I’m Not in the 4th Grade Anymore

I have a thing with tomatoes. I don’t love them. I keep telling people that I haven’t quite grown up yet. To be honest, it’s the slime factor. But I think it all goes back to growing up in Washington State where I was never exposed to a vine-ripened tomato. All the tomatoes I ever saw had white centers and were as bitter as can be. My Mom would always put one slice of tomato on our ice-burg lettuce salad, and both my brother and I would peck around that tomato until it stared back at us with it’s red, slimy seedy eyes. We’d both stab it, force it in our mouths, and chase it down with an entire glass of milk.

Last week I made a huge stride into adult-hood.

I made bruschetta from the tomatoes Carl has been growing in our garden… and I gobbled it up. I am so grown up now. The bruschetta pretty much rocked.

For those who enjoy poetry, here’s my 4th grade poem I wrote about tomatoes:

Oh what a horrible fate
to find a tomato on my plate.

My one and only wish
is for it to disappear from my dish.

Oh what a terrible waste
to have such a yucky taste.

It is such a disgusting crime
to be forced to eat the seeds and slime.

If I could only have my way
I’d make them totally go away.

Pure poetry. Now, to get over olives….

Living Off the Land

When Carl comes home from work and asks what’s for dinner, and I tell him that we’re “living off the land,” he usually smiles and shakes his head. He may think it odd, but I like the challenge and resourcefulness of it. Wondering what to do with your leftover bags of rigatoni? Add a jar of bruschetta, dig out the italian sausage in the freezer, and you, my friend, have got Italiano Splendifico.

But now that we’ve entered summertime, we truly can “live off our land” (that is if you want a diet of lemons, cherries, peaches, zucchinis, tomatoes, and grapes). Our small yet productive backyard is bursting right now. I can now Carl a cherry farmer, as he figured out how to defeat the crows this year so we could actually enjoy and share the bounty of our bing cherries. He did some serious acrobatics to wrap our tree with netting, and wallah! … cherry heaven. Who knew they were $7 a pint? Perhaps we should set up a booth at the Farmer’s Market. Nah. It’s been a great way to get to know our neighbors and to share a bit of joy from our own backyard.

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Trepidation with Tradition

When I think about my favorite tradition for Thanksgiving, it has to be Grandma’s hot rolls. Flaky, buttery goodness, with another dollup of butter and a drop of honey = Thanksgiving happiness. When Grandma passed away, my Mom was up for the task of making everyone’s Thanksgiving dreams come true. We couldn’t have a family get-together without Grandma’s hot rolls. Don’t even think about it. I never really thought about making them on my own. The whole yeast rising chemistry experiment dough thing always filled me with trepidation. But since I wasn’t going to be with my family for Thanksgiving this year, I mustered up my courage, had my Mom on speed-dial, and decided to conquer Grandma’s recipe once and for all.

And besides, the only cousin who had attempted to make this recipe was my cousin Mark. The girl cousins need to represent!

So… here it goes.

Step 1. No wonder I like this recipe. Lots of butter.


Step 2. Just added the yeast. Crossing my fingers that this will work.


Step 3. Better put Grandma’s picture next to the dough while it rises. I need all the help I can get!


Step 4. Hooray! Success. I’d say that dough doubled in size. Now for the fun part.


Step 5. See… even the dough is happy.


Step 6. After making the hot rolls, I used the extra dough to make cinnamon rolls. I brought Grandma’s picture in for this step so she can see how much butter and sugar I lathered on. I think she’d be proud.


The finished product. Yummy goodness.