Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tomato season...hunting the trophy fruit

Once upon a time, the arrival of fall* was heralded by the imminence of school. These days, I know fall is coming when we start to get the full onslaught of ripe tomatoes.

And so it begins once again: the tomato processing cycle:

Son2 used to have to kneel on a stool to reach the strainer; now he towers over it.
The juice cooking down into sauce.

One batch done; the other still in the steam-canner.

Beauties.

Then, there are the smaller tomatoes...cherry, grape...that we dehydrate.
Exhausting work but worth it come winter.

* meteorological fall which starts September 1st

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Peach-y keen

I have a special fondness of peaches. Not only do they taste amazing (especially the ones from Pearson Farms in Georgia), but they have a long, symbolic history in Chinese myth and lore (think Quan Yin and the Monkey King!).
 Most years, we don't get enough peaches to have any after the wildlife have had their fill, the danged freeloaders. But this year, we got a bumper crop.
I picked 5 basketfuls on my own. Egg carton placed there for scale.
So pretty, even butterflies want to be near them! Okay, it just wants the juice.
And when you have that many peaches, you spend a lot of time processing
 to come up with pies (I always have to make a pecan pie whenever I whip up pie crusts...I never make just one pie crust either)...
 and canned the rest for later use.
2 solid hours of work for me and hubby just to get 3 lousy quarts of canned peaches. No wonder people just go to the store to buy their food.
We'd also frozen some peaches from this picking. When cold weather comes, I'll make more pies and maybe peach butter.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Garden glory

Because it takes an extra step for me to share photos on this blog versus sharing straight to Facebook, I'd not posted here in a long time. But, since I'm in town with wifi and nothing better to do (a complete lie), I thought I'd share some gardening pictures because even though I haven't posted in a year and a half, we are still mostly small-scale homesteading.

Hubby among the okras.

Our grapes finally did something this year! It's because, for some strange reason, the vermin you call deer haven't mowed it to the ground like they usually do.

Peek-a-book, winter squash!

Some sunny summer squash.

Corn! I get so excited about corn.

The requisite zucchini

We have had really nice potatoes this year so far. No vole or insect damage.

A typical harvest: mostly grown, some scavenged (chanterelles).
Dinner is served!

And where you find zucchinis, you can find zucchini products. This was a particularly tasty muffin recipe. Very moist. I didn't need to smother them with butter like I usually do with muffins (because, IMO, the only good muffin is one that has been thoroughly killed by butter). 
Most things have been growing well for us this summer...except maybe tomatoes...even the peaches, which is the next post.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, January 11, 2016

Off to a good start!

When life hands you lemons, make a lovely painting with them.
That’s what I wrote in this journal, my 2016 gratitude journal. 2015 was, overall, not the best year, but I’m determined to make 2016 much better.

I decluttered my art room workspace (symbolic of decluttering my brain), and had a productive first week of January writing-wise. I also started the year with a course on Illustrating Children’s Books taught by the marvelous Joy Chu through UCSD Extension and am, once again, part of the incredible 12x12 community of picture book writers.

I’ve signed up to go to a renowned writing workshop called Big Sur on Cape Cod for May that I’m excited about, and also plan to take advantage of the fun and helpful writing challenges like NaPiBoWriWee (brainchild of the multi-talented Paula Yoo) and PiBoIdMo (started by super funny and prolifc Tara Lazar) that will help me focus and hone my craft.

As well, I’ve decided that I will stop blogging here. While there are things I love about Blogger, Wordpress has improved much over the past few years, making it easier for bloggers to follow each other, “Like” posts without having to comment, post via my phone, and offering much cleaner looks/templates. So, if you’re interested in continuing to follow my blog, please pop over to One Good Thing. Would love to see you there!

Ultimately, unless there is a good reason for me to keep a blog, I may, in the foreseeable future, move completely over to Instagram whose platform I much prefer.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, January 04, 2016

Happy 2016!

Due to my taking time off while my sister was visiting (she left for home yesterday), I don't have an actual post ready for today. But, here is a wonderful thought from my sweet friend and uber talented author, Salina Yoon, that I wanted to share with you.
I've promised to be bold, be brave, and to shine this year. Will you?

Be sure to check out Salina's new book in which this character is featured:
Happy New Year!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, December 21, 2015

Do a good deed, enjoy a good read for a chance to win!

Want a chance to win this awesome Millennium Falcon soap or the equally awesome Death Star soap made by Soapsudsations?

