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Roasting Roma’s

Roma's and Roasted GarlicI planted 80 Roma tomatoes in early spring and have been harvesting produce for about a month now.

Today I roasted about 300 tomatoes and I was finally completely satisfied with my recipe.

Here is how I prepared them.

Slice Roma’s in half, lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil, added salt, pepper, a hand full of garlic ( I prefer fresh but used loads of minced and it was excellent) oregano and finely chopped basil.

Mix well so all tomatoes are well coated.

Place face down on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees until skin start to pucker. Different baking surfaces will cause  the length of time vary.

Remove from oven and scoop into a blender or food processor, buzz for about 10 seconds.

Pour into a food mill or a potato ricer.

Potato Ricer

Process all tomatoes, add fresh basil to taste, simmer sauce to desired consistency and enjoy!

Perfect

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This Weeks Good News

WordPress  ranked my blog post “No Escaping the Bridget Jones Syndrome, the best of 227,832 bloggers.

Nicholas was certified and hired by the community college to tutor in all achedemic areas including chemistry and physics.

Benjamin and Rachel leased a new home:)

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The Last Day of School

Yesterday was Alexa’s last day of school. It was a bittersweet day that Alexa both looked forward to and dreaded.

When Alexa’s Dad died 2 years ago she wrote and read a tribute at his funeral, a good-bye letter if you will. In her letter she said that she feared the big days ahead, like graduation and someday getting married. She said that the milestones in her life would be marked by his absence.

Alexa made it clear to me that she would not walk in a graduation ceremony afraid she’d be reduced to tears and throughout her last year of high school I wondered if she’d graduate at all. She struggled with chronic illness related immune deficiency and she grieved over lost health and a lost father. Her grades fell.

Her greif counselor told me not to push her and sometimes I didn’t, and sometimes I did. I knew if Alexa didn’t graduate that she was still an able, capable girl, even more important Alexa knows she’s an able capable girl. But I was afraid if she gave up on graduation that it would give her more of a reason to give up on life. Alexa and I discussed our terms, she agreed to follow through with earning the credit needed to graduate and only said, “just stay with me,” and so I did.

Finishing class yesterday reminded her that she couldn’t call her Dad to say, ” I did it Dad,” but she imagined what he might  have said and how proud of her he would have been.

After her online classes ended at noon we loaded into the car and left for the suburbs of Minneapolis. Nick had a new car to pick up and Alexa and I made plans to visit Cookie Strange at Great Clips in Champlin.

Cookie is one of my closest friends, daughter. I’ve known Cookie ever since she was born and her Mother named her Emily…which she later changed to Cookie. Cookie works magic on hair and I will follow her to the end of the earth because she makes my hair fabulous.

The last time I got my haircut I had it done locally, it is viewable in all of my online photos. The cut was alright but it wasn’t the kind of cut that you could blow dry and go and it didn’t fare well on windy days in the garden. I need hair that you can seriously mess up and I prefer an modern edge because age appropriate just sucks,  as always Cookie delivered.

When Alexa and I finished getting our hair cut we went to Totally Tan. As Alexa’s health has worsened her skin color has become very light but her hair is dark. During the summer she frequently hides in jeans feeling like her legs glow white. She also burns easily so I agreed to take her to a place that offers a full body spray tan.

After I paid for Alexa’s tan, Alexa looked at me and said…”Aren’t you going to go?” I hesitated, I have  to attend a birthday party and a wedding today…but thought I could use some color. After asking a pile of questions I decided to try it. The experience was absolutely dreadful, it so cold it almost took my breath away and I forgot to use the shower cap so I stepped out once again feeling like Bridget Jones.

On the drive home Alexa and I talked about her Dad, upcoming graduation parties, what to wear to the wedding and we started to turn a warm brown …maybe not so bad. By this morning I staggered to the kitchen for coffee on gingerbread colored legs and thought; definitely not bad.

