Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tag Two

A place that makes me happy - my grandparents place in Sweden, wintertime.
Phew - just looking at this picture cools me down!


YD at YD's A Little Bit of Everything tagged us for a cute little list of 6 things that make me happy. Thanks for the tag, YD!

Here we go:

1. Being with Sean makes me happy. No matter where we are or what we're doing. I luv you hun, can't wait to marry you in a few months! muah!

2. Training my dog Kane makes me happy! I love interacting with him, seeing him think, learn and having his attention is an awe-inspiring feeling.

3. Growing my own vegetables. This is our second garden year and I am delighted with everything that grows well, and confounded with everything that doesn't. It's such a joy to see something you started and nurtured as a seed all of a sudden be a healthy, vigourous living green thing!That gives back to you! Even better!

4. Being at "Torpet" - my grandparents place in Sweden. Tall, dark pine woods with blueberry bushes for carpet, quiet forests, big granite rocks, plum trees, currants and strawberry patch, the lilac hedge, "fika" and my grandmothers cooking. I get a content kind of feeling just looking at pictures from there.

5. Spending time with friends.

6. Living in the here and now. Being thankful for all the gifts life has given me, starting every day with a smile.

I'm going to tag my friend Lisa at Molto di Moda Designs with this one - she has such a wonderful way of writing about the things she enjoys, I'm sure she will come up with something good! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tagged! (1 out of 2)

A picture that has nothing to do with this post. I just felt like it needed a picture!
I took this last year on our vacation back to Sweden, and I've added some texture.
Typical southern Swedish farm house.

Two people awarded us with this tag!! Wow! I feel so popular! Thank you guys! Wvfarmgirl over at Creating Utopia in WV, One Project at a time and JP and Mrs. JP over at The little dog shelter in the holler tagged us for the Honest Scrap. The deal is to tell your readers 10 things about you that they may or may not know, but are true.
Thank you to the talented vwfarmgirl and the lovely and wonderful JP and Mrs. JP for this tag. We love your blogs!

1. Sean grew up on an 8000 acre farm and ranch operation in New Mexico.
2. Lena once threw her brothers Nintendo game into the wall so that it broke. Not a very well thought out plan, since this meant she had to give him hers.
3. Lena hates bananas.
4. Sean is allergic to bee-stings, ever since he was stung in the main artery once as a child. The epi-pen is our friend and goes with us everywhere.
5. Lena has never broken a bone in her body.
6. Kane is afraid of feathers.
7. Lena wants to learn how to play the guitar some day.
8. Sean owns workout videos titled "Yoga Booty Ballet" (I've never seen him actually work out to them though, but stay tuned, my camera is ready!)
9. Lena reads romance novels like they are going out of style. (No wonder the house never gets cleaned!!!)
10. Sean makes THE BEST cream cheese stuffed and bacon-wrapped jalapenos!

Now I am supposed to tag others....well, I'll just put this out there for the masses - if you feel like doing this tag- GO AHEAD! If you feel like you want to be singled out tagged, let me know and I will be happy to tag you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What to do with all the cucumbers?!?

Along with the mini mater invasion this year, I'm also having a very good cucumber year. Self-seeded cucumbers at that. They are climbing the 6ft fence is several spots, shamelessly using the lettuce that went to seed as shade, and they have higher aspirations than the tomatoes - using their trellises to wind their way up, up, up. I draw the line at them winding their little tentacles around the peppers and eggplants though. Enough of that, you are being yanked back and put elsewhere! There should be some order in my garden! :-)

I promised Lisa at
Molto di Moda Designs that I would post some cucumber recipes, so here goes. This is a fun and quick recipe for a thai pickled cucumber salad that I made tonight.
I used my own cucumbers, the french red shallots that grew over winter, and my friend Melika's hot peppers that she gave me last week. I have no clue what they are, but they are adorable and look like little Christmas lights.

Thai Pickled Cucumber Salad - Ajad
(Enough for 4-6 people)
1 cucumber (mine was about 8 inches)
2 medium-sized shallots or other mild onion, Vidalia would work
1/2 red chili pepper or other hot pepper

Vinegar Mixture
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tbsp regular sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp rice vinegar

Make the vinegar mixture first.
Place sugar and salt in a medium bowl and pour the boiling water over. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the vinegar. Let sit.

Peel the cucumber and cut it in half length-wise.
With a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard (compost bin!).
Slice the cucumber across. Place cucumbers in the vinegar mixture.

Chop the shallots and clean the hot pepper before chopping it as well.
Add hot pepper and shallots and stir.

It may seem as if you don't have enough liquid at first, but the cucumbers will release some water as well.

Let sit for about an hour.

I really like the sweet-hot-sour mixture of this pickled salad. This would be a nice side to any asian dish, or even to a nice meal from the grill.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Great Mini Mater Invasion and the Pizza Salad

Once upon a time there was a salad, it was a cabbage salad, and it wasn't very exciting. It was depressing, really, and it needed some spicing up.
In walks the swedish pizza-chef with a fabulous recipe:

Shred half a head of green cabbage, preferably with a cheese-slicer. Place in a bowl.
Sprinkle on 1/2 tsp sea salt, a few turns with the black pepper grinder.
Add some italian seasonings - thyme, oregano, basil.
Mix up a small batch of basic vinaigrette: 1/3 apple cider vinegar and 2/3 oil (I used canola)
Pour the vinaigrette over the cabbage and spices, mix well.
Cover with plastic and let sit in fridge overnight.
Sample the next day and add more salt or pepper depending on your preferences.

All was well - the swedish pizza salad had been invented.

Swedish pizza is near and dear to my heart. When my friends ask what I want to eat while I'm at home, I always say "Let's get some pizza!" At which point they look at me like I'm crazy. But it is not true, they say, that you live in the land of deep dish pizza? The land of pepperoni and extra cheese? The land of Papa Johns, Little Ceasar and Domino's? Why do you want Swedish pizza?

Swedish pizza is thin crust, are single servings (if you LOVE them like I do!) and have interesting Italian names like Capricciosa, Quattro Stagniono etc. And they always come with a small container of pizza salad.

And now back to the SC homefront:

We are under attack. I repeat, we are under attack. The mini maters (also known as sweet currant) have decided to launch an invasion. They are all ripening and intense speed and take forever to pick. But they're good. Oh are they ever good. Especially on salads. Yum.

The zucchini is ripening at frightening speed. We had stuffed zucchini last night (and probably will all week). We have a boatload of cucumbers that needs something done to them, lots of green tomatoes (not mini), and a ton of melon flowers, but no melons. The corn is catching up, and I think we'll have to harvest the potatoes early, They just already died off.....just not a good potato year here.
Hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor!