Saturday, October 3, 2015

Roasted tomato sauce

We have a school garden right outside of the art room, and it is a cool thing as far as I am concerned.  I have been watching it this September and spied some pretty nice tomatoes out there.  When no one had picked many of them right before that first heavy frost of the season, I decided to do something about it.  We were all over that- I wish I had a pic of little Greggy picking tomatoes with us.  But I don't, so you just have to use your imagination.

The Mad-Science teacher did some research and told me about this roasted tomato sauce.  It basically involves tomatoes, a few aromatics and some herbs/salt/pepper.

The process is simple: choose the size of pan according to the amount of tomatoes you have.  I really didn't have that many, so I used a cake pan....  Some of us were able to use a turkey roasting pan because we have so many tomatoes.....  That will be me next year.  Plans are being made.  Anywho,  after you core and maybe if you are feeling ambitious, cut up the tomatoes, add in a chopped onion, a handful of partially smushed and completely peeled garlics, a pour of olive oil and a bunch of fresh basil.
Spray Pam on the pan!!  
I used a combo of full size and cherry tomatoes- these tomatoes were so sweet that the sauce is pretty sweet too!  Bake the veggies for about 3 hours at 375.  Or until the water has pretty much cooked out and reduced to a thick sauce.  
Still needs some reducing- I put salt and pepper on  it at about this point

After it has cooked down, you can remove some of the skins.  I probably took out half of them, but you really don't notice.  You can also use a food processor or immersion blender and make the sauce smooth if you want, but that isn't what I care to do.  I like it less processed.  When you stir it up the garlic and onion sort of melts.  

This is the chilled and finished sauce
As I said above, the sauce was sweet, so I put a little chopped kalamata olive in it when I reheated it, which added a salty and tangy note to it.  This would probably be less sweet with more traditional tomatoes, but I used the heritage tomatoes that were in the garden.  A super dark paste type and a few very dark (maybe Cherokee purple??) larger tomatoes and a whole bunch of yellow sungold cherry tomatoes.  Goodness!  You could throw in some fresh thyme or oregano too- and maybe a little bit of cayenne???

Pasta, the sauce with olives and some parmesan
It has been discussed that we could saute a bunch of veggies (peppers, zucchini, carrots, broccoli) and throw those in there as well.....  could add lots of things.  ALSO, Laurie freezes hers in bags, so they stack flat.  This was truly one of the best things I have eaten all summer.  Well, all fall too I guess.  Oh summer, come back to me....  that will be for the next post, though.

This is some serious good!  And it gave me a whole lot of joy!

Friday, October 2, 2015

A joyful curve ball

October!  How did this happen, and what ever happened to September?  How can this be half way through the first quarter and how can it be 10 days or more since I blogged??

Ok, we know how fast the weeks go when you are at work, so there went September.  School has been going pretty well, the kids have been good and I will be grateful to have homecoming week finished for the year.  Craziness.

As for the last question, things have been rocking and rolling here. I am now the proud new Gramma of another Grandgirl!  YA HOO!  Little Ruth was born last Friday and is a whole week old already.  So Gramma Debi was on duty for little Greg.  What a little sweetie he is and we had a very good few days together.  Lots of adventures with him- you guys- watching a 1.5 yo is exhausting!  He is such a good natured little guy and I don't think he cried a little more than once or twice. And so I was gone from school for a while and this week I felt like I was behind, behind, behind. I am all caught up there, and I believe a trip to see them is in order sometime this weekend. It is nice that the trip will take about 10 minutes instead of a number of hours!

So during this time period I was supposed to go up to Bayfield and hike with the Mad-English and Science teachers!  I felt REALLY horrible about myself having that conflict in my mind all Saturday, but I would never have traded my time with the little guy for going north for the weekend.  I also didn't get in any actual exercise, though I certainly was tired at the end of each day!  So this little joyful curve ball that was thrown into my life certainly points out that I/we are definitely not in control, so why get worked up about it?  Well, if you know me at all, you know I was a little worked up, mostly because I was wishing I could be in two places at once.....  lol, it is trying to be me at times.

HOWEVER, wow did I have a good time with my Grandboy.  We played in the house, on the deck, we all (including Grandpa) went and picked apples in the yard, we patted Jacpot, he watched for the cat and never caught her, lol. He took amazingly good naps and he slept through the night like a champ!  We sent lots of photos to mom and dad.  It was a good good weekend.

