22 July 2014

a simple homemade pizza sauce

As I mentioned in last week's family snippets, pizza is often on our menu these days. I love using summer veggies as toppings. (And one nice thing about pizza is that you don't have to use meat to make it delicious . . . we eat a lot of meat, and I don't have a problem with that in principle, but the budget does.)

Another nice thing about pizza is having the leftovers cold for breakfast the next morning. I know this disgusts a certain segment of the population, but I belong to the segment that likes it.

Anyway, to make good pizza you need a good sauce. Here is mine. I hope to can a lot of it this summer, though of course I will have to add several extra steps to get from fresh Romas to cooked diced tomatoes.


Simple Pizza Sauce
(based on a recipe from The Kitchn)

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor, and blend until thoroughly combined. (If your blender cannot handle whole garlic cloves, mince the garlic beforehand. I use the sauce/dressing setting on the Blendtec.) Makes enough for two to three large pizzas. Refrigerate or freeze.

19 July 2014

Weekend linkage


Stuck in a traffic jam for seventy years?
According to an urban legend these cars were left behind by US soldiers from World War II, who could not ship them back to the US so they decided to hide them in a forest until they could come back and retrieve them. The locals disagree and say that it’s simply an old car dump of vehicles made after the WWII.

No job? No Svalbard archipelago for you!
Homelessness, like unemployment, is banned. All residents must have a fixed address, a rule that ensures that nobody freezes to death in a place that is closer to the North Pole than to the Norwegian capital . . . The government does fund a school and a hospital, as well as the governor’s administration, and also subsidizes Svalbard’s biggest employer, a loss-making state-owned coal company. But it shuns the leftist, leveling consensus that according to conservative critics has made working almost a lifestyle choice in the rest of Norway. Taxes are much lower than elsewhere in the country.

“There is no welfare system in Svalbard,” Mr. Ingero said. “If you are unable to support yourself with work, you cannot stay here.”

"Why fifty percent of Chinese women are opting for C-sections."


I know, from one short bout with depression, a tiny bit of what it's like to struggle with your brain. It's terrifying and dark. A friend of mine who has bipolar disorder has begun a blog and it promises to be as remarkable as he is.


As it's picnic season, Saveur offers the perfect picnic generator!


This is the sweetest ad I've ever seen. (Keep in mind that I am also pregnant and full of baby love.)

18 July 2014

Family snippets

"I just don't feel sorry for Brazil. They're like the Yankees of soccer."
-Jared reflects on the World Cup

This week brought such lovely weather. Ellie and I were able to take several morning walks, where we usually found dogs, squirrels, and rabbits for her to ooh and ahh over. Working out in the garden is also a pleasure in this weather, except for the mosquitos. I would like to find an essential oil-based repellent but have had no luck so far. Help please?

The first batch of pickles was successfully canned. In a couple of weeks, we'll find out how successful they taste. I used an old Mennonite recipe, with a few extra seasonings tossed in, and I'm not sure how they could possibly taste bad. Well, even if they do we have scores more cukes with which to experiment.

in search of some light reading

drain-inspecting + cucumber snack

I suspect that I will need to dig out my maternity box soon. My pants fit just fine, but I am getting dangerously close to Shirt Stretching territory, which would be sad. I'll need a few more t-shirts and am excited that our Old Navy now carries maternity clothes. There aren't a lot of options around here and I hate ordering things online. Grow, jellybean, grow!

Ellie has started to yell "Hey!" at anyone she meets. Visitors to our house, people at the grocery store, kids at the library. It makes her sound so excited to see everyone, which is probably true. She is quite social and-- apart from a few brief clingy phases-- always has been.

a trip to the pool with our little waterbug

What did I cook this week? Anything interesting? Oh, I made a great salad dressing from Fresh. It's a sweet onion poppyseed dressing and it is 100% delicious (and simple). Tonight is pizza night; now that I can eat gluten again (yay!!) I make pizza almost every week. Last week it was pesto with caramelized onions, fresh herbs, and assorted Italian cheeses. This week it's tomato sauce with mushrooms, peppers, and Havarti.

12 July 2014

Family snippets

Ellie is turning into a complete clown. When I come to fetch her after a nap, she starts shrieking and running around her crib. She squishes her face against the screen door while I'm outside hanging laundry on the line. She "dances" to music whenever she realizes that it's playing. As soon as we put her shoes on, she stands up and stomps loudly on the wooden floor. She loves to dress up (sometimes with a necklace of plastic links, sometimes a makeshift cape composed of a kitchen towel or a piece of outgrown clothing).

Super Ellie!

Her younger sibling isn't doing anything worthy of note, though in a few weeks I will get to hear the heartbeat for the first time. I am now officially in the second trimester, which explains my rapidly receding "morning" sickness and rapidly increasing bump. I so look forward to feeling this little bean move, though that probably won't happen for quite a while.

Our garden is growing like a weed (as are the weeds, alas). The cucumbers are attempting to take over the entire bed, but the tomatoes are valiantly fending them off. It's gotten pretty hot here so the sugar peas and lettuce have tipped past their prime . . . my one surviving bush of green beans continues to bear abundantly . . . and the zinnias have exploded into bloom.

(Sorry I haven't been posting the funny things Jared says lately. I think having a baby did something to my memory! I laugh just as hard as I ever did, but can't remember his quips in order to record them for posterity.)

11 July 2014

Weekend linkage


Why You Are Wrong. This applies to just about every internet debate out there.
I shall now appeal to authority by quoting a philosopher who agrees with my premise, thereby wrapping my argument in the wisdom of the ages. Yes, I said a philosopher—a guy who gets paid to sit around all day and think about stuff like this. Are you a philosopher? No? You don’t spend all day thinking about stuff? What’s that? This topic isn’t in your area of expertise at all? Just checking. Because my guy was thinking hard with his brain his whole life about stuff like this, and he agrees with me.

"The seven deadliest fashion trends of all time." You know you want to read that.

arsenic dress!

"Why Icelanders are wary of elves living beneath rocks." You want to read that too.


Two from The Toast: "The Hobbit, Improved" (Chapter Ten: Absolutely Zero Goblins But Plenty Of Sandwiches And A Good Steady Fire) and "Every English Novel Ever" (make sure to read the suggestions in the comments, which had me laughing till tears came).


Funny post on childhood obsessions (again, the comments are gold).


"Snacks of the Great Scribblers." Whitman's did not surprise me at all.


"The Pathetic Provincialism of American Feminists." Amen to this.
One of the few insights from Karl Marx still relevant is the need for international solidarity among oppressed people. If American women truly believed they were oppressed, they would have all the more reason to zealously advocate for the liberation of their African and Asian sisters . . . In an irony invisible to the Left, American feminism has become an elitist expression of upper-class concerns. Highly educated and paid women endlessly describe their own inconveniences, while ignoring the legitimate suffering of the poor, in foreign countries and their own cities.