Basil!

My supermarket basil seems to be recovering and flourishing! I got an Italian basil and a Thai basil (because I’m obsessed with homemade pho).

Almost as soon as I brought it home a month or so ago, it flopped over and looked dreadful. I planted it in a container immediately, and it was so pathetic that I took a bunch of cuttings in hopes that at some point I’d have something to show for having purchased two basil plants.

basil cuttings

Then a bunch of leaves on the original spindly plants started turning kind of white. Powdery mildew, maybe? I plucked the icky leaves off, figuring that I’d end up just plucking all of the leaves off.

But the disease seems to have gone away, or is at least gone for now. And the plants are growing!

basil growing

Thinking about taking more cuttings and growing basil all over the place, because free plants and because yum.

New dinner clean-up strategy?

We had a nice dinner, and for a treat (to go with fresh strawberries) I made a Dutch Baby for dessert. Not the exact one I linked to, but it’s pretty close. And yes, it’s supposed to be breakfast, but it was quite fantastic after dinner too.

F was super excited about dessert. We told her we’d serve it up after we finished cleaning up dinner.

What we meant was clearing the table. But then I found myself washing up all the pots and pans, loading the dishwasher, etc. It didn’t take long at all, and I had the promise of dessert to keep me on task.

It was so nice to come back to the kitchen after dessert to a kitchen that was 90% cleaned up! This should become a more frequent strategy – bribing ourselves with dessert.

Strawberries

We drove out to a farm and picked strawberries!

It was a gorgeous day and there were plenty of ripe berries for the picking. Even though it was hot and sunny, the breeze and fluffy clouds helped keep us very comfortable. Plus I had packed an unreasonable amount of water.

Highly recommended outing for a 3.5 year old!

Seattle and the Swamp

Baby C and I were in Seattle, WA from Thursday through Monday night. I’d never been there before. Wow, gorgeous and lovely. I took hardly any pictures because I was just enjoying the experience so much.

We were there because one of my college friends got married. It was a lovely wedding to a great guy – yay!

Coming home from mild, sea-breezy Seattle to my muggy swamp of a home state (woo Maryland) was still wonderful, though. It’s home, and my people are here.

Time in the Garden

I got some time in the garden today! A friend took F from afternoon through evening, J came home a little early, bagged up some heavy brush, and then took Baby C. And then hauled our last homemade lasagna out of the freezer and baked it up because I tossed my big plans for making dinner tonight unceremoniously out the window!

I planted our blueberries, which involved digging, amending the soil, planting, watering, mulching, and watering again. Then I “planted” our two new trellises and sowed runner beans at their bases. Then I realized that I had just cleverly used shredded oak leaf mulch right next to our neighbor’s yard, and in this neighborhood we spend most of November, December, and March (and April?) raking up oak leaves. So I plopped down an old bit of 18″ wire fencing that we found behind the shed to (hopefully) keep any stray leaves off their lawn.

And then I planted our $1.68 bag of 15 bright red gladiolis right in front of the house, and pulled some weeds, and uprooted some annoying ornamental grass.

And then I put things away! I didn’t get dinner till 8:30, but the garden is going. Phew.

Parsley!

Back in the middle of March, my seeds arrived in the mail and we had a couple of super nice, warm spring days. So I went ahead and planted parsley, chives, and comfrey in pots on the deck.

I chose these because they all said to plant before the last frost, or “just” before the last frost, however one figures out exactly when that is. Well, we had quite a few frosts after that, and I assumed nothing would grow.

We have a few feeble chives sprouts. They’re a couple inches tall, wispy, and aren’t seeming to get taller. We have a couple of little baby seedlings in the comfrey pot. They’re so young, with just the two initial leaves out, that I don’t know how to tell if they’re comfrey or volunteers.

But the parsley!

parsley seedlings

We have probably about a dozen little seedlings going. I transplanted a few into recycled starter pots.

parsley transplants

And it’s an overreaction, and a reflection that I’m such a newbie at gardening stuff, but it makes me feel very rich that I got all these baby parsley plants for “free” by just spending a few dollars on a seed packet.

Tulips!

red and yellow tulips

This is not my yard!

We took a trip to a public garden a county or two over from ours. We met a couple of friends there with their kids, and F and the others got lots of exercise! Also, it was beautiful. Also, picnic lunches are extra delicious after a lot of walking.

We have a few surprise tulips in our yard too. I’m honestly surprised at all the bulbs in our neighborhood, given the incredible squirrel population.

Mise en Place

Last week was hard. Nothing even happened – it was just hard.

One problem was that even though we meal planned, made a grocery list, and grocery shopped the weekend before, cooking was a fiasco. J actually ended up coming home from a full day at work and then and cooking us dinner twice last week. He said he was happy to do it, and he probably really was. That’s just the kind of person he is. (<3)

But I’d like to re-take the cooking this week.

My parents were in town this past weekend, and I seized the free childcare time to put the week’s recipes Mise en Place. Which in this context means the veggies are chopped and labeled through most of the week, and the beans are soaked. I might try to cook the spaghetti sauce ahead too.

So even if it’s another hard week, I stand a better chance at successfully cooking. And if I fail again, I’ve at least taken steps that will make it less work for J when he bails me out.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

F and I made these cookies from Simply Recipes on Friday morning. They’re fabulous.

cookies

I’ve never deliberately browned butter before, and as per Elise’s directions, I followed my nose and waited for that delicious nutty butterscotch scent. It’s worth washing out the extra pot and single-mindedly stirring butter just for that smell. But then you get to eat it, too. I think this is my go-to recipe now. Note: I omitted the cinnamon and used dark chocolate chips.

A quick website search got me a whole list of Simply Recipes goodies that use browned butter.

Also, did you know that Deb of Smitten Kitchen lists Brown Butter as one of her food groups and also has a long list of recipes that use it?

I have to admit that this is a selfish post, because when I find myself in my next food rut, I’m going straight back to this post to find these lists. Brown butter shall fix all of the things.