Life in the A-Frame

Life in the A-Frame

Monday, August 25, 2008

Coffee, toffee, empanadas, and cheese (a weekend in Austin)

We go to Austin every few weeks to visit my father-in-law to do chores, visit, grocery shop etc., and if we are there on Saturday, we go to the Farmer's market. I, of course, have a standard purchase: medium roast coffee with cream, pineapple cheese, a lamb empanada, and a small container of millionaire shortbread (shortbread cookie base with a creamy toffee filling and pure chocolate topping). My husband gets the coffee and he knows just how much cream I like. He says to get the cup 3/4 full of coffee and add cream until the cup won't hold any more. "That's perfect!" I always say. I get the empanada. Just one. My husband says that he doesn't want his own "I'll just have a few bites of yours". Of course I'll share. Then my daughter and I share the toffee shortbread. We sit in lawnchairs and listen to live musicians while we enjoy our treats. We take the rest of the shortbread and the cheese with us to savor over the next few weeks. I love the Farmer's Market!
My husband leads the way and by now he knows where the coffee booth is located. He politely waits for me to take the picture and then he is off to sample some of the offerings. Notice the heavy clouds in the background-we made this a fairly short visit.

We treated ourselves to lunch in a chinese restaurant on Friday. My daughter ordered her standard: sesame chicken. My husband had sweet and sour pork. This is my seafood delight: scallops, shrimp and vegetables in a light brown sauce. Delicious...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homemade Tortillas (a healthier version)

These tortillas are made with canola oil instead of the traditional lard or vegetable shortening. I also use organic, unbleached flour. Mix 3 cups flour with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Add 1/3 cup canola oil and mix with your fingers until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add 1 cup of hot water and mix until a ball is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes. I have also refrigerated it overnight. Divide the dough into 12 balls and roll out one at a time.
Heat a skillet or cast iron griddle over medium high heat. Cook each tortilla about 2 minutes per side until brown spots form on the surface. These are delicious and fairly healthy. Great for soft tacos or breakfast burritos, and certainly good plain with butter.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Healing Rain

It had been 2 1/2 months since we'd had any significant amount of rain. I posted a picture of the cracked ground and told of how I tried to nurse my little garden along until it rained. I trimmed everything back and covered the one row of tomatoes and eggplants that I had left. I stopped watering everything except my lemon tree and a few plants in front of the house. Praise be to God that we are finally getting a few showers. We have had 3 good rains of .8 inches each! Last night and this morning we got another .25 of an inch. These have all been slow, healing rains. You can see in this picture how green things are now and that the grass is coming back out. I started cleaning and preparing the garden spot this morning and will soon be planting some things for fall. I will plant sunflowers, pumpkins and zucchini again. I would love to make a fall scarecrow to put in the garden. I'm very excited!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles: in a food processor crush one package regular Oreos to make fine crumbs. Add one 8 0z. package of cream cheese cut into cubes. Pulse until a moist ball forms. Roll into 1 inch balls and chill for 1 hour. Melt one package of vanilla candy coating (almond bark) in the microwave. Dip each ball and let harden. Makes about 36 truffles.
These are really sweet and delicious. I saw the recipe on a blog that I like to read everyday: who, in turn, credits her daughter's boss for this recipe. I will definitely make them again. I bet you could use any type of sandwich cookie-like lemon- instead of the Oreos.
My daughter made these when we got home from church so that we have dessert when our company comes for supper (Ribeye steaks, grilled corn-on-the-cob and mashed potatoes).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sometimes More is Less but family is ALL

I know that this post is a little confusing but my sisters will understand. We just got back from a beautiful vacation and I can't wait to get together on the next family adventure.My sister rented a house at a place we'd never stayed before. Here is a picture of the pool and lake taken by my daughter on the first day.

Sunset brought out the soon to be full moon surrounded by the remnants of thunderhead clouds.

The boys went to rent some jet skis but drove by me in this boat. It seems that 2 of them were too young to legally drive the jet skis, so they rented a fast boat complete with a tube that they could pull. Big Bubba drove, Little Bubba shared his tube knowledge and the twin Bubbas rode until they were a little banged up and exhausted. And later, we all went on the boat and joined in the thrills.

It was beautiful and we really enjoyed it. I want my middle sister to hear me_I TRULY ENJOYED IT AND WOULD NOT HAVE MISSED IT FOR ANY REASON. These statements will probably only make sense to my sister but I'm dedicating this to her anyway. We learned a lot of lessons on this vacation. It was the biggest, fanciest house I'd ever been in but as we found out, sometimes More is Less. It became the butt of many jokes that all this "splendor" was actually a facade where there was mega money spent on the house but zero hospitality. Our family was all together, and we have always been very close, which has MORE value than anything we encountered at this house. There was a little cloud over us because of the lack of amenities but we soon proceeded to enjoy our family and vacation. My sister rented the house and didn't even expect us to pay our part-she just wanted us there. We had fun but we won't ever go back to this place.

I want to praise the owner of the condo on the beach where we stay every year. It costs less and is just slightly less fancy but it is very welcoming. It is affordable, stocked with beautiful towels that are actually in the cabinet, equipped with paper towels, dish soap, hand soap and some trash bags! Toilet paper is on each holder and extra is in the cabinets. And she doesn't care if we lie on the couch. She even e-mails us to tell us thank you for renting and then e-mails afterwards to see if we had a good time. That, to me, is good Southern hospitality. We will stick with her in the future.
This lake vacation reaffirmed to us that, as long as we are all together, we are rich-and that is definitely MORE.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Amos' little "dog cousin" stayed with us for a couple of days while his family went on vacation. We got a slow rain the day before from the tropical storm but then we got a really hard brief rain when everyone was here and we tried to barbeque. When the sun came out, the dogs played in the red clay mud. Of course, they didn't know or care that they were dirty and that's why they are standing there-expecting to be let in the house.

They're back!

I heard a lot of great stories when the church group got back from Colorado. They had a very remote but very nice camp that is mostly used for troubled kids. They repaired some of the structures there and also did some fun, enrichment activities like horseback riding and rafting. Apparently the ladies who cooked were outstanding. This is the laundry from my two kids. It did take all day to wash and dry everything. My sister had 4 who went so I can imagine her laundry. The nice thing for me is that our kids received so many compliments from the adults who went. Our family definitely wants to go back next year and I want to go with them.