the last two weeks…

These last two weeks have been busy – and that’s a good thing – summertime in Maine is the busy season…

S-u-m-m-e-r-t-i-m-e….and the livin’s e-a-s-y…fish are j-u-m-p-i-n’…and the c-o-t-t-o-n is high…(click on the link and listen while viewing)…

Time for being outdoors…and taking things a little more s-l-o-w-l-y…

Gardening, playing, swimming, enjoying windows being open, going to the beach, being barefoot, balmy breezes, fresh strawberries, kale, peas, corn…boating without jackets (warmth jackets – not life jackets), blue skies, picnics, fans blowing humid air, fresh cut grass, seaweed in the air…lobsters, fresh Maine crab meat, time on the dock, feeling hot, being sun-kissed, sleeping with just a light cotton sheet…enjoying long light filled days with starry warm nights…

summertime…

fresh food. warm nights. open windows.

bliss…

pea tendrils

peas

Peas in the garden

marigolds

kale

garlic scapes curling

garlic scape facing downward

more scape curls

loosely tiedfamily maiden voyage - July 2015in the harbor

lovely boat in harbor

strawberry picking

strawberries

strawberries ready to eat

freezing strawberries

crab salad beginnings

seaweed

the beach

all done

Love it. Summer.

enjoy!

xo

mango lime pops

My oh my, how time flies by…

It’s tax season here in the good ‘old U.S. of A and I’ve been consumed with organizing and entering our business receipts, sales, costs of goods sold, and all that good stuff that accompanies tax preparation…hence, my absence here…

Now, if I’d had the time throughout the year (or chose to make the time) to enter all those facts and figures each month, well, I’d have been here sooner…but, I didn’t, so I had to dedicate many days (and a few nights) to that ‘tax stack’…thankfully though, that mission is complete, and now I can get on with more fun things, like popsicle making – homemade popsicles of course!

I can’t believe its taken me so long to make these luscious lovelies. Two mangos, a bit of sugar water, limes, kosher salt and voila, incredibly refreshing and tasty popsicles – seriously tasty! The most challenging part? Waiting for them to completely freeze…

Here’s how it happened;

I had come across a fabulous book a few years ago titled, ‘jam it, pickle it, cure it and other cooking projects’, by Karen Solomon. It has all the basic ‘stuff’ (think mustard, mayo, crackers, marshmallows…) and then some. Simple ingredients, easy to follow directions and beautiful photos, plus recipes for popsicles and homemade candy –  what’s not to love? I’ve tried a few of the recipes thus far, and look forward to trying many, many more, though popsicles were still on the, ‘to do soon’, list…so, when the opportunity presented itself, we made them!

Mangos happened to be on sale, there was a foot of snow on the ground, skies had been grey for days, more snow was coming … we needed something summer like – pronto – it was time to make the popsicles.

Mango lime popsicles.

popsicles

Here’s what you’ll need and what to do;

Mango and Lime Pops (click to print recipe!)

Ingredients

limes and mango

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. water

2 small ripe mangos, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks

1/2 cup lime juice (about 4 limes)

IMG_3600

1/2 – 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

pinch of kosher salt

What to do;

Make a simp syrup by combining the sugar and water in  small saucepan and warming over medium heat just until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely.

Combine the syrup, mangoes, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and salt in a blender or food processor.

in blender

Blend well, pour into molds (stainless if you got ’em), and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

in popsicle molds

These can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Either store in the molds or release and wrap well in waxed paper and then store in a marked sealable plastic bag.

Best part, they aren’t so terribly full of sugar that you couldn’t enjoy them for breakfast. (:

popsicles

Enjoy.

s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g money ideas

I’m all about saving money, not spending money or simply utilizing what I have.

Though, of course, money is a necessity for a lot of useful things, like new eyeglasses, and even sometimes those not so ‘needed’ things…like chocolate or match box cars…but today I’d like to share five ways I saved money this week…in some cases, even made money;

1. Brought my coffee from home instead of buying take-out.

2. Packed my lunch (and Finns) at home, including beverages (water in re-usable glass jars), and snacks.

3. Purchased a down winter jacket (Adidas) from a local consignment shop (a steal at $15!).

4. Collected $25 from the children’s consignment shop I consign with (this is where I made money).

5. Borrowed books and movies from our local library.

The only money I spent was $15 for the down jacket. I have to post a photo of it – I love it!

Now I know most of you probably already do a lot of these things, so this is really a friendly reminder…

There has been much talk about preparing food at home, packing lunches, investing in travel coffee mugs, etc…but with the holiday season upon us and time always moving faster and faster, why not be reminded of these little ways to save money and hassle.

Why not shop at a consignment shop? Why not check out books from your local library? Why wouldn’t you consign your good unwanted items? Making lunch at home requires a bit of fore thought, but not that much…really.

Saving money means doing more of what you want to do…whatever that may be.

What little things do you do to save money?

Enjoy!

ooey, gooey, slime

Halloween is tomorrow, here in the states, and we’ve been busy!

