Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cherry soda

In saying hello to pregnancy, I've had to bid adieu to my daily glass of red wine.  I've had a small tipple of wine here and there, but nothing like what my regular routine used to include.  I went through a cranberry spritzer phase until learning that the quinine in diet tonic water is not recommended for preggos.

Great.  There's only so much water and lemonade you can drink before you're sick and tired of both. 

One thing I committed myself to this summer was trying a variety of homemade, non-alcoholic, summer beverages.  Being that our summer has been less than warm, I hadn't had much inspiration.  I did make the lime syrup a while back and only recently finished it - it was divine with soda water!

Our local paper ran a feature on homemade sodas.  One of the recipes was for cherry basil soda.  I had a quart of bing cherries in the fridge.  It was perfect!

I altered the recipe and method just slightly.  First off, I didn't have any basil.  Secondly, I was not in the mood to pit a quart of cherries.

I started off by putting a quart of cherries, a half cup of water, and a half cup of turbinado sugar into a saucepan.  I used turbinado because I was out of white sugar amd thought honey would overpower the cherries' flavor.

I cooked this for about 5 minutes, pushing on the cherries with a wooden spoon to help break their skins.

I pulled out my food mill and put in the finest strainer attachment.  This is because I hadn't pitted the cherries.

The food mill made quick work of the cherries.

Because I wasn't happy with the amount of juice that had been extracted, I pulled out a sieve and worked the rest of the pulp through that.  I'm not sure if it was worth the extra dirty dish.

I added the juice of a half a lemon, then put the mixture into a jar to cool and store.

Mix this with cold soda water to your taste.  The recipe suggested a ratio of 1:1, which I found overpowering.  I liked 1 part cherry syrup to about 3 parts water better.

The recipe also suggests using this syrup immediately. There's a reason for this: the cherries have a very high pectin content.  Once they cool and are refridgerated, the syrup becomes a jelly.  Try mixing cherry jelly into soda water and you'll find that it looks like blood clots.  Ew gross.  Just don't.... or stir it really well with a fork to break it up first.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A little yeast inspection

I wrote not too long ago about cooking with yeast.  In talking with people I had found out that many are intimidated by yeast. 

The fact is, if you screw it it, you can throw it away and start over.  Flour and yeast are relatively cheap.

Here are some photos of an in-progress bread to help you understand what's happening and why.
In the USA yeast is most commonly available in granules.  Each granule contains a tiny cluster of living bacteria.  I buy jars of yeast because I use it often enough to justify the quantity.  If you're just starting out with yeast, I suggest you try the packets before committing to a whole jar.

When hydrated with milk or water (see above photo at right), the granules will dissolve and expose the living bacteria, allowing them to start digesting the sugars in the mix and doing their yeast thing: creating gas.

Frankly, it's the nicest and most pleasant burping you'll ever encounter!

Most recipes will begin with having you "proof" your yeast.  This is when you put the yeast and sugar into the liquid to rehydrate it.  The mixture should get foamy after about 10 minutes.  I only proof my yeast when using a new jar.  It's not a necessary step if you are certain that your yeast is good.  Be sure to store your yeast in the fridge.

Yeast needs sugar in some form in order to do its thing.  I use honey in my breads because, well, I have a half gallon of it.  Note that when you cook with honey, you use half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe.  This is because honey is twice as dense and sweet as granulated sugar.

When you're ready to start mixing the dough, let your mixer do all the work for you.  I just dump the rest of my ingredients into the bowl, attach the dough hook, and let it crank away.  It won't look like it's going to come together, but I promise that it will.  Keep an eye on it to make sure that the dough isn't sticking to the side of the bowl.  It should be wound up around the hook like in the last pic.

After you've kneaded the dough (using the mixer), you need to let it rise.  If you want to freeze some or all of it, don't allow it to rise yet.  I often make several batches of pizza dough and this is the step where I freeze it in baggies.  The morning I want to make a pizza, I pull out a baggie and leave it on the counter.  When I come home from work, the dough has thawed and risen on its own.

Before you put the dough somewhere to rise, be sure to lube up the bowl.  Pull out the dough and either spray it with cooking oil or pour a little puddle of oil into the bowl.  Turn the dough over a few times to make sure that it's well coated.  If you don't do this, the dough will stick to the bowl and make removal an impossibility.

