Refrigerator Pickles

I do not have many cucumbers this year. It has been very dry. I have watered my garden often but it just doesn’t compare to a good soaking rain. The cucumbers I have had are small. I got a bag full of cukes from my son who is a farmer. Lucky me! I made refrigerator pickles the other day. They are the Claussen type. Salty, crisp and so tasty.

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You start by cleaning the cucumbers. Cut off about an inch off the ends. This helps keep them crisp. Then cut in quarters. Some of the shorter cukes I cut in slices. It doesn’t really matter what the shapes are.

I used a combination of ‘Claussen’ style pickle recipes that are out there on the web. I kept the cut up cukes in a bowl of cold water.

Fill quart sized jars (that have been sterilized) with a clove of garlic, onion slices, a dill flower, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper, some mustard seeds, and some allspice seeds.

Heat to boiling 1 1/2 quarts of water, 2 cups of white vinegar, and 1/3 cup of canning salt. (Not regular salt)

When boiling, pour the liquid into the jars to about a half inch from top. Screw on clean tops and rings. Now place on your counter for four days turning the jars over every day. After the fourth day put them in the refrigerator and they are ready to eat! They can be stored for 3 months. If they last that long.

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Enjoy your day!

Monday’s Menu – Vegetable Tian

Hello again! It is Monday and time for a recipe and the menu for the week. We are getting a nice soaking rain out there. I can count on one hand how many times it has rained this summer. I am feeling pretty thankful and so is my garden.

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I love to make Vegetable Tian at the end of the summer. All the veggies in it are from my garden or straight from someone else’s. I don’t often grow potatoes because I don’t have the room yet. I have lots and lots of trees that could come down to make another garden spot but well you know, priorities and other things that need to be done prevent that from happening. Maybe next year!

Anyway, Vegetable Tian is so easy to make and so fresh and delicious. Here is how I do it.

1 good sized onion

Olive oil

2 tomatoes (the Roma’s are best but you can use any)

Zucchini and Summer Squash

1 or 2 potatoes

1/4 to 1/2 cup of Parmesan or Romano cheese shredded

Garlic powder, salt, pepper, and basil (I use fresh)

Chop the onion and saute with olive oil. Transfer to a oven safe container that is no more than 3 inches high.

Slice the remaining veggies into rounds about 1/4 inch thick

Line the baking pan with the veggies. Feel free to make designs. Just make sure the tomatoes are not all together.

Sprinkle with cheese, herbs and salt and pepper. Cover with foil or the cover of container if it has one.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Then uncover and broil for 5 or 7 minutes until cheese is bubbly. This is a great dish to serve with a main dish or use it as the main dish!

Here is the menu for the week.

Monday: Spaghetti with tomatoes, garlic, onion and shrimp (and butter. Lots of butter)

Tuesday: Chicken pieces with Vegetable Tian

Wednesday: Trout in foil on the grill with brown rice and green beans

Thursday: Taco night

Friday: Pork roast cooked in dutch oven with potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and chard. 

Saturday: Baked Ziti with hamburger and veggies

Sunday: Family BBQ and Lobster bake (after the wood is stacked) coleslaw, deviled eggs, lobster, clams, chips and home made three berry pie.

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

Home Made Ironing Board

I moved my sewing room to the daylight basement that isn’t really being used for anyone or anything. I have a big table in the middle of the floor for sewing and cutting and I used a desk for ironing. I use an ironing board to iron clothes, mostly my husband’s for his job. His clothes and the ironing board are upstairs in our bedroom. I didn’t want to take all his clothes down stairs to my sewing room and iron and I didn’t want to keep moving the ironing board every time I needed it so I decided to make a small board for my sewing and quilting. Luckily I already had an extra iron for travel.

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It is just the right size for all those quilt block pieces. I am quite happy with my new sewing space, although I really have not had time to go down there and sew! Soon though, I can feel it.

I like to search blogs for new ideas and I stumbled on this blog. The board looked very easy to make so I decided to give it a try.

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Not many materials needed. A piece of plywood or thin wood cut to your specifications, a staple gun, scissors, pretty fabric for the top and some batting. (I actually used an old mattress pad I had saved)

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Lay the plywood onto the batting and cut it about two inches wider on each side. Then cut your pretty fabric about the same. Maybe a bit bigger.

