Back from vacation – so what have I missed?

Truth be told: I’ve been back from vacation for about two weeks now. But it’s taken me this long to catch up on life and get my mind back into blogging again. It’s been a manic return with lots of good things to show for it:

We have a clay oven… and it works!

Firing the oven is harder than it looks

We had a summer bbq with about 20 people and five tents on our lawn to inaugurate the clay oven and celebrate the summer. It was as if my dream of running a vegetarian campground and cooking retreat had finally come true.

Breaking down camp

As part of the BBQ menu, I made way too much of this delicious Red Rice and Quinoa Salad from Ottolenghi’s cookbook (we lived on the leftovers for days):

Red Rice and Quinoa Salad

My indoor cherry tomatoes are already harvestable. Alas, I am a slacker and have no pictures to show for it.

The elderflower champagne is in progress.

Elderflower champagne in progress

And I’ve just about uploaded all of my pictures from my trip to Chicago and beyond. Here are a couple favorites.

Me and dad after a trip to the Art Institute:

Me and Dad

Me, Stephanie, Matt and Abby on the morning after Matt and Abby’s wedding (I was best man!):

Brunch crew

A tent-side snap from Steph’s and my camping trip on the Mississippi:

Cheers to camping

Truth is, there’s just so much to catch up on, I don’t really know where to start. Most likely in the garden – it’s amazing what can happen in a few weeks time. So stay tuned for some updates on the plants, pots and polytunnel. There will be peppers here!

8 thoughts on “Back from vacation – so what have I missed?

  1. Alison

    Hooray for the oven! Fantastic it looks awesome and how fun to have a camp out summer party to inaugurate it.
    That Red rice and quinoa salad looks amazing I’ll be trying that soon.
    Welcome back to bloggy land.

  2. Monica

    Thank you for the warm welcome back, Alison. I admit, I was starting to lose inspiration a bit – as well as worry that I wouldn’t have any readers left by the time I got back! I am encouraged now. So thanks!

    Stephanie, we made lots of pizza in the clay oven, and one person even cooked fish! It worked a charm, and if you’re here over Christmas, we’ll definitely cook some ovens while you’re here – even if it is freezing cold outside (the oven will keep us warm). =)

    Here’s a snap of one of the pizzas.

  3. Mom

    Loved the update, Monica…. what a great picture captured, of that tent being snapped open! Loved the sight of all those tents in your back yard.. what a great idea. I hope to see the clay oven in use myself one day! They probably never need cleaning do they? Hope no birds (or wasps) decided to nest inside it!

  4. Monica

    Thank you all for your warm welcome back to the land of the blogging. Glad you like the pics.

    Jacquelin – whose new cookbook is Feast? I know Ottolenghi has a new book called Plenty out – is that the one you mean?


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