hump day nuggets: pizza, elmo and pumpkins

:: We made really great pizza inspired by Smitten Kitchen (really, what isn't inspiring about her kitchen zsa zsa zsu?) but, as with most recipes I 'follow' it evolved and then was not much like it at all. But delicious.

Ingredients from the garden: eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, gobs of garlic. And, then a whole can of black olives and relatively small amount of provolone cheese. All on a garlicky olive oil blanketed crust (we don't make ours anymore now that this better-than-we-could-ever-make-it dough is available for a few bucks). As a general rule, I quadruple garlic in recipes. It is always better that way.

um so my man tosses a mean pizza crust. This comes from years of experience at Bogart's (he even has a pizza named after him there but he doesn't even like that pizza. It was a nice thought.) Depalma's, Jackson Hole, Domino's and a wife that loves pizza.

:: Margot loves elmo. We had never watched sesame street or anything elmo so I couldn't figure it out but I swore she was asking for elmo desperately and over and over so I youtubed a video (that we now watch nearly daily) and YES, she was indeed asking for elmo. You know we rarely buy toys because we get handmedowns from pals and bug just enjoys books and outside and drawing and utensils and but seeing her total unwavering affection for this red creature, I yearned to get her a stuffed toy but it turns out elmo isn't all that affordable or, rather, I jsut cannot bare to spend over $20 on an elmo, and so I settled on making her an elmo. Ohmythisisalongstory. But then THEN I was at goodwill and I thought, let's just look and there was an elmo with his eyeballs all scratched off and I thought Margot was going to buck straight out of her pants. And, well, now that I know, I would have happily spent $50 on this guy. But he was a mere 50 cents. She kisses him, talks to him on the phone, puts him down for naps, sleeps with him. She's just never been into loving a thing like this. Yes, she still wears her coat as you will notice in the video below.

yes, that's a hulk fist in the background. another nugget for another time.

:: My handy veggie carrying pouch. Like a not-so-little kangaroo.

:: Margot's vocabulary amazes me. And I love her garden knowledge. We walk around and she's all strawberry, flower, shovel, dirt, chicken, rock, bug, bucket, weed, carrot, etc. And her pumpkins that we visit every day. I transformed a section of my boulevard into some garden space because it really is the best spot on our property for an edible plot. I started small because it is illegal and I wanted to see if anyone would care. So far so good and Margot's Pumpkins as well as zucchini, chard, cabbage and onions line the path to our front door. Anyway, her pumpkins. MY punkin, she says with pride.

Awe, and then, one year ago:


sleeplessness=potholder and peach butter

I had an exhausting week last week and haven't really been able to catch up because sleep escapes me. I don't even promise an articulate post because this lady is tired.

I woke Saturday morning at 4a and after tossing for a bit decided to just rise. It was actually lovely and quiet and coffee and studio all to myself. I made a potholder. It took me like two hours because I was all this log cabin stuff is supposed to be real easy and I can use up some scraps but then I felt overly (unnecessarily) confident and didn't google it and I started from the outside which any non-sleep depraved person would realize is super stupid but anyway, it was a good two hour 4-6a exercise. And it turned out pretty cute even with the wonkiness.

And then I made peach butter. The favorite canned item in my home that Andy hoards and I have to sneaky give gifts of. It has a lot to do with the peaches from Forbidden Fruit Orchard in Paradise, MT. How sweet is that name and town combo? yes. They grow beautiful, unsprayed peaches and sell them by the box full at the market. *And* they sell seconds for about a dollar a pound....if one is willing to deal with some dents and bugs and split pits, it's a peachy opportunity.

I get so excited when the peaches start to roll out that I am kind of a lunatic about it. The seconds go fast and I am not about to let little grandma with her cute satchel cut me in line. I get my aggressive, crazed pregnant lady-with-toddler on and I get my peaches.

