David opened the pickles about 2 weeks ago. They were pretty delicious. He used them on his bagel, roast beef sandwiches. I just ate them out of the jar. I picked the last of my cucumbers today and following the same procedure I made pickles again today. I used 1/2 white wine and 1/2 ACV this time. The ACV was quite strong in the previous batch. It wasn't bad but I wanted to see if it could be better. We haven't found a white vinegar we can both have so I chose white wine. A cousin of sorts to vinegar.


Cucumbers to pickles

I picked few cucumbers over the last couple of days. We've been reading about pickle making quite a bit. Especially Hubs. He's been all into canning which is cool. I see homemade jelly in my future. He's already made pectin (from green apples he picked at my brothers!) so we just have to go berry picking.

He's at work but I figured I'd give it a go.

I found a recipe on-line. Adapted it and went to work. I like small batches in case it's gross. Throwing away food is one of the things I avoid at all cost. Good planning should mean one never throws away food, but that's another post.

I put a little metal rack in the pot to keep the glass jar from sitting directly on the pot while it boiled. I'm not sure if this was necessary or not but I didn't want to bust my jar.

While my canning jar boiled in my large pot,I sliced my little home-grown cucumbers, a clove of garlic, and a chunk of onion. 

 Into my small sauce pan went Apple Cider Vinegar. (Based on the smell, I think next time I'll use half ACV and half water but we'll see how the finished product tastes.) To the pot went finely sliced onion and garlic. Then dill, salt, ground pepper, turmeric, and red pepper flakes. This simmered on the stove while the canning jar boiled.
 Waiting a few minutes on the boiling jar...

 FINISHED PRODUCT. (Upside down so it seals, hopefully, again I have no idea if it's necessary.)

I guess we'll see in a week or so if they are any good.

Outside In

Our apartment complex gave us notice. Not that kind of notice, David's been paying the rent. :)

They are power-washing and then painting the building(s). All of them, but mine is the one that will be most bothersome. We had to remove everything, including plants, from our patios. Hum.

Two days of Goodwill, Dollar Store and Big Lots scouring and I had a few dollars worth of plastic tubs and a plan. Oh and a husband that cut one of my 4 foot planters in 1/2. I'm sure our downstairs neighbors love us. Between the saw, dirt, water, oh, and the music from the 80's, and my favorite, worship music... Well perhaps that's why they play a single, some what vulgar song over, and over, and over for hours. Nothing a little Hillsong or Christmas music can't neutralize.

Just when I start to get things really organized in the apartment - all plants on deck: relocate inside.

Another reason to be happy I have been meticulous in my care of the plants. Nothing harsh, no chemicals and soil that is sourced and all ingredients organic and known. It should only be a week. Let's hope the crew hustles so I can get these guys back out into the sunshine.



Casseroles make me gag.

Not side dish casseroles, such as green bean casserole or sweet potato casserole but one dish meal casseroles. I have yet to taste one, or make one, that was something other than all mushy and single flavored. Casseroles are supposed to be comfort food, I think. Although I'm not sure. Gagging isn't comforting, or comfortable. I keep trying exotic things like traditional shepherds pie which uses lamb rather than beef, but to no avail. And since I'm an adult and get to choose what I eat I'm done with casseroles.

Whole Foods blog did an entire post on them. Thinking about making one still makes me gag. Usually Whole Foods recipe ideas are mouth watering and inspiring.

Comfort food for me is a perfectly roasted chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes and some kind of steamed vegetable like carrots.

Home-made meatballs and spaghetti with lots of marinara and Parmesan cheese is also comfort food. Especially if there are green beans. Usually I serve that as a one dish meal. As in everything we eat on s'ketti night goes into a single bowl - green beans on top. Does that count as casserole? Yea, I didn't think so.

Growing up we'd beg mom to make mac'n'cheese with hot dogs in it. I understand now why we didn't get it much. It's gross. Kraft mac'n'cheese with that powdered cheese mix, and miscellaneous meat squished into a casing.

Funny, we still like macaroni and cheese but it's the home made kind.  Melting butter, and adding rice or quinoa flour. Milk. Freshly grated cheese. Salt, pepper. Melts down into this velvety deliciousness that is fabulous on macaroni or a split baked potato.

Yum. I love food. I know we have food allergies. Some people pity us. Really, envy us. We are forced to eat high quality, delicious homemade food at every meal.

