Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

A staple of fall is pumpkins.. carved pumpkins for Halloween, pumpkin pies for thanksgiving, pumpkin breads, muffins, desserts, biscuits, dinners, etc.. so what can you do with those seeds?

Roast seeds the whole family will love!! :)

Ingredients:
~ Pumpkin Seeds
~ 1 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
~ a couple shakes on cinnamon
~ 3 tablespoons butter

Directions:
~ Take seeds out of pumpkin
~ Rinse all of the goo off the seeds in a colander
~ Preheat oven to 300 degrees
~ Melt butter in a medium sized bowl
~ Mix sugar and cinnamon in another small bowl
~ Dump rinsed shaken dry seeds into butter use fork to stir seeds into butter coating them all
~ Dump Cinnamon Sugar mix into butter bowl.. use fork to turn seeds coating them all in a wet sugar mixture
~ Pour bowl seed mixture onto a greased cookie sheet
spread seeds out even
~ Cook for 20 minutes then take out and turn with a spatula, cook another 20 minutes and turn again.. continue doing this until you have cooked the seeds for about 50-60 minutes
~ Let cool on cookie sheet then pour into bowl and serve.. these also keep well :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Saturday before Halloween

Its Saturday and after a long week of work I was off and relaxing! The day started out grey and raining causing me to not want to leave my bed!

Once I got up I sent Ronnie off to work and started working on re-shaping the flexible plastic pond liner my dad donated to us.
I then had a wonderfully long talk with my moms, we talked about the coming holidays, gardens, canning, and life. This reminded me that I needed to create a wishlist for the Holidays (my birthday is the 16th on November with Christmas shortly behind) so I worked on that some :)

Brooke and I then decided to get some laundry going and head out into the garden where I gave everything a look over, took pictures, and trimmed leaves, stems, etc

I did some searching online for interesting garden ideas and was struck at the idea of turning a simple kiddie pool into a garden! How perfect and easy! We had already converted Brookes old sandbox into a shallow garden and this would actually be a lot deeper and larger! After passing a store last week I knew the kiddie pools were being put on clearence so I went and got a 45 inch wide pool for $7.. tomorrow I will fill it with the organic garden soil another gardener donated to us, lay out my dividers and start some seeds.. this will become my salad garden :)

We then got ready to go to Green After Dark- October

We had a super yummy veggie burger by a wonderfully kind man (he's at sweetwater all the time) and shared a new flavor of whatever pops (pumpkin pecan cheesecake...YUM). We hung out with the amazing people from GreenDreams and Brooke ran around with there son playing. We enjoyed some live music from The Groves while relaxing out there chatting with like mided people and enjoying the evening!

When we got home I cooked up some meatloaf shaped like a ghost to set the Halloween mood :) tomorrow I'm thinking Brooke and I will do some other Halloween activitys (not sure what yet) preparing for Halloween night on Monday (I get off work at 430 so ill be able to trick or treat with her).. This is the BEST time of year!!!

Pictures Around Sunny Spot Gardens (October 29th, 2011)

ABOVE: BROOKE'S GARDEN BED- THE BEANS ARE STARTING TO BLOOM! :)

BELOW: BEANS HANGING IN THE AIR.. LOL

ABOVE: MORE BEANS :)

BELOW: BROOKE COLLECTING EGGS

ABOVE: BROOKE WITH HER BASKET OF EGGS

BELOW: JERSEY GIANT EGG VS. STANDARD BROWN EGG (FROM OUR WYANDOTTE)

ABOVE: A LITTLE SWISS CHARD

BELOW: CHICKEN TAKING A DIRT BATH

ABOVE: EGGPLANT PLANT :)

BELOW: EGGS BEFORE BROOKE COLLECTED THEM.. ABOUT 3 DAYS WORTH

ABOVE: LEMON TREE.. ALREADY HAD 1 OF 4 LEMONS.. AWESOME!!!! :)

BELOW: FIREPIT AREA

ABOVE: FLOWER BLOOM

BELOW: GARDEN VIEW

ABOVE: GARLIC SPROUTING

BELOW: PUMPKIN SQUASH

ABOVE: PAPAYA SEEDLINGS :)

BELOW: THAI PEPPER PLANT

ABOVE: MORE PEPPER PLANTS! WE HAVE CARIBBEAN AND CHOCOLATE HABENERO, THAI CHILI, BELL, AND ANAHIEM

BELOW: OUR GARDEN POST BOARD, WITH CURRENT GARDEN PLANS, AND SOME PACKS OF BEAN SEEDS

ABOVE: TOMATO PLANT WITH A LITTLE TOMATO STARTING :)

BELOW: PURPLE FRENCH BEANS

ABOVE: CONTAINER OF PEPPER CRESS AND RED DEER TONGUE LETTUCE

BELOW: STRAWBERRY PLANTS

ABOVE: TOMATO PLANT IN BLOOM

BELOW: ZUCCHINI

ABOVE: ANOTHER TOMATO PLANT

BELOW: TURNIPS

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Potluck...

