Archive for the ‘garden’ category

Visiting Victoria

September 20th, 2010

Over Labor Day weekend the weather forecast in the Cascades was for rain, as is the usual these days it seems.  Wanting to escape as much of the wet as possible, and still feel like we had a vacation, we turned our sites north.  To Canada that is.  We took the ferry up on Saturday morning under beautiful blue skies and landed in Sidney, just outside of Victoria around lunchtime.

 

We went directly to Goldstream Provincial Parkto make sure that we got a campsite for the night.  We decided to camp the first night, as the weather was supposed to be nice.  The campground was very pleasant, with wide sites and a beautiful forest, and our tent was right at home.

The afternoon was spent eating lunch, and wandering around the harbor side in downtown Victoria, looking at all the Britishish architecture.  We ducked inside the ivy-covered Empress Hotel, decided that the tea was way too outrageously expensive, and decided to visit the gift shop, and return for the free tour on Monday instead.

 

That evening, we headed over to Butchart Gardents, though we were unclear as to how the flowers would look at this sometimes awkward time between summer and fall.  I’m glad we went though, as the dahlias were in full bloom and stunning.  There was also a beautiful rose garden, Japanese garden, and manicured “sunken” garden.  It rained on us a bit, but the well trained workers at the Garden were quick to hand out adorable clear umbrellas to everyone.  Butchart Gardens is a very well oiled machine, with helpers always at the ready to hand out an umbrella, direct you to the nearest hot chocolate stand, or give away “blanket weights” for holding down your picnic blanket for the fireworks later in the evening.  The fireworks show was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and it left me wide eyed as a little girl, as fireworks often do. 

    

 

 

The following day we hiked up Mount  Finlayson, which was in the provincial park we camped in. The trail was noted as being “steep, rugged, and hard to follow”.  Since many trails in Washington are labeled as such, we didn’t figure it was much of a problem, so we weren’t really prepared when our “hike” tuned more into a Class III scramble!  After much huffing and puffing, we pulled ourselves up to the top and took in the view. 

Later in the afternoon, we checked into our hotel for the evening, The Oswego.   The room was nice, though it had a weird, pull-down, Murphy style bed.  After a short bike ride, we decided to check out a fish and chips place we had seen on our walk around the city the day before.  The shop is called Red Fish Blue Fish and is run out of what looks like a shipping crate and positioned right on the docks in the harbor.  We had thought it must be good to have such a large line the day before, and we were definitely proven right.  Everything we at was spectacularly tasty, especially the coconut curry fish chowder.  NOM. 

 

Our final day was filled with rain and tours.  We stared off touring The Empress, with an adorable tour guide named Margaret who was dressed in Victorian garb and an English accent.  So CUTE!   After visiting The Empress, we headed over to the Parliament buildings for their tour.  The architecture and art were quite impressive.

 

 

Later in the afternoon, it was back to the ferry we went, and back to Seattle.  It was wonderful to get away and finally visit Victoria. 

(Sorry for the long post, we did lots of stuff and I take lots of pictures.  Plus, brevity is overrated.)

What’s Cookin? Pasta Salad!

August 17th, 2010

So it’s been like a gazillion degrees around here for the past few days.  Now, I know that I’m from the south, and all of you VA readers are probably laughing at my weak sauce, west coast, can’t handle the heat, wimpiness, but y’all have AC so you can shut it.  For the past few days, it’s been around 90 degrees.  IN OUR HOUSE.  Right.  So I decided I would no longer cook.  Too hot, too much stuff, and again, too hot.  But…then I got hungry.  And so did Tom.  So it seemed that I needed to provide food for us after all, since we’re trying  to be healthier, and really, eating cheese balls out of the can does NOT count as a meal.  Or so I’m told.

So I made pasta salad.  The only cooking involved was the 8minutes it took to boil the pasta.  Sweet.  I adaped this recipe from the Tasty Kitchen by adding a carrot form our garden and an extra green pepper, and also left out the tomatoes…cause I dont’ like them.  It resulted in a wonderful, cool meal we could eat on our porch.  Win.  Plus, look how pretty!