This is my secret weapon to a reliable rise every time, even during the winter.  It's a baking dish filled with boiling water.  The heat from the water warms up the oven to a perfect temp for the yeast to work quickly, and the humidity prevents a crust from forming on the bread.  You can even leave the water in the oven when you go to cook the bread.

That said, yeast will make a dough rise even in the fridge, albeit quite slowly.  The Mother Earth News no-knead bread that I linked from my last yeast post works on this very principle, as does the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  My beef with the latter is that you have a ton of batter hanging out in the fridge.  Gene and I couldn't get through it all.

Check your dough after about an hour to see if it has doubled in size.  My risen dough looks rather smug, doesn't it?

I've been on a grilled flat bread kick lately.  It's a great summer recipe and is easy to transport.  Try it and you'll never look at your grill quite the same way again!  In fact, I need to go make some right now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I hate my attic a little less

When I bought my house, I was single and had 2 cats.  I had recently broken up with the last of a string of Michaels (4 in a row, if you count the weird Brit who surprised me by sucking my toes on our 2nd date when my roommate left the room).  I was glad to be on my own.

Eight years later I still have the same 2 cats.  I'm also married (and NOT to a man named Michael), and have a dog and 9 chickens.  Gene and I are expecting a baby to join our merry little household in December.

On our first Valentine's Day together, Gene and I were watching "The Blues Brothers", which I'd never seen.  His cell phone rang and he left the room.  He was gone for over a half an hour.  When he returned, he was sobbing: his mother had suffered what would be a fatal heart attack.  As the only child of a single parent, he was responsible for decisions about her health care.  He flew from Seattle to Sacramento the next morning and ultimately made the difficult choice - alone - to remove her from life support.

It was a pivotal time in our relationship and clarified what we meant to one another.
He returned to Seattle after the funeral, then drove with his best friend back to Sacramento to pack his mother's apartment and bring back her possessions.

Those boxes sat in the garage of his rental house then migrated to my attic when we decided to cohabitate some time later.

Gene didn't have the heart to go through the boxes.  His mom, whom I never met, collected a variety of things.  Blue glass and anything with butterflies were her favorites.  Sorting through her prized possessions, even years later, was too difficult.  Over the years I've gone through some of her things and taken much of it to the Goodwill.  The only things Gene wanted preserved were his military gear, photos, and a couple of heirlooms.

Before Gene moved in, the only things I had in the attic were my wrapping paper supplies, Christmas decorations, luggage, and my spare dining room chairs.

In the years since Gene and I have lived in the same home, the attic has become a dumping ground.  First, there was all of his mom's stuff.  Then Gene's computer paraphernalia moved in and somehow started having babies.  One cable begat a dozen more; a replacement video card left behind detritus of foil pouches, cardboard boxes, tiny screws, CDs, bubble wrap. and mystery cords.  None of these items ever was discarded.  Hidden amongst all this were military gear, every paper and exam he ever produced in college, books, geeky gamer rules, and about half of our household screwdrivers (WTF?).  All of these items were carelessly strewn about on the floor.

My once neat attic looked like something from Hoarders, only without the dead animals, rat nests, or nagging adult children:

(I am really, really embarassed to show it to you, and can only do so because it no longer looks like this.)

The mere thought of the attic threw me into a sour, pissy, resentful mood.  In order to set up the nursery, the attic had to be cleaned so that the things from the spare bedroom/office could be sorted and moved to new locations.  Gene's out of town and I got rid of nearly everything.  I did save a teddy bear from Gene's mom's things for the baby.

After a day of toiling away - thank goodness temps were only in the 70s today - my attic now is respectable.  I wouldn't mind of you walked into it at this very moment.


About 99% done:

Those boxes in the middle of the floor are all empty and waiting to be recycled.  I'll let Gene take care of that - I climbed the stairs to the attic at least a dozen times, which was utterly exhausting at 19 weeks pregnant.  Better now than at 29 weeks, I suppose.

My gift-wrapping things are now fully accessible.  The rolls are on an old wine rack I wasn't using.
(Don't you loooove the crappy paneling?)

Luggage, miltary gear, and various computer parts are now grouped, visible, and accessible.  I've gotta find a bin for the motorcycle gear.

