Tag 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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Courgette Favorites :: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

As much as I’ve been enjoying zucchini lately you would think it was the only vegetable we grew in our garden this year.  However, our zucchini plants were not quite as productive as I was hoping.  I have managed to harvest some from the garden, and supplemented that with visits to the Farmers Markets.  In my recent liking of putting up food for the chilly winter months, a lot of it has been grated and set in the freezer.  Now I can pull out a little package of this good stuff all year long, and make one of my favorite cakes.

My Aunt Connie’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake has been enjoyed by the family for several years now and every time I have a piece, it brings me right back to summer weekends at the family cabin.  So far I’ve made this a few times in the last month, I can’t stop!!  It’s so perfectly moist, spongey, and chocolatey, and hey it has a vegetable in it so it can’t be that bad to eat it everyday, right?  =)

The recipe is featured on my cousin’s blog, where she also includes her ‘healthy’ version.  This is definitely one of my few favs when it comes to zucchini, and when it comes to cake.  I think my hubby said it best when I first made it, “This is the best thing ever invented”.  =)

::Chocolate Zucchini Cake::  
-compliments of Aunt Connie-

2 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. salt

1/2 c. butter, rm. temp.
1/2 c. canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sour milk (add in a tsp of lemon juice to milk)

2 c. grated zucchini
optional:
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  In another bowl, cream the butter, oil, and sugar, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the sour milk.  Stir in grated zucchini, fold in the dry mixture, spread into a 9×13 dish, and sprinkle chocolate chips and/or walnuts.

Bake at 325 F. for 45 min., or at 350 F for 35-40 min.

Enjoy!  But I warn you, it’ll be your new favorite.

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”.  =)

Rosemary and Sea Salt

Rosemary and Sea Salt.  A great combination.  You can eat it, or you can wear it. All summer long I struggle with dry, cracked, and dirt-stained feet.  Especially this summer, walking in and out of the house a thousand times a day barefoot to the back yard with the pup, for playing and potty training.  Now that we have grass it’s so easy to walk outside barefoot.


Last year after my wedding I got a few things at Remedies Day Spa in Whitefish.  One of the items was some lavender foot scrub, and since they so kindly list the ingredients on the bottom of the jar, I just threw some more of it together when I ran out.  Sea salt, olive oil, essential oil, Vit. E oil, and I mixed in Epsom salts, and some dried rosemary.  It only takes a few minutes to mix together, works so well on dry feet with the salt to scrub and the olive oil to moisturize.  Feels so nice, and it smells so good, I love rosemary.


Natural remedies like this are so fun to make at home.  I’d like to get into it make a lot more fun things like this someday when I have time.  But for now, this is so nice for happy summertime feet.  =)

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.  =)

Spinach, Beet, Goat Cheese Salad

I love goat cheese.  Even better, I love goat cheese with beets, orange segments, toasted almonds, in a light and fresh spinach or butterhead lettuce salad.  Perfect for summer.  This is one of my top three fav salads, very light and flavorful.  We have been enjoying spinach and lettuce from the garden and this is a great way to enjoy the fresh greens.

::Salad::
Butterhead Lettuce and/or Spinach
Goat cheese crumbles
Beets, roasted or boiled, cooled and diced
Toasted almonds
Orange segments (slice segments out of the membranes of a peeled orange w/ a paring knife)

::Honey-Orange Vinaigrette::
Juice from 1-2 oranges (1/3 c.)
1 T. honey
1 T white wine vinegar
s+p
1/2 c. olive oil
Mix o.j., honey, vinager, s+p in a bowl, whisk in the olive oil in a slow stream.  Or put all liquids in a blender, slowly stream in the oil.

I hope this has inspired you to try a fresh and flavorful summer salad!  And if you like beets and goat cheese, you’ll surely love this.

Enjoy!

Mixed Berry Cobblers

Here’s a little Spring/Summer baking inspiration.  I made these beauty-ful berry-ful Mixed Berry Cobblers at work today.  Cobblers are so perfect for this time of year, especially during summer when the berries are ripe and fresh.  Here I used fresh strawberries, blueberries, and frozen huckleberries.  This cobbler topping is absolutely perfect, and everything that it should be.  I read that the topping is supposed to look kind of piece-y and lumpy, like cobblestones, which is how it got it’s name.

I had to take a quick shot with my phone camera as I was working, since they were looking so mouth-watering delicious when I pulled them out.  I’m not ever there in the evening when they’re plating them up all pretty and serving them in all their glory, but really these guys don’t need much dressing and garnishing, perfect right out of the oven just like this.  I will definitely be making more cobblers throughout the Spring and Summer…

::Recipe::  Mixed Berry Cobblers

Fruit filling:

2 c. strawberries, quartered or halved
3 c. blueberries, huckleberries, and/or any other fruit of your choosing
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. flour
1 1/2 T. instant tapioca
1-2 T. juice of lemon or orange
zest of 1 lemon or orange, (optional)

Toss all together in a large bowl, set aside.

Cobbler topping:

1 3/4 c. AP flour
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
2 1/2 t. baking powder
4 oz. (1/2 c.) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg + 1 yolk
2/3 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Work the cold butter cubes into the dry mix with your fingertips, rubbing into the dry mix until the butter pieces are the size of peas.  Combine the egg, yolk, and cream in a small bowl, stir together, then gently stir into the flour mixture only until combined, careful not to over-work or over mix.  The dough should be loose, lumpy, and light.

Pour fruit mixture into a buttered baking dish (9 x 9) or individual baking dishes.  Carefully drop spoonfuls of dough on top of fruit, leaving it loose and lumpy, it should look rough and rustic, like cobblestones.  Bake until topping is golden brown, about 40-50 min.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature, better yet with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream.

Cheers!