Saturday, August 29, 2009

Prayers and Peanut Butter

"What is our goal? Is it to pack child care into as little time as possible? We can easily fall into a habit of seeing our motherly duties as drudgery rather than as a blessing. We do things because we have to, not because we want to. We take care of daily necessities like food and clothing, but after that we want to do our own thing, and we consider any request from our children an interruption."

"The best time to enjoy our children and spend time with them is right now - before this hour passes. When we know we are in a special time of life that will not come again, we want to."

"God cares more how our hearts look than how our houses look. We ruin our best years with our children by bellyaching about messes."

Just a few quotes from Prayers and Peanut Butter by Barbara Classen, another encouraging book about mothering. This has been the perfect book to read a page or two when sitting down feeding the baby. It is good to know that there is other mothers who struggle with the same shortcomings as me and yet are striving to be "joyful mothers of children".

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Good Old Summertime!

I have not been around here much recently - but for a good reason! We are in that delightful season when wonderful food is coming into the kitchen by the bucket full! We are dining like kings and frantically trying to keep up with the surplus by freezing and canning! It is a lot of work but so worthwhile when we see the full jars at the end of the day!

In the next week, I plan to do grapes, pears, chicken corn soup and more tomatoes. Hopefully soon I can get back here and share some more recipes and gardening tips. But since I'd rather enjoy life then just write about it, you'll have to understand if I'm scarce around here for a time!

Here is just a few photos from the past few weeks.

Corn Day
Tomato Juice
Tomato Soup

Pizza Sauce
But it has not all been work! We've fit in picnics, reunions, splashing in the creek, and (above) backpacking overnight with Daddy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

I'm always on the look out for whole grain recipes. My family loves their sweets and if we can't cut out the desserts, I like them to at least have a little food