had time to feel like we've gotten to know her. She doesn't seem to mind us being around. Dagny and I have worked directly underneath her nest, our heads not much more than a foot away from her, cleaning out Dagny's garden. Rowan, Dagny, and I have watched as her partner shows up, sits on the branch next to her for a while, then hops quickly on the nest as she flies off.

The day before yesterday I noticed the male bird standing on the ground under the nest for a long time. It brought to mind cartoon dads who pace the waiting room smoking cigars while their babies are born. Sure enough, yesterday Dagny and Andrew noticed some extra feathers in the nest. There are two babies, one on each side of the mom. From the back it looks like a three-tailed bird is sitting up there.

Yesterday, on our way over to the new strawberry patch, Dagny and I stopped dead in our tracks. Dagny ran back inside for her camera while I leaned on the car and stared, barely blinking. By the time she got back the baby we had seen peeking out had ducked its head back under the mama's chest. We stood. We stared. We worried that the wind was going to blow them right out of their nest. And every once in a while, we'd see little eyes. We stood and stared some more, and suddenly there it was.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

When we moved into our house, Dagny was 7 and Rowan was 3. As I walked through the house the first day, I knew it was perfect for us at that time, but I also had an imaginary distant future in mind. A future in which our house could adapt to the kids' getting older and bigger and needing more space, with room for us all for as long as we each wanted to live here.

Now here we are. The distant future. The year 2000. (ok, if you don't know Flight of the Conchords you won't think that's funny. But I bet Rowan laughed.) And recently we've made some changes that I imagined that first day.

Rowan, whose perfect-for-a-three-year-old room was decidedly not perfect for a 13 year old, has moved into a much bigger room, freshly painted and equipped with a bed that belonged to her great-great grandmother.

Dagny has moved to the third floor, where she has both a bedroom and a living room. Rowan, Andrew, and I painted her bedroom for her as a surprise while she was away in February, and she and Andrew painted her living room a couple of weeks ago.

You can just barely see in this picture that on the wall to the left of the windows a bunch of dates are written, marking Dagny and Rowan's growth over the past ten years. Dagny carefully recorded and rewrote them when she painted, which I think was awfully nice of her considering it's a record of Rowan overtaking her in height.

Some people want their kids to move out when they turn 18. Me, I'm still imagining a distant future that includes a family growing together and a house that adapts to accommodate us all for as long as we each want to live here.
Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp yellow mustard

Combine lentils and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

About 10 minutes before lentils are done, add pepper and onion to a medium pot and saute for 7 minutes.

Add garlic and cook another minute.

Drain lentils and add to pepper/onion/garlic.

Add chili powder, oregano, and salt, then tomato sauce and paste.

Cook 10 minutes.

Add syrup and mustard, and give it a couple of minutes to heat through.

Serve on buns.

optional: top with cheese

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1 Tablespoon olive oil
salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 300.

Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and center ribs. Cut remainder into fairly large pieces - they will shrink quite a bit.

Toss with oil and salt.

Bake in single layer on cookie sheets for 20 minutes, or until crispy.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

When Dagny's not home there's no one here who might accidentally be wearing the same thing as me.

What fun is that?

Friday, April 09, 2010

My brother and his wife made this for a birthday party recently. It's great as a dip, but also makes a delicious wrap. When I made it myself I ended up using three avocados, adding each one fresh to the portion we were ready to eat.

Pico De Gallo

1 purple onion, diced (I used less - maybe 1/3 of an onion - as we're not huge fans of purple onions)
4 plum tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, diced finely
1 bell pepper, diced
Juice of 2 limes
Handful of chopped cilantro

Mix together everything but the avocado and refrigerate overnight. Add avocado when serving.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Roasted Chickpeas

14.5 oz chickpeas (1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 dashes cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Preheat oven to 425.

Roast chickpeas on cookie sheet 10 minutes.

Stir or shake and roast another 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the chickpeas with the other ingredients.

Spread back on cookie sheet and roast 5-15 minutes, until brown and crunchy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We noticed last week that the river was higher than we remember seeing it, and the recent rain forced it over its banks. Memorial Park is flooded. Bridges are under water, islands have disappeared, the stage is surrounded by water, the top of Preacher's Rock is a small island in the middle of a pool. There are lots of people walking around the park, some looking amazed, some looking a bit dazed.

Proper exploration required just the right boots.

Of course, even the perfect boots can only handle so much water.