I want to first apologize for the lack of recipes you will find here this month. July is a time that is just too good to spend inside. Typically you would find me hiding inside with my air conditioning running full blast, but this summer I have been enjoying every minute of the sand and sun so to speak. There are a number of exciting new things happening this month so I have decided it is probably best that I formally step away from my computer for a little while. Sure, if I was a seasoned blogger I would have had guest posts lined up every week to entertain you, but life has continued to be crazy for me and that option is long gone now. All I know is that I desperately need time to get away from technology for a little while. In the next few weeks I plan on using my computer, phone and facebook considerably less, and not at all at some point. Taking time to decompress from the social scene and enjoy the company of those I love.
So what is going on exactly? Well, somethings I will tell you and others I am going to leave as a surprise. First and foremost I guess I have to tell you that in a few days I will be celebrating my 30th birthday. Yup my 30th, holy shit where did my twenties go, thirty. Actually I know quite well where my twenties went. I was busy graduating college, getting married a few months later, buying a house, and giving birth to two beautiful children. It all sounds great but making babies can sure take a tole on your body, so after the birth of my second son I set a goal for myself. I wanted to look better than I ever have, by the time I hit the big three zero, and that goal was the start of this beautiful journey that you are now taking with me.
I am happy to say that in less then a year I accomplished that goal (I lost 65 pounds and have kept it off for almost a year). I look better now than I did when I first met my husband, and even better than I did when I got married. Since we can't reverse aging my plan is to accept it and move along gracefully, always striving to improve and learning to embrace the things I can't change. In the next ten years I plan on learning more about myself, and I want to continue to set and accomplish greater goals. One of those goals that I set is going to be accomplished in the next few weeks, but that I will leave as a surprise so I can share all the fun with you later. So if you see me considerably less in the coming weeks just know that I am enjoying every minute and I will be back in August to share some new adventures and new recipes too!
So now onto some fun summer things...
Isn't it easy to see how one could get distracted in such a beautiful place. The Great Bay is our little heaven on earth. This last weekend my sister took me to harvest/pick/gather our own mussels from the bay. The mussels grow attached to the sea grass in the bay and all it takes is a good tug to set them free to become our dinner. This was my first time gathering mussels and even though it was really dirty work, you can't deny how cool it is to be able just to walk out your back yard, hop in a kayak and grab a meal.
Once you collect your mussels you have to de-beard them, rinse and soak them. Soaking overnight in the bay water is best, but in a pinch you can soak them in fresh water for 20 minutes. The next step is to steam them open in white wine and garlic. We put our mussels in a red sauce along with some blue claw crabs that we caught off the dock. Along with some golden tile fish that my father and brother caught out in the canyon last week, we had the most perfect seafood dinner.
We have seen this more than once now. A poor little seagull must land out in the bay in just the wrong spot. A mussel will actually close on their foot and be stuck there on the ride of a lifetime (for a mussel that is).
So here is the clean up for the blue claws. I laugh because this one particular crab was really quite big, but being held by my father's enormous hands he looks like a little guy. My oldest son is obsessed with blue claws, just like his mother before him. So it is his task to check the traps several times a day for the "da-da pwabs" that we will cook and eat. Normally we boil the crabs, but every so often we cook them already cleaned. The only one brave enough for this job is my father, and the rest of us look on in astonishment as he kills and cleans them with his bare hands.
Since I am on the topic of sun and sand I wanted to share with you this great product created by another awesome mom named, Summer (appropriate right?). Butterbean Sunscreen and bug spray is all natural and handmade. I picked up some to try on my boys and they both worked perfectly. I just want you to know that I wasn't paid or asked to write about these products. I feel that if I love something enough then I want to share it with you. As parents you want to protect your kids in the best possible way, and I feel much better about using this sunscreen and bug spray then the regular stuff that is full of chemicals. When you are buying a handmade and natural sunscreen the biggest issue is if it actually works, and I can tell you that this stuff does. Check out her website here or by clicking on the image below.
A Little Garden Update!!!
My purple string beans continue to yield crazy amounts and they seem to be getting bigger and bigger by the day...
I tried growing carrots this year. I had a feeling they probably wouldn't work as well as I hoped but it was so much fun for the boys to pick them that it didn't even matter if they didn't grow very much. And our bunnies happily ate all the greens (their favorite food). I would definitely try to grow them again but perhaps after learning a little bit more about their favorite growing conditions.
My tiny raspberry bush still continues to amaze me. We collect handful after handful of beautifully ripe berries every time we walk outside.
Winter/Spring Canning Collection
...and making room for increasing amounts of summer produce
...and guess who discovered that canning bands make great bracelets. Anything to keep their hands busy without causing chaos and destruction, am I right?
I also had lots to say about how wonderful tart cherries are. Somehow the allure of the tart cherry is lost on me. Perhaps because I processed 20 pounds! It might be difficult to imagine what 20 pounds of tart cherries looks like but I can tell you it is probably more than you think. I pitted them all by hand and slowly put them up over the course of a few days. I also made a cute tart cherry jam tart but I just can't bring myself to finish the post. I need to move on from the cherries, knowing that all winter long I'll be able to bust out a jar of my most favorite jam. Sorry if this disappoints anyone, but I'm guessing that not many people have access to this beautiful and quickly fleeting fruit anyway.
So lastly I will share that at the end of the month my adventures will end at this place...The Catskill Mountains in New York State. My heart and my soul lie in these hills and lakes. A trip that I have taken every year since my birth. This is a place where time truly stands still and you can hear the sound of your own heart beating among the frogs croaking and the birds chirping. Technology still remains at bay here and we can find those moments of peace and serenity hiding behind every bend and curve of the lake. Find your happiness this month and hold onto it forever. I'll find you all again in August. Cheers.
Since you will miss me so much here are a few of my new favorite blogs to read: