Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Richard Armitage loves Spring (and baked feta in sourdough)

Helloooooo, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back!

 Spring has sprung here in Oregon. And do you know how Richard Armitage (bless his gorgeous self) is related to spring??
Well, I'll get to that in a minute. But first a peek at my backyard...
Everything is in bloom. The bees are out (must buy sandals, note to self!), the frogs are croaking, and the tulips, iris, and lilacs are bursting with flowers!
Little boys with butterfly nets are scouring the garden (in snow boots) for prey.
The turtles cavorted in the tall grass as we cleaned their tank. Don't blink. You might miss them. They can actually get quite far away when you're watching for butterflies.
We tried to hem them in with bodies, but the little guys kept moving away and creating a gap for escaping into the far reaches of the lawn.
Here's a little guy very pleased with his flower, carefully placed in an antique egg cup. I didn't realize he could reach that shelf. He got the egg cup, filled it with water, and picked his own flower. Cute! And now I'll go move those breakables just a bit higher...
Our yellow climbing roses are blooming. They're in the hedgerow. You have to look hard. (Ooooh, I can hear him now!!)
*sigh* Isn't he wonderful? here's the full clip here, if you want to watch it. I'll wait... The relevant moment is 3:44. :)

 Ok, now that we've had our Richard Armitage fix for the day, let's see what there is to cook. I'm not feeling the need for anything super difficult. Hmmmmm. Edna reminds me there's some stinky cheese in the fridge and some large sourdough boules.
An older kid is on hand to help with preparations so I'll man the camera while she works. Cutting the top off the sourdough bread is the first step.
Getting the feta cheese, parsley flakes, tomatoes and garlic out is the second step. I have an odd jar of olive and red pepper tapenade so I think I'll make one with that, too.
Hollow out the bread and place it in a bowl, crumbling slightly. This will help hold all the feta and tomatoes together.
Yummy. Give me a fork.
Add garlic, parsley flakes and mix well. Put it back in the boule... HEY. Someone has taken a bite.

And I found him over near the other one. Shoo, shoo!!

*sigh* It seems everything must be taste-tested for freshness before we cook it.

Wrap the boule in foil and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
This is the olive tapenade and feta version. The red peppers gave it quite a kick! Mmmm. Even the next day, it was good, heated a little in the microwave. This dish is definitely not a 'date night' dish, unless you don't mind feta breath.

And to round off the spring-y post, here's an old table I picked up for super cheap. It was a wreck. But something about those lines... Edna whispered the legs were mighty fine, quite shapely. I agreed.
Some scraping and painting (some by small children, don't flip it over since they got to paint the underside) turns into this. And in that stack is- you guessed it! North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. have I mentioned that she's a hero of mine? She wrote her books at her kitchen table, with five kids, a minister husband who gave lessons to the poor in their living room. And she wrote romance that changed LIVES. Just love her!

  I think she was also a lovely friend. She and Charlotte Bronte were pals but one time visitors came knocking while Charlotte visiting. Being afflicted with crippling shyness, Charlotte was in tears, until Mrs. Gaskell told her to hide in the curtains. So she did. And Mrs. Gaskell entertained them, never letting on that one of the most famous authors of the day was hiding just a few feet away! What a woman. What a hostess!

 Anyway, go out and enjoy the sunshine! If there's no sun, watch North and South. A little Armitage makes everything better.

 Until next time!



  1. Oh, this is charming. I'm going high protein because we took pictures in Nebraska and there's just no hiding "chub".... so I vowed to behave and re-embrace my broccoli slaw, but we'll try this in July....

    Don't you love catching turtles, chasing butterflies and cute stinkin' kids?????

    And that table just makes me smile. I love transporting old into new and the Cottage House on Facebook gives me AMAZING ideas... I'm hiring two teens to help me this summer because they love to paint and I have babies to watch, so they're doing some fun Ruthy-projects... Because how fun is that????

    Ginny, I will smile over these pics all day!

    1. Oooh, the chub. I remember the first pic of myself I saw like that and it looked like I was trying to smuggle an animal under my shirt. I'd get strip-searched at the airport and that would be NO FUN for anyone!!

  2. There you go, trotting out those beautiful children again.

    And a man with a flower, almost as good as a man holding a baby!

    Love feta. Must mix with olives!

    Love Elizabeth too. What a friend. Like you!

    Peace, Julie

    1. haha! I'm a bit meaner than that. I'd tell her to get the heck out of the curtain and woman up!!

