Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It is the season...

August has been a busy month for me, canning is in its hike. I have been a bit adventurous with few pickles and chutneys. We love our garden tomato jam, which I follow from food in jars by Marisa. Marisa’s recipe has been really good and we love it. The spices give enough heat and the sweetness from honey gives the right balance to this sauce. I have already canned 10 lbs so far, and that is a lot of canning during the month of August. 

Our tomatoes are a bit rambunctious this year, but no stakes which is a new innovation. However, next year I will be spacing them and staking them to get a better air flow among the plants. This year it was a total mess on the other hand it was a leaning experience. I was also lucky enough to have few  tomato plants in my compost which started to grow. I love those unexpected plants. Last year it was our luck to have a butternut squash. I was not gifted this year with such bounty but our compost has become the gold mine for us. A little bit of compost to vegetable beds goes a long way. I am planning to share some of my tomatoes this month with few friends. 

I noticed few tomatoes had begun to ripen inside the garden blocks which gives them a funny shape. Nature does a wonderful job, to adapt to its environment. We had few funny looking tomatoes this year. My favorite is the yellow tomatoes adds a wonderful taste to cucumber salad.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Easy sewing project ...

Nicolette enjoys going to the local fabric store with me, now that she can
voice out her tastes and likes, she has been asking me to sew a dress. 
I have been playing around this idea since I am not very good at dress 
making for her and honestly you can buy a dress for few bucks compare to the 
amount of time that I have to spent making one. That been said and I had 
created a skirt for her previously. I decided to take on the challenge
with a super easy project which was to sew her a pre smocked dress.

She wanted Disney, I was able to create her the dress she wanted in less
than half an hour, she was super excited, and loved her dressed very

Not only she was excited, but did posed for me to take few pictures. She
loves it very much and the cost for the entire project was less than $15.00. 
Including pants, which I did not sew but bought at Target for just under
$4.00 not a  bad project to complete in half an hour.
Happy child and a very easy project.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

First batch of strawberry jam...

Yes, finally, I was able to make few jars of strawberry jam this summer...

Monday, August 4, 2014

What a re- union could do to an avid Gardner...

Went to a re - union in Canada, met friends from school, lead to open a FB page which lead to spent too much time finding friends...
Then it leads not to water my garden, being excused of tired of traveling, but truly spending time on internet...
Next we had over riped tomatoes which did not get picked for dinner...
The Melon cucumber was a blast didn't get photographed on a daily basis... too much time on FB finding friends...
 Parsley went to bloom and so did the Dill...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Drinks...

This summer I have been making some of my favorite summer cocktails at home. However, we decided to buy some sangria from the store instead of making it home and we love ours. It is a quick and easy way to have something refreshing  in a few seconds. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cooking - Sri Lankan food

This past week has been super exciting for us and kind of full to the brim with busy schedules. However there were plenty of time to take long breaks, which is what summer break allows us to do. 
I went to town with that long break to re create one of my favorite dish from Sri Lanka, some might call this as a side dish. I recall when I was a kid I did not like this as much, but when I got older I love having this with rice for lunch. 

Bitter gourd is a vegetable you can find in south east Asia in local markets. This vegetable has many benefits to health such as controling the blood sugar. I don't know how much that is believed in western medicine, but I simply love this fried sambol. You might wonder where can you get this, you can get bitter gourd from an Indian supermarket or an Asian supermarket. 

What you need:

1 lb bitter gourd
1 - 1/2 purple onion
4-6 birdeye green chillies (according to your pallet)
1 lime
few grape tomatoes if you have them
1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
dried sprats if you can find them ( I did not)
2tsp salt (to presoak bitter gourd)
salt to taste
Oil for frying

How you prep this:

Wash and clean bitter gourds, and thinly slice them. Add this to a bowl and add 2 tsp’s of salt. If you want you can add more. It is almost like giving a salt water bath to sliced bitter gourd, you will notice it will produce more water  and becomes a bit softer to handle. Some believe this process takes the bitterness out of the bitter gourds. After few minutes squeezed the salt out of sliced bitter gourds using both hands as much as you can. 
Deep fry the sliced biter gourd until golden brown and set a side to drain excess oil. Meanwhile, slice onions very thinly, chillies, and add the halves tomatoes to onions and chillie mix. Finally add crushed pepper flakes, lime juice, and salt. Taste and mix well to incorporate all ingredients. Now add the fried bitter gourd slices and mix loosely and enjoy with white / brown rice yum!

This what summer allows us to do!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Backyard fun

Nicolette has been asking me to have a picnic with her friends. I finally did, It was so much fun for her but it was a great experience for us to have more picnics in our backyard during summer. 
We had our sprinkler on, blankets laid out, we used cloth napkins, fresh garden flowers, sandwiches, fruits, chips, popsicles, and tie-dying shirts. It was a blast we might do more of this during this summer. 

Chickens were bit frazzled with all the excitement in our yard, they did not mind the occasional feed of watermelon rinds from their friends. 

Tie-dying is super easy, we can’t wait to see our end product, unfortunately it does take some time to absorb the dye to the fullest. We decided to wear them on the same day so we can take few pictures! Nicolette went to bed early, and was super excited and gave me a super tight hug and thanked me! It was a great day for her!