Friday, August 15, 2014

Yoo-Hooooo, Are You Still Out There?

A couple months ago, there was a fire across the street. We were all standing out on the sidewalk in horror watching it burn.  Greg ran back into the house to get my camera, and accidently dropped it on our brick floor.  Ouch.  She broke!  We only sent it back to Nikon last week for repair, and I received it back less than a week later.
I was SO excited to get it back!  I have been lost without my camera.  I feel like I have missed so many photo opportunities, and although I am using my iphone, it is not the same for me.
My post tonight is just a bit of random this and that. A whole lot of nothing really.  Starting with the garden.  Very much in the last days of production.  The heat has taken a toll.  I continue to harvest tomatoes and cucumbers, green onions, and peppers, along with lots of herbs.  But most has now been harvested.
I have been able to make up several batches of homemade sauce to store in the freezer for the winters use.
When I first starting making my own sauce, I was doing it on the stovetop.  But then I saw the way my friend
Priscilla made hers, by roasting it in the oven, and I have been making it this way ever since.  Thanks Priscilla!!!  I add lots of basil, an onion, a few cloves of garlic, a chopped jalapeno or two, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then roast in oven at 375 for about 45 minutes.  When cool, use slotted spoon to transfer to food processor and blend.  I either use it right away, or freeze it in gallon freezer bags.  I can usually make enough in the summer, to not have to buy any all year.  It is delicious!
Our grandkids have all gone back to school.  I am finding myself with a little time on my hands.  Yesterday I popped into one of my favorite haunts to do a little thrifting.   What a lucky find too, because I am planning to make freezer jam this weekend, and needed some small canning jars.
20 jars for 10.00.  This wicker basket caught my eye with the pretty fabric insert.  The fabric is also covered by a protective plastic.  The fabric is so pretty and looks like my nasturtiums in my own yard.

I also got these two rolls of shelf liner paper.  How perfect for me.  It is roosters, chickens and eggs, and sunflowers.  In red.
I couldn't pass up this little ceramic eye glass holder.
I had not been in so long, and it was fun to be on the hunt.
The other day a friend of mine dropped by with a big box of Zinfandel grapes for me, that were from her daughter's vineyards in Temecula.
Aren't they beautiful?  And oh so sweet too.
I put them in the fridge out in the garage, with the intention of making jam this weekend.  So the jars were a terrific find!
Today my girlfriend Jae and I went to lunch and had a great mushroom burger, and a caught up on what has been going on.  She watches her one year old grandson, and I watch Noah, so we don't get to "play" as much as we used to.  She had today off, and had heard of a new quilt shop in town for us to check out too.
Jae and her husband Tom, just returned from a month long trip across the States on their Harley.  They are so adventurous!!!  I could never do that!
After lunch, we went in search of the new quilt shop.  Turns out, they had only been open for a few weeks.
 If you are local to my area, they are in Norco, on Hamner, right next to the Western facade shopping center.  Just before In & Out. They are small, but have a good variety and lots of things to choose from.  They will be having classes too.  Go check them out.  While we were browsing the shop, I happened upon a Sampler quilt on display on the classroom wall that looked very familiar to me.  I was invited to participate in a friendship quilt block exchange several years ago, and each person was assigned a block to make, one for herself, and one for the rest of the group.  There were about 20 or so of us I think.  I made the pumpkins, which was of course one of the less difficult blocks to make.  But I so enjoyed doing this!  I never put the quilt together....shame on me.  I will now!!  At first, I thought the quilt was made by someone else and like the one we did.  But I turned the quilt over to the back, and there it was, the label that each one of us signed.  My name, next to Pumpkins....dated 2003.  I did not take a photo!  But I will go back and get one soon.
Last night we had all of our grandkiddos, as it was back to school night for the parents.  It was fun to hear
 of their experiences their first week back to school.  Hannah and Noah are in second grade, and little Clairey is in Kindergarten.  Here is Geeps with all of them.
And here they all are with Gramma.
Oh how we love these kiddos!!!
I know I said I would not do a food post for awhile, but I have to share this easy and delicious layered dish. My Mom told me about it, after I was telling her about making my sauerkraut.  She knew someone who made this, maybe my Aunt?  I can't remember.  But it was GOOD!!!
 I bought a small boneless sliced ham.  Layered the dish with ham, then kraut, then sliced apples, sliced into round, flat pieces, then I layered a couple slices of good Swiss Cheese, and repeated the layers two times.  Finishing with ham slices.
I baked it at 350 for about 45 minutes.  I covered the pan loosely with foil.  It isn't a pretty dish.  But oh my, it is good!  A salty bite of ham, with the subtle sweetness of the apples, and then that tart kraut...and a wee bit of a gooey melted cheese bite.  Oh wow!! isn't a pretty dish.  But one of those comfort foods that I think we will be craving again come Fall.  I hope you try it.  It is easy, and yummy!  Don't forget to cover the dish with foil or the ham will dry out.
I will end this today with some yarny stuff.  I have been trying to get my stock built up for the holiday orders. I love to give dishcloths as hostess gifts.  So I like to always have some on hand.  I usually knit them.  Like this one.  I made a dish scrubbie with tulle in a matching color.
The hand made dishcloths are all I use.  I must have 20 of them!
I wanted to learn how to do this textured basket stitch in crochet.  So I You tubed it, and watched a few videos.  All of which made NO sense to me.  So I just put the ipad down and started to do my own thing.
It could very well be quite incorrect.  But it is just a series of front post and back post stitches, to form this weaved look.  I love it.
I couldn't stop!  I used up all of my soft cotton/acrylic blend that I bought up in Big Bear at the yarn shop there.  It is so soft and it washes up great, holds it's shape, and dries fast when hanging over the sink to dry. I LOVE this yarn!

