Monday, May 23, 2011

What's Up In The Garden

The peach tree is dripping with peaches.  Ms. Rivero came over and she and I peeled a passel of them.  We froze them on trays and then put them in bags.  They are so yummy to eat frozen on hot humid summer days.
My mouth waters just looking at this pic.  Those peaches are sooo juicy and sweet.  We also experimented and dried a few.  They turned out pretty yummy.  I plan to make some peach jam as well.  We also had a bubbling hot peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream when we finished. 

In order of how I like peaches:  Fresh, cobbler, frozen, jam, then dried.

Easy Yummy Fruit Cobbler Recipe

2 cups sugar (divided)
1 cup self rising flour
3/4 to 1 cup milk
1 stick of butter
Fresh Fruit (I like peach, blackberry and blue berry)

Melt butter and pour into 9 X 13 inch pan.  Mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour and 3/4 to 1 cup of milk.  Drizzle batter into pan over butter (don't stir!).  Sprinkle desired amount of fruit evenly over top use less or more depending on your likes.  Sprinkle 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar over top (depending on your likes!).  Then bake until golden at 350 degrees.  Serve hot with vanilla ice cream.  Sooo Yum.

It's always wonderful to have a little extra help, no matter how fleeting.
This was some of today's harvest:  squash, cucumber, Lima beans, purple hull peas, corn, and green beans.  There also was some more onions ready, okra, and cherry tomatoes.  I picked the sunflowers a few days ago...and they're still beautiful!  As you can see in the background I'm still cracking pecans and surprisingly they're still good.
...and lastly...The Federated Council of New Orleans Garden Clubs awarded me the "Woman Of The Year Award".  I knew something was up when I walked into the luncheon and my Mother and two of my sisters were sitting there.   Not usuallllllll.....anyway....I was very surprised and thrilled!  I'm still smiling!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homemade Italian Sausage and Pasta - Making Things Yourself

The girls helped me put together an Italian dinner of homemade pasta, homemade Italian sausage, squash, zucchini and onions, and salad.

I'm so loving learning to do things myself.  It's a lot of fun to make things that previously you thought...."I have to buy those things."  Not so. 

I enjoy watching my girls realize that some flour, salt and eggs from the backyard makes Pasta!   Pasta doesn't have to come in a plastic bag.  Talia rolled out the pasta, I cut, then she placed the noodles around the perimeter of a colander until we were ready to boil them.  They also can be dried and kept up to a week.  I've seen pictures of pasta drying on a dowel rack.  I'll have to rig something up!


Two cups of flour
1/2 tsp of salt
3 eggs plus one yolk
Mix together, roll out very thin, then cut into strips.
Hang to dry

Bring water with salt to a boil and drop noodles in.  Boil them to desired tenderness.
Tera chopping up the Romaine lettuce.  We served it with tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Striped zucchini and onions ready to chop.
I made the Italian sausage myself as well.  It tastes so much better when you make it, and it's cheaper as well.  Hey, I like that.
Italian Sausage

2 lb ground pork
1 Tbls Salt
1 Tbls Ground Fennel Seed (Start w/ Whole seed then grind fine)
1 1/2 Tbls Sweet Paprika
1 Tbls Finely minced Fresh Garlic
1 Tbls Sugar
1 tsp black pepper
3 Tbls red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients well.

Making Italian Sausage meatballs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Around The House And Gardens

You've probably heard all the news about the Mississippi flooding....Well here it is behind my house.  Not quite what I'd call high...yet....It's been much higher in the past.  I've seen it just inches from the top of the levee.  I'm sure all the spillways they've opened has lessened the pressure here.  We do live below sea level, but there are methods to deal with the annual deluge from snow melt and precipitation up north....

Now, the pollution from industry and farming those from up north are sending south....We nor the critters in the Gulf know what to do with or how to deal with that.  When people criticize B.P. then spray pesticides on their lawns, farms, or gardens....Well,  I consider them hypocrites.  They're doing their part to pollute the Mississippi Delta and Gulf as well.  What you do does matter.  Consider the dead zone in the Gulf.
But, there is plenty of pesticide free habitat in my garden.  Look what greeted me from the herb wheel....
...a nice fat healthy garter snake.  Beautiful.  So far no poisonous ones.
A recent harvest, green beans, wax beans, stripped zucchini, scallop squash, yellow squash, volunteer squash, and dill seed.  I pickled the wax beans and canned the green.
Onions drying in the sun.
The cherry tomatoes are ripening.
Figs are getting big!
This is one sunflower stalk!  Isn't it magnificent?
Bento pics from the past few days...Did I mention bentos were fun to make?

Monday, May 9, 2011

So Much.....

There is so much going on right now...So many things to post about.....I may even post twice today......plenty for the rest of the week....I did not have a relaxing Mother's Day...busy...but not relaxing.  My husband let me know my gift was going to be on we'll see tomorrow!  On Sunday after church he wanted to take me to the "Air Show" at the base.  I'm sure this was a totally selfless gesture on his part, but I wanted to spend the day with my Mom so I declined.  Byron did pout for a while after...not sure why.

Our church gave a Mother's-Daughter-Grand Daughter- Friends Luncheon on Saturday for Mother's Day.  I volunteered to help with the decoration and a little entertainment.

This photo reminds me of our Ladies' meetings....lot's of socializing scarfing up good food, yakking and having fun.

