Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer Days Are Ending

Summer days are coming to a close, and what a crazy fantastic summer it has been. This summer welcomed our first child into the world! He has been a wonderful addition to our lives (yes, even at 3:00 in the morning) and we are so thankful for this gift from God. Could spend a long long time telling you all about him and how wonderful he is, and about our experience the day he was born, but that's not what this post was all about. It's mainly about simple summer delights like sun tea and fruit.

Sage. Super-squash is in the background.
Some of the other things we've been enjoying are the rewards from our garden. We planted herbs, peppers, and squash this spring. The squash has taken over the back yard (yay! That means lots of squash this winter!), and the peppers are all song great, thanks to my husband & his faithful watering & care. The herbs have been a learning experience, but a fun one. It was funny, once we planted them & got them going, it was kindof like... "now what?" We had no idea what to do next, or when/how to harvest them or store them or anything. Some searching online & pinning what we found so we could look it up later solved that, & now we have really been enjoying fresh & dried organic herbs in our cooking. What a difference in flavor!

Sun tea. This has been a favorite since my daddy would make it in this 70's or 80's version sun tea jar with the spigot on the side & yellow decorations that said "Sun Tea" in groovy letters. A lot like this one.

Sadly one year on our vacation this jar broke. That was a very sad moment. Not only did it break as soon as we arrived at the beach house & we didn't get to enjoy it at all on vacation, it was the end of Dad's sun tea jar. I haven't seen a tea jar that looks as quality as that one since, and haven't wanted to pay for one that looked like it might only last us a couple summers at best.

My husband's wonderful family is very resourceful, though, and gave us this idea. industrial size pickle jar! We had a friend who worked with food at his job & was able to get us one when the pickles were all gone, & ir has been great. No there's no spigot on it, but we can pour it into a pitcher to put in the fridge just about as easy. I got to thinking though, what a fun idea itd be sometime to make a bunch if different flavors/kinds of tea in mason jars. Single-serving sun tea! Love it! I will say, the mason jars might be better- as it took a while to get the pickle-taste out of the lid of the pickle jar. The first summer we would put foil on top instead on the lid, so as not to have pickle-tea.

Fresh fruit. Alas, we did not grow fruit in the garden, but have been big fans of the produce department. While I was pregnant the main cravings I had were for fruits & vegetables. (Thank goodness. Just watch... With our next child I will probably crave fast food & brownies, & will gain too much weight) We were educated, though, on just a bit of the process of getting food (especially fruits not grown here, I imagine) to the produce dept still fresh- and since organic fruits/veggies are not really in the budget right now, we decided to invest in this fruit wash, to get rid of at least some of the chemicals that are on the skin of the fruit. I wish we had taken before & after pictures of the blueberries on the 4th of July, but trust me, I have never seen such beautiful blueberries before in my life. There was no white "film" on them. Just soft, plump blue skin that looked ever so much more appetizing! Here are some grapes I washed this week, to kindof give you an idea.

Taking some of the heat out of cooking... time, too!
This is something I've always done- we grew up doing it, and it's a huge time-saver. Pre-cooking hamburger and freezing it. We buy the 5-lb or larger size package of ground beef and brown it all up at once. Then we put it into Qt.-size freezer bags so its quick and ready to go for a weeknight meal. When I was growing up, we would do chicken, too. Mom would cook a whole chicken and then someone got the nasty job of de-boning it, and then we'd chop and freeze it. Both practices make for fast meals.

Hope you enjoyed a peek into our summer delights. What are some bits about your summers? I'd love to read your comments!

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