Category Archives: Summer

An Overdue Update

Wow I can’t believe how much I have abandoned my blog during this pregnancy.  I haven’t visited or posted on here in the last 2 1/2 months!  I guess we’ll just call it an unannounced maternity leave.  Time has been going by so quickly this summer, and I guess I have somewhat lost interest and had my mind on other things.  And I must say that since the beginning of the pregnancy, I have sort of lost my creative spark in the kitchen.  I know, it is sad.  In the beginning I had a very picky appetite, although no problems with nausea or morning sickness.  Then my appetite and taste for food got more normal but cooking has just seemed like more work than it ever did before.  Other than my creative spunk in the kitchen, or lack of, there has been plenty of other fun things to post on so I think I have some catching up to do.

I know, enough excuses already, but I also must say that I always heard about ‘pregnancy brain’ before and thought it was sort of just a joke.  I’m telling you, it is real.  It is very REAL!  I won’t have my husband get on here to tell stories and examples, but will just say it is real, it’s not really funny, and maybe has something to do with neglecting the blog.  =)

I should start with a little update on this season’s gardening.  Honestly, my energy and effort in the garden has been much the same as in the kitchen.  Again, sad.  This summer we have had 90 degree weather all day every day for a while now so I tend to stay out of the heat and go in the garden right when the mosquitos want to come out and run me out of there.

My sunflowers are probably my favorite thing in the garden this year.  They now stand tall and make me happy.  I’ll definitely have to plant a bunch of them from now on!

And then of course the berries!  Processing of them has so far consisted of eating them fresh and sticking the rest in the freezer. =)

Had plenty of strawberries to enjoy too…

Our tomato bed sort of exploded with all the sunny hot days we’ve had, and is now full of green tomatoes..

And we are still enjoying some Chioggia Beets and some carrots.  I don’t think they did as great as we got them the last couple summers, I’m thinking it’s because every day this spring was rainy and then it seemed to switch overnight to being 90 degrees and hot everyday…

The peas did pretty well too.  Oh and my lavender from last year came back, and blew up…

So the garden has not got all the TLC this year that it has deserved and needed, I suppose I should get out there and pick more raspberries and pull some weeds.

I will be back soon to post updates on the progress in the baby’s room.  It’s a work in progress, and slow going, but I have a lovely vision for it and I’ll soon share pictures of the improvements along the way.  =)

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Glacier National Park

This gallery contains 17 photos.

We spent a day in Glacier last weekend, just going for a drive with the dog and the camera.  This national park is beautiful, and pretty much in our backyard so we go hiking and camping every summer in different … Continue reading

Jackson and Co.

We’ve now had Jackson for more than a month and I’ve been meaning to share some pictures and stories.  So many cute things and funny things happen with him, I’ve intended on journaling them and sharing the funny stories but I wait too long and then there’s too much to tell.  All I really need to say is that he is awesome, so cute, and does the funniest puppy things and he makes me laugh everyday.

He sure is a handful!  Full of energy when awake, and then just wipes out and takes lots of naps.  I exercise him twice a day– morning and evening, where we go for a good walk down our country road.  He’s starting to run with me a little now with those long legs, which is awesome since the little intervals of running keep him from stopping everywhere to smell the smells!  He has quite the nose, these dogs are born and bred for their good noses and that keeps him really busy.  I think he’ll be a good hunting dog for Will, he’s been pointing butterflies and dragonflies, and watching the geese and birds flying, so he’ll be pointing birds in no time =)

It’s really fun to watch him around water, the first times with the hose on he was chasing and pawing at the moving water like he was trying to catch it, then figured out how he can drink out of the hose and just loves that.  Last week as I was in Thompson Falls with Will, we took him down to a nice beach area on the river.  Oh boy, he had no idea what he was in for… just went crazy flying all over the beach, digging in the sand, sniffing and snorting it, pretty much wearing it and trying to swim in it.  We threw some sticks in the water and he ended up swimming for the first time which was pretty fun to watch.

I’ve been wanting to share some pics of the evening I went to pick him up, these were taken more than a month ago but better late than never right?  And here’s some more recent ones from the last 1 1/2 months.

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Well there’s the update and pictures finally!  Hope you enjoyed them. =)

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

I made this soup the other night with our potatoes from the garden, so I can freeze it and have it to pull out for dinner on those chilly winter nights to come.  I’m not so sure any of it is going to make it to the freezer.  Can’t. Stop. Eating. It.  Even with the weather so warm right now, and usually I don’t care for hot soup in the summer, I’ve been enjoying it for lunch and dinner.

So comforting, soothing, heartwarming, creamy, and flavorful.  I basically did Ina Garten’s recipe from my cookbook, Back to Basics, and changed it up a little.



The roasted potatoes and leeks, sauteed shallot and garlic, white wine, chicken broth, parmesan, whole milk, parmesan, and a sprinkling of thyme and parsley all make for the best flavor!  Really, if you plan on making potato soup sometime soon, you’ve got to cook this one up!

::Roasted Potato Leek Soup::

3-4 lbs potatoes, cut in 3/4″ cubes (ideally yukon golds, but I used russets and reds from our garden)
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1/3 c. olive oil
Spread the potatoes and leeks out in a single layer on 3 baking sheets, drizzle well with olive oil and s+p and toss.  Roast at 400 F for 35-40 min.

