Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zucchini Lasagna!

I ambled through the garden this morning after I was caught up on my work. I'm constantly amazed with what I find there. For no reason at all, one squash plant will have nothing to harvest, no blooms and a fairly shriveled appearance. Three feet away, another plant will be producing happily. Oh well! This morning I discovered a honeydew melon that is about 7 inches along, and some baby watermelons and some cantelopes that made me smile. My two pumpkins are almost ready! I will make pumpkin bread, and a pie for Michael!

Maybe, just maybe, all that composted horse poopy and sawdust did the trick. Maybe with some additional amending after the garden is done this year, next year can be even better!

Maybe I can actually remember what I am planting, or mark it effectively!)

Maybe my gardener will no longer answer my "what's wrong with my garden, Zenon?" questions with a shrug and a nonchalant "Your soil, eet is sheet!" Mind you, he was not speaking of the horse poopy when he described my soil as "sheet" last summer, while we watched my first garden shrivel up and die.

Anyway, this is what I found this morning. I went up to get a few squash.

I came back with a bunch of them, some green beans, cukes, peppers, cherry tomatoes, etc. And a few roses for my desk!

Mom and Dad sent me this recipe just in the nick of time:

Zucchini Lasagne

1/2 pound ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 15 oz tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. each: salt, oregano
1/4 tsp. basil
1/8 tsp pepper
4 medium zucchini
1 egg
2 tbsp flour
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup cottage cheese.

Right off the bat, I wreaked havoc with the recipe by subbing firm tofu chunks for the beef.... that way Karen would enjoy this also. Michael wouldn't touch a zucchini if his life depended on it, so heading in a vegetarian direction with the recipe would mean it would be utilized more effectively. I browned the tofu and onion and then to that, I added the tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and pepper.

Per the recipe, I sliced the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices.

In a small bowl, I combined cottage cheese and egg. Onto the layer of zucchini in the pan, I sprinkled 1 tbsp flour, and topped with the cottage cheese mix, and half the tomato sauce/meat (tofu). I put a cup of the mozzarella on that.


Then, I repeated the zucchini and flour layer, and then another cup of mozarella and tomato/meat (tofu). (that Folgers cannister is my pre-composter! I freeze garden scraps to hasten the composting process and add them to my composter outside once a week!)

Yum. Tonight I will bake it at 375 (covered tightly with foil) for 45 min.... and then let stand for 10 minutes to aid with ease in cutting.

Whoo hoo! Another keeper zucchini recipe!! Thanks for emailing that, Dad!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009


What a lousy week. Michael's computer got the black screen of death on Sunday. We replaced it. "Hello Vista, how quickly can you make me scream?"

My computer started heading down hill Monday. Ripped off all my info (mostly) right before it became more sluggish than the snails on the sidewalk. Replaced it. "Hello Vista, how quickly can you make me scream and rip out my few remaining hairs?"

Also bundled my new computer with a monitor for Michael - why not? May as well REALLY go for broke!

(Michael's DVD bit the dust. He replaced it last weekend also.)

Multiple softwares that I use for my business then ceased to be compatible with the new Vista.

Innumerable two hour chats were held with Not pleasant. Also - as sluggish as the aforementioned snails.

Background additional stressors during all this?

My internet service which has been crappy for months, took a dive. The router had been replaced two weeks ago (by Time Warner themselves). Now I couldn't stay online for more than five minutes. Neither could anyone in the house. Over this week, I worked my way from "normal customer who hasn't got a clue" to

"hey, here's a number to my desk, you are now receiving Tier Three customer service - because WE haven't got a clue here at Time Warner, either, but we will try to get to the bottom of it!"

More hours on the phone.

I finally, on Thursday, got working, STEADY internet service. I was beginning to hear strains of the Hallelujua Chorus in the distance.

Until I tried to use my printer or the scan option on it. Also not compatible. Despite more hours on the phone.

