Saturday, June 22, 2019

Garden to Kitchen ~ Bread and Butter Pickles

I used to be a pickle snob.  I'd only eat dill pickles...Kosher dill pickles.  Anything else was trash in my opinion.  Until one day when I had some bread and butter pickles on a hamburger and my life was changed! Ever since then, I've made these sweet little gems with my home grown summer cucumbers.

Bread and Butter Pickles

4-5 cups of thinly sliced PICKLING cucumbers
1/2 of a yellow onion thinly sliced
1 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 clove of smashed garlic
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional if you like them spicy)

Add cucumbers and onion to a quart sized canning jar.  In a saucepan over medium heat, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is almost to a boil.  
Pour mixture over cucumbers, seal, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  You'll want to eat these on everything!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Garden to Kitchen ~ Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

The garden is in full swing now and daily I'm harvesting a few thousand, er I mean dozens, of beautiful little cherry tomatoes.  And if you have an over abundance like me, here is a quick and easy recipe to use them up.  These are so delicious in salads, tossed with pasta, or as a topping for grilled chicken.

Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

4-5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar 
2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Black Cherry and Reisentraube tomatoes

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, Italian seasoning and parsley. Gently stir in cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a covered container and marinate for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate if marinating longer than two hours. Bring to room temperature before serving (as olive oil solidifies when refrigerated).

And when you've eaten your fill of these, share a jar with your neighbors or coworkers, they'll love you for it!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Artist in Residence

It's no secret in our household that our John Paul is a talented artist, so it's really nice when other folks recognize his talent, too!
This weekend John Paul competed in the El Campo Art Association art show and I'd say he did pretty well!

Second place ~ Best In Show for his watercolor painting, "Corgi."

First place in his division for, "Papillion."

                  Second place in his division for, "Good Boy."

And the award for Most Blessed Parents in the World 
goes to Doug and I!  
Because art is not just a hobby for John's how he lives. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Why Does The Universe Hate Me?

Murphy's Law should be renamed JoAnn's Law because if something can go wrong in my life, it will go wrong.  
Why should my recent surgery be any different?
Since I started walking on my own two months ago, I have been walking on the outside of my foot.  Even with physical therapy, I have great difficulty taking a step with my right foot flat on the ground.  My PT and I just thought it was a matter of re-training my muscles and my brain to walk normally.  

I have recently found out that that is not the case.

A few days ago I went to my surgeon to get clearance to go back to work.  I told him that I just couldn't walk flat footed and that my foot always rolled to the outside.  I walk on the outside of my foot so much that my first two toes don't even touch the ground!  
It was after I got a CT scan that I learned that my surgeon over corrected my arch.

You read that right...he OVER corrected my foot.  

Surgery is the only possible cure.  
And when you have no medical leave left and haven't gotten a pay check in four months, you kinda have to go back to work.

I am sickened and devastated.
I feel like the last four months of pain and suffering 
were a waste of time.
I am in more pain than before my surgery.
And I won't be able to do anything about it until after the new year.

For now my job is letting me be on light duty, but that won't last forever.  I may have to find a new job...a desk job, because walking is more painful to me than eating glass!  
I really am lost, anxious, and scared to death that I will never be able to walk again normally and without pain.  Also that I will not be able to support my family.  I try to put on a happy face and tell everyone that "I'm fine."  It's just easier than explaining this all over and over again.

So if you see out and about, please don't ask how I'm doing.
I'm tired of lying.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Garden to Kitchen

We've had tons of rain here in south Texas and the garden is exploding!  And while we don't have full on harvests yet, we are still able to gather small baskets from the garden on the daily right now.  Always just before the cukes ripen, there is a huge dill harvest.  I dry most of it to use all year long but I really love using fresh dill in recipes and I thought I'd share my favorite dill dip with you.

A basket FULL of dill and cilantro for the dehydrator.  We'll use these herbs all year long!

Fresh Dill Dip

1 Cup of sour cream 
1 Cup of mayonnaise 
1 Teaspoon onion powder 
1 Tablespoon garlic powder 
 4 Tablespoons (or more!)of fresh dill
1 Tablespoon of fresh parsley 
Salt to taste

Just put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times until combined.  Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

I also use that fresh dill in a marinated cucumber salad that I eat during this growing season.  Just make your brine once and keep adding garden vegetables all summer long.

Marinated Cucumber Salad

1 Cup of white vinegar
1 Cup of water
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of sea salt
1 Tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon of mustard seed
1 Teaspoon of celery seed
1 Tablespoon fresh dill

This is a basic brine, feel free to adjust to your taste!

Mix brine into a large glass jar and then add whatever you have from the garden.  I love the combination of cucumber (use the pickling kind or otherwise they'll get soggy), bell peppers, and red onion.  When my tomatoes are ripe, sometimes I'll add them (once seeded and extra juices squeezed out), or even thinly sliced zucchini or squash.

This little salad is great on sandwiches, salads, burgers, or eating straight out of the jar...which I may or may not have done!