food::annual pasta day

My friend Martha & I try to get at least 1 pasta making day in every fall in an attempt to fill our freezers with fettuccine & pierogi.  This year we recruited Darcy to help.  Frank had to work, so with just 3 of us, we still fit into my tiny kitchen.

That is 8 batches of dough resting.  What were we thinking?!


Martha is the KitchenAid queen.  I have given up on rolling the pasta.  As Darcy found out, it is NOT as easy as Martha makes it look.  She gave up within seconds of me taking this shot.  She and I are forever on measuring, mixing, and finishing duty.  We’re letting Martha stay the queen of her rolling domain.

See how pretty Martha makes it?  Yeah, she is a shoo-in for this part of the work. 

I love taking this same photo every year.  All that beautiful pasta drying is one of my favorite sights.  We work hard, but it is so worth it!

This year, we are planning a second pasta day because it never lasts long enough.  Next time, I will not only share more thrilling drying rack photos, but I’ll find links for the dough we use & get them posted for you.  We have done quite a bit of trial & error over the years, so we should have the perfect recipes to share.

Thanks for stopping by!

food:: it’s harvest thyme

just a few snaps of my first go at dehydrating herbs

image image image

Lesson learned:: do not believe the directions

Replace with:: objects in dehydrator may take 6 times the suggested number of hours to dry

food:: pasta day with Martha

New technology is kind of awesome.

Martha brought over her KitchenAid mixer and pasta attachments.

Best noodles ever.

pasta drying rack

pasta drying rack 3

pasta drying rack 2

We just didn’t want to stop at one drying rack, so we brought up the laundry rack too.

food:: i’m a tea girl

Every few years, Frankie tries to get me to like coffee.  It just ain’t happening.  Love the smell, can’t handle the bitterness no matter how much vanilla syrup and sugar I add to it.  No offense coffee people, I just can’t aquire the taste.

But tea?  That’s an entirely different story.

It’s my elixir that sometimes makes me think I could be a superhero and fight crime.

When you live in a thoroughly OCD home like mine, you are always in search of caffeinated perfection.  Frank has all his gizmos and brands and roasts and cups figured out because he has been at the coffee game for like 40 years.

As for me? I’m still in search of my holy grail of tea.  I didn’t start drinking it until about 10 years ago.  I am still finding brewed perfection.  There have been many miserable flops.

Clear glass teapots and small children do not mix.

The cup that sparked in the microwave when I tried to re-heat it.

Rushing to try many new flavors only immediately forgeting the namebrands, never to be enjoyed again.

You get the picture ~ only crap an OCD tea person would give 2 hoots about.

But I digress.  I just wanted to show you a couple of awesome new finds and share some tea inspiration with you.

tea cup

This lovely handmade cup was a Christmas gift from the even lovelier friend, Miss Cortini.  She shares my vision of finding the perfect tea and perfect tea accessories.  While I am normally a tea must be enjoyed in bone-china girl, she totally scored with this one.  The handle is made so you can hold your cuppa and warm your hands.  (The lip of the cup isn’t all spilly or 10x the size of bone china.) 5 stars.  Seriously.  She found it at Clay In Motion’s website ~ handmade in the USA.

As for my new fancy panda charmed tea ball, it’s made in China but I can’t for the life of me find a local or handmade one.

peacock tea pot

My semi-new, I-think-I-posted-it-somewhere, handmade tea pot (and its new infuser) that reminds me of the colors in my Mother’s kitchen when I was a child.  I love Hannah Turner Ceramics in the UK ~ I found her through my facebook page and she was lovely to purchase from.

tea tin

These are just my vintage tea tins that manage to cheer me up, every single day.

And to the finding of tea…I have now found 2, count ‘em 2, amazing little tea shops locally that feel like exclusive oases the moment you walk through their doors.  Score.

