Wednesday, 28 July 2010

What I'm into Now: Summer, Glorious Summer

It's no secret that I like baking, cooking, and all sorts of other kitchen-y good things. However, it's been a gloriously hot summer. HOT. which means cooking doesn't sound nearly so attractive, since my apartment only has one window unit air conditioner, and it is at the opposite end of the apartment from the kitchen. But I've definitely tried my hand at some new things this summer. For example:
 
Making ketchup from scratch was probably one of the easiest and most satisfying from-scratch things I've done all year. It's so easy, and much healthier than normal ketchup (since there's high fructose corn syrup in most commercially prepared ketchups). And it tastes amazing!
(why yes, I did make ketchup from scratch and then use it with terrible, frozen food section McCains's fries. I know that makes no sense. I put it on delicious home-made burgers a day later, I swear. )

Ribs. Specifically, this recipe, which makes the most delicious ribs I have ever had. You MUST try this recipe, it's to die for. G and I are very particular about buying only local, organic meat from stores/butchers that can vouch for the humane treatment of the animals; so we don't eat meat often, but when we do- we pull out all the stops. 

 This has also been my summer of sangria. I pretty much have a pitcher of it on the go in my fridge all the time. I do both red and white sangria, and I find it so relaxing to sit outside on our patio drinking sangria and relaxing, I've yet to remember to take a picture. But trust me- sangria, taken like a daily post-work vitamin, is good for the soul.

Also, I tried my hand at making my own insect repellent spray using these guidelines, and I had a lot of success. I found that the natural one I mixed up needed to be reapplied frequently, but I figure that's a small price to pay to avoid DEET and other harsh chemicals.Has anyone else tried making their own bug spray? I'd be interested so see what other essential oils people have tried.

We've also made friends with the friendly squirrel that lives under our patio:


 (in the top left photo, he actually has a bit of ice cream on his nose! 
That would be G's idea, of course) 
 
Isn't he a cutie? Although I think we've become a bit too friendly with the squirrel- we've had to stop propping open the patio door for the cats, because twice the squirrel has decided to come into the kitchen, and once he actually chewed the lid off of some cocoa powder. Squirrels are much cuter when they are not terrorizing your kitchen!

17 comments:

Siga said...

Yummy yummy ribs! Too bad my husband is a vegetarian (sort of). And I can't believe you went all the way and made ketchup from scratch. I buy eco one and tell myself it's healthy enough. :)

Phoe said...

You are a brave bunny. Stories of beach squirrels in California ransacking your bags under your chair for food have scared me off being nice to squirrels. Also, ketchup! I have been wanting to make our own.

The Sweatshop of Love said...

That is one ballsy squirrel! I'm surprised your kitty stands for that! My mom's cat eats the heads off squirrels and leaves their little headless bodies on the porch as a warning to other squirrel to back off. I'll ask my mom if you can borrow her :)

weezalana said...

Eucalyptus, citronella and lavender essential oils are all good for natural bug repellents. I sometimes mix a small bottle of my usual moisturizer and a drop or two of lavender oil (as it smells the purtiest ;)) for summer use.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth also works well as a natural insecticide.

Allison said...

Ooh, I'm impressed with your ketchup skills! And the idea of feeding a squirrel ice cream just cracks me up ;)

Sarah said...

Haha, this is a funny post. I like all of the squirrel pictures, but I wouldn't want one in my kitchen either. The french fries with homemade ketchup look delish!

Ibunnysavetroy said...

yeah I don't think a friendly-inside-your house squirrel is good. you must explain to it it has to stay outside!

soknitpicky said...

Have you introduced this squirrel to the one you made? On second thought, that might not be wise

Michele said...

My son and I have a little squirrel friend too! We call him Nutkin and feed him Cheerios. My husband is amazed that he comes right up to us. We don't let him in the house though.

Those ribs look so good!

Rainy Daisy said...

oooooo! I am going to try making ketchup, most definitely. If it can make standard frozen french fries good, then you KNOW it has to be good, right?

cheers!
Daisy

yoel said...

Squirrels are such terrors, but so cute!

Hilary said...

Ketchup from scratch - YUM! I love ketchup but get so grossed out eating the stuff from the store. One of my math teachers in high school used to work at a ketchup plant and the stories he told sent shivers down my spine. Ick. So thank you for the recipe!

Haha...that little squirrel is so cute! A bit bold though, trying to eat your cocoa!

Maryse said...

Sounds like although it's really hot this year, you are enjoying all the little things that summer brings! Have a great weekend!

CanarySanctuary said...

Ooo, ketchup from scratch. That's such a cool idea. I can't even imagine how good fresh, homemade ketchup would taste!

Thanks so much for the insect repellent recipe. I need to try me that for myself!

Ghislaine said...

So sweet that little squirrel!

Sway Knits said...

You must never apologize for frozen McCain's french fries! I am all about eliminating HFCS and I can't believe I never thought of making my own ketchup. You've totally inspired me. :-)

Monique said...

Oh my goodness! I'm in love with your little squirrel friend. It is not often that anyone gets this close to a squirrel. He is adorable! Have you given him a pet name?