This, sir, is trench coat weather

It’s been all grey skies, drizzly clouds and a chill in the air the last few days. This is wonderful because it’s a great reason to wear all the long sleeved shirts and sweaters I unpacked from storage BUT for whatever reason I have been Just. So. Tired. lately.

When I wake up, I’m groggy and just want to cuddle back under the sheets, comforter, and quilt I’ve got piled on the bed. My fuzzy rainbow slippers are never far from my feet, and I’ve been burning apple orchard candles every day (right now, in fact).

I’m not sure if my recent extra-sleepiness has to do with the weather, or daylight savings changes, or maybe I’m B12 deficient again? No idea, but it sucks getting sleepy early and not being able to get out of bed like a normal person.

Also, my camera is broken, so you’ll have to settle for old photos for a while until my shiny new gadget is returned to me.

This is also cookin’-at-home weather… below are the pictures from when I made Basil Cream Chicken.

Basil in a bowl.

This recipe is a good excuse to use up the big basil leaves on Vincent’s plant. That thing is HUGE. And has lots of tasty leaves to contribute to my food.

You can see the bugs like it too — gross.

Pimentos. Colorful peppers!

I just love all the bright reds, yellows and greens of the pimento peppers I bought for this recipe. And I love that the peppers aren’t spicy at all.

Funny story — when we accidentally ordered pad Thai and forgot to say ‘mild’ I didn’t make it past a few bites before my face turned red and my tongue started burning. I am definitely a ‘mild’ anti-spicy girl.

The finished product is just heavy enough to be filling but not so much that I feel fat for the rest of the night. You know the feeling, yes?

The colors don’t really come through but since I took this under bad lighting with a cell phone camera with no flash I’ll let this one slide šŸ™‚

Basil Cream Chicken

Tomatoes everywhere!

I have been harvesting the tomatoes. The early girls are bountiful and freaking delicious. The heirloom are rather funky to look at but they taste wonderful, and the little orange tomato-lemons are sweet and tender. My favorite though, are the teardrop shaped yellow tomatoes. I intended to put them into salads, but instead I just eat them straight.

The harvest isn’t as big this year as last. I’m blaming the weather. Ā I branched out more this year and tried new varieties, so it could be that I chose lower-producing plants this year also.

The tomatoes from last year’s fall harvest went into the freezer, so at some point we will be making homemade chili. Or spaghetti sauce. Something like that.

These early girls went straight to the salad bowl. Regular salad with the freshĀ Parmesan, green leaf lettuce andĀ Caesar dressing. Croutons when I remember to buy them. And tomatoes!

Cutting up the Early Girl tomatoSalad in an orange bowl.Haha. My nails almost match the tomato in this lighting.

We didn’t JUST have salad for dinner. To go with it, I made a basil cream sauce and chicken.

Found the recipe using the AllRecipes.com app on my phone. Here, if you want to try. It’s really easy, and delicious. Especially if you have fresh basil around.

Is it just me or is tomatoes spelled funny? Every time I type that, I think “toma-TOES!”

Basil cream sauce, with chicken and red pepper instead of the pimentos the recipe calls for.

 

 

I broke the stove

I fell off the wagon on my goal of eating at work every day, bringing food from home. First, I ran out of food at home, then I had a few lunch outings (like this one) and … well … that 30 day challenge ended early.

I got back on the wagon just in time to head out for a week long family vacation in Sedona. The challenge continued pretty successfully once I returned, but I did not take pictures every day. Which is OK because I’m guessing you don’t need to know what I had for lunch every day.

I have a ton of catching up to do! There have been delicious meals, and vacation meals, and today I broke the stove.

Boyfriend had the grand idea of making pesto for dinner tonight. This is expected when you’re dating an Italian.

Pasta, pasta, everywhere.

We madeĀ linguine with pesto, with a real mortar and pestle, and fresh basil and an heirloom tomato for caprece salad. I may have bought an offbeat basil plant, because my basil leaves are puny compared to the one BF bought at Henry’s Market and planted promptly the next morning. His leaves are bushy, dark green and healthy-looking while mine are small and sad, light green and kind of taste like licorice. Did I maybe buy sweet basil or some variation?

