Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Frozen Cilantro Lime Salsa Bombs

The cilantro in the garden was ready to harvest before the tomatoes. My husband, son and oldest daughter love my homemade salsa. They have been known to devour a whole bowl within a very short amount of time.

In order to preserve the cilantro, until the tomatoes are ripe and for use during the next few months, I decided to make freezer cubes. Let's just call them "Frozen Cilantro Lime Salsa Bombs".

I love retro appliances.

This is fairly easy and I do not even bother with measuring anything.
You can wash and dry the cilantro then add to blender. I just shake mine out really well from the garden and check for and discard any creepy crawlies.
You can use fresh or packaged lime juice. Just squeeze in a generous amount. Less or more depending on how much you like lime.
A splash or two of rice wine vinegar.
A splash or two of Olive, Coconut or Avocado oil.
A few dashes of sea salt or pink salt.

Use enough water to get the blender going well and the cilantro is shredded.
 I use the popsicle size for salsa and the smaller cubes for smaller projects like taco meat or taco soup.


Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Each of us have our lives given to us.
At first, we have no choice by who we are surrounded by.
As we grow, we create our surroundings and those we are surrounded by.
We then have to choose how we live our lives.
Growing old surrounded by family and friends or
Growing old with no one to hold.
Ask yourself how you want to be remembered?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cape Lookout Trip


11.3 miles SW of Tillamook, OR, on a large sand spit off of Netarts Bay, lies Cape Lookout State Park. One of my favorite camping destinations as a child. A place worth sharing and enjoying with my family now. My two girls have reached the ages where the memories they make now will be the memories they carry with them for the rest of their lives. Being a older mom now, I want to fill their heads with endearing family time adventures.

In my family, it is a unspoken rule that when you visit Tillamook you must stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. https://www.tillamook.com/cheese-factory/index.html

 My beloved grandfather Vernon Hoge, was a true ice cream connoisseur and every time I eat ice cream, a smile appears on my face, at the shear memory of him. How many times did he argue with my grandma Betty or my folks, "no, no, she needs three scoops, not one or two."

The factory can become quite busy during the summer months and the ice cream line had both my husbands and my eyes rolling to the back of our heads. Not wanting to disappoint two adorable faces,  my brain sparked an idea and we headed back to the refrigeration area of the factory grocery store to a small freezer filled with their new "Super Premium frozen treats",  Farm Style Gelatos, Custards and Extra Creamy Ice Creams. In nice 16 ounce sizes, we decided upon California Peach Cobbler, Oregon Marionberry Cheesecake and for my pistachio lover husband, California Pistachio. With no line in the grocery checkout and spoons with the napkins, we were outside, sitting in the sun and indulging in pure decadence. Only a few bites and your sweet tooth is appeased.

It had been over ten years since my last visit to Cape Lookout and I was surprised  by the ocean erosion and the changes to the camping and day use areas due to it. The area that comprised the park camp host sites when I was young was gone, replaced with a small beach grass sand dune. Our long a go favorite family camping spot in loop C, now contained a yurt. The huge tangled and snarly hollowed raccoon stump was now engulfed in salal and huckleberry bushes.

We found our reserved site in loop D and as I stepped out of the van the smells of memory fell upon my senses. I took a deep breath and enjoyed the witty camp set up banter with my husband, Joe and the smiles of exploration on my girls' faces as they enjoyed the new surroundings.

Spending much time playing at the beach and scary campfire stories at night. Three days of fun well spent. Cape Lookout State Park

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Remembering Oso...Almost two years ago.

My life the past few years has been anything, but ordinary.  We moved from the NW Washington town of Darrington just over a year ago.  The Oso Landslide that happened just about two years ago, was a life changer for not only our community, but our lives as well. Due to the heartbreaking loss of life from the slide, we made the decision to leave our beloved home after we suddenly woke up to river front property about 7 months following.

 I do not know if  I will ever forget how I felt during the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months that followed.  There will forever be a part of my heart and soul that was damaged.  I can't even imagine the pain and sadness that the slide victims, survivors, and their families experienced and are still experiencing.  I was writing for the Concrete Herald at the time and conducted interviews.  I actually felt horrible while trying to make the phone calls. Sewn into my mind forever from the scanner radio are the words "body bag, pieces, body bag, pieces."

 Then you think back to the memories you had with the lost ones you knew.  Tears still fall from my eyes when I remember the contacts I had with some of them and for the friends of mine who lost someone/s.  It was nice to be a part of such a wonderful and strong community.  A special shout out to the people of Darrington and my friends that are still hurting and mourning for love ones lost.  As time passes may you find peace in your heart and soul!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sinus Headache, Snicker Doodles, and Soup (Potato)

What do you do when you are a stay at home mom with a sinus headache, two rambunctious girls, and a rainy day?  #1. You need to find a way to keep them busy without them arguing, which leads to three year old high pitched temper tantrums!

My solution:  The Kitchen!

Not only do I have nice bar stools to sit at while I supervise and help, but the wonderful smells, (aside from one tray of cookies getting burnt) and warm vapors from the oven and stove top have made my headache less painful.

