the apple farm

Oh how we love the apple farm! And I've told you before, but there's just something so special about apple season.

Our apple farm has the cutest market, a small petting zoo, the best ice cream, and offers a genuine tractor ride out to the orchards.

Already, the trees are just loaded with fruit!
(this isn't our first trip of the season, and won't be our last.)

salsa from the garden

We grew tomatillos this summer.
I just love the little green papery lanterns.

After I harvested these guys, I made up a huge batch of salsa verde, bagged it up, and put it in the freezer.

It was a simple recipe:

I froze it raw, and will eventually simmer it with my chicken, to make some yummy enchiladas!

a recipe from the garden

Here is a recipe I wanted to share with you.
A way to use all those lovely green beans that are so plentiful right now.
My sister in law, Arti, is a fabulous cook.
She shared this recipe with us years ago.
It's a winner.

Haricots Verts with Herb Vinaigrette


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp white wine or seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sweet hot mustard
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp finely chopped basil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp finely chopped parsley

1/2 lb. French or regular green beans
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 or more of toasted, slivered almonds

In a medium bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the beans into boiling water for 3 minutes, then plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking.

Drain the beans and toss with the vinaigrette. Mix in the lemon zest and almonds.

p.s. you can find the cute leather cuff that Toni is wearing here.

eating, harvesting, and planting (in that order)

we are thoroughly enjoying our front yard garden.
we've just recently planted our second round of seedlings,
and are daily harvesting from our first round of planting.

i am quickly getting spoiled by the ease of grabbing veges, fresh, from the front yard.

this morning i made some super yummy muffins
from our abundance of yellow summer squash.

i just added about 1 cup of grated summer squash to my favorite blueberry muffin recipe,
including the yummy sugar crumb topping.

**i'm excited to say that i'll be the featured artist at bambu batu
in downtown san luis obispo
this friday from 6 to 9pm

as a part of slo's "art after dark" summer program .**

salads from the garden

one of the things we love about our new house is the large, sunny front yard.
the perfect spot for a vegetable garden!
mark is a natural born farmer, and we all profit from his green thumb.

we planted mid-spring, and have already begun harvesting:
basil, parsley, onions, radishes, swiss chard, lettuce, yellow squash, sweet peas, cucumbers, beans, oregano, and mint.

we've been having salads from the garden most everyday, and often as the main course.
i figure if i can come up with enough different ways to eat salad,
i'll never get tired of it.

the works:: greens, carrots, onions, any other veges you have, boiled eggs, avocado, sunflower seeds, bacon crumbs, and homemade croutons.

taco salad:: greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, grated cheese, taco seasoned ground beef, pinto beans, chips, salsa.

tuna salad:: greens, onions, kalamata olives, tomatoes, canned tuna, lemon, olive oil.

chinese chicken:: greens, onions, carrots, cucumbers, peanuts, shredded chicken, raw ramen noodles, peanut dressing.

sushi night

my family's favorite dinner is sushi night. years and years ago, mark and i would go our for sushi once a week. we had an awesome local sushi bar on the east side of santa cruz called pink godzilla. it's still there, but we started a family and moved south.

so now we make it at home. about once a month. it's actually simpler than it looks. i keep the ingredients limited, to keep it even simpler. the girls get all you can eat avocado rolls, and i rotate between a few different rolls for mark and i.

some of my favorites are tempura shrimp rolls (i buy the shrimp all ready to go from trader joe's), smoked salmon rolls, and good old sashimi local fish when we're feeling rich.

i keep a big bag of sushi rice, some nori (that's the seaweed wrapper), and wasabi (you've gotta have wasabi!) in the pantry so that when the mood strikes, we're eating sushi for dinner!!

breakfast scones and teapots

we have lots of tea parties at my house. and i don't just mean my girls and i .
i mean anybody who comes to my house is served tea.

and it wasn't until this week that i realized i needed a teapot.
not a tea kettle, i've got me a cute one of those.
i mean a steep your tea, keep it warm, serve it at the table teapot.

as of yesterday, i am shopping for a teapot.
perhaps something like this, or this, or this.

when i find my teapot i will make these scones again,
they were perfect for a quick breakfast.
thanks to my sweet friend adrienne for sharing the recipe.