Courgettes and Hmong Pepper Sauce

Two weekends ago, Mom picked courgettes (aka zucchinis) and gave me quite a bunch. The baby ones were juicy and delicious grilled. The larger ones I boiled and bagged and froze for occasions when I want to have them with a meal. Mom did this when I was young and she still does it now. It’s convenient and keeps from wasting all these beautiful and mild flavored squashes.

The herbs and garlic were from Mom’s garden in her backyard. She gave me way too much spearmint that I decided to see if I could grow some in water. They seem to be sprouting roots so sounds positive. I’m not good at growing things unless it’s a plant in dirt, but even then, the plant needs to have strong roots otherwise they don’t live very long. The cilantro was the perfect amount to make four batches of Hmong pepper sauce.

As mentioned a few months back, my daughter’s boyfriend (who is African/British/Canadian) loves my Hmong pepper sauce. He eats it with everything so now when I make it, I make sure to pack some for him.

Gardening

I purchased a garden plot earlier in the year in a community garden near my parent’s home to grow some of my favorite vegetables. Now, I’m no gardener so Mom is taking care of it for me. She loves gardening and asked me to buy a plot so she could tend to it. She’s been with this community for awhile now. I’ve been to her garden a couple of times and really liked the place, but since I’ve purchased the plot, I’ve only gone to visit once.

I should go more often.

I asked Mom to plant cucumbers, some melons, Thai peppers, and corn.

Daughter and husband looking real happy. We were on our way to my sister’s housewarming so they didn’t have a choice but to come to the garden.

My cute parents. They are so passionate about gardening. There is no way they can eat all the stuff they grow so at the end of the season, when everything’s ripe, they will donate and sell to the community and relatives.

Mom picked a lot of zucchini’s for me. I’ve already frozen some (the Hmong way) and will be grilling some today to have with grilled salmon.

Community goats. I believe they are used for milk. The man who’s in charge of the garden and the goats said there were three goats but someone stole one of them.

Mom likes to feed the goats the zucchini leaves. I helped throw the leaves over the fence and those leaves have these pokey hairs that prick painfully. I don’t know how my parents can touch those things!

Outdoor Plants and Flowers

Took the Olympus to the front yard. The setting was on Shutter Priority Mode. Minor editing were done in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Columbine.

Pine cone from the giant pine tree in the yard. The tree is starting to brown at the top. I hope it’s not a sign that it’s dying.

This is a ground covering flower called a Vinca. They grow so fast and wildly. I want to get rid of them completely but husband wants to keep them.

Aspen.

The peony is stuck inside the branches of a huge bush. When we first landscaped the yard, the bush was tiny so I thought I could fit a peony plant there. Ten years later and there’s no room for it to grow. I’m planning to take it out and plant it in an open area. It used to bloom so beautifully.

Maple.

The giant bush. Its leaves are tiny now but come summer and fall and this thing becomes a beast. I happen to really like this bush. Just wish the peony wasn’t stuck inside it.

I believe these are morning glories. Not sure what the little periwinkle colored flowers are called but they are so pretty.

And last, a lavender my sister gave me for Mother’s Day. It’s inside the house now but I might transfer it outside. Can you see the spider web between the two flowers? We just had a spider egg sac open in the backyard and watched the babies fly off (like in Charlotte’s Web). Some sneaked inside the house and made the plants their home. I think they’re safe so I’m not worried. You’d think I’d be more scared of spiders since I was bitten pretty badly by a Brown Recluse years ago. There are other bugs I’m more scared off, but we won’t go there.

Olympus PEN E-PL8 Mirrorless Camera

I purchased this camera on Amazon for $280. The original price was $600. The sale is still going on so if you have extra cash hanging around and want a small camera that can do big things, grab it before it’s gone.

I’m not being paid for talking about this camera. I’m just excited. It’s small and stylish. It’s an older camera but it’s still works wonderfully. The newest one is a PL10 and closer to $700.

I’ve been eying mirrorless cameras for some time now but never really needed another camera. I did some heavy research on other mirrorless and because of the price, I went with the Olympus.

Pros: It’s lightweight and takes pretty decent pictures. It’s not meant for pro photography but more so for stuff like blogging and YouTube vlogs. It’s also a good camera to take on trips because it’s light and small so it’s easy to carry around.

Cons: Not a big fan of the WiFi. It doesn’t work properly so I’m finding myself having to use the USB cord to upload to my computer. One reason why I went with this camera was because I wanted the WiFi but I guess I’ll have to try another camera with better connection. I searched everywhere for answers to the issue but there doesn’t seem to be any.

I’ll be sharing photos from this camera soon.

Scallion Pepper Sauce

My mother gave me a handful of scallions from her garden and I decided to make scallion pepper sauce with it.

These were so pretty I just wanted to look at them all day, however, I didn’t want them to go bad so I had to do something quick with them. I also couldn’t think of anything else to make with them since I don’t have a lot of food in my fridge at the moment. With hot pepper sauce, I could freeze it for later.

I had an extra bag of frozen Thai peppers in the freezer and some leftover cilantro from pho last week so they went into the mix. If I didn’t have frozen peppers, I would have used dried peppers.

I chopped everything up.

And used a mortal and pestle to mash it all up. I also added salt, fish sauce, and lime juice.

This made about a cup and a half.

Yum!

I put most of it in a container to freeze for later and put a little aside for the next few days.

But, my daughter and her boyfriend stopped by and her boyfriend loved it so I sent him off with a little bit. I told him he could always come back for more.

Snow and Breakfast

Happy first day of spring!

This morning, youngest daughter and I took husband to the airport. He is one of the ones who has to work during this crazy time. It’s hard to relax knowing he’s out there and could possibly get sick even though he is taking precautions.

Someone posted on Facebook this game: “For those working from home, tell me something about your kids, but refer to them as your co-workers, your spouse as your CEO, and your pet as your secretary.” Here’s what I wrote:

One co-worker refuses to come to the office. However, she says she’s helping another co-worker with his workload and thinks it’s going to take all year and then some. The other co-worker is in her office, but playing games and chatting on discord. The secretary is sleeping on the job and the CEO is out of town for a week.

Just a little something to ease the mind.

It was sprinkling rain on the drive to and from the airport. The visibility was on the bad side so I missed my exit and ended up taking the long way home…or “the scenic route” as I told daughter. When we reached home it was snowing. It looks pretty bad out there as I type. Made daughter scrambled eggs and myself French toast.

Took a photo of daughter while she was eating. I’ve been watching tutorials by Ali Edwards on capturing every day small moments. When my kids were younger, I did this quite often. Then, they got busy, and I got busy, and forgot how important it was to capture small things once in awhile.

Times like these often help me reflect. I guess it’s just a reminder to slow down and pay attention.

Homemade Pho

Eating up what’s in the pantry so I could make room for other dry and canned products. I’ve had these pho noodles for about six months and because herbs don’t last very long, I figured I could use up the herbs this way.

This pho is really easy to make. I pretty much boil any kind of beef (normally, I’ll use ox tail but they were out) then add beef broth and a few shakes of star anise powder along with some salt and pepper. If I have lemongrass, I’ll cut some up and throw it in there. That’s pretty much it. This is how my youngest likes her pho (with no herbs or hot sauce). She says I make the best homemade pho. She also says, I make the best kapoon, spaghetti, baked breaded chicken, baked salmon, scrambled eggs, etc.