Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcome 2013

My new mug & new motto

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome 2013! May you be a prosperous, healthy & lucky year for all.

Holidays, visitors, dinners, parties, decorating, cooking, baking, wrapping, cleaning, fiscal cliffs, traumas in the news, community events, weather just all seems to be one big whirlwind of activity from Thanksgiving to New Year's. So much to do. So much to think about.

I need a nap. Then I need to get organized.

Onward into 2013 we go!

© Copyright 2013 Mountain Harvest Basket

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012 ~ A new cycle of the wheel...

Sarah kitty checking out our Winter Solstice table

Happy Winter Solstice from my sweet Sarah kitty and our whole family!

A fresh new cycle of the life wheel begins. Enjoy the ride everyone!

© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mid August Harvest

Smaller than usual harvest haul

The relatively cool weather until just these past 2 weeks of ultra-hot, has slowed down the growth of the veggies in my garden. Then the sudden and intense heat seems to be telling them to ripen quickly. So I'm noticing that I'm getting ripe veggies that are smaller than usual.

I’ve only harvested one green zucchini so far, weighed about 1 lb, a good size for a zuke, and these 4 very small yellow crooknecks. Not sure how any of them taste yet. Only a few tomatoes have ripened so far. Romas and golden cherry tomatoes. The cucumbers are the small, pickling variety and very tasty.

Everything is moving in slow motion. Everything but time, that is.

© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Veggie Garden

Raised Bed Summer Veggie Garden

This summer's moderate temperatures has caused slow growth in my main veggie garden, but it is chugging along as you can see in the photo above. In the foreground you can see cucumbers and summer squash (zucchini & crookneck). To the right foreground in this photo are green (bush) beans. Several types of tomato plants are growing in the middle of the garden. Absolutely NONE have ripened yet. Not even my dependable cherry tomatoes. They are just little green marbles! In the back you may spy a couple of basil plants and some parsley. You cannot see the eggplant and chile plants in this shot as they are still quite small and hidden from view by the tomatoes.

While I personally do not need any more hot weather, my veggie garden does. I need my veggies to produce for me! And I need to harvest them before the gopher intruder (aka "the DAMN gopher") damages and/or destroys any more of my nurtured veggie plants. He (I've decided the intruder is a male gopher!) has already eaten my habanero chile plant that I grew from seed and he damaged my volunteer garlic crop! I had to harvest it a bit earlier than planned to curtail the damage. So I really need my garden veggies to cooperate with me and get busy producing their crops so that I can hurry up and harvest them for my family's meals rather than for the gopher's (that DAMN gopher!) dinner.

Ha! Stay tuned. We will see who wins this harvest race yet. Yes, gardening can be a competitive sport!

© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day ~ Remembering

Today is a day for remembering our loved ones who are no longer with us. 

I miss my Mom today. Of course, I miss her everyday. It's been 15 years since she passed away, and I still think sometimes that I might pick up the phone and give her a call. Then I remember.

I can't be with her physically, and I can't even visit her grave today to adorn it with fresh flowers. So this post, and my private conversations with her spirit will have to do for today.

Remember your loved ones and celebrate their lives today. Celebrate your life too. It all goes by so quickly.

© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Celebrating Sarah

Tiny Kitten Sarah ~ July 2011~ first day home

Remember that tiny little stripey kitten that I first wrote about last July? My kitten Sarah, the little princess that  came into my life to lighten my heart, and  reminds me so much of my sweet Jessie, has been doing very well. She is healthy, playful and growing.

She is a delight and she comforted me and also Frieda during Frieda's last few months here on earth. Sarah kept watch over Frieda and would follow her room to room around the house. Sarah kept my heart full of love and allowed me to take care of Frieda when she needed me most. She also reminded me that both Jessie and Frieda would return to live with us in our home again. I believe with all my heart that she is right about that.

Sarah & Frieda ~ March 2012

Anyway, the reason for this blog post is that today is my sweet Sarah's first birthday! She was born 1 year ago today! May 9th. Yay Sarah! Way to be! She's a feisty little Taurus. We sang happy birthday to her over breakfast. Salmon & trout flavored breakfast this morning. For her, not me.

