First weekend of the new year

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Made what Mom called 24 hour salad this weekend. I think most people would call it Ambrosia Salad, which I can’t think of without thinking of Edward Scissorhands. It consists of whipped cream and canned fruit and would never be something I would choose to make.

I also did something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I downloaded a recording app to my phone and asked Mom questions about family history and recorded the ensuing conversation. Her answer to my questions weren’t what I was expecting. Which is the point, when you think of it. We’re getting together for my nephew’s birthday on Saturday. I’m going to go a little early and see if I can get another question answered. She’s been looking so frail and feeling so poorly lately, this is not something I want to put off. I wish I’d started a long time ago. I was really happy with the way the recorder worked on my phone. It’s really easy to use. I just pushed the record button and placed the phone face down on the table between us and started talking. I was worried that it wouldn’t pick up her voice because she speaks pretty softly, but the recording was clear and easy to understand.

IT’S HOT!!

Forecast for my neighborhood today is 112, (44 C). Not my favorite time of year. Everything in the garden goes on hold and we barricade ourselves in the house, windows closed and blinds drawn. It’s a struggle to keep anything in pots alive. I’m going to move some into the planters, just so that they won’t get the reflected heat from the patio surface. Things in smaller containers just dry out so quickly that it’s hard to keep up.

Weather this hot is always disappointing to me. It makes it much more unpleasant to be outside and I really can’t plant anything, even stuff that I’ve had waiting for a while. The plants have enough stress with all the heat. Most wouldn’t survive the stress of transplanting right now. So rather than the high possibility of killing my plants, I’ll wait. But since today is the first day of summer and hot weather often lasts through the end of October here, I may be waiting a while. Impatiently.

Cooking with Mom this weekend was pizza rolls. Not really much of a cooking challenge, but tasty nonetheless.

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Crescent rolls filled with a mixture of cheeses, rolled up, sliced and baked, eaten dipped in pizza sauce. We seem to be be doing a lot of pizza sorts of things. We’re going to try the tomato tart again next week with a slightly different recipe. I’ll try to remember to bring the balsamic glaze this time.

Mom and me cooking club failure

We had our first failure at the Mom and Me cooking club this weekend. A totally inedible, throw them in the trash failure.

Mom picked this recipe for us to make. It sounded good. A little sweet, a little savory. They looked just like the picture from the recipe before they went in the oven. When they came out of the oven, all of the cheese had melted out of the apricots and burned. Each piece was sitting in a puddle of charred cheese. I’m kind of thinking that the temperature in the recipe (425F for 15 – 20 minutes) is a mistake. 225 until warmed through seems like it might be a more reasonable instruction. But I’m not that good a cook. I generally make things by the book the first time around. I don’t get creative with recipes until I’ve made it once and have some idea of what I’m doing. On the plus side, I now have some mascarpone and some ricotta and I think some manicotti is in the future.

Spent most of Saturday potting up succulents. I have a hard time matching the plant to the pot sometimes. I got several nice pots from Seaside Gardens in Carpinteria. They had both long tom pots and shallow terra cotta pots. It’s hard to find anything ordinary pots at the local nurseries, so when the opportunity comes around I try to stock up. I’ve had several glazed pots that I got just because I liked them, but hadn’t put anything in them. I did my best at matching the needs of the plant to the pot. I’ve had some trouble with root rot this year because of the rains. The way my yard is set up it gets shade in the winter and sun in the summer. Not an ideal situation.

It was a beautiful day for working in the yard Saturday. Not too hot. Had several butterflies hanging around for most of the day. A couple of large monarchs floated around.

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And a less countable number of gulf fritillaries. They move so fast.

First Fritillary

The fritillary larvae are all over the place. Most of the passionflower vines that come up all over from seed are chewed leafless. I’m always tempted to put a bunch of them in my bug jar, but I’ve been resisting. The yard can only support so many, so I’ve been letting nature decide how many I have. I let all of the passion flower vine and milkweed that sprouts grow, despite the fact that they don’t add to the aesthetics of yard, being perpetually caterpillar eaten.