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Then pull up the sides and staple. You may need to tap in the staple with a hammer (I used a rock because it was handy). Then you may need to trim a bit of fabric and batting from the corners so you don’t have too much bulk.

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Fold each corner and staple. Staple guns are amazing. They are so powerful! Add a few extra staples in spots that look loose.

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Turn it over and you have your very own, custom made, beautiful, ironing board!

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Now go sew and iron something!

 

 

Monday’s Menu – Dilly Beans!

 

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Good Monday Morning! I can’t tell where you may be reading this from but from where I sit it is sticky, hot, and what I call ugly weather. I am trying to be patient while waiting for the cool, crisp, beautiful days of fall. I am not a person that loves summer. I don’t feel as though I can do anything when it is so hot and humid.

My meals this past week were simple and easy for the kind of weather we are having. The weather man said last Wednesday would be cool, but it was not. The humidity came in sooner than they expected so we did not have chicken enchiladas. We had BLT’s with lettuce and tomato from the garden. And home made bread that I was able to make on Monday when it was cooler.

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Monday my daughters and I baked and canned. It was a lovely fresh, breezy, summer day. We made muffins, bread, cookies and we canned dilly beans. Very accomplished. Later in the week I did nothing but sit in front of water trying to stay cool.

Dilly beans are one of the easiest things to process. I use the recipe out of the Ball canning book. I also use my go to site for canning. I have been visiting this site for years. It is the Pick Your Own  site.

First I pick the beans. I use yellow and green. Then I cut the tips off. With hot jars, I place a garlic clove, a dill flower, and a bit of cayenne powder in each jar.

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Place the beans inside the jars. I stack them in like my friend taught me but I think you can put them in any way you want so far as they are packed in. Then carefully pour the vinegar salt mixture into the jars, place the caps and can for 20 minutes. This is a simple version. You should read the recipe in the Ball book. If you have never canned before you will need to know about sterilizing and safe canning tips.

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We took a jar to the lake last week and ate it up in less than 10 minutes! We just couldn’t stop!

This week there are just three of us eating. My oldest daughter is at camp for the whole week. I asked the younger one for meal ideas and she gave quite a few. This explains the pasta, and dough theme. Her favorites. Mine too.

So here is this week’s menu.

Monday: Pizza on the grill 

Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas

Wednesday: Baked Ziti (leftover in the freezer, just enough for three!)

Thursday: Chicken on the grill with rice and beets

Friday: Pancakes with berries

Saturday: Porkchops with garden orzo

Sunday: Shrimp and rice with tomatoes and cucumbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Garden – Part One

It has been too long since I wrote about my garden. Things are really happening out there now! I have begun to process the overflow of veggies now. I don’t think this is my best garden ever but it is producing and thriving. It has been so so dry here this year. Even with watering it just isn’t enough and doesn’t compare to a good soaking rain.

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We harvested all the garlic, and put it in the woodshed on a screen to dry out. This year the bulbs were very large. I am quite happy with the garlic this year. Maybe they like it dry!

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The tomatoes are doing well. They could be a little more prolific, but I really shouldn’t complain because so far (crossed fingers and say a little prayer) there is no sign of blight and no horn worms. I am not sure there will be much in the way of canning salsa or sauce though, but we will see. There is still quite a bit of warm weather left in the season.

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The peppers are a huge disappointment. The plants are small, and have at the most one pepper on them. I am not sure what the problem is or was but I don’t expect they will do any better. I have tried picking the small ones off so that more will grow. Some of the plants do have more flowers on them but really the plants themselves are so small I don’t know how they will hold the fruit. I may end up buying peppers from the farmers market this year if the tomatoes do come through, so we can have our salsa and sauce.

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String beans are doing pretty well. We have eaten quite a few, and I froze a few batches as well. Last week I even made dilly beans. So yummy! I have another 6 rows of beans that are not producing yet because I planted them in July, but I am hoping for another batch so I can make more dilly beans and freeze a bit more. I thought I was getting too many beans but suddenly it seems my plants have stopped putting out more flowers. Good thing I planted more!

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All things watery, the summer squash, cukes, and watermelon are trying so hard to survive. They are growing and I have harvested some but it is slow going. I have had better years for these plants for sure. Again, the season still has some time so I am hoping we get a little more. I hope the watermelon keep growing and sweetening up. I have really tried watering these plants more than the others.

