Category Archives: TaMara

Chanting Is Always Iffy

I will be MIA for a week or so. I’m traveling. Hopefully I’ll return with some great photos and recipes ideas. I know I’ve slacked on the last week (and next) week of menus. But been putting in very long days in order to clear my schedule for this trip (no vacation days when you have your own business, I’m afraid).

We’ll pick up when I get back with some fun and favorite fall recipes. Until then….



Can I Wear This To High Tea?

I question JeffreyW’s commitment to his hummingbirds…he’s never worn a hummingbird hat (to my knowledge). 😉

Saturday Night Music Interlude: Jason Isbell, Hope the High Road

Thanks A Ghost to Most for pointing me to this:

Our First Egg!

Every morning I check the nesting box, unsure the ducks even know how to use it. There is actually a fake egg in there- the guy who sold me the coop said it was an “encouragement” egg. I tried not to roll my eyes. But, this morning when I opened up the hatch, I was surprised to see another egg there.

I can’t tell you whose egg it is – both Blue Swedish and Rouens have bluish eggs. But good to see someone in this house is earning their keep.

Bonus kitteh:

Zander has been on squirrel patrol all week, here he is scolding the squirrel for daring to come down the tree:

Fall Menus: Sept Week 2

This is a little late, but I suppose better late than never. I’ve been crazy with work and glued to hurricane coverage, as I have Florida family (and friends).

Since we are moving into cooler weather, I’m bringing the meals in from the grill and into the kitchen. Although we do have a Grilled Steak on Monday – it’s in a soy/wine marinade that I love because you can use an inexpensive cut of beef and still get a great steak out of it.

One of my favorite meals, Red Beans and Rice, heads up Wednesday’s menu. And Friday is a slow-cooker BBQ Beef on Kaiser Rolls. 

All the PDF menus can be found here: September Week 2 Menus

The color-coded weekly shopping list is here: September Week 2 Shopping List The color coding allows you to eliminate any ingredients you won’t need if you skip a recipe.

Tonight’s bonus recipe is Creole Vegetables and Black Beans, which can be found here.

If you any questions, hit the comments and I’ll try and get you an answer. Have a great week!


Well, It’s Kind of Cooking

I have a nice London Fog jacket that the color just wasn’t working for me anymore. It was this pale, celery green and while the jacket is in great shape, it felt dated.  But it seemed wrong to get rid of a London Fog.

After looking for a new jacket for an upcoming trip, I couldn’t find anything as well made as this one. So I thought, I wonder if I could dye it? Being a poplin – polyester/cotton blend – it wasn’t going to be an easy dye job. But Rit just came out with a dye that can be used on synthetics.

It was suppose to work well on blends. I thought, what the heck, I’ll give it shot. I think it turned out really well. Even dyed the green buttons, green zipper teeth and pulls.

It’s a bit wrinkled – I’ll dig the iron out later (sure hope it still works, lol)

It’s a high heat dye, so you have to do it the old fashioned way – on the stove in a boiling pot. I stirred it for 30 minutes and then rinsed and rinsed – finally gave up and decided to rinse it the remainder of the way in the washing machine – still took three rinse cycles.

Now I want to dye more things….


Duck Update: Poor Jake and Animal Magnetism

This happened.

So I suppose that means they are staying. #fosterfail.

I got the coop for $50 and about 2 hours of labor to clean and repair. And of course the ducks have no appreciation of it. Ducks don’t necessarily like to roost, they’d prefer to wander the yard freely 24/7. But I worry about raccoons and we have a Great Horned Owl, so I put them up just before I go to bed.  But boy, the moment the household starts to stir in the a.m. they are noisy about their need to be let out.

Water, water, water….they have a radar for water. And they love mud puddles, so I make one for them every morning. That doesn’t stop them from turning their pool into a mud bath, but I’ve learned not to need it to be crystal clear for them.

Being somewhere that they can see inside the house is important to them. They love to watch us.

I’ve been assuming they are very young – timing would make sense if they were Easter/Spring purchases and dumped when they got too big/messy/independent. They will reach sexual maturity soon. I can expect quite a few eggs. Duck eggs are…rich. A little too rich to eat like chicken eggs. I hear they are good in baking items. My plan is to use them to supplement the dog food.

Now to Jake. Poor Jake. He seems to have the magnetism that makes all other animals want to follow him every where.  Jake has wanted nothing of it since he was a wee kitten (which I detailed here, before he had a name and he was just one of 5 kittens I was fostering). But without fail, every animal in this house has wanted to hang with Jake. Bixby was the only exception to this, because he bonded to Emma quickly and completely.

The cats and I hang out and have coffee in the morning, so they can have backyard time with supervision. This morning, the ducks (and I’m kind of assuming this has something to with the sexual maturing piece) suddenly decided Jake was actually 1950’s Elvis and began following him around all over the yard.

