Yellow Sky Jewels

These pictures are from my mothers back yard this spring, at one point there were 10 male goldfinches sitting in her redbud tree! Super adorable! I just love their bright coloring and how the flick around the back yard. The goldfinches are here in my back yard as well, the fly and chirp around in the little tree outside my window in fast arcing swoops. Way too fast to get a picture of!

Fresh Lettuce, fun in the sun!

My salad garden, a jungle of arugula, and canopy thats become a habitat of little toads. The toads are great since I don't spray for snails of slugs, and the birds can only do so much, they are most welcome. And cute. There is Arugula (rocket), mesclun mix lettuce, and some loose leaf lettuce towards the back. I was also given three plants of spinach... but those are still working themselves out.

I have really more than enough for 2 people, and more more than enough for 1 person and a boyfriend who only some times eats salad. Maybe its time for a little farm stand?

Normally I had eaten store bought baby arugula, very yummy, but I'd never had older leaves of it. I really love it, that leafy peppery spiciness, delicious! There's really no excuse for everyone not to be growing at least a little window box full of the stuff! I know I'll be growing this for as long as I can this growing season. (Last year it took 3 frosts to kill the arugula!)

Quickish Spicy Italian

At some point over the last year & a half my recipes have evolved from subtle hints of heat from chili powder and cayenne to unabashed heat from delicious peppers like Thai peppers, poblano's, Serrano, and habanero's. Mmmm good! This is partially because my boyfriend also has a taste for heat, which surpasses my own but I am glad to keep the spicy turned up. You just won't catch me any where near scotch bonnets!
This recipe also stems from the fact that I'm in the process of packing my house up, and as a result, going to the store gets relegated to the bottom of the list. So dinner time becomes scrounging around in the cupboards time hoping you didn't use the last of the canned tomatoes for that Mexican dish last week! Of course I had, so the sauce is a combination of tomato paste and a jar of pasta sauce. My great grandmother is rolling in her grave. Also I had 4 links of Italian sausage, 2 were pork, and 2 were the chicken sausage. At that point I felt the need to something more than ground sausage. So why not meat balls? These are a quick mash up and pan seared, traditionally I was taught to make a giant vat of sauce and plop beef meat balls into the sauce to marinate for hours on end. But who has time for that? Not this time of year anyway!

Spicy Red Sauce & Sausage Meatballs

For the sauce
Half a jar of Pasta Sauce*
Half can of small tomato paste
1 1/2 cup chicken stock**
2 small onions, sm chop
1/2 of 1 habanero, diced
2 tsp of dried Italian seasoning
1 medium green bell pepper,
roughly chopped

For the meatballs
4 links of Italian Sausage
1 egg
splash of milk
1 tsp olive oli
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano***
grnd pepper to taste
1/4 cup combined of ground g/f oats and cornmeal

Start by sauteing the onions and diced habenaro in a pan with olive oil and as splash of chicken broth to soften over medium heat.

In bowl combine all of the dry ingredients for the meatballs, add olive oil. Remove sausages from casings and add to bowl. Begin combining with a fork. Add egg, and milk. Add more cornmeal as preference. (These end up being very sticky no matter what, i put olive oil on my hands and that helped form them some what) Begin forming into small balls and place in pan with onions. (They really plump up as they cook so go small) Let the bottoms brown before flipping over, helps keep them together initially. Add cup of broth, tomato paste, and sauce and bring to simmer. Add peppers and last of the broth, let simmer until desired consistency of the sauce.

Serve over g/f pasta, will serve 4 with pasta or make yummy left overs for 2.
* I like to use this normally instead of paste as a thickener, with a can of diced canned tomatoes.
** White wine tastes really good with sauteed onions
*** Next time I'm going to add more seasoning, fresh herbs, but no spice, its was nice to have the mild meat balls with the spicy sauce.

Pretty delicious peas

The first of my pea plants are blooming and making the most delicious peas. Though being zone 4b I cheated and these were actually started inside before they made it outside. The rest of the pea plants are still working on growing tall. Last year I had adorable pinkish-purple flowers, similar to a paler version of Sweet pea flowers. Couldn't find find the variety this year these are pretty though too!