My enjoyment of my daily cuppa (or 3) has improved with these ~ I think I am bordering on perfection 🙂

Now, I included some names; but please know that I am not writing sponsored posts and I share only because I like their products ~ I don’t get paid for this $hit y’all.  But if you are on a similar quest for tea perfection, check ’em out because they are tried and true in my book.  I still feel that old-school share and share alike is nice.  It’s like sitting down with me for a cuppa and exchanging recipes & such, because I like you.

food:: my favorite season

fall fires

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

You needed to sing that line in your head.

Ok, try it again.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I love everything about autumn.  The crunchy leaves, the colors, the sounds of birds migrating overhead, the football games, and the chilly nights wrapped up by a bonfire.

Well, let me clarify that, I love everything about autumn except for the pumpkin spice fake flavored everything.  THAT I can do without.  It must be some new phenomenon, and it’s a bandwagon I will not be jumping on any time soon.  It’s kind of like bacon.  I have eaten bacon for oh, 40-ish years and yes it’s good, but why it suddenly gained super-star status a few years ago is beyond me.  It’s food people, not the Holy Grail.

But I digress.

I did some apple picking and some awesomesauce canning recently.

Fresh picked, organic, locally sourced, tree-hugger approved apples.  I’m getting really super good at embracing my inner hippie.


I have in a sense, bottled and preserved autumn for just a little while longer than the actual season lasts.


And I have no doubt when I open a jar of awesomesauce in January I will feel that I have been transported to heaven for a moment.

Maybe that’s what all the bacon hype is about…

Cheers to you lovely friends 🙂

Happy Autumn

food:: frozen or dried herbs?

It’s time to harvest my herbs from the garden and I can’t decide what to do.

Freeze them or dry them?


 We came incredibly close to our first frost this weekend, so I MUST CHOOSE WISELY ASAP.

food:: lisa lisa quite contrary how does your garden grow?

Entirely too quickly is my answer.

Someone, who shall remain nameless (you know who you are and I love you dearly but I gotta mess with you a little), told me I am not posting often enough to keep her informed of the mundanity of my life.  To honor her request, I am going to do a boring old garden and food post because let’s face it, I live in Iowa and I am married to a farmer.  Guess what? Got freakin tons of veggies to waste spend my days cleaning and chopping and canning and freezing.  OK, yeah that was harsh.  It’s not a waste of time, it’s actually cool to grow my own organic stuff, but ohmifreakingosh it takes so much time to make it worth my while.  I sorta love my other hobbies better than gardening.  Like anything with yarn.  Or cats. Or that involves sitting on my ample ass with a cup of tea doing nothing but being zen for awhile.  I’m really focused on finding zen moments lately and gardening just interrupts my flow.

Enough of the bitching already.  You would prefer useful information here, and so would I.  Without further ado, I present to you how to freeze 15 pounds of carrots in less than 3 hours.  I could go back to bitching here that it took 3 hours to save myself $30 but that would be counterproductive.

carrots 5

Step 1 ~ harvest & clean all those badass organic carrots

carrots 4

Step 2 ~ cut those babies up, coins/slices are my thing but you may like chunky-finger-sized for stew & pot roast, or maybe stick-ish is your thing ~ make them your own, gurl

carrots 3

Steps 3 & 4 ~ blanch dem bitches (3 minutes in boiling water), followed by plunging them in an ice water filled sink (which btw was bleached clean first – safety first gurl)

carrots 2

Steps 5 & 6 ~ flash freeze (which yeah, ain’t as quick as it sounds) by putting a single layer on a parchment covered cookie sheet & ignore them for about 30 minutes while they firm up in the freezer (you can also use waxed paper or silicone baking mat ~ my fav)

At this point you are finally allowed to find your zen moment.

do do do do…do do do do…(that’s supposed to be the Jeopardy theme in your head)

BAM! You have enough frozen organic & beautiful carrots to last you about 12 years

(not really, but maybe)

I mark ziplock freezer bags with the date and pop in the frozen carrot coins.  They store nice and flat, and you don’t have to slam them repeatedly against the kitchen counter to break them up when you are ready to use them.  Unless you wait 12 years to use them, then all bets are off. THAT is the magic of flash freezing.

