Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Things To Do With Cucumbers

The cucumbers are by far my most successful garden plant so far. The have kind of taken over and are spreading like wildfire. I didn't even intend to plant cucumbers this year because they take up so much room but then I got a free packet of seeds with an etsy order so I figured what the heck. Now I have more cucumbers than I know what to do with so I am trying to come up with lots of ways to use them. Today I made my first attempt at refrigerator pickles. Some day I will try to make real pickles but for now these seemed less intimidating. I adapted this recipe from The Meaning of Pie, basically I halved it and only used one type of pepper (cayenne) since that was what I had on hand. Here some pics.

ingredients, I grew the cucs and cayenne peppers myself!

all chopped up and brine poured over the top

sealed up and ready to be fridged
 They need to sit for 48 hours before they will be ready to eat but I'll let you know how they turn out when I get to try them!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I have been on a huge salad kick lately. It's pretty funny since during my first trimester I couldn't eat salad without throwing up. Now that i'm drawing in on my third trimester I'm really craving fresh fruits and veggies. It's good timing too because some of the vegetables in my garden are starting to produce pretty well and there is nothing like cooking with ingredients you grew yourself! I'm getting new ripe cucumbers pretty much every day now and I was trying to come up with a way to use them as well as use up some leftover tomatos and herbs that I had in my fridge so I kind of made up this salad. I sampled it and it was very tasty! I'm trying to save the rest of it to have with dinner tonight (pork chops with mustard sauce) but I'm kins of wanting to have a big bowl of it right now! Yum! See my recipe after the photos.

freshly picked cucumbers

finished salad

close up


3 roma tomatos, chopped
2 small cucumbers, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup red onion finely slivered
1/4 queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl whisk honey and vinegar until combined, then toss with other ingredients. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve chilled.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thoughts on Motherhood

I meant to post something along these lines around mother's day but I never got around to it. All of this has been swirling around in my head for quite a while though and I feel like it's something I need to express, I think I'm just so full of emotions about my impending motherhood that I just have to get it out there, lol.

A lot of people (friends, family, coworkers, strangers even) have asked me how I knew I was ready to have children. The short answer is I just did. I know that is super lame and unhelpful, sorry. I remember asking my mom when I was a teenager how you knew when you met the right guy, how you knew he was the one. She always said "you just know" and I thought, "yeah but how do you know!?!". The thing is, when it comes to getting married or deciding to have children, when it's right you won't have to wonder. You won't worry about whether it's the right choice for you because you know that if you don't go for it you will bust! You won't be able to stand NOT taking that plunge. You will always worry about being a good parent, or having enough money to support a child, that's normal, but the worry is way, WAY overshadowed by the the strong desire, the almost physical need to take that next step.

As I've mentioned before, Eric and I have talked about having kids ever since we got serious. We both knew we wanted them (this is a great thing to be on the same page with your partner on by the way) but it was kind of a distant, abstract and hazy idea of our future, not an immediate reality. For a long time when I thought about having kids I thought "yeah, that will be nice some day" but deep down I knew I wasn't ready to give up being the star of my own movie (if that makes any sense). I always think of mothers as being so selfless. My mother was a perfect example of this, always making sure everyone else was happy before she even gave a thought to herself. To say that my mom is hugely important in our family would be an understatement, without her there basically is no family, she keeps us all glued together. But anyway, I digress.. The point is that mothers always seem to put their families needs ahead of their own and I wasn't sure I was really ready to give up on being selfish yet.

I think the switch started happening for me when I got married, I slowly started getting used to the idea of putting someone else's needs first. Although the process started at that time it was still less of me putting him first and more of an even split of needs, a partnership where both of your needs are equal and get the same amount of attention. At some point last Summer it clicked for me that I really wanted, no, needed to have kids. I wasn't concerned at all about putting this little person's needs ahead of my own, it simply wasn't an issue anymore and I knew that I was ready to start a family in the near future. I talked it over with Eric and he was ready too, we both came to the point where we wanted to start this amazingly huge thing together. It wasn't a question for us anymore, it was a certainty.

I have lots more I could say about this. In fact I probably will be saying lots more about this before (and after) the baby comes. But for now my advice to anyone wondering about what is the right time to have kids is this, don't sweat it. When the time comes, you'll know. Until then you can think about it in that distant far off future kind of way and it can be a fun thing to look forward to. Most likely the time to start a family will be here before you know it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Catching Up After Vacation

You know that feeling when you get back from vacation and everything looks totally different to you? Even if you were just gone for a little while? Eric and I just got back from an amazing vacation to Puerto Rico and it's like seeing our house with all new eyes. There's a ton I could say about our trip but I try to keep this blog home focused so I will just say that one of my favorite things about traveling is coming home again. Maybe that's weird but there is definitely nothing like being away to make you appreciate all the wonderful things about your own home.