HP finally told me that they had no intention of writing drivers for my old printer to use with Vista.

Bought new printer (HP All-In-One) at Staples. (Yes, I stepped out on Best Buy. I have never bought office equipment (the big stuff) at Staples, but the Blue Shirts at Best Buy had been limited in helpfulness and wardrobe capabilities.)

Not compatible. (Box said compatible with Vista!)

HP told me they were not going to write drivers to make the NEW printer compatible with "64-bit Vista edition" either. Had I not had "64 bit", whatever the heck that is, it would have worked. "Tough luck, dear customer."

Returned printer to Staples. I already knew they had a better selection by LEAPS AND BOUNDS. This time, I didn't trust the box; I consulted their resident geek.

I found out they had fantastic knowledgable employees who could keep their pants up..... Sorry, the whole "wear my pants so low that I have frequent wardrobe failures" really bothers me. Even on a guy with a cute butt. Yes, I am an old fart.

I bought a Brother All-In-One. It works beautifully.... I was hearing Hallelujua Chorus again in the distance.

I networked Karen to me, so she doesn't have to buy a printer, as she is returning to school in a few weeks and will need to print a lot at home. Chorus is getting louder.

I sat down, for the first time in almost five days, and began to type on Friday night. I was working!

Minus my medical word expander which apparently is no longer available at all, and certainly is not available for Vista, and I just can't cough up another $177.00 for another brand of medical expander this week. My blood pressure has returned to normal, despite the inconvenience of not having the old software - I'm doing Just. Fine. with my fairly expansive personal "auto correct" which I successfully imported from my laptop using a macro I found on the internet.

The lovely background chorus was interrupted by a piercing scream from upstairs.

Karen's cell phone bit the dust. White screen of death.

I am really sorry for this, but I was SO glad it was not something of mine that died. Off to Best Buy we went.... Ran into at least two Blue Shirts who said "You're back again?"

Karen has a new phone. It's a Palm Pre (I think). She is happy. At least until her Best Buy card bill arrives. (She did get a stellar deal for 1/3 normal price based on how long she has been a Sprint customer.)

We're holding our collective breath over here. In fact, we're regularly banging our heads against the wooden doors around the house (our version of knocking on wood).

All in all, a fun-filled $2000.00 week. At least. I'm not counting Karen's phone, cos that's hers to pay for.

But hey, here's a few smiles we had this week:

TuffBoy Jerry hanging out with Karen.

Can we say "underbite"?

Look what happened in my garden while I ignored it for five days and was tearing out my hair and cursing! Yum!

Today Patrick is coming over to finalize one thing which will connect my dictation system to my new computer and permit me to again load voice files to my web site for my "peoples" to transcribe. I have my rosary out.

Happy Weekend!! (Even though I am missing the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach....hey, I'M WORKING again!! Yay! and there will be another one next year! Countdown has begun!) :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Midweek crazies

Thought I'd stick my head up, in between making whole wheat bread for Karen, parmesan herb rolls for Michael, laundry soap for Chez Bury, three loads of clothes/cleaning rags, a letter to Laurie, oh, and hummingbird food..... And make a blog post before getting back to typing!

The third flower pot is done! I kinda like this one.... does anyone know what this plant is? (I know, poor picture quality!)

Anyway, now I'm noodling ideas for #4. I'm not sure about making a bunny pot. I'm giving some thought to other animals/bugs.... snails, turtles, and ladybugs are all being considered, along with the Pesky Wabbits that are currently Fallen from Grace (they keep eating my green beans). :(

I found a Michael on the back patio where it is much cooler in the afternoon, flaked out on the picnic bench.

Tiger checked on him regularly, and Max observed from the patio doorway.

We got a letter from the Homeowner's Association two days ago. I know Michael was pissed off about it, but secretly, shhhhhh! I'm kind of glad. They have decided our front yard is a disgrace, what with the dead turf (not to mention the overgrown tree that threatens to fall over, the dead bushes, and the dead flowers).

