Monday, December 5, 2011

December in the Garden (+Giveaway)

Can you identify the plants?  First person to ID the entire set of plants correctly, I'll ship anywhere in the continental US (or meet and give if local) two charms for your wine glass, coffee mug, etc.

To enter, comment on this post with the name of the plants and please make sure you leave a way to contact you.








Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pumpkin Graham Cracker Crust Pie

Most years, if I make pumpkin pie at all, it's just the pudding part, no crust.  This year, we were craving pumpkin pie and I didn't want a regular flour crust.  So given the Costco sized boxes of graham crackers in the cupboard, I decided to mash a bag up in a ziplock bag and add in sugar and butter to create a graham cracker crust.  I baked the crust for about 7min on a lower temp. before pouring the pumpkin filing in.  The hubby stamped this with his approval, by eating it VERY quickly.

If I were to make improvements, it would be to cook it for a little less time so that the edges of the crackers were not quite as dark and to half the amount of sugar.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Beautiful Fall Day in the Garden

I love waking up to this view. Peaceful, relaxing, good memories with more to come.
We are celebrating our day of thanks today with wonderful friends. What better morning could I ask for.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wine and Tea Cup Charms

My fall crafts project keeping my mind sharp during the cold and cloudy northwest fall are these hand made charm rings. Charms make a beautiful addition to your tea cup, wine glass, coffee mug, or beer stein.

Little charms for sale:
Jingle Jingle

Europe anyone?
Puzzle pieces &
Snowflake, mittens, and hats, oh my!

Pine cones sparkle.
Cookie cutter stocking, ornament, ginger bread, tree, and more.

If you would like to purchase some for holiday gifts leave me a comment and which one's you're interested in so we can get in touch. They are $10/4 or $12/6 + shipping if applicable.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A guide to growing

Found this guide on the back of a grocery bag. Interesting to see how they are trying to connect consumers with origin.   Are they trying to show green house grown farm product availability or home grower produce timelines?
Some quickly noticed exceptions:
Kale can be harvested during the time listed, but it is also a wonderful fall crop. You can continue to cut leaves into December.
Lettuce can be available earlier in the season.
Cilantro can grow earlier in Spring. 
Basil can be put in a pot and brought indoors, growning year round by continuing to take cuttings and rooting them in a glass of water.
So what is the intention of the grocery store? 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Practical uses for peppers from the garden

These days, this is what we harvest from the vegetable patch, beautiful yellow, green, and red peppers, with one eggplant in the mix. Typically, we'll chop these into salads, saute in a rice dish, or roast with brown rice and cumin in the oven.  However,

we now find ourselves with one of these.  He likes to nibble on the fresh produce.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Highgrove Gardens

Happened upon a special PBS show this evening of a tour of the stunning gardens at Highgrove, the residence of the Prince of Wales. It was a rare glimpse into the environmental stewardship the Prince has lead over the years on his estate.

The grounds are known for a reed bed sewage treatment system, an acre of organic kitchen vegetable garden, and a stumpery (a forest garden decorated with stumps) where the young princes had a tree house.

Garden tours are available during the summer and early fall, perhaps our next England trip will include this, though children under 12 are not permitted on the grounds.

Amazingly, the wildflower meadow is created by depleting the soil of nutrients, the opposite of most garden beds.  They have created a special wildflower mix using 130 species of flowers and plants that were typical of the Gloucestershire area in England.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hamburger cupcake

Yes, it tasted delicious. Whoever you are that made these for the bake sale, wow!

Chicken pot pie

This was insanely good chicken pot pie. Look at the crust detailing on the top, a rose and leaves. I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.  The potato rolls are moist and the desserts melted in my mouth.
Next door is their cafe with family style grand tables. Looked like a good lounge place.
Check out the Black Diamond Bakery.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Zucchini Pancakes

With a giant baseball bat zucchini from my mother, today was a morning for zucchini pancakes.  I am chipping away at the beast.  I find the allrecipes Dinner Spinner app for Android to be most useful in finding creative and delicious ways to use up yummies in the fridge and on the counter.