It was a cool night with a slight breeze, the day had been spent cleaning, cooking, and preparing...

People started showing up a little before 5 and kept showing up until about 7 :)

There weren't as many people as I had hoped would show, but there ended up being about 12 of us.

We sat around the fire pit on hay bales and chairs chatting and feasting on good food.
I made hibiscus flower tea and a crust-less veggie quiche, we also had veggie curry soup, veggie casserole, lemongrass tea, spicy garlic rice, breads and a nice salad.

We talked about the occupy movement, plants, gardening, native edibles, medical problems, weeds, tree, organization of the gardens, etc

It was a fantastic!!

People brought wonderful plants and seeds for me. :) I got veggie plants like broccoli and tomato, flowers like day lilies and iris plants as well as some native violets and jewels of opar! Im a very lucky lady!

As the night approached and people started to get chilly we lit the tiki torches and started up a fire.. that fire burned for the 3+ hours as we sat around it talking.

The kids spent the whole time running around, climbing on the slides, playing with toys, and towards the end watching some tv while playing in the house. Brooke woke up this morning asking for her friend, and wanting to play some more :)

I think it was a great night, we all got along very well and it was fantastic to meet very interesting people!

As I plan to keep these types of events going to build a community, and I hope more and more people will join us!





My Potluck Food~ Crustless Veggie Quiche

Yesterday was my first time hosting a potluck! It was fantastic! Super nice people, great food, and fun times! I made tea and crustless quiche.. YUMMM!!

Ingredients:

~ 6 Fresh Eggs (from the hens)
~ about 1 1/2 cup milk
~ 3 dashes of greek seasoning
~ a handful of moringa leaves
~ 1 cup shredded cooked turnip greens (starts off as about 2 cups when uncooked)
~ 1/4 cup cooked green onion (starts off at about 1/2 cup when uncooked)
~ A couple spoonfuls of cream cheese
~ 1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

~ Start off by preheating oven to 350..
~ On the stove heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat
~ throw in 1/2 cup uncooked green onion and 2 cups uncooked shredded turnip greens (de-stem and tear into small sections)
~ add enough water to cover the bottom of pan with about 1/2 inch of water)~ cover
~ cook for 10 minutes until tender
~ In a small bowl whip up eggs, milk, and greek seasoning
~ Stir in cooked onions and turnip greens
~ Add fresh moringa leaves
~ Add both cream cheese and shredded cheddar and whip again until everything is mixed through
~ Pour into pie pan (if you want crust lay a unbaked pie crust into pan first then pour mixture inside)
~ Cook on 350 for 1 hour

It was the first thing gone so I know I need to make 2 pans next time :) I am making it again for Dinner tonight since the family didn't get a chance to try it! This time I'm making 2 pans and freezing one for a quick meal down the line!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Pie ~ From Scratch

Directions for Making Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

Yield: It really depends on the size of the pumpkin and the size of your pie plate.

YOU WILL NEED!!...
* A sharp, large serrated knife
* A fork and large spoon
* a large microwaveable bowl or large pot
* 1 large (10 inch) deep-dish pie plate and pie crust

Ingredients

* 1 cup sugar
* 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
* 4 large eggs
* a pie pumpkin turned into 3 cups sieved, cooked pumpkin
* 1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk
If you can't get evaporated milk, just use milk.

Step 1 - Get your pie pumpkin

"Pie pumpkins" are smaller, sweeter, less grainy textured pumpkins than the usual jack-o-lantern types.

~ Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool water, no soap.
~ Cut the pumpkin in half. A serrated knife works best!
~ Scoop out the seeds...And scrape the insides using a large spoon



Step 2~ Cooking the pumpkin

~ Bake in the oven
~ Cut the pumpkin into halves or quarters and place into large casserole dish skin side up.. Cover with foil and throw it in an 350 F oven.
~ Cook about 45 minutes to 90 minutes (test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft!)It is DONE when soft


Step 3~ Scoop out the cooked pumpkin
~ Wait until the pumpkin cools slightly, then lift away skin with a fork, it should come off very easy, if not wait until it cools more remove it from dish and scoop out flesh with large spoon



Step 4 - Puree the pumpkin
~ When you blend your pumpkin you give the pie a smooth, satiny texture; rather than the rough graininess that is typical of cooked squashes. You can either use a hand blender but many times I feel a wisk works just as well!!

~Note: If your puree has standing water drain a little but otherwise dont worry about it being watery.. this is the way REAL pumpkin puree is...

Step 5 - Done with the pumpkin!
~ The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe.

Note: You may freeze the puree or pie filling to use it later!


