Good, Simple Food

What’s a mom to do when the only other beet-lover in the family moves out? Sweet Miss was home for the weekend, and I sent her home with a few freshly picked beets, but I failed to serve up some roasted beet salad or other treats while she was here. 

It’s disheartening to make a dish that the rest of the family refuses to eat. The MR and Baby Girl are confirmed beet-haters. It just takes the joy out of the situation when I eat beets around them. 

That’s when I came up with a fabulous idea. Everyone’s on their own for breakfast. Why not eat beets in the morning? No one complains or turns up their nose, and I can eat them to my heart’s content. 

I toasted some leftover French bread, spread on some fresh cheese, and added sliced, roasted beets. Then I topped it with some local honey and a sprinkle of dried thyme from our herb garden. 

Simple foods combined for a satisfying breakfast. 


I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow. Maybe I’ll mix things up and drizzle on some basalmic vinegar and some toasted walnuts. 

What’s on your menu for breakfast?

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On the Needles

I was thinking about it the other day. I haven’t shared recent knitting and crochet projects for awhile, and with multiple trips back and forth to Oregon over the last month coupled with down time at the yarn shop, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to knit and crochet to my hearts content.

So here’s a few of the projects from the last month. You have to remember that I finished Sweet Miss’ blanket in time for graduation, and I spent a few days on the local yarn shop tour back in May, so I was itching to start something new, and quick, and pretty, and easy.

I spent most of the trip back and forth to graduation designing a “Shoulderette”. It’s somewhere between a shrug and a shawl.  The pattern is free with purchase at Quintessential Knits. I talked Baby Girl and Cocoa into modeling for me.

Shoulderette Collage

Some time in June, I decided to make the crocheted cowl from All Wound Up. I followed the instructions exactly including the hook size even though it seemed way larger than I would have chosen.  Sometimes it pays to listen to your instincts.

Cowl Xwide & tape measure

But it was a cowl, and can it really be too wide? Does gauge really matter? Yes, yes it can and does. It was supposed to be about 34-inches wide not nearly 40 inches. I ended up taking it all out and starting over again. It wound up much closer to the expected size.

Cowl Take 2

I think it will be great come fall.

Cowl Modeling

I also made the scarf from Acorn Street Shop. I wasn’t excited about the yarn they featured with their LYS pattern, but I had a few skeins of beige-to-peach at home that were waiting to be used. I was totally surprised as I worked up the yarn to come across vibrant coral.

Before I blocked my scarf, it looked a little, OK a lot, wonky.

Wonky scarf

But that’s what blocking wires are for. They turn a crazy looking scarf into a thing of beauty. I simply soaked the scarf for about 20 minutes in a sink full of warm water with a few drops of Eucalan (wool wash). Then I weaved in the wires and used T-pins to move it into place. Let it dry and you have a thing of beauty.

Blocked ScarfOK, so maybe the lime green beach towel isn’t the best backdrop, but you get the idea.  The yarn I used was in a finer weight than the pattern called for, but with two balls of yarn, I wound up with a lovely scarf. I’m quite pleased.

Scarf Selfie

I’m not a big selfie fan, put I looked “deer in the headlights” crazy when I ran in front of the camera on the self-timer for the other photo. You’re just going to have to deal. Wrinkle remover is a paid feature on PicMonkey, so you get me in all my glory. 🙂

I also crocheted Country Yarn’s featured pattern the Lattice & Blossom Scarf. Have I mentioned that tencel is a lovely fiber to work with? Or that crocheting allows you to scream through patterns oh-so quickly? This tencel yarn has beautiful drape and sheen along with a richness of color.

Lattice & Blossom Scarf

I have been knitting up the Tea Cozy Summer Poncho in a beatuiful sik blend and have another road trip in the works, so it’ll be done soon. I’ve been working on a sample pattern for the yarn shop using an ombre yarn that moves from beige to taupe to dark brown and back. By pulling from one end of the ball and then from the other, I wound up with some beautiful contrast. Some of those new yarns make colorwork a no-brainer.

I also saw some recycled t-shirt yarn gift bags on Etsy and have been inspired. All those pot holders I made a few years ago that are really too loosely woven to be “safe” pot holders I’ve been reworking into gift bags. The yarn sheds like crazy, and I’ve learned new ways of making a long length of yarn rather than making so many knots… Live and learn.

I’ll share some of my gift bags in the monthly recap. One good thing about being the only part of the country that’s rainy and overcast this summer, you’re totally content staying indoors and playing with yarn.

I did send Sweet Miss and her Fella’ home this weekend with broccoli, blueberries, beets, and some giant cucumbers from the garden and orchard. And her roommate also received a jar of jam ensconced in a crocheted t-shirt yarn gift bag.

It might break 80-degrees this week for the first time in July. I think things are looking up.

Any projects in your queue?

 

 

Garden Box Update

Do you remember back in early spring when I started moving the blocks and taking down the raised beds in the garden?