Ever since we have gotten back (after a brief recovery period that is) I have been in full on cleaning and organizing mode. Sometimes I get a little lazy with my housework (hey, it's a big house!)  and I was so busy before we left that I let a lot of things slide. Now that I'm back and have a little more time I noticed that a few of my house plants had died and the carpet desperately needed to be vacuumed. I've also been working some more on cleaning out and organizing baby Echo's room, maybe I am in nesting mode :-) I still have lots to do (as always) but I'm making progress. Today I replaced some of my dead house plants and tending to my garden (which suffered a bit while I was away). Here are some pics of what's new around here lately.

Things really took off in the garden while I was gone. The cucumbers are starting to get ripe and carrots are coming along but still small. There are also some baby tomatos growing and tons of peppers! My hand is in the picture as a size reference FYI.

This cucumber was the first one I've harvested but I have a TON more growing! It was tasty, all around a big success. 

working on filling out my strawberry pot succulent garden, I have a vision for this, it will be awesome when it fills in.

Bought this today to replace my spider plant that I somehow killed. I think I over watered it :-(

New succulent for a previously empty pot.

all my little house plants assembled to get a good watering after my trip

all my little house plants assembled to get a good watering after my trip

Last but not least here are some updated photos of the baby's room. It's gradually getting cleaned out

this is the previously unseen side of the room. I have my first baby shower next weekend so i am trying to make room for my new goodies :-) I already have most of the drawers filled with baby clothes and the desk will get a changing pad on top and serve as a changing table. Needless to say the art supplies and computer will be moving elsewhere.
It's weird but while I was on vacation I almost forgot about being pregnant. Not that I could really ever forget but I was so distracted by new sights, not to mentions tastes, that I just didn't focus on it as much as I do at home. When I got back it really hit me that this baby will be here in 4 months! I already love spending time in her room, it's so warm and comforting to me.

Anyway, that's what's new around our house. Hope everyone has a great long weekend!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Garden in May

Does it seem to anyone else that May is flying by at record speeds? I can't believe it is almost half way over already! The garden has been growing like crazy this month, I can't believe how quickly it changes. Here are some updated pictures.

Blueberries getting nice and big, one of them is even starting to turn blue!

view of both my raised beds, you can really see how everything has grown!

Cayenne peppers, I've used one of them so far but it was very hot yet so I'm trying to leave them longer, they should turn red and be much hotter eventually

The cucumbers are taking over! I really need to get a trellis for them but I keep forgetting.

Cucumber flower

Carrots, still taking forever. I'm not sure if these will pan out this year or not. 

Thai basil that I grew from seed.

Baby cucumber :-)

The brandywine tomatos are getting huge and have tons of flowers on them but no fruit yet,  here's hoping they turn out

All the radishes have been pulled from this bed and I transplanted all the little guys I started from seed. This bed now contains jalapeno peppers, yellow bell peppers, yellow pear tomatos, cilantro, mint, rosemary and cayenne peppers.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's a Girl!

I know everyone probably saw this on facebook already but I am so over the moon to have found out we are having a baby girl. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life to see her kicking and moving during our ultrasound last week and I was definitely fighting back tears of joy. We are beyond thrilled to be having a little girl (though of course we would have been happy either way) and we just can't wait to meet her! I have also been feeling her kick for about a week now and Eric has even been able to feel her from the outside some times which makes it really real for him. Here's a picture of our darling girl, we are planning to name her Echo Virginia Albright.

Baby Echo

Of course my mom and I ran out the next day to stock up on girl clothes, this is going to be one well dressed little lady.

adorable prints on our girl outfits
Lastly I wanted to share a cute picture of Westley, he thinks all the new baby furniture is for him :-)

Westley says thanks for the new bed!
This is such an exciting time and getting more exciting every day while we count down to my due date :-)

Mexican Hot Dogs

I'm posting this in honor of Cinco de Mayo yesterday even though this is a recipe I cooked weeks ago. These are seriously, without a doubt the best hot dogs I have ever had. Oh my gosh they were delicious! Be forewarned, this is not a healthy recipe. In fact it's probably really really bad for you which is why it's so yummy :-)

I found the recipe on  Hilah Cooking (click the link for the full recipe) and thought it looked amazing so I made it for dinner one Friday night and it certainly did not disappoint. Here is a picture of my finished hot dog.

The first step to making this deliciousness is to take your hot dog ( I used ballpark all beef franks) and wrap a strip of raw bacon around it, then fry it in a pan until the bacon is nice and crispy and some of the bacon grease has seeped in to the hot dog, mmmm... After that's done you should toast a hoagie roll in the leftover bacon grease. This sounds like it would be gross but it's actually amazingly delicious. Next you put the bacon wrapped hot dog in the bun and top with as many or as few of the following as desired.

refried beans
pico de gallo
salsa verde
hot sauce

I like my hot dogs with lots of stuff on them so I loaded this baby up. It also gave me a chance to use some of my fresh radishes from my garden pictured here:

I couldn't resist showing this off. They are so pretty!

These hot dogs are quite filling as you can imagine so one was plenty for me. I definitely recommend you try these next time you are feeling decedent :-)