Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring Time!

Spring has taken it's sweet time getting here. Last year, Spring had sprung in March/April. It's mid-may and now everything is finally blooming. We finally got a few sunny days and 60-70 degree temperatures so we got to planting our garden!

I was pretty happy to find out that we had a few perennials--which means I didn't have to buy them again this year and it could go to something else fun to plant. Here, the sage came back to life:

The Greek Oregano also snuck back to life:

Three types of mint came back with a vengence:

Unfortunately, due to poor planning, I put these mint right next to the house thinking it would be pretty and easy for me to harvest. What I didn't consider was the fact that the bug guy sprays pesticides around the perimeter of the house basically rendering the mint poisonous. It supposed to be non-toxic pesticides but non-toxic for who? Obviously not for bugs. So, I went and got more mint this year for culinary purposes. I put them in pots so they don't take over the yard.

Here's my herb garden.

I added a lime thyme (bottom right), a lemon thyme (above the lime thyme), Genovese basil, and at the very top a jalapeno plant. We're in for a wild thyme. *hee hee*

Our A-frame is back out ready to take on six different heirloom tomatoes and one tomatillo plant. I can't remember all the names of the tomatoes but I know I got Cherokee Purple (my fave!), Amish Paste, and Lemon Boy. I wonder if I got Green Zebra again (another fave!). I got tomatoes that had high yields and produce more complex flavors for sauce.

Here's our mini compost pile from last fall. Notice all those green patches?

Those are sprouting lettuce! We let the lettuce go to seed last fall and when we pulled it out, I guess it decided to replant itself there.

Finally, we've got some purple potatoes (no, not Okinawan Sweet Potatoes--I wish!)

Finally, we've got some wild violets

and what I like to call hydrangeas with a sweet perfume (these are really Lilacs and are my new favorite flower).

I don't know what the white flower is but it smells sweet and almost reminiscent of Jasmine. I just made myself a mother's day bouquet.

I've got to find a tracker and see if my garden will yield a ton of food. I also planted lettuce, beets, bush cucumber and some squash (I don't remember what kind of seeds I saved so it'll be a surprise--I'm hoping for butternut). I can't wait to start harvesting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A year ago today... Secret Agent Man was hit by a truck...while on a bike...a mountain bike--not his motorcycle.

So just thought I would update with his progress and how grateful I am that he's still here and doing relatively well.

He's completed his physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Physical therapy was to help him basically get back to walking, bending, and lifting. He still suffers from a painful foot and hip when he walks a bit too much. He still shouldn't lift too much since his spine was crushed a bit and his muscles aren't back to full strength to help keep his bones aligned. His shoulder cracks and is sore at times but as long as he keeps up his exercises, he has pretty full function of it.

Occupational therapy was to help with his hand shaking and fine motor skills. He noticed that he couldn't hold his camera still--even under the best conditions. So he's improved but not quite as steady as he used to be.

Finally, he noticed that something was wrong with his brain when he started doing more around the house and started studying more. He would mix up letters and numbers, not remember things, and get really frustrated because he couldn't keep his concentration. He had a wonderful therapist who helped him with all these issues. He has a bunch of exercises that he has to keep up with otherwise he slides backwards but for the most part, he's functioning brilliantly...especially with our baby. He developed some strange chronic headaches and is being treated for that but will likely follow-up with another concussion specialist to see how permamant these headaches are and if there's anything he can do to prevent them.

Other than that, he's pretty much back to normal and getting back to his studying and doing GREAT as our stay-at-home parent. For that, I am grateful.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green Eggs and Ham!

Here's my green eggs:

(Love Araucana/Americana chickens! They lay these tinted eggs that come out in blues and greens!)

Fresh eggs result in such high, strong proteins. Check out this egg!

Here's my ham:

Well, Canadian bacon counts as ham, right? Check out the color of the yolk on the left sandwich--it's just as orange as the sharp cheddar chesse slices!

I used my garlic aioli with these babies! Dad, step away from the ketchup bottle. These so don't need it.

Green Eggs and Ham! So happy, I am!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Homemade Mayo and Garlic Aioli

I love Mayo. There, I've said it. I love Mayo and I don't care who knows it.

I used to make mayo sandwiches--best on the white uber-processed wonderbread.

I got excited when I saw Bobby Flay use mayo instead of butter to make a grilled cheese sandwich. As a side note--butter is better for this purpose; the mayo burns too quickly.

If you grew up in Hawaii, it's likely that you love mayo too. So what's not to like about homemade mayo?

I was scared of this stuff. You hear about samonella and think food poisoning...after all the recipes call for using raw eggs! Crazy, I know! But here I have FRESH beautiful eggs--which will make all the difference in the quality of mayo. So I thought I would give it a go.

All you need are some ingredients you likely will have around the house:

2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh, of course!)
1 Tablespoon vinegar of choice (I used white wine vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (you can use regular mustard if you like or none at all)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 pinches of sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup oil of choice (I used half safflower and half canola)

1. Separate the egg and keep the whites for something else. I can't describe how beautiful and ORANGE the yolk was.

2. Add the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously to break up the yolk.

3. Add half the lemon juice and vinegar and whisk more until very light in color.

4. Then drop by drop, add the oil very very slowly while whisking like crazy. You can do this with a hand whisk (and with a baby attached to you, if you so please). Truth is, I didn't want to dirty my kitchenaid and then come to find out that the blades are so fast on it, that it might cause the mixture to come together too quickly and break apart again. This would result in oily goop. No fun.

5. Before you know it, you have mayonnaise! When you've used up about 1/3 of the oil, add the remaining lemon juice and vinegar. Keep whisking like crazy and add the remainder of the oil in a slow stream. Viola! It's done!