Extra seating for our dining room table is - say it with me now - "accessible".  In the nooks behind them are all the photos, as well as most of the Christmas stuff.

I have no idea what's in the trunks.

Here's the view looking back toward the stairs.  And yes, this ceiling is quite low.  I'm 5'8" and my head hits the flat part of the ceiling.  It's not exactly the "third bedroom" the listing agent had promised.

And finally, all my preserving things are stored up here as well: canning jars, kettles, pressure canner, pickling crock, dehydrator, etc.  It's not as bad as it looks in the photo.  I should be able to sort, arrange, and organize all of this, plus what's piled in the corner you can't see, in less than an hour.

Here's what my kitchen looked like after I'd finished the attic:

My car was so full with donations that I couldn't see out the side or rear windows!  I didn't even try to take the recycling or trash: there was simply no more space.

Thank god it's all done.  I'm exhausted... but no longer pissy or resentful.

Friday, July 22, 2011

For Norway

To our Norwegian brethern we give our hearts to share the pain of loss, our tears to cry for your loved ones, and our shoulders to help bear the burden of your grief.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A scary story with a surprise ending

This story has nothing to do with sustainability, green-living, or raising local food.  In fact, the key players are men in their 50s who like to drive enormous gas-guzzling trucks up the sides of mountains.  It could have had a tragic ending but it didn't, thank goodness.  I'm sharing it because the prologue was so shockingly unexpected that I literally threw up when I heard it.

And that's a good thing.

Last Saturday Gene and I were are having dinner with friends in Redmond.  Their home is easily 45 miles north of us, so we don't get up to see them as often as we'd like.  They have a lovely yard, an incredible vegetable garden, and are fantastic hosts.  We adore them.

Around 8:15p Gene got a phone call from his boss, R.  R explained that he and his buddies has been out in the sticks with their massive trucks and jeeps, 4x-ing in the woods outside of Enumclaw (about 40 miles southeast of Redmond).  One of the guys, J, attempted a slope that was too steep and didn't make it.  His truck had subsquently rolled eight times and he was evacuated to a nearby hospital.

J's friends split up after the wreck.  Some went with him to the hospital while others stayed behind to extricate his truck.  One guy, C, exhausted himself getting his friend out of the truck, then getting the truck out of the woods.  He collapsed and was also evacuated to the hospital.

R was frantic: he needed us to come to Enumclaw because there were still some vehicles up in the woods and he needed help getting things back to town.

We left right away and arrived at the Enumclaw hospital near 10p.  Did I mention that Rosemary was with us?  Good thing that dog is good in the car!

Gene met up with R, whom we took to a grocery store for something to eat.  He's diabetic and in the frenzy of the day hadn't eaten or drank anything.  After that, we headed to the logging access road up in the mountains, about a half-hour's drive outside of Enumclaw, to fetch R's rig.  It was an uneventful ride and allowed R to come back to Earth after a harrowing day.  We dropped him off, made sure he was following us back to the road, and headed home.  We arrived at our house near midnight.

It was a long, tiring night, but one that was relatively unremarkable.


On Monday evening Gene came home from work with updates on the guys who had been hospitalized.  J, whose truck rolled, got a number of staples to close a head wound and had been discharged fairly quickly.  C had been kept overnight for observation because the doctors weren't immediately sure what was the cause of his collapse.

Gene: "So.... they figured out what was wrong with C."

Me: "Isn't he diabetic?  Is he OK?"

G: "Yes, he's also a cancer survivor."

Me: "Oh no!  Did he have a heart attack or something?"

(dramatic pause from Gene)

G:  "No, nothing like that.  He's fine actually.  After he made sure J was on the way to the hospital and had gotten J's truck out of the woods, he realized that his blood sugar was getting really low.  He didn't have anything to eat with him but he had noticed that J's truck had a crushed baggie of snacks in it.  So he ate it."

Me: (I'm terrible about trying to guess a story's end) "Oh crap, did he get food poisoning or have an allergic reaction to something??"

G: "Well, sorta.  C found J's brownies, about 3-4 of them, and ate all of them because he was so hungry..."

Me: (realization dawning...) "... nuh uh..."

G: "Sooo... yeah.  C collapsed because J has a medical dispensation to take marijuana to treat chronic back pain."

