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Summer Pasta :: A Recipe of Sorts

It's no wonder you all asked for a recipe, it does take a pretty picture doesn't it? It goes without saying of course that I have a fair level of anxiety around writing this recipe. I'm a maker of things... not a stop and take notes-er of things. I'll do my best, this dish deserves to be on dining tables across the world. ;)

Summer Pasta

  • 1 pound penne pasta

  • 3-4 small/medium zucchini squash, washed and sliced in half moons about 1/4 inch thick

  • bouillon cube or heaping teaspoon vegetable bouillon (i buy Frontier in bulk)

  • 8-10 oz. ricotta cheese

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, freshly and finely grated parmesan cheese, more for sprinkling on top if you'd like

  • seasoning salt or montreal steak seasoning (my choice, it's a guilty summer kitchen pleasure)

  • olive oil

  • butter

  • salt and pepper (the good stuff on both of these)

Before we get started - you should know that I subscribe to the Lynne Rossetto Kasper school of cooking pasta. Your water should taste like the ocean... salt it generously!!

Cook pasta according to package directions (with addedabove suggestion!). Towards the end of pasta cooking take out about 1 1/2 cups of pasta water and put in a glass bowl. Add bouillon and stir to dissolve.

While the pasta cooks, heat up a large cast iron frying pan on med/high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of butter. Sprinkle a little seasoning (montreal or seasoning salt) in the pan, add zucchini (try your best to get a single layer), sprinkle with a little more seasoning and black pepper. Cook hot and quick - two minutes per side at the most. Remove squash once both sides are lightly browned. Add reserved pasta water to the pan to de-glaze, then add ricotta cheese, turn heat way down to low and let it melt in, stir in parmesan cheese. Adjust flavor by adding a little salt and pepper and a few more glugs of extra virgin olive oil, add the zucchini back in. By now the pasta should be somewhere in the kitchen cooked and drained but still hot - put the pasta into a large shallow serving bowl (I love the one in the photo for pasta saute type dishes), maybe add a little more olive oil. Now carefully and evenly cover the pasta with the sauce, gently coat pasta. Top with more parmesan if desired.

I hope this works for you and makes sense! If you have a minute stop on over to the Simple Green Frugal Co-op, I'm there today too.

It's Good to be Home

{{ Thanks for all the summer reading suggestions! I'm going to try and put them all in a list in one handy reference spot on the blog. Please feel free to keep adding to it! }}

Oh, June. What can I say, you've had better years. Remember just last year, how my shoulders had a little sunburn before school even let out? How when I chaperoned the end of the year field trip to the beach I had already been there twice on my own? I miss that sort of warm and sunny June, please come back soon, okay? 

Truthfully, I've appreciated this extra time indoors, settling back into my home after many months of regularly working outside of it. The past several days have been filled with cleaning corners, putting away all of the laundry, cleaning out the freezer, washing the outside (and all those little buttons and knobs) of the washer and dryer... I've cleaned and sorted everything around here, I even dusted my headboard! It's felt so good coming home. I am truly at my best here, no doubt.

I even set aside a little crafting time for myself, now I have a pretty (and big!) new bag for summer. Big enough to hold my everyday gear plus Emily's when needed. I'm hoping this bag will join us on many sunny outings once these clouds roll out of here. Next up, I think a few new tops are in order.

This bag is the same design as the Summer Totes, with the addition of fusible fleece as interfacing to beef it up a little. I've always resisted this (and regular interfacing), feeling like their synthetic make-up wasn't worthy of hanging out with my linens and cottons. Well, I may be a convert. At least with the fusible fleece, I don't see myself ever really loving interfacing. But the fusible fleece has certainly proved it's value to me. This bag and the others are quite large which is fabulous. With the addition of the fleece, this bag's 20 inches wide, 11 inches tall and 7 inches deep self sits firmly and proudly on the floor like a big ol' basket - without looking like cardboard (a common trait of interfaced projects). I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of this and this as we speak... a girl can't possibly stop at just one you know. ;)

So, rainy cool gray June, I've made the best of you staying inside, puttering around my little nest, settling back in. But maybe I'm just making the best of me. I'm so happy to be home again, doing what I love. For me, nothing (as good as many other things are), nothing compares to keeping the home fires burning and the bellies of my family and friends well fed. I think it's going to be a good summer, rainy and cool or blazing hot... I'll take all of it, right here at home.