The stack keeps growing.  These are fun and quick to make, and make nice gifts.  I like to make face cloths for the shower in a natural cotton and give them with some nice bars of soap.  And the ones for the kitchen, I  like to give with some nice pump soap like a Meyer's Basil or some of the seasonal soaps from Bath & Body Works.
I told you it was going to be a whole lot of nothing randomness!!  I hope all of you are enjoying the waning summer.  We are still in for a good 8 weeks of hot, hot hot!  Lots of triple digits!
I will be back soon, now that I have my camera back!
Thanks for coming by.  I always love to hear what you have to say!  Some of my readers don't have blogs of their own, but I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to comment too!!!
Have a great weekend.  Not sure if we will go the lake, Maybe even just Greg to fish for the day.  Lots to do for me.  Like jam making!
See you soon.
XO  Kris

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's Really Not A Cooking Blog

Another week has nearly passed since I last checked in.   I know it seems like the only things I post about here anymore are cooking and gardening.  So if those two subjects don't interest you, I hope to have some more interesting things to blog about soon.  My camera has been sent off today for repair.  I cannot wait to get that thing in my hands again!
I did do a fair bit of cooking this past week.  With that saurkraut I made, we were craving some grilled Reuben Sandwiches.  But first, I wanted to make some thousand island dressing to slather all over them.
Some mayo, a squirt of ketchup, sweet pickle relish, about a quarter of an onion, minced finely.  Salt and pepper to taste, and lastly, a hard boiled egg pushed through a sieve into dressing.  Mix and enjoy.  We "enjoyed" ours with some grilled Reubens!
I grilled them on my panini maker.  They were fantastic.  We have been enjoying the thousand island on all kinds of things too!
When I pulled the pickle tub out of the fridge for our lunch, I used the last one in there.  Since I have so many cucumbers coming out of the garden, I sliced a bunch of them up, and dropped them right down into the brine.  We have been eating them since, and every day, they are better and better!  So don't throw away your empty pickle jars.  Use the brine to make more pickles!
Yesterday would have been my beautiful Nana's, 100th birthday.  She passed away last September, only a few short weeks after we had celebrated her 99th.
Last night, we went to a family favorite restaurant, that Nana also loved.  We go there often, and they know our big family.  Last night, there were only a handful of us that could go.  But it was fun.  We laughed, told Nana stories, and had a really great time.  I wore her turquoise ring and earrings.  We all feel her presence, and feel sure she would have approved of our birthday celebration in her honor.  Below is a favorite photo of Nana, with my Mom, my two daughters, Gennifer's brand new baby girl, Hannah, and myself.  Five generations of females in our family.  Nana, our matriarch.
Nana and my Mom, a couple summers ago, at Newport Beach, where we did family photographs.
We toasted to Nana, with our favorite wine.
To Nana, we raise our glasses.
Mom brought Nana's special birthday hat that she wore for so many of her birthdays.  We took turns wearing it.  Here is my little brother Tim wearing her hat.
My nephew Chad.
The restaurant even sent us a piece of birthday cheesecake with birthday candle. We sang Happy Birthday to her, and my Mom blew her candle out, with tears in  her eyes.  I am sure her wish, was that she was sitting right there with us.  We miss her so.
