What's for Dinner? Vegetable Pie

What's for dinner? That's always the question, isn't it.  Tonight the answer was: Vegetable Pie.  I'm not sure where I first found this recipe -- maybe the newspaper.  It's similar to a quiche but it has more eggs, and we like it just fine!

BASIC PIE CRUST (enough dough to cover the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan)

1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup unbleached white flour (can be part whole wheat, if you wish)
a dash of salt
2-3 TBSP cold water, milk or buttermilk

Using a pastry cutter, 2 forks or a food processor, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has a coarse, cornmeal like texture.  Add the salt.

Add the liquid (water, milk or buttermilk) 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to stick together and you can form a ball.  Do not work the dough more than necessary if you want a tender crust.

Using a little extra flour to prevent sticking, you can roll out the dough and form it into the pan or, as I did, you can flatten the dough into a disc and then press it out until it covers the bottom & sides of the pan.


6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup (or more if you wish) chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green onion
fresh thyme (optional)
1 cup grated cheddar or Gruyere cheese
2 TBSP flour
salt and pepper to taste
9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute mushrooms with any herbs you might choose to use and set aside to cool.
Place grated cheese into the bottom of the pie crust.
Beat the eggs with the milk & flour, salt & pepper.
Add chopped broccoli,chopped green onions & sauteed mushrooms to the egg/milk/flour mixture.
Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.  The pie is done when the top is lightly browned and the center is firm.


Dandelion Wishes: A Give Away

Close your eyes, make a wish,
Let it blow on the breeze.
Will my wish be answered?
I do hope so, please!

The fair, fly-away hair of my baby boy puts me in mind of dandelion flowers and so I decided to create some dandelion-baby peg-dolls.

Make a wish, and leave a comment under this post... I will draw 3 names to give away 3 dandelion-babies.  Perhaps one of these tiny dandelion-babies will come live with you...

(Please note: In order to be eligible for this give away I must have a way to contact you. The winners will be chosen by random number generator in one week.)


Twelve Years

He searched for those wings that he knew
that this angel should have at her back.
And although he can’t find them
he really don’t mind
because he knows they’ll grow back.
And he reaches for that halo that he knows
that she had when she first caught his eye.
Although his hand came back empty
he’s really not worried
because he knows it still shines.

I can’t promise that I’ll grow those wings
or keep this tarnished halo shining
but I’ll never betray your trust
angel mine.

-- from the song Angel Mine by Cowboy Junkies

Happy 12 years, my love!


Sonoma County Sojourns

Every few months I pack the children in the car and off we go for the 90 minute drive up to Sonoma County to visit friends.  The  drive is mostly on highways which run along the route of the old the California Mission Trail established between 1683 and 1834 by Spanish missionaries.  Legend has it that the monks sprinkled the route with mustard seed -- in the spring, the route is still marked by a trail of bright golden flowers.

A few weeks ago we drove up to Glen Ellen to spend time with my friend and her baby.  The area surrounding Glen Ellen is famous as a wine growing region and also as the home of the writer Jack London.  I love journeying up there in the winter when everything is misty and grey, and I love it in the spring when the sky is vivid blue with high, bright clouds.

Whenever we visit Glen Ellen we have lunch at this Nepalese restaurant.

It's called Yeti, and it's not to be missed.  Even my little Mr. B. gobbles up their mysteriously spiced curries with joy and relish!

After lunch we took a walk on trails among the rolling, golden hills and beneath mossy California oaks...

I'm not sure which was my favorite view... the rolling hills and trees or the view into the face of this little person strapped to my chest, sleeping as we hiked our way along the trail.

Then on Monday and Tuesday of this week we were up visiting our friends in Sebastapol.

Sebastapol is located is west of Glen Ellen and better known for dairy farming and Gravenstein apple orchards.

The best part of visiting (besides eating cheeses and apples from this region) is watching my little Mr. B. running free in the fields, chasing around with children and chickens.

I'm always a little bit sad when we cross back over the Golden Gate Bridge heading for home, but I know we'll be heading back soon!


Grow Grow Grow

We got our summer garden into the ground about a month ago.  This is our second year planting vegetables in this tiny spot on the side of our house and we are trying to learn from our mistakes.  Last year the deer ate up our green bean vines and powdery mildew infested our cucumber, zucchini and pumpkin vines, so our yield from the garden was only a few strawberries and a small crop of tomatoes.

I did research and learned that squash from the family Curcubita Moschata are resistant to powdery mildew, and so we planted butternut squash and a beautiful variety of pumpkin called Musque de Provence.  We also planted blue lake green beans, two varieties of tomato, carrots and we have strawberry plants which survived from last year (you can even see an eager strawberry, nearly ripe in the photo below!)  For good measure, I planted some morning glories & snapdragons and allowed last years nasturtiums to go to seed...

Every morning when I look over our growing garden I have a little poem running through my head.  The poem is by Woody Guthrie and I first heard it last week sung as a rhythmic chant to gentle percussion on the album You are my Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell.

