Monthly Archives: September 2008

Beach Visit on the Last Day of September

My mom and I took advantage of our day off work today to go visit Rocky Neck State Park.  I had never been there before, but my mom attended a wedding there recently.  The beach was beautiful, with whitish sand and not very many people.  The sun moved in and out of the clouds, and it was breezy but not cold.  Perfect weather for a visit to the beach on the last day of September.  This will most likely be our last day at the beach until spring.

 There’s a tunnel under the railroad tracks that leads to the beach.

The seagulls, as usual, were tame and not afraid of us.

A piece of green sea glass to add to my collection.

Pretty yellow flowers were in bloom, contrasting the gray tones of the sand, water and sky.

The bright pink beach rose was a happy sight, and only a few blooms are left this late in the season.

The pavilion is made from field stones and looks out on the ocean.  It was built during the 1930’s.

The view from the pavilion.

A red-tailed hawk perched in a tree and was not afraid of us as we moved closer to take his picture.

We probably take the beach for granted, since we live close enough to visit whenever we want.  We usually only go a few times each summer, but every year we make plans to visit often.  Walking along the empty beach on a Tuesday really made me appreciate the beauty that waits for us to stroll by.

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Spicy Sea Scallops and Pumpkin Pasta

I did not want to go to the grocery store today.  It has been raining all weekend, and carting groceries around in the rain is not my idea of a fun time.  So, I pulled open the freezer and saw the sea scallops sitting right next to a bag of pumpkin puree from my garden that I froze a month ago.  The light bulb went off!  I invented this meal, pretty much, based on what I had.

Pumpkin Pasta

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped kielbasa (skip this to make it vegetarian)
  • 1 large chopped red onion
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, nutmeg to taste
  • splash apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 cups water (use the starchy cooking water from the pasta)
  • splash of half and half, cream, or milk
  • 12 oz. ziti, penne, or rigatoni (or any pasta, for that matter)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs

Get a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil.  In a Dutch oven, brown the kielbasa in the olive oil, then add the onions and garlic.  Deglaze the pan with the vinegar and cook until it evaporates.  Add the pumpkin and seasonings, and bring up to a bubble.  In the mean time, cook the pasta.  Add the starchy pasta water to the sauce to thin it as desired.  Stir in the half and half/cream/milk and bring back to a bubble.  Add the pasta to the sauce, then stir in the cheese.  Top with the bread crumbs and bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes.

Spicy Sea Scallops

  • 1 lb sea callops (I buy frozen ones and thaw them by setting the plastic bag in a bowl of water for a few hours)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • small dash nutmeg

Remove the hard muscle from the scallops if needed.  Oil a baking pan or spray with cooking spray and spread the scallops out on it so they are not touching eachother.  Combine all the spices and rub a small amount onto the top of each scallop.  You will have leftover spices, so don’t cross-contaminate!  Bake in the 400°F oven that the pasta is baking in for 10 minutes on the top shelf.

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Filed under Food, Gardening, Recipes, What's for Supper?

Vibrant

Sunday Stroll

The true blues of my garden are beginning to fade, but they’re complimented by the vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds that are just starting to make their appearance.

This young sugar maple has led the pack in color change.

The blue of the morning glory still greets me, but in fewer numbers.

The first of the orange leaves on our newly planted maples.

These wonderful hydrangeas are still popping out flowers, even as the foliage begins to take on a yellow tinge.

To see who else is strolling today, visit The Quiet Country House.

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Filed under Gardening, Home, Outside

Caramel Apple Butter

My mom brought over a whole crate of apples that we picked last weekend for our fair display.  Today, I used about half of them to make applesauce and decided to try something a little different as well.  I remembered Laura’s post about Caramel Pear Butter, and I thought Caramel Apple Butter sounds really good! I made a few changes, like substituting cinnamon for the nutmeg, and it came out really great. I ended up with 9 pints of applesauce and 2 1/2 pints of caramel apple butter.

  • 10 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a large pot, combine the apples, 4 Tbsp of the lemon juice and water.  Cook over medium heat until soft, like with applesauce.  This will take about 20 minutes.  Push the apples through a seive or use a food mill.  Combine the apples with the remaining ingredients and simmer over low for about an hour until thick.  Ladel into sterilized pint jars and then process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.  Makes about 2 1/2 pints.

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Filed under Food, Local Agriculture, Recipes, Sustainable Living

I’m Hosting the October APLS Blog Carnival!

Please stop by the APLS Blog to check out October’s topic: Education! 

How do you educate yourself about sustainable living? How do you pass that knowledge on to others? Do you educate your family members and friends? Are you a member of environmental organizations? Do you do volunteer work?

I’ve never hosted a blog carnival before, so I’m pretty excited about it! I hope to have a wonderful turnout.  Posts are due by October 10 and must be emailed to aplscarnival (at) gmail (dot) com.  I’ll compile and post the carnival here on October 15!

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New England APLS

It’s apple season in New England, and the regional group for our part of the country has formed! APLS stands for “Affluent Persons Living Sustainably,” and is a group that promotes striving to live a life that is as sustainable as possible, even though we can afford to do otherwise.  I have been a member of this group for a few months now, and there have been two blog carnivals so far, with the topics of Sustainability and Affluence.

The purpose of the regional groups is to share information about resources to live more sustainably and to share or plan local events.  If you want to join the New England APLS, you should go here and sign up!  If you want to join a group but aren’t from New England, you should go here and find your regional group!  Tina from Massachusetts has volunteered to be the regional coordinator for New England, and you can visit her blog here.

If you live in Connecticut, please join us! Also, feel free to head on over to my Reading page for some local links.

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Filed under Sustainable Living