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Filed under Books, Cooking, Education, Fiction Writing, General, health, Life, Minnesota, Minnesota Fiction, Politics

With or Without the Fireman’s Pole

I finished planting the garden today. The wind was so bad that it scattered tree debris all over the deck, the yard, the garden..everything. Nonetheless the plants needed to be planted so I forged ahead. Gnats were swarming my head and biting my neck and I was miserable. By the time I finished I had sand and tree debris in my hair, which was sticky because I used all natural bug repellent. It not only worked to repel bugs but I’m sure I was repellent in general. I don’t recall the last time I felt that disgusting. I’m not outdoorsy, I never do things like go camping, back to nature to me is a glass of ice tea on my back patio with a book.

Gardening is an act of love for me  because I have to work against my own inclination to be clean and comfortable. I prefer the grocery store or to have UPS deliver cases of organic Amish Paste Tomatoes from someone else’s garden but I value the end result and appreciated having produce that lasted all winter, produce I grew,  so I muck through the parts I don’t like so well.

When I came into the house I showered, dried my hair and slipped into cool comfortable sleep wear. Despite the late hour we had yet to have dinner but throwing burgers on the grill is easy and so is clean up. I considered getting dressed to use the grill but felt so blissfully clean and comfortable that I elected to cook in what I had on. The only household in the neighborhood who has or uses their outdoor living space is me, it was already getting dark and the neighbors had been indoors or gone all day. I was sure I could slip onto the deck unnoticed  because the grill is right outside the door of the mud room.

I flipped the light to the mud room on and pulled open the door only to discover that the man in the house behind me had company and there was a group of men  seated at a picnic table drinking beer at the edge of the property line.  I was holding a plate of raw burgers wearing nothing but a very short Victoria Secret nightgown with a neckline that…  It’s just an everyday lightweight knit  with spaghetti straps but it fits in such a way that I always put on a light sweater if the boys are  around..but they weren’t.

The men at the picnic table froze momentarily and so did I,  I gave them an apologetic courtesy smile right before I closed the door!

Earlier this week I took a test on Facebook to determine which literary heroine I was most like. The test likened me to Bridget Jones which I found objectionable but when I returned to the house I realized that in some respects the test was probably more right than I cared to admit.

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British Court Rules on Potato Chips

Pringles Logo
Image via Wikipedia

Today a Britsh court ruled that Pringles are potato chips. I’m curious to know what Proctor & Gamble was trying to present them as.

I once attended an agriculture round table meeting hosted by the University of Minnesota, the professor was trying to promote food irradiation to a group of public school officials. In the lead up to discussing treating food with radiation he did an overview of some landmark cases in the food history. The most noteworthy was a case brought by an unnamed tomato sauce company in the 70’s or 80’s who argued that maggots didn’t constitute filth in food because they were not visible. The unnamed company of course lost but its not much different than Pringles arguing whether or not a potato chip is a potato chip…key ingredient?  I wonder how much the tomato sauce suit cost taxpayers?

Did you hear about the 150 Amish Paste tomatoes I planted? Well now you know the rest of the story.

The FDA’s 3 second rule

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Filed under Cooking, Food, Government, health, Home & Garden, Life

On a Beautiful Day

Charles Dickens
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The weather is perfect today and I plan to spend most of the day outdoors. First I need a very long walk because I committed a cardinal sin and ate 4 ice cream sandwiches in 24 hours, suffice it to say  that I refused to visit the scale this morning choosing to ignore her instead. After that there is garden work that needs to be done and sheets that I want to hang outdoors to dry. I plan to accomplish all of this with my MP3 player.

As I am typing this blog post my computer is transfering 33 hours of Charles Dickens, 7.5 hours of Claire Cook, 8 hours of E. Lockhart and the final chapters of Sinclair Lewis. Titles include Little Dorrit, Wildwater Walking Club, The Disreptuble History of Frankie Landau Banks and the the last chapters of Main Street. My favorite way to spend a day…is lost in a book!

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Spring Rain

The garden finally got tilled this afternoon and by the length of the nap I took afterward you would have assumed I was the one who labored over it.  As the yard serviceman tilled the very last row of my garden drops of rain dotted my face and hair as cracks of thunder rumbled across the afternoon sky. I intended to work inside of the house but was  so sleepy that I climbed the stairs to my room instead. As the rain tapped against my window Simon & Garfunkel‘s Kathy’s Song played in my head until the space filled with strange dreams.

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