Thursday, July 10, 2014

Garden update

Last year, we got a BBQ grill but did not use it. This week we've put it to good use eating most of our meals on it. It sure beats heating up the house!

I picked some zucchini the other day and was surprised to find a giant one hiding in the back.

I'm still amazed at how tall the plants are this year.

We enjoyed the last bit of our lettuce today on some grilled burgers and a salad the night before. The tomatoes are ripening slowly and we eat them as fast as we can.

I've enjoyed the candy onions on burgers and chili dogs. So sweet and tasty!

We grilled some zucchini, Bell peppers, and okra and boy were they delicious!

I've been very pleased with this year's garden. Soon, our beans will be ready to pick.

I'm hoping to can some salsa, diced tomatoes, and zucchini relish this year. Oh, and let's not forget zucchini bread! Yum! Yum!

Wild cherry and chokecherries

Last year I had never seen a wild black cherry nor heard of a chokecherry.

But this week I learned how to identify both and now have both kinds in the freezer.

I'm grateful for the knowledge I've learned.

It seems the longer we live here the more I find edible plants and berries. I can't wait to learn more!

Mullein oil

Last night we took our evening walk and I picked the last of the wild cherries I'd seen on a previous walk. Not very much, but I froze what I picked.

I found some more berries and started to pick them, but realized they were different.

After our walk, we took a country drive and I was able to gather some mullein flowers.

For the past few years, I've missed the harvest and have not been able to make any infused oil.

I was lucky to have tried some mullein oil years ago for some ear aches I'd been having. Just a few drops is all it took for immediate relief. I realized then I never wanted to be without this awesome oil!

So, last night I started my first batch of it.

In a few weeks, it will be ready. I may even make some salve from it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pumpkin bread

I've got some yummy pumpkin bread in the oven right now. I had to revise one of my favorite recipes so I'm anxious to see how it tastes.

3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 T. Water
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix together.

Then add:
1/2+1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

Spread into greased pan and bake at 350 degrees until done. Mine took 15-20 minutes. I always check with a toothpick.

It turned out great! In fact, I doubled the batch and made more the next day.

Borax- my new best friend

I've known about borax as a laundry booster for years but recently discovered it has many more uses.

First of all, I bought some Zote soap for doing laundry with. I grate what I need up and add 1/2 cup of borax to each load. It cleans our clothes well and smells nice too!

If you're the type that likes to see suds in your washing load, don't bother with this recipe. It doesn't create any suds at all. I'll tell you another time about what happens when you mix family members who like suds with someone who uses this recipe- me!

This post is about other uses for borax.

I had a stain on my carpet that other cleaners wouldn't remove. So, I grabbed a wet rag and sprinkled borax on it, then scrubbed the stain. I let it sit awhile and then rinsed and vacuumed up the excess borax. I couldn't believe it- the stain was gone!

I've also used this to clean the wall behind my stove after I've fried some eggrolls. I tried using several brands of degreaser and nothing worked as well as the borax. Sprinkled on a wet rag and scrubbed lightly. Wow! This stuff is amazing! And cheap too!

Mittens the new and improved!

Mittens shocked us both when he voluntarily jumped into my beloved's lap this morning.
He's never been the type to do that. Poor guy has been the brunt of Freddie's bullying. Freddie has taken to hating him so much that he hardly sticks around even for a meal.
Of course, sometimes Mittens fights back too, but for the most part he runs and hides.
If anyone has any tips for getting these two brothers to tolerate each other let me know by leaving a comment below!

Dear sweet hubby

My dear sweet hubby picked these flowers for me last night. I wanted to get some on our evening walk, but forgot to bring something to put them in.

He said he was running a quick errand last night and drove down to the place they were and picked them for me, startling some deer in the process. Or should I say startling him!

Anyways, he filled up my vase full of water, and soon I had a pretty thing to put on my table.

Isn't it beautiful?

Climbing my way out

I've finally climbed my way out of the knitting/crochet rut I found myself in for the past several months.

I'm not sure why I got burned out in the first place, but I'm pleased to say that I'm enjoying knitting again.

I even started a new project last week.

Not wanting my crochet hook to feel left out, I started a prayer shawl yesterday. So far, 11 rows done and only 17 left to go before I'm done!

I'll share a picture of it later this afternoon.

I'm also glad my blogger app is working on my phone again.

Can you guess what I'm knitting?

Dairy free pancakes

I've been craving some pancakes recently so I thought I'd try a new dairy free pancake recipe I found yesterday. I halved the vanilla and could barely taste it, which is the way I like it.
I made a batch for both beloved and I. It turned out pretty good, but we both decided we don't want to eat pancakes very often. I'll probably make these once a month. Don't get me wrong, they were really good, but we just like our regular breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage.
Speaking of hashbrowns, I used to think they were hard to make. I used to try forming them into patties but that never worked really good. Now, I just peel, grate, season and scrape into pan. Once in the pan, I can shape them into whatever size I want and it works great! Flip over when cooked on one side, etc. They taste much better than the frozen ones with the yucky preservatives in them. We recently made the switch to using organic gmo free potatoes and oh my! what a difference in taste and texture. We're blessed that we can find organic vegetables in our small town. Of course, nothing beats homegrown and soon we will be harvesting our potatoes.
Anyways, here is the dairy free pancake recipe:
1 cup flour
1 T. Sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup water
1 T. Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
Mix dry ingredients. Mix liquid ingredients in separate bowl. Combine the two all at once. Mixture will be lumpy.
Cook as usual. This made two medium pancakes for each of us.

Candy onions

I harvested our red candy onions this morning. I like them small. They're so sweet and tasty!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lemon balm tea

Wednesday I trimmed my bushy lemon balm plant and dried the leaves for tea.

I love my new dehydrator! I had enough room leftover to dry some chocolate mint and spearmint too.

The past two nights I've enjoyed a cup of hot tea and I have to say it's amazing! I've never had freshly picked and dried tea before. It's delicious! Nothing like storebought tea.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dairy-free carrot cake

I checked out a book from the library called: Dairy-free cookbook by Jane Zukin

It's a pretty decent book. I recently tried the carrot cake.

A winner! I am making it again tonight and made a few changes to suit me.

Here is the changes I made:

This makes enough for a 7-8 inch pan. Grease well. I used coconut oil.

Grate enough carrots to equal 1 1/2 cup. I had a summer squash to use up so I grated some of that too.

Mix in bowl with one beaten egg and 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/8 cup vegetable oil.

Then in separate bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Mix together with other ingredients until blended.

Bake at 350 degrees until done. About 20-25 minutes. Insert toothpick and when it comes out clean, it's done.

By the way, I finely grated the carrots and squash.

Time to eat! 

Cell phone zippered pouches

Last week a friend asked me to sew her a cell phone holder that she wanted to give to a friend. So I took out my supplies and started to d...