Tag: contentment (page 2 of 3)

Pickling Peppers and Pesto

One of the ways that I am fostering contentment is by doing things that give me a more settled in, homey feel to life. My August goals of decluttering, organizing and setting up a guest bedroom have gone a long way to making both Bill and I happier here in this house. I often wander into the guest room, look around and sign with pleasure and I have caught Bill doing the very same thing. Investing a good bit of time and money into container gardening has been another way to make our time here in Arizona more pleasant and give us a sense of home, since both Bill and I grew up on farms and feel more complete when we have green things growing around us.

This week I found another outlet for contentment. My garden is producing fairly well and I have picked quite a few banana peppers. I recently have discovered a love of all things pickled, which is surprising to me. I remember my dad liking pickled items and I never really cared for them, but suddenly I do. With all my banana peppers, I decided to do some pickling and canning. Unfortunately, I no longer had a canner or any canning jars or canning supplies of any kind, so that meant a monetary investment was necessary. Plus I did not really have enough peppers to warrant all that fussing, so I ended up also buying more peppers.

Yesterday I washed jars, cut peppers, made the pickling juice and generally heated up the kitchen with a canner full of boiling water to process the peppers. The whole house smelled of pickles! I gauged just right for the amount of peppers, as I had a canner full of jars (7 pints) when I finished. The pickling juice I didn’t gauge quite so well with and I ended up topping off the jars with straight vinegar. All seven jars of my pickled peppers sealed! Success! It has been years since I did any canning and I had forgotten how satisfying it can be to see those filled jars sitting on the shelf, knowing exactly what the ingredients are. Now I have to wait two weeks for the “pickling” process to complete before I can open one of the jars and test them! I sure hope they taste as good as they look.

Today I am making a list of ingredients I need to make the family’s recipe of chili sauce and hope to pick up all I need at the Farmer’s market tomorrow. There are not many roadside stands around here, so if I can’t pick them up at the market, I may end up having to buy grocery store tomatoes, which will not be nearly as good and will also cost more. But chili sauce is definitely next on the list of items to make.

Speaking of making, today I used some of the abundant basil from my garden and made pesto for the first time ever.

It was so yummy that I immediately cooked up some pasta!

The recipe I used was Oh She Glows High Protein Oil-Free Basil Pesto and it is definitely a keeper. I also want to try another recipe I found from Vegan Spoonful for Vegan Pesto Sauce. I was wondering what I was going to do with all my basil and now I know. I also know that I am going to need to bring the basil plants inside for the winter, because fresh basil pesto will be on the menu this winter!

Tomatoes!

Finally! I have had a few tomatoes from my two plants, just enough to whet my appetite for more. And finally there are more!

This was yesterday’s tomato harvest. As you can see, my banana peppers are also producing well.

My one lone zucchini plant is looking great, which is rewarding, considering how much effort it took to get one zucchini plant to survive! I have four yellow squash plants in various stages of growth, but only one zucchini. Likely that one will be more than enough once it begins producing squash!

The lettuce in the planter that was “tossed” is doing well.

Not all survived transplanting, but most did and I have harvested a small amount from this planter. Luckily I have more lettuce growing in one of the flower beds that is producing well. I don’t have nearly enough lettuce to supply the amount we use, but it is a nice supplement and I know it is fresh!

And I have more lettuce planted in the second three-tiered container garden.

I put the trellis for the beans up on Monday, not a day too soon. Blossoms are forming and beans will be setting before too long. I think we’ll have fresh beans again by Labor Day!

My container of petunias is certainly thriving! I love the shades of purples and pinks that the two different types of petunias created.

I have noticed that my level of contentment has risen to a new high level. I wonder if it has anything to do with my gardening?

Busy Weekend in Phoenix

We spent this past weekend in Phoenix for a multitude of ventures, all of which were successful! While Bill was taking another certification test (he passed), I spent a few hours shopping with my cousin Reb. She helped me hunt for crochet and crochet-jewelry-making supplies. I think she was a little too helpful! We visited three craft stores (none of which we have here in Sierra Vista) and here is what I brought home:

I still do not know what I’m doing or what I’m going to do, but I have ideas and the books here will help, I think. I purchased items with Miss Munchkin in mind, as she has requested jewelry (more heart necklaces) in dark pinks, purples and blues. She requested black also, but somehow I forgot about that! Anyway, I picked up a variety of types of threads/yarns and some beads and even some feathers, as Munchkin loves feathers.

Saturday evening we attended the Grand Canyon Square Dance Association Festival in Phoenix.

To help celebrate Arizona’s 100th birthday, the Grand Canyon Square Dance Association brought in Rex Allen Jr. for a small concert before the Saturday evening dancing. I really was not familiar with his music, but knew that his father, Rex Allen Sr., was one of the singing cowboys in the 1950s and I assumed his music might be similar. He sang some of his dad’s songs along with many of his own, some of which both Bill and I recognized from the 70s and 80s. We really enjoyed him and I will definitely be looking for more of his music in the future. If you ever get the chance to hear him, be sure to do so. He has a beautiful singing voice and gives a very entertaining concert.

In the spirit of my goal of contentment, I will post a link to Rex Allen Jr’s song, I Love You, Arizona. This song has been adopted as one of the official state songs and it is a beautiful song. It is also a nice showcase of Allen’s voice, along with some gorgeous pictures of Arizona.

Rex Allen Jr., I Love You, Arizona

Sunday we took David out for brunch, picked up some things at Trader Joe’s and The Vitamin Shoppe, and then headed home. I have declared we are not going anywhere next weekend! It is Speedweeks at Daytona, with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, and I am ready to stay put for a few days. Two weekends in a row driving around the state is enough!

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