Monday, December 12, 2011

2 delicious pumpkin cakes from one batch of batter

I'm starting to put a dent in the large stock of frozen pumpkin puree that's taken up all my freezer space.

Here we have a chocolate chip pumpkin sheet:
And a pumpkin bundt with a lemon glaze:

Pumpkin cake:


6 eggs
3/4C vegetable oil
1/2C melted butter
1 1/2tsp vanilla
3 1/2 C pumpkin puree
3C sugar
3 1/4C all purpose flour
1 1/2tsp. baking soda
1 1/2tsp. salt
I dont measure things like spices so just go by preference. I'd say a general of about 1 1/2tsp each;
cinnamon (I added quite about of cinnamon, just 'cause I love it.)
all spice

semi sweet chocolate chips
lemon juice
powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350*.Mix eggs, oil, butter, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin. Mix in dry ingredients.

Pour half of the batter into an oiled sheet cake pan and evenly sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Pour the rest into an oiled bundt pan.

Put both cakes in oven and bake about 30 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.
The bundt will take alittle longer because its thicker, about 40-45 minutes.

Cool completely.
Remove bundt from pan
mix together about 1/2C powdered sugar and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Add more lemon juice until it's pourable and pour evenly over completely cooled bundt.


baby carrots and the beginning of the end of the Fall radishes

The weather here is finally starting to get Wintery and I love it. We had alittle bit of wet snow but it only lasted about an hour.

The garden is still kicking. The kale is big and the lettuce is colorful. The beets are a couple weeks away and I'm down to my last few rows of radishes. Here's this morning's gatherins'...
These radishes are probably gonna go into tonight's stir-fry.

The frost is slowly starting to get at the leaves but theyre not dead yet.

The carrots are big enough, that theyre thinnings are nice garden treats....

Theyre bite size and SOOOOO sweet. I have high hopes for the atomic red, but since some pesky animal decided to dig the day after I put out the cosmic purple I can only hope for a handful of them.

We dehydrated some of the tender young kale which was heavenly!

Theyre perfect chip size and delicious dipped in salsa, or crumbled over soup or pasta.

I just washed them, tore off the tougher stems, soaked them in olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, garlic powder and salt for about 30 minutes. Then threw them on the dehydrator racks and let them do theyre thing for a couple of hours. rotating the racks periodically. So Tasty.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not keeping up with things

I have been very bad at keeping this thing updated... so here's a quick catch up.

No pictures though. I've been very lazy it seems.

all the Easter egg radishes have been harvested. And the watermelon radishes are about ready. the carrots are slowly starting to get established, and the beets are beginning to form.

The kale is big and begging to be fried in bacon grease. And the lettuce is still thriving. My sad excuse of a row of potatoes was killed by the frost, but getting to eat the fried new potatoes was a treat.

Our thanksgiving was wonderful, the first year it wasnt dozens of hungry people crammed into a small house.... We rented a 3 story cabin. A definite new family tradition.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh it's about to be radish time!

All of the Easter egg radishes are about 2-3 days from being ready, and as the name describes it truly is like going on an easter egg hunt out in the garden.
 There's is no better salad topping then sliced garden fresh radish.....well other than bacon bits.

The watermelon radishes will be ready in about 2-3 weeks, along with the beets and kale.
Pickled beets are one thing my salads are missing.

Now if only those carrots would hurry up.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The very last pumpkin

This season we got 27 pumpkins

And so far I've roasted and pureed about 25 cups of pumpkin for the freezer and still have all these to roast.
I really need to get on this chore because all these pumpkins are taking up quite abit of counter space.
But it was a very successful season.
And I am definitely going to have all the pumpkin puree I'll need for cookies, bread, and pies over the winter.

I'll even get to save the big one for carving a jack-o-lantern.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The First fall radish

The radishes are all about 2 weeks from harvesting. So it was a good surprise when I went out to thin the beets and I find this little guy (an easter egg radish), and at supper time!

He's gonna be good in tonights salad!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's popping up in the garden

Gourmet lettuce mix



The Carrots are slowly peeking up out of the ground. well the atomic red are. There is evidence of digging where the cosmic purple were planted. So if I can get just a handful of them I'll be thrilled.

Time to thin everything.