3-4 T olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c. dry white wine
2 qts. chicken broth
4-6 c. whole milk
4 T. parmesan, grated

In a large stockpot heat the olive oil, add in shallots, then garlic and saute til a few min., then toss in two sheet pans of the roasted veg, setting aside the third pan for later.  Saute only a couple min., pour in white wine and let cook a few min.  Add about 1 qt of broth (enough to make it thin enough to puree).  Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture in the pot (or puree batches of it in a food processor).  After it’s all pureed in the pot, heat back up, add in 4-6 c. whole milk (or cream), parmesan, and sprinkle in 1 T. fresh or dried thyme, fresh parsley, and s+p to taste.  Do not let it get to a full boil, but a gentle simmer.  Add in the last baking sheet of roasted potatoes and leeks to the pureed soup, stir up and enjoy! 

We have now pulled out all of our potatoes from the garden, I think I will make another pot of this to have more to freeze.  It is so nice to have homemade soup in the freezer on those winter evenings where soup just sounds perfect, or those weeknights that you just don’t feel like cooking.  =)

It’s a Good Thing

As I was doing a ton of vacuum packing tonight, I just kept hearing Martha Stewart’s voice, “It’s a good thing”.  Ha ha, well this is indeed.  I’m pretty happy with myself that I’m getting the freezer stocked up pretty well, and just added green peas and strawberries from the garden, 14 lbs of Flathead Cherries, and some blueberries, raspberries, and 15 lbs of peaches from WA.

The 20 lb box of peaches has been sliced, frozen, and vac-packed, after of course much of them were enjoyed in a bowl with half and half, in a milkshake, or just by themselves for breakfast!  Those milkshakes by the way were pure heaven.  Alden’s organic vanilla ice cream, a little milk, and fresh peaches… MMM!

And the Flathead Cherries have finally all been pitted (oh how I do not enjoy all of that pitting), halved, vacuum packed, and frozen.



I finally got the big freezer in the garage and the freezer in the house organized, and I just love that there’s still quite a bit of elk meat, and all this good stuff in there.  There will be more good stuff added before winter hits.

Well it’s late and all I can think of to say is, “It’s a good thing”.  =)

Summer Goodness

Last weekend we made a three day trip over to Idaho and Washington to visit all the family.  I will hopefully post a few pics of the weekend, but for now, just some summer goodness.

It was a good time, and we made a (very necessary) stop at the orchards at Green Bluff, outside of Spokane.  I really love this area, and would love to go there at least a few times every summer.  So fun to do the u-pick berries, peaches, and get your hands on all the fresh summer produce.  This time we didn’t have time to pick berries, it was very hectic (but fun) with visiting family, and having a 8 week old puppy with us on a roadtrip.  So we got a box of berries and a box of peaches.

Just freezing all of it, for wintertime baking, smoothies, and milkshakes.  It’s great to fill up the freezer with all the sweet, juicy, delicious summer fruit and be able to use it all year.  My next stops, sometime this weekend, are the cherry orchards alongside Flathead Lake!  🙂

And a 20 lb box of peaches…
I am enjoying a bowl of peaches with half and half and a pinch of turbinado sugar as we speak, a perfect midnight snack.  =)

Dilly Beans

Well I had a full day of work today, made 2 Chocolate Hazelnut Tortes, a Ricotta Tart in an Almond Crust, 2 Lemon Olive Oil Poundcakes, one New York Cheesecake, a Tiramisu, some Tuille cookies, Flathead Cherry Sauce (for the cheesecake of course), and a Rhubarb Compote for the tart.  Whew!  I will post recipes for a couple of those lovely sweet treats soon.  But for now I wanted to tell you about the Dilly Beans I made and canned a few days ago.

Last week Will was working in WA and visited the produce farms in the area.  He brought home a large bag of green beans, among some other great fresh produce. 🙂  So I figured this was my opportunity to make Dilly Beans for first time and can them.

I ended up with six pint jars of canned beans and gave two to my mom.  I like them a lot, they are very dilly and very good.  If you like pickles or pickled asparagus, you’ll love these.  Perfect to snack on, have as an appetizer, or even part of a meal.  I put a couple in my sandwich since I didn’t have pickles!

The recipe is from my cousin, Nichole, over at Born in the Wrong Century.  It can also be found in one of my favorite books, Williams-Sonoma The Art of Preserving.  Nichole recommended it to me a year ago and I’m so glad I got it.


It is chock-full of beautiful photos, great recipes, and helpful instructions on canning.  If you love to cook, and enjoy canning also, this is a great book to add to your collection!  Very inspirational during the summer months, but can be used all year long.

::Dilly Beans::
(Compliments of Nichole)

(Yield – 6 pints)
3 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
6 Tbsp kosher salt
3 cups filtered water
6 fresh dill heads (or 6 Tbsp dill seeds & 6 fresh dill sprigs)
Cayenne pepper
Yellow mustard seed
6 cloves garlic
4 lb green beans

In a sauce pan combine vinegar, salt and water. Bring to a boil to dissolve salt.

Meanwhile, place the following in each sterile, hot pint jar: 1 dill head (or 1 Tbsp seeds & 4 sprigs), 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/8 tsp mustard seed and 1 clove garlic. Trim the beans so they are 1/2 inch shorter than the pint jar. Pack the beans as tight as possible into the jars.

Ladle the hot brine into the jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and add more brine if necessary. Wipe the rims and seal. Process the jars for 15 minutes (for 5k’ elevation) in a hot water bath. Let cool and check the seals.

I will add that I ended up making twice as much brine, I ran out while filling my jars! 🙂

Have you had, or made, Dilly Beans before?

Mom, you better pop open that jar and enjoy!

🙂