  3. 5:20-5:46 was better! :-) I've never seen this or read it and thought from the title it was the civil war here except they talked with an accent that didn't sound southern LOL!

    still trying to wake up - I can't lowcarb it - my mood definitely plummets below human if I do. I try to cut back on the carbs though and balance them out with protein. when I'm doing weight watchers the carbs are definitly lower than they usually are that's for sure.


    1. Below human!! Susanna, you totally made me LOL there.

      And you can watch the whole thing on youtube. It's about the North and South of England. It's actually a very beautiful story of a girl who moves North, believing all things Northern are ugly and uncivilized, which they sort of are. She takes up the cause of poor factory workers, except that her upper-class family is entertaining with factory owners. She speaks her mind, works with her hands, and wins his heart.

      And in the end, it's about love and family and people and valuing the good and noble things.


  4. Loved reading this and seeing the pictures! And love Richard Armitage in "The Hobbit"; there's something about the "bad boy" persona that draws me in (that he is in the movie!)--thinking Han Solo in "Star Wars" and all those other rogues that I can't think of right now due to lack of sleep.

    Thanks for a nice morning pick-me-up, Ginny! :)

    1. Have you see the 'Vicar of Dibley'?? A very rotund woman minister is the star of the series and she's HILARIOUS. They got RA to play her love interest and the proposal had me howling with laughter! He's such a great actor.

  5. Ruthy confesses to loving Han Solo.... :)

    1. I love Han Solo, too. Is it the bad boy thing? Or just the fact that Harrison Ford was so perfect for the role?

    2. I love Han Solo too! I felt sorry for him falling in love with princess what's her face :-(

    3. Hm, I'm not a fan of the bad boy. Accountants, yes. han Solo gets himself stuck in some sort of freezer contraption and the heroine is chained to Jabba the Hut, wearing a bikini. So, no.

  6. I have to confess - are you ready? - I had never heard of North and South until someone mentioned it on Seekerville.

    The book is somewhere in my "to be read" pile, but after seeing that clip, I wonder if I should watch it first.

    Any opinions?

    And I love the Bronte/Gaskell story! We'll all hide behind the curtains while Ruthy entertains the visitors, okay?

    Now to the food - oh my. Why have I never heard of these things? Have you ever tried making individual ones with sourdough rolls? (I can tell I haven't had breakfast yet!)

    The kids steal the show, though. Virginia, you grow 'em cute out west :)

    1. Jan,
      I've watched the movie (multiple times) and read the book. Both are great, but the movie is so good, I'd recommend starting there. :-)

    2. I can't take any credit for the cute kids. My husband's side of the family all the way. My baby pictures look like something from a medical textbook, all bulgy eyes and drooling, slack lips.


  7. Virginia I want to come and play with turtles and meet Edna and your brood...and you of course. You lead the life of an adventurer! LOL And the bite out of the bread...snort...that would be the dog in my house so I'm careful not to leave things in his reach. I might try that yummy bread recipe...but with another kind of cheese (yes, I'm chicken!)

    Love the transformed table. So chic! I bet the table is just busting with pride over her new look.

    1. I have to be just in the right mood for feta. It can't be a cheddar day or I won't eat it. I think a really mild goat cheese with basil would work!

      And the table is quite sweet and sophisticated. Very kind to all the crazy, beat up furniture we have. I think she learned much from her time spent in the junk pile.

      And yes, come on over! We'll put some ice tea in your hand and stick you on turtle watch. It's a hard job but somebody's gotta do it.

    2. P.S. Isn't it weird how dogs and kids can suddenly reach things you swear they couldn't!

  8. Love the post, the food, the pictures, the kids, the turtles, Richard A...

    I think I need a North and South fix.

    I have a tiny, yellow, miniature rose bush that we planted last spring. Can't wait to see it bloom this year.

  9. Clarie, funny story. When the roses bloomed, I wanted to be silly and give one to my oldest daughter saying 'you have to look hard'. But I wanted her to see what I was doing so I showed her the clip.

    Uhhh, we get to the point where his collar is flapping, Margaret can't quite meet his eyes and is nervously looking toward Henry, he reaches into his pocket for the rose...

    And my daughter, then 11, looks at me and says, 'is he a vampire? he's creeeepy!'

    HAHAHAHAHA! Now, at 13, she sees it. At 11, he was CREEPYYYY. I still like to tease her about it

  10. Sorry, not sure why it says Claire. CLARI!!!

    Dumb autocorrect.

  11. That was some kiss!! I think I'll have to come back later to regather my wits and focus on food. :)

  12. The first time I saw that, I was SO MAD!!! That would never have happened!! But oh well, artistic license and all that!

  13. Thanks for posting this.This is awesome!!