July 28, 2011

Family Cookout Turns.... Surprise!

My mom, my Aunt Donna (mom's sister)
and my cousin Michelle

  Audrey & Pete  (Andrea on the couch...
in the background)

 Betty, Aunt Trudy & Raymond

 Uncle Ronny  (mom's brother)

 Andrea & Chloe, Darlene, my dad & Bob
chatting on the deck.
 SURPRISE!!!  Mom & Dad's 50th wedding
anniversary was July 15th!
Aunt Donna had a cake made with a picture of
my parents on it! The picture was taken on the
bridge over my grandparent's pond. Well, they are
both gone now, but my cousin Alicia lives here now...
and the cookout was held at the same place
the picture was taken! It was a lot of fun!

 Bob & Nancy (family friends forever!)
my cousin Alicia & my mom.
Back to the camera is Marc, to the left is Ethan,
Darlene, Pete, Travis & Austin! 
 Back to the camera is Uncle Ronny & Aunt Trudy
and  Betty & Raymond!
 Ethan (Marc's son) & Michael (Alicia's son)

Brent (Michelle's son)
Boys having fun!
Marc, Mom & Dad and me...

I LOVE looking
back at all the fun we had!

Kale... It Isn't Just For Decorations Anymore!

About three years ago that I discovered how delicious kale really is! Up until this time, the only thing I knew it was used for was to decorate a plate with a couple of slices of twisted oranges in restaurants! How wrong I was! It grows pretty hardily here in the north east... maybe it grows well everywhere, I really don't know.

I was invited to a friend's house for a visit and lunch one day....  she made Portuguese Soup. I'd never tried it before but basically it has a clear broth with white potatoes, mild but spicey Portuguese sausage and kale as main ingedients. It was VERY good! But KALE... ??

Well, I decided to buy some and to try my own hand at using this new, odd veggie! I came up with my own version of Kale Soup. It has been a HUGE HIT at our house ever since!! I've shared the recipe before... check out KALE SOUP if you want to check it out it!

After purchasing the kale and making my soup, we decided to try growing it...  viola! We discovered it grew VERY WELL! Still being on the learning curve, I wasn't sure how well it would 'freeze' or 'dry' or 'can'...  I did try to freeze it and it was... ahhhh, ok. THEN... I pulled out the dehydrator to try that method and can now say, it is totally amazing! The 'queen of green' has found its way into our hearts! :) 

Last year I dehyrated a few batches... enough to fill up a 60 oz. plastic 'pretzel container' that I get when I buy bulk and then I crushed some to fill a quart sized canning jar. (An easy way to add the nutrition to spaghetti sauce or other sauces!)

THIS YEAR... I have already picked three times! My newest discovery is that the more often I pick, the more I'll get! It keeps growing back ... like spinach! I am already almost done filling my second LARGE plastic container and I have at least a couple months left!
Maybe you already know all this .... but just in case you didn't, I wanted to share with you! Plant kale, pick often, try new recips and methods of food storage! You'll be glad you did! Oh and by the way... check out the nutritional value too!

Sharing this on Simple Lives Thursday!

July 16, 2011

July 12, 2011

Basil... It's A Wonderful Herb!

I planted three plants of basil this spring. I grew some last
year too, but I didn't realizethat I could have harvested
MUCH more then I did had I picked it every few weeks! 
Just so you know, you pick the individual branches just
above the bottom 2 sets of leaves closest to the ground!
I read that by picking more often I should get
about 20 cups of leaves PER PLANT!

Here is a picture of the plants this afternoon
prior to my picking it!

And... here are the plants afterwards!

The harvest....

 Add the basil leaves, some minced garlic, olive oil
and Parmesan cheese to the food processor...
Press the 'go button' and VIOLA!!
And now it's ready for the freezer!

Oh, and one more thing, some people add
pine nuts or pecans when they are making
pesto. Personally, I like to add fresh
slivered almonds when I am
making a dish calling for pesto!

At this rate, I'll be able to make a few batches of pesto,
dehydrate some and even freeze some leaves whole in
ice cubes for that 'close to fresh' flavor in
spaghetti sauce later in the winter!

SERIOUSLY....  the hardest part of making pesto...
picking off the leaves and
getting the food processor off the back shelf to use!

Sharing this post on Simple Lives Thursday ...
a fun and AWESOME place to visit!