Go to https://www.facebook.com/TeresaRobesonAuthor/posts/10156251851605328 for details!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, November 30, 2015

Daikon "cakes"

Hubby grows root vegetables in the fall because the cooling days help to sweeten them up. So, this is the time of year when our daikons are harvested and he makes one of my favorite Chinese dishes, 蘿蔔糕 . 


Many people call them "turnip cakes" but they're not made from turnips (nor are they cakes in the Western sense of the word). They're actually made with daikon. While turnips and daikons belong to the same family (Brassicaceae), they differ in genus and species. Turnips are Brassica rapa while daikons are Raphanus sativus.

We got our recipe from my aunt who made excellent daikon cakes. Ours tastes even better because our daikons are homegrown.
daikon, washed and ready to be peeled
hubby chopping up shiitake mushrooms and Chinese sausage
dishes of "cake" - the one in the back is raw, while the one in the front is cooked
the cakes are cooked by steaming in the wok
hubby likes to slice the cooked "cakes" and pan fry them so they look like ones you can get at dim sum...see picture below
from a little book I have on dim sum dishes

We usually put hoisin and XO sauce on it before eating. That's probably the most authentic Hong Kong style to have daikon cake. Now if we can perfect rice rolls and find out how to make black sesame gelatin rolls, I can happily re-live my childhood without having to go out to eat.

Have you ever tried dim sum before? If so, what is your favorite dish?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, November 23, 2015

How did time go by so fast?

My baby turned 18 this past week. How on earth did 18 years fly by?? I have not aged a day.
We celebrated with a chocolate coconut cake (his pick) and no fanfare, per our family tradition of no fanfare.
I miss those cute baby days somewhat, but I don't miss poopy diapers or not knowing what he was trying to communicate. Most people my age are grandparents, but I'm glad I'm not. It was exhausting being an older parents but I wouldn't do it differently if I had to re-live my life.

Have you celebrated some milestone this week? Do tell!

And a happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, November 16, 2015

That's how I roll

I've made sponge cake a number of times to use in place of store-bought ladyfingers for tiramisus, but I'd never attempted a jellyroll before. I was inspired by watching The Great British Baking Show (I am so in love with that show) to try making one. Although it started out fine, it turned out...just okay.
folding meringue into yolk mixture
shiny, captain!
pulling a Cleopatra
 I put Costco's orange-mango jelly in the center and it tastes fine, but the roll wasn't tight enough and the skin had stuck to the towel it was rolled in (not enough icing sugar, I suppose), so it looked like it was recovering from a bad sunburn. *sigh*
less than picture perfect
If I make this again, I'm going to make cream roll so I can put chocolate frosting all over the outside to hide the ugly parts. Hah.

Have you ever made jellyroll before? Do you have a favorite recipe?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, November 02, 2015

A weekend at Better Books Marin beats Bernie's

Last weekend, I went to my last writing-related event of the year (unless our local SCBWI chapter has another autograph party this year) - Better Books Marin, organized by the fabulous, indefatigable Darcey Rosenblatt. The wonderful things about this event fell into three categories:

1) The landscape
sunrise near Las Vegas
en route to Oakland

my good friend Sylvia in a rock maze at the retreat center near Petaluma
a gorgeous layer of fog over the land at retreat center, Petaluma

  2) The food

the authentic Chinese meal that Sylvia's mother cooked for us the one night we stayed there

the buffet table at the retreat center, full of fresh, locally-grown foods
breakfast fare with eggs, fried potatoes, and lots of berries
I kept wolfing down my meals before I remembered to take a photo

 3) The workshop itself and the fun folks there

last night together, playing Cards Against Humanity...ensuing hilarity
the amazing and insightful critique group I was in

The only category that I still have after returning home is the food. Thanks to hubby's gardening and cooking skills, I rarely go somewhere where the food is better than at home. I just don't have to wash dishes when I'm elsewhere.



What was your best trip of the year, and what did you like the most about it?


"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, October 26, 2015

Yes, I am crazy; thanks for noticing

Because NaNoWriMo may not take up enough of my time (heavy on the sarcasm), I also plan to work on PiBoIdMo. One can't have enough acronyms in one's life, I suppose.
I sort of feel like I have to because Tara Lazar is fabulous and the logo this year is designed by my super-talented buddy Troy Cummings.

Plus, you know: prizes! Check it out if you write or want to write picture books.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, October 19, 2015

Because I'm a sucker for punishment

Guess what I'm doing this year?

Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo? Are you doing it this year? Buddy me if you are!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams