Friday, April 26, 2013

Photo Friday

This is the recipe box I mentioned in last week's Friday post. It is one of those things that I'd probably risk my life to run back in for if my house was on fire. It's nothing fancy. I'm not sure if it was once part of a kitchen set- the kind with matching storage tins and a bread box or if it was just something she always had. She could have even picked it up at a yard sale**, for all I know. But, it holds recipes she used for many years; recipes my daddy and aunt Lorna grew up with. There are recipes clipped off of food boxes and cartons, there are some hand-written on scraps of paper, and some more carefully written on index cards. There are also memories. A thousand memories of her. In the kitchen with a cigarette in one hand, spatula in the other, and the phone between her ear and shoulder. Memories of Campbell's vegetable beef soup, pistachio pudding, and Barnum and Bailey's animal crackers. Those awesome swinging saloon doors at their house in Spartanburg. Going to the bakery thrift store with her, which was just the best thing ever because I could always get snack cakes or cookies. Going to the Piggly Wiggly. That awesome Mexican restaurant next to their antique shop in Las Cruses. The story of how they found Chile, or rather, how she found them. Taking great-grandma (her mother) up the mesa in Grand Junction to buy some cherries [one of those 'you had to be there' situations]. I could go on for days...

The recipe right up front is for her spaghetti sauce. It's written in
my Aunt Lorna's handwriting.
Growing up in a family where everyone cooked regularly and where I was encouraged to cook from an early age almost certainly guarantees that some of my best memories will involve food. Funny how an old, beat up box filled with paper can be one of my most valuable possessions, right? Family and fond memories are nourishment for the soul just like food nourishes your body. Don't let anyone tell you different.


**My grandma was the yard sale queen! She always found the best stuff. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Photo Friday

Earlier this week I was feeling nostalgic. I'd seen an old, beat to hell, blue Celebrity wagon while driving around Anderson and nearly had a breakdown. My Grandma H had one that looked similar and the memory of her came rushing back so fast it made my head spin. So I decided to make a batch of her spaghetti sauce. It's nothing fancy. It is an extremely simple meat sauce that she, more than likely, got off of a package once upon a time. Even so, it is delicious. It's savory and just...yummy. It took me forever to be able to recreate it after she passed away. I finally got the recipe from my Aunt Lorna when she gave me my grandma's old recipe box (another story for another time; remind me to tell you about it). To make a long story short (too late), I made some and let Calvin have at it.

It's a requirement to have a spaghetti-face picture of your kid, right?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Showing off

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on Facebook that I don't care much for the apartment my family and I are currently living in, but I do LOVE my patio. It's smallish and there isn't much to it, but it's got some of my favorite things including Calvin's sandbox and my container garden.

I've mentioned my little garden here and told you all a bit about my first harvest. I was stupidly excited about it! Well, I'm stupidly excited again! I have more asparagus popping up, my tomato plants are already blossoming, and I'm pretty sure my mint plants are trying to take over the world. 

My apologies for the terrible picture quality. I do my best gardening
while the dude is a sleep.
I recently put some mulch down over my garlic, rosemary, tomatoes and cucumber in hopes of not having to water 3 times a day. Hopefully that will keep any volunteer crap from popping up in the pots, too. Even in a small container garden, I hate pulling weeds.

Anyway, I don't have much to talk about tonight, I just felt like showing off.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Photo Friday

In yet another effort to make myself remember that this exists, I'm going to try an experiment. I'd like to post a picture each Friday. It may or may not have a caption or small post to go with it. Well, it may end up being 2 or 3 photos, but you get the idea. This is really to keep myself aware of my poor, often neglected, blog's existence and also to share a little of myself and my family. So here it goes...

This was the first time Calvin played in his sandbox. It was a mostly successful
adventure. I may need to invest in some safety goggles, though. Sand takes flight
quite well. 

I know it isn't food related, but you can see the pots where my garlic and asparagus live in the background. And my tiny gardener in training much prefers his pint-sized rake and spade to his beach-type sand toys.

If the weather is nice where you are, get out and enjoy it this weekend! If mother nature isn't being so kind in your corner of the world, I hope you get to enjoy your weekend anyway.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Smell of the Rain

It's Sprummer here in my little part of the world. Yes, you read correctly and no I'm not drunk. In upstate South Carolina, we get maybe 3 weeks of what I would honestly consider spring-like weather: temperatures no higher than 75 during the day, the windows are open, flowers are blooming, birds singing, etc.  And most of the time those weeks are not consecutive. Then we get to Sprummer. Not quite spring, but not hellishly hot enough to be summer just yet. The blooming continues, everything is painted with thick coats of neon yellow pollen, the temperatures start climbing higher and higher into the 80s, and the sun is less gentle than it was a few weeks ago. Everyone is sneezing and offering sacrifices to whatever deity they believe in to give us relief from the pollen. Seriously. Even if you've never had any kind of allergy in your entire life, your lungs and/or nose will rebel against you if you spend some time in certain parts of South Carolina and Georgia during Sprummer. Oh, and in other parts of the country it's still snowing. Weird. On a good day, though, we do get a little break- when it rains. I've got all the windows open in our apartment right now. I can smell the rain coming. It's a glorious thing. It's kinda like the smell in the air before it snows, just a bit more common in this area. I'm so excited!

From the top, clockwise: Sweet basil, asparagus, flat leaf
parsley, sweet mint, and apple mint
In other and more food related news, I picked my first harvest tonight! I have a little container garden this year that I'm quite proud of. I've got a few flowers (morning glories, at the moment) that I just planted, garlic, asparagus, 3 varieties of tomatoes, some cucumber, rosemary, sweet mint, apple mint (rescued from last year), basil and parsley. I also have a plan to switch things out and do a crop rotation of sorts later in the year so I'll be able to take advantage of more than one growing season. I'm really looking forward to getting back to gardening. Last year was a bust. It got too hot and I was still trying to figure out how to be a mom. I lost most of what I planted long before the summer growing season was over. But this year I am determined to keep this thing going year-round. I've put a lot of money and effort into it so far, so I owe it to myself as well as my bank account. I'm also learning and relearning things about plants and soil. It feels good to get back to that. I was a horticulture major before I switched to my culinary track, after all. Anyway...

As you can see from the picture, it's not much of a harvest. This first batch of asparagus is teeny and the crowns may not produce anything bigger than that this year. The herbs are still young, but need to be snipped so they continue to grow and not flower too early. Like I said, it isn't much, but it's a start.