Sunday, September 26, 2010

Molly Mormon Week: Canning, Cooking and Relief Society

This week was pretty full. On Monday I made two pints of raspberry preserves and four pints of peach butter - and even canned them all by myself. (I am so proud!) I also made tasty little peach muffins (They were especially good with some peach butter on them!), but I waited for Caleen to get home before I started on the pear butter. Coring, peeling and chopping peaches should never be a one-person job! :) So, we made the four pints of pear butter together - which tastes surprisingly like applesauce. :) Not surprisingly, I didn't get much else done that day. ;P

Tuesday was pretty normal. The biggest thing I did that day was pick three eggplants from the garden; peel, slice, bread, and bake them. Then I layered them in a 9"x13" dish smothered with Prego and mozzarella and parmesan for a big "family style" eggplant parmesan. It's one of my favorite dishes, and it uses more eggplant than any other recipe I know. :D

Wednesday Caleen and I picked blackberries and raspberries again. We started earlier in the evening, and the yellow jackets were more alert this time, but became almost comatose as the evening waned. So interesting! It was really a lovely evening, too, with a warm sun, cool wind, mountains on one side, and a farm-filled valley on the other.

Thursday I tried a new pasta dish with sage, tomatoes, and cannellini beans. Unfortunately, I cooked it too long and it got somewhat burnt. I was pretty sad until I tasted one of the more burnt parts. The tomatoes had magically become tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and their skins, as well as the beans', had become caramelized. Sweet! We ate a decent dinner after all!

Friday I tried to make something special for dinner. I baked Lion House rolls, roasted butternut squash, and prepared phyllo-wrapped asparagus. The rolls turned out prettier than they have yet - which isn't say much! LOL! The squash was a flop, since it just wouldn't get soft. However, I wrangled the speed-thawed, canola-sprayed and parmesan-sprinkled phyllo dough around the asparagus, baked it, and LOVED it! (Yummy food dance!) It's now one of my new favorite things! Thank you Paula Deen! :D

Yesterday Tyson went to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament up in Logan. He left at 5:30 in the morning, and didn't get home until some time in the evening, then found the energy to go to a friend's house and watch the recorded BYU football game! :) I think he may have overexerted himself, though, because he's feeling a little under the weather today. :(

It was also the Relief Society General Meeting broadcast from the conference center in Salt Lake. Our ward was given tickets, so a dozen of us met at 3:30 and drove up in two vehicles together. After the broadcast, we ate dinner together at the Olive Garden. I finally got home around 11pm, but I had so much fun spending time talking and laughing with the sisters. :)

Not much has happened today. We went over to the Dixons' house and they explained to us everything about being ward historians. Then I went to the first choir practice since the summer. Now I'm going to see if I can squeeze in some blackberry pie-making tonight.

Oh, I did want to share last week that I came down from the stand during sacrament meeting to sit next to Tyson. Little Sammy Webster - who we used to have in Nursery with us until we split it by age - was sitting with her family right across the aisle from us. Out of the blue she toddled over and gave me a big sweet hug. It just made my day!! :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Head Shots

I'm starting to do more portraiture in my spare time and I've started with my wife and family, since they'll do anything I want, lol. Just a few for now, but there's more to come!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mice, yellow jackets and aphids

My days are filled with working on Tyson's website (, cooking dinners, doing dishes, running errands, working out, practicing the guitar, and the other necessities of life. Here are some semi-adventures I've had this past week.

Monday I started my day by running some errands, starting in Orem and working my way back south: WinCo, Best in Music, Robert's Crafts, and then Deseret Industries. WinCo is a fairly new store in half a dozen states out west. They don't take credit cards, which helps them to have wonderfully low prices. It's a good half hour north of us, but I'm going to have to get up there more often. Anyway, I bought a few bulk foods there, and when I came home I went down into the cold storage to add my bags to the cardboard box-full that I keep on a plastic 5-gallon drum. As I picked up some of the older bags, I noticed that they kept spilling. Finally I saw it: a hole chewed in the bag. I took my box upstairs and discovered that mice (I think) had chewed through about half my bags - and had totally emptied my bag of golden flax seed. Apparently that was there favorite! So, before I filled my hungry belly with lunch, I spent about an hour moving foods into glass and plastic jars. We've opened the food storage door so that the cats can go in, and I've kept my box in a corner on the counter top upstairs since. :P

Tuesday was pretty uneventful.

Wednesday evening Caleen and I went berry picking. There were yellow jackets hanging out all over the raspberry bushes, and we had to be careful to pick berries instead of bugs. The really cool part, though, was it appeared that the yellow jackets had held an Ann Arbor-esque "hash bash" before we arrived, because they were SO mellow. We could pick right next to where they were perched, shaking the branch in the process, and they just stayed put. We even accidentally knocked a few to the ground, and they just stayed there looking confused. We have an appointment to go picking again this Wednesday, so let's hope they're still so calm! :)

Thursday I was making broccoli casserole for dinner, and went out to the garden to see if there was any fresh broccoli I could use. At first I was excited, because there was a lot of fresh broccoli, but then I realized that it was infected with tiny gray bugs. The very same bugs I unwittingly munched with some organic broccoli many years ago. Spew!!! Seeing them again really gave me the willies! Thankfully I had bought enough broccoli from the store, so I used that instead. :)

Friday night I made chickpea patties with tahini yogurt sauce and steamed artichokes just for Tyson and for myself for dinner. Afterward I scouted out a Martha Stewart recipe for raspberry scones. I doubled the sugar, and my dough turned out too soft and sticky, but I feel it worked out for the best. The scones were perfectly moist and slightly sweet, and made a good Saturday breakfast, too. :)

Yesterday Caleen went on a canning spree. Her mother came over, and the two of us peeled pears and peaches while Caleen hurried around doing everything else necessary to can them. I think she ended up with roughly 12 quarts of each. But she didn't stop there, later she made three quarts of a roasted garlic Roma tomato sauce, and roughly a dozen half-pints of tripleberry freezer jam. With what's left we still want to make raspberry preserves, and pear and peach butters. (Side note: I have discovered that I LOOOVE fruit butters!)

Today I was sustained in church as a member of the Enrichment meeting committee. That plus ward chorister, plus activities committee member, plus a ward historian makes four callings! I thought that in Utah there were so many active church members that I'd have to beg for just one calling! I guess not! :)

So, I've realized how often I encountered vermin this week. I hope reading about them didn't BUG you! Ha ha . . . ha . . . yeah.