Saturday, October 31, 2015

Late Garden "Foraging"....

Our vegetable garden is finished for the year, but not yet cleaned up.  I knew there was some kale and Swiss chard peaking above the ground.  I wanted to make some stir-fry, Jasmine rice and scrambled eggs for breakfast, so I went to see what I could find.  Here is what I came in with!

I fired up my little rice cooker,
Chopped up some of all the vegetables I could find,
and made the stir-fry.
Oh, my, it was good!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I need one more biscuit for my Vintage Roll Holder...

I have a awful cold, and so am taking it kind of easy today, and decided to do a little sewing.  I ran across THIS tutorial online to make this "Vintage Rolls Holder."  It has two sets of snaps to hold it open like that and when not in use, you can undo the snaps and the thing lies flat and is easy to store.  It was fun to make.  I am thinking it could be very charming on a Thanksgiving table with rolls in it.  But today I made biscuits and chicken soup with rice because I'm sick. batch of biscuits only made 11.  Sigh.....  ;)
It's not time for dinner, yet, but I think I'll go eat a warm biscuit with butter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Meanwhile... up on Mt. Whitney....

The Fairy's younger sister scaled Mt. Whitney the day before the Birthday Party.  I have wonderful daughters.  I think that means "full of wonder" and it fits.  :)
When we decided to have a family, we of course had no idea what we were getting into... not really.  It has been a heartwarming, challenging and priceless experience. Our 6 children are all, every one of them, good, honest, generous, hard-working, kind, intelligent people.  I am very proud of them. I hope I can stay on this earth for a while yet, but I could go to Heaven today, content with my life.

Here is a picture from long ago.  Our youngest boy had not yet been born. The Garden Fairy is in front on the left and I'm holding the youngest girl pictured above.
The oldest girl on the left above is pictured here with her youngest daughter who is our youngest granddaughter.
And here is our youngest grandson, who was born to the Fairy 6 months ago.
I cannot adequately express how grateful I am for family.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Garden Fairy's Birthday Party...

Yesterday I posted about the cake I made for my Garden Fairy's Birthday.  We had the party this evening.  I thought I would share some pictures with you. 

 We had the party at the campsite in our woods.
 The children decorated!
 Here is her husband.
 With her two sons-
 After the weenie roast we had cake and ice cream.
 The best gift ever!  :)
 The whole group, except one friend who took the snapshot:
My favorite picture - the Fairy with her daughter - 

I'm not a cake decorator, either...

Today is my Garden Fairy's birthday.  She and her family are coming out here for a cookout at our campsite in the woods. So... I made a cake.  I was inspired by some cakes a friend of mine posted on her blog. Her cakes are so pretty and simple.  I would not call mine pretty, but it is simple.  I thought I would show you.  Here are the recipes that I used for the cake, filling, and frosting.

This cake is called "Food Storage Cake" because you don't use anything that is particularly perishable, so if you keep your pantry stocked, you can always make this cake.


2 2/3 cup flour
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 Tablespoons distilled while vinegar
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup oil (I use melted coconut oil)

Combine the dry ingredients.  Add remaining ingredients and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan OR 2 round cake pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 350 F until when you insert a toothpick in the center, it comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.


Place a can of sweetened condensed milk (remove paper wrapper first) in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 3 hours.  Remove from pan and allow to cool completely before using.

FROSTING - this is enough for a 9 x 13 pan.  Double recipe for a layer cake.

1 egg yolk
2 Tablespoons softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
If you want it to be chocolate, add 1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder.

Beat all together.  Then add milk just a little at a time until it is how you want it to be.

I rarely make "sweets" anymore.  Sugar is not good for us.  But neither is NEVER having any fun, and it's for my Garden Fairy's birthday!  By the way, we have 6 children.  Of the 6, she is the only one that was born at home.  It was nice. I am not promoting home birth.  That is a personal choice.  The other 5 were hospital births and I had good experiences there too.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jerusalem Artichokes...

Have you ever heard of "Jerusalem Artichokes?"  They grow wild all over the place here.  This past spring, a man was selling some of the tubers at our local Farmer's Market.  I was so excited!  I bought some of them and planted them in the garden.  I once read that "The man who has Jerusalem Artichokes will never starve." Apparently, once established, it will be a big job to get rid of them.  You plant the tubers, and they multiply and send up big tall flowers.
The tubers multiply like crazy in the ground.  You can dig them up any time you like.  I dug up a few yesterday.
There are many ways to use them... they can be steamed and mashed, with butter and salt.  They are great in soup.  Sliced thinly they can be added to salads.  They have a mild slightly sweet taste and are very versatile.  This morning, I made one of our favorite breakfasts, stir fried vegetables, Jasmine rice and scrambled eggs.  We like a little Tamari on the vegetables.
There is no need to peel the chokes.  Just wash and scrub them well.  You may, if you wish, of course, but it's a waste of time, and probably nutrients, as well.  Chokes have a pretty impressive nutritional profile. Here is a chart from Wiki:
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 304 kJ (73 kcal)

17.44 g
Sugars 9.6 g
Dietary fiber 1.6 g

0.01 g

2 g

Thiamine (B1)
0.2 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.06 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.3 mg
0.397 mg
Vitamin B6
0.077 mg
Folate (B9)
13 μg
Vitamin C
4 mg

14 mg
3.4 mg
17 mg
78 mg
429 mg

These are very easy to grow, and once established, you can hardly get rid of them, so be careful where you plant them.  They will keep, nicely, for what seems forever in the fridge.  I haven't tried room temperature yet, but I am planning to leave a few out in a basket and see what happens. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Canning Carrots!

I have never canned carrots before.  I am ashamed to say that my carrot growing attempts have, in the main, been an abysmal failure.  This year was the worst ever because of all the rain.  Carrot seeds take a long time to sprout and so the weeds get a head start and by the time the carrots are up... then I have to wait until they are big enough that I won't pull them up with the weeds.  You get the picture.  One year, probably 32 years ago (gasp!) I had a good carrot patch and I mulched it heavily before the ground froze and dug up fresh carrots all winter!  It was wonderful.  As I'm hoping to go to a permanent mulch system, maybe I'll be able to do that again.  However, yesterday, at the supermarket, I found 5 pound bags of organic carrots for about $4.68 a bag.  Wow!  I bought 4 of them.  I think they were so inexpensive because they are pretty skinny carrots.  My plan was/is to can them.  I processed about 6 pounds this evening.  That made 9 pints which is what my canner holds in one layer.  I hope I can finish them tomorrow, but if not, the next day.

1.  Peel the carrots
2. Rinse the carrots
3. Slice the carrots
4. Fill the jars
5. Add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to each jar
6. Fill the jars with hot water and "de-bubble."
7. Wipe rims
8. Put on the caps and rims
9. Process in pressure canner at 11 pounds pressure for 25 minutes. (If you don't know how to do pressure canning, be sure you consult a reliable canning guide.)

 I love cooked carrots.  These will be perfect!  My husband does not like cooked carrots.  More for me ;)

I will probably end up with about 28 pints (?)  all for 53 cents each, plus the cost of the cap and some electricity.  Not too bad.  And, they are organic.  :)
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