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We still have peas coming. They are small but the girls still love to go out and snack on them. I planted too many and wish I would have used a couple of the fences for more cucumbers. The kale, dill, basil, and asparagus are all doing well too. Stay tuned for part two of the garden when I talk about my successive plantings and my fall crops.

Happy gardening!

 

 

 

 

Yes and No

As with all things we do there are projects that we love and when we finish we say ‘Yes!’ and then there are those that we look at and try really hard to say yes but in the end deep down we know it is a big ‘No!’. Recently I finished two projects. We were travelling to Canada as a family and I didn’t have to drive at all. So there was lots and lots of knitting time!

The first finish is a Yes. These furry little things are made from 100% angora yarn. I love squishing them. They are for my son’s friend. This will be her first baby. I don’t have any grandchildren yet and I was so excited to be able to knit up these booties. I may knit a hat too.

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The project that I am rejecting is a shawl that I have been working on for a couple of months. I don’t like the size, it is just too small. I even used a bigger needle than they called for. I also don’t like how the lace looks. Maybe it is the texture of the yarn but the lace hardly shows up. Maybe blocking would change that but I don’t think blocking will change the size that much. It barely curls around my shoulders. I want a shawl that will warm me on those cold winter nights.

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I don’t know yet what I will use the yarn for. Maybe a nice hat for all this curly hair. I don’t normally wear hats because of my hair but I do want to wear a hat in the winter. I guess I will have to look for a hat pattern that is just for wild out of control hair.

Happy Knitting!

 

Monday’s Menu

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Hello! Good morning! It is Monday and time for me to create a menu for the week. I am a lover of autumn and I am starting to crave all those meals that stew, bake, and broil. Like a nice beef stew or a slow baked chicken. I was at a loss for meal ideas this weekend and my husband came to the rescue. I told him what I really wanted was baked chicken. Unfortunately with all the heat we are getting here in Maine that was not going to happen. At least not inside where it would add degrees to the already hot house. (No air conditioning here!)

My husband said ‘why not cook it on the grill?’. I knew that was possible, and had even tried to do it, unsuccessfully. I ended up butterflying the chicken backwards and it didn’t work. We ended up grilling pieces (some so small they fell through).  I told him all of this and he said he would research it. Well he researched it and he butterflied the chicken perfectly and grilled it perfectly. He found his information on Serious Eats. Just type in ‘cooking a whole chicken on the grill’ in their search tab.

We also grilled some fresh zucchini and summer squash in a cast iron pan. Makes for a perfect summer supper that didn’t need any inside cooking!

Here is this week’s menu:

Monday: Home made tomato sauce with fresh ingredients from my garden!

Tuesday: Rainbow Trout, red potatoes, and Roma green beans

Wednesday: Chicken enchiladas 

Thursday: Ham and cheese Italians

Friday: Chefs Salad 

Saturday: Pork tenderloin on the grill with brown rice and beets and tomatoes. 

Sunday: Shepards Pie (I’m going to try and cook it in a cast iron dutch oven on the grill. I’ll let you know how it comes out.)

Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

Taking a Bit of a Break

Curlycueacreates is taking a small break. Instead of feeling guilty about not posting, since none of us needs any more guilt in our lives, I am officially posting the fact. With gardening, getting our wood in for the winter, planning a trip and keeping up with my girls I have little time to concentrate on my blog right now. It won’t be real long, but I wanted to let you and me know that I am not stopping or quitting, just taking a break.

Hope you are enjoying your summer so far!

Tidbits

Here I am on my second day at home without the girls. They are having a good time at camp. I am getting some things done that I want to do. For me. Not chore type things. I had to force myself. That is just the kind of person I am. It really felt good yesterday to sit down and sew in the middle of the day! I will do it again today.

I did get the chickens cleaned and I hung laundry. Today I will hang some more and get a few things ready for our camping trip but then it is back to the sewing machine.

I am leaving you with a few pictures from the last couple of days. This morning I picked a handful of blueberries just for me. Being here alone has its benefits.  Have a wonderful weekend!

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No Chores!

Today I am at home, alone, with plans to sew in front of a blowing fan! It is hot here in Maine. The girls are at camp and I have made a plan to just do sewing. A no chore two days!

Of course we know that isn’t realistic. I do have to feed the chickens, hang some laundry and unfortunately the chickens really need to be cleaned out. I need to do it this morning before the heat of the day. But, as soon as I am done with the chicken cleaning and I have a cool shower it is a date with my sewing machine and fan!!

Enjoy your day!

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