July 30, 2010

The Dominican seasoning secret

When I visited the beautiful Dominican Republic back in January,
I became a complete fan of their food.
I was raised on lots of authentic Mexican food,
and love rice and beans, and pico de gallo, and everything else...
Someday I want to move to a country where
cilantro and garlic grow like weeds...
But I digress.

I knew from the first bite that there was something
distinctly different, it wasn't chili powder, or cumin.
I spent the entire week trying to figure out what the
amazing combination of flavor came from.

It wasn't until I got home and did some research that
I discovered their secret. Which really isn't a secret.
It's just so common they sometimes forget to mention it...

Being in the midst of Summer,
and an abundance of garden produce,
I thought maybe you'd like to know their secret too.

It's called Sazon.

Sazon is actually the base to most Dominican dishes,
known elsewhere as "Sofrito," Sazon is an all purpose seasoning
made primarily of vegetables.


- half a bunch of Cilantro

- 1 green, 1 yellow, and 1 red
medium sized Bell Peppers

- 1/2 of a medium sized Red Onion

-10-15 cloves of peeled Garlic

-1/4 C. of Apple Cider Vinegar

-1/4 C. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-Fresh Oregano to taste (not much!)

To make the Sazon,
begin by thoroughly washing all of the vegetables,
then cut them down into sizes that will be manageable
for your blender or food processor.
Put the vinegar, cilantro and olive oil in the blender first,
followed by the remaining ingredients.
Add a little water if it's too thick -
you want a nice 'pasty' consistency.

Store your Sazon in a glass container.
This is powerful stuff! If you keep it in a non-glass
container - it will smell like Sazon for a long time...

The Sazon will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month!
I'm hoping that I might be able to can it -
but I'm still researching that...

It tastes especially good on chicken or pork when used as
a marinade sauce (and baked), and tastes absolutely delicious
when used to season rice or beans.
(Keep in mind that you will need to add Salt!)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have...

July 26, 2010

yesterday's forgotten tea set

At least it seems like yesterday,
when Mom took me shopping on my birthday -
to a quaint little nearby town,
in search of the perfect miniature tea set.
A little girl necessity.

But eleven years ago is probably more accurate.

I hosted a tea party at the kitchen table
about once a week after that,
complete with formal invitations and a mob cap.

I used it,
chipped it,
polished and re-arranged it.
It was my everyday girlhood luxury.

Until the day came when bigger tea cups suddenly
seemed much more practical.

The tea set has made its abode in a drawer ever since.

Until this morning,
when my four year old visiting niece asked:

"Do you have a tea set Kate?"

July 23, 2010

My Camera Endorsement

Since beginning this blog back in January,
I've received several very sweet comments regarding
my photography, and even a few questions about my camera.
Since I do have strong feelings regarding the subject,
I think that it is finally time to introduce you to my camera.

I am unfortunately a young woman of too many interests,
and not nearly enough time to devote to each.
So, needing to prioritize, I decided that I just simply didn't
have room on my hat-rack for that of a "photographer."
I wanted something simple that could accurately capture
the beauty around me, with minimum hassle.
I couldn't visualize myself dragging a heavy bag of lenses around,
and hoped I wouldn't have to...
I did my homework,
and was so thankful to discover the
wide-angle compact camera...

I decided upon this model seven months ago,
and feel the same way now about my decision as the day
I brought it home.

Thrilled. Very Thrilled.
And here she is - the Nikon CoolPix P90.

I momentarily considered a similar style through Canon,
but the ultimate deciding factor there was that the
Nikon's battery was rechargeable, and the Canon's was not.
(Stressed as - very important...)

I'm cowering in shame,
but I have to admit that most of my photos are simply
taken on the automatic setting...
It's so easy, it's embarrassing.
Great color, great aperture look.
The key seems to be the wide-angle lens,
which allows it to get macro shots,
and panoramic shots,
all without changing lenses...
Now, if you're planning on photographing weddings,
and getting jobs with it - this isn't your camera,
and SLRs are still scientifically proven to be better,
but for those of you who simply wish for decent
shots from your every day moments,
I can't stop recommending it. :)
Brand new - they are under $400.00, which is
considerably cheaper than most SLRs.

And that is the confession of a photographer who
is not a photographer...
In seven months,
my P90 has captured landscapes, seascapes,
sunrises, sunsets, food, portraits, and
speeding objects of all sorts.
(ie: Spencer.)