Anyway, I need to get myself ready for FRIDAY!  May all the curveballs thrown into YOUR life be as joyful as this one was for me!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Texts and meltdowns

So I got a text from Sarah Grace this morning. Ella was having an emotional morning and apparently had a melt down because she wanted to go to Gramma Debi's. I was a little verklempt. 

So I went into the workroom before school and made a short little video. 

This picture is after she watched. Grandma mission- accomplished. 

So nice that someone in this world wants to be with me that bad. :). Well there might be one or two others, but they haven't gone that extra mile and had a melt down.  Lol

If needed, I'll send you all a short video too! Because that is how I roll. Joy givers, unite!! xo

I'll be with you soon my Ella Bella

Love u, 
Gramma Debi 

Monday, September 21, 2015

What's Up, Buttercup?

 So I find myself saying these kinds of random things to kids- not sure but I think I picked this one up from The Big Bang Theory the other night.  I have, of course, heard this before, many times....

What's up?  Well I have been whining to every person I know about the ROTTEN reception that I am getting in my HS art room regarding the internet.  Not sure, but I think someone left the room when I started complaining yet again..  but ya know, if you don't say something then no one will know and then how will it get fixed??  Well, it is being worked on and that is awesome.

So it wasn't a terrific few days for my internet service anywhere, except for on my phone.  Somehow AT&T manages to come through for me.  My home internet service took a dive this past Friday, which on the one hand made me SAD.  On the other hand I managed to weed out probably 4000 photos from the computer.  Yes, 4000.  Don't judge me.  Why this happens to me only on weekends (losing service) is way beyond me, why Friday night or Saturday morning..... ideas??  eh.  Whatever.  Anyway, spontaneously the internet comes back up on Sunday night, after I had made an appt. for a service call- they said Tuesday.  I didn't get a chance to reply to an email saying I didn't need a technician, which is good in retrospect, as someone came of course today.  A GREAT Centurylink guy came to the house, after calling  me at school, to check my line, and it was fine.  However when I walked by my modem when I got home, it was down again- and phone call was made to said technician, who came to my house on his way home, and wa LAH- new modem and functioning service again.  I would like to fill out a survey and see if I can get that guy a raise.  I've had him at the house before, when he worked his magic on the outside of the house and he is STELLAR.  

Now I need my kitchen light replaced (of course this involves going to pick out a new light, and I haven't done that yet) and at least 2 dripping faucets fixed.  That would be great!  But barring miracles and lottery tickets, I will have to entice someone into the house for those little tiny jobs, perhaps with cookies??  Just throwing that out there.  Call me- anyone who wants cookies.  And can do light plumbing and electrical.....  :)

I feel super sleepy tonight again, this is coming from someone who rarely gets to sleep before 11:30.  I think the children have infected me with something.  Seriously, people.  So I have been popping zinc and I rested tonight instead of walking or lifting.  I am glad I stayed home I guess, but I feel like I am slacking.  I have to find my Vit. C too, and I suppose since I am turning back into the ghostly white girl that I am (instead of my summery pale beige), I need to pull out the Vit. D as well.  I wish I was out in the sun much of the day still....  Ahhh summer

So I did get out for some walks, and best of all took some pretty good photos on the river Sunday morning.  This getting up at 6 am on Sunday thing.  WUT is up with that??  Well, until the leaves are all fallen, I anticipate going out on the Flambeau regularly.  I am now able to get into the kayak without getting my feet wet (oh the grace that I have) and more important- I can get OUT of the kayak without falling over and getting wet.  And I don't even have my kayak buddy to hold the front of the boat while I regain feeling in my - well - until I could stand again.   I love going out there in the cold mornings and go through the mists.  It was suggested by an old friend that I play the Peer Gynt Suite on my phone while paddling, but I am able to TOTALLY bring that to mind, so all the time I have that tune going through my head.  It is a hoot.

