Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rain, Rain Go Away...

We have had a very wet spring so far in the Pacific Northwest.  When we actually have sun...I have so much going on that I am unable to get out into the garden.  Tonight rain was in the forecast...but surprise!  It is NOT is blustery and chilly but still good enough to get my hands in the dirt.
About a month ago I planted quiet a few rows of radishes (3 different kinds), carrots (2 different kinds) several types of lettuce, kale and spinach.  It has been so wet...that they are just now starting to reach for the sun. 
Today I planted 30 starts of broccoli (Waltham 29 and Di Cicco).  I planted them WAY to close together but I have no choice.  Mike and I bought a new trailer...and it is bigger so I am now losing 1/2 of my gardening space to accommodate the parking of said new trailer.  It took me a couple of day to overcome my grief...but it is what it is.  I have a ton of starts so will need to get very creative in my plantings...I see lots of veggies growing in my flower gardens in the front yard.
Here are some shots of my greenhouse.  The first picture is 3 different types of tomatoes, yellow peppers, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, cauliflower (can't see in the pic) and zinnias.
The other side of the greenhouse includes: trailing lobelia, yellow onions, Chinese cabbage, baby watermelon (both of these are in the newspaper pots that I made), red onions, impatiens and more zinnia plants.
Next up some Candy Onions (on the right side) a friend gave me and some walking onions (on left side) that we received from some friends we visited while we were in Las Vegas. 
Finally...some garlic that I thought my dogs had destroyed last year.  It came back up.  So happy!

Not too bad for April 22, 2014.  There are still many weeds to pull and seeds to plant but it will all get done in time.  Happy Spring!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

First Seeds are in the Dirt!

Oh happy day!  I planted the first of my seeds for the 2014 gardening seasoning.  Unfortunately, I ran out of seed starting soil so will need to finish up the rest of the onion seeds tomorrow.  A few days ago I received a large order of seeds from Botanical was like Christmas in January.  Today I went through each packet, with a calendar, and marked which date each seed is started or needs to go into the ground.  I feel so organized!

Today I planted:

Cauliflower ~ Chef's Choice Blend
Onion ~ Red Amposta

Tomorrow, after I get more seed starting soil, I will plant a tray of:

Onions ~ Yellow Granex

Thankfully Mike is building me another grow light and hauled in an 8' table...he could tell by the box of seeds I got that we were in for a bigger season of gardening. 

Botanical Interests
Chef's Choice Blend Cauliflower & Red Amposta Onion

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fantastic Salsa

I hate buying just doesn't taste good to me.  I want the kind of salsa that taste like tomatoes, onions and cilantro...fresh!  I tried canning my own salsa, I didn't like that either.  When the tomatoes in my garden are in season, I make a lot of fresh salsa.  But what happens in the winter?  Do I have to succumb to yucky salsa bought in the stores?  Nope!!  I love Pinterest...I find lots of great things.  Not long ago I found a recipe called "Quick and Easy Blender Salsa".  I gave it try, it took about 10 from start to finish.  Mike and I LOVED is a keeper recipe, for sure!

Quick & Easy Blender Salsa

(1) 14 oz canned diced tomatoes
(1) 10 oz can original Rotel *
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled & smashed                
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded **
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
small to medium size handful of cilantro, washed
juice of one lime


Put all ingredients in the base of a food processor or good blender and pulse to combine for 30 seconds or so until all the ingredients are finely chopped and salsa is desired consistency.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste. 

* I did not use Rotel. I used Winco brand chopped tomatoes with chile's ~ much cheaper
** I used one entire jalapeno, seeded.  Seeds can be added for a spicier salsa.

I was out of I cut up several corn tortillas, sprayed them with some oil and sprinkled them with some salt.  I placed them in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.  (May get done faster so keep your eye on them.)  I am not going to lie...these are not as good as those chips that are fried in oil. but they were quite good and crunchy...and definitely healthier.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!  I can't believe another year has zipped right on by.  I love this time of year...I love taking the time to reflect on what I (and my family) have accomplished the past year and I like taking the time to think about new goals for the new year. 

I have been off work since December I have been spending a LOT of time organizing my home and in a life.  I (and my husband) burned up one paper shredder and put our brand new one under heavy use.  Closets have been cleaned out, they pantry organized...and lots of lists being made. 

Today I took the whole day to make muffins, muffins and more muffins.  I made triple chocolate muffins for Cassidy (can that really be considered a muffin...or an unfrosted cupcake?)  I made blueberry muffins for my husband.  Normally for me I make a cream cheese pumpkin muffin...but I found a new recipe to make today. 

Sweet Apple Butter Muffins.  Since I canned a bunch of apple butter this past fall, I thought this would be a good way to use it up. was a great muffin!  Even my "it is not a muffin unless it has blueberries" husband loved this new muffin.  I found this recipe in the "Gooseberry Patch Mom's Favorite Recipes" cookbook.

1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 T. sugar divided *                
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup apple butter **
1/3 cup chopped pecans ***

Combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl; set aside.  Blend egg, milk, vanilla and oil together; mix into flour mixture. Spoon about one tablespoon batter into each muffin cup (can be paper-lined...I didn't line with paper); add one teaspoon apple butter. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with remaining batter; set aside. Toss pecans with remaining sugar; sprinkle evenly on tops of muffins. Bake at 400 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center removes clean...about 20 minutes.  Makes one dozen.

*I did not use this extra sugar.  Instead I sprinkled the top of the muffins with a cinnamon sugar blend.

**I thought I was supposed to use a tablespoon on apple butter...not 1 teaspoon.  More is better I think.

***Did not top with husband wouldn't have tried them if I had.  Still tasted great.

I made over 70 muffins today...doubled each batch.  They are tucked into the freezer and will make a great breakfast for us all for the next month or two!