Steady, happy, and thriving home... steady, happy, and thriving world.

Summer Reading and Market News


We are expecting some heavy rain today and perhaps more rain tomorrow. It sure has been a pretty nerve-racking growing season so far here, how about where you are? Goodness, can we get a little sunshine please!

The Farmers' Market committee has asked a few of it's vendors to take the day off tomorrow if they would like... they are expecting the field we are in to be a little messy and might need to do some re-arranging/condensing of booths to stay in the drier areas. So this is to let those that might be looking for me tomorrow know that I will be taking the day off. I will likely be floating around collecting my veggies for the week, but my booth will not be there. I am however trying to take photos of some of the things that were meant to be there and fill up the shop a little bit. It is quickly getting darker and darker out there with the rain on it's way so we'll see, I hope I can make it happen, maybe tomorrow if not this afternoon. I have some very cute summery things to brighten things up over there.

Now, let's talk about summer reading. What's on your list? Better yet, what have you already read and checked off your list (maybe from years past) that I should read too? These are my first three of the summer; The Mighty Queens of Freeville will be finished up just as soon as I sign off here. ;) Brooklyn intrigued me, perhaps because my mom was a little girl in Brooklyn during the 1950's, which is when this book takes place. Prayers For Sale had me at the mention of quilting, the depression period, and a mountain home. I think I might actually get these three finished before their due date which is of course totally unheard of but very good news. So what should be my next read, or added to the list at least? Please, do tell!

I bet we'll all get some great ideas from each other!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend...

It's a Very Good Time of Year





So far we've made one strawberry pie, 12 jars of jam, 15 pounds are waiting in the freezer for smoothies, several pounds were simply eaten fresh, and then there was the overstuffed plate of chocolate covered strawberries for breakfast as we headed out thrifting last weekend (eaten in the car at 7:30 am, it's nice to be a grown-up and make these sort of decisions for yourself... and your children!). Because when you have freshly picked strawberries on hand as well as some of your favorite chocolate, naturally they should come together. Should I defend the breakfast part of it though? Hmmm... I bet there is no need, you all understand these things.

Another big trip to the farm is in order still, next week sometime. I should make another double batch of jam and we could use another 50 pounds in the freezer. Oh yes, I wanted to make and can some strawberry sauce/syrup for ice cream and yogurt as well. I need to locate a recipe for that... do you have one I should know about?

I'm off to cozy-up with my sewing machine for the next 72 hours, this is a Farmers Market weekend for me. I hope to stop back in tomorrow. And by the way, I really love how I can come here and carry on and make lists about what is in my pantry and freezer, discuss my sewing plans for the weekend, take a momentary stand on my soap box du jour, or talk about the latest and greatest method I discovered to shine my shoes... and you all give me the space and support to do that. This virtual playground for creative minds and curious souls is such a fascinating place to hang out. Thanks for being here with me.

A Scrappy Dessert :: Cheap and Easy

Even when things are rolling at full speed in life, a family still has to slow down and eat... and for me, it still needs to be homemade as much as possible. But it doesn't need to be fancy or gourmet; in fact, I prefer it to be down-home and scrappy. Yes, scrappy.

Many months ago I set out to fill a section of my freezer with apple pie fillings. Well, all of those pies have been baked (many were gifts, I swear!) and I am now waiting patiently for September to arrive with all of her beautiful apples to refill those shelves. Though please be certain, I am not rushing or wishing this summer away, absolutely not... I'm just keeping that space available in the freezer for when it's time. ;)

So. With all of that pie baking taking place over the last several months, there have been countless bits and blobs and scraps of pie dough saved and stored safely in the freezer. I could have thrown it all in the compost, but thought (with the thrifty-kitchen part of my brain) that it still had purpose and should be saved. Then, as you know, recently life got quite busy around here... making the thought of compiling interesting menu plans, shopping lists, then actually fetching from the market items on said list seem like an impossible task. So I didn't do it, any of it. Instead, I've been happily and successfully living out of my freezer and pantry, some meals more interesting than others, but all of them perfectly suitable as we made our way through the busy-ness. Tomorrow is my last official day of work for the year... I feel like a kid going on summer vacation!