Cinnamon apple kolache

My fall version of a simple kolache cookie.
Makes 15 cookies.

about 3 C of finely chopped apple
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 heaping tbsp. sugar

1 stick of butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese softened
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

skillet apple filling:

Melt butter in a skillet then add apples, cinnamon and sugar. Cook on medium heat until tender.
Take off heat.

Preheat oven to 375F*.

Cream the butter and cream cheese. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, mix well.
Add flour 1/4 C at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add vanilla.

Roll out on lightly floured surface. Cut with a biscuit cutter or into squares with a knife.
Place on greased cookie sheet. Scoop a tsp. size dollop of apple filling onto the middle of cookie and pinch sides together. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden on edges. Brush with melted butter and let cool.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Watermelon Cake

This cake recipe is so simple and delicious!

You'll need:
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
1 pkg. cherry flavored unsweetened drink mix
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C. softened butter
1 1/4 sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 C pureed watermelon

Preheat oven at 350F*.
In a medium bowl mix flour, drink mix, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar 1/4 C at a time, beat well after each addition. Beat 2 minutes longer.
Add eggs one egg at a time.
Beat in vanilla.
Then alternately add flour mixture 1/3 at a time, and watermelon puree half at a time, beat just until blended.

Pour into greased cake, loaf or muffin pan.
The batter will make 3 loaves, 24 muffins, and probably about 2 cakes.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A much needed vacation

So a couple girlfriends and I are taking an extended weekend trip to Atlanta to shop, eat, laugh, and have an all around good time. I've been looking forward to this for months. I havent left East Tennessee in about a year. So it will be nice to leave my little nest and experience something new. If anyone who's familiar with Atlanta knows of something that is a must do or see or taste let me know.

Oh and the most important part of this trip is......drum roll please......

The broadway play is on tour and will be in Atlanta.

To say I'm excited..... let's just say I've been packed and ready to go for days.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hamburger buns

1 Cup of milk
1 Cup of water
2tbsp of butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
5 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 (1/4 oz) envelope active dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1tbsp water

bring milk, 1 cup of water, butter ,sugar, and salt to a boil. remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. not too hot or it will kill the yeast.

In a large bowl mix flour and yeast. Pour in wet ingredients and mix together.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 min. Place in an oil bowl and then flip to coat. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Punch dough down and then divide into 12 portions between the size of a golfball and a tennis ball. let rest for about a minute.

Then place on a baking sheet and press down with your palm till it's about 3" wide. let rise till double in size about 20 minutes.

mix egg yolk with tbsp of water and brush on top of buns.

Preheat oven to 400F' and bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely brown and hollow sounding.

Let cool and then make yourself a delicious black and bleu burger with sauteed onions and peppers and fresh sliced tomato!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting things done.

My kudzu season is on it's way out. But I was able to get pick 6 half pints worth of flowers last night. And I realized some of ya'll dont really know what kudzu looks like so here ya go.

(Mind you, the flowers are about all gone.)

Now I didnt get a good landscape photo. But imagine this covering a whole field.

So more kudzu jelly will be made tonight. That gives me a total of a pathetic 12 half pints.Which is about half of what I was hoping for. But maybe I can head out again in the next week and really strip the vines clean.

Next, I finally purchased a tiller that actually works. Crazy the tiller troubles I've been having this summer. 
The camera battery needs a charging so I have no pictures of it. But It tilled up the cold weather garden like a champ.

Speaking of cold weather gardens. It's finally in. I was about ready to give up on it. But I finally planted everything. This is what we got.... atomic red and cosmic purple carrots, a gourmet salad mix, watermelon and easter egg radishes, chiogga and detroit red beets,blue curled kale, and a row of potatoes. I'm way way way behind so no onions, cabbage or brussel sprouts.
It's a proper punishment for being about a month behind on everything....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The last cuke of the season

This season the cukes did amazing. I'm talking wonderful. An overload of cucumbers. Enough to make all the pickles I would ever want this winter plus loads to give to friends and family. But I'd be lying if I said I didnt get some satisfaction yanking daggum vines out of the ground. Let's just say I'm alittle over the cukes.

Plus I need room for the brussels sprouts.....

But while pulling em' up I came across this little guy.

