Thursday, August 30, 2012

Basil infused olive oil and bruschetta

During the summer and lovely tomato season, I also grow basil...I try to grow a huge amount...
I fell in love with basil infused olive oil. Now, I have read all the warnings about being careful with it as it can get bacteria etc....but if one is careful, it is fabulous.
Here is my jar with the basil olive oil, still "infusing"...tomorrow I will probably strain it and this is an awful picture...
In short, take some basil and be sure you wash it very well and dry it extra well, then break it (to release the oils) into a jar. Add garlic if you wish.
Then heat the olive oil, not to boiling, just until the oil starts to get very warm, and pour that into the jar. ( Do not let the oil boil!) Instructions vary on the length of time to keep the leaves in there, but all agree to keep it in a dark cool place...Then strain it out and enjoy the oil.
In fact, this oil is the base for the best bruschetta!
I have come up with yummy bruschetta topping....use a tablespoon to two tablespoons of the oil in a bowl. Chop tomatoes very fine and throw into the bowl. Chop fresh garlic and basil and throw that in (to your taste) and then salt and pepper.
I have played all summer with the recipe sometimes it is nice to use onions finely chopped too, but not too much and garlic makes it taste best.. Once it is mixed place the bowl covered into the fridge for about an hour or so.
Before you need the bruschetta, cut a baguette in half lengthwise. Open and use some of the basil oil on the bread and spread it out. Place on a cookie sheet and toast it. At 375, it toasts in about 5-7 mins, but watch it, be careful, too toasty and it really makes it hard to eat.....
Once it is toasted and cooled, place spoonfuls of the now very chilled tomato mix on it and spread it out. Then slice your baguette and enjoy!
This is a simple simple yummy dinner for a hot night or great hors d'oeuvres!
Here is a picture of last nights platter we shared with friends. Even if you have to buy the tomatoes, it is pretty yummy...

Enjoy!
Nancy

Monday, August 27, 2012

5 minute garage door

To be honest, I always wished we had the garage doors with hinges and handles that looked like fancy doors....but alas, that takes lots of money...

So, in reading my many blogs, I came across information about a company that is in the USA, and they make decorative magnets for garage doors....hummm, I wondered....
Well, on Ebay, there is a company that sells them....yup...lots cheaper than a whole new door...$25 including shipping....
What the heck I thought...let's make it look like the expensive doors....


Ta da da!!!
In five minutes we had a new garage door!
Cute! Looks like a stable door, n'est pa??
These are made by MagnaFlex in the USA...
Sweet!
Have a great day...
Nancy

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Questions

I have a problem and need you, my readers to help.
We have a labrador retriever that cannot tolerate any mailman. All because one mailman teased him miserably!
So, now, all mailmen or mailwomen are bad.
He has ruined the chairs that are on the window....
I made slipcovers to protect the chairs..which was no simple task. But, that only lasted a short time.
Now, his claws have gone through the fabric, stuffing and all....
Given the history of the chairs (some other time)....I want them to be recovered...
Here is the question.
What should I do??
I have a couple of thoughts....paint them the French Linen (a grey) and have the fabric from my table runner shown below used for the cushion and backing...
Or.....
should I paint them and use French Grain Sacks with a small stripe of blue or plain.....
Or....
should I leave them the rubbed patina the way they are and upholster them with grain sacks??
I worry about using the lovely fabric shown above...it is a bit too light a linen blend with backing...
and above all....
I think I will keep them turned to the window unless needed, but I do need to figure out something....I need input....
Here are the chairs....


 Below is a chair that "recovered" with a grain sack...and its little pillow...If I used a similar grain sack fabric, I would need several as they are an average of 20" wide.....

So, what do you think??? Ideas, anything that you think might work??
Let me know...
Nancy

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fall is falling

Well, last night we had rain, our first. It is either a late summer storm or and early Fall. Judging by the birds....I think it is an early Fall rain...it just has that kind of feel....
Anyway, I just wanted to let you my readers know why I have been "off"....
My sweet Hubby is going in for an MRI with contrast today...of his back which has been bothering him for a while now. Hopefully, we get some answers (which means we have to wait a few days for the Dr to call and update us....)....
Until then, Happy Friday!!
Nancy

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunflower dreams

Today I cut back the sunflowers, some had already been cut and have been drying.
It is amazing how many seeds fit on an average sunflower, let alone a "Mammoth".
Unfortunately, worms have ruined some. Ah that's the price we pay when we are organic. But most of the seed seems okay. I sat there for a long while hand sorting and cleaning to package up seeds for friends.
In fact, if anyone wants some email me to let me know, I will send some...
I think the seed heads are almost as beautiful as the blooms, once you brush off the "yucky" stuff to expose the seeds....


