Quick Asian Pickles

I am so glad to be done with termites…for now anyway.  We have had these crazy creatures in our house bugging us since we first saw their first “kick-outs” right after we moved in to our house 2 1/2 years ago.  You see, our house was supposed to be tented before we moved in but while I was giving birth to #3 that wasn’t really taken care of for me by my realtor.  Bummer to move in and find that out later but I’m over it now that everything is finished.  We had to move out anything that might possibly enter your mouth (I even packed up my play-dough) and all of our plants.  If you’ve seen my pantry, you know it was a lot to move.  A big thank you to my parents for housing it all in their guest room.  Thanks, Mom and Dad :).

This week I was recovering from a Sat/Sun migraine and the kids really wanted to make something so I opted for a surprisingly quick, quick pickle.  We had 2 pickling cucumbers and 1 lemon cucumber we picked from our backyard local Red Farm.  I knew it was enough for a jar so off we went.

 I’ve been staring at this “Asian quick pickle” recipe for a while.  I don’t know if any of the Asians make this kind of pickle but I’ve had similarly marinated Japanese cucumbers on my travels to the land of the rising sun.

Mix together all of the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved…minus the pickles, of course :)

Grab your cucumbers.  Cut off the ends, peel, and take the seeds out.

^—  They will look like this. Put the onions on the bottom of a jar (any jar because it’s not going into boiling water).  Then, have the kids stuff the cucumbers in a jar.

Pour the liquid and put in the fridge.  Enjoy almost immediately, but i think they were best the next day.

I let the kids snack on the leftover skins and seeds, then took them to my husbands office where he fangoriously devoured them all.

Asian Quick Pickles

(adapted from “Put ‘Em Up!“)

1 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar

2 T. low sodium soy sauce

2 T. sesame oil

2 T. raw sugar

a pinch or red pepper flakes

3 pickling cucumbers

1/2 a red onion or 1 large shallot

Here’s a lovely photo of my man and I whilst engaged, in Japan.  I love that country, the people, and the honor that abides there.

Pasta Caprese

I think the number two question I get from people related to food and cooking is, “Do you have any easy and fast recipes you make for a just a regular night at home with the family”.  YES!  I find most of what I cook to be easy but I think what people are looking for is something to make in 30ish minutes with only a few ingredients.  Is that about right?  I give you:  Pasta Caprese!  I thought of you all who have asked me that question because it came together with some things I have leftover from a big dinner and was super easy.  We don’t really eat pasta anymore for health reasons, but every now and then I like to break it out when it’s just the kids and I at home.

Pasta Caprese

1 box of rotini pasta, cook until al dente

2 cloves of garlic, pressed

2 pints of cherry tomatoes, squished

1 large handful of basil, chopped

4 balls of burrata cheese or mozzarella cheese*, torn or cut into pieces

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

dash or two of walnut oil

many dashes of aged balsamic vinegar or a reduction

With pasta, mix garlic tomatoes basil, cheese, and olive oil until combined.  I mention the tomatoes are squished because it’s a fun way for kids who can’t use knives to help with dinner.  They simple hold the tomato down in the bowl and squish.  Get ready for giggles and tomato seeds gone wild.  Season with salt and pepper to your own taste.  Add the dashes of walnut oil and balsamic vinegar.  Remember the pasta spreads the flavor out a bit so don’t be afraid to add more seasonings.  This is a VERY simple dish for a nice summer evening.  It could be very much enjoyed with a nice glass of Sauvignon  Blanc, if you choose.  Make it good wine though, not that cheap 5 buck stuff :)

*Burrata can be found at your local cheese shop.  San Diegans’ can go to our awesome local store called Venissimo!  Whole foods and Trader Joes have it but it is not nearly as good.  The one I prefer to buy is made with love in LA by an Italian family and is brought down here.  I’ve now seen it popping up at our local farmer’s markets, but most sellers (even cheese stands!) haven’t learned quite yet that it is very delicate and goes bad after only a few days so selling it in that condition is a bad idea :/  If this all sounds like too much work, you can either trust me that the real stuff is just THAT good and better than anything you will ever experience in the mozzarella family, or you can just be regular and buy mozzarella.  Your choice really.  No pressure.