And though I was happy to see em' gone, this little guy reminded me of the beginning of the season when the first cukes started coming on. Almost got alittle sad to see them go....
Yeah right! I'm so sick of cukes. But as the cycle goes; next year around March when the little cucumber seedlings are starting I'll be getting that cuke fever. 

As of now though, good riddance

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kudzu jam

Finally, I've made some. Only 6 half pints but it's a start.
To me it has the taste of strawberry and grape jam. It's delicious. 

To make......

Pick some kudzu flowers (make sure the kudzu plant hasnt been sprayed). 4 Cups of flowers equals to 6 half pints.
By the way, If you are not a fan of spiders and other creepy crawlies this will not be a fun step.

Next take the flowers and give them a good cold water washin' Again if there's an issue with bugs I'd do this outside with a waterhose. I'm only slightly unnerved by spiders but still all those little bugs had me watching where I put my hands.

The flowers are in long clusters. And you only want the flower so when they're cleaned off just pull the flower clusters through your hand and all the flowers will pop off. You will end up with something like this

Next, Boil up 4 Cups of water (If you are increasing the recipe it just goes a cup of water to a cup of flowers) and pour the boiling water over the flowers, then pop it in the fridge overnight.

After it's soaked for atleast 8 hours, strain the liquid into a pot and discard the flowers. The water should be a reddish brown. Add package of pectin and a tablespoon of lemon juice and bring to a boil constantly stirring.

Then add in 5 Cups of sugar and bring back to a boil, again stirring constantly. And allow to boil for 1 minute.

Take it off the heat and scoop off the foam. Then pour into hot jars, wipe lip of the jar, and seal.
Then process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Cool on a rack.

. So delicious.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Garden Gumbo

In the ingredients is listed what I used, but you ultimately just go out in the garden and use what u pick. That's what I did. The one veggie that's a must is the okra. It thickens the gumbo.
Also, I like it chunky. So cut up the veggies to suit your preference.

2 Yellow squash
4 seeded jalapeno + 1 with it's seeds
about 2-3 C green beans
2 bell peppers
1 medium onion
3 stalks of celery
3 medium tomatoes
1 pound of okra
1 tbsp. bacon grease
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp basil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
2-3 tbsp worchestire sauce
3 tbsp. flour
1/4 C oil
2 Qt. water
salt and pepper to taste
1 pack smoked sausage
1 pound cooked shrimp

First off prepare and cut up all the veggies (except okra and tomato) and saute in butter and bacon grease. While that's sauteing cut up okra, tomato and sausage.

Make a nice roux: In the pot you will be using for the gumbo. Heat oil, when hot, add flour and cook until dark, then slowly add in water. Then throw in all veggies, seasoning and sausage. Cook 45 minutes to an hour. Take off heat and stir in cooked shrimp.

Serve with rice, a few dashes of hot sauce and Cheddar sage garlic biscuits!

Monday, August 29, 2011

An almost perfect watermelon

I was alittle hesitant about picking this watermelon. but she was ripe enough to eat. She coulda used another week. But still good. And boy was she sweet!

Time to make pickled watermelon rind!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The absolute best sticky mini pumpkin cakes

These cakes are so ridiculously easy! And though it may not be made entirely from scratch, the taste is so good. in the end it wont even matter.

I'm no food photographer, so believe me when I say these bad boys are delicious!

Yields about 2 dozen mini cakes.

1 box of yellow cake mix (I'd go for the extra moist variety)
1 box of instant vanilla pudding
1 Cup pumpkin puree
1/2 Cup oil
1/2 Cup water
3 eggs
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. grond cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat to 350 F*
Just mix all this up, in no specific order and pour into a greased muffin pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test!

These cakes are so moist and delicious. Imagine all that's good about thanksgiving and christmas and that's what these cakes taste like.

You could also make a sheet cake and frost it. Delicious!
Or top the cupcakes with a big swirly topping of butter cream icing, then sprinkle with cinnamon. Yum!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A surprise out in the garden

I found Morning Glory climbing all over the okra this morning. So pretty!


A new little pumpkin. And there's so many out there about ready to pick and about 10 or 12 new ones that have recently formed. So it's looking like all the promised Thanksgiving pumpkin treats will be possible this year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

First pumpkin of the season!

Oh Yummy she will be making nice mini pumpkin cakes and her seeds will be...I'm thinking roasted sweet and spicy! Oh my!