Then remember when I was gone in late April into May visiting the girls, and the MR started building a new planting bed below the current garden? I posted pictures and was so excited and the project stalled. 

We had graduation, and company, and work stuff, and trips to Oregon. So when the MR and I walked down to the local Sandblast  festival on the river last Saturday, and he mentioned how sore he was, I immediately thought of the bathroom remodel and the heavy cement board he was putting up. 

The next day, I was gazing down off the deck, looking at my tomatoes that he’d freed from the Walks-O-Water, when he asked in surprise if I’d noticed the wall. 


The wall? Oh, that wall.  That’s why he was so tired. 


We are still in need of some good dirt—make that a lot of dirt. 

But my giant pumpkin seems happy in the compost and potting soil I’ve been dumping in the corner. I was so late getting it planted that it’s a good thing the growing season lasts through mid-October. 


After a chilly July, they’re predicting some heat. That’ll give my garden a boost. 

How’s your garden going?

A Lovely Jumble

For many years, we celebrated the 5th of July. Yes, you read that right. The MR’s family would come into town from far-flung regions and sell fireworks. They’d be busy until the wee hours on the official holiday, so we’d gather at our house to celebrate the birth of our nation, a profitable week, and family on the fifth.

One memorable year, the MR had aunts, and uncles, and cousins, and their cousins, and in-laws, and his folks, his sister, and her family all invited for the festivities. I figured a few more wouldn’t hurt, so I invited my brother and his fiance as well. A barbecue with a dozen doesn’t stress me much, but when you start talking 40 and iff-y weather, and all that food, I get a little excited. The girls had a phrase they used when they were little:  “Mom would freak.” That about sums it up.

Everything was going great, until my brother’s ex-wife showed up an hour early for the daughter exchange. I was focused on making corn-on-the-cob for a crowd, I didn’t have time for chit-chat. Perhaps I need to be less worried about tasks and more worried about people. Before the night was over, I’d had a nice visit, set pot holders on fire, and served a great dinner.

All that brings us to poppies, huh? Yeah, I don’t know either. Along with the food, people raved about the backyard. The MR with his precision pruning, my geometric kitchen beds, and the abundance of flowers running wild. Back when we had a tiny third of an acre, we had patches of ground where we let flowers self-seed and take over. Campion, for-get-me-nots, lemon balm, crocosmia, and oriental poppies filled the yard with a riot of color. It was a lovely jumble.

Kim's iphone 096

Perhaps that’s why, when we were visiting Sweet Miss and took a detour to the farmer’s market, I couldn’t pass up two poppy seed heads for a dollar. I’d sent the crowds home that 5th of July with baggies filled with seed pods. Poppies always make me smile.

I think they’ll look lovely on the slope above the tennis court with the Russian sage, crocosmia, tall grass, and weeds. The MR’s folks sent me packets of foxgloves in June. Someday, that steep slope will be a wildflower garden with a little help from me and the MR.

Any kitchen crowd horror stories? What’s your favorite self-seeder that just takes over?

(Note: I wrote this post last night and scheduled it to come out in the morning. Instead it has simply disappeared. This rewrite is slightly better, slightly worse, and slightly different. If the other one happens to be sent out before I can disable it, I’m not losing my marbles. At least not yet.)

It’s Started

Sometimes things just hit you wrong. They set your teeth on edge. They put you in a bad mood. They make you cringe. The MR has that kind of relationship with the guest bathroom.

Thankfully, it’s tucked behind the kitchen safely out of sight. But occasionally, he’d venture through the guest room to the en suite bath, and it’d just drive him crazy. It wasn’t the chrome wrapped sliding doors or the outdated shower fixtures that got to him.

IS Old Chrome Fixtures

It was the lovely, seafoam green tile.

IS Green Tile

Our home was built in the early 90’s, but the influence of the 80’s was alive and going strong. Pale blue, mauvy pink, and yes, seafoam green were sprinkled around. And who can forget the dark green carpet on the floors? This is almost the last of those once popular color schemes to be irradicated.

After his parents left, the MR was just itching to start on his new project. Tearing out the tile, and redoing the bathroom. For the last week, Baby Girl and I have been serenaded with the sounds of pounding. But now the green is gone.

IS Clean Slate

For months, he’s been browsing the eye candy on Houzz and found these two beautiful examples of bathroom tile.

Our goal is to give the bathroom a modern, sleek look while adding some light to one of the few dark rooms in our home. We also have the added bonus of hard water, so we’re battling that constantly. That means dark tiles can look cloudy, and light tiles and grout can turn yellowish without constant attention.

This is the only bath tub in the house, if you don’t count the Japanese soaking tub, so wanted to keep it. And then there’s the issue of bathing small children, huh? The MR thinks of everything. We’d talked about a fixed glass door that went three quarters of the way across, but then what if the next people have small children? They might actually need a bath. Some day, we might even have grandkids. It pays to think ahead.

These are the current tile favorites.