About that pie dough, I made my own version of rugalah. The yummy cinnamon and butter filled treat, perfect with black coffee. Pastry heaven if you ask me...

This is the pie crust recipe I always make so you can start there if you do not have huge amounts of dough scraps in your freezer. If it is frozen dough, thaw it out in the refrigerator (throw it in there before you go to bed), in the morning (or whenever you decide to make it), roll it out to about 1/8 inch thickness. After the dough is rolled out, butter it (don't be too shy), then sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon. Now here is where it gets personal. Some of it I rolled out and cut into rectangular shapes, some I cut into triangle shapes. I don't think I have too much of a preference. Believe me, you give me dough, butter, sugar, and cinnamon and I'll make it come together no matter what shape it is. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into smaller pieces, roll them up. Form them into a crescent shape and pinch the ends in if you can. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20, depending on your oven. You want them to be nice and golden brown. Delish.

People very kindly suggest I should write a book about food. My father told me once that cooking is my calling. However, based on my lack of ability to intelligently write out a recipe (as proven above), I am most certain my food ramblings and ideas will always stay within the pages of this blog. My apologies to those of you who prefer these sort of things to be written in true recipe form, I'm with you on that... I just can't always pull it off. Anyway, try making this, it is so so good. If you've been having rainy, dreary weather like we have, a nice home-baked treat might be just right for you.

Not really having a thing to do with this post, I can't wait to see this movie...

Do you think Julia stored scraps of dough in her freezer?

I've missed being here, it's good to be back!

A Little Update


What a good time we had at the Farmers' Market yesterday. Thank you all for wishing me well on opening day, and thanks to all of you that stopped by to say hello, it was great to put smiling faces to names! Wasn't the weather absolutely perfect? Now let's please hope for a little more of that sunshine for the farmers... spring sure has been off to a pretty gray and cool start for their crops.

The past several nights have seen me heading off to bed fairly early (8:30 - 9:00) and then setting my alarm for 2:00 am to get up and sew. It might seem crazy but I really couldn't have found the time otherwise to sew and prepare for the market. It'll get easier once my weekday job is over for the summer. As hard as it was to get up at that hour, once I did, my work flowed so easily. The house was quiet, I didn't feel like I should be doing something else with my time, and with each hour that passed it got lighter and lighter outside and the birds would wake up one by one which was very sweet. And then my family would wake up one by one, and I felt so satisfied with 5 hours of work behind me.

Anyway, just wanted to pop in quickly this morning to say thank you for asking me to list some of these market bags in the shop, and to let you know that I finally did get a chance to do that! Come on over to have a look if you'd like... 

Enjoy the fresh start to a new week!

Market Offering

We are in countdown mode now. No longer am I looking at the calendar thinking there are weeks or months to prepare for the Farmers Market. It is now all about the days and hours.

I mentioned taking things down a notch this year design-wise. There will (once we are into summer and my Monday-Friday job is over) be embroidered one of a kind patchwork bags, there will be dog collars, there will even be a few mantra quilts and prayer flag sets. All in good time, and probably just little bits of those things here and there.

My focus this year is on practicality. What handmade goodies can I create that are beautiful, functional, and simple enough in design so they are also very affordable? Well, there are quite a few things that will be rolling out this market season, each week that I am there a new eco and pocket book friendly item debuting!

First up... The Farmers Market Tote!

Why haven't I done this sooner? Well, truth be told I was working on a few designs last year but none that I felt completely satisfied with. This one I love. This one is a wonderful size with a nice boxy shape. This one has purpose.

There will be folks that will ask me to make bigger ones, there will be those that ask for them to be smaller. Some will express wanting a zipper or closure of some sort, others will ask for pockets. One lone soul will definitely ask for shorter straps, and contrary to their request, five others will ask for longer. It's just the way it goes. I try not to take it personally when people check out my work and then suggest 3 different ways it could be made better. I know many of you can relate, having sold your own handmade designs before. It's so hard and edgy to put yourself out there in the first place. I should say though, my experience has always been that the positives outweigh the not-so-positive. And many suggestions do work themselves into future designs.  Still, I'll be giving myself a little "go team, don't be so sensitive" pep talk over the next few days as market day approaches this Sunday... and I hope people that stop by will enjoy what they see. (And there will be MANY to see!)

My first offering of the season...