Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What kind of tree was the Snow Queen again?

I know you've all read Anne of Green Gables. I think it might have been a cherry tree. My little apple tree is blooming her heart out this year. It's such a spindly little tree, just 3-4 years old, and last year produced about a dozen apples --which amazed me. I got up early this morning, (you can see it's just past dawn in the picture) and this sweet tree was putting everything she had into her blossoms. We'll have to really thin them out this year. I love that. My other trees have all battled aphids and are still trying to recover. Nice to see something thriving.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shake shake shake shake shake it.

We had our family home evening on earthquake preparedness tonight, and it took me a half an hour to find a good video on youtube showing what an earthquake does in a house to show my kids what it would be like. I especially was worried about Ari understanding, but it turns out they get so much of this stuff in school it was old hat to both girls.

the ones I looked at before all had some girl's skirt shaking off, or a bunch of drunk guys. So be careful if you look yourself. Kai just thought it was really cool how everything broke. Hope that's how he feels in a real one. It would be nice if it was just a cool adventure type thing for him. I know Tia and I will be screaming.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Of Heaven and Hell.

I'm going to stop worrying about pictures, and just post. We've got all of our garden boxes filled with dirt finally, and now need to get the compost and drip lines put to them. Sigh. I wish I lived in a condo every year come late spring when the yard seems to take over my life, but then in summer I always think --Paradise! What could I have been thinking!?

In the summer heat in Utah, all the weeds slow down their sprouting, especially if you're more lazy than environmentally friendly like I am, and shovel out the preen as thick as you dare. I also have a good crop of marigolds now in my backyard, which carpet every non-moving surface if you let them, so even the parts of the yard that I haven't shelled out the cash for real landscaping plants still look lush lush lush. I love marigolds. They are so friendly and good to me. My backyard by July or August is my own personal heaven. Right now however it is my own personal hell. It's OK to say hell if you're referring to a geographical location I decided in college.

Jeff and I spent from 9:00 to 2:00 today outside in the rain that gradually froze into snow, weeding, and shoveling dirt in this geographical location while I listened to Roots on my MP3 player. At least the story was warm, they were still in Africa. I came inside just when Kunta Kinte was captured. That sucked. I mean I KNEW he'd be captured, but I was still hopeful you know? I never saw the series, but of course I knew. Anyway I was cold and tired, and still just got one section weeded, and there still is this HUGE pile of dirt on the street in front of our house. It doesn't seem to get any smaller, and I'm kind of vain about the yard I work so hard on, and the dirt pile really detracts from all my red tulips that are beautifully in bloom right now. People driving by are missing out on the splendor! OK, not really splendor maybe, but they are pretty. My front yard isn't in the same geographical location still. I got the weeding done a week ago.

Thanks for listening to my rambling. I'll try to post more often.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

English garden reception

I did the table for a friend's daughter's reception last night. Here's an example where a simple spread is able to look lush and beautiful. We discussed a few different options for food, and then just decided on fruit, and a "top your own" cheesecake bar. The guests seemed pretty happy, and although my friend did tons of topping options, it didn't break the bank (at least I hope --she really did go all out on toppings!).

They chose a sage green and rose theme, with kind of an English feel to it --both mother and daughter loved the movie Emma, and I couldn't help thinking of this movie when I saw the decorations. I used wild sage from a field near my house, and domestic sage, English heather, and euonymous from my yard. I also threw in a few artichokes, roses (of course), and lavender for bulk.

Lucky for me, they held the reception in the community center (which is beautiful!) so we were able to use lighted candles for the centerpiece. I filled the bottoms the candle hurricanes with water, and the herbs I'd chosen for the garland.

Unfortunately I forgot my knife, and as Jeff already brought me my piping bags and tips for decorating the display cakes, I couldn't call him a second time. So the sliced and fanned strawberries I'd planned on for cake garnish didn't happen. I think the cakes turned out OK anyway. Anyway, fun job. No major stress over the food, and I had enough time to decorate like I wanted to. This is when I love catering.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another dinner hit --- Salmon with fresh citrus salsa.

Everybody ate dinner again tonight, with no major tantrums, kind of nice. Sorry I haven't bothered with other posts lately, I only wanted to show you this one when it turned out so pretty on the plate again, and everyone liked it. This was another BH&G recipe ---they've really come through for me lately (of course there were a few modifications).

The salsa consisted of orange and grapefruit sections, halved grape tomatoes, hot pepper jelly (the red kind) and salt and pepper. Easy peasy.

The only tricky part is getting the sections. First you cut off the peel and outer membranes:
Then you hold it up, and make cuts between the membrane sections like this:
I thought I'd take pictures, since I tried explaining this to my sister in law one time and couldn't get it across. Anyway, you make the salsa, brush the salmon with the red pepper jelly and grill it, then serve the salsa over the salmon. Pretty simple. I did have to dilute the pepper jelly quite a bit with tomato jam for my kids, they're lightweights when it comes to hot stuff, but it was still great.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lemon grilled catfish with corn and blueberry salad.

Did another better Homes and Gardens recipe tonight. LOOOOVED IT! Of course it wasn't exactly the recipe, when I do it it never is. We had some catfish in the freezer already so I didn't spring for the salmon they used, and I added a little more lemon juice, and some wild blueberries along with the fresh, domestic ones, but it was so good.
I think it would even be excellent as a salad on its own if you don't do meat (Deja?), or over grilled tofu strips marinated in lemon and tamari. Plus there's the "rainbow on your plate" factor that just makes you happy to see it. I know it sounds like a strange combination, but it really works.

By the way, Kai loved it. ("Try it try it and you may! Try it and you may I say")

Here's a basic recipe, you can email me if you want more details.

Mix 1 T. lemon zest with 2 t. cumin and 1/2 t. salt and rub (about 2 pounds) catfish pieces top and bottom. Coat with cooking spray. Grill, or cook in nonstic

For salad, combine 2 1/4 cups sweet corn, 2 1/4 cups blueberries, 1/2 cup sliced green onion tops, 3 T. chopped fresh basil, 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, 4 T. pure (real) maple syrup, 4T. fresh lemon juice, 1/4 t. salt. Toss to combine. Serve together, garnished with fresh lemon slices (which I generously squeezed over my portion). Yum.

He came around later....