Friday, August 29, 2014

Freezing tomatoes

We visited friends of ours this week who happen to have a garden that is producing tomatoes at an insane rate. So, I gave them mint from my garden, peaches from our CSA, we don't eat them really, and they gave me two squash and a serious glut of tomatoes.

I am giddy.

I have been noshing on them and adding them to anything I can. But it is a serious amount that we have because our CSA just gave us some as well. What is a non-canning person to do?

I froze them. Whole.

Rock on.

I did a lot of research online and of course came across the many ways you can freeze a sauce or blanched tomatoes, but I am feeling waaaaaaaaaay too lazy and am not into having to deal with too many steps. What I wanted was to have tomatoes that I could throw into chili or stews for the winter. These tomatoes will not do well for any recipe calling for fresh tomatoes so keep that in mind. Freezing about 6 or 8 large tomatoes was the goal here and a helluva a lot more simple than I thought. I really thought I had to puree them or chop them up or roast and throw in jars. But no, all I needed was to wash and toss into a freezer bag. Check out the instructions here on

I did puree some very overripe tomatoes for pizza tonight and some pasta dishes I can make on the weekend. Win win for me!

So if you are not a canner, take heart, freeze away and enjoy your chili this winter with summer tomatoes.


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Riverside Church and Peace Fountain

We went to NYC this weekend to have lunch with a friend and to take in the beautiful day.

We always park up by Columbia University and right across from the school is the stunning Riverside Church. My hubby and I were married at there in Christ Chapel. One of the reasons we chose this location was that my hubby was at school then so he was able to handle most of the arrangements and they did not care what our faith or if we were regular parishioners. Another bonus was that they were very accommodating and we even had our reception in The Ninth Floor Lounge. The food was fantastic and the views equally so.

Anyway, it is quite the church, but over on Amsterdam avenue and 112th Street is the ginormous The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. It makes Riverside look like a shoe box to be honest. One of the reasons we headed over there is I have had a slight obsession with one of their statues called the Peace Fountain. I had seen it once before when driving by, but I have never had the opportunity to see it up close and personal. This weekend I had that chance.

Trippy and strange do not cover it at all.

That would be the Archangel Michael hugging two giraffes while the head of the devil hangs off the crab body which is said to be sitting on some sort of representation of the DNA double helix.

Rock on.

The blog NYC Loves NYC has better close up shots as my pictures were taken with a phone. Check them out here.

If you ever visit good 'ol NYC, check out these wonderful displays of architecture and sculpture which are on the Upper West Side. Then grab a bite at one of the following joints.

Cafe Con Leche - A hole in the wall that we really like.

Sarabeth's on Amsterdam is beautiful, delicious and a little high in price. The charm of this locale is that it looks like a French Country farmhouse inside. I have also eaten at the Central Park South location and the decor there is very modern, but the food is still good.

Rosa Mexicano - Lincoln Center location A chain, but a nice one. The guacamole made table side was outrageous!

Or let NYC Serious Eats suggest a place.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Our Grown-Up Closet

We had a small closet, our friend enlarged it and all it had was a shelf and a rod. We were fine with this. We added cube storage with baskets and it worked for awhile. Then we did our room, had the storage crawl space discovered and moved the cubbies in there. We have been at a loss as to what to do with the closet. We bought dressers at IKEA to put on either side of our bed but they ended up being too large and awkward looking. Then we put one the closet and one to use in the guest room. A very temporary solution.

We decided to check out The Container Store. Nice stuff and good ideas but very pricey. We inquired what one of their systems would cost for our little closet and it would have been $500, but with delivery and installation, that brought the total to $800. Uh, no. In the end, my hubby did Lowe's and bought a Rubbermaid system for about $200.

Here it is:

Some painting needs to be done, but right now, we are very happy with the result. My stuff is on the right, his is on the left. Please note my husband is a proud clothing whore, God Bless. The upper shelves do not have much but will come in handy when sweater season kicks in that is for sure. Oh and a little brag here, the knit hand bag you see on the door, there are two but one is hidden, I made them and they are fabulous.

So there is our grown up closet in our grown up bedroom.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Oven Roasted Green Beans

Made these tonight. Recipe via Emeril. Big fan.

Oven Roasted Green Beans


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Generosity Of Others

Neighbors down the street offered us a kiddie pool. Since the one we have is really meant for a one year old and we had already been discussing picking up a bigger one at the end of the season sales, we jumped at the offer. About a week later we swung by, checked it out and happily took it home. They took no money for it so I see me dropping off homemade baked goods very soon.
Anyway, yesterday, I finally got around to cleaning it up and our son was beyond giddy.

This is the only full shot I have the pool.

He spent a total of 5 hours in the pool with lunch and nap and snack in between. It was stunning out and he had an absolute blast.

The cool back story behind the pool was another neighbor had this for her three sons, the oldest is now in college, and she passed it onto our other neighbors whose two children are now in middle school. That same family also has an above ground pool so they no longer needed this one.

Other neighbors had gone to a huge antique sale and picked up a vintage radio flyer car for our son. They too shall be getting homemade baked goods.

These thoughtful pass alongs and gifts are incredibly sweet and helpful. We now don't need to buy a pool and all the water used goes into the garden when done. The car just adds to more outdoor fun and he really loves the horn.

Ain't it grand when people are so freakin' nice just because?


