Friday, August 20, 2010

Jess is blogging at

Jessica's second blog post for Wondering Fair, Green Grass Fun, is online now

If you have a question or a comment, please post it on the WF site, rather than on our blog or on Facebook.

Enjoy... that is the whole idea about this post!

You can find all of Jess' posts at:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

from the garden to the table : : roasted veggie pasta

I learned to roast veggies in Australia. For some reason, I’d never really noticed it as a way of preparing vegetables while living in America. This pasta is great because you can make it for any season with any vegetables. In this case, it was all about using the vegetables in our garden that were ripe for use.
Start by chopping up some vegetables. In this case, we’ve used summer squash, banana peppers, and orange tomato, some cherry tomatoes and some garlic (the only thing we didn’t grow)
Marinade the vegetables―I used truffle oil, olive oil, white wine, salt and freshly cracked pepper
Since it has been stinking hot here in South Bend, I put my cast iron skillet on the BBQ outside and heated it. Once it was good and hot, I put the vegetables on it and cooked them till they were nicely browned in some places (normally I cook them in the oven though).
While the veggies cook, chop up some fresh herbs: we used basil, oregano, and thyme, again all from the garden
Don’t forget to prepare the pasta. Whole wheat rotini or penne are best for this dish.
Once the pasta is cooked, toss it with more olive oil, truffle oil, wine, salt and pepper. Mix in cooked veggies and fresh herbs. 
For a nice dinner on the back deck, serve with parmesan cheese, freshly baked bread (with balsamic and oil for dipping) and a crisp white wine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

from the garden to the table : : stuffed tomatoes and lemon-dill rice

[Jess returns to this blogosphere...] 

Our big tomatoes (Better-Boys) have looked promising all summer, growing big and green, slowly ripening through orange to red. Sadly, though, a raccoon or something like that has been getting into them at night, eating big holes in the soft, red flesh the day before they should be picked. We have managed to get to a few before the wildlife…

Stuffed tomatoes are an easy, casual meal that you can make to suit just about any cuisine. Start by halving and hollowing out a couple of large tomatoes (use the innards to make Cherry Tomato pasta). Then, in a separate bowl mix:
  • Bread crumbs
  • Fresh herbs (we used oregano, thyme, and chives from our garden)
  • Fresh garlic either crushed or chopped
  • Cheese (in this case, I used cheddar but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the bread crumb mixture into the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Cook uncovered in the oven or on a BBQ until the tomatoes are a bit wrinkly and the tops are golden.

While waiting for the tomatoes to cook….
I made rice to serve the tomatoes on. For this pilaf style rice, sauté the tomato innards, a banana pepper from the garden, and an onion in generous amount of butter. Add the rice and a bunch of dill, stir it around for a few minutes, and then add the normal amount of liquid for the amount of rice (I used an Amish chicken-broth). Once the rice is cooked, add some sour cream and lemon juice. 
A fresh salad and some rock melon make the meal complete (as does a cold beer…).

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

online shoppers >> $5 for you + ongoing rebates for your purchases + an iPad for me??

There seems to be lots of things on the internet that look to good to be true, and are...

Ebates is not too good to be true... 
it works and I have received US$123.72 into my PayPal account to prove it!
[please keep reading to earn $5 + ongoing rebates for the stuff you already buy online + help me win an iPad for my business]

Ebates is a website that allows you to earn a rebate for buying things online - things you would be buying anyway. I have earned rebates from 1% to 16% on purchases. What Ebates do, is take the referral commissions that e-tailers offer to content publishers and give you half of the commission.

There are over 1200 e-tailors who pay referral commissions... 
I have earned rebates back on purchases from:
  • ebay 1-3%
  • REI & REI Outlet 3%
  • Apple Store 1% (sometimes 2%)
  • MacMall 2.5% (sometimes 5%)
  • Adobe 6%
  • KitchenAid 16%
  • Moosejaw 5%
  • J&R Camera & Electronics 3%
  • Newegg electronics 1.5%
  • Endless Shoes 6%
  • Hollabird sports 4%
Sadly, Amazon does not participate...

Here's how Ebates works:
  • I find what I want to buy online.
  • Close the browser.
  • Go to ebates & log-in (usually you are alreday logged-in)
  • Select the store on Ebates and be redirected to the e-tailor's website
  • Purchase as normal from the etailor
  • Usually within 48hrs of the purchase being shipped, I get an email from Ebates saying the $ has been added to my Ebates account
  • Then every 3 months, Ebates puts $ into my PayPal account.

Help me help you, and I will be helped too...
If you sign-up to Ebates (for FREE) and make a purchase through Ebates of > $20 before 30 September, you will earn a $5 bonus (and so will I) + you will have learned how to keep getting rebates on your online purchases.
If I can get 50 people to sign-up and make a purchase, Ebates will give me an iPad, which would be cool to own, but especially great to have for my new photography business,

Please sign-up to Ebates through this link:

Monday, August 02, 2010

from the garden to the table : : cherry tomato pasta

Cherry tomatos are a winner in the backyard veggie garden! Easy to grow (all of our seedlings have produced), the tomatoes are small and so grow to size and ripen quickly and they are super-tasty!

Cherry Tomato Pasta, one of Jess' made-up recipes, has been one of our favorite meals for a while now... so it is great to get the key ingredient from our garden + a range of herbs to vary the dish...


Here's how you make it...
  • lots of garlic and olive oil in a big saucepan
  • cut & cook-down a bunch of cherry tomatoes + take the innards from a few big tomatoes and add them to the mix (keep the tomato shells for our next recipe)
  • season with salt & pepper to taste
  • add some half-cut cherry tomatoes for a few minutes at the end
  • add chopped parsley
  • a splash of white wine (in the pasta people!)
  • pine nuts are a great addition!
  • serve over angel hair spaghetti with parmesan cheese + ground pepper
  • garlic bread and salad make the meal (as well as a refreshing glass of white wine)