IS Tile Samples

As you can see the gray is quite close to the floor color with a hint more blue, so we’re thinking about going a shade lighter, and we’re still not 100% sure of the dark accent tiles. I can’t wait for it all to come together.

When he was tearing things apart, the MR discovered that the original builders had simply tiled over the sheet rock. Perhaps codes were different 20 years ago. Being a guest bathroom, it hasn’t seen much usage while we’ve lived here—just a few months here and there. We were happy not to find any water damage.

New fixtures have been arriving, doors have been ordered, and it’ll be exciting to share all the progress over the next few weeks.

Any horrible color schemes you’ve had to conquer?

 

Oh, Deer!

Yesterday as the afternoon was winding down, I ventured out to the garden to pick broccoli for dinner. Pleased with the sideshoot production and laughing at Cocoa as she raced wildly about the meadow, I wandered over to the orchard.

It’s been raining off and on all weekend, but I figured we’d had a few hours of sunshine, so I’d pick some currants for a friend who mentioned how much she liked them at a party over the weekend. The season is winding down for these tart berries, but I was still able to pick over a pint in a matter of minutes.

I moved on to the blueberries. We have three different types that each ripen at a different time. I picked a handful and figured I’d add them to the broccoli salad for this evening. Then since I was already close, I decided to see if the remaining beauty plums were ready for picking.

That’s when tragedy struck. Apparently, the deer enjoy our plums as much as we do. One slightly squished fruit dangled from a branch, but half the tree lay on the ground.

OD Broken Plum Tree

After we’ve been celebrating our first year of success with plums here, I was hit hard by this new challenge. It took the pear tree three years to begin to recover from similar treatment by the local wildlife. I worry that the raw tear will get diseased.

OD Raw Wood

Cocoa is quite happy to bark wildly from the deck when she sees deer in the meadow or muching on our landscaping. We miss our little buddy who even with foggy vision would heroicly chase away all invaders—man or beast.

After seeing the sad shape of the beauty plum, I turned to the Shiro tree which is due to ripen soon. After watching the tree set a nice show of fruit with anticipation, I sadly saw just one lonely plum dangling out of my reach. Perhaps the deer can’t stretch any higher than I can.

In anger, I picked an apple on my back up the hill. Both trees are weighted down with a heavy harvest, and I wasn’t going to let the deer get them, too. The apple was quite tart. I’ll have to keep my eye on them to make sure we enjoy their bounty.

The MR is headed to the hardware store to investigate other possible fencing solutions this week.

On a happy note, my mom’s broccoli salad recipe tasted fabulous with broccoli, blueberries, and one squished plum from our garden.

OD Broccoli Salad

Any tips on keeping out the deer? 

Grandma Donna’s Broccoli Salad

Salad:
4 cups broccoli flowerettes
1 cup raisins
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup purple onion
8-10 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonaisse
3 T sugar
1 T raspberry vinegar

Mix  salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and toss with salad. Let the broccoli soften a little and serve. Enjoy!

Note:  My kids have grown up on this salad. They have an aversion to raisins, so we use grapes in the winter, and lately, I’ve substituted currants, blueberries, and a squished plum on occasion. I’ve never used 8 slices of bacon; two or three is plenty for the four of us. Last night I used toasted pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds, since I like them better. I usually opt ought of the onion, because it makes me burp. And if you’re trying to cut back on sugar, go down a tablespoon or too, but taste it first. The vinegar can be a little bite-y. Let’s just say, these are guidelines for a salad, that your mom probably brought to a potluck or two in the 80’s or 90’s, and we still enjoy it today.

 

 

Not Those Kind of Bubbles

When the girls were little they were fascinated by bubbles. We had a sunroom at our first house, and we’d put Sweet Miss in her walker and blow bubbles for her. Later at our next home, the neighbors had a bubble machine, and the girls would laugh and squeal as they ran through showers of bubbles. Bubbles are delightful, magical, and fascinating.

B Bubbles

Unfortunately, recently the MR found a different kind of bubble. Last summer we had the deck recoated just for routine maintenance. Well, the coating had started to bubble up, or at least that’s what we thought. Then the contractor came back and said he’d redo the half of the deck that had a problem.

All was going well, he was an honorable guy, and was going to stand behind his work. Until, he pulled up the problem areas and realized it was the original coating that had seperated from the wood of the deck. The coating he’d applied was still adhered solidly to the first layer.

B Deck Patch

He still willingly fit us into his busy schedule and did a great job first gluing down the patches, sanding, and then refinishing half the deck.

B Deck Patch 2

What changed was who paid for it. Of course, all the trouble was on the shady side of the deck during the nicest week of the summer so far. That’s OK. Cocoa has given the new deck her seal of approval.

B Back to Normal

It looks like this area could use a few potted plants to soften things up, too. Have I ever mentioned this deck is mammoth? Some day, I’ll have the insides all put together and can turn my attention to the outsides in earnest.

Any bubble stories to share?