Oh, and one last thing…if you have friends with horses, save the stuff you might compost or throw away.  I have a Rowdy and a Rudy horse that want to marry me after the treat I gave them today 😉

(I’m not THAT kinda gurl, get your mind outta the gutter)

carrots 1

Make today ridiculously amazing my friends ~ Mwah!

food:: zucchini bread is divine

zucchini bread

Have you ever had zucchini bread that made you do this face?

NOT my photo.  Photo found here::
NOT my photo. Photo found here::

Yeah, at 45 years old, I still make that face with ikky zucchini bread.

But not anymore.

This summer I was given a new recipe and I love it enough to share it.

zucchini bread::

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

3 eggs

1 cup canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350* ~ Grease 2 loaf pans

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together before adding to the dry mixture. Stir in zucchini last. Pour half into each of the loaf pans, bake for approx 65 minutes. (Do a toothpick test.)

I let it cool, slice it, and wrap it in plastic wrap.

food:: cooking therapy

About this time every year, Frank & I seek therapeutic noodle making activities.

noodles 1

I don’t know why, but it just seems like therapy when we knead and knead, and he rolls, and I slice and arrange.  We spent several hours this weekend doing just that with the stereo on in the background.  noodles 2Quietly, we go to work cracking eggs and whisking.  We both seem to relax by making pasta.  Before we know it, six batches are drying on tea towels. Kind of weird, but hey it works for us.

We also tend to try weird casseroles.

noodles 3

I don’t know what all we threw in there, but tater tots on top seemed to be in order for the day.

Thanks for stopping by!

food:: sanctioned anorexia

I like food, and I can admit it freely.  I am a control freak, and I can also admit to that. I am also a recovered anorexic.  If you have ever had anorexia touch your life, you know that it is not only about food, but that it is motivated by control.   My anorexia was halted by the news that I was pregnant in 1996.  For as much as I was an inner train-wreck at that time, I could at least look past my own neurosis to realize I had to eat for this baby’s sake.  So I ate.  A lot.  I gained 50 lbs. to make sure my child would be born healthy.  I had an excuse to control my eating in the polar opposite direction to give this child a healthy start in life.  And it worked.  I let go of the self-imposed stigma pertaining to eating, and I let go of the unhealthy obsession with being coat-hanger thin.  Once this little boy started to eat real food, I had to finally cook.  It’s really easy to not learn to cook when you don’t ever bother to eat more that a saltine cracker or 2, and a glass of milk every day.

The problem was that while I cooked healthy food for my little family, I began to eat in larger quantities than ever before in my life.  I gave myself permission to overeat on a regular basis and ended up getting way too heavy to feel good about myself.  For 16 years now, I have been overweight.  I have also been afraid to lose that weight.  Know why?  Yup, you guessed it.  I still have panic attacks and control freak issues.  This means that I am afraid to diet because I will end up right back where I started.  I don’t want that.  I have told myself for these past 16 years that I would rather be fat and happy than thin and miserable.  It stops me dead in my tracks every time.

My New Year’s resolutions for 2011 and 2012 both included trying to lose 1 pound per month.  I figured if I did it the slow and steady route, I wouldn’t land myself back in Anorexiaville.   That calculated move worked to a degree.  Over the first year, I actually lost 14lbs.  Yay for me!  During 2012 it didn’t work out so well.  I merely held steady over the year and contemplated Weight Watchers, or Zoomba, or something to jump start it again without going overboard.  But when I would make the effort to try one, Anorexiaville keep throwing up these huge flashy billboards, and arrows pointing to JUST STOP EATING banners.  I always look away quickly and then go find the chocolate chip cookies.

When 2013 rolled around, I made the resolution to give it another try.  It hasn’t been working out so well.  And now we are drawing to a close on the year, and I’m trying to decide a new approach.  I’ve been looking into lots of diets; Paleo, Vegan, Clean Eating, South Beach, Weight Watchers…I just want to change my life not follow someone’s dogma.  So I’m throwing that all out and starting over.

Simple calorie counting.  There’s an app for that.