garden goodies

garden onions

We pulled all the onions from our garden, cleaned them up, and put them in a basket to use in cooking; I really love the color of these onion skins too – aren’t they lovely? And we found this pretty, gold-rimmed glass at an estate sale last week and I thought it looked quite nice filled with these dark red alstroemeria.

Speaking of cooking, Ryan used up most all of our garden tomatoes making a green zebra gazpacho (he used a version of this recipe, with a combination of green zebra and granny smith tomatoes we grew) and our garden peppers making hot sauce – yum, I’m looking forward to enjoying all of this!

by Valerie | 09.13.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden, Recipes | No Comments »

weekend haps

Sunday brunchRyan was out of town recently and we’ve been so busy lately, so it was really nice to take the day off on Sunday for some much needed R&R and spend some time together; our Sunday included brunch and a nap and it was pretty fantastic. We’ve been getting lots of tomatoes and some peppers from our garden too and I was excited to pick this red bell pepper and several jalapeño and cayenne peppers. I really like these sodas (the Juniper Berry is my current favorite)! Have you heard of Little Free Library? There’s one in our neighborhood and it’s adorable.grew it!

little free library

by Valerie | 08.10.15 | Around town, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

weekend haps

Picked more tomatoes & a pepper today - the bowl is full... Now, what should we make with all of these?For me, the weekend brought lots of tomatoes and 1 ripe cayenne pepper from our garden – now that we have a bowl full of various kinds of tomatoes, we’ll have to figure out what we want to do with them. Also, I was happy to see Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp; it was completely ridiculous and funny (which is just what I needed), I love the cast, and I think Paul Rudd is pretty great! Speaking of Paul Rudd, I thought this was funny. And there’s something really lovely about the summer evening lightGranny Smith Tomato + Cayenne Pepper

by Valerie | 08.03.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

summer is here

summertimeWith temperatures in the 90s now, summer is undeniably here – and with it being the start of August this weekend, it will soon be over. I’ve managed to pick a whole bowl of ripe tomatoes from our garden with many more ripening on the vine, I’m excited to see our various peppers getting bigger and closer to being ready to pick every day, and our lettuce has reached the stage where it resembles a small tree; although we continually pick leaves off the lettuce plants throughout the summer, as we need them, we never seem to be able to keep up with how fast the plants grow and I always find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of it we end up with in the end – but, it’s so nice to have fresh-from-the-garden lettuce. Neighborhood walks are always enjoyable and I love to see how all the trees, plants, and flowers change throughout the seasons; there are some really stunning flowers out now. Garden goodies

summertime summertimesummertime

by Valerie | 07.29.15 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

uh oh spaghetti-os

We decided to make some soup to warm us up from the cold weather that finally arrived. So I made  a spin on a classic, spaghetti-os. It is a simple roasted tomato & red pepper soup with circle shaped pasta, anelli, added to it.

Homemade spaghettios


  • 1 package of anelli pasta (or any other circle shaped pasta)
  • tomatoes on the vine (about 24 small/medium sized ones)
  • 6 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine + a little more to splash in later
  • a heaping tablespoon dried oregano
  • a heaping tablespoon of course ground black pepper
  • enough olive oil for roasting the red peppers and tomatoes and cooking the onion and garlic
  • salt to taste

Roast the tomatoes and red peppers, lightly coated with olive oil, in an oven at 350° for about 35-45 minutes or until they start to blacken here and there. Set aside to cool. Once cooled enough to the touch core the tomatoes and cut the stems and deseed the red peppers. Cut the red peppers into strips (if your blender is powerful enough no need to do this). Put the tomatoes and red peppers in a blender and puree. Add some olive oil to a large soup pot over medium heat. Sweat the onions and garlic, about five minutes. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the red wine reduces. Once reduced add the tomato and red pepper puree. Add the oregano, pepper, and a few extra splashes of red wine. Simmer for at least 10 minutes to get the flavors to mix. Salt to your taste preference. You can puree the soup again at this point, or just let the onions and other ingredients add a bit of texture to it. I’m lazy so I just left it as is.