 That is a lot of seeds....I even spent some time shelling some of the seeds....yes, these can be eaten...
I also have a great number of Moulin Rouge seeds if anyone is interested in those....
Let me know, I will get back to you!
Nancy

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wash Day

I have been on an enforced no laundry zone...as the washer died.
So, with a huge load of wash to do, I was eagerly waiting for the deliverymen to bring our new washer and dryer.
We did the "research" about washers and dryers...what is good, bad and ugly...
Now, each person has to do their own study of what works for them, and what they need.
We didn't need all the fancy bells and whistles, we didn't need steam cleaning (which I have read really isn't all that great anyway). I didn't want the front load as the people I have talked to hate them from the physical standpoint for loading and unloading on backs and the fact that once you put it on, it's over, no getting that sock that fell out of the pile into the load...to the fact that many people have a mold, mildew and odor problem with front loaders.
I have had top load forever, I didn't need that to change....
What I wanted was simple cleaning...nothing simple about machines these days...they tend to be louder, computer programed and all "high efficiency". I also don't like the "switches" on so many machines...they are like pill pockets that you pop to get the pill out....
So, we got Whirlpool. We bought them from good old fashioned Sears. Whirlpool makes Kenmore and that has been tried and true for all our machines.
Samsung was considered as its tub is really big! But, again I didn't like the switches and the dryer door didn't open the way I needed. So, we bought the simple old fashioned "knobs" machine. It is a bit noisy...It doesn't have a center agitator (none of them do now...)so it holds plenty!
So, those of you readers who may be interested...our old machine was 17 yrs old. The dryer, which was still working, but letting us know that it wouldn't for much longer, was 23 years old.
So, far I am pleased with the new machines...they are working fine...
 with the old machine the huge mountain of laundry would have taken two days, I am almost done with this pile. Hopefully, this washer and dryer last a long, long time....
Here's to hoping....
Nancy
 Before they were removed......
And after they were installed.....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Raspberry cordial

Three months ago I embarked on an experiment. I found a recipe for raspberry cordial. It is the same stuff that Anne of Green Gables talked about. They would ceremoniously bring it out when a special guest or the minister came to visit. It was taken from the pantry and often served with a sweet treat or just by itself. Children were often sent off to play while adults enjoyed the cordial.
So, I found a recipe online that told how to make it. It takes a good three months to make...and then, voila, you have cordial.
So happy Sunday to you and enjoy the fruits of your labors....
Nancy

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Sunchokes are here!!

Okay, so the Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, are now blooming. This is one month earlier than usual.
Now granted, our heat may have spurred them on...which is also a bit early, but I can't remember them blooming in August.

Now, I apologize for the bad picture...they are 12' tall and hard to get a picture of when one is 5'4" so I had to use the "telephoto" lens on my old camera....The one flower is already torn apart by the goldfinches, who are still eating leaves and flowers from all sunflowers.
Why is this important?
Around here in this family, these are the harbingers of Fall.
If one doesn't pay attention, this is the visual announcement that it is time to prepare your home and garden for a new season.
So, what are you doing to prepare for Fall and Winter?
I hear that El Nino is coming, so we are to expect lots of rain. In the MidWest that might actually sound nice....But here on the West Coast, it means rain and lots of it, often too much.
I have noticed lately that the number of birds has dropped and only a few goldfinches remain. The Starlings haves started their gathering and if that wasn't enough to notice, the Liquid Ambar trees started turning red last month.
So, chime in and tell me, what are you doing to prepare for Fall??
Have a great weekend.
Nancy

Friday, August 17, 2012

Staying busy on hot days....

Today is overcast and muggy, though it looks like it should be cool, it isn't....
The last few days have been hot and humid, today is mild but humid...and ours fans are still running.
You haven't heard from me in a few days as I have been trying to catch up on the harvest of tomatoes, figs, and green beans.
My good friend called me with a harvest of the most beautiful strawberry red figs! They needed to be canned immediately...so I made jam....
And yes, it is the hottest days of year for canning, at least I did it early in the day so that all was done before it got super hot...but that is why everything gets ripe at the same time...heat....
And of course we are still harvesting beans, I actually cooked some last night with dinner right from the plant to the table...oh that was tasty!
I also have been painting a new chalkboard...
This second chalkboard (blackboard) is smaller than the first and I am using French Linen over Old white....so we will see, and it won't have all the appliques that the first one did.
By the way, the first chalkboard is for sale in my shop! If you are interested look at the shop (link is to the right of the post). Here are the pictures of the first chalkboard done with an "old barn wood" look...