It’s funny how I can work in the yard all day and no one but me can tell the difference.

Friday Favorites – Korean Barbecue Pizza

This is a brand new favorite. Last night I made a Bulgogi chicken pizza based on this recipe. I used chicken instead of beef, and skipped the corn and pepper and sauteed onions and mushrooms with the chicken. Instant favorite. I did have some errors in technique. I did not immediately realize that temps were in Centigrade, although that was only during the time I was warming the pizza stone. Outside of having a crust that wasn’t as crispy as I’d like, it was great. Definitely something to add to the dinner menu rotation. Providing that I can make it the same way twice. Consistency in cooking is something that often evades me.

4/16/16 Weekend activities

Had a friend that we hadn’t seen in a couple of years over this weekend. He brought his not-quite-5 year old with him. Picked up with our friend where we left off. Like no time at all had passed. The son took a little while to warm up, but I play one of the same games on my iPod that he does, that got his attention. Found out that our friend is trying to get a board game group going and he thought of us as possible members. Not too surprising as we used to play D&D with him and some others. We went to lunch and caught up. Showed the tortoise to the kid. He wasn’t very interested. Oh well, no accounting for taste.

Spud

Sunday is ‘Cooking with Mom’ day. This week was Loaded Mexican Pizza day. Mixed reviews on this one. We didn’t use jalapenos, as Mom doesn’t like hot foods, and it was pretty bland. The crust was also tough because we didn’t have a pizza stone. I draw the line at hauling breakables back and forth. We’ve decided to add desserts to the menu. We’re kind of running out of appetizers that she wants to eat.

I wanted to bring Mom a bouquet of flowers from the yard. I’d like to do it for Mother’s day, but I don’t think the majority of the blooms will last that long. Unfortunately, I totally forgot about it. Maybe next week. Maybe.

I haven’t been keeping up with my 365 Days of Decluttering, so before I left the house this morning I picked several things to get rid of. A sweater that I don’t like, a pair of shoes that don’t fit, some reading glasses with only one lens. I kept hoping to find the other lens so I could use the glasses again, but it’s been months. Out they go! Let’s see if I can do it again tomorrow morning.

3/6 Weekend activities

Spent most of the day in the yard on Saturday. Spent enough time out there that I was a bit sore on Monday. It felt good to get out there and do useful things. I keep transplanting more of the volunteer seedlings around the yard. I’ve timed it so I move them just before it rains and almost all of them are actually growing. This isn’t something I’ve done much of in the past and I’m thrilled with how successful it’s been.

The rain in this area has been falling just about right. We get a good amount every couple of weeks or so. The last one was a little more exciting than necessary. A real downpour for a little bit, complete with lightening and thunder. Electrical storms are really not very common in Southern California. Still, rain is rain right now and the garden has benefited greatly.

With the rain falling on a regular basis, the blooming season is really starting to get started. I was very generous with the seed I’ve collected over the last couple of years and with that, a good layer of compost and the rain, bare spots are getting fewer and farther between.

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This weekends culinary experiment was meatballs in a bun. They were really easy to make. We used risng rolls and ready made meatballs and sauce. Thaw the rolls, cut them in half, wrap around the meatballs, let them rise and then bake. Serve with marinara sauce. They didn’t turn out bad, although there could have been some improvements. I used small meatballs because Mom can’t eat too much at one sitting and the meatballs were plain. The consensus was that we should have used larger, Italian meatballs.

We’ve only been at it for a few weeks, but cooking together with Mom has been a lot more engaging than driving over there with a bag of fast food. I enjoy the experimentation and it gives Mom something to plan and to look forward to. We go through cookbooks together and try to come up with something we’ll both like. I’ve gone out and gotten a couple of appetizer cookbooks looking for something new to make that she’ll like. She even wants to try to make something when we go on vacation in a few weeks. I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to keep coming up with new stuff to make, though. Maybe if we branch off into desserts or some simpler main dishes we can keep things going. We had enough left over this week for dinner for her and for the Spouse and me.