eat! craft! live!

Baking, crafting, mama-ing and taking photos of it all. When I remember.


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Operation Try New Restaurants: Ice It!

I went for a haircut today. Lo and behold, despite the heat & humidity, it still looks pretty good after walking back to work.

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Hi.

On the way to get my hair cut, I was thinking about lunch. I woke up with a migraine this morning and was too discombobulated to make myself one, so I figured I’d grab a sandwich at The Local Press, which I haven’t been to since I tried it over the winter! But…turns they’re closed for the rest of the week for vacation.

What’s next on my walk back? Well, Elsmere BBQ just opened up not too long ago in the old Siano’s spot, so I thought I’d get some barbecue! Buuuut…they don’t open til 4.

Y’ALL. What am I going to eat?

Next up – well, Pat’s is a few doors down, I’ll just go there! YOU GUESSED IT. Closed for the remainder of the week.

The only remaining option on that side of the street was…Ice It!¬†And, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been wanting to give it a try but it’s not exactly a lunch place, y’know? Regardless, I’m about to gnaw my own arm off at this point, so I stop in and grab a peach smoothie, which is more like a slushy, which is actually perfect for me at this (very hot, humid) minute.

I swear there was smoothie in here. Delicious smoothie at that.

I also grabbed a blueberry muffin, which was a perfectly delightful blueberry muffin, and I ate it too fast to take a quick pic of it. (But just picture your perfectly average, everyday blueberry muffin.) Last but not least, I also picked up a lemon bar because it’s hot (have I mentioned that?) and bright, citrusy flavors always make me happy in the heat.

Lemon bar, oh lemon bar, how I love you lemon bar.

Did I eat a lot of sugar for lunch? Yes. Am I glad I at least got something to eat? Absolutely. Would I go back? Yep, just not for a meal…

And yes, I have tried other new-to-me places! I’ve just been terribly lazy about saying so.

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Operation Try New Restaurants: Little Giant

In February, I met a lovely friend for a lovely dinner at Little Giant. And I…apparently took only one photo and it’s of me, slightly tipsy, modeling the cowl I had just finished for another dear friend? So, uh, hi!

littlegiant

I started with a knife fight. Which does not involve any sharp weaponry, but is “a bourbon sour, with an edge.” (Bourbon, lemon, pineapple, ginger.) It was strong, and fruity, and definitely had a serious kick of ginger.

For an appetizer, I got the little biscuits with maple-whipped lardo and hot pepper jelly. They were…good. I expected better biscuits frankly (um, I make amazing biscuits), but the combination of the biscuits and the toppings was definitely tasty.

I opted for the LG Burger & Jojos for my main meal and it was quite good. The menu changes relatively often, it seems, and looking at it now, I so wish that the Broad Arrow Farm Pork Meatballs with parmesan polenta, shaved brussels sprouts, pancetta vinaigrette had been available when I went because that sounds amazing. Time to go back?

I also got a second drink on a whim – a special that was benefitting…something or other…and I mostly remember that it had a sprig of lavender jutting out of the top, which at first was unnerving and then was delightful. I could sip my drink and as long as I managed to keep the little branch from poking me in the eye, smell the lavender while sipping. Aaah… (Seriously, it was great but I don’t remember what was in it! Maybe gin? Something fruity? I think it was carbonated? Not helpful.)

All in all, a great night. More expensive than I usually go for, but if I’m feeling a little flush with cash (lol) I would definitely return.


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strawberries ‘n’ cream smoothie-shake

strawberries 'n' cream

This smoothie. You guys, this smoothie! It’s, uh, not the healthiest smoothie around. (Which is why I called it a “smoothie-shake” – like that?) This resulted from a little leftover cream hiding out in the refrigerator and a lot of leftover strawberries taking up space in the freezer. Though, now that I’ve discovered this smoothie, I wish I had even more strawberries hiding out in the freezer!

We used the delicious local strawberries that we picked over the summer and froze for posterity. I definitely recommend finding the most delicious strawberries you can, because it will make all the difference here. It’s like strawberry shortcake in a blender…minus the shortcake.