In a separate container cook the pasta according to the directions. Once cooked you can add it directly to the soup. The pasta will soak up some moisture in the soup when stored, so if you can’t eat it all when you make it I recommend coating the pasta in some olive oil with a sprinkle of sea salt, storing it separately, and just add the pasta to the soup before serving. “The greatest invention since the napkin.”

Homemade spaghettios

by Ryan | 01.11.15 | Recipes | No Comments »

Saturday haps

It is a glorious day out and my “little lime” hydrangeas are blooming! Also, more ripe tomatoes to pick and enjoy. And a fun walk to the park with this cute little girl who has the most beautiful blue eyes, blond curls, and sweetly answers “yeah” so matter-of-factly in the most adorable way…

by Valerie | 08.03.13 | Around our home, For Funsies, Garden | No Comments »

not quite pozole soup

This is loosely based on the Mexican soup pozole (it is important to note that no humans were harmed in the making of this soup). Ryan grew up going to friends’ houses where this would be on the stove all day long and after a night of drinking this spicy soup, much like menudo, would serve as a perfect hangover cure. I was never much the fan of hominy, but Ryan always liked the taste of it because it reminds him of tortillas. We struck a deal that I would try hominy again so this soup was a compromise between the two of us, a bit of hominy and a bit of yellow corn in a spicy tomato broth.


  • 20 tomatoes on the vine, roasted and cored
  • 3 serrano peppers, roasted (note these died in the roasting, but their “juice” mixed with the tomatoes)
  • approximately 3 tbsp chipotle infused olive oil
  • 1 purple onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dark chili powder
  • 1 oz package pozole spice mix
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 15.25 oz can yellow corn
  • 1 29 oz can hominy
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425. Lightly coat the tomatoes and serrano peppers in some of the olive oil (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp). Place in oven to roast for about 30-45 minutes or until they begin to split open and brown. One quick thing to note, this killed our serrano peppers; that said, the mixture of tomato juices and slightly disintegrated serrano did add flavor to the tomatoes with just a hint of a kick. Remove from oven to cool. Once cooled core the tomatoes and place in a blender to puree. Set aside.

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add in the remaining olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, and pozole mix, cook onion until it begins to be slightly translucent. Add the bell peppers and chili powder. Cook until bell peppers are tender, enough for a fork to easily go into them. Add the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the hominy and corn. Let cook for a little while longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pozole mix is meant traditionally for pork and most pre-made mixes make for a decently spicy pork rub long before it is added to the soup pot. So depending on what type of pozole spice mix you purchased or made for yourself it can make for a soup with quite the kick. If you are afraid of spicy things I’d check the mix or reduce the amount of spice mix you use. You can also let the mix soak and simmer in hot water for a little bit before adding  it to the pot and it might reconstitute some of the dried chiles in the mix.

by Valerie | 01.27.13 | Recipes | No Comments »

Fried Polenta with Garden Tomato Sauce

We’ve made some version of this many times before, but last weekend Ryan threw together a delicious version of this – adding his own variations of course – with a variety of tomatoes that came fresh from our garden & our friends’ Amanda & Andy’s garden as well. He added some fresh herbs from our garden, spices, & capers as well & we had one hell of a tasty sauce on our hands! I brought this to my fabulous friend Abigail’s baby shower last Sunday & enjoyed all the yummy eats that others brought to share as well.

by Valerie | 08.19.12 | Recipes | No Comments »

2012: Week 31

2012: Week 31
Green Zebra

by Valerie | 08.07.12 | Around our home, Garden, Photography | No Comments »

Life is a bowl full of cherry tomatoes

Admittedly, we’ve been a little busy with our new house & have neglected our garden this year compared to past years. But, we’ve still had the good fortune of enjoying some fresh herbs & vegetables. Just look at these beauties we harvested from our garden…

by Valerie | 07.25.12 | Around our home, Garden | No Comments »

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