Fresh basil (can you tell my plant from my boyfriend's plant?), with heirloom tomato that I grew, and mozzarella.

His basil is the one that went into the pesto. Holy moly. This is going to have to go into the dinner rotation because it was absolutely delicious. Light and garlicky with not too much olive oil. Just enough to coat the linguine without pooling in the bowl.

Perfect.

The recipe came from a book on Italian cooking that was a gift to my boyfriend from his grandparents.

In the bowl, all ready to be mixed in.

Mortar and pestle. This feels very old-school.

About that stove. Apparently you’re not supposed to get water INSIDE the thing, so while I was cleaning with a comically large sponge a bunch of water swooshed either under the cook top or underneath the knobs and shorted the stove, causing a near-constant clicking that was sure to drive me insane and end my relationship.

Luckily I have a Dad who knows about these things so in my panic he directed me to the circuit breaker box and helped me figure out what to turn off… The microwave one is the one that stopped the clicking. Not the one marked ‘OVEN’. Not the one I picked first, obviously šŸ™‚ SO for now the clicking is stopped and my sanity returned.

Until tomorrow when we turn the microwave breaker back on again, and pray we don’t hear any clicking. That sh*t will drive a person crazy.

CLICK CLICK CLICK every second. EVERY SECOND. Can you tell I’m glad it’s off?

And… here are the rest of the pictures, a little smaller. Click to enlarge!

 

How does your garden grow?

My (mostly) tomato garden is coming along pretty slowly. Or I’m impatient. Could be both.

The tomatoes are starting to come in, but they are still green and I want to eat them already!!

Tell those plants to hurry up, k?

I stopped at Home Depot to pick up some soil and walked out with the potting soil, spearmint (oh my lord it smells so good), basil, cilantro and a bell pepper plant. So it’s really no longer an all-tomato garden but I’m so OK with that. Plus, we now have nearly all the makings of caprece! (I just need to find a way to grow cheese…)

I’ve been pruning the tomato plants from the bottom, and cutting some of the inside leaves so they are not too bushy and I can actually see if there are bugs or anything else weird going on in there.

There are some little holes in the biggest tomato leaves and I think I could have a tomato hornworm. I know, ewww. But no matter how hard I’ve looked, the little bugger is elusive.

I did a little research on how to kindly get rid of them and found this gem:

“However, if you see a hornworm covered with white egg sacs, leave it be. The egg sacs are those of a parasitic wasp called the Braconid wasp. Let the eggs hatch, and you’ll have an army of wasps ready to defend your garden against all types of pests.”

Sweet baby Jesus I hope this does not happen in my yard. The LAST thing I want is an army of wasps anywhere near me.

Thanks a lot Internet, now I’m going to have nightmares.

I also found thorny-looking green bugs that I think are what the Internet identifies as tree-hoppers. I pulled one off the other day and tried to step on it, but it flew away. I’m sure it will be back. Jerk.

Anyone out there know how to get rid of them in a safe & sane manner?

Early Girl.

The little yellow ones that are shaped like pears.

THIS SMELLS SO SO SO GOOD

YOU will be in my salad one day.

Bell peppers. Still a baby. Hope they come in before the summer ends!

Dinner: Chicken in basil cream sauce

Mmm… it’s good to be home! After a full weekend of relaxing, reading and drinking, it’s back to the grind, and back to the kitchen.

Tonight: Chicken!

For dinner tonight after a not-so-quick trip to the store I made chicken in basil cream sauce, with broccoli and cheddar cheese on the side. I forgot to pick up fresh bread from the grocery, so we had slices of whole grain white bread with butter to help soak up the cream sauce.

The recipe came on the fly (actually in the grocery store parking lot) from the AllRecipes.com app on my phone. Can I tell you how convenient that is? So convenient!

The cream sauce came out perfect, with just the right amount of pimento peppers (something I didn’t know existed ’til I saw it on my shopping list) and fresh basil. Pretty soon I’ll be planting my own, as I bought the one that comes with roots attached.

Below you’ll see the finished product! Who wants to help me eat next time?