Friday, July 31, 2009

Keeping Busy on These Long Lonely Summer Days

I do live a charmed life in many ways. I was thinking about this as I rode my beach cruiser along the Iowa River, listening to Doug's iPod and feeling relatively good while riding into the sunset. When I arrived back home, I trekked back to the garden to grab a handful of tomatoes to immediately devour. As I was searching out the bright red dots among the green tomato jungle vines, I began to feel tiny, painful bites on my neck, face and exposed arms. MOSQUITOES! I literally dropped everything in the grass and ran back to the front door of the house where my bug spray is kept. Those little buggars bite hard this time of year. I covered myself in bug spray just for the 45 seconds it would take to walk back there and collect my things. It was that bad.

While I was back there, I managed to get 11 cherry tomatoes and 3 Serrano peppers. I also noticed that there were many yellow, soon-to-be-red tomatoes, maybe 20-30. These are the days.

On the downside, I must've gotten 8 mosquito bites in a matter of 15 seconds. I don't think I got any of them back. So unfair.

On another downside, Doug is in Des Moines again, still tending to his grandparents, who really need him right now. That means that I am here in the house on my days off trying to stay busy and positive so that I can send some good vibes his way and get some projects done.

One project I took on this afternoon, before my bike ride, was to make a bunch of delicious croutons from the almost-stale whole grain bread I had on the counter. It went smashingly well and I have been snacking on them shamelessly. I warmed a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and loaded it with Italian herbs, some of which were grown in my garden and dried in my kitchen. Use your imagination when you make yours....oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, etc....and be generous with them. Warm the oil over a low heat.

While the oil is warming up, cube several slices of the bread of your choice. I like to use bread that's not fresh enough for sandwiches, but hasn't yet gone stale. I used a Pepperidge Farm 7 grain and I leave the crust on since I think it's the best part. Toss it in the skillet until the cubes are covered in the seasoned oil.

Lay these delicious little cubes on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool completely before storing them. If you're like me, you'll eat them all before you get the opportunity to store them.

They actually are better after they have sat out for awhile, or at least that's when I think the crunch is best. Those of you who know me know I am all about the crunch. ;)

As For the Crafts......Projects in the Hopper......

I am teaching myself to embroider, mainly by watching youtube videos explaining the various stitches....but don't expect to see any embroidered teddy bears...I am sticking strictly to that which shocks....roller derby girls and abstract forms....i welcome ideas, got any? Here's the shirt I am presently embroidering. This embroidery is on the right sleeve. I will do a similar design on the left side of the torso also.

I am also taking on a project for Doug, now that he trusts me enough to have at his clothes...gimme gimme....
I am taking in a shirt that is too big for him. The sleeves and trunk of the shirt are the right length, but just too big around. I have basically just begun to take it in about an inch in those areas. I have also added a patch on the shoulder to cover a couple tears. Looking pretty good so far, considering I am doing all this by hand. Better appreciate, Doug!

Now, I am headed back to work on my black t-shirt.


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