Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving moments with my family

HOW I SPENT MY THANKSGIVING... sharing a seafood and garlic, parmesan mashed potato meal with my husband and 2 kids.
spent the morning baking..pumpkin pie from me and cranberry, white chocolate blondies from my daughter

watching my husband working outside and building an outdoor fire

looking at the last of the fall leaves blow from the trees


Limoncello, part 2

I started the Limoncello about a month ago and it is time for step two, so I got out the vodka, and the lemon zest starter. I added 750 ml vodka...
Then I boiled 4 cups of sugar with 5 cups of water for 7 minutes to make a thick, simple syrup.

I let the syrup cool, then added it to the vodka and lemon zest. I have to put it aside now until Christmas Eve, then strain it, sample it, and bottle what's left. It smells wonderful and hope it tastes great as well.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Birthday supper

My son's request: "gourmet hamburgers with homemade buns, sweet potato fries, and peach cobbler. To make the burgers gourmet, we used 2 kinds of cheese, some bacon and french fried onions and they were delicious!
He's building a whopper of a plate (notice his manly arm). We also had all the toppings; tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard......

My daughter's finished burger. Notice the sesame seed buns. It was the first time to try the recipe and the buns were enormous. She has her ingredients artfully arranged so I took a picture.

My son fixed himself 2 burgers. Notice that he has his buns upside down but they taste the same either way-And... he was only able to eat one of those burgers. He chose 2 kinds of fries for his tasting pleasure. After supper, he opened his gifts-a snicker's bar from his sister and a western shirt with a gift certificate from me and Mike.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big boy, little boy

He was born 6 lbs, 2 oz. and 18 inches long. I thought he was so tiny. He could turn over the day he was born and did it several times after he came home. Ate, slept 30 minutes, awake 30 minutes, got ready to eat again. Great boy, not a bit jealous or troublesome when his sister came along 12 months, 2 weeks later. His first words were puppy and daddy. Tried to run instead of walk. Had an imaginary friend named Judah who could ride a motorcycle and wore ugly boots. Had a hero in "Walker, Texas Ranger" and was nicknamed "Little Chuck" when he joined a Tae Kwon Do class at age 4. State ranked power lifter, known for his physical strenth and his winning personality as well as his manners and air of respect.
His birthday is tomorrow and he will be 20. He is a corrections officer who also goes to college full time. His dream is to be a state trooper like his dad. He lives on his own, even if it 1/2 mile away.
He is not a litte boy any more, not even a big boy but a young man and I love him. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

My New Stove

I've had an interesting couple of weeks. One day, I was sitting in the living room with my kids. I was visiting with them but I think it was just a nice way for them to hang around until supper was finished. I heated the oven and put in a pan of garlic bread. Five minutes later, the lights dimmed, then a strange "sparking" noise and strobes of light from the kitchen caught our attention. We all jumped up and discovered the element in the oven was burning up. I turned off the stove and rescued the bread. My cooking for the next two weeks consisted of stove top, one pot meals or the crockpot. Mike came back early from our camping trip to work and decided to put in the new element during the afternoon. While he was working on it, Amos and Ace somehow got a couple of tubes of paint from my daughter's art supplies and chewed them up. Amos had rolled in the green paint and Ace had spread the yellow onto the carpet and my newly recovered couch. And, when the element was installed, it still didn't work. Mike tried to clean up the paint but he didn't know it was oil paint. It was still wet when I got home and we cleaned up the couch and carpet with a little bit of paint thinner. Amos still has a little green hair on his back. Saturday, I picked out this new, pretty, very white model and Mike installed it. I'm very pleased with it and can now bake my son a cake (actually I think he asked for peach cobbler) for his birthday Friday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Camping at the Big Tank

Cousins sat around the campfire on a very cool November day. The temperature that night was around 48 degrees. We cooked steak, sausage, chicken and, of course, s'mores.

My new tent was the perfect size but my air mattress deflated during the night.

In the morning we made coffee and hot chocolate. As soon as the sun came up, we were able to shed our long sleeves and enjoy the beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Limoncello step one

Here are the items needed for starting my limoncello: zest of all my lemons (11), 750 ml of vodka and a clean wine jug.

My new lemon zester/grater was a big help.

This is the pretty, yellow liquid that results when the zest and vodka are combined. I leave this mixture alone for 40 days, then complete step two.

The importance of Bobby Flay (dishes) and ripe lemons

I want to share some of my new things with you. The lemons are completely ripe now and ready to pick. This is the last picture of the only fruit I've been able to harvest from a tree I've grown. I am a fledgling fruit harvester. It might seem silly but I have babied this tree and these lemons since early last spring. They are very special to me. I'm turning them into Limoncello this morning. It is a 60-80 day process so the rewards are still to come much later. I only need the zest for that so I will have lots of juice to use in the next few days. I have new dishes!I have searched everywhere for some dishes that were not made in China. My new project is to research products and their origin of manufacture. I want to only support buying products from countries that do not sell leaded or poisoned products (China!). I most want to support manufacturers that actually produce their products in the USA, but that is a rare thing. I found these Bobby Flay dishes at Kohls. They are not produced in the US, but in Portugal. The most important thing is that they are not produced in China. I wish China the best, but I wish America the best MORE! The dishes I first picked out a few months ago are expensive so I have asked for them for Christmas. Yesterday I happened to stop at Kohls and found this less expensive line. The plates were regularly $9.99 but everything in this line was 50% off so I bought a few things. I still am asking for the other style for Christmas though-they are very beautiful. I haven't heard any negative things about the merchandise from Portugal so I am very happy right now.
On a side note, I spent a couple of hours in HEB yesterday also looking at where the things I buy come from. I stopped buying produce from most foreign countries if I possible. I like to buy organic, American produced food. Sometimes you just can't. The American laws for organic produce are broad enough to worry me already but I don't know how strict other countries are about what is applied to their produce. Therefore, I was pleased to find things like packaged salad, fresh fruit etc. that were labeled "produced in the USA". I was horrified though to find out that other things, like my favorite Central Market brand of frozen green beans were produced in China. I'm going to have grow more of my own stuff!

My lemons and garden vegetables are completely organic. Of course, that is why some of my lemons have spots on them. What insect or animal nibbles on lemon skin? The good news though is that all I have to do is rinse the dust off and eat.

My lemons look beautiful in my favorite gazing spot-my kitchen window.

They look really lovely against my new Bobby Flay dishes. Something made with lemon juice is for supper. Pie? Lemon chicken? Both?