I just love canning. It's in my blood. I feel a real connection to my mom, my grandma and women in the kitchen all over the world both present and past. It's just such a good and true and satisfying thing to do. And it's all passed down through stories and days spent in the kitchen over a hot stove.

canning with bug: 2007, 2008, 2009

So I looked at my post from last year to guide my recipe this year (last year was the best ever fruit to sug ratio) and my recorded yield was way off. I know some of you made the butter and I apologize but at least it was off in a good way....what a lovely surprise this year! 20 pounds of peaches actually yield about 30-36 half pints of butter (not 18ish. depending on how long you cook down). I amended the post to reflect the truth.

What is butter and did you just make it up and why don't you just say jelly or jam like a normal person?, you ask? Well, butter doesn't have added pectin and very minimal added sugar. Butter involves a long, slow thickening of the pureed fruit resulting in a sweetly concentrated spread with distinctly fruity, not sugary, flavor. For example, the Ball book calls for 7 1/2 cups of sugar and one pouch of pectin for 8 pints of jam. I use 2 cups of sugar and no pectin for 18 pints.

I even got to use the early morning potholder on the late morning butter making!

The result is pure bliss. We add to oatmeal, ice cream, strong cheeses. It's great on sandwiches, meats and herby spreads. And then just on crusty bread with butter and coffee. Make some and sing it.


hump day nuggets: papa's away

Andy is working up the Blackfoot for a few weeks (two four day chunks really) and boy oh boy, how do single parents do it? I am tired, devouring strawberry sorbet. I mean, sure, I adore my alone time with my girl and animals but whooee I am thankful there is another adult to regularly share in the mammal care in our home. We just read books about fish in the ocean and love with elmo in her big girl bed and sitting to document some nuggets. I am pretty sure I hear her partying in there. She's not quite sure about the bed for anything other than jumping and reading upon. But that's why it's in there. We want her to have plenty of time to get used to and excited for the transition out of her crib. Yep, loud crash of a book to the floor...off to check...I'm back and all is well. Maybe tonight's the night of her first slumber? No,wait, I hear her little footed jammie feet coming. She is now standing right next to me holding Alice's leash...Back again and she is happy to be in her crib for one more night. I think I will eat this entire pint of sorbet. The growing kid in my midsection does flips when I eat sorbet. She's the length of an english hothouse cucumber, so says a website.


Bug reads books to Alice every single night.

3 1/2 pounds of garlic. It's firm and hot, the color of a flesh-covered vein. I eat whole cloves with sharp cheddar cheese. I am super happy with the variety I grew, bought from Hood River Garlic.

Annual sale at Selvedge Studio. Of course I showed up with a project in mind and no pattern: a quilt for Margot's new bed. I spent a few hours hashing a plan and picking out fabrics. It was the perfect Saturday afternoon activity since October bullied August out of her month. It has been cold and rainy, no fires like when I was pregnant with Margot. We didn't even go to the fair. Oh, AND I scored two yards of this green and white beauty for $2. I'm thinking tablecloth.

We drove up the Blackfoot to stay with Andy on Monday night. Margot adores exploring outside but I didn't let her go far from me because there have been tons of mountain lions spotted right out the door of our cabin. I told Andy I couldn't stop ridiculously worrying about a lion chewing on Margot and he said, babe, that wouldn't happen. Lions quickly grab prey and run away, up a tree and then feast. Thanks honey. You know how to alleviate a mama's anxieties. Little peanut loves to collect rocks exclaiming, rock! I got it! when she 'finds' one.

A wonderful visit from zamma and grandpa.

Tomatoes picked and eaten immediately. Holy hell I swear there isn't anything more desirable to a taste bud.

I am currently preoccupied with picking a name for our kid and getting Margot's itty room ready for another human. We inherited a bed from Andy's grandma and bought a mattress last week. It just needs that quilt...I love thinking about Margot in that bed and little cuc in the crib a whisper away.

Montana potty training.


hump day: more than nuggets (steamboat)

See I am already breaking my hump day rule but there is just too much to say about our trip to Steamboat Springs. And it's my blog so I can do whatever I want.