Step 6 - Make the pie crust.. It is also time to start preheating the oven.
Turn it on and set it to 425 F


Step 7 - Mix the pie contents
~ Here's where it gets really easy. If you start with a fresh 8" pie pumpkin, you will get about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin. Perfect now add the items below..

* 1 cup sugar
* 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon ground allspice
* one half teaspoon ground ginger
* 4 large eggs
* 3 cups pumpkin puree
* 1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk
* 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

~ Mix well using a hand blender, mixer or wisk.


Step 8 - Pour into the pie crust
~ For a nice deep, full pie, fill it right up to about one quarter to one half inch from the very top.

~ NOTE: Yes the mixture is very runny! No you did NOTHING WRONG.. It may start as a soup, but it will firm up nicely in the oven!

~ NOTE: You may want to cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning!

Step 9~ Bake the pie
~ Bake at 425 F(210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 10~ Enjoy!!!
~ Top with some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!!!


First recipe was learned from Pick Your Own... Modifications, Pictures and Tips have been added :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Plant of the week: Jewels of Opar

Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum) also known as fameflower

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)


This tuberous-rooted tender perennial has fleshy green leaves and delicate, wiry flower stalks.
Stalks have a fine, see-through texture.
Minute hot pink flowers are followed by carmine-colored seed pods that are showier than the flowers, Blooms in Late Spring/Early Summer, Mid Summer, Late Summer/Early Fall
Plants can grow to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Should be spaced 18-24 in. apart.
Grows in almost any type of soil and is drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping.
Jewels of Opar LOVE Full Sun.
This plant is excellent in mixed containers and window boxes. It self-seeds prolifically and will self-sow into any garden soil, deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Leaves can be eaten in salad, added to soups or can be lightly cooked like a spinach.

I am now a proud owner of some of these plants!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Down in the Gardens!

So I took time off this weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday) to spend with my mom.
Due to unforeseen circumstances she was unable to spend the time with me (please send well wishes to my family in IL one member is very sick)so I spent the weekend doing other things.

Friday we went and got supplies.. screws, wood, drop cloth, fish, water plants, a decorative grass, and other stuff.

Due to a very impolite sale clerk at Home Depot who was flirting with some boys rather then paying attention to me and my order, we got some items free.

Let me explain.. I do my shopping around home depot ending in the garden section to get a bag of potting soil and a pretty grass (for around the pond).. I load up the cart and walk to the check out line.. The cashier is leaning against the counter surrounded by 3 boys twirling her hair, sipping some Starbucks over priced coffee, and doing that stupid giggle.. I stand there about 3 minutes completely ignored until I ask if she was open to check me out..
She huffed and said sure..
the boys left which upset her even more, throwing my stuff around huffing and puffing she rang me up, at this point I'm upset and just want to get the hell out of there.. she bags me up and I go to pay.. the swipe card machine was not working and she threw a fit she had to scan my card (not even telling me my total) when I left I was even so nice to say "thank you have a good day" my response? "Whatever" as she looked after the boys who had walked away..
I loaded up the car and drove home fuming, I unloaded and looked at my receipt to make sure the brat hadn't over charged me.. in fact quite the opposite she hadn't rung up half the items.. THIS IS WHY YOU DON'T HIRE STUPID PEOPLE TO WORK FOR YOU!

whew that was my rant...

Anyways,
Our mission for the 4 days were to build a arbor, dig a wildlife pond, plant the grapes and blueberries, finish the season seed planting, plant the sugar cane, clean the porch, and get everything ready for the potluck!

We dug the wildlife pond... click here and you can read that story

Built the arbor.. read the story here

Planted 5 types of lettuce (red deer tongue, simpson black seeded, may queen, sunset, and bronze arrow), 3 types of carrots (imperial long, parisienne, and cosmic purple), 2 types of onions (red creole, and Violet De Galmi), Rainbow Swiss Chard, the sugar cane cut into 3-1ft sections with 5 buds each, the grapes (carlos and triumph), the unknown blueberries, and 12 garlic cloves (from the store) just for fresh garlic tops :)

We also cleaned the porch, sweeping all the dirt, chicken feathers, droppings, mulch, and straw outside.. the trash was picked up and everything was organized.. the table was cleaned off and the rug was taken out and beaten with a broom.. I must say it looks very nice out there now.. PERFECT for the potluck.. Tomorrow the outside table will be brought in the porch area where it will be covered with a tablecloth and ready for the food for the potluck :)

Everything is coming along very well in the backyard.. now i just have to work on the front which is bare except for the cluster of bananas, the 3 figs, 1 mulberry and the flower bed.. 2 beds are empty and not even filled with compost yet.. but I hope to get some goodies from the potluck to start filling up spaces in the front and backyard :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pictures Around Sunny Spot Gardens (October 16th)






















Below is a video for your entertainment of our silly chickens playing some chicken football :)