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!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dear Chickens

Our young chickens get handle a lot by my little Nicolette, she adores them as she name them with her friends name. Over time she has change few names, I guess she has observed them and name them according to their character. Which makes me laugh when I listen to her rattles. She some times treat them as her friends. 

Very recently I was on the hammock outside dosing off, and It was a beautiful day. I could hear little Nicolette being so upset and telling one of the chickens “This is your home why can’t you go to your home, please let me help you to get to your home”

I woke up, sure enough one chicken is roaming in the garden enjoying the chase and Nicolette was crying. She was asks not to take them out and if she does she is responsible to get them back in their coop. 

I did helped her te get the young chiken back inside the coop and wiped her tears. She was happy, the lesson here is she understood that it is better to take them out if some is watching her. Mainly we do not have a fence around our yard. These chickens bring so much fun to our yard we love them dearly. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rose Beds

I have been neglecting this area in our garden mainly because I have being busy. As you can see some of these bushes could use a trim. Crab grass and weeds have been ruling our roses since spring. 

I keep postponing the work schedule mainly I cant get to focus on weeding this year. The roses keep blooming in this poor condition and inviting me to get a handle of this area. I will soon one of this day. 

Perhaps that will be a good excuse for me to buy few more bushes to add to this area. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Raised beds are going to get a generous amount of compost from our compost pile. I am very excited it worked I had my doubts on this project because we have been adding our kitchen scraps diligently everyday, but I did not see anything happening. I wanted it to be split and move bit further to the front, and this is what I got when I got home from a class. It was a fun day!

Now that the compost is already turned it is time to add it to vegetable beds. I am not totally done working  with this. We have few more things to add around this box. We totally love our compost area.  I know we had to limit items we add to it, because of the space issues and had to haul some to the dump such as clippings and leaves in the fall but not any more! 

Now that we have chicken we get to add more to the compost and our soil can be enriched with compost. Some areas in our yard can use compost seriously. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Few Spots that Caught My Eye

Whenever I take a stroll in our yard there are few spots that really caught my eye depending on what is growing. In early spring I love the beautiful faces of pansies and violas merging through other plants. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gardening and Keeping Up!

I cannot fully enjoy my garden, yet until the school is out. I love working in my yard digging and planting. I can see my children has developed a love of gardening. Nicolette is always fascinated with seeds, worms, dirt, and butterflies. Whenever I step outside for a minute to get a break from inside work I can hear the buzzing of  busy bees. 

This year we are already enjoying fresh salads and arugula with much love. We have planted few tomato plants, cucumber, eggplant, peppers, and a wonderful collection of herbs!

However, I have few plans for the garden along the fence line. First of all it needs a great deal of weeding and mulching. I did not order mulch this year! Mulching could be painful sometimes. Perhaps adding few annuals will bring that charm to the perennial beds. I have develop a new love towards Irises this year. I saw a great combinations this past spring in Washington DC, Iris, Peonies, and Hostas. 

Few flowers made to the raise beds to attract hard working bees for pollination hopefully we will get few pounds of tomatoes for canning this year!

Speaking of canning I still have left few from last year which needs to be consumed! If we get enough cucumber it will be nice to try few picking recipes. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I have not been writing as much as I want to in my blog, mainly due to the activities and personal issues. Besides all that we are now beginning to enjoy the season with much fun loving activities. Our backyard chickens really keeps us busy and we love the company it brings to our yard. Nicolette has been extremely busy taking care of the chickens including feeding and petting. I have to admit that they are always been handle by children, well I guess chickens get use to it. 

I enjoy being outside more than being inside, our garden is still in its infant stage, but it does brings a lot of fun to us. There is always something blooming in our garden.

We did add an extra raised bed and filled it with tomatoes. and they are doing great. I am loving it. We love our fresh salads. Unfortunately our arugula went to seed. I have to learn ways to incorporate that into our meals more frequently. Well they soon going to come out from our garden. 

Many of our plans did got changed to sudden shifts of gear in our lives, but I believe that all happen to a greater reason, and I dearly hope I am right. We have been enjoying late summer dinners and hanging out in our yard.