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A cool drink of lemonade.

A refreshing drink of lemonade.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that Ireland is having a most glorious summer.  Warm, sunny days with a slight breeze; it doesn’t get better than that!  With no hectic schedules like we have during the school year, we’ve been able to relax and enjoy the good weather.

Making lemonade.

Our littlest one making lemonade.

Lemonade is really easy to make! We have a very basic juicer, which is perfect for squeezing lemons or oranges.  We used 3 & 1/2 lemons, a quarter cup of sugar, and then filled the jug with water (about 2 liters or 2 quarts).  Ours was tart!  You can of course make it sweeter. 🙂

It is lovely to be able to make simple dinners, too.  Wander about the garden, see what needs to be harvested and throw something together!

A look at the garden in July.

A look at the garden in July. The Brussels Sprouts are on the left, some very small pumpkin plants on the right, a mini-green house, and then the strawberry beds behind.

The miniature green house was an experiment.  I bought it for next to nothing at the end of last summer.  I originally wanted to try planting eggplant (aubergine) in it, but those seedling didn’t survive.  So in went a zucchini (courgette) plant to see how it would do.  It is doing amazingly well!

A very happy zucchini plant.

A very happy zucchini plant.

O.K., I’ll admit that zucchini plants are really easy to grow!  But last year many of my fruit would start to grow and then drop off.  I’m not sure what happened. Despite losing so many of the fruit, since we had a bunch of plants last year my children grew quite sick of zucchini.  I made about a dozen loaves of zucchini bread (read “cake”), too, so we really did have quite a lot.  This year I took a chance and only have one plant.

Our happy zucchini plant in its own mini-green house!

Our happy zucchini plant in its own mini-green house!

The fruit are growing at a fast pace in the heat of the green house, providing us with just the right amount of zucchini!

Our vegetable beds. Potatoes in the right front bed.

Our vegetable beds. Potatoes in the right front bed.  Last year’s potatoes and our pea plants on the left.

What to go with zucchini for dinner?  Some spuds!  So here is my potato story:  We planted two types of potatoes last year; an early crop and a main crop. They both were fantastic, and we were very happy with our first year of potato planting.   This year, we were moving things around a bit, and decided to just have one bed of main crop (Sarpo Mira) potatoes.  The second bed we planted with peas.  So I was a bit befuddled when potato plants started appearing in the pea bed (talk about a novice gardener!).  Turns out I didn’t dig out all of the potatoes last year, and even better still, those potatoes from last year are delicious!  Woohoo!

Last year's early crop of potatoes!

Last year’s early crop of potatoes!

A two for one deal on potatoes!

A two for one deal on potatoes!

I’m especially pleased because as we eat those potatoes, I can finally weed around the pea plants.  It was a huge mess!

This whole post came about mainly from our dinner the other night.  Really, it was superb, if I do say so myself!  My sister-in-law’s husband is a farmer.  I’m trying to figure out how to politely write that we ate some steaks from one of their cows.  I’m not sure there is a polite way to say it!  I have never had anything like it.  It was amazing.  Kinda like eating your own veggies, and you’re sitting there eating and wondering how the supermarket food tastes so much different…  It was just like that! 🙂

The fixings!

The fixings! We love grilling!  Even the zucchini goes great on the grill outside.

Home grown dinner!

Home grown dinner. (photos courtesy of my husband who did an awesome job of cooking dinner!)

We’re not done yet.  Those strawberries I posted about on my blog?  Yep, we used them to make strawberry ice cream.  This was our first time making ice cream with egg yolks.  We don’t have an ice cream maker, so after putting it in the freezer we had to take it out every 30 minutes or so and whisk it up.  I have to say that it was definitely worth the effort!

Strawberry Puree.

Strawberry Puree.

Yum!

Yum!

Mixing the strawberries with the cream & egg mixture.

Mixing the strawberries with the cream & egg mixture.

Two containers for the freezer.

Two containers for the freezer.

Should I apologize for the lighting on the ice cream photos?  I know it’s too dark.  Just one of those things where the lighting was not going to work with me!  I just thought I’d give you a little glimpse of how we made it.  A few blogs helped me out with this recipe!  The recipe is from Ree, of The Pioneer Woman  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/07/strawberry-ice-cream/ .  She is beyond amazing.  The Gourmand Mom http://thegourmandmom.com/  helped me out by connecting me with David Lebovitz, of Living the Sweet Life in Paris, who let me know to keep whisking the ice cream or I’d have icy custard!  http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/making-ice-crea-1/

Homemade strawberry ice cream!

Homemade strawberry ice cream!

My 13 year old daughter was a huge help in making the ice cream, I have to say. Having her help allows me to get so much more done!   She reads my blog, too… and lets me know what she thinks!  🙂

Those are some of our tastes of summer!  I hope you have been enjoying some wonderful tastes of summer, too!

Dana

Happy summer flowers!

Happy summer flowers!

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