Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Garden Update: 4 weeks

(Tomato plant)

I am a little late in posting this as these pics were taken last week Thursday...but you get the idea. We are one month in the ground now and things are growing nicely.

The garden is more shaded than I had thought it was going to be. The trees in the woods have really gotten full with leaves and they are keeping the garden out of full sun for most of the early part of the day. I am thinking about taking a saw and hacking off a few of the larger branches.'s how things look as of last week Thursday:

Peppers and Cucumbers...

Onions and Lettuce...

Spinach and Radishes...

I'm getting ready to go ahead and plant some zucchini and summer squash where the cabbage and broccoli shriveled up and died. I also think I might throw some yellow watermelon seed out alongside the garden and see how it does. We were able to throw seed out at work last year and it grew some nice watermelon without us doing a thing.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Garden Update 2009: 3 weeks

Today is the 3 week mark for the seedlings (and some seed) we put out in the garden. The rains have been kind to the plants and are really helping them grow rather nicely. Everything is growing and looking great except the broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts...they have bit the dust. But-they were from old seed packets so maybe that was the problem. Maybe I will plant a row of squash in their place.

I've really got to get out there and start pinching off some leaves tonight in order to encourage more growth from the plants. I'll need to make sure I pick up some cages for the tomato plants soon as well. The herb wheel will be started in a couple of weeks from plants. I'm just going to pick up some seedlings from the nursery and plant them.
Peppers, Week 3 (and some grass sprouting up from the seed the husband threw out last weekend):

Spinach, Week 3:

Radishes, Week 3:
Tomatoes, Week 3:

Cucumbers, Week 3:

Monday, May 4, 2009

English Muffin Failure

I was flipping through my food Network All Stars cookbook the other day and found a recipe for homemade English Muffins. YAY! I love English Muffins and have been using them instead of bread for my tuna and jalapeno sandwiches at lunch everyday. This recipe should be a great way to save money-plus have some homemade muffins stashed in the freezer for whenever I want them.

Well-I had total English Muffin failure. I had apparently skimmed right past the part about needing metal rings to make the things until the moment I actually went to make them. Hell-I surely don't have any metal rings. Alton suggest using tuna cans with both the tops and bottoms removed as a good substitute. I thought I would be in the clear because I definitely have tuna cans I can open up. Only problem there was that the cans had to have both a crimped top and bottom-mine did not-so there was no way to remove the bottom.

I figured I'd try to make one inside the tuns can with just the top removed and it ALMOST worked-but not I just decided to throw the batter on the griddle like pancakes so as not to waste it all.

I WILL make these again because I can tell if you have the metal rings/tuna cans this is pretty easy and really inexpensive to make and they taste lovely.

Alton Brown's English Muffins

1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup hot water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray

Special equipment: electric griddle, 3-inch metal rings, see Cook's Note*


In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water, stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using #20 ice cream scoop, place 2 scoops into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.

*Cook's Note: Small tuna cans with tops and bottoms removed work well for metal rings.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mango Limeade Popsicles

Red and I had to make a quick run to the store this morning to pick up some movies from the Redbox and some movie snacks. While I was there I caught a glimpse of some popsicle molds on an endcap for $1.00. That was inspiration enough for me. I knew Red would enjoy making them, he loves to do anything that involves the blender. I picked up a can of frozen limeade concentrate to curb the sour craving I had going.

I've got a freezer full of frozen fruits that we usually use for smoothies. Red's favorite are the mangoes. He often times just pulls the bag out of the freezer and snacks on a few frozen mango pieces. I thought at first I'd throw some strawberries in with the limeade-but then figured why not try mango.

I didn't measure the amounts so there is no real recipe-but really this is going to hard to screw up anyway.

Here's what we did:

1. Make a pitcher of limeade. Pour about two cups into a blender.

2. Roughly dice up some frozen mango pieces. Add to blender.

3. Puree the frozen mango pieces into the limeade.

4. Pour mango lime mixture into popsicle molds.

5. Place in freezer for a couple of hours to set.

6. Run some warm water over outside of mold to help remove popsicles when you are ready to eat.

This made about 8 popsicles.

These were so sour and refreshing. I can't wait to make a different combo tomorrow. I'm thinking adding some real lime zest and maybe even a touch of ice cream in the middle would be super good too.