After dinner, we lingered out in front for awhile, chatting.  Then decided to take a photo underneath the Crab Cooker sign, as we often do when we gather for any celebrations.  My Uncle John and Aunt Sue had already left, so they were not in the photo.  And this is only about 1/3 of our usual, much larger group.
Taken by the manager with my iphone.  Gosh, I miss my camera!!!   It was a nice evening celebrating her.
A little more on cooking.  I had a craving for meatballs the other day.  Probably because I saw that my friend Elaine posted a picture of her homemade meatballs on her IG feed.  I had a couple pounds of lean ground beef that I had just gotten at the market.  And I knew I had a couple of sweet Italian sausage links in the freezer.
Two pounds ground beef, 3 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed.  Two eggs, handful of fresh chopped parsley, 3 cloves minced garlic, about 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese,  about 1 cup bread crumbs, about 1 1/2 cups milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Roll into meatballs.
I browned them in a little olive oil, rolling to brown on all sides.  Then I dropped them down into a pot of roasted tomato sauce that I made from my tomatoes earlier.
I let them simmer for an hour in the sauce, and then served them over spaghetti noodles for dinner.
They were SO good!  This was only a small portion of them though.  I took half of the meatballs and put them in another container with some sauce, to use for meatball sandwiches.  We had those today, on toasted hoagie rolls with melted provolone cheese and sauce!
Insanely delicious!
Today after going out to the garden I wound up with another large bowl of tomatoes.  And we had a fridge full of ripe avocados too.  So I took one side of the kitchen and Greg the other, and he made his guacamole, and I made salsa.
We were going to go to the lake this weekend, but just decided to stick around here and do a few things.  The weather has been so ugly., and muggy!  It is lightly raining right now.
My garden is only producing a few things right now.  I have harvested most of it, before the heat burns it up. I had some funny looking carrots!

I hope your summer is going well.  I will be back soon with a post that doesn't involve cooking or gardening.
XO  Kris

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Time Flies!

It's true.  The older you get, the faster time flies!!!  I have heard that all my life, and now I am living it!  I have no idea where time  has gone?  I am so busy, every day, that blogging has just kind of been pushed aside.  I have tried to keep up with what all of my blogging friends are up to.  But with my camera broken, I haven't made the time to sit down and blog much.  My iphone photos are okay, but it is just not the way I am used to blogging.
My garden is at a bit of a resting period now.  I have harvested all of the corn, broccoli, spinach, swiss chard and cabbage and peas.  I have some new seedlings going of lettuces, squash and cucumbers.  My pumpkins are going like gangbusters.  And the tomatoes are coming in like crazy!  I am making roasted sauce, and freezing it about every other day or so.
The aroma is out of this world.  After it cools, I put it in the food processor and pulse til smooth.  Then jar it up, or freeze it, if I am not going to use it right away.
My sauerkraut is done fermenting, and it is gooooood!!!
I rinsed it of the brine, and repacked it in clean mason jars.
We had grilled Brats the other night.  Heaped with krout, and topped with diced avocado.  To die for!