I'd say it's a keeper.

P90 and I at a recent visit to the yarn shop...
Less time changing lenses means more time for knitting! :)

July 22, 2010

Just Peachy

On our way home last week,
we picked up four huge boxes of Georgia peaches.
They were just too good to pass up -
and way too pretty not to photograph...
Especially in Grandma's antique pottery bowl,
cracks, chips, and all.

So I enjoyed the beauty while it lasted,
and then got serious.

After a little blanching,
a little peeling,
and so on...

Out they came;
warm, golden - tucked away for a far distant Winter.

Just three-and-a-half boxes to go...

And so the canning season begins.

July 20, 2010

I'm Back

Well, we had a lovely week.

Enjoying the harbor view.
The fishing.
The dolphins.
The walks along the beach and down the pier.

Having "tea" with a niece I don't get to see
anywhere near often enough.

Watching the nephews go skim-boarding.

At seven and nine,
I'd say they are amazingly good...

And getting to visit my wonderful grandparents.
Grandma is half-way through her chemo treatments
and going pretty strong.
We are really thanking the Lord for that.

It's good to be back.

July 8, 2010

seeing the big picture

It's been a really rough week for our family;
losing our dog was only part of it -
but this past year for me has been all about looking
beyond the pain of the moment,
and trusting God for the big picture.
It's definitely the lesson He has been teaching me;
knowing that now I see through a glass darkly;
but someday I'll understand.

"Therefore we do not lose heart.
Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed
day by day.
For our light affliction,
which is but for a moment,
is working in us a far more exceeding
and eternal
weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things
which are seen,
but at the things which
are not seen.
For the things which are seen
are temporary,
but the things which are not seen
are eternal."

II Corinthians 4:16-18

Tonight we're packing,
and early tomorrow morning we'll be heading out
to visit our family south of us.
There might be a picture or two now and then;
but it's going to be more quiet here than usual.

See you all in two weeks!

July 5, 2010

Goodbye Polar Bear

Just as a warning,
this is probably going to make you cry;
it makes me cry writing it.

We were concerned as usual for our other dogs and
the expected problems they have with July 4th,
and all of the noise and flashing that they hate so much
that seems to be going on all around us.
(We can see four or five professional shows from our house,
and we feel so bad about the things we lit off;
some of which were louder than usual.)
But we knew they were safe hiding in the barn,
we knew they would be okay.
We should have worried more about our Haggai.

He has often been frightened during thunderstorms,
and occasionally climbed the fence to escape;
but he hadn't done that for awhile.
So we were pretty worried when we couldn't
find him this morning.
Mom and I drove around the block, calling for him.

We found him about a mile away,
but the part of him we all loved best was gone.
A car had gotten him.

We're still very much in denial that our polar bear isn't here.
He was such a calm, gentle, faithful guy.
He humbly protected and guarded our sheep for
about five years, and filled a role that can never be replaced.
We'll never forget his big brown eyes,
his unflinching stare,
his handshake.
He was so huge, so quiet,
so big and brave;
and yet so vulnerable.

Dad buried on him on a little rise between the
woods and the pasture.
A place where his sheep often come to rest;
right in the heart of the land he watched so well.

We miss you bud.

July 2, 2010

having a hay day

We've had some hay-baling going on around here.

It's about time.
We've had so much rain this year;
we're a little behind schedule.
I like to look at it with the perspective that the
baby red-winged black birds had plenty of time
to grow up, and leave their nests.
It's one of the saddest days of Summer to see
momma and daddy birds looking for their babies
that disappeared under the hay cutter.

I'm happy that wasn't this year;
but I'm keeping that sentiment to myself.
Men don't always think that way...


We're pretty grateful for our handy hay elevator.
I remember back when Dad had to throw each
bale up to the loft by hand.
Now, Joe puts it on off the wagon...

and Dad receives it at the top to stack.
That dusty old hayloft brings back the memories...
Hide-and-seek, newborn kittens, cobwebs, and clover smells.

I somehow got out of helping this time;
I weeded my ginormous corn patch instead...
The green beans are starting to twine their way around
the corn stalks
and we're ready to plant the third sister -
some pumpkins and squash.
But I have to get those pesky weeds out first.

Ever heard of the corn needing to be
knee-high by the fourth of July?

We're ahead of schedule.

This is just a portion of the weeds that I removed today.
If you're not impressed...

Huck was.
(can't you tell?)

And then he got tired just thinking about it.