Me: (starting to chuckel)

G: "Not only that, but when J eats a brownie to relieve his pain, he only eats about a quarter of one.  C got about 12 or more doses of medical grade weed when he scarfed down all those brownies.  When he called my boss today, 48 hours after having eaten the brownies, he was still flying as high as a kite."

At this point, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't see straight.  I started to cough, a fun remnant of the cold I had back in May & June.  My coughing turned to hysterical hacking and wheezing.  I even threw up a little - sort of a "vurp" (vomit burp) - during one particularly bad coughing/laughing fit.  Our neighbors even heard me laughing and coughing!

Lesson learned: do not ever, EVER eat brownies that you find in your buddy's recently rolled truck. 

And if you do, for God's sake don't be a glutton.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's the yeast of your worries

One of my coworkers is getting married in October.  We threw her an early bridal shower, chipping in and getting her a KitchenAid.  I procrastinated and didn't get my money into the collection quickly enough, so instead bought her a Beater Blade to go with the mixer.  Friends of ours, Rejoyce and Hawley, suggested one to me when I got my own KitchenAid and they were absolutely right in their advice - those things are awesome!

Over a lunchtime conversation recently, I found out that the bride-to-be has never made a yeast bread.  Several of our other colleagues agreed: "yeast is scary".  I'd never thought about it before.  This morning Gene and I were over at friends' house for breakfast and my girlfriend was asking me about the flatbread I'd made for them last weekend.  Turns out that she'd never made a yeast bread, either.

In all the times I've made bread with yeast, I've only screwed it up once.  That was my fault, not the yeast's fault, and happened because I tried to freeze dough after allowing it to rise.  If you freeze it pre-rise, it'll be fine and will behave normally once thawed.

Do not be afraid of yeast.  Here are a few pointers for you yeast virgins:

  • Get the kind that comes in envelopes.  Yes, it's more expensive than the jarred kind but by getting just what you need for the first time, you won't waste any if you decide never do make yeast dough again.
  • Purchase active dry yeast.
  • Check the expiration date on the packet.  Yeast is a living organism - expired yeast is ineffective (read: dead) yeast.
  • Heat kills yeast but cold does not.  If the water feels warm to your skin, it's probably too warm for the yeast.  You can always check with a thermometer to be sure: between 100-110 degrees is a good environment for the yeast to proof but don't go any higher. 
  • Here's a video on how to "proof" your yeast.  Proofing ensures that the yeast is still alive and that it will be able to do its job later.
  • Yeast needs sugar in some form to do its work.  Honey and sugar are usually interchangeable in many bread recipes, though you'll want to use 1/2 the amount of honey if substituting it for sugar because honey is twice as sweet (by measure) as sugar.  I prefer to use honey because I think it adds a depth of flavor, plus it allows me to keep my ingredients local.
  • Salt slows down the yeast's progress so don't add any during the proofing process.  Salt, however, is necessary for tasty bread.  Do not - DO NOT - make saltless bread.  I forgot the salt once and the bread sucked... bad.  It was unpalatable.
If you're ready to dive into baking bread with yeast, check out Alton Brown's recipe for "A Very Basic Bread."  It's my favorite go-to bread recipe.  I like to add chopped rosemary to the dough and coat the shaped loaf with kosher salt before baking.

Mother Earth News has a recipe for a no-knead yeast bread.  It gives different (less firm) results than Alton's but is nice because, well, you don't have to knead it.

In my next post I'll walk you through the steps to make the flatbread I talked about last weekend.  We liked it so much that I made it again today and took it to another friend's house - instant hit.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Letter to Oak Park in support of front yard veggie garden

Some of you know that I grow vegetables in my front yard.  Within 100 yards of my house there are 2 other homes that have front-yard veggie gardens, a friend of mine across town has her veggies in front, and I pass at least 2 front-yard veggie gardens on my 3-mile drive to work each day.  Preventing someone from growing vegetables in their front yard, as Oak Park is trying to do to the Bass family, is unconscionable. 

