Monday Musings

It was a busy weekend of visiting apple farms and working on worm bins and cooking ourselves silly. So to get us through this week, here are a few inspiring and playful things…

I am reading this and picked up a copy of this at the antique market in hopes to get me excited about Halloween and to work my way through the classics (I’ve read Jane Eyre and East of Eden so far this year).

I am thanking Lolalina for the wonderful online magazines she’s blogged about. They have been fun and inspiring evening reads!

I’m starting to plan one of these for the coming months.

and I am looking forward to getting together with friends for this in Hollywood.

Happy Monday and have a pleasant weekend!

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Apple Butter

I can not believe I made Apple Butter today. I’ve been wanting to work up to canning and I heard making apple butter is  a pretty easy way to start. Where ever I heard this from, they were wrong. Making apple butter was intimidating! I followed this recipe and started cooking around two in the afternoon and didn’t stop until nine! I used only a small handful of apples from our day at the farm.

I bought new canning jars for the occasion, washed them and sterilized them.

and proceded on with making the apple butter. It lifted the house with an amazing fall-like smell, apples, cinnamon and spice. But it sure did take quite awhile to get it all done. I’m eager to spread some on a slice of my husbands hand baked bread. I’ll let you know if it indeed turned out.

September Brings Apple Goodness

The weather around here is changing. It’s getting darker earlier, the air is drier and we are having cooler days, even a thunder storm rumbled quickly through the area a few days ago. I wanted to do something to round out the end of summer and joyfully bring in the fall. So my husband and I decided to go apple picking for the first time.

We decided to drive out to Riley’s Farm a few hours away. It was like stepping into another time and into another state for that matter. The farm was lovely and picturesque, lush and green.

We had fresh pressed cider, raspberries and plenty of apple samplings. We wandered through the orchards, discovering all sorts of different types of apples. While we were picking apples off of the trees, I kept thinking of the scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy gets apples thrown at her by the apple trees.

We loaded up our “half bushel” and wandered around to the farthest reaches of the farm, finding rows of corn and growing pumpkins readying themselves for the following month when they would be the headliner.

We ended our day stocked with apples galore and happy hearts, eager to delve into our cookbooks for apple recipes and ready for what fall may bring.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

An Old Friend

While watering my garden this weekend, I came upon an old friend.

A couple months ago I had released a bunch of teeny tiny praying mantis‘ into my garden to help with an abundance of aphids. They stuck around for a few weeks, some disappearing into the wild of the apartment complex and others finding  a few more bugs in my garden to munch on. However, after about a month, I no longer saw any of them.

It’s been a little over three months now and while walking the dogs this past weekend, my husband and I came across a rather large green bug that our dog Charlotte was fascinated with catching. We realized what is was, yanked our determined frenchie away from it and I helped it out of the street and into a grassier, praying mantis friendlier area. It was neat to see one so large and I thought maybe it just might be one of my own mantis babies all grown up. The following day while watering my plants is when I was visited by this guy pictured above. They are fascinating little creatures. I do hope he stays for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Monday Musings

I had a lovely weekend! I hope you did too! I got a lot of much needed household cleaning done as well as made some fantastic chocolate chip cookies for a neighbors going away party. Jeff spent the weekend working on my worm bin which I will hopefully share more about this week.

For now I have been thumbing through some library books I picked up this past weekend…

I have been listening to this continuously…

This book gave me the inspiration to make some handmade books to store recipes in… and is also making me want to make something like this...

I am wanting to make something like this for my own bike basket…

and next weekend I am looking forward to going here in search of some vintage fabrics and a chair for my patio.

(the lovely napkins pictured above are from here… I think they are so summery and cheerful- love them!)

Here is to a fantastic week! Happy Monday!

Tomatoes Galore

Many of the blogs I subscribe to have been busy talking about their plentiful tomatoes and all the fantastic things they are doing with them. My little balcony garden has not given me the bounty that others have received but I have been getting a steady stream of two and even three tomatoes in different sizes and shapes just about every week. My mother on the other hand has had the miracle upon miracle tomato garden. Each plant of hers is producing more than she knows what to do with and that’s a lot because my mom doesn’t eat tomatoes. Why she grows them is beyond me but I am thrilled she does because the other day she brought me over a basketful of tomatoes to do with what I pleased. I had come across this recipe which was perfect for our meatless monday meal (we used kale instead of arugula) but I still had plenty of leftover tomatoes. Well, then I stumbled across Amanda Soule’s recipe for Soule-Sa  while reading her new book. I’m always a bit trepidacious when making anything like this but this recipe seemed pretty quick, easy and straightforward  and so I decided to try it. To my amazement (and my husband’s) the Soule-Sa came out wonderful and delicious. I halved the recipe because I didn’t have quite the 5 cups of tomatoes it called for but after boiling up a batch, I lovingly poured it into a mason jar, let it refrigerate overnight and then me and husband enjoyed homemade salsa and chips (the chips courtesy of Homeboy Bakery, a local organization that helps at risk Los Angeles youth  find an alternative to gang-related lifestyles. They come to our local farmers market every week and sell the most wonderful array of breads and baked goods, including tortilla chips).  I feel as if I have just begun when it comes to tomatoes!