Know what this is?

Yes, that’s right, its a prickly pear cactus bloom.
And what that means is that all of these buds,

could become fruit that look like this.

(image found here)

And then could become all manner of deliciousness like pricklybeena or jam.


Just wanted to share a few photos from my quick trip to Oregon this past weekend. It was lovely! They have moss and primeval looking ferns like you wouldn’t believe (which I actually did not get any worthwhile photos of).

They also have restaurants/fish marts where you can actually find out how, where and by which boat your fish was caught. Talk about locavore friendly! This is at Local Ocean, in Newport (click to embiggen to read the little fish signs!).

There were really cool things at the aquarium we visited.

And on the way out, some lovely mountains.

It was a picturesque and a second (more leisurely) trip is definitely in order.

One of my husband’s and my unofficial resolutions (we’re not much for official New Year’s resolutions here), was to try to be better about food. We often eat out, which is expensive, and we throw out a good deal of food as well, which is also expensive. And given that one of our good friends is essentially the queen of not letting things go to waste, it makes me pretty ashamed that we don’t do such a hot job at our house. So our resolution was to spend less time and money buying everything we need for a set of recipes every week, but instead use what we have and see where the food took us, as we attempted to use up food we already had bought.

This improv style dinner menu has so far gone very well, although we really are only about two meals into it, due to weekends away and such. The first meal used up the heels of a loaf of italian bread, a package of chicken tenders, a jar of mustard, the last half of a package of plum tomatoes, the last half of a package of carrots, and about 2/3s of a jar of pasta sauce. We made this, with a side of roasted root veggies. According to my husband it was, and I quote, “mmmmmm, this is fantastic!” Now before you start thinking, hmm, that recipe has a can of crushed tomatoes and not fresh plum tomatoes and tomato sauce – it’s true, we took some liberties, but it was still really fantastic!

Up for tonight’s menu was some bratwurst which we had picked up on a whim. Tonight’s final tally was somewhat less impressive than the chicken parmesan, but I did finish a package of spelt pasta, use about half of the brats (the rest are frozen), and some of our vast supply of garlic.

Without further ado, I give you Brat Pasta (I think I need to work on my recipe names, maybe Brats from a Hat? hmm.):

Brat Pasta

  • Ingredients:
    • 2 bratwursts, sliced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup marsala wine
    • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 package spelt pasta (can be found in the organic section at the grocery)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • Shredded parmesan, asiago and/or romano cheeses for garnish

  • Methods (since everything is an experiment at our house):
    • 1. Put sliced brats, garlic, pepper and olive oil into a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until brat slices are browned, stirring regularly.
    • 2. Add balsalmic, marsala, and dried herbs, turn the heat down to medium or medium low (depending on how powerful your stove is), and continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the brat slices are cooked through.
    • 3. Reduce heat to low, and keep the sauce warm
    • 4. Cook pasta according to the package instructions, adding the salt to the water before putting in the pasta
    • 5. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add directly to the skillet with the brat mixture. Toss, serve, garnish and enjoy!

  • Notes
    • Makes enough for 2 for dinner, plus enough for one to have a side with lunch the next day
    • Would probably be just as yummy with some broccoli or something else plant-related added in, we just didn’t have much greenery in the fridge
    • I have made a similar recipe with chicken, it just ends up less savory

Yeah, yeah, I know, I have a bad habit of disappearing in the summertime. But dudes, it is totally worth it, because I have lots of amazing adventures to relate.
I’m saving the best stuff for full length posts, but here are a few mini-posts to slake your thirst:

1 – I have been crocheting like a madwoman!

I actually have hopes that this may someday be finished. Which would be amazing, because I have a very poor track record for finishing large objects like blankets and sweaters. I’m feeling a bit like this might be a bit of a “granny blanket”, but I am telling myself that the amazing color palette makes it the hippest granny blanket ever. (My Nonnie is laughing at me right now somewhere in the ether.)

2 – We went back to the Caymans this summer. And forgot the camera.
Here is the only picture we took, using a cell phone:

The dock from our room.

But its still ridiculously gorgeous there, and we spent the whole time snorkeling, and discovering new things the island had to offer. Including this amazing rum, called Seven Fathoms, which they age in casks on the bottom of the ocean. I would say that this is probably the best sipping rum I have experienced.

3 – We moved to a new big grown-up house! I am not posting pictures yet, though, because it still looks a bit like a tornado blew through. Apparently if you love books, and move from a house with built-ins to one without, you are going to have book storage issues. Who knew?
The best part about the move though, is that I have a room for my creative endeavors, so all my yarn and my easel and such don’t feel so neglected anymore!

More to come, including the cutest train conversation I have ever had, the best way to travel with a birthday cake, and how my mother is a bad influence on my knitting.