Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Can You Say Pie? Apricot Pie!

Did I say strawberries were my favorite?  I meant apricots are my favorite...at least for pie.  Yummo!!!
It's especially good when the apricots come from the tree in my backyard. We don't get apricots every year, because my tree is early blooming and there is always spring snow that knocks off the blossoms. This year is the first year in many, many years that we have had enough to make pies or anything else. I usually end up begging my friend Kristine for apricots off her tree.

There are a few things that I love to do with apricots.  I make Apricot Pineapple Jam (that's for my husband - it's his favorite).

And for me, my favorite is Apricot Syrup!!!

But the season in not complete unless there is an apricot pie.  Apricot pie has the perfect blend of sweet and tart.  We had so many apricots that Rielley made 5 apricot pies!  I don't know if I was more excited that Rielley made the pies, or that we ended up with 5 pies.  Rielley said she wanted to make the pies, and she did, all by herself.  I was really impressed.  The pies were beautiful!  And the crust was just perfect, nice and flaky.  Yay for Rielley!  Yum for Me!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

There's Basil In My Garden and Pesto In My Bread!

Each summer I plant a garden just for the basil and tomatoes. But since I'm taking the time to grow a garden, I might as well plant other things also. So I have peppers, jalapenos, anaheim peppers, eggplant, green beans, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, beets, carrots, cantelope, acorn and butternut squash and different herbs.

I look forward to harvesting the basil so I can make pesto. I make a lot of pesto! I freeze it in 1 cup containers so I can use it through out the coming year.

We use basil as a sauce on pizza, pasta, lasagna, sandwiches, soup, spread on bread, spread on toasted bagels with cream cheese, salad, grilling sauce for chicken, fish, lamb, pork, vegetables, salad dressing, dipping sauce for veggies, and a fabulous pesto loaf.

I recently found a new way to use pesto! I roll
out my french bread and spread the pesto on the dough.

I roll up the dough and put the loaf in a pan. Let bread rise and then cook. When it is cut each slice has a spiral of pesto in the bread. It's tasty and pretty.
After experimenting I have come up with some variations:

* After rolling the dough with the pesto, cut the dough in half down the center lengthwise and twist it.

Put the loaf in the pan to rise and cook.

* Or, when spreading the pesto on the dough add some drained sun dried tomatoes and roll up the dough. Put the loaf in the pan and then slice half way through the dough down the center lengthwise, sprinkle some parmesan on top. As it rises it looks beautiful.

*Try other ingredients. For example: pine nuts, cinnamon, sugar and pecans, cheese, onions, pizza sauce, etc - the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

All of these techniques work and look beautiful. Try them and see which way you like the best.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Sir William Wallace died fighting for it. Our country was founded on it. We enjoy the benefits of it and we celebrate it every 4th of July.

We were at the Stadium of Fire this year on the 4th of July. As a tribute to our Armed Forces, each group was asked to stand as their theme song was played. It was all very emotional as each song blared over the speakers.

We applauded the Marines when "From The Halls Of Montezuma" played and the Air Force when we heard "Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder", for the Navy it was "Anchors Aweigh" and the Army was "The Caissons Go Rolling Along" and for the U.S. Coast Guard it was "Semper Paratus". We owe so much to those who have fought to defend our freedom.

Thank you, thank you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Strawberry Days in Pleasant Grove

I love a Rodeo! It takes me back to my childhood and the time spent at my Grandfathers farm in Wyoming. Every summer we would take the looooong drive from Cupertino, California to Cowley, Wyoming. We'd spend a week there at the farm with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and many other relatives that made up the entire town of Cowley...(No kidding - Population 600, give or take a cousin). There'd be BBQs, horseback riding on a horse named Hungry, tire swings, irrigating the fields, driving Grandpas truck, fresh garden peas and pancake eating contests.

When I smell the leather saddles and the manure and hear the horses, I am taken back to the farm and many childhood memories. My grandmother made sure we always had tickets to the town rodeo. One of my favorite memories at the Cowley Rodeo was when my cousin Kevin was on the Wild Horse milking team. He literally picked up the horse and slammed it to the ground. I thought he was pretty cool. Many years later, in staying with the tradition of visiting Cowley on the 24th of July, my family and my sisters family went to the Cowley rodeo. My sisters youngest daughter even entered the mutton busting contest. That is one of our favorite family stories.

Pleasant Grove has a fun rodeo during Strawberry Days. This was our second annual Strawberry Days Rodeo and it did not disappoint. As we entered the rodeo grounds I could smell the manure, leather and hay. Immediately I was thinking of Cowley, Wyoming. There was mutton busting, bucking broncos, barrel racing, roping, wild cow milking and bull riding. There were hot dogs, hamburgers and strawberries and cream. Something for everybody.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Now That's A Kitchen I Can Sink My Teeth Into

In our home our favorite gathering place is the kitchen. I love to have family and friends sitting or standing, visiting, laughing, preping and taste testing while meals are being prepared. There is something very satisfying about the atmosphere of the family gathering in the kitchen, enjoying life. This is where learning and sharing takes place. I love to have my husband cooking along side of me, he is such a foodie, and he's a great cook! From the time my daughters where babies they have spent time in the kitchen with me. I cleared out a cupboard and put their toys in it, so they were literally playing at my feet. As they grew older they loved to make cookies, cupcakes and brownies, licking the bowl and the spatula was and still is their favorite part. I bathed them in the sink as babies. Homework was done at the counter as I prepared dinner. Science projects, fingernail painting, after school snacking. We've made hundreds of valentine cookies, many peach pies, sunday roast dinner with yorkshire pudding. Homemade ice cream, cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, jams and pesto. We've celebrated birthdays (15 for each of us) and Christmas's with our tradition of cheeses and proscutto. It's the first place we go when we walk through the door returning from the outside world.

Our kitchen had oak varnished cupboards, blue formica countertops and standing room only. We rubbed elbow, bumped elbow and threw elbows trying to position ourselves for prime kitchen real estate. Though I have wonderful memories of many years together I won't miss you old friend, but I will remember you fondly and maybe shed a tear now and then.

Now, I'd like to introduce you to the new kitchen
on the block. We've moved walls and windows, ovens (plural!) and refrigerator. We have a pot filler, ice maker and our spices are hidden. Bench and bookshelves, pendents and a pot rack (to be installed soon)! It is so beautiful and functional with a bit of room to spare. I look forward to good times and good memories with my new kitchen, now I am shedding a tear!

Photo at the top of this post is of my mother and my older siblings back in 1960. My mother is pregnant with me at the time. Don't you love the high chair and the refrigerator? My mother is taller than the refrigerator! I love this picture, in fact I love it so much that I use it as the cover for my family cookbook.
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