The zucchini pancakes took a little more time than the 20 or so min mentioned, but not much more, it was all in the slow reading and cooking on my part. Two things I liked about comments on the recipe, one was the suggestion to add cumin and two was the suggestion to make a batch a day or two before you want it so it's quick and easy that morning. I have been taking that idea lately with various ingredients, like ground turkey this evening. It's all browned and ready to be added to pasta and red sauce for dinner tomorrow night.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roasted Olive and Potato Side Dish

Tonight I took a roasted rosemary potato dish as a base and added my own touches to create a delicious garden harvest side dish.

Potatoes, garlic, onion, leeks, and olives...mmm


  • 1/2 - 1 leek
  • 20 small fingerling potatoes*
  • 1 onions*
  • 1 head garlic*
  • 3 5" sprigs of rosemary*
  • 20 green olives

Cook time = 40min
Delicious Rating = 5 of 5

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. While it's warming, slice the leek length wise, place the flat edges on the cutting board and cut in to 1/8in ribbons.  Toss onto a large baking sheet with olive oil. Chop red and/or white potatoes into small chunks. Coat the potatoes with olive oil (I recommend a squeeze bottle) and evenly spread them with the leeks across the baking sheet.  Cook for 20minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, peel the head of garlic and roughly chop the onion. Tonight's dinner included a red onion from the garden. Remove the baking sheet and scatter the onion, garlic, and olives across the potatoes. Strip the springs of rosemary into the pan. Stir the spuds and new ingredients.  A little olive juice can be sprinkled for added flavor. Bake for another 15-20min, or until spuds are nice and soft.  Salt to taste.

Remove, and add to the rest of your dinner, or just eat the yummy potatoes all on their own.

*items grown in our garden

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Sunday afternoon

The rain storm came in and out in the garden, finally leaving this beautiful sunshine filled evening.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Just added two more Tubtrugs to our household and garden tools.  They are so useful for produce collection, laundry baskets, baby bathtubs, leaf collection, mopping, and chilling drinks on the patio.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Harvest time

We returned from Europe to a week of sunny humid weather in Seattle.  That has made for some fantastic harvests.  

Tomatoes have been ripening a few a day.  In prep for freezing, I boiled them for 30-60 seconds, transferred them to an ice bath and then removed the peels that now easily slid off.  As I quartered them I removed some of the juice and seeds, the rest dripped into a bowl as chunks sat in the strainer waiting to freeze. I labeled quart size freezer bags with the date and Tomatoes, then filled them about a third of the way full, based on expected portion sizes for meals.

Jetsetters and Mortgage Lifters

Last year we didn't completely dig all the potatoes and this year they popped up between the beans and the garlic.  We left them to grow and prosper, with for once no effort, and as a result ended up with about a third of a paper bag of potatoes!  This morning I was delighted to eat my first batch for breakfast.

The plums are plump and juicy on the trees. We sliced a couple gallons of them in half today in prep to freeze. Of course we were out of gallon freezer bags so they are in the fridge waiting for our run to the store tomorrow.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Garden Treasure

This beautiful glass ball from Morrison Glass Art joined the garden this month.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The end of summer

I love the internet, it allows me to see my garden blooming as I travel. I haven't gone so far as a web cam in the garden, but perhaps one day it would make for interesting time lapse growth.  While this also makes me sad to miss some of the harvest, I know it is in good hands with friends and family reaping the bounty.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Onion Harvest

Red and whites
After pulling all of the onions about two weeks ago, I removed excess dirt and laid them out in plant trays lined with the Wall Street Journal.  The greens stay on for now and the trays have been placed in the dark and cool basement storage.I'll cut back the greens after about 3-4 weeks of drying out in the basement.

A few onions didn't make it through the harvest, the skins were not hardened sufficiently or bugs had started to get them. In cases where salvage was possible, I kept those but with the intent to use for immediate meals with onion.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Garlic Harvest, Peppers, and Hops

What's in the garden this week?

Garlic - more than 25 heads worth!

Mini peppers.

