It’s All About Tomatoes!

Last night we had a hard frost here in northern New Hampshire. Despite the glittery ice frosting the plants in the garden as well as the flowers in the window boxes, stark reminders of the growing season lie on the kitchen counter, fresh garden tomatoes. Red ripe juicy globes await to be roasted into sweet caramelized sauce. An overflowing bowl of more tomatoes will be simmered slowly into a thick spaghetti sauce for pasta.

Tomatoes ripening

Every late September into early October, I allot my weekends to put up my tomatoes. Sometimes I make spaghetti sauce and others I roast them. In preparation for the sauce, first I boil them with their skins on. After that I plunge the beauties into a cold water bath. This process makes it easier to skin them.

With cutting board and a sharp knife, I cut out bad spots. Next I load them in the blender and pulse it so they’re smooth. It’s time to simmer the sauce with basil, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, a tablespoon of Olive Oil and two tablespoons of sugar. I also add Prego Spaghetti sauce to thicken it. It still tastes homemade but hold together better in a thick yummy sauce.

Tomatoes are a wonderful tasty addition to stir frys, grilled cheese sandwiches, pesto veggie sandwiches and one of Tom’s favorites BLTs. Once you’ve home grown your own tomatoes, you get spoiled for the taste knocks it out of the ballpark and you can’t go back to store bought. The taste just isn’t the same!

Can you taste that scrumptious tomato? I’ll enjoy a few more before next September. The wait will be long and difficult, but it will be well worth the wait!

Until next time enjoy those fresh tomatoes!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 💕

Do What You LOVE

My first blog photo from January 2016.

One thing that I’ve learned in this crazy life and hold dear to my heart is to do what you love. I’ve learned by trial and error how to follow my passion and steamroll forward without any worry about anything or what others think. It’s my journey and mine alone and others may not understand it…for it’s not theirs to own.

My loves of gardening and writing complete me and are sacred to me during this phase of my life.With that said, my life has been hurried the last month or so and I haven’t been doing what I love continuously. We had Florida and Massachusetts family visit for a few weeks and with that came nice sessions on our new deck and delicious meals made by my mother- in-law and sister- in- law. School started and with it came changes within the staff, forcing me to adjust to a new teacher working with me. It’s been fine, more than fine and I’m happy how things are going now. But somehow I disconnected from this blog and all of you, who I consider good friends. Because of this I’ve been empty a bit and the longer I went not writing this, the harder it’s been to comeback. Does that make sense?

 One special thing we did when my mother-in- law Theo was here was going out to eat with Butson’s friends. Years ago we all worked together in the supermarket, some in bakery, deli or produce departments. It was great to catch up and connect and especially to laugh!

I hope to catch up with you, post photos of my garden and what I’ve been doing the last six weeks. I know I’m back now…pursuing what I love and sharing it all with you. I have missed you all and hope your lives have room for what you love!

All My Best,

Mary ❤️🥰

Everything Zucchini!

73E72BFD-1E28-4EC7-897D-36D2FD76B957.jpeg Most gardeners know there’s a harvest time of scarcity and a time of plenty. Usually when the garden starts producing, it’s slow. I pick rich green leaves of lettuce and herbs first while I patiently wait for other veggies to be ready. It’s mid- August and I’ve been picking zucchini consistently for about two weeks. Most days I pick at least two or three green squashes. Bringing my kitchen shears comes in handy as I need them to cut the thick stem while I hold the squash stem tightly with my other hand and twist it. If you don’t do this, you’ll end up with a severed stem. This happened to me the other day forcing me to use that squash right away. It seems to dry out without a stem. Some ways I use zucchini are: zucchini mini bread chocolate zucchini bread zucchini carrot muffins chocolate zucchini cake stuffed zucchini with hamburger, rice, chopped tomatoes and cheese ( made pretty closely to stuffed peppers but in a hollowed out zucchini squash ) sautéed zucchini with summer squash ( in butter) zucchini spice whoopie pies ( see a recipe soon!)
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Can you spy the zucchini sandwiched between the corn and broccoli?
However you use this hearty vegetable, it will surely satisfy your family! Thankfully zucchini is easy to grow and hard to kill. No matter the weather, the plants always grow well with enough weeding and watering. Every year I tend to have too much of it so I share with family and my co- workers. In past years I’ve grown less but this year I had a lot from seeds, about eight vivacious plants. All My Best, Heart and Soul 🥰