It didn’t matter where he tried to hide, they found him. He would give them a curt meow and then look at me with scorn, rightful in his knowledge I was responsible for this new indignity. I’m so sorry I don’t have video of it, but I was laughing so hard and I didn’t want to miss anything, I couldn’t bring myself to go in the office and get the video camera.

I’ll try and get video if we have a repeat performance.

Menus later today.  Until then….


Paging Indiana Jones

This happened in my old hood. We are all very excited here.

From the Denver Post:

An operator was scooping dirt Aug. 25 when an on-site geotechnical engineer — someone who reviews soil conditions — told him to stop. The engineer noticed that there was something inconsistent with the surrounding claystone and sand. Brushing off the dirt and cleaning the area with water, the crews knew what they were seeing wasn’t normal.

But Saunders Construction doesn’t have an action plan in place for when crews stumble across a 66-million-year-old fossil. The crews quarantined the area, which will eventually be a weight room at the upcoming Fire and Police Substation at East 132nd Avenue and Quebec Street, and made sure construction equipment stayed clear, Pollick said. A biologist contracted by the city of Thornton recommended a local paleontologist, who stopped by Sunday to confirm that they were looking at dinosaur bones.


So far, both brow horns, part of the skull that surrounds the brain, parts of the snout, parts of the frill (the shield behind its head), the lower jaw beak, parts of the neck, vertebrae and lots of ribs have been found, Sertich said. While talking on the phone, more of the frill was uncovered.

Read more here…

They are moving the bones today, so more excitement and lots of news crews.

More videos here and once they post videos of the move today I’ll post those.

Get me my hat and my whip….

(BTW, NEVER google whip and hat without safe setting on :-D)


Bonus Pumpkin

Found this a week ago. It’s a volunteer in my butterfly garden. It’s grown about 4 inches since last Friday. It was my porch pumpkin last year. Afterward I set it on the stone border for the squirrels to munch on all winter. I disposed of most of it in March. Clearly I missed a bit.

It makes me happy since my actual garden did little this year. Whether it was the delay in planting or not quite right soil mixture, it’s been sad. Oh, and the ducks ate all my zucchini flowers and most of my cooking pumpkin vines, so there was that, too.

I have plucked my first few ripe tomatoes, but the overall crop is going to be a sad little thing compared last year’s volunteers.

Vegetarian Meatballs in Fire Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

Most of the recipes I looked at used Italian Breadcrumbs. But I really feel these need fresh breadcrumbs, so I’ve included instructions for making your own. I didn’t season mine because I didn’t want them to overpower the delicate flavors of the cheeses. Fresh breadcrumbs absorb flavors and moisture more than packaged ones, so I thought it gave the whole meatball a better, lighter texture. I added a bit of  garlic powder (fresh garlic did not work with this, it was overpowering and a touch bitter), basil, oregano and fennel. The fennel really took it up a notch. I think next time I might add a bit of red pepper flake.

Spinach and Ricotta Vegetarian Meatballs

  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (instructions below)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese mix
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, beaten


  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, asiago, romano cheese
  • Olive oil

Breadcrumbs: this took a full 1-lb loaf of day-old Italian or French bread. I bought it from the day-old rack for cheap. I tore it into small pieces, spread out on a baking sheet and dried it in a 200 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. I didn’t want them toasted or seasoned because I thought it would overpower the delicate flavors of these meatballs. Once they were dried, I ran them through the blender. I reserved 1/4 cup for rolling the balls in before cooking.

Meatballs: Mix together ricotta, grated cheeses, spinach and spices. Add the eggs and mix well. Then add the breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup at a time. You want it to come together to form soft balls, but you don’t want it to be dry. Once you can form a soft ball with some structure, you don’t need to add more breadcrumbs.

Scoop up a heaping tablespoon (I used my cookie dough scoop) and roll the mixture into balls.

Mix together 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup grated cheeses in a bowl and roll each meatball in the mixture, coating on all sides.

You can bake or pan fry these. I chose to pan fry, it used a bit of oil, but it gave them a nice flavor. Baking them would be my option if I was doubling the recipe.

To fry: heat olive oil in a skillet on medium and add the meatballs, leaving enough space between them to easily turn them. They are soft, so it’s a delicate process. The good news is, if you really want them round (instead of kind of flattened) you can reshape them after they come out of the pan. Turn them until they are golden brown on all sides.

To bake: place them on a well oiled baking sheet or use parchment paper. Brush them with a bit of oil if desired. Leave space around each one so they brown evenly and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. You can turn them halfway through if desired.

Fire Roasted Tomato and Basil Sauce

  • 28 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes or better yet, click here to make your own.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1 tbsp fresh chopped)

Add ingredients in saucepan, bring to a low boil, reduce to low and let simmer while prepping meatballs.

Serve sauce and meatballs over your favorite pasta.