It's summertime around here, and the livin' is EASY! Well, sorta, anyway, if you don't count all the yard work and gardening work. It has been a week since I returned from a fabulous, sixteen-day vacay spent visiting some of my sisters and a wonderful Internet friend.
The day of my return I harvested some gargantuan zucchinis that my hubby should have picked the day after I left! No worries, though - those went into a monster recipe of zucchini bread I made a few days ago. I ended up with five big loaves, a half dozen large muffins for hubby's lunch, and a mini loaf. For one of the loaves I used my Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pan that makes a BIG loaf. I'm not sure how many cups it holds, but I think I used about five cups of batter in it. So that's the loaf we've been eating. I took a loaf to my regular Friday night play date with the girls at the the Shack, took one to the neighbors, and have a couple more tucked into the freezer along with the tiny loaf and the lunch muffins. This should last until the next baking day day!
Besides the zucchini, we have been livin' easy eating some other varieties of squash from the garden, too. I have been pan-sauteing yellow and white patty pans and yellow crooknecks and serving them with just a little butter and S&P. I harvest them when they are just about a couple inches in diameter - SO stinking good. Yesterday I sprinkled a cookie sheet with some EVOO and sliced about six small patty pans onto it, then roasted them in a 375 degree oven while I was baking some crumb-crusted lemon scrod. YUM!
Then there is the Swiss chard. That's good, too, if you like greens with a little bite to them. I planted regular white chard and rainbow chard, both. Since I planted them rather close, they needed thinning, so when I thinned them the other day, we got to eat the thinnings! I washed them and trimmed the root off and let them dry overnight in the fridge wrapped in paper towels inside a baggie. Then I sauteed them in bacon fat, added a little S&P and mmmmn! they were good too. That's what I mean about the livin' is easy - I love eating out of the garden in the summer! My green beans are about ready to pick, so I am already thinking about how to serve them and what I else I will have with them.
I usually don't plant cucumbers b/c they take so much room, but my neighbor keeps me supplied with all of those I can eat. That's why he gets zucchini bread! We have tons of tomatoes coming on, as well as the coles - broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage - which we had to plant twice b/c of the garden thieves. We have a couple of kinds of pepper planted also that I will use with the tomatoes to make salsa to put up for the winter. Besides the salsa, I will can the tomatoes to use all winter long. I use canned tomatoes in all kinds of stuff, and I hate paying almost $2.00 a can!
My vacation down south was tons of fun! I started off on June 22nd by flying to my youngest sister's house in Tampa. I visited with Juliet for a few days, and while there, got a new tattoo! It is a gorgeous blue swallow with its wings spread and sprays of pink cherry blossoms in the background. I had it placed on my right outer ankle and it is about three inches across. I love it! No tattoo remorse for this girl!
After visiting with Juliet, my sweet BIL, Ed, drove me to a meeting point on I75 where I met up with my Internet buddy, RyeRye. We met last summer through Swap-bot and became fast friends. RyeRye and I felt as if we had known each other for years, and in fact, call each other "Sistahs from another Mistah!" We embarked on a super adventure within about an hour of meeting each other: we went para sailing! That was so much fun, and not scary at all. And this is coming from a person who is terrified of carnival rides and roller coasters! During my five day stay with her, we went yard sailing, to the beach, bead shopping, and ate a bunch of great stuff. Also, the snot beat me at my own game, Scrabble, twice! One of the highlights with my visit with RyeRye was her hubby's bird, Conrad. She had taught him to say my name, and he has driven them crazy saying my name all the time before and since my visit.
Next, my sister Diana, came to pick me up and took me back to her place in Naples. she just bought a new home in a gated community. She has her own pool and her house is as cute as can be. She has great decorating taste and even though she's only lived there for a few months, she has it almost all decorated. My newest addiction after spending time in Florida? Sushi! Diana and I ate it almost every day I was there. After spending a few days eating sushi and drinking wine and lounging in her pool, I began to feel pretty darn privileged! Saying again - it's summertime and the livin' is EASY!
For the last leg of my trip I flew from Naples to Charlotte, NC, to see my sister Susan on July fourth. I hadn't been to her house ever before, nor had I ever met my niece's children, so I was glad to be able to visit there. The first night, being the Fourth, they had a barbecue so their friends could meet me. Afterwards, we sat outside forever enjoying the great weather and the (illegal) fireworks displays put on by their neighbors. Ken took me for a ride on his bike the next day so I could see the area a little. The next day Susan took me to an arboretum in the area. We had a wonderful time, and on July 7th, I flew back home. I had a wonderful time visiting everyone, but I think that will be my last grand tour for a long time. I really missed my hubby and my lil spotted dogs.
So, my summer is going very well, and I hope YOUR livin' is easy, too!