We arrived Thursday into the tiny Hayden airport picked up by the bride herself. Wait, I should mention that the 6am flight out of Missoula was nearly missed. And I have this reputation for missing flights....like, I have missed a couple or maybe a couple more than that. I just feel overly optimistic about time, as my friend Pam would say. But Thursday sucked because while we travel light and don't schlep piles baby stuff across the country on a plane, there is still the actual baby and her necessary items which amounts to a lot more than just Andy and me and a a few backpacks that enable us to run like crazy people through the airport to our gate. Plus, I am pregnant.

my view on the floor of the Denver airport after I puked on the bathroom wall on the previous flight. Don't know what that was all about but it appears I have some nausea in the second trimester.

SO, Andy wakes me with a babe, hurry we have to go. Turns out his 4:30am leisure time had slipped by. We madly dashed around, forgot his fly rod, grabbed the kid and drove very very fast to out little international airport (we fly to Canada ya know). And then this ticket agent lady didn't even have the teeniest sense of urgency. She was talking about her pal's birthday party with the other ticket agent and she just kept speaking painfully slow and saying boy, you are gonna have to hustle. Hmmm. SISTER, help me I pleaded with my eyes and kind words. But just continued her casual pace and then we had to run which wasn't pretty.

Andy studied at the Denver airport while I lay on the multi-colored carpet that is multi-colored to disguise the bodily fluids and greasy food stains.

But the security which is like never full was full and this dumb kid forgot to sign his passport and didn't know how to sign his name so we waited while the TSA agent laughed and told stories about her passport and then others in line joined in on the fun conversation. This casual, friendly approach is why I love Montana but at that moment, the years I spent in Atlanta were creeping into my blood. We stripped down (even Margot has to take her shoes off) and as we are waiting for our stuff and listening to Joe talk about his mother-in-law's potato salad recipe (ok that didn't really happen but I swear everyone was moving as if they were suspended in peanut butter) we heard A Cline and N Holt please proceed directly to your gate as your plane is preparing for departure. So we had to run again. And I have mentioned before that since I was pregnant with Margot, I pee when I run. We made it.

Margot's first ice cream cone. Um, she liked it. That is just vanilla but in crazy colors.

So Meg picked us up and we ran weddingy errands and waited for our condo-sharing pals to arrive. Bachelorette party that night involved 35 women in a rented-out salon for pedicures and manicures. I haven't had a pedicure since my wedding four years ago and I have now had two in one week because my ma treated me to one in Minneapolis. So at least the guy (yes, a dude!) had a bit less callus to remove although they always have to break out the gloves when working on my feet. So I snapped this picture to illustrate said gloves and then he looked at me like what the fuh? and I was all whatever but then I realized all of his fingers on one hand were amputated (I swear I never noticed until that point). That's why the glove is so floppy. I felt like an asshole.

Floppy glove because he has no fingers even though that is not why I took the photo. But I don't think he knows that.

We helped get stuff ready a bit but, really, Meg and Pete could open up an all-inclusive resort and I'd go. Holy hell what hosts. So thoughtful. Pete is chef/owner of two restaurants and the rehearsal cocktail party was at one, the wedding at another. Everything was culinary perfection. Dang, I was bummed I couldn't drink wine cause they had some amazing amazing bottles there. I cherished my few little sips from Andy's glass.

this is as close as Margot got to wearing her flower girl wreath

My mom made the flower girl dresses and they were just perfect. Thanks ma.

Oh and the wedding. Meg was stunning and it was just beautiful. Even after practicing perfectly the day before, Margot ran in the opposite direction and didn't make it down the aisle. So, she watched Betty and Esther from her papa's shoulders. Bummer, but funny.

And I made it through the ceremony as the officiant. It was a very cool experience and I was so honored to do it. One thing though.....I said fuck. I KNOW. I was at the end and saying By the power of your love and commitment and the marriage laws of the state of Colorado, you are now husband and wife and then I was just sobbing and I couldn't tell them to kiss because they had just exchanged rings and I was so happy and emotional and I was thinking oh no you are losing it. Get it together. Fuck. Except I said the fuck part out loud. It was a whisper and not in the mic so only the first few rows of Meg and Pete's family and those with keen hearing heard it. Oh I was mortified but the bride and groom think it was fine (or so they say and even kinda funny? I am sure some day it will be funny) and several even said it added to the scene because it showed how present and into it I was. A few hours later, I was over it and it helped that many came up to me to tell me that it was the most beautiful ceremony they had ever heard or that they had never cried at a wedding and they weeped etc. So, I guess it was a success. And unique...