So, one just kinda sits out the heat...
Stay cool and comfy...
Nancy

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Hot in the kitchen....

Our heat has begun, and today is day 5 of heat. Yesterday, was hot and humid. Today, though it was hotter, it wasn't as humid, so I got out early to get some things done that needed doing.
On the list was cleaning out some beds that had gotten so messy and straggly they were no longer pretty...so those got cleaned out to the dirt. Yup, dirt is showing......
But, aside from that, the beans needed harvesting, again. I harvested another bunch of beans for the freezer, which means we now have enough for Thanksgiving and beyond. It always makes me happy and feel as if I have provided food for the future.
I may not have the turkey (I would if it were legal), and I don't have cranberries, nor do I have the potatoes....but I have apples, beans and other goodies....It should be a good year.

For those who might know, the beans were harvested, rinsed and broken into segments and then blanched in boiling water quickly. Then, after the quickest of blanching (just enough to change the color) they are dropped into ice water to stop the cooking process. Then, after draining, they are put into freezer bags. This makes for yummy frozen beans as opposed to mushy beans....
A friend called this evening, and I went and got some of her very wonderful figs. Big, red figs that will hopefully go into fig jam tomorrow....
So, even with the heat, the harvest goes on....
Have a great evening!
Nancy

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sewing up a storm....

Yesterday was quite toasty out...so, I stayed in and sewed...
I completed the second of the two pillowcases I made for our bed...in a natural linen.

You know I believe in linen for sleeping. It has been documented to aid sleep. I truly believe that and my Hubby doesn't snore as much either! Also, with hot days, linen breathes better than any fabric, so for summer there is nothing better. It also resists mold, mildew and bacteria! What more can anyone want? Linen was the choice of Egyptians for their clothes and their mummies. So, our bed sports linen. It has a fitted sheet (we purchased from Williams-Sonoma Home years ago and Linoto).
It has a top sheet of linen....I found several on  E-bay just searching over the years...but the others came from Linoto and Rawganic. Yes, it is expensive. However, these sheets seem to resist stains and wear and tear better than cotton sheets. The best sheets are the old vintage French sheets and then Irish linen. Metis linen is linen and cotton blended. They tend to warmer, but wear well...I have a couple, because the lister on E-bay didn't know the difference. Pure linen is the fabric of choice around here.
Maybe that is why everyone calls me "The Linen Lady".....

Anyway, here is a glimpse of the pillowcases....I will be making some for the shop, finding a design I like and if my fabric source stays somewhat affordable....


Also in yummy linen, a loose weave linen are my new "pashminas" that I have in my store....I have a grey one and two red "pashminas".... get them while they are available....



These Pashminas are machine washable and dryable (though the fringe might get "fluffy"), I washed and dried the fabric before sewing. I used a picot edge on the two main sides so they should hold up. I am asking $60 for them.
Have a cool and great day!
Nancy

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Playing with Food

I do not like eggs. I think they taste generally yucky.  I like stuffed eggs, with mayo, mustard, and a dash of relish.
However, I have always been curious about other types of eggs in cuisine...especially quail eggs.
I have seen them, but they were usually too expensive to experiment with. But the other day, my friend and I discovered a different market. It is not a usual market and it carries many ethnic foods.
We had a great time discovering rare delicacies and then I saw a package of quail eggs for $1.49. That was it, I had to try!
So, I took them home and looked up how to cook them. Hard boiled seemed like a good thing to do, so I did.....
For those of you who might want to do the same, put the eggs in cold water, an inch over their shells...
Bring to a boil and turn off and cover the pot for 5 minutes.
Then immerse in cold water for another 5 minutes.....at that time, they should be done! How easy is that? They are fun and flavorful and neat and tidy!

I served them with our breakfast which was leftover salmon on half a bagel with cream cheese, basil and a nice big slice of tomato....and yes, I did eat the eggs....

Anyone ever try them?? How about duck eggs? I have heard that duck eggs are a bit strong for regular eating, but that they make the best cakes and other baked goods. Anyone ever try those?? Let me know....
Nancy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Projects

So, I know you all have projects...how many do you have piled waiting for you to do something with them....?
Yeah, me too...and yet, I can't resist another project when I am out an about....
Two days ago I ordered some more linen for the pashminas I am making...
Some in "Ruby Red" and some in "Chocolate"....oh so yummy....but again...a project!
And then today, I found some cute wood pieces to be transformed....two more projects!
And don't even get me started on the fabric that is piling up....lots....
So, if you don't hear from me...hopefully I am working on, Projects....
What projects do you have waiting??? I really want to hear from you...



