Sunday, September 27, 2009


Can anyone tell me if this is poison ivy?
Because there's a bunch of it under my pear tree and I'm itching to touch it--just to see if it really is... Yes, I just might have self-control issues.

See? Leaves of three..but is it really poison ivy?

Just wondering...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

RECIPE: Potato Chips

What do you do when you have an abundance of potatoes? Especially, beautiful purple potatoes delivered to your door?

You can make the BEST and PRETTIEST potato chips ever. This was inspired by our fair food affair.

Start with a pot of vegetable oil.

Most people would use a skillet but I like to use a smaller pot and do more batches because you use less oil to deep fry. Or at least I think you do. In either case, have at least a couple inches of oil heating up in a pot.

To test the frying temperature of the oil, most people use a thermometer but I end up burning things because I can never get it right. Instead, I use a small piece of bread.

The correct temperature would turn this piece of bread golden in 1 minute. AND the trick to a good potato chip--or any fried goody--is the temperature of the oil. If it's too cold, the food will soak up the oil and taste greasy. If it's too hot, the food will burn and taste like @ss.
So, please pay attention to your bread and pull it out after one minute and judge the color.

As the oil is heating, slice your potatoes as thin as you can and please watch your fingers, people! I use one of these gadgets:

A great buy for $9.99--look how thin I can slice these beauties!

You can use a mandoline, a food processor, a vegetable peeler, or a regular knife.

Potatoes have water in them. Water and oil do not mix. Water and HOT oil will hurt you. So I put the potatoes on papertowels to absorb some of the water.

I tested whether it would matter if I skipped this step. The only difference is that the ones without the papertowel rest were more vibrant in color and spattered a great deal more--which if you have high pain tolerance and are lazy like me--go for it.

Pay attention to your chips--you don't want to burn it! Think of it as an exercise in mindfulness. When they are golden brown, pull it out of the oil and drain on paper towels. I used a fish spatula to fish them out. *hahhaaaaa*

Fancy tv shows say to use kosher salt because it's very "in".

The grains are too big. Use regular table salt or finishing salt instead. Garlic salt is particularly yummy.

Or you could make up your own flavoring.

This was BBQ flavor. Paprika, Onion powder, Garlic powder, pepper, Garlic Salt, and Cayenne for kick. All to taste. Try powdered ranch dip/dressing!

It was sooo yummy (if I do say so myself) that I had to shove an apple in my mouth to keep me from eating the chips as they came out.

Enjoy! Try with any kind of potato!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I will be sad when our last CSA delivery arrives next week. But THIS week brought some lovelies!

What to make with these??


Friday, September 18, 2009


I've never had a basement before. I've always wanted one's a basement! As a kid you could hide down there and come up with all kinds of cool things to imagine like a tornado is coming and you're Dorothy and the wicked witch is coming to get you.

*ahem* Right. As I said, as a kid you could do those things.

As an adult, you could store your wine without one of those fussy wine fridges/coolers and you could hide all the junk you don't want your guests to see and I could pretend to be Martha Stewart and have all the goods to prepare for a massive party in case I ever have to throw a wedding in the backyard for 200 guests!

Hey...imagination is a very valuable asset!

Anyhow, basements also pose unimaginable threats. This is how it all played out--

Me: Pssst!! Pssst!! Honey! There's something HUGE in the basement! An animal snuck down there.

Secret Agent Man: Are you sure? You sure you weren't hearing things? The dryer is on, you know.

Me: I'm positive! I turned on the light and I heard it knock things down and hiss like a really pissed off cat. Ack! Maybe it's a raccoon!

Secret Agent Man: Just get down here.

THEN, we sent the dogs down to corner the unfortunate, foolish animal that chose to invade OUR basement.

After 10 minutes of watching my useless (but cute ) dogs sniff around, we sent them back upstairs and then we saw him!


Scary, right?

Chipmunks are cute.


Sunday, September 13, 2009


Fall is on it's way!

This is a dogwood tree outside our home.

It's starting to show hints of fall at it's edges.

This is a picture from our porch. It's green now...but wait a week or two. I'll post updates.

Friday, September 11, 2009

For a snort and a smile...

Let me introduce...Sweet-T.

Despite her batty ears and her miniature pony size, she's the biggest, sweetest, scared-ey cat there is. Let me name a few...

She's so scared of thunder that she trembles and cries. Secret Agent Man had to even sleep downstairs with her when a thunderstorm rolled in. He couldn't even sleep on the couch because a little rumble and she jumped onto the couch (a no-no in our house) and tried to dig her way UNDER Secret Agent Man. Sooo....he pulled out his camping gear, set up his bed on the floor and slept with her there (he's going to kill me...).