[homemade allergy free pizza with a quinoa crust, goat's milk mozzarella, browned onions, browned buffalo meat and olives (on 1/2 - I'm a texture girl, olives are gross but Hubs seems to like them)]



Today I took my third final in less than 12 weeks. Thankfully I waded through 3 science courses, 3.5 weeks each and came out the other side with three "A's" on record.

Now for applications. My top choice is OHSU in Portland. They have an accelerated BSN program for students who already have a Bachelors degree. I realized yesterday as I was pulling together my transcripts that I have been accepted to every college I've ever applied to. By the Grace of God this will continue. The accelerated BSN program is the only one in this area that doesn't require the bulk of prerequisites to be done in the last 5 years. I don't have a back up plan, although I'm looking for one in the form of a job.

We shall see.

The program is fiercely competitive. It would help if I were bi-lingual. Too late for that. Application period opened on the 1st and closes in 3 months.


Playing catch-up

Yikes. All that laundry. At least it's clean... I'd go in shake my head and say "Dang it the laundry still has not folded itself!" and drop another load on it.

This doesn't happen in my house for the record. In nearly 8 years of marriage I have never done this. But it's evidence of my week. Over the weekend we ran up to Seattle. My grandparents, Aunt and parents were up there visiting my brothers, sis (in-law) and niece. Nothing like the first (and only) great-grand to draw the East Coast to the West Coast...

A quick visit up and then home late morning Sunday. I am taking the rest of my Anatomy and Physiology sequence. Here they have a three course sequence. They offer it in 3.5 week increments. My A&P courses expired several years ago and I had started taking them in TX. I want to apply to nursing schools this Fall so I enrolled in two of the three (I'd already completed the first) courses. The final for lab was Monday. The final for lecture was Tuesday and A&P3 started Wednesday. I decided that laundry could wait. I kept running the washer and dryer because that's the time consuming part of doing laundry but doesn't require much of my time. This morning I spent 30 minutes folding and putting away this huge pile... hum. I had no idea Hubs and I had so much underwear. To be fair this pile does include a light quilt and a queen size set of sheets... but still. eek.

Cookies have been made. Mayo has been whipped up. Apartment has been vacuumed. Now time to mop my equally neglected floors. Oh and water my deck garden... Which I have been happily eating lettuce from several times a week. I have cucumber flowers, most of which appear to be male which means they won't actually turn into cukes. I have a few flower buds that appear to be female but it's tough to tell until they flower. It'd be sad to have the plants grow so well and not actually produce!


back porch garden

Apartment A/C


Apartment Pictures

living room
The moving company finally showed up on Monday and left piles of boxes to be unpacked. I've been working steadily in the evenings but in the last 24 hours have started to really make progress. Hope to have everything sorted and put away this weekend. David will be able to hang a few shelves and things. Thankfully we didn't have a the typical over stuffed 3 bed room house in Texas so we're able to find a landing place for most of what we have.... Just takes time. This was a few hours ago. Still working on it clearly. I had the living room and master bed squared away between Tuesday and Wednesday evenings but the 2nd bedroom is a catch all for now so it's a disaster. Since everything was sitting in storage for so long (lengthy moving company delay) I'm washing all clothing and dishes as I unpack. I'm thankful for my little bitty apartment washer and dryer! Hopefully we can get a few pictures hung up over the weekend also.

2nd bedroom

Apartment Gardening

front porch plants

Back porch
I can't go long with out growing food. I like the dirt under my nails and the satisfaction of knowing where my food came from and how it was grown. I miss my large productive garden in Texas, but within a week of arriving in OR I purchased a bag of high quality, organic soil and planted my organic seeds for cilantro, lettuce (butter crunch and romaine), cucumbers, tomatoes (Roma and beef steak), onions and celery. It's pretty much a salad garden. I went from one bag of seedlings to two planters a bag of lettuce and a bunch of other miscellaneous planting containers. David and I have been scouring the local Home Depot for their bargain wood. We can find untreated pine for $.50 a piece. David puts them together and we have large planters for less than $2.

We are on the 3rd floor and our apartment has only one entry per floor so we have a front porch, a back porch with a storage room and the landing between the 2nd floor apartment and ours as no one else uses this space. I'm quickly filling them all up....

 Everything is growing so well. Each time I transplant something I expect plant deaths but thus far everything just thrives! I can't wait until we are picking cucumber especially. The organic ones here are quite expensive.