The Christmas Shopping Starts, NOW!

November 1, 2010 08:55 by ehouston

It’s only November 1st and I have spent most of the day already working on my Christmas gift list.  Every year this task seems to become more and more daunting.  As all of us get older I find it harder and harder to come up with things that we need or want that we can’t just go buy for ourselves.  If the Mister had his way everyone would “get a card” and he follows that statement every year with a “Bah-Humbug”!  Sorry, but no matter how small the budget, that just won’t do!  I love making things, but find that the love of handmade does not, unfortunately, run through the family.  Or, maybe I have yet to find the right handmade things to give.  Again, this task always feels overwhelming to me.  Last year was great because the Little Guy was new and I was still in the mom-zombie stage.  So, I created a calendar with his pictures, printed that bad boy up and sent it out.  I think I better do something new this year, so I have set to work trying to figure it all out.  I will give myself a little pat on the back for having already purchased all the little kid gifts and I also placed an order earlier for one of the adults on our list.  So, that’s 6 down and about 25 to go!  ugh, I think I just threw up a little…

We did make it through another Halloween (my personal favorite holiday) and the Little Guy did just fine.  Although he would not tolerate the original costume idea I had for him and we had to REALLY simplify things this year.  We live on the main drag coming into our neighborhood, so we don’t get trick-or-treaters at our place, and since we have a 13 month old we did not want to do the trunk or treat thing and have a bunch of candy laying around calling our names.  With the coming Thanksgiving feast and Christmas baking, we don’t need anything else to run all over our moderately good eating habits.  So, this year we decided to head out to a local pumpkin patch to enjoy the scenery and take some pictures. 


(Here’s Charlie Brown picking his Great Pumpkin!)

We had a nice hayride around the farm, took in some handicrafts and sword fighting by a group of medieval festival folks and picked a pleasantly plump pumpkin for carving. 


(Here he is later, showing off his Jack-O-Lantern.)

So much for fall!  It feels like it went by in a blink.  Now, we are on to the Big One!  Are you guys making anything special for people on your list this year?  Do share!

Kitsch Krafts

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Eating – Tomato Soup : Homemade And Homegrown

August 13, 2010 06:22 by ehouston

I realized I have not talked about any food I have made lately and with the tomato avalanche that is going on at our place I figured I would share the latest tomato soup recipe.  This actually stemmed from my mother’s arrival the weekend of July 4th with a pile of veggies from her North GA garden.  We ate what we (or, I should say I ate, since The Mister shuns most veggies) could before it was time to start coming up with ways to put up the rest before it spoiled.  The freezer is full of bags of shredded zucchini and jalapeño peppers, and we just finished up the onions.  Everything was delicious and much appreciated, but I had one dilemma regarding all the tomatoes.  As many of you know, when you grow tomatoes, unless you can them or gift them to others sooner or later you are going to have way more than you can eat in a timely manner.  This happened with roughly a large Ziplock bag full of tomatoes.  In desperation to keep them for a later use I threw the bag in the freezer and hoped for the best.  I figured I would come up with a way to use them before they took on a funny “came from the freezer” taste.  Well this is the recipe was just the trick.

8 Large or 10 Medium sized tomatoes frozen and then thawed

1.5-2 cups of Chicken Broth

1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh, chopped Basil

1/2 to 1 cup of Milk (or you could use cream)

1 can of tomato paste

Salt and Pepper (and any other spices you like) to taste

Parmesan Cheese

Squeeze the tomatoes right out of their skins into a large saucepan.  Add the spices, broth and tomato paste and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Once it comes to a boil turn it down to simmer for about 15 minutes.  Let cool and then run through a blender or food processor until smooth.  Poor back into the pan, add the milk and adjust the spices until you get exactly the consistency and flavor you are looking for.  Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for another 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve it up with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.


My homegrown and homemade soup along with a veggie pita, bursting with more homegrown tomatoes and homemade hummus.  All of this displayed on my new IKEA dinnerware in white.

This recipe was enough for three large bowls of soup, but it could easily have fed 4 to maybe even 6 if the portions were brought down a bit.  Either way it was very good, quite thick and rich, but relatively healthy.  The Mister did not realize it was homemade at first and when I let him in on the secret he said he thought it tasted to good to be from a can.  Awe, he always knows just the right thing to say.  ;o)

Hope you all are enjoying as much homegrown veggies as possible this summer!

Kitsch Krafts

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