This time of year always find me craving cinnamon and potatoes!  Especially cinnamon, when I don't feel well or have been stressing out.  The past few weeks have been weary trying to battle the County and Bank.   One of my grandmothers mailed me a classic 1985 Betty Crocker Cookie Book a few weeks ago and today was a good day to use it.  Of course, I tailor and tweak almost all recipes I try to my own taste buds, but today I only added some vanilla extract to this Snicker Doodle Recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and Cream together until slightly fluffy:
1 1/2 Cups sugar
1 Cup butter (or you can use half butter and shortening)
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Mix in:
2 3/4 Cup flour
2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Form 1 inch balls and roll into a bowl with:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, remove from oven and put on a cooling rack after two minutes. ENJOY!

Potato soup

Picture is before I added the liquids
 1. Cut up 1/2 pound of bacon into 1 inch pieces and sauté in soup pot until almost crisp.
2. While the bacon is cooking,  Cut up 1 large carrot into small coin pieces and dice three stalks of celery. Sauté with bacon until soft and bacon is nice and crisp.
3. Cut up 4 medium to large potatoes.  I like to dice one potato smaller than the rest to help with thickening add to pot.
4.  Add one 32 oz. chicken broth and enough water to just cover your other ingredients.  You can use all chicken broth if you want.
5. Add 1 Tablespoon dill  and parsley if you like and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer on medium -high for approximately 25 minutes and potatoes are well cooked and very soft. I also like to add in two teaspoons of smoked paprika.
6. Add 1 cup of cream (whole milk, half and half or whipping)
7. Now if you want a creamer  soup still,  you can use an immersion blender to thicken it up or add a mixture of cream and flour.

Friday, November 6, 2015

What do we do now?

(River has taken 300 plus feet in just under a year and two heavy rain storms. Orange dots mark current top of bank.)

We received a pretty clear warning from the Sauk River last November.  An approximate 100 plus by 700 feet of land disappeared in the night.  We received  another pretty clear warning from personnel of Snohomish County, “highly erodible soil.” We received more warning from Army Corps of Engineers that our property would continue to erode. 

We could not sleep at night when it was raining. Echoes of hearing, “parts in bag,” from the  scanner during the Oso disaster fresh in our minds. The parents of three, two of whom under the age of 4;  How do we keep our two small girls and teen safe from frigid rushing waters, mud, and current?  We seek safety and go into financial ruin.

That was suppose to be our “raise the family in” home.

What has Snohomish county done for us?  They allowed us to build in a Critical Area they knew a new ordinance would not allow a few months after.  They never sent documents after the fact to warn us we were in a Channel Migrations Zone or that we were on "highly erodible soil.” They got all their building permit fees and taxes paid for 7 plus years.  They have continued to receive tax money from our bank for the current year.

Over the weekend, the first real rain storm since the first event, The Sauk took another approximate 100  by 700 foot piece of land. Looking at about 300 total.  Some more going in during small rains during the year.  The well to the house is now unusable and on the current bank of the river.  The house is now just over 100 feet from the current main Sauk River Channel.
We were smart and sought safety.  We are physically safe, but far from Financially secure.  We feel emotionally abused by the enormity of the mighty County that is too stubborn to help and an un-sympathetic Bank.

What is Snohomish county doing for us?  Put us on some “maybe” list for FEMA funding.

What is our bank doing for us?  Seeking the remainder of our mortgage.

What is Pierce County doing in a similar Critical Area Channel Migration Zone.  BUYING A WHOLE NEIGBORHOOD OUT.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Homemade Pasta Anyone?


     I have been keeping an Atlas 150 Pasta Machine in my cupboard for over 15 years.  It has to weigh at least 20 lbs.  It survived the "do I really need you?" questioning that goes along with each move.  With the expiration date nearing on the Semolina flour, the help and culinary curiosity of my two mini sues chefs, today was the day I finally decided it was time to summon up my inherent Italian genes and give Pasta making a try.

     I have watched numerous homemade pasta making tutorials over the years  and decided upon using the recipe on the back of the Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour package.  I however doubled it, used pink Himalayan sea salt, and used my Kitchen aid for initial mixing and then kneading.  I only had to hand knead with my helpers for about a minute.

      I was a little ambitious at attempting the angel hair pasta off the bat, therefore ruining one small slice of my dough loaf, but the second section worked just fine after I adjusted the thickness setting.  Having a helper to crank the pasta maker is very nice also.  I think this would be a fun rainy day date event.  I will say that the cute little nest of noodles that they do on the videos is easier said than done with the Angel hair.  The linguine was much easier and ravioli and lasagna would be a snap.  I will be making many more pasta noodles in the near future.

     These noodles will go perfect with my Italian canned diced tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, and the sausage from a local meat market for a delicious robust sauce!

Recipe for Homemade pasta
3 cups of Semolina flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of sea salt
4 tablespoons of Olive oil of your choice
4 tablespoons of water