Day 235: It's the Little Things (No, Really)

We rode to a quick breakfast this morning at First Watch, not my favorite eating spot, but when you're riding bikes your dining options are often limited, especially by the distance you are currently able to ride.  Still it's better than fast food, I suppose.  
Hannah always gets the giant chocolate chip pancake, and got through more of it this time than she ever has before (Hmmm, must have something to do with all those calories we've been burning lately!).
It irks me that we had to pay extra for "real maple syrup", something I've seen other places as well. Seriously, just serve the real stuff and up the dish price by like, a quarter, and just stop using the fake crap...
Ok, anyway, the perk of our "real" syrup up-charge today: a little dippy (as she used to say) syrup bottle that she got to take home!  


Day 234: Old-School Comfort Food

I had a couple pounds of Innisfree ground beef hanging out in the fridge, waiting for me to make something.  I have been really bad about cooking lately, mainly because I am spending lots of hours in the kitchen preserving and baking.  So when it comes time for dinner, I am done.  I love to cook, but after standing at the stove getting splattered by liquid hot magma preserves, I really have a hard time getting motivated to bust out a pan and cook something.  
I did manage to put that beef to use though.  A blast from the past: Sloppy Joes.  

Dressed just how I used to eat them: A very toasty bun (I can't tolerate soggy things), a slice of cheese, a mound of beef, and chips for crunch.  There.  I cooked.  Now to process those pounds of peaches languishing in the fridge...

Day 233: It's the Ghostlight!

Ok, so it is never a good idea to tackle school work before coffee, but sometimes circumstances conspire...
We were out of milk, and since it is a necessary component to my morning caffeine routine (a glug in the mug, a quick chug, and just a bit left to ease that coffee into my empty stomach), we needed to make other plans.  

I still had a couple of gift cards left for Ghostlight Coffee (thanks to my brother), so we headed over.  

 Cold-brew coffee for a muggy morning, a rhubarb ginger bagel from Ozro and Ray's and the latest copy of Lucky Peach.  Great way to start a very long day!

My goofy girl with her hot chocolate and French toast bagel.  She's supposed to be reading...

Day 232: Reward Calories

The other day my sister-in-law and I took and decent (for me) bike ride from church to our house.  Once we made it back home, I had pretty much burned most of my lunch calories and was ready to eat again!  So, we did the healthy thing and ate ice cream:
In our defense, we did walk to get it...

But wait! The day was not yet done!  Back to Centerville to pick tomatoes!  After picking my 21lbs (11 over my intended amount, but I just couldn't stop!), and heading towards home, I was famished.  I stopped by the Harvest Cuisine food truck and picked up some eats, with a side of fries, for dinner.  

Fish tacos, fries, salad greens.  

Day 231: Local Restaurant Shout-Out

Sometimes you just want a good burger.  And you don't want to cook. Our family's go-to is the burger from Hawthorn Grill.  Their version comes at a decent price, has great flavor, and comes with a great slaw and house-made chips.  It is quite a meal, topped with bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar, and mayonnaise.  In fact, it is such a meal that I can never finish it on my own, so I've taken to splitting it with my daughter. Yummy, beefy satisfaction.  Mmmmmm.

Day 230: Fun with Popping Corn!

I have been working on some fun popcorn treat flavors, and this one has turned out quite well:

Peanut butter caramel, with just a hint of Sriracha for character.  Delicious, addicting, and satisfying.  Come to the markets and buy you some!


Day 229

What to do with a surplus of lemons?  Make adorable little cakes, of course!  I basically made a lemon pound cake better infused with lemon zest and juice, then made a lemon syrup to brush on once they were baked.  Tart and bright, they were quite delicious!

Day 228: Not Rotten!

So these are the berries I managed to save from neglect, and beautiful ones they are.  I combined them to make a jam, and the color and flavor are lovely!

Day 227: Rotten!

So, in my quest to garner as much fruit as possible before we lose summer altogether, I (and my husband and daughter) have spent a lot of time picking berries.  That, of course, is the easy part.  The challenge is then finding enough time to process and preserve said fruit amidst the everyday craziness that is my life.  Last week I failed miserably, and lost about 2 pounds of perfectly lovely raspberries.  Sigh.  I feel pretty bad about it.


Day 226: Nachos!

Being in full preserve-making mode at dinner time tonight, I needed to come up with something fast and tasty:
 Chicken and bacon nachos...

 Here loaded up with salsa, tomatoes, greens, cilantro, and a little lime.  And we are happy, with full bellies.

Day 225

These preserves have the potential to be very special...
Just tasting this first step was incredibly delicious!  Super ripe and sweet peaches paired with saffron.  Ohhh myyyy...