Btw.... The kudzu  is not quite ready. Not all the blossoms are out but I've got high hopes for next week.

The groundhog strikes again!

So I go out to the garden this morning.
I've had my eye on this one German Queen and as I lifted some leaves to see how she was doing, my heart sank.....

You win this time Mr. groundhog!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

German Queen!

We finally got a ripe one!!!

Now time to slice up that bad boy and put it on some wheat bread with mayo, salt and pepper!!!!

SN: dad had fun playing hand model.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

colorwork, sprouts, and a new garden book

An unexpexted change in the weekend schedule caused me to put off making kudzu jam but tonight when the temperature cools alittle I'll gather up a good bunch of blossoms and hopefully have it done and photographed if not tomorrow then the next day but jam will be spread on biscuits by this weekend!

First things first...
So my first reference to knitting in this blog is not anything too exciting not a pattern or even a finished product but I've only been knitting for a short time, so small things are exciting to me and make me kind of proud.


My first shot at fair isle! (dont look at the art room mess surrounding the knit piece) This is a panel to a messenger bag/ garden picking bag I'm making. There was one slight mess up there in the middle but not too shabby.

SN: Upon typing this post I just noticed my mutant-looking feet in the picture... strange.

Next! Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale are sprouting!

Now if only we can get that blasted tiller up and running then i can prepare the fall bed. Everything in the garden is still kicking and probably will be for atleast another month, which will force me to till up more space. well worth it though.

Last but not least.

While shopping at the local flea market I did something unwise....I went into a book store. Big mistake. My one weakness is books. I cant tell myself no it seems. But this trip into the book store was well worth it. They had a huge gardening section and one book caught my eye...

You can tell from the price tag. I got it for a good price.
And from the book marks I've spent abit of time with my nose stuck in it.
Now I have a few gardening books ( again books are my weakness) But this one is so inspiring. One look through this book and you have a strong urge to fill every square inch of land with garden.
There's a photo everyother page and theyre so pretty!

All the knowledge in the book is kind of basic but I learned a few things. It was worth every penny just to get to gaze longingly at the pretty photos and dream of that "someday dream garden"!

Now time to make some bread and butter pickles!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Not a bad friday in the garden

It's been real hot with not much rain which means crooked cukes and little broccoli but beautiful okra that I swear are growing inches over night. Tomatoes are finally starting to ripen! in a couple of days I'll have a german queen ready for eatin' and the little yellow pear tomatoes are producing a handful a day! There's a watermelon about a week away from being ready and the pumkins are turning orange!

And hooray! it's kudzu season! the forest of it below my house is just bursting with blooms! you know what that means... kudzu jam! which I will be making a big batch tonight so probably sometime tomorrow I will be posting photos and a how to so you can get in on that action!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fall garden transplants

Well, I feel alittle bit more on schedule with the fall garden. I've got the brussels sprouts, cabbage, and kale started.

Atleast someone got some broccoli

A couple of days ago, my dad said he thought he saw a groundhog with a guilty face run out of the garden. And upon inspection....

It seems he went home a full and happy groundhog, but little does he know he just became garden enemy number one.

He also tasted a pumpkin....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fall Garden

About a week ago I got my seeds in from
I plan to have the garden in by the beginning of next week. Along with all this goodness. I plan to throw in some potatoes, buying online is so expensive. So I'm gonna play with supermarket potatoes and see what I get. They are developing they're eyes, so I know they'll sprout, so we'll just see.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pretty pretty pumpkins and an almost ripe tomato!

There's maybe 10 good sized Pumpkins. I'd probably find more if I really got in there and looked. I propped up some of the bigger ones so theyd get a better shape, only to find these yellow spots. I hope they get big for Thanksgiving. I've made promises for bunches of pies and breads.

And my one slightly ripe tomato. we've gotten 2 yellow pear tomatoes so far. But I'm craving a big one. There's a bunch of green ones, promising a good load this year but the darn things wont ripen!

Oh and we got our first squash, which will be cooked with salt, pepper, butter and onion!

Forgotten Broccoli

One walk out in the garden this morning and I realized the broccoli was alittle past ready to pick.
This little guy's probably just happy to be out of the heat
Though he will be steamed with salt, pepper and butter! Yum, or maybe thrown into a stir fry!