Saturday, July 11, 2015

Delicious Summer Salad

Often times, when out in the garden, I formulate recipes in my head as I pick vegetables. Yesterday was no exception. This time of year, squash and peppers are abundant, and I often scramble to figure out fresh & delicious recipes for my family. I don't want them to feel they are constantly eating the same thing over and over again. I mean, I can eat smothered squash everyday, but teenagers seem to need variety in their lives; and let's  be real, variety IS the spice of life! My challenge, come up with an enjoyable side dish using squash & peppers. Well, I succeeded! It was SO good, my family asked for it again today. I see it becoming a regular at our dinner table, and an easy fresh dish for those summer barbeques. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

2 Ears of corn
1 Yellow squash chopped small
1 Chili pepper (or jalapeƱo) seeds removed and minced
1 Red bell pepper chopped small
Salt to taste (I didn't measure, just sprinkled some on)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Removed corn from cobs, add remaining ingredients, mix together & enjoy! It taste delicious freshly made, but it's even better when it sits in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

There's Just Something Special....

about seeing your kids light up when they wake up to a fresh batch of blackberry jam. The smiles on their faces as bite into their morning toast smeared with what was fresh berries on the vine not 24 hours before, does a mama's heart good. I love it!

I've spent the last week scouring recipes to preserve the bounty of foods that are coming from our garden. Some, I've followed exactly, others, I've made my own. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to see rows of deliciously canned jams, jellies, pickles, and relishes, and knowing that your family will eat well during the winter months.

So what have I done this week? Squash relish, bread and butter pickles, fermented dill pickles, and blackberry jam! YUM!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ten Things I've Learned About Gardening

I absolutely LOVE that I can provide my family with fresh veggies year round, but boy do I have a TON to learn, and boy have I learned a ton already. It's not lime this is the first year we've had a garden, but it is the first year I've been completely in charge. It also happens to be the best garden we've ever had. What??? I'm NOT bragging. It's just an observation! So with that said, here is what I've learned so far:

1. First, gardening is not for the faint at heart. If you're going to do it, you have to constantly be on top of it.

2. Weeds will pop up over night. By "pop up", I mean they will create a jungle in your garden of gargantuan proportions--especially after a good rain. It will leave you baffled at how quickly they appear, and give you hours of work just about daily! Next year, my garden will be lined with newspaper or alpaca fiber second to help with that. Not sure which one yet!

3. Pickling cucumber & spaghetti squash plants  go CRAZY! Next year, the cucumbers are getting a trellis and the spaghetti squash are getting their own area!

4. Peas take forever to grow. Definitely plant them in April, and again in May & June.

5. You only need a couple basil plants. They grow super tall & bushy!

6. Kale from your garden is so sweet, tender, and delicious. The stuff in the grocery store is disgusting compared to home grown.

7. Wider rows!!! If you want to walk between your plants, you MUST have wider rows. Not even kidding. I was very proud of our spacious rows--then our plants grew. Oops! My husband did warn me they weren't wide enough AFTER I planted the garden, of course! ( It probably wouldn't have changed a thing if he had told me before I planted it, I thought he was crazy. Lol " They're FINE honey! Just let me do my thing!" ) My hills are fantastic though. At least I did good on that. :)

8. You'll become obsessed. You will work in your garden, talk about your garden, research your garden, dream about your current & next years garden, plan your fall garden, garden, garden, garden. People will probably get annoyed with you--unless they also have a garden, then they'll join you in your endless prattle about gardens. :P

9. There will be no vacationing if you have a large garden. No one wants to do that much work for you, even if you pay them. This is only appealing to garden enthusiast, and they usually have their own large garden to worry about. :)

10. In conclusion, gardening is not for the faint at heart. If you're going to do it, you have to constantly be on top of it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Country Life

There are times I miss the convenience of it only taking five minutes to run to the grocery store for a gallon of milk. Then there are days, like today, that I walk outside and remember why I love this amazing country life.

Here's the thing, I don't own the finest of houses. It's an old house. It doesn't have central heat or AC, but it does have a wood stove for the winter and huge shade trees and fans for the summer. It's a work in progress, and one day, it will be beautiful again.

Here's the beautiful thing though, I walk outside, and a smile immediately crosses my face. The birds are singing, and when I look directly in front of me, I see my big beautiful garden growing. I'm automatically attracted to it. As I walk closer I begin to hear a symphony. The bees are buzzing as the pollinate my plants. The birds are singing. There are beautiful buds on all my plants. The bright sun is shining on my back.

I pick a few cucumbers, a few squash, and several peppers. As I bring them in the house, I feel accomplished. We aren't merely existing. We are creating. We are teaching our children to be self sufficient. We are teaching our children the value of hard work. We are teaching and learning how to work the earth to create food and beauty.

That. All of that up there, THAT, is the attraction of country life. It isn't perfect, but it is satisfying. It is a feeling of accomplishment daily. It is my own little slice of heaven on earth.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fried Green Tomatoes

Mmmmm....I love fried green tomatoes. At least I love MY version of fried green tomatoes. I've had some that were a bit blah and boring. I've had others that had decent flavor, but were soggy. Mine are full of flavor & nice and crispy!

3-4 Green tomatoes sliced about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dark chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg
2 T buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix together first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl mix the egg and buttermilk together. Dredge the tomato slices in the dry ingredients, then into the egg mixture, then back into dry ingredients. Heat oils on medium high heat in a pot or skillet, you only need it about half an inch to an inch deep. Cook tomato slices in batches about 2 minutes on each side or until both side are golden. Lightly salt slices after frying.

I'm back!

It has definitely been a while since I've posted here. Life got busy. Health got bad, and I've been on a journey to better my health & heal my body. However, I am back. My health is much better. I am in a MUCH better place in my life. I am ready to start sharing my life again.