Monday, August 11, 2014


I am not someone who is a big fan of remakes. The Women? 1939 did it so much better. Stepford Wives? Don't shame me. And may God smack around the fool that attempts to remake Gone With The Wind.
Now the 1954 Sabrina? I liked it, but I did not love it. As for the 1995 remake, I adored it. I am sure there is someone somewhere clutching their pearls right about now so I apologize and please let go. I do not recall what it was, perhaps it was the settings or the costumes or the way the story went. And while I like Humphrey Bogart as an actor, I preferred Harrison Ford's version of Linus Larrabee.
Classic movies and I are usually much better friends, but this time, the remake won out for moi.
Plus,  the 1995 version introduced me to the superb French beauty Fanny Ardant. I want to smolder like she does.

Are there remakes you loved and/or hated or preferred over the revered original?


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Things to Make For Yourself or Someone You Love

It has seriously been one of those days so this post is all about being creative and eating. Don't act surprised cause you know they go together. Seriously. Hammers, chocolate, figs, wine, chalk paint. Ahem. Enjoy.

DIY Blue Mason Jars from A Beach Cottage blog.

4 Men 1 Lady has a really nice tutorial for a Jewelry Peg Board.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. A dozen right here please.

Want a tiled tray? Just A Girl blog has easy directions on how to make such a beauty.

Frugal Feeding has a lovely watermelon, mint and feta salad recipe. It looks so refreshing.

Need ornaments? Beneath My Heart has new way to use upholstery tacks with these DIY ornaments.

10 Minute Dinners has a homemade peach salsa recipe in case you are being inundated with peaches and want to do something else besides just can them. ;-)

A DIY Undermount Spice Rack. May need to send this to the hubby...

I grow a lot of lemon balm so The Nerdy Farmwife's lemon balm bug spray may be on the list of endless things I want to make with my herbs.

May you all have a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

My Drying Rack

On occasion I like to send my husband links to a furniture/woodworking project I believe he may enjoy undertaking and that I will enjoy using. This was the case of the DIY Drying Rack on the Centsational Girl Blog. I liked it, passed it on and I now have my own. Hooray!

I actually wanted him to wait until we did a laundry room, but I am glad he didn't as we have already used it. There is something really nice about having things that someone has made for you. Especially when that item costs a ridiculous amount of money in the stores. 

He eventually wants to paint it, but I think it is fine for now since it is hanging in our unfinished never to be finished basement. We will most likely go with white, but one never knows does one? 

The washer and dryer are closer to where I am standing taking the picture. Our basement is a typical concrete, blah space, but that is fine. If I had to make a choice and had loads of cash, I would rather add a small addition onto the house than redo basement. We still get some water down there even though we have taken all sorts of preventative measures. Ahhh, home ownership. It can suck you dry. That is why it pays to be able to do some things yourself. 

Now to find a few other things that he may want to try to build. Tralala!


Monday, August 4, 2014

No Kneeling

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the baptism of our friend's little girl in a Presbyterian Church. As someone who was born and raised Catholic and went to Catholic school until 9th grade, I have always enjoyed exposure to different faiths. I have been to Jewish Weddings, Hindu ceremonies and I have attended Episcopalian services. On that last one, let's be honest, Episcopals are not much different than Catholic as far as the services and songs go, but the Presbyterians? I sang hymns that were not somber and were uplifting and they even took requests from the congregation (!!!). There was no communion and no kneeling. I was so confused when after the collection plate went up to the altar and the minister came down spoke and pretty much wrapped up the Mass. There were bibles in the pews, very odd for this Catholic chick and tithing envelopes with pencils so you can do your thing there. The sharing of the peace was similar to Episcopals where you can walk around and shake hands. The readings were not long and the sermon was relevant and funny. No guilt, no damnation, no "you are a bad Christian", no "I am a minister and better than you vibe" and did I mention no guilt??

I have decided I want to convert.

Okay, one good experience in one congregation means nothing, I know. I am also aware that there are sects of Protestantism out there that make Catholicism look gentle and easygoing, but seriously, it was the first time IN MY LIFE, where I sat in Church and actually enjoyed it. If I lived near the Church I would seriously consider becoming a member. The minister was funny and sweet and not once did I feel like he was judging me. Oh how I recall being in Church during school and the priest standing up there and saying how he was a hotline to God, no you are not you arrogant jackass, and how they would make us feel bad about everything. In some ways, you get what you give in religion, but in some cases I would have liked to just feel good after leaving church for once. Yesterday I felt really good, like I connected, and that was an unexpected surprise. Of course I am still skeptical, but I think it is important to feel you can have the space to be that way and still be in God's good graces and love Him if you choose. To not give people room to grow or questions, well that is what turns people off. The self righteous attitude, the "my God is better than yours" bs, the whole if you don't have Jesus you shall perish. How about you just be nice to people regardless of what they choose to follow or not follow? Wait, going off topic a little here, sorry.

Back to the baptism. The ceremony was incorporated into the Mass and was so quick I actually thought I missed something. The Minister had the mom walk the baby down the aisle so everyone could see her dress and oooo and ahhh. Very sweet.

I am also now looking into the Presby Churches in our area. My poor husband is probably beside himself as he is a non-practicing Jew that prefers the Buddhist principles and spirituality. I have an interest in Buddhism as well, just not as deep as his. We also want our son exposed to all kinds of religions because ultimately the choice should be his about what he follows, if he follows anything. I am not sure how often I will go or if I go, but I now know that the Protestant avenue is the one I prefer.

Amen. ;-)