Forget Frost on the Pumpkins!

Look what I got for frost on the pepper patch!

Bell pepper harvest

Bell pepper harvest

Cayenne pepper harvest

Cayenne pepper harvest

Jalapeno pepper harvest

Jalapeno pepper harvest. Cannot breathe around these, hence the bag. But DO notice: many of these are striped with heat stripes!

Thanks to an abundant planting, careful tending, and a heavy frost, my son’s pepper patch yielded all these beauties, for the last pickin’. So glad to get them, as our pepper plants did poorly this year.

Thanks, J&J! And thanks to the kiddos of theirs who picked them. 🙂

Gardening Challenge: Change

tilled garden

Tilled Garden Plot

Once there was a LOT of crimson clover growing here, but we tilled it under. That part was easy because we planted a ground cover that was easy to use this way, on purpose. Imagine. It nourishes and improves the soil, lending its life to the new growth to come, but we do not need it overshadowing what is going on, now. In the past the ground cover guarded the soil from weed overgrowth and dehydration. Now that job will belong to us.

Also, we tilled in some vicious weeds–Bermuda Grass–not wanted here, not stealing nutrients from our little babies. It was unable to do much destruction over the winter. Now that the summer is coming, it will try to take over. We will be vigilant about this unwanted growth, which is still present in the form of root pieces hiding amongst the fresh, lovely soil, waiting for the chance to pop up, unbidden, strong, and destructive.

Change will come to this garden.

change, garden, new, progress

Brand New Growth

New growth. It’s taking the place of ground cover and weeds, which are not needed, now.

As the plants mature, they eventually bear fruit.

Cucumbers, dill, peppers . . .

Cucumbers, dill, peppers . . .

Corn! . . .

Corn! . . .

Squash . . .

Squash . . .

happy fruit

Tomatoes . . .

carrots

Carrots . . .

bushel of greens

Greens . . .

radish bouquet

Radishes . . .

How are things changing in your life?About all the changes a garden can bring. Not just appearances!

Love Frozen Over!

Save the berries!

Save the berries!

Here’s the inside scoop on really neat tricks to make you fall in love with your freezer even more:

  • When you harvest elderberries, pick the whole stem, freeze the whole stem inside a plastic bag, and remove the berries frozen. You get more juice into your recipe and less running down your elbows.
  • If you have a problem with fruit not ripening all at once, freeze the early pieces and combine them with the later harvest for your larger recipes.
  • Save juice for jellies, frozen in recipe size batches, in freezer safe cartons, until sugar is on sale. Allow 24 hours for a gallon to thaw at room temp.
  • Start a sourdough bread business, offering a discount on frozen surplus.
  • Make your own brown and serve rolls out of any favorite bread recipe by baking the rolls at 275 degrees for 40 minutes, instead of the usual directions. Cool, bag, and freeze. Or if they are individual rolls, freeze on a tray, first, then bag. Then use as needed, right from the frozen state, baking on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.
  • Rescue cheese by grating and freezing it. Use frozen grated cheese straight from the freezer in recipes.
  • Freeze milk while on vacation. Leave 2 inches for expansion.

Okay. You know you’re here for the RECIPES!

That Exquisite Dish

1 chicken, cleaned and skinned
2 qt. Pure water
½ c. fresh sage leaves
ÂĽ c. fresh lemon basil leaves
2 stalks celery, chunked
1 onion, chopped, divided
1 T. salt
1 cayenne pepper
2 c. brown rice
½ stick butter
½ c. whole wheat flour
salt  to taste
8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, grated
1 pt. “rotel”, mashed in juice

Simmer chicken in 2 qt. water, sage, basil, celery, ½ onion, 1 T. salt, and cayenne, until meat separates from bone. Drain, reserving broth. Refrigerate broth until fat congeals. Remove fat. De-bone chicken. Chop meat slightly, to make bite-sized pieces. Chop cooked seasoning vegetables finely.  Mix with meat. Do not mix meat until it disintegrates – just stir some.

Bring one qt. broth and rice to boil. Cover and simmer until tender.

Cook remaining onion over medium heat, in butter, until clear. Remove from heat. Add flour and stir. Mix in carefully over medium heat with wire whip, enough broth to make medium thick sauce. Add water if necessary, salt to taste.

Layer in 9×13 glass casserole as follows:
rice
chicken
sauce
cheese
Repeat.

Pour jar of mashed Rotel over all. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and bubbly. Or cover tightly and freeze no more than 3 months. Uncover, place in 350 degree oven, bake until brown and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Serves 12.

Watermelon Ice

½ leftover watermelon
1 lemon
honey
other fruit (opt.)
milk or condensed milk (opt.)

Remove seed from melon. Puree fruit in blender. Add other pureed fruits or milk if desired. Add juice of lemon. Add honey to taste. Freeze in shallow glass pan or bowl. Stir twice while freezing. Or try freezing in sealable bag, kept upright in freezer, and mashing instead of stirring. Serve as sherbet.

Frozen Dampened Laundry

1 bu. assorted shirts
1 c. powdered soap
2 tubs water, divided
1 unpredictable day
1 unbelievable week

Mix shirts, soap, and 1 tub water. Heat and stir well. Drain. Place shirts in second tub water. Stir well. Drain. Hang shirts to dry outdoors in sun. After 5 hours, condensation will form and fall from a small cloud immediately above shirts. Remove laundry when only slightly damp. Fold and roll as for French pastry, bag, and freeze. Keeps indefinitely. Calories: minus 560.