Happy Birthday Sarah! 
Love, Mama Jen

I have more pictures than words for this post. So here are a few photos of Sarah since she came to live with us here in our mountain home.

July 2011~ trying to blend in...

July 2011~ she destroyed that pink mousie
What? You told me to relax. So I'm relaxin' (she loves paper)

Princess Sarah on top of her tower ~ April 2012

I love her dearly, especially when she kisses my nose and bites my fingers & toes. She keeps me smiling.

I love you, Mom! Is it dinner time yet?

 More photos and stories of Sarah and our lives together to come in the future. I promise. May we live many, many happy years together.

© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hot & Sour Soup

Homemade Hot & Sour Soup

So I've been fighting an upper respiratory infection (a head cold) all week. A good friend of mine, Cynthia, suggested I make some Hot & Sour Soup to help clear my congestion and to feed my body some tasty nutrition. 

Cyn and I share recipes back and forth over the web. Awhile ago, she sent me a version of a recipe for this soup that was close to her own, but not exactly. I took that recipe and also looked up the same soup recipe in my Frugal Gourmet cookbook (The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China-Greece-Rome by Jeff Smith). I compared and combined the two recipes to make my own version of this soup that I love to eat in Chinese restaurants, and especially enjoy here at home when I have a head cold. When making it myself, it tastes so much fresher and brighter than the soup from the restaurants. I can also dictate how much heat and how much "sour" goes into the soup. 

So when I made this soup for myself yesterday, I finally decided to actually write down what I put into it! And then today, another friend, Dan, asked me to post my soup recipe, so here I am posting it on my Mountain Harvest Basket blog. 

Although it does come out a bit differently each time I make it, here is how I made it yesterday. It was delicious, even if I do say so myself! And it did help clear my head. 

You can adjust the seasonings to make it hotter, more sour, thicker or thinner as pleases you. You can also make it vegetarian by omitting the pork and doubling the tofu, and replacing the chicken broth with vegetable broth. If you are vegan, you will omit the eggs, too. If you don't like, or can't find, bamboo shoots, you can use canned water chestnuts for crunch. Raw green peas are a nice addition as is fresh green onion added as a garnish.

Jen’s Hot & Sour Soup

Mushrooms ~ (white/brown, small fresh) 3-4 oz (2 handfuls), sliced thin
Onion ~ thinly sliced, chopped, ½ small (1 handful)
Firm Tofu ~ 4 oz, in ½ inch cubes
Pork ~ one boneless pork chop, 4-6 oz, thinly sliced, cubed
Bamboo Shoots ~ 1/3 can (about 1/3 cup), julienned

Chicken Broth ~ 4 cups
Water ~ 2 cups

Black Pepper ~ a few good grinds
Lemon Pepper ~ a few shakes
Real Salt ~ a sprinkle
Garlic ~ 3-4 cloves minced or several shakes of garlic powder
Ginger ~ 2 tsp freshly grated, or several heavy shakes of powder
White Pepper ~ ground, 1 tsp

Soy Sauce ~ 2-3 Tbs
Rice Vinegar ~ ¼ cup
Sesame Oil ~ 1-2 tsp
Chili Oil ~ 3 or 4 good shakes (or use some cayenne to taste)

Corn starch ~ 1-4 Tbs mixed with equal parts cool water (I used only 1 Tbs + 1 Tbs water this time)

Eggs ~ 2 small, beaten

Sauté veggies, pork & tofu in olive oil until just starting to brown & caramelize. Add the broth, water and seasonings in the order given. Bring to a boil then simmer till mushrooms and onions look done and are tender. About 20 minutes.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture well and allow to boil to thicken broth. When desired consistency is reached, gently drizzle in beaten eggs in a thin stream. Wait a few moments, then stir gently and remove from heat.

Taste and adjust seasonings before serving. May be served garnished with a little chopped green onion. Serve piping hot for best effect.

I think this soup tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to meld. My partner, Jack, told me tonight as he was eating a bowl of it, "This is so good, you could sell it and make money!"


© Copyright 2012 Mountain Harvest Basket