She looks like a vicious guard dog and even has a mean bark...but heaven forbid someone attacks you. Most guard dogs will stand between the threat and their master and growl and bark a warning. This girl will growl and bark alright, AFTER she's jumped behind you and pushed you forward toward the threat.

She's so scared of earthquakes, she can jump and clear a two foot baby gate (trust me, she's clumsy so this is ridiculously difficult for her) to hide with her brother, Sugar-Ray, who's a good 50 pounds lighter than she is.

But this one tops it all....she could be sleeping so peacefully in a little ball with not a care in the world....then pppffffft! and she jumps straight up in the air and streaks to us with a panicked look in her eyes.

She's scared of her own farts.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

End of Summer...

As summer closes to an end, the last of the summer bounty needs to be sopped up and enjoyed...every last glistening, juicy, bite.

This recipe is not really a sugary treat but it's pretty sweet! It's also easy, low-calorie, and totally flexible to changes in the recipe to fit with whatever summer bounty you have on hand or whatever floats your fancy.

Ahhh...summer...the tomato--the jewels of summer. All the tomatoes you want, sliced in half or bite size pieces.

A bunch of green onions. Feel free to add slices of purple, yellow, or white onions if you prefer.

A lemon, squeezed for it's refreshing acid.

A tablespoon of olive oil. Only the best stuff--you need to be able to spoon that stuff into your mouth. Otherwise, total sacrilege to use on these babies!

A tablespoon of blueberry balsamic vinegar! Okay, totally not necessary but a friend, Cheekie (Hi!), gave me this and it's so yummy, I add it to everything. The lemon juice is enough acid for this salad but if you have a yummy vinegar, add it as you like.

Salt to taste. I'm a salty person so I put in a tablespoon of large Hawaiian salt granules. Do not use regular table salt unless you absolutely have to and certainly don't use a Tablespoon full. Remember, you can always add more, so only add little at a time.

Pepper to taste...

One can of white beans or Cannellini beans. You can choose whatever beans you want--or no beans at all. I needed a little protein to fill me up. You could always add tofu or better yet cubes of mozzarella.

I had a couple of radishes laying around and I enjoy a little crunch so I threw that in too.

Mix it up and YUM! If you can handle it, let it sit. It just gets better and better.

Can you believe that this version, split into four servings, is only 100 calories per serving?? Two points for you weight watchers peeps!

Enjoy these last few days of summer glory!

West to East

So, Secret Agent Man drove from the West coast. He left his beloved Pacific Ocean. The only ocean either of us have ever really known.

We made it all the way to the East Coast. The Atlantic Coast. Our new ocean.

It really is disorienting now that the ocean is to the "right" instead of the "left".

Also, incase you ever wondered what a "turnpike" is, well it's this:

It's a toll road. Who knew??


Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I got my first delivery of goods! I participate in something called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Most CSAs ask individuals to invest in a farm at the beginning of the season by paying for a "share" in the farm. By doing so, you get "returns". Basically you get a share of what that farm produces throughout the season. Since I entered mid-season, I had to find one in the area that was still open and I found a CSA that totally matched my personality.

This CSA grows weird, heirloom, strange veggies that I absolutely adore and they are soo reasonably priced, I love it!
Here's just a few pictures of the goods.

Brimming full!

Purple Potatoes.


Lovely herb bouquet.

Fancy tomatoes, purple green beans (huh?), peppers, and okra...

...squashes, more peppers, lemon cucumbers (that round tomato looking thing),eggplant, shallots...

...more squash and tomatoes...

...and of course, CORN!

Here's something weird: Rat-tailed radishes. These grow above ground and totally taste like the familiar red bulb.

Yum! CSAs are cool.

Yeee haaaawwww!

This is how you know we've been lost to the country side....


and equal opportunity, ladies!

It was muddy and fun watching!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Farm Fair!

Another fair to share!
This is the Centre County Fair. This one had all the county fair requisites: the rides, the games, and of course the food.

Better yet, this fair had it's own...flavor.

The big thing here is that people will camp in the middle of the campgrounds for the entire week. For those Harry Potter fans, it's kinda how you would imagine the camp grounds at the international quiddich championship. These spots are so coveted that they are passed down in wills, people. How strange is that? These tents are small but people bring in their TVs and refrigerators and decorate their "lawns." I should have taken more pictures but I felt like a voyer.

I mentioned the food...this is just really fresh yummy potato chips. My mouth is watering...I'll take fried potatoes in any form, any day.

And what would be a more appropriate ketchup dispenser for a county fair??

And I will leave you with smooch-alicious CUTEness!



Hee Hawww....