On the side, some diced cantaloupe fresh from the garden.  Wow!  Today, I am making some homemade Thousand Island dressing and we will have grilled Reuben's on the Panini Press.
One night last week, I made a big ol pot of Chili Mac.  My Mom used to make this a lot when we were at Bass Lake, or at the cabin.  And it was such a great comfort food.
I posted this picture on IG and several asked for the recipe.  Well, I don't make it with a recipe, but here is what I do.
Brown up some lean beef, or turkey.  You can also saute some onion and garlic in there too, if you like.  I then added the prepared sauce from my garden.  I used a lot of it.  Probably equivalent to One large jar of pasta sauce, or a jar and a half.  You can obviously make a smaller portion, but I freeze some for later.  I also add a few Tablespoons of tomato paste for richness.  Then a can of black beans, two cans of corn, a large can of black olives, chopped.  I add a good amount of chili powder to the sauce, which is what changes this to Chili Mac.  I cooked a pound of small shell pasta, and added when al dente.  Don't over cook your pasta!  I always reserve some of the water that the past cooks in.  I add a good ladle or so of the water to the sauce.  Top with some shredded cheese of choice, put the lid on to melt cheese, and enjoy with a nice salad and some garlic toast.
We had our granddaughters here for the weekend  recently, so that Mommy and Daddy could go celebrate their 12th anniversary!  We were busy, busy!!  The only photos I got were in the pool.
Erika brought Noah and Linkyn over on Sunday.  Linkyn is Erika's fiance's daughter.  She is one year younger than Noah.  Such a sweetie.  The four kids all get along so well!!!!
Oh my goodness, how I love these kids!!!!!
We have certainly hit those dog days of summer here.  We have had triple digits for several days in a row.  I broke down and bought some of those black out curtain panels and hung them in our family room.  It has made a tremendous difference when that fierce afternoon sun begins to set, and we can now shut out the heat and the glare for watching the telly.
I got a smoking deal on them.  I had a 30% off coupon for Kohl's and these were on sale, from 50.00 dollars a panel, to 11.00 a panel.  I got them for under 10.00 a panel.  If they had three, I would have gotten another one.  But what a difference they make!!
I snapped this of my grandson the other day, one late afternoon while we were inside avoiding the heat of the day.
There is a new place in town called Live From Memphis.  My girlfriend Sue and I went one night to hear a friend of hers sing at open mic night.  She was terrific.  I called my son and told him to come down and check it out.  As it turned out, he was coming from teaching music lessons, and he had his guitar.  So he went up and did a few songs too.
We all went down again the following Monday night for open Mic, and the place was hopping.  There was an amazing band playing, and several other great musicians for the open mic.  Christopher and Breanne came to see Drew sing.  So did Christine's family and a friend of hers.  The place was packed!  Such a fun energy!

If you live in the Corona area, go check out Live From Memphis!!  It is located at the Dos Logos Shopping Center.  Easy to find, as it is right in front.  They have open mic every Monday night.  They do dueling pianos, and something fun every night!  Go check it out.  And try their sidewinders fries!!!  Yum!
Boy is it ever quiet around here this weekend!!!  Our oldest daughter Gennifer, and her family have left for Boise Idaho on vacation to visit her husband Jake's family.  Our middle daughter Erika, is at the river for a few days.  And our son Drew and his girlfriend are away at the cabin for the weekend to celebrate his girlfriend Christine's 25th birthday.  I can't ever remember a time that all three of our kids and their families were all out of town on the same weekend.  Yesterday we went to Sam's for groceries, and then came home and watched movies, (slept) the rest of the afternoon away.  It was heavenly!!!!
I appreciate all of the inquiries as to why I haven't blogged, and where I have been!  I am A okay, and all is well.  Just busy, and finding it a little difficult to blog without my camera!!!  
Have a great day!!!
XO  Kris