Recipe (please disregard the fact that there is a zucchini in the ingredients photo, I didn’t end up using it):

1 box Acini di Pepe pasta, cooked and cooled

1 green pepper, chopped

1 orange pepper, chopped

1/2 red onion, diced

1 carrot, chopped

about a 1/4 cup of mixed olive oil and balsamic vinegar – (to this I also added about 1/2 tsp of oregano, garlic powder and a pinch of black pepper)

Mix it all together and allow to cool in the fridge for about an hour. 

Add grated parmesan to the top if you like that kind of thing.  I know I do.

Garden. It’s where the veggies come from.

July 30th, 2010

One of my favorite things about my husband is that he likes to garden.  Strike that, he LOVES to garden.  I think he might actually be having an affair with the garden, actually.  Hmmm. 

Now, this isn’t your average flower garden folks.  No, this a functional, manly, vegetable garden!  (Though sometimes he’ll sneak in a sunflower or two for me cause he loves me.)  It is from our garden, that we get most of our summer, and now a fair number of our winter vegetables.  Now, I take no credit whatsoever for the creation, planting or maintenance of our garden, but I do cook yummy, tasty meals from it’s products.  And photograph it.  And that counts for something right?  Right?

So here’s an update on are awesome, totally sweet garden.  Since our days are long and warm this summer, our tomatoes are out of control, our scarlet runner beans have taken over the hop vines and are making a run for the roof.  The kale and lettuces are nearing the end of their early summer peak, and we just harvested about 30 cloves of garlic which are now “curing” in the garage for fall and winter consumption.  We’ve also got carrots, onions, okra, basil, potatoes, more varieties of beans and heirloom tomatoes.  All we’re lacking is a chicken or two. 

 

 

It’s pretty cool to be able to produce most of our summer veggies right here next to our house.  We have a very small lot, and Tom has created this garden literally out of nothing using raised beds, compost and lots of time and energy.  Hurray for the garden!

Extra bonus points if you can identify all the plants shown in this post!

What’s Cookin’? Spring and Early Summer

June 29th, 2010

We’ve been doing a lot of cooking around here recently.  I’ve been relying on old standards such as The Pioneer Woman, Joy the BakerSmitten Kitchen,  Williams Sonoma, and, of course, Martha.  Tom’s been doing some cooking too!  Well, he mostly just cooks one thing.  Pizza. But man, does he cook pizza!  Seriously folks, I’m spoiled for life because of this man.  Here’s a peek at some of the delicious things that have been coming out of our kitchen…

 

In order from left to right, Chocolate Dipped Macaroons, (which I whipped too much and they turned out like meringues, which was NOT a bad thing), Blueberry Crumb Bars, and Two Chocolate Endpaper Tart, (ah, Martha). 

 

 

Fresh Veggie Soft Tacos, (with greens from our garden), pizza makings, (we LOVE prosciutto), Caramelized Onion Red Pepper Prosciutto Pizza, and Caramelized Onion Prosciutto Pizza.  Oh my, if you like pizza, you need  to make that last one.  Did I mention that we like pizza?   And cured meat products apparently, (sorry vegan friends). 

Since it is now summer time, and our garden and farmer’s markets are in full swing, expect more food posts to involve local food!  Yay!

Early Birthday Presents…

September 28th, 2009

So as we were camping this weekend, Tom kept teasing me by saying that he had an early birthday present waiting for me when we got home. Since my birthday isn’t for another two weeks, I was confused as to why it couldn’t just wait. After convincing me that it was not a puppy or anything else “alive”, he told me I’d just have to wait and see. After we arrived home, I was presented with a wrapped package to open. Inside, I found three plastic bags that were labeled from Territorial Seed Company. They were peony tubers!! They grow really well in the Pacific Northwest, and are beautiful in late spring, and I’ve admired them in other’s gardens for years. So…next spring I will have my very own fragile, delicate, fragrant blossoms to add color to our side garden. As much as I love our vegetables and our vegetable garden, it will be nice to have something that’s only job is to be pretty.

http://www.hort.wisc.edu/mastergardener/Features/flowers/peony/peonies-ns.htm