Grassy Grass Grass
by Woody Guthrie

Grass grass grass,
tree tree tree,
leafy leaf leaf,
one two three.

Birdy birdy bird,
fly fly fly,
nest nest nest,
high high high.

Cloudy cloudy cloud,
wind wind wind,
rain rain rain,
mud mud mud.

Doggie doggie dog,
runny run run,
quickie quick quick,
homey home home

Beddy bed bed,
sheety sheet sheet,
sleepy sleep sleep,
dreamy dream dream.

Dancie dance dance,
singy sing sing,
grow grow grow,
biggy big big.

It's a good chant to sing over a garden but I think it's even better for singing over growing children...  our best, most beautiful little blossoms and blooms...


Happy Totoro to You!

For the past year (and a half) I've been wanting to give my Little Mr. Bloom a DVD of the film Totoro as a gift, but wanted to make him his own stuffed Totoro first.  FINALLY, I have made him his own Totoro!  It's eyes are a bit wonky, but he loves it.

If you are not familiar with the movie Totoro by the director Hiyao Miyazaki, here's a trailer so you can have a peek. I think it's one of the most delightful films ever made for children...  Meditative and magical...

A photo of my sleep rumpled birthday-boy opening his pile of gifts... I kept asking him whether he would be wearing his "birthday-suit" to school yesterday, it being his birthday and all. He did not think this was funny in the least (not the first time I asked him and not the fifth time I asked!)  I thought it was hilarious...


Eight Times Round the Sun

 Nine years ago on this day my beautiful big boy was born.
I fell madly in love at the sight of him and I became a mama...

He grows and grows as round and round we go...

 Happy Birthday to my big, beautiful boy!


Pincushion of my Dreams

When Kristin of the blog Kleas invited me to swap pincushions, I set it aside in my mind, thinking, "I've never made a pincushion... what do I know about pincushions?"  But I thought about it a bit and day-dreamed about it a bit. And, the more I thought about it and day-dreamed about it, the more I warmed to the idea.  A few weeks ago I emailed her and said, "Okay, you're on... let's swap!"

And so I came up with this wee mama bird on her wee nest of eggs...  She is very patient, but soon they will hatch and she will have three little nestlings, as feathery and pink as she is, herself...

Sweet mama bird, oh, little bird of my dreams...

P.S.  My almost-eight-year-old loves this pincushion so much that he asked me to make one for him, too.  When I asked him what he planned to do with it, and he responded that when he gets married he wants to give it as a gift to his wife.  I suggested he sew his own, and so he has stitched up his very first little sewing project... a tiny bright-pink bird with red feathers. It's very sweet... (photos will follow.)

P.P.S.  His other comment about this pincushion was that the bird is very beautiful but not as beautiful as real birds because "they are in nature and God made them."


On the Wings of Spring: Confections of Pink and Lavender

And, by a most secret method, he can make lovely blue birds' eggs with black spots on them, and when you put one of these in your mouth, it gradually gets smaller and smaller until suddenly there is nothing left except a tiny little pink sugary baby bird sitting on the tip of your tongue.

--From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Thinking about what to create for my swap-partners for the little birdie swap, I was inspired by the above quote by Roald Dahl from his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I asked myself, “What would a bird look like if she were created by a master-confectioner?” I also tried to imagine what kind of bird would lay a magical egg which would hatch a pink, sugary baby bird. So, I created magical mama-birds. They lays  lovely blue eggs (with black spots on them), and from their eggs hatch little pink sugary baby birds…
I started with a sketch and a sample pattern...

Then stitched up a little birdie and added some feathers. Note: If you want to give this a try for yourself, please take my word for it, do NOT bother attempting to sew on feathers... what a mess. Go right for your bottle of Aleene's Tacky Glue and don't give it another thought.

And after stitching up one little birdie, I made another...

Here they are together...
Sugary, pink, delectable confections...

Wishing you endless sugary pink delight!


Welcome to my Front Porch

A few years ago, around Valentines Day, I was in a shop and noticed a doormat with the biggest, pinkest heart on it.  Not inclined to make an impulse purchase, I passed it by, but could not stop thinking about what a beautiful welcome it would bring to our front door.  Every February after that, I glanced at the seasonal displays in various shops, hoping to spot a stack of big, pink-heart door mats. Then, just last week, I thought to myself, what am I waiting for?

I tromped down to the garage and grabbed this old coir fiber mat...

Cut a template out of newspaper...

Scurried to our local hardware store which sells everything, including bottles of hot-pink fabric paint, and set to work.


Would you like a tour of the rest of the front porch? There are pots of posies and a small wicker settee just out of view...

A baby swing...

Which sometimes contains a baby...

And a tile we picked up in Assisi on our honeymoon.  Tiles like these are cemented above doorways of many houses in Assisi, and so we searched the town for a shop which sold them.  The tile says, "Pace e Bene," (Peace and Goodwill) but we joke that it says, "Peas and Beans..."

And then there is our front door mat... Isn't it nice?  Perfect for greeting guests and a good place for the postman to leave parcels.  Wouldn't you like to have one, too?