6. Put into a clean glass container, cover and let it sit on the counter for 4-6 hours. I SWEAR, Alton Brown said so! Something to do with the pH in the mayo and how it'll kill any potential bacteria but it has to be at room temperature where as putting in the fridge just keeps the bacteria dormant. I figured that I'm not serving this to any immune compromised people so I could try it out myself.

This makes about two cups of mayo (I'm totally guestimating that one). So what to do with the rest??
Garlic Aioli!
1. Take about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of mayo.

2. Take a couple of cloves of garlic and with the skin still on, put it in a hot pan. Don't burn it but let it get nice and toasty for maybe 5 minutes.

3. Peel the garlic and then finely mince it or run it through a garlic press. You'll find the garlic to be somewhat soft and pliable.

4. Mix it into the mayo and let it sit for a few minutes to absorb the flavors and meld together. I would say let it sit overnight in the fridge but using it right away won't hurt. Just don't skip the step of pan roasting the garlic. It takes the edge off.

YUM! Now, next up, for real this time, Green Eggs and Ham!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just when you thought it was over...

This winter has been really warm. Few snow days and lots of days in the 30s and 40s. We even got a few 60-70 degree days in there. It was lovely. I even took a picture of the first green sprouts I saw. It made me excited to think that Spring was here!

But then out of nowhere, we got the biggest snowfall of the season when we least expected it. All the forecasts warned of flooding and heavy rains. Instead, we got some crazy snow--about 8-10 inches at least. The snow was heavy and sticky and made everything look like it was covered in cotton and icing. I should have played hooky to make a few snowmen!

Note how high the snow is on the left side of the picture. Before this snowfall, everything was brown without a speck of snow or ice in sight. Also note that Secret Agent Man is super awesome and scrapes, digs, shovels, and snow blows all the snow off my truck, out of our driveway, clears the backroads for us and our neighbor, along with the sidewalks in front of ours and our neighbor's house.

I don't know if Taylor is stalking Radar or squirrels.

Radar gets so tired trying to make his way through the snow...but he's so pretty!

I hope this is the last of winter but everyone tells me not to get my hopes up until June.



How awesome are my friends? I {heart} fresh eggs and if you know me, you know how obsessed I am with wanting my own chickens so they can give me beautiful eggs like these. Chickens and apples....oh and goats. I totally want a goat--they're just humorous! I would love a mule too...*sigh* in a parallel life I would have this fantasy. But for now, I have these eggs!

Coming up...Green eggs and ham!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Icy Icicles!

It's been a pretty warm winter. We didn't get snowfall well into January this year. No white Christmas for us. We did experience our first ice storm, though. I didn't know what that meant and why that seemed to alarm people more than a snow storm but we soon found out.

When there's an ice storm, globs of ice form on anything and everything. It forms on trees branches, weighing them down and breaking them since it's so much heavier than snow. Worse, it forms on powerlines and brings those down too. This ice storm was that crazy, huge storm that covered two-thirds of the continental U.S. This ice storm left two inches of rock solid slabs of ice up the drive way and totally blanketed my truck. Secret Agent Man, had to pour copious amounts of salt on everything and wait for the sun to start melting the ice before he could break up it up and remove it. If you don't remove it as soon as you can, then it just remelts into larger and larger, thicker and thicker slabs which you can't walk on, much less drive on. I think it was 12noon or 1pm before the ice was melted enough to get into my truck to go to work. Weird stuff...

Here's some pretty pictures of some icicles that forms before the ice storm.

Here's Secret Agent Man walking to the porch to knock off all the icicles before the ice storm hit. If we left it up, the ice would have just accumulated and may have weighed down the gutters so much that it would have caused damage.

Here's some icicles that formed on some plants.

Kinda reminded me of Krypton.

Monday, January 31, 2011

New Trick!

We can sometimes get our unruly dogs to do tricks. They were much more obedient when we would walk them and play with them or for the most part pay any attention to them. So the only way we can get them to do anything we want is if there's a treat involved (and sometimes not even then). Secret Agent Man, patient as he is, taught them a new trick.

Now, it doesn't look like much but we taught them to "freeze" with the treat on their nose. They've been getting lazy and letting the treat slide off. So he taught them to freeze with the treat in their mouths. They don't run off, they don't chew, they don't move an inch until he gives the, if we can just teach them "clean up." Heck, I'll settle for "fetch" or "be quiet" but I'll take "FREEZE!"


Monday, January 10, 2011


Remember Secret Agent Man's aversion to the web and big brother and all that? With our newest sugar mule addition, we'll be creating a new blog: Mars On The Move. I'll be closing access to that blog to invitees only so I can post cute pictures and videos.

The good news is that it shouldn't be a problem to gain access...just let me know and I'll shoot ya an email invite. You might need a gmail account but I'm not sure. Hope to see you on the other side!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's been so long since I've last posted anything here. I have many excuses but none that'll sound good enough (except that I couldn't post food pictures since they wanted to make me barf for a good 6 months last year).

So 2010 was full of:
-traumatic car injury (Secret Agent Man getting hit by a truck)
-lots of therapy
-lots of doctor appointments
-and to top it off, a tick bite.

but it was also full of:
-wonderful, supportive friends and family
-meeting new friends who generously came out of nowhere to help us during trying times
-an easy and trouble-free pregnancy
-a lovely baby shower as well as love and gifts from afar
-a beautiful baby boy
-lots of friends and family giving birth to tons of babies around us
-lots of healing and smiles

So good-bye to 2010 and hello 2011. We're looking forward to a year of more smiles, healing, and love.