Why are flowers, grass, or shrubs better than vegetables?  Why is a carefully tended organic garden consisting of five raised beds less "suitable" than a lawn that requires high amounts of water and chemicals to maintain? 
Photo credit Julie Bass

City Planner Kevin Rulkowski has the Webster definition of suitable wrong.  It doesn't mean "common;" it means "satisfying propriety".  Follow "proper" in the dictionary and you'll find that it means "marked by rightness or appropriateness".  Suitable has nothing to do with "common".  In fact, one of the definitions of "common" is "falling below ordinary standards".  [raised eyebrow]

You can show your support of the Bass family by joining Take Back Urban-Homesteading's letter-writing campaign.  Below is the contact information for the various players in Oak Park who are pursuing this action against the Bass family, as well as a sample letter you can email to them. 

Good luck to the Bass family.  We're here to support you!
You can also sign the online petition at:

SUBJECT: Stop persecuting the Bass family for growing vegetables


Dear _________,

I am requesting that the City of Oak Park, MI cease its prosecution against its residents, Julie Bass and her family, for the supposed crime of growing vegetables in their front yard.

The bylaw you are citing to pursue legal action against the Bass family - that lawns "shall be planted with grass or ground cover or shrubbery or other 'suitable' live plant material" - excludes neither vegetable gardens nor raised beds.  Nor does it provide an adequate definition of the term "suitable".  According to the dictionary the word 'suitable' can be taken to mean 'appropriate'.  The Bass family's carefully tended garden is certainly more appropriate than any overgrown lawn or weed-filled flower bed.

If Oak Park is successful in prosecuting Julie Bass of growing vegetables, the associated charge carries a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail.  It would be a travesty for this mother of six to be sentenced to even a single day in jail for the simple act of growing organic food for her family in her front yard.

By signing this letter of petition I am hereby showing my support for the Bass family, and demonstrating my belief that the City of Oak Park is wrong in its actions against Ms. Bass and the entire Bass family.


Jenn A.
Tacoma, WA

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Storm windows

Our house was built in 1924, which is on the old side for the Pacific Northwest.  It's a Craftsmen style bungalow.  When I first started looking at homes my realtor talked about how great vinyl windows are, and many of the listing took pains (hehe... panes) to point out that the windows had been replaced.

Vinyl replacement windows are not all that, and here's why:
  1. You will never, ever recuperate the cost of replacing original windows through reduced energy costs.
  2. Windows today are built as modular units and are meant to be installed as a single piece.  If a part of the window fails, you have to replace the entire thing.
  3. The lifespan of replacement vinyl windows is proving to be relatively short, with many vinyl windows installed in the 1980s already requiring replacement of their own.
  4. The average homeowner can't work on a vinyl window without highly specialized tools & know-how.
My house has the original windows, those that were installed in 1924.  The glass has bubbles and ripples in it, and it's perfectly lovely.  We adore them.  In the 8 years since I moved in (Gene moved in with me about 2 years after I bought the house), I've done quite a bit of work on the windows.  I'm a pro at reglazing a window, having done it probably half a dozen times.  The nice thing with old windows is that they're easy to work on and replacement parts are still readily available.

Despite having single-paned, old windows, our house is not drafty in the winters.  Our secret?  We have storm windows on all but one of the windows (and hope to get one made for that last window this summer).  People always ask me if storm windows are hard to manage. 

In short: no. 

Our house is a single story and I can reach any window with a plain old 6' ladder.  The only tool I need to install or remove the windows, besides the ladder, is a phillips head screwdriver.

(And yes, I detest this color for this house.)

Just use the screwdriver to loosen the wing doohickey.  Then you can use the screwdriver, if necessary, to pry the window gently out of the frame.  I've got weatherstripping around the edges of the windows, which helps prevent drafts.

Sometimes a chicken will come to supervise.

It helps to label to windows, especially since we only handle them twice per year.

Store the storms somewhere where they'll be safe until the fall.  We used to take the storms down in mid-May and install them in mid-October, but with the cold springs we've had these past few years we haven't taken them down until June or even July.

I didn't even break any of my gorgeous pregnant-lady nails.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New England pics - lots of them

Since I was too lazy to track down the camera cord for the post about our trip, and only later discovered that there was already one hooked up to the computer, here are some belated photos from our vacation.  Enjoy!

One of the few kitchen gardens we saw anywhere in New England.  This one was right in the heart of historic Salem, MA.  In the background you can see the mast of the ship in this next pic.