Too busy to cook? Try this…

We’ve been super busy around here and although I’ve still been making regular meals, I haven’t had any time for projects.  These jars are an easy way to enjoy the strawberry season and not let it pass you by.  Alcohol and vinegar both allow you to throw whatever you want in without worrying about it needing to be sealed or processed.  Endless possibilities!  I am going to make lots of these this summer.  The combos can be used for cocktails but you can also make some yummy fruit vinegars for salad dressings.  The only requirement is that the fruit be covered by the liquid. Let them sit in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks.

Easy, right?  Let me know what kinds of combos you come up with!

San Clemente camping + camera burial

We headed North this weekend to San Clemente for a weekend of beach camping.  My cousin and her husband invited us to go with some of their friends and it was just the thing we didn’t know we needed until we left.  It is just the right time of year for this.  The clouds covered the sun for a lovely few hours in the morning so our skin could be sure to stay away from any impending aloe vera treatments.  It was warm in enough for the kiddos to play in the sun and not be shivering in the water. 

Besides the beach, the camp food and the fireside laughs were wonderful.  I talked with people I had never met, but it didn’t take long to throw our heads back like we’d known each other forever.  My kind of people.  There is no area of conversation that can’t be broken into.  My kind of talks.  People putting their hands together to make dinner for everyone.  My kind of meal. 

I regret that I only have iphone pictures (gasp) but my camera decided to go for a swim itself.  Well, not quite.  The ocean decided.  I had just been able to miraculously get my little guy to give in to the sweet lullabies of the ocean (another gasp for all who know my kids don’t nap…like ever).  It was a sweet sight…

Sweet, right?  He was just laying there and I was standing in front of him looking on in peace when a giant wave decided to break up the party.  It came WAY higher than where the other waves had been breaking and even looking afterward, where we were was where it went highest.  The wave carried all of our stuff and some of my cousins on top of my little bean and when it came back down, carried him with it.  Thankfully I was in front of him and dropped to my news and caught him, but most of our stuff was carried into the ocean.  My cousin, who also loves to take pictures, ran after my camera, but there was no saving it from its demise by salt water.  Dean seemed shocked and eventually said, “I’n ok”.  The other kids were a little angry at that ocean for the remainder of the day and Faith’s prayers even included a prayer that a wave like that would never happen again.

Little snuggles.

The perpetual filling of the water hole.  Kids this age don’t understand permeable surfaces which is nice for a long, long game and a few moments of peace for the parents.

A boy and his Mama.

What boys do best.

My husbands recessed chair setup.

Sunday devotions with the group.

Anxious to answer questions about Jesus.

Little Bean getting advice from his friend.

Makin’ firewood.

Happy Camper (literally).

What’s summer at the beach without watermelon?

Gotta love those camping fingers.

This person obviously doesn’t get the point of  putting your phone on airplane mode while you get away from it all.  Clever use of the bathroom though.  I love that our phones are off and we can enjoy each other.  I love that my iphone takes pictures while in this mode…perfect!

So long my dear sweet D90.  You were a good camera and have been with us through many glorious adventures.  I’m thanking the Lord that my cell phone, which i had thought would not be useable, has allowed me to save just a few pictures from our weekend.   It might die tomorrow, but at least I have these and insurance on my cell plan.

Some of my reflections after this…

Then Job answered and said:

“Truly I know that it is so:
But how can a man be in the right before God?
  If one wished to contend with him,
one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
  He is wise in heart and mighty in strength
—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—
  he who removes mountains, and they know it not,
when he overturns them in his anger,
  who shakes the earth out of its place,
and its pillars tremble;
  who commands the sun, and it does not rise;
who seals up the stars;
  who alone stretched out the heavens
and trampled the waves of the sea;
  who made the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;
  who does great things beyond searching out,
and marvelous things beyond number.
  Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
  Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back?
Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

Job 9:1-12

Colour Lovers

I have been very inspired by the color palettes floating around the blogs right now.  I have figured out a few websites over the last few months  that allow you to make them but,  ultimately, I would have to pay $ to upgrade to the right adobe program or similar program.  Since I didn’t pay the extra smackers, I just made my own.  I don’t have the fancy color hash marks on it but you get the idea.  Each photo or even just things you look at out your window will jump out to a person in different ways.  These colors are simply the ones that jumped out at me when I took this picture of my roses.  Aren’t they lovely?

I did find one site which has a cute little community, which is called Colour Lovers.  Colors or Colours, to borrow from the British and French, have always been something I love to play around with and this is the perfect place to do it.

Design Seeds is another for great color eye candy.  Just.plain.loveliness.

Now for some other pictures of my flowers.  I can’t get enough of this color!

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