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Friday, December 24, 2010

Time flies!!!

It's amazing that I have not posted anything for over a month. It has been a crazy, busy few weeks. Road trip with Molly was great, Thanksgiving came and went, and here we are at Christmas eve. When we gather with the "big" family, we collectively make something. Barb always comes up with a theme and the rest of us gladly follow. This year we are doing food stations. My job is a cheese and fruit tray. I made the trek to Restaurant Depot for a great selection and better prices on cheese. Wow!!! My fridge looks like a cheese case at the deli - only better. Actually, I got a bit carried away. The guy in the cheese aisle was flirting with me so, of course, I had to shop longer. Hey, at 50 I'll take it and man, did I get some great cheeses..

Wensleydale with Cranberries is a hand-made Yorkshire cheese. It is made from milk drawn from cows grazing the sweet limestone pastures on surrounding farms in Upper Wensleydale. This gives the cheese the unique flavor for which it is renowned.
The cheese is a fresh, young cheese taken at only three weeks old - it has a clean, mild, slightly sweet flavor with a honeyed aftertaste. The superb texture of fresh Wensleydale is perfectly complemented by the addition of natural ingredients of the finest quality.
When this Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese is combined with juicy cranberries you will get a cheese that is a beauty to your eyes and to your taste buds. (Gourmet-Food.com)
I bought this cheese because it was pretty. After tasting it, I am hooked. The girls and I tried it with grapes and salty snack crackers. Definitely goes best with the crackers. It is a sweet cheese and needs the saltiness.
I am a sucker for Gouda - any kind of Gouda. I bought a chunk in Amsterdam last Spring and it was great. This giant Gouda is just as good. It's a big chunk of cheese but the price was great!!! Aaahhh...cheese. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Boys

Before I left for vacation, Carter and Elliott came to help with some yarden chores. Carter always wants to dig so I gave him a hand shovel and let him go. Two year olds are great help if the work is not too specific. He dug the holes, plenty of holes, for some Narcissus that I hope the moles and chipmunks don't eat. If they make it thru the winter, they should bloom just before the azaleas. Elliott was the job overseer - check out the pictures. Henry, our cat, had to get involved also. They are so fun.


We piled lots of leaves on top of the bed to tuck it in good for the long winter.  It's the freezing and thawing of the soil that causes upheaving and damage to the plants roots.
 
 Just for fun...Bonnie and Marie ripped everything out of the back beds and covered them in horse manure - thanks Music.
We haven't done this in years. The beds are tucked in tight for winter. We aren't sure what we will plant come spring. Spinach and lettuces would work great. We can cover them to protect them from frost. Oh yeah, green onions can go in real early.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cruising the Carolinas

We were so busy in Seagrove looking at all the fantastic pottery that I forgot to take pictures. We were on NC 705 - Pottery Highway. There are a zillion artists that have studios along this route. It was hard to decide which ones to stop at. If you are ever in the area, it is definitely fun to check some of them out.
Molly found us a great shopping center off Friendly Avenue in Greensboro. We enjoyed tasty guacamole prepared tableside at a fun Mexican restaurant, found a great kitchen store with everything - I mean everything, and enjoyed the fresh air. It was good to be out of the car for a while. Off to bed and some unknown adventure awaits us tomorrow.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Road Trip 2010

Molly and I left early Thursday morning for great adventure. We have a few destinations in mind and a few scheduled visits but nothing written in stone. So half way down thru Virginia, both happy cause we are drinking Chick-fil-a sweet tea, a sign comes up that says Natural Bridge. "Natural Bridge", I say, "Want to go there?" "Sure" says Molly, not bothering to look from her knitting (yes, I said knitting. She is in knitting club at school and seems to love it. Bet we all get scarves for Christmas.) So about 5 minutes later she says to me, "Are we still on 29? (our route thru most of the day) "No", I reply, "we are headed to the Natural Bridge, you said you wanted to go there." "I thought you were kidding", exclaims Molly. Long story short - we turned at the next street and returned to 29. She told me no more side trips.
We stopped to see Claire at college. She was not expecting us so it was great fun!!!

We are on the road to Seagrove Pottery community this morning. Fill you in later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Finishing up the Garden

Knowing I am going to be travelling for a few days, prompted me to do those last minute garden things I have been putting off. Holly and I tramped thru the gourd field to get the hard shelled gourds for drying. We leave them in the field, exposed to at least a few good freezes, and then gather them in. It was a sunny, cold day this week but beautiful. After picking them comes the question of exactly the best place to dry them until next Spring. Holly, being a gourder, is out of space she tells me. So that means I have the pleasure of putting them somewhere out of the sun and elements but in a cold, dry place. I have this old garage that works great to put anything in that you don't know where else to stash it. As we stood there looking into the garage, Holly found the kids' soccer goalie net. You can see for yourself in the pictures just how well that Yankee ingenuity works. We laughed and laughed as hung them up. I can't wait till my husband sees them there. He will think I have finally lost it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moroccan Pot Roast

With this recipe, I get to use the cumin seeds I found in Khan el-Khalili, the great marketplace in Cairo.
 I carried them home in this small plastic bag. Surprised they made it thru customs!!!

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 yellow onions, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 Tbsp. ground paprika
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (32 oz.) box beef broth
2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-duty roasting pan set over two burners over medium-high heat. Sprinkle each roast with salt and pepper. Sear roasts in pan, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan, and place on a platter.
Add onion, carrot, and garlic to pan, and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Combine paprika, cumin, and cinnamon in a small bowl; add to vegetables, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 more minutes. Add broth, and return roast to roasting pan. Cover with foil, and bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until fork-tender. Remove beef from pot, and place on a platter; tent with foil to keep warm.
Add chickpeas to liquid, and place over medium heat, stirring often, until chickpeas are warm. Stir in remaining ingredients. Separate meat into portions, and spoon liquid and vegetables over beef. Serve warm. Serves 8

New Adventure

You asked for it...I am starting a Blog as a continuation from our email newsletter. Many of you have commented on how much you have enjoyed "The Latest Dirt" emails. I even asked if I should try a Blog and several of you replied definitely.
So welcome to my new adventure. My children are amused at my lack of technology prowess. Why should I learn it if they do it for me? Be patient with me, laugh at me, and enjoy what I have to share.
My goal is to be a bright spot in your day. Be safe. Mary