The Friendship.  Salem, MA

This made me giggle.  Because I'm 12.  (I think it was a liquor store.)  Salem, MA

On our way to Vermont I saw these 2 banty hens with 5 chicks.  They were so cute that I woke Gene up (he was so sick from a cold & hadn't been sleeping well), who made me turn the car around so he could take pics.  What a softie my guy is for chickens.

One of 4 covered bridges we saw in Vermont.  This one still allows traffic over it.

Inside of a different covered bridge; the Scott Bridge is foot-traffic only.  It was so serene and peaceful.

Weathervane in Providence, RI.  We had gorgeous weather that day!  But Providence...?  Meh, skip it.

The Mayflower II.  Plymouth, MA

Tail end of the Bruins Stanley Cup parade in Boston.  This is near the Boston Gardens.  In all the times I've been to Boston, I've never seen so many people and so few cars.  It was a terrific day to go into the city.  Right after I took this picture, the team captain for the Bruins rode past us on his bicycle.  He's 6'9" - anyone that tall looks funny on a bike!

Interior of Old North Church.  You know, where historical stuff happened.  (If only she'd read the giant plaque on the exterior of the building, which can be seen from quite a distance... sigh.)

Courtyard outside of the restaurant in Little Italy (North Boston) where we had lunch.  Note the puddles - this was in the middle of a torrential downpour that only hit Boston.  It was so muggy afterwards!

Faneuil Hall, Boston (what a tourist trap - skip it).
This was overlooking Boston Common, along the Stanley Cup parade route.  Note the TP hanging off the window ledges.
Candidate for ugliest building ever (though this one from my undergrad alma mater is also a contender).

My cousin is a pastry chef for a restaurant called Oleana.  She brought a whole bunch of delicacies from the bakery owned by the same people.  To. Die. For.  Above are the chocolate-hazelnut baklava and almond cakes with rose petal jam.

What vacation in New England would be complete without Maine lobster lobstah?

Saw this in an old-fashioned farm store somewhere in New Hampshire.  This store was known for its cider donuts, a New England food we don't have in the Pacific Northwest.

Nice milk jugs!  Me in Newburyport, MA

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer BBQ

After not having felt that cooking bug for quite some time, I awoke this morning with the urge - nay, the NEED - to cook up a storm.

Hrm, could this have something to do with our plans to clean the attic, which is necessary to do in order to clean the back office and turn it into a nursery?  This is procrastination at its finest - what better way to avoid work than by cooking?  It's doing something that is both productive AND yummy!

As an aside, I really REALLY hate the attic.  It's filled with junk, looks like a bomb went off up there, and makes me resentful because it used to be neat and tidy.

So there.  I'm going to cook some stuff today.  Maybe I can convince Gene to get a start on the attic while I'm preparing various things for dinner.

When we were in Massachusetts an online friend of Gene's invited us to his house for a BBQ.  We'd never met him before - which my aunt and uncle thought was bizarre - but accepted their invitation gladly.  We had an awesome time!  Ted and Teresa are marvelous hosts: funny, casual, gracious, warm, and inviting.  We felt like we'd known them for years and it made us regret the 3,000 miles that separate us. 

Teresa had spent the day cooking, and that woman is a kick-ass griller.  One of the things she made was grilled flatbread, for which she had made 2 toppings: a garlicy bruschetta and a tzatziki.  She smoked up a huge batch of ribs and a gorgeous chicken that was the juiciest and most tender chicken I'd ever had.  Her secret: brining before smoking.  Holy moly it was delish.

Inspired by Teresa, I'm going to make grilled flatbread.  Here's the recipe I'm going to use.

Also on the docket is fresh strawberry ice cream.  I've bought 2 flats of local berries in the past week and just can't keep up with them, especially since it seems that I'm the only one eating them. I'll probably double the custard in the recipe and also make a chocolate-cherry ice cream.  I recently bought a quart of deep red cherries and they'll be perfect in ice cream, along with slivers of shaved chocolate.

Doesn't the Fourth of July just beg for homemade ice cream?  I remember making peach ice cream in a noisy, giant ice cream maker as a kid.  Do you remember the ones that looked like they had wooden  sides (maybe it did), and required constant monitoring of the ice and rock salt?  I'm so glad that modern ice cream makers came into being.

Are you making any special treats for this holiday weekend?

Happy belated Canada Day to our friends to the north!  We hope you enjoyed your holiday and visit from the newlywed royals.