Putting up Cilantro & Cilantro Hummus

Cilantro is an interesting herb with a pungent wild scent that lingers on my fingers after picking. The woodsy green plant sports beautiful leaves and sprigs. I discovered cilantro a few years ago and have been growing it ever since. I love the taste added to different dishes especially salsa and hummus!

My favorite thing to do with it is to add it to salsa for a fresh taste. This year I stumbled upon a recipe for Cilantro Hummus on Pinterest and have made it twice now. It skips using Tahini but uses fresh garden Cilantro, chick peas, salt and pepper and olive oil. I love it with gluten free pretzels or spread on a veggie sandwich!

Yesterday I picked a bunch of Cilantro, washed it, dried it with paper towels and chopped it up fine. Next I put a bit in each ice cube tray, topped it off with olive oil and water so it would freeze quickly. Once the cubes are frozen I pop them out and place in a marked freezer bag. When I wish to cook with the herb I simply need to get a cube out of the bag! It’s easy! I also do this with my Basil.

Here is my adapted version of the recipe I found on foodfaithfitness.com. Her recipe includes Jalapeno and Tom and I don’t eat it, it’s too spicy for us.

You will need for my version:

1- 15 oz can Chickpeas drained ( I buy Goya)

2-3 Tbsp. Cilantro finely chopped ( I have a Pampered Chef Garlic press…it’s great!)

2 cloves garlic peeled

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Water

Place everything in food processor or blender. Add Olive oil and water. Blend until smooth. Now you are done! I stored mine in the refrigerator for about 4-5 days. Serve with pita chips, pretzels, fresh veggie crudités or spread on a sandwich. Delicious!

Where Are the Corn Ears?

It’s early August and at this point of the summer I go out twice to my garden. First in the morning it’s weeding and hoeing work between rows in the fresh air. Next I haul the hose over and water it if it hasn’t rained recently. Later in the afternoon I saunter out in the bright sunshine with my new garden tray I bought at a flea market. With scissors in hand I walk the plot with intentions of finding veggies that are ready for picking. Lately we are getting deep green zucchini, cilantro, basil, lettuce ( it’s actually going by now), cucumbers, some spinach and green beans.

I’ve noticed our sweet corn is tall and seems to be crowning with tassels but there appears to be hardly any ears of corn! Why do you think this would happen, poor irrigation? Pollination problems? Anyway usually our corn is ready by late August so I’m predicting that’s not enough time for them to grow, right? Now that I’ve discovered this, I’m reminded that every year something doesn’t grow as planned and that forces me to become an investigator of sorts to solve the problem.

Yesterday I broke the news to my husband, the man whose total garden focus is corn. He went right out there inspecting the stalks and remains hopeful that some will grow, just later than usual. If we don’t yield corn I’ll stop by the local farmer’s market and stock up or the freezer. That will be a bummer so I pray that we have our own!

Has this ever happened to you before? Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you in advance for your insight.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Italian Pasta Salad ( With Garden Veggies)

One day of picking. I’m so blessed!

This is a little pasta salad side dish that you can serve on a steamy summer night. I love the fact that you can incorporate fresh garden veggies! Enjoy!

½ box 4 oz. corkscrew pasta

½ bottle or so Italian dressing

Broccoli florets, handful

Chopped zucchini or summer squash

Chopped fresh basil

Handful chopped pepperconi peppers

Parmesan cheese to taste

Change Your Perspective

If you always think the worse then probably terrible things will occur! But if you foster pure positive thoughts and train your subconscious mind to dwell on uplifting peaceful ideas, that’s what you’ll get in life.

I’m going this route now, thinking positive and focusing on abundance coupled with my daily prayers and faith in God.