The impact of this is that instead of completing the kitchen this fall (we were going to get new appliances and counter tops), we will instead put in a new front yard. This was planned anyway..... just not yet. I know us well enough to know that we might not have gotten to it for several years, and it really does need to be done.

Here's a few before pix....

Tisk, tisk, tisk!

I know. It is sad.

Here's a picture of what we are thinking about.

Just a guideline, but we like the idea of terraces to take care of that silly slope, and we like the way our neighbor Denise (two blocks away, so we won't really look too copycat-ish) has small ever-green things placed with spots left to put in/take out colorful flowers several times a year. She seems to be out in her yard working on it all the time and it is gorgeous.

I'm hoping that she's out there that much because she enjoys it, not because it really takes that much time. It seems like just keeping the greenery trimmed and weeded, would be the weekly chore. And once every two or three months, I would switch out the flowering plants with a new batch from Home Depot.

Oh well! Here's to Fall Project LAWN 2009!

Oh! I finished March on the HIWTHI BOM..... here's first three months together. I was looking at them together to try to get inspired to tackle April!

Here's my April....

This one has a LOT of small pieces to blanket stitch around!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Slowly but surely.....

I'm working on catching up on my quilting projects, now that the garden is holding steady, and all I have to do to it is pick vegetables, water, and occasionally pull a few weeds.

I have not touched my Tiskit Tasket project in several months. But I will!

Right now, I'm trying to work on Home Is Where The Heart Is....

Here's this month's fused block (as yet, not blanket-stitched and also without the finishing hand stitching of faces and details), and the coordinating sailboat band that is part of the block.

As you can see, I have March, April, May and June stacked up in varying degrees of incomplete.... but Progress is being made!!


Garden Report

The garden, She grows.

I think this is a watermelon.

I think this is a pumpkin.

Yes, I know there are ways to label your seedlings, or rows. Improvements in my methods are being contemplated for Next Y

Green peppers!

This, I know is a zucchini!

And, I finally have a few Mexican squash. To go with my 4,592 yellow squash.

So, the garden has been a good learning experience. I need to plant more string beans next year, work on amending the soil even more, and water a lot.

Bunnies are still Public Enemy #1 around here. They have pretty much descimated the green bean plants on the slope. I have plans involving chicken wire, and fencing around the garden next year. But not this year. The bunnies can win this year. I'm tired! And I'm behind on my quilting!

Next year, look out Thumper!!

And just for those who like Puppy Porn:

Its the old married couple! Kimi and Jerry (a.k.a. TuffBoy), in a rare moment of quiet rest!

Strawberry Lemonade

Michael found this recipe in the Parade Magazine (June 28, 2009). He could not wait to get the ingredients and for us to find the time to try it!

Strawberry Lemonade
About 3-1/2 cups of water
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 pint of hulled strawberries
Strips of zest from 2 lemons
1-1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (6-9 lemons)
Ice cubes for serving
10 strawberries for decoration

First, we put 1-1/2 cups of water and 1-1/2 cups sugar in a saucepan to bring to a simmer. While this was happening, we zested the two lemons, and cut the zest into strips.

These zest strips were added to the lemon/sugar liquid in the sauce pan. We simmered it for two minutes and then let the zest steep, like tea, for ten minutes.

In the meantime, we cut up the remainder of our bag of lemons, and shot them through our juicer.

As we continued on our sticky project, we put the hulled strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in the food processer and let 'er rip.

This just got messier and messier!!

We finally strained the strawberry puree and poured the strained liquid into a pitcher. We added the lemon zest syrup (minus the zest strips) and the 1-1/2 cups of lemon juice. To this we added 2 cups of water, and voila!

Michael had his sticky strawberry lemonade.

I have a lot of lemon peels to compost! Note to self: Try frozen lemonade from a can, and add some pureed strawberries? Could simplify things a bit!