Visiting ‘haunted’ places, thinking about costume design (below, Finn working on the beginnings of the creepy, hairy, scary, slimy, monster costume – red marks on his cheeks, ‘scars’….),

costume design

chattering teeth, witches and warlocks and of course ghosts and all things ‘creepy’…below, consignment find ($3) – Mr. Bones…I prefer the homemade costume myself…

consignment skeleton

On another note, while we were out and about one day Finn asked if we could get a few skeletons, skulls and rats – ‘creepy stuff mamma’, he asked…

My reply,

‘We have creepy stuff. Up in the attic’…(I had a few boxes of Halloween decorations that I had made and bought for a party we had years ago…)

So, at Finns urging, we turned our sunroom into the ‘creepy’ room! He is so into Halloween this year. Being almost four, he ‘gets’ it now. We’re already planning next years party…

halloween fun

Who knew spiders, skulls, glow in the dark skeletons and big black toy rats could be so much fun! I decided to cover the furniture with black fabric and now our room is fit for a vampire or two…

skull, spiders and cauldron of bones

crows

We also decided we should make some slime…green, gooey, slime, it seemed like the perfect ending to an afternoon of creepiness…plus, I was wanting to experiment with ideas for the ‘slime’ part of the creepy, hairy, scary, slimy monster costume…and what almost four year old doesn’t like to get his/her hands into a bit of green ‘slime’….

hands in slime

Have fun making it yourself!

Here’s what you’ll need and how to do it;

SLIME
1/2 cup of glue (non toxic)
1/2 cup of water
several drops of food coloring
1 cup water
1 teaspoon Borax

1. Mix the glue and water together

2. Add a couple of drops of food coloring

3. In a separate bowl mix 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon of Borax

4. Add the glue mix to the borax mix

5. Stir the mixture until it thickens …

Voila’ – SLIME!

Hope you have a creepy, scary, fun and safe halloween….

ooey gooey slime

Enjoy!

cosmo carrots + kids

Gardening is something I look forward to…despite this years crazy spring, super hot summer and now, mosquitos, things are growing and I continue to plant…and now am starting to reap the benefits…

I pulled the first few carrots of the season while Finn napped and as soon as he saw them (after he woke), he said, ‘Mamma, I want to pick carrots too!’

I didn’t want to subject him to the incessant mosquitos and thus, the required long sleeve shirt, long (thick) pants and gardening boots, so I picked while he slept…though when he told me he wanted to pick and wouldn’t mind ‘getting dressed’ (despite the 90+ degree day), out we went…

I was one proud mamma!

Look at these beauties.

veggies

Cosmo carrots (purple) and baby carrots, plus the first picking of basil and the never ceasing baby lettuce (under the carrots)…

Finn helped me plant all of these and I’m so happy he wants to help harvest too…I can only hope to instill a love for gardening or at minimum, an understanding of how food is grown and a respect for all that required to grow, organically…

pulling carrots

carrot freshly picked

double carrot finn + carrot

double carrot

fresh picked carrotshappy weekend!

blueberry muffins

Looking for something to do on a rainy day?

Why don’t you bake muffins? Blueberry muffins!

They are super easy, yummy and perfect for breakfast or as a snack. They can be frozen for another day or enjoyed immediately, still warm, and slathered with butter… or given as gifts…what friend wouldn’t just love a dozen of freshly baked muffins?

So why don’t you get out your muffin tins and get going!

Blueberry Muffins

baked muffins:browned

Print this recipe From the Joy of Cooking – All About Breakfast & Brunch

makes 12 muffins

Assemble Ingredients;

assemble your ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs (don’t fret if you don’t have ‘large’ eggs – use what you have)

1 cup milk (or cream – you decide the richness)

2/3 cup cane sugar or light brown sugar (try not using white sugar)

4 tablespoons warm, melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Here’s what you need to do;

Grease or line with paper/silicone muffin cups for 12-cup muffin, standard muffin pan…

get your tins ready

Whisk together in a large bowl;

flour (2 cups)

baking powder (1 tablespoon)

salt (1/2 teaspoon salt)

Whisk together in a seperate bowl;

eggs (2 eggs)

milk (1 cup milk)

sugar (2/3 cup light brown/cane, white if necessary)

butter (4 tablespoons warm, melted butter)

vanilla (1 teaspoon)

wet:dry - sort of

Add ‘wet’ mixture to the ‘dry’ mixture, until just blended, moistened. Don’t over mix – batter should not be smooth…add the blueberries (1.5 cups), gently…

blueberry thief

add blueberries to batter

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Careful not to overfill or underfill – nearly to the top, without going to the top…Sprinkle brown/cane sugar on top.

in tins - topped with sugar sprinkle

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in a few muffins, comes out clean…

muffins cooling

Let cool 15 minutes on cooling rack before removing.

close-up scrumptiousness

Serve warm, with butter or as is…

muffin thief

enjoy the weekend!

(and the muffins!)

PS. The cooling rack and the cook book were picked up, for free, from my local transfer station…I just love that place!
(:

ripe red raspberry crisp

Yeah for sunshine, warmth and raspberries!

While fresh (and local) raspberries are still a few months away, I just couldn’t wait…it was warm, the sun was shining and we needed a sweet treat. What to do? Pull out some frozen raspberries and get mixing!

Simple. Delicious. Easy and versatile.

No raspberries? No problem! Just substitute fresh or frozen blueberries, peaches or apples and dessert is served in just 30 minutes!

Ripe Red Raspberry Crisp

Print this recipe!

A few cupfuls of fresh or frozen raspberries – enough to cover the bottom (and then some) of a pie plate or 9″ X 13″ baking pan.

1. frozen raspberries

1 cup flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease the bottom of whichever dish you choose to use. Pour raspberries to cover bottom…and then some…

2. raspberries + topping in bowls

Blend dry ingredients. Add egg and melted butter. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.

3.crumble on raspberries

Pat mixture over raspberries.

4. top view raspberry crisp

Bake 35-45 minutes. Or until browned on top.

5.ready to serve

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, freshly whipped cream or simply on its’ own…

6.scoopful of crisp

7.finn with his slice

8. focused9.yum

Enjoy and have a great weekend!