Thursday, June 28, 2012

Smile! Family

My Aunt Leanne and Ken came to visit me today!

And this was the point at which I laughed the hardest :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Smile! A Sunny Day

Its finally almost summer feeling!

I took Milli for a walk - and a quick stick throw in the park today! I think this made her smile too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recipe: NW Summer Cobbler

I know its summer when the salmonberries are ripe, peaches and cherries are in the supermarkets and I'm just about out of blackberries in my freezer (from last year's picking)!

So, tonight, I made up a recipe to celebrate the start of summer! I used salmonberries Chad and I picked last weekend :)

 Chad picking away at our favorite spot on Clear Creek Trail. You can see two orange berries just above his hand.

 These were the prettiest ones we picked!!

NW Summer Cobbler
  • 2 peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cup cherries (any kind), pitted and cut in half
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup salmonberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, divided
  • a nice squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbls granulated sugar or splenda (more if you like sweeter deserts)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (I used old fashion)
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tbls cold butter, cut up

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 glass pan. Mix together fruit, 1/3 the applesauce, lemon/lime juice, sugar and corn starch. (Don't transfer to pan yet)

Mix together flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. With fingers squish the butter into the dry mixture until its just part of the mixture maybe like corn meal). Then start scooping in the apple sauce into the dry mixture. After each scoop, mix the dry stuff, and repeat until its moist, sticky, but still crumbly. (At this point, pour the leftover apple sauce into the fruit and stir)

Pour fruit mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the oat mixture over the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is happy brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve with whip cream or ice cream (OR BOTH!!)

Delicious! Really, you could use just about any fruit in this crisp/cobbler. I almost threw in some rhubarb :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Smile! Strawberry

In sheer spite of the current "summer" we're having, I picked this from my deck garden today!

And it has about 10 other friends just waiting to turn red!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Who Cut the Cheese - Take 2

We'll, I was at it again - making some cheese! Chevre!

This time it was goat cheese, with fresh, local goat milk from Hansville Creamery! 

And it was not nearly as tedious as last time! Chevre is easy to make and is delicious and versatile.

 My awesome set up! I brought the milk to 74 degrees and added the culture.

   Let it sit for 9 hours at between 71-73 degrees, till it looked like this.

  Then I put the curds in a colander lined with butter muslin.
  Where it drained for seven hours.

 Then, I put it into a container and mushed it up! All done!

I really don't have much to say other than it was totally delicious. The flavor was AS good as store bought (which is great cause I love the taste of chevre from the store) but with the added bonus of changing, for the better, over the 10 days I ate it. It started out quite mild and finished rather tangy. The texture was BETTER than store bought, which I often think is far too dry and mouth moisture sucking. Mine was soft and moist and full of smooth texture.

I actually took this one to a couple of events and shared it. Packed it with some dried  italian herbs and sun dried tomato and served it with crackers.

I'll definitely be making this again! and again.... and again.....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Which Came First?!

The Lucius or the egg?!

Who cares! All I know they are both in my house right now - Lucius and her eggs!

That's right, Lucius, who, yes, I always call "he" is actually a "she." Don't get me wrong, I've been 90% sure of this since forever.. but she's a lizard and its hard to tell, but frankly, I didn't care. She's always been Lucius to me.

So, Chad came home today during lunch and sent me a text with this picture:

"Look! we have baby Lucius eggs!"

At that time she had only had 3 and he thought she was working on her 4th. By the time I got home though, she had had SEVEN!! Seven little eggs! Well little is relative... they were each about an inch by a half inch - which considering her body is only about 9 inches long... I think they were huge!!!!

As soon as I saw them and snapped a few pictures, I scooped them all out and put them in a bowl. Then I put that bowl in the only logical place I could think of - the fridge. See, I didn't want her trampling them and I knew they weren't viable (she has lived alone for five years....), but most of all I wanted to show them to people... like my husband and my friend :)

6 white ones and 1 yellow one. 
This is common for lizards, by the way, most species will have eggs a few times throughout their lives, regardless of sex or not. Funny fact though - for the mali uromastyx - both the white and yellow eggs are typical. In breeding females the yellow eggs always indicated unfertilized eggs, while white ones could be or not.

So, I am happy. Eggs = Healthy FEMALE Lizard. Healthy Lizard = Happy Tara.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Smile! A few words

I woke up to this note and a pot of fresh coffee -

Now how couldn't that make me smile.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chad's Marathon Picture Update

We got his pictures! He barely even looks winded!!!

Yup! He's amazing!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Smile! Happy Flowers

This is how wonderful my husband is:

After a long day at work, I come home to find the house clean and these beautiful happy flowers on the dining room table! He totally loves me!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Who Cut the Cheese?!

We did! Well actually we made it, THEN we cut it!

I've been wanting to make cheese for the last couple months actually. I found a cool website that has just about everything you need for cheese making, but better yet they make it look easy! Note: I did have a HUGE problem with what they charge for shipping and ended up contacting them about it - at which point they lied and whatever, but they did give me back some of the money I deserved.

Unfortunately, cheese making is an all-day-freaking-process, so we had to postpone making it for quite sometime, but then the long Memorial Day weekend came along and Chad and I both had an entire day off together with nothing planned - the perfect cheese day!

Our first batch: Cows Milk Feta! We have an amazing very lightly pasteurized, non-homogenized, somewhat local, milk company Twin Brook Creamery, that even comes in glass bottles!! It is perfect for cheese making and cheaper than the local goat milk from Hansville Creamery, which I figured was safest for our first batch :)

Anyways, the method is a little... involved... here is a taste for you: bring the milk to 86 degrees over an hour. Stir gently and hold at 86 degrees for two hours. Raise temperature, two degrees per five minutes, to 94 degrees. etc... etc... etc.... So here it is simply:

 You heat the milk and add cultures and rennet.

 You cut the curd and warm it to draw out even more moisture.

Then you drain the curds and later brine the compacted curd pieces!
And then you end up with something that looks and tastes remarkably like cheese!! It ended up being smoother in texture and more mild in flavor than goat milk feta - no joke when I can honestly say I liked it better than the store bought stuff!

The first way we ate it was crumbled in a salad. Then melted in a pasta dish. It's amazing stuff. Next we're gonna make chevre goat cheese - I have the gallon of goat milk in my fridge just waiting!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Smile! Cartoons

Happy Sunday Morning!

Just about every weekend morning of my and Chad's marriage we have sat down on the couch to a cup of coffee and an episode of The Fairly Odd Parents - my favorite cartoon!

I used to wake him up at 7am to watch the two episodes that played, but since then we wake up pretty natrually around this that time.

Can you say best husband ever? I definitely can!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Marathon = Chad is CRAZY AWESOME!

This past Sunday, Chad ran his first (and probably only) MARATHON!! He ran the full North Olympic Discovery Marathon - spanning from Sequim to Port Angeles.

Yup - we're talking 26.2 miles of jogging insanity!

His goal was to run it in under 4 hours and he totally did - 3:59:28! Doing the math that's 9:08 minute miles!

To say he was a little sore afterwards, would be an understatement... but he knew that was coming... Asking him later if he'd do it again, his answer was "Naw, probably not, its been checked off my bucket list."

Chad is so freaking amazing, this is just one more notch of proof of that. I'll post his finish photo when we get it :)