Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"garden" chili

Finally getting around to this post. I just wanted to share one of the ways we have used our abundance of tomatoes and peppers this summer. I call it "garden" chili, because a lot of the ingredients come from our garden. Usually I use a seasoning mix, canned tomatoes and beans for chili, but one day I just decided to try it with our fresh tomatoes, peppers, onion, and canned beans and see how it turned out. We like it so much better, and it's easier on the heartburn too!

Here's how I usually make it, but of course adjust amounts to your taste:

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
A jalapeno or two if you have it, chopped very fine
Celery, chopped, to your taste

Brown this all together until meat is done; drain.

Now add:
6-8 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2-3 cans plain beans, not seasoned (for this batch, I used a can each of pinto, red and black)
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer until it seems done to you, about 15 or 20 minutes. I like my tomatoes cooked until they are really... well, unrecognizable. And careful with the pepper - I usually add too much.

And of course, you have to melt a big ol' pile of cheese on top, right?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Almost finished!

Lizi's only request so far for Christmas was for me to knit her a nice, thick, comfy pair of socks to wear in front of the fireplace. I let her choose the yarn, Lily Sugar 'n Cream Stripes. It is a cotton self-striping yarn, which has been neat to work with. There's not much controlling where the stripes fall from one sock to the other, but she likes it that way. The pattern began with the Arachne Sock Calculator, which is a very cool, free tool. It gives directions for a knee high sock, though, so I just started with the ankle and we like how it turned out.

And the best part is, they are almost done! I finished the first one Saturday, without even working too intensively on it. Most of the second was done while waiting for Lizi at karate class. I have to admit, I love yarns with different colors in them - it keeps me knitting to see what patterns or stripes emerge.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today's lunch menu

basket of tomatoes from the garden on the counter
+ baby asking for tomato soup=
I mean, what self-respecting mother would say no to a child wanting a bowl of vegetables?

I've never been much of a tomato eater, so I was hesitant to grow so many this year. But we have put them all to use, and in some cases wished we had more. One of our discoveries this summer was this recipe from Whole Foods for the Whole Family, which I highly recommend. The tomatoes, pepper, oregano and basil are from the garden (and sometimes the carrots). It also needs some onion and 2 cups of white sauce. And of course grilled cheese sandwiches on the side. It is surprisingly easy to make; you don't even have to chop the vegetables perfectly, because you're going to puree them when they're done anyway. Yum.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

before the rain

Between what's left of Ike and our first cold front of the fall, it should be raining here in a little while. So before the rain, I went for a walk and snapped some photos to share.I love to look at mushrooms, almost as much as I love moss. These are tiny, and there are probably a hundred of them in one clump. Honestly, I didn't even notice the snail when I took the photo.
I love this land, this little piece of the Earth we call our home. Even though it's only 3 hours south of where we grew up, I am constantly finding wildflowers I've never seen before.
I don't even mind our current lack of grass, because it gives more space for them to grow.
MMMmmwwwaaaa ha ha ha... Apparently whatever is munching on my tomato leaves is playing a prank on me.
This oregano started out about April as a seedling. Now it has overshadowed the other herbs. It's almost 3 feet across; I had no idea it would get so big. The bumblebees love it.
I think this is called a surprise lily. It came with us from our old house. And our cat, Bilbo - I believe he thinks I'm taking the picture of him.
And here's the greatest discovery of my week. When we moved here, I thought we had wild grape vines growing all over the place. But a couple of days ago, I discovered they are muscadines! I wanted to get some started here anyway, so imagine my delight that they are already here! Some of these vines are as big around as my arm down near the ground. Unfortunately, I have to figure out how to get to them - the lowest ones I can find are still out of my reach, and most are about 20-30 feet up in the trees. I think I'll take some of the baby ones that are just starting out and trellis them. What fun!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hi, I'm Kim...

...and I'm a blogaholic. (Your line is "Hi, Kim")

Thank you for all the kind comments and Emails - they all meant so much to me. And please forgive my indecision. I've enjoyed my low-tech vacation, and hopefully the urge to check stats several times a day is out of my system. But I find I really miss having at least half of an adult conversation, in a day where there's usually... well, not much adult conversation. I probably will not be posting as often, and there might be some changes here and there. But I will enjoy your visits again!