I’ll tell you briefly that since I started reading The Power of the Subconscious Mind, magical things are happening. The reason is I’m focusing on what can be instead of this can’t happen. I’ve applied it to several issues in my life and seen great results. A few Saturdays ago I went to a flea market with my friends with an intention to possibly find an old wheel and water pump for our gardens. I focused on both with the mindset that positive things would happen. Not only did I discover both items but I knew the lady who was selling them! She gave me a great deal for both and now they adorn my yard. Secondly I started healing my feelings towards others that I’ve had hard feelings about. Since focusing on love and letting go of resentments, I’ve seen fabulous results out of the blue. Lastly something that bothered me at work has come full circle, possibly changing my work environment. What goes around comes around they always say. How true is that!

Change your thinking.

Change your perspective.

Check out The Power of the Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

My new Black Eyed Susans garden with my wheel. See a future post about this process.

All My Best,

Mary😉

You’ve Always Been Beautiful!

My sister and I many years ago. ❤️

We are born beautiful

Swaddled in pure innocence

With God’s love

As we grow and face the

world

sometimes

little girls aren’t taught

to love themselves

that they are enough

that they are precious

in every way

Now as a grown adult

I’m learning that I am

beautiful and maybe I don’t

need to always hear it from a

person other than myself

That’s the hardest lesson

when all your life you depended on

those heavy words, “ I love you”

“ You are beautiful”

“ You are enough”

The ultimate goal is to achieve this

from loving yourself

For believing in yourself

and your beauty

inside and out.

I hope that all you women out there love yourself and believe in all that you can be! Once you truly feel this, an aura of confidence surrounds you. Then it’s possible to love another.

All My Best,

Mary 😘

Book Suggestions

Some oldies but goodies on my book shelf

For the last year I’ve abandoned reading fictional novels and started reading self help books. Now after reading Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers and You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, I’m desiring a good fictional book to read for the summer. Sometimes I look at my local library as well as a revisit to my bookshelf for a book that was so good that I’d read it twice or more.

I recommend any book by Anita Shreve. I loved The Pilot’s Wife as well as The Weight of Water. Jodi Piccoult, an author who lives in my native state of New Hampshire, is one of my favorites as well. She’s written Nineteen Minutes, a novel every educator should read about school violence and bullying and who is at fault. Other of Piccoult’s titles include Plain Fear, a mystery of a dead baby set in Amish country, House Rules, a story about a teenaged boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who is obsessed with solving crime scenes until he becomes a suspect himself.

Shared from Bibliolectors.tumblr.com

Years ago I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, an amazing story that I read in just a few hours. ( I loved the movie as well!) Fannie Flagg is the author, a writer with a poignant style of writing, who portrays the characters with such precision, I feel that I have met them in person! If you love that book you may enjoy Welcome to the World, Baby Girl and Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven.

My latest book wish list is tucked in my pocketbook and I’ll bring it to the local library on my next visit. It’s close enough to walk to on a clear sunny day. If they don’t have the book, the head Librarian Karla signs up for an inter library loan and obtains the book from another library.

Here’s my generated wish list:

Conviction by Denise Mina

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keene

The Summer Demands by Deborah Shapiro 

Don’t you just live these little Free Libraries? I found this one in my sister- in- law’s town of Northampton, Massachusetts.

What good summer books are you reading? Do you have any great suggestions for me to add to my list?

Happy Reading, friends!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 😃

Monday Morning Inspiration

You can CHOOSE how you react to others and negative situations. I’m learning this and training myself into calmness before I react. Instead of full bore antics I’m slowing down. I can Stop. I can Breathe. I can ask myself, is this action bringing me to a more powerful place? ( I like to think of it as a peaceful place as well) This is from Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It’s been a helpful book on self awareness and feeling the fear and then doing something anyway. It focuses on changing your negative mindset and turning it into a positive one.

Enjoy the beauty of this day and don’t let others steal your joy, the joy that you deserve.

Have a beautiful day!

All My Best,

Mary