Hops against a cloudy afternoon sky

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Zucchini and onion side dish

Zucchini and onion

Fresh from the garden pulled this morning onion sauteed with garden zucchini. The beauty of this recipe is that the size of the zucchini doesn't matter. So don't fear the baseball bat vegetable, slice it into bite size chunks and fill the saute pan.
One zucchini
One small onion
Olive oil
Cumin (optional)
1. Slice zucchini into bite sizes, toss into saute pan.
2. Chop onion into small 1/4 to 1/2 in pieces and add to pan.
3. Coat with olive oil.
4. Saute until soft.
5. Add salt and cumin to taste.
Serve on the side of a baked filet of salmon with a beer to go with it all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

First ever baby food in a jar

Earth's Best Baby Food
A good deal means we try new things in this house. Today our OnTrac delivery man from Amazon dropped off a box of Earth's Best baby food. Yup ours, he even greeted me.  Amazon deliveries are the new milk man for house wives and husbands.  He has an accent, perhaps Russian.

These jars will be recycled into homemade peas, carrots, spinach, and apples soon enough. Perhaps we will branch into tomatoes if we are home when they ripen.

Kale, Chard, Spinach, Potatoes
We picked spinach, broccoli, chard, and kale this afternoon, under the Blue Angels, for our next round of food making today or tomorrow with fresh pickings. Even pulled up two fingerling potatoes. Are home grown mashed potatoes on E's next to eat list?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Baby Food Making

Tis the summer vegetable season to be making baby foods.  Perfect timing with Baby E starting solids over the past month.  His favorites so far, well it seems to be everything.  So this week we're busy making mush out of organic carrots from the store, thank you Chinook Book Seattle for the free 10lb bag, and Dinosaur Kale from our vegetable patch.  The best trick has been to keep all of the produce separate and to mix and match in the dining bowl at meal time, 3-4 meals a day.  We have also started adding in a little HappyBellies cereal to the mix, especially at bed time.  I'm feeling like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom, when she makes jars and jars of Applesauce, finally launching her own business.  I don't know that I'll go that far yet, but it is satisfying, especially being unemployed now.

The basics for steamed carrots:

1. Peel a large pile of carrots. We give the  peels to the worms in our worm bin.  mmmm.
2. Chop into 1-3" chunks and steam.

3. Add to food processor in batches.  I like to recycle the water from steaming, this helps to get the thinner consistency and will provide liquid to Baby E in addition to the breast milk that I'll mix in at meal time.


4. Scoop out the mush and add to straight edged Ball canning jars.  The straight ones help prevent cracking by providing room for expansion of the food without pressing on the lip at the top.  Leave space, at least an inch, at the top of the jar then add the lid and ring. Label and freeze.

Note, if you haven't used your jars since last season or were gifted jars, you may find that the tops of them have rust stains on them.  Try one of these tips to remove the rust.  If you are really not comfortable with the jar, there are many uses for old mason jars.

Friday, June 17, 2011

In search of urban gardens

I'm in search of urban gardeners and farmers. Here's a few to browse into their worlds. What beautiful tomatoes sprinkling Tomato Lover's patio and Mama Worm Composting shares all about vermicomposting, you know, those little worms that eat your food scraps.

Favorite garden tool

If you have ever struggled with weeds, digging a good hole for a plant start, or pulling up a start to pot, check out this knife as THE tool in the garden.  OXO Good Grips Garden Knife with Sheath:Amazon:Kitchen & Dining

The type of knife is know as hori-hori. In Japanese it translates as "to dig."

We are also huge fans of Oxo. If you haven't tried one of these, visit Amazon and use your Amazon Mom free prime shipping to get one quickly this summer, or visit a garden store near you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Steamed broccoli rabe

Fresh cuttings from the garden tonight. Steaming a whole pan down to soft greens and adding olive oil.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Peek into the vegetable patch

We made fresh garden salads starting this weekend with spinach, parsley, lettuce, and broccoli rabe leaves. Delicious!
Kale was thinned and potted up to donate starts.
Delicata squash are finding holes in the burlap to fit in.  This will keep the edible part from sitting in the dirt and may help heat the plant.
Every year brings a new experiment for tomato cages.  This year we have a spiraling green frame that attaches to a post with a plastic bolt.  It doesn't look sturdy, but it says it is.

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