Nancy

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Let's talk tomato!

Okay, the season for tomatoes is more than mid-way...I still have quite a few tomatoes left and coming....
I have favorites....
Of course,if you have been reading my blog, my all time favorite is "Mortgage Lifter".
Then, "Beefmaster" did very well and rivaled my favorite....
Then a new one, a French variety, "Dona", came in third with an uncomprimising flavor.
I have disappointing years and varieties, everyone does....
The biggest disappointment was "Black Prince"....It turned out to be a fragile tomato and slow to give anything....in fact, tonight will be the first taste of what has turned an elusive tomato....
It is a small tomato, larger than a cherry, but in our garden, it is a bit of "wasted space".
Another, good tomato, but not a favorite...is "Red Zebra"....the flavor seemed "flat" and acidic...and again, not many on a bush....
One year, we grew "Green Zebra" and they were a large medium size and delicious....and ever since they have been small...and not terrific....although my neighbor has had terrific luck with hers this year....
And, every year I try to grow Roma, as they are perfect to dehydrate as well...but for the last two years they have been tiny and disappointing....
Today, we got up and took in the Flea Market and then the Farmer's Market....which made me appreciate our own produce.....
And while I am posting, I am simmering another batch of Tomato Jam.....it smells fabulous in here....
Have a great Sunday!
Nancy

Saturday, August 4, 2012

WildOakDesigns new "line"

I have been searching for something I can make for my store, in linen. I found a great source for a loose weave linen, gauze like in construction, that can be washed and worn. I got this yummy grey linen and have been playing. I rather like the way it looks on my daughter!
A Linen Pashmina!



It is a lovely pashmina, and here in the final photo you see the fringe, and the stay stitching so you can wash and dry it ! It doesn't have to go to the dry cleaners, although that is ok too....
I have ordered more fabric, one in a cranberry red and another in a chocolate brown...so more will be available in the near future!!
Interested? Check out the store www.WildOakDesigns.etsy.com
I am off tomorrow to the Irvine flea Market...I will let you know what I find....
Nancy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tomato Jam Recipe ...a great find!

What is one supposed to do with all those tomatoes??
Yes, you can freeze them...cut up and put in bags...
You can make tomato sauce and freeze it or can it...
You can can tomatoes...in just about any way you can imagine. You can make ketchup (catsup).
You can make chutney, which I am looking at some recipes....
But, wait there's more!
You can make tomato Jam!
No, not like regular jam (though close)....
It is excellent....
I found it on a site, http://www.foodinjars.com,
which has all kinds of foodie goodies.....
I didn't do a "real" canning...instead it went into the fridge....
But, hubby said it is a "keeper"...and that I am allowed to make as much as I want.
Wait, really??
Yep....
So....here it is friends in Blogland....and remember to visit "Foodinjars" along the way!


Tomato Jam Recipe

makes 4 1/2 to 5 pints
The amount may vary with season to season depending on the tomatoes.....


5 lbs. tomatoes, finely chopped (I actually used a food processor as I am lazy!)
3 1/2 cups sugar ( I actually used too much as I didn't think in the early stages it was enough, it is)
8 TBS fresh lime juice
2 tsp ginger ( I didn't have any so I used 1 tsp of dried)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves (oh yes, it is needed)
1 TBS salt
1 TBS red chili flakes ( I beliee you can adjust for your needs)


combine all ingredients in a lare, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temp to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1- 2 hrs, depending on how high you keep your heat.

when the jam has cooked down suffieniently, remove from heat and fill hot jars, leaving 1/4 " of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiking water canner for 20 mins.

When time is up, remove joars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool. dark place for up to a year. (It won't las that long!)


Now, what do you use it for?? Anything that you'd use ketchup for and then more......
We used it on crackers with cream cheese and a dollop of the tomato jam...very, very yummy.....
Did I say yummy??
Okay, you get the point...so if you have a large crop, go for it....or a really good buy at the farmer's market.....

Have a great evening...and be sure to let me know what you think!
Nancy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I would like some feedback....

Okay, bloggers....
I made the reversible French country tablerunner, which sold today....and it is off to Ohio!
but what I would like to know, since I haven't had any comments either on this blog or Facebook....should I make another?? Or was that just a stroke of luck?
Here it is again.....
It was this fabric on top and the other side is off white burlap....so dry cleaning is recommended...18"w x 78"L....
Feedback???
Thanks
Nancy