Ladies' Meeting  
These 1/2 gallon mason jars are filled with flowers from my garden and tied with miscellaneous ribbons.  Afterwards we pulled the flowers out tied them with the ribbons and sent them home with ladies.  The jars I took home!  I'll have them if they need them again.  In the mean time they'll be holding my crop of green beans!
Our theme was A Farmer's Market.  My niece made these adorable swags to hang from the ceiling.  It's pretty paper folded in an accordian style and stapled into a circle, holes punched and threaded on twine.  Adorable!  The chalkboards are foam board sprayed with chalkboard paint then drawn with "farmer's market signs".  These are now donated to the young ladies' class to use.  The backdrop was covered with real and not so real quilts.  The one on the left is a very precious one my Grandmother Tera made for me.  We even had eggs, veggie and flower plants, and preserves for sale.  One enterprising little girl made adorable headbands to sell.  Buying plants and homemade things are the best!
My daughter was a hardworking helper that day and didn't eat her lunch until well after everyone else was finished.  Proud of that girl.
Getting ready for the generation gap game....Popular lyrics from songs of each generation are printed and given to the opposite generation.  They have to sing it without any prompting.  The results are hilarious.
Hmmmm...How do I sing this song.  Danita sorta sang/talked her's, Jennifer channeled her younger 80's hairband days, and Gail assumed that if she rapped would work.

Jennifer wondering what in the world she got herself into.
Angela and Judy won the crowns in the Mother/Daughter look a like contest!
Fun!  Hope you all were surrounded with lot's of love on Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Today's Bento

This bento stuff is fun.  I never looked forward to making my girl's lunches until now!  It's like I get to play...anyways...Today's bento has a singing bird theme.  I usually do not buy the orange slices of cheese wrapped in cellophane...but my husband grumped enough that "it's the only cheese I like on scrambled eggs", I bought a pack and funny enough....Byron has ate very little and this pack is lasting forever (another reason why it scares me).  I don't think it's quite as good as he remembered. 

It does make great little cut out bird for the top of the homemade bread ham sandwiches.  The recipe for the bread is HERE.  I also use this bread recipe to make my sub rolls.  I use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white.
I added a little musical note pick with olives to show how the birds are just sing their little hearts out!
The babybel cheese also has a cut out of the bird in it's red wax.  There are some carrot sticks, some Zap's (chips), and praline pecans (pecans from my tree this fall).  My girls gave their gushing approval! 
This is one of the many reasons why I pack my girls lunches:  Pink Slime.  Recently Talia came home and informed me that she couldn't bring her refillable water bottle anymore.  She had to bring a "factory sealed drink" or it would be confiscated.  Apparently to avoid children bringing "banned drinks" to school such as alcohol or coke.  Sighhhhhhh.....Please, Please common sense prevail!!!!  I guess I'll have to call the school..........

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today's Harvest

This morning after getting the girls off to school, I grabbed my very fav cultivator tine hand garden tool and went out to see what how the potatoes did....And here it is!  My potato harvest!  This is by far the best number of potatoes that I have ever grown.  I feel confident that I will do even better next time. 

Trying and trying again is the key to succeeding with gardening.  Sometimes you just have to figure out what a certain veggie likes in your climate and garden.  That's why keeping notes is so important.  Now I know that potatoes and corn do best if planted in February here...even if I do have to protect them from the rare frost.  Those rare frosts have come a lot more often in the past two years.

Yes the potatoes are mostly a really nice size.  Seeing them next to the garlic makes them look smaller than they are.  The garlic is just really big!  I put three of the garlic in the horticulture show and people kept asking if it was elephant garlic.  Nope,  It's just really big garlic.  Thank you chickens for all that awesome fertilizer!

There's also some scallop squash, yellow squash and zucchini, bok choy, wax beans, and blue lake green beans.  I find the bush beans do best for me.  There's a red onion in there and some herbs:  parsley, thyme, and basil.  I think tonight's dinner will be completely from the garden!
Close up of my beautiful herbs and beans.
View of the garden from the front garden path.
This is one of my favorite plants for pots, angel wing begonias.  It does well when I forget to water it.  It gets a little leggy, but with a trim it bushes out nice and full.  It also roots easily in water. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Around The House And Gardens

Every morning the the guara is vibrating and buzzing with bees.  By the afternoon they've moved on and the guara is silent...I guess the nectar flows in the guara best in the morning?...
The first gladiola has bloomed, and it is beautiful.
My onions are beautiful this year.  This is the first year I have had any significant success with onions.  Not for the lack of trying.  Year after year I have planted and failed with onions.....with just have to keep makes the success all the more sweeter!!!  Yes, this red onion is really sweet tasting as well!
White onions plumping up!
Cherry tomatoes...mmmm....
Little yellow squash...I'm keeping a close eye out for squash vine borers.  If you see saw dust looking crumbs at the base of your squash plants you know you've got them.  The only way to get rid of them is surgery that may or may not work.  Cut a slit long ways (along the length of the vine not across) at the end of the trail the vine borer has made through the vine stem.  Peel it open gently and find the vine borer and pull the disgusting little thing out and squish it.
Here is a vine that volunteered.  I love never know what you may get.  This is maybe a cross between a squash and a gourd???...hmmm....pretty anyway.
A view across the garden.
Big juicy blackberries are ripening on the trellis near the levee.
Baby muscadine grapes.
I'm already harvesting garlic.  The small creole garlic matured first and then this much larger variety I bought at a local grocery store.  It's really beautiful...I love the textures, colors and the way it looks all piled up after pulling.  See the rosy tint underneath the dirt.  I find the garlic matured pretty quickly this year.
Romaine lettuce seeding.
Butterfly bush.
This is the bento I made my girls this morning.  I know...ladybugs again.   I'm still new at this and need to learn some tricks!  The flowers are rice cooked in pink tinted water with pickled okra centers.  There are carrot flowers, of course the babybel cheese ladybug, Ritz crackers and cheese hearts, dried cranberries and candied pineapple with a couple of ginger snap rounds.
Here is a site that shows how to make cute things with food!  I can't wait to peruse it more!
Cute Food For Kids