This was before I whispered an expletive. You cannot see my giant belly but know I am resting my hand on it. Little bean is growing.

The rest of the night was dreamy with a seated, four-course meal (after epic apps) paired with wine. We ate for two hours. And we got to hang with our good friends from the San Juan Islands and my cousin and aunt and lots of great people.

Margot and my cousin's daughter, Charlotte (who I think of more as my niece) had a blast together. Bug has been asking for Charlotte since Monday morning. It melts me. Elise and I have been so close our whole lives and now our kids....

I am happy to report we arrived at the airport with plenty of time and even got bumped to first class because they do that on full flights for the jackasses who spent the most ridiculous amount on their tickets. The extra leg room (playpen) was great but we didn't get anything special except a blanket and free booze. Again I enjoyed soda water...We landed in a not-so-smokey Missoula (!!!), kissed on our animals and crashed hard in our very own beds.

At the Hayden airport I had time to admire my toes and new shoes. We did not almost miss that flight.

I think it is a mark of a great vacation when it was super fun and then you are super happy to be home. And we are HOME for a while. A quick trip to meet our niece in Portland soon but otherwise, home for the next four months. And then. Then another squirmy, squeaky bug inside the walls of our home. I'll start working on my potty mouth asap.


hump day nuggets: minneapolis and mamalode

Family outing to a Twins game. Popcorn, overpriced beer, the wave. It was grand. Margot loved all the clapping and quickly became an enthusiastic fan.

Lots of shared summer meals.

Voted the best burger in the universe or something like that. The 'juicy lucy' at the 58 (pronounced five eight) Club which incidentally involves driving in circles for 20 minutes to find. A funny little place with planes flying about 15 feet overhead and very friendly service. We had dinner plans so our family ordered one juicy lucy burger to split for an app. Totally worth the headache to get there. Margot slept through the whole thing.

Croquet in my parents' backyard.

A new piece is up on mamalode:
Today Margot woke at 5:16 all groggy morning whine from her crib. Andy and I lay there, both pretending not to hear, begging silently for her to fall back to sleep, hoping the other would fetch the chicken. Andy eventually rolled with the heaviest thud off the bed and stumbled across the hall, returning moments later with a footed-jammie, waaaaay too-alert Margot. I immediately regretted my late bedtime…I clenched my butt cheeks with desire for 15 more minutes of sleep
...click here to read more.


here and then away

Spent the last week in Minneapolis with the family....first time my brother, parents Margot and me were all together since bug was two months old. Just Margot and me traveling and she was a real peach on the plane just charming the socks off of anyone who even looked her way. Although a squirmy toddler playing ring around the rosie on pregnant belly was not the most comfortable game I have enjoyed with my chicken. Especially since the we all fall down is her favorite part and she just pours her every muscle into that fall...whatever works for those two hours is fine by me. The ticket was outrageously expensive but that, friends, is exactly what credit cards are for. My little brother is off to grad school in Alabama and so who knows when our next reunion as a whole will be. It was good.

pre-dinner family walk in Minnesota (aunt, uncle and cousins live there too)

And I am off again in two short days for our dear friends' wedding in Steamboat Springs. Lots of big and important weddings this year. I am officiating and just hope I can make it though without losing my breath (feels like this small kid is vice griping my lungs) and don't have much hope for not weeping through the whole darn thing. SO, wish me luck. And, bug is one of three flower girls. The three names are Esther, Betty and Margot. Sounds more like these ladies are off to sip stiff cocktails while playing bridge rather than toddle down an aisle in pink eyelet dresses (that my mom made).

So not much blogging going on because August is the last of the summer and I am out. Although, when I get back I do have plans to write about tomatoes that rival orgasm, hot hot garlic the color of a ripe bruise, recipes for all that zucchini and other vital stuff.

What a zucchini looks like at my house when I leave town. Andy doesn't like zucchini and therefore 'doesn't even notice' the vegetable that takes up half of our boulevard.
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