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 sustainableseedco.com.
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!

Homemade Journal (great gift)

I used homemade paper for my journal and when I make my next batch of paper I'll post a how-to.

But you can use anything; printer paper, construction paper, or all that blank paper that collects in the back of sketch books.

To start you need to decide the size of the journal and how many pages it will hold.
The journal above is 5 1/2 X 71/2 and 18 pages
Next we make the cover. I just painted 2 pages of sketch paper, but you can use scrap book paper or newspaper. Anything so long as it is significantly larger than your cover pages.

Now using the cover page as a template; cut the paper that is to cover it 1/2 inch larger and cut off the corners so that it will easily wrap around the page.
Then using spray adhesive, spray both the page and the cover and allow to dry. Once dry rub together and fold sprayed flaps down.
Next score only the front cover by cutting it half way through 1 inch away from the top.

And then mark three centered holes for stringing it all together. Use this cover as a template for putting the holes in the other sheets of paper.
You can use a hole punch but the pages might be alittle thick for that assuming you have used thick paper. I used a metal scribe, or this tool:

Next, string a tapestry needle with whatever you choose to bind the journal with. I used three strands of thin hemp.

Make sure that what your using is long. Longer than you think you'll need assuming you want a clasp. I'd say about 30 inches.

Tie a hoop knot , and thread the string from front to back through the middle hole. Then from back to front through the left hole (dont pull to tight!) and then across the journal front to back through the right hole and pull through the loop that has formed on the back and tie off. If you want to make a clasp, dont cut the string at this point.

Now to make a button clasp. Wrap the string from the back from bottom to top twice around the journal and mark on the string where you would want the button to be.

Slide the button to that point and secure. Then at the end of the string make a hoop knot ( make sure it is the right length to reach the clasp. Cut off the excess and there you go!

Your very own journal!

I will be giving out quite a few of these for Christmas this year!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I've found the straight 8s

              So I checked the garden I'd say around 9 or 10 this morning, that's when I found the curvy cukes. So later on in the day, around 5, I waltzed my way back down, to check on the okra and tomatoes and just in general look at the garden. And there they were....

 Laying right there. How could I not have seen them? These are obviously the straight 8s. Now if only I could remember what the curvy cukes were....

The 2 big ones are a little bigger than I'd perfer but they'll pickle up nice enough. How I blindly tromped through the garden not seeing these bad boys I'll never know.

A couple of weeks ago we found this biggin' in the garden.
As you can see he was longer than a paper towel roll. I had found, the day before, the one above him. And was shocked and then the next day found the big one, only inches away. It's crazy how they hide from ya.

Can ya tell I've got cucumber fever?

Crazy Curvy Cukes

So in the garden this year we planted okra, jalapeno, tomato, pumpkin, watermelon, squash, zucchini, broccoli, bush and pole beans, and last but not least cucumbers. There are a couple different varieties, many of which have at the moment slipped my mind. I do remember that there are straight eights and a mici hybrid asian variety.

Anywho, I went out to the garden this morning. Just to kind of give everything a once over and as I was digging through the cuke vines thanking the bumble bees for doing their job i started noticing a few cukes ready for pickin'. And there was one thing all these cukes had in common...
They were curvy as all get out!
Now we've gotten some of these before and they taste just fine except for the skinny part which has no seeds and is quite bitter but the rest of the cuke is tasty enough it makes up for it.
This fella here was about to curve in on himself. The bitter part is the skinny part, in the bend.

A week more of days like this and it'll be picklin' time again.

Friday, August 5, 2011


First post, WOOT WOOT!

This year in the garden we went a little crazy on the cucumbers. 12 plants...for a 2 person family!
So once everything started coming in we were slightly overwhelmed. Solution for this problem?
.... refrigerator pickles! They were ridiculously easy and pretty cheap.

I got everything at walmart and it was about 20 bucks. And that's assuming you dont already have quart canning jars.

I used Ball brand quart Jars (sanitize them in the dishwasher) and Ball brand pickle crisp. Also Mrs.Wages kosher dill pickling mix.

According to the back of the mix you need:

-9-11lbs pickling cucumbers(about 50- 3to 4 inches)
(now I didnt use 50 cukes probably close to 15 but they were a bigger variety. Also the package says it makes 7 quarts but i only made 4 and filled the jars entirely with liquid only pouring out about another jars worth so im assuming if you really pack the jars tightly with cukes you could get 7 quarts)
-3 1/3 Cups white wine vinegar (5% acidity)
7 1/3 C water

Wash and and get the cukes ready. you can either do them whole or spears or slices. I went for the spears.
Next in a large stock pot I mixed the water, vinegar and pickle mix. Bring it to just under a boil. Boy will the kitchen begin to smell good at this point!
When the mix is good and ready, start packing the cukes into the jars(sanitized in the dishwasher). I packed in as many as would fit but not so much that they seemed crammed, then pour in the hot liquid. Next add a round 1/4 teaspoon of the pickle crisp to each jar and put on the lids.Let the pickles cool to room temperature anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours, when cooled stick 'em in the fridge. They need a good 24 hours to soak up the flavor. And need to be stored in the fridge.

And there you have it.
Next.... pickled okra, yum!