63/100: strawberries 'n' cream

strawberries ‘n’ cream smoothie-shake

  • 1 heaping cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • splash vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend, pour, enjoy!

strawberries 'n' cream


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growing & preserving, 2014

Canning, 2014.

Time for the 2014 canning roundup! It felt like I canned a ton of stuff this year, but putting it all out on the table…it doesn’t look like as much as I was expecting. Granted, this is just one specimen from each type of thing I canned and for some things there were many, many jars. (Like 19 jars of strawberry jam. *ahem*)

But first, the garden. I grew a lot of produce last year. I think perhaps it was my best year ever, or at least close to it. I didn’t keep track of everything, but I did weigh the larger harvests, with a few exceptions – I ate a lot of tomatoes straight from my garden at work and I didn’t keep track of any of the carrots or cucumbers or anything leafy. (And I had a lot of carrots – yay!) But, of the things I did keep track of – dum da da dum! – the grand total came to 73 lbs 4 oz of produce.

maters

I grew 49 lbs 15 oz of tomatoes in three different types – 17 lbs 10 oz of slicers, 12 lbs 12 oz of cherry tomatoes and 19 lbs 9 oz of paste tomatoes. (Though I must admit it seemed like more…)

tomatillos

I also had a bumper crop of tomatillos this year – 15 lbs 4 oz and then at least that again, which I ended up giving away because I just didn’t need them. We also had 6 lbs 1 oz of green beans and would have probably had much more had there not been a snake living in my green bean vines, somewhat scaring me away from digging out all the hidden beans. And, lastly, 2 lbs of jalapenos, which, for Maine, doesn’t seem too bad.

But now! On to the canning!

the spicies

Much of what I canned I grew. Lots of tomatoes, salsa, salsa verde, pickled jalapenos, dilly beans. Another large portion was local – we picked our own strawberries, blueberries and apples, for example. Some stuff (remember those cherries?) was not remotely local, but was delicious, nonetheless!

2014 canning total!

  • low sugar strawberry jam – 17 8oz jars, 2 4oz jars
  • cherry lime jam – 5 8oz jars, 1 4oz jar
  • holiday cherries (sweet pickled cherries with spices) – 6 8oz jars
  • cherry bounce – 1/2 gallon
  • vanilla peaches – 1 quart, 1 pint
  • cherry butter – 2 pints
  • low sugar raspberry jam – 4 8oz jars, 2 12oz jars, 1 4oz jar
  • Rotel-style tomatoes – 3 pints
  • pickled jalapenos – 4 pints
  • tomato salsa – 5 pints
  • low sugar blueberry maple jam – 5 8oz jars, 1 4oz jar
  • crushed tomatoes – 2 quarts, 1 pint
  • dilly beans, some spicy – 7 pints
  • salsa verde/enchilada sauce – 12 pints
  • blueberry pie filling – 4 quarts (only one sealed, the rest I had to freeze…boo!)
  • applesauce, some spiced – 7 quarts
  • apple butter – 2 pints, 2 12oz jars

Aren’t they pretty?

home grown jalapenos

I primarily use three books for my canning recipes – Food in Jars, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and Canning for a New Generation. I also refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for basic recipes like pie filling, crushed tomatoes and applesauce, mainly to refresh my memory regarding proper headspace and processing times. But I’ve been at this long enough that I feel comfortable winging it, to a certain degree. By now, I’ve got a pretty good grasp on what’s safe and what isn’t and where I can improvise and where I shouldn’t. You’ll also see that I do most of my jams as low sugar jams – they taste so much fresher and more delicious to me that way, without being burdened by massive amounts of sugar. For those, I use Pomona’s Pectin and the basic recipes that come with it.

Looking forward to seeing what I’ll have the opportunity to preserve in 2015!


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347: toffee

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I bought new salt & pepper shakers today since one of ours had a tragic accident recently. H was playing with them in the sink, filling them, dumping them out… When I went to find him a bit later, he had them, full of water, at his little desk, pretending they were “toffee” (coffee.) Tiny little cafe dude. <3