Thursday, September 30, 2010

So Smart

Clark has this face he makes when he thinks he's pretty smart.  It includes a slightly wrinkled up nose and a big smile.  We've been seeing it a lot lately.   I was trying to capture it the other day.  Here's the results.

Too blurry.  He's pretty fast....always moving.

Whatcha got there Mom?

Happy baby grins...but not quite what I'm looking for.....
There it is!
Is he smart or what? ;-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Preserving: Roasted Red Peppers

This year my sweet red pepper plants did wonderfully.  The other day, when baseball sized hail was falling about 30 miles west of us, I raced outside and picked most of my ripe peppers, in the rain.  Luckily, we didn't get any hail.  But I suddenly had a sink full of peppers to take care of!

Some got washed, seeded, and left whole to make stuffed peppers.  Any with bad spots, etc, got sliced and frozen to use this winter.  And then I had these beauties left.  So I decided to make roasted red peppers.  And it was so easy that I thought I'd share!

First place the over rack on the highest position, closest to the broiler.  Turn the oven on broil.

Then, wash, seed, and halve the peppers.  Slit or break them so that they will lie as flat as possible.  Arrange on a baking sheet.  (I line mine with foil to make cleanup easier, and save my baking sheet!)

Broil as close to the heat as possible.  Keep a close eye on them, because they get done quickly!  You want the skins to blister and start to blacken, but not burn entirely.  The pepper flesh under the skin should still have a slightly firm texture, not mushy.  Mine looked like this at about 5 minutes.  They really needed to be a bit more blackened, so I cooked them a minute or so more. 
Immediately transfer the hot peppers to a ziploc bag, seal, and let them steam and cool for about half an hour.  This loosens the skins so they can be peeled off easily.  Mine ended up steaming for closer to an hour due to kid interruptions, and they turned out great.  You want them cool enough to handle easily anyway. 

Next comes the slightly tedious part.  Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the skins.  If you cooked them long enough, they should peel off easily.  Some of mine were a bit sticky, but I just set those aside and ate them for lunch, skin and all.  They were delicious, by the way, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla with a slice of turkey and cheese.

Slice, chop, or otherwise cut up your peeled peppers.  I sliced mine in thin strips, like the commercial ones.  You could also leave them whole. 

Finally, choose how you will preserve them.  If you plan to use the peppers within a month, you can pack them in jars in olive oil and refrigerate them.  I did this for part of mine.  This is a half pint jar, measuring 1 cup.  (I'm thinking these would make great hostess gifts, and the oil would be delicious for bread dipping after the peppers are used!)

Or, you can freeze them (separate layers in your freezer container or bag with wax paper so that you can take out and defrost just what you need later.)  This way they will last 6 months or longer.

How to use these tasty little guys?  I'm thinking pizza toppings, salad additions, sandwiches, and appetizers.   Or recipes like these, for pasta sauce, chicken dishes, hummus, and dressing up vegetables.  What will you use yours for? 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest Bonfire 2010

Our Third Annual
Harvest Bonfire

Date:            Friday, October 15, 2010

Place:          Our home
Time:           - ?????  Hot dog roasting starts at 6.

Details:        -Please bring your favorite fall-themed side dish, appetizer, snack, or dessert.  We will provide hotdogs for roasting, buns, ingredients for s’mores, and hot apple cider. 
-We have a horseshoe pit, a large yard with plenty of room for games, and a big garage in case of rain.  If you have yard games that you like, bring them along.
 -Bring your hymnbooks and a lawn chair for the sing after supper!
                   -Pumpkin painting for kids of all ages is scheduled for after dark.  We will provide small pumpkins, paint, and brushes.  Take your masterpiece home and make a pie!

Have questions or need directions?  Leave a comment and I'll get back to you!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Filling in the Gaps

I haven't been so good at blogging lately.....not that it's anything unusual!  So just a quick post today to fill in the gaps.

Kaylee had a birthday right before school started, Aug 25.  She wanted an ice cream cake, which didn't turn out too badly. 

She got a Leapster and a Jessie doll for her big day.  And a specially requested birthday meal of steak, fries, lima beans, and green jello. 

Miles got fully potty trained.  Here he is with his reward...Buzz Lightyear!

School's been in session for nearly 4 weeks now, and we've all adjusted pretty nicely.  Even Mama.  The boys have discovered how to entertain themselves!

We had 4 wonderful days at Boyden.  Kaylee enjoyed spending time with her little friend.  And Mama and Daddy came home with new focus and perspective.

Clark is crawling everywhere, pulling up on everything, and walking around things like a champ.  We're guessing he'll be walking by the end of the month. 

The garden is finishing up.  We're still harvesting watermelons, squash, okra, peppers, and the occasional tomato.  The potatoes and carrots will have to be dug in the next month.  And there are pumpkins EVERYWHERE!  Rich has enjoyed making some salsa and hot pepper sauce creations.  Aren't the colors amazing?

As you can see, making the perfect salsa requires some serious concentration!

We're planning our annual Harvest Bonfire for October 15 this year.  Getting the invitations out is on my list of things to do next week.  As usual, the agenda includes a big fire, potluck, yard games,  roasted marshmallows, a hymn sing, and pumpkin painting.  Should be fun!