So I am doing some serious babbling and I should get ready for bed.  It is going to take a bit to download photos and finish this, so off I go!  I hope you all can find some joy this lovely Monday night....  I have some dental work tomorrow (yay me) and then I am in wait mode for another little Oswald baby to make their appearance.  I get to be Gramma for a couple days and be there for a certain adorable little Oswald boy!  And that will be a  joy for sure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


So the school's gorgeous and beautiful gym just opened yesterday and it really is spectacular.  The facilities are beautiful, the machines and weights are top of the line. It is a good space, and for the winter- there are even the icky brand new and beautiful cardio things. ( I hate doing cardio inside, can you tell??)

So why would I find this situation bittersweet you might ask?  If you think for a moment and have followed along at all, I miss my old gym.  I miss the people, I miss the facilities- it was like my second home.

The school doesn't have extensive hours- it is after all, a school!  I hope at some point they can add a few weekend hours, but we shall see.  While they have a lot of great things, there a few things- like a cable cross and smith machine- that they don't have.  But I will certainly adjust.

No, the thing about this is that I feel slightly disloyal for going to a different place.  Of course this probably doesn't seem logical, but you ALL know that isn't usually my gig anyway.  I somehow deeply feel the loss of my dear friend Lori  (and Brian and their kids) even though  she is doing well.  I wish that things didn't turn out like they did, because I would rather be going to Triple B.

Fortunately, I got to talk to and hug quite a few of my gym buddies last night!  It was like a homecoming. I hope to see more of them tonight and as the weeks go on.  It is the people who made that old place so special, and while I can't see some of the most special ones, I am so happy to be reunited with so many of the rest of them.

I feel the workout that I did yesterday from my shoulders to my toes, and it is a good sort of sore.  Almost all of us are starting from square one again. I have been going to a less than stellar place at a local establishment, so I am a little ahead of the game.  It was SO freaking amazing to replace the duct tape ridden Rocky Balboa type room with this well equipped gym.  Little angels were singing in my head!  But there was one or two little angels that I wish were still in my daily life....

So, I will be embracing my new place with the idea that I can't stay and over train.  I have to get in and out in 45 min. or less.  I can't have the constant carpal tunnel any more, that is too hard on this girl.

Well I better scoot and get ready for work, I just had to write this out.  And now I can go on and hit it hard.  But not too hard, and I will be remembering the joys that began at a different place across the river.....

Monday, September 14, 2015

Picture blog post

Though I am fatigued beyond comprehension, I need to at least post some photos of an amazing kayak that I took Sunday Morning.  I have a few people who are friends NOT on facebook and I want them to be able to see them.  SO- even though I slept like crap last night and then done wore myself out in a variety of ways this evening*,  I will do this!!

**I definitely need to blog about the school gym that opened- many conflicting feelings here....

Anyway, I sort of wanted to kayak on Saturday morning, but it was REALLY cold and I was too tired from school.  People in the house- ahemtheMAcough- was threatened with bad things and no breakfast if they woke me before 6:30- and yet  it was a surprise to find the clock heralding almost 7 when I woke up.  Why that man wakes up early on weekends is beyond me.  Anywho, I just couldn't do it Saturday.  So Saturday evening I loaded up the kayak and made myself get up and go- at about 6 the next morning.  I had to allow enough time for coffee!  There is something so wonderful and decadent about being out in a kayak on a quiet river at 7 am, watching the sunrise through the mist, while sipping a little coffee..... (I left out the part about frantically snapping photos during the high color time, changing lenses, and cameras and pulling things out and into dry bags and such...)  But I like to have my moments of pleasure, so I will stick with the first part of the story.  :)  Actually after the initial photo rush and the mist cleared I had a fun, leisurely paddle around Smith Lake and up and down the Flambeau.  I knew that the cold air and the warm water would give some good photo ops and I was not mistaken.

This was cool- mist receding

I have to say that the moment I came over the hill down to the boat landing was a goosebump giving, awe inspiring event.  The mist was thick and the sun was starting to come up over the horizon.  The colors were soft and beautiful and I knew that I certainly should be able to get a few good shots.  I think I was right.

If this was my dock, I'd be sitting on it every morning
I am going to get out onto the river as often as I can over the next several weeks, as I know that my time of paddling is growing to a close.  I might be able to lay hands on a wet suit, which will extend that season a bit!  That would be fantastic.

Sculpture in the water

Anyway, here are some of the fruits of my labors, not that it was much of a problem to get outside after being cooped up for the week.

I hope you find as much joy in these as I did.