Day 224: Berry Hands!

Very sticky, purple hands after a round of blackberry and raspberry picking.  

Day 223: One of My Favorite People

 The other day I took my younger sister back-to-school shopping as an early birthday gift from our family and my brother and sister-in law.  Now my sister, well she loves food probably as much as I do, and when she is eating something she likes, she takes full pleasure in the experience.  Good model to follow, if you ask me.
 I snapped this photo of my lunch only to point out that it contained nopales, (cactus in Gringo) a food that for some odd reason I had yet to try. 
My sister, with her carnitas.  She declared it several times to be quite good.  Actually, I believe she said, "Delicious!"

Day 222: How and Why I Do What I Do

Blackberry bushes at Peifer Orchard in Yellow Springs.
I have been asked similar questions myself, and my sister-in-law was forced to answer recently as well:
"Don't you have any strawberry jam?"
"Why don't you have any strawberry jam?"
"Can't you just go to the store and buy strawberries?"
"Do you have any (insert out of season produce name here) jam?"
"Do you have any jelly?"
"Do you have any sugar-free/made with Splenda?"

So, allow me to answer:
I did have strawberry jam/preserves in June and early July.  When they were in season.  I have since sold out.  I will endeavor to make more next strawberry season.  Realize, however, that I am not Smuckers.  I am making small batch, seasonal preserves in my home kitchen, surrounded by my many other duties.
Yes, I could go to the store and buy strawberries, but I won't.  I eat and buy seasonally, as you should.  I also personally pick (with some 9-year-old slave labor thrown in) or pick up all of my fruits from local growers, farms, or farmer's markets.  Why? Because it tastes infinitely better, I can be really picky, and I can support local growers and producers, which in turn supports the local economy.  Plus, it's cheaper this way.  Sure, I can buy craptastic flavorless fruit retail at the grocery, but it'll cost me more, which means it'll cost YOU more.
I don't do many jellies because I like to include as much of the whole fruit in my preserves as possible.  I hate waste, both of product and of time.  I also very rarely use pectin, which you pretty much need to set a jelly.  I will probably have them from time to time, but probably only with fruits that preserve best in this manner.

I only use natural sweeteners in my preserves.  Organic cane sugar, local honey, local syrups. Nothing synthetic.  Ever.  If I won't eat it, I won't use it.

Day 221: Berry Cookies

I have been preserving a LOT of fruit this summer, and will only stop when I can't get my hands on any more local fruits.  While I love making (and eating) preserves, I also look for ways to utilize local fruits in baked goods for the markets as well.  I tried these cookies out last week, and while I'm normally not a big white "chocolate" fan, these blueberry and white chocolate cookies may convert me...


Day 220

My tomato plants are giving up the ghost.  It's just been a little too wet and cool for them to stay very happy, and they are letting me know.  So, I am picking what I can in hopes that they will ripen in what I've christened The Tomato Window:


Day 219: Dinner Envy

 What?  You didn't have peanut butter caramel Sriricha  popcorn for dinner?  Oh, that's too bad.

We did.  And it was extraordinary.  

Day 218: Oh the Messes You'll Make!

My stove, and really my entire tiny kitchen, is a perpetual disaster.  It is in constant need of a solid cleaning, which keeps that way for about 2.5 seconds.  I use my stove almost every day, sometimes all day, so at least it's not lacking in attention.  Except for the  cleaning part.  

Day 217

I am a preserving fool!  Tomato jam, ready to be processed.  It smells oh so good!

Day 216


Day 215: Fat

 Rendering lard to make carnitas "rendered" us a happy surprise...

Chicharrones!  Also known as pork rinds!


Day 214: Calorie Salvation

So, the other day the whole world was out to get me, Final Destination style.  Things were exploding in the kitchen, semis were on sidewalks, a bee stuck itself to my leg, and I wiped out embarrassingly on my bike.  After all that excitement (and a good deal of pain), I was ravenous, but wary of the kitchen with all its lurking dangers.
Dinner from the Dublin Pub saved the day.  Here is one of my favorites, the Carvery.  With fries.  Belly full, potential crises averted, now to drop some painkillers and sleep...

Day 213

This is a picture of a croissant.  This is a picture of a pistachio croissant.  This is a picture of a half-eaten pistachio croissant.  This is a picture of a half-eaten pistachio croissant made by Dan the Baker that was so incredibly delicious that I greedily consumed its other half before I could make it to the car and whip out my camera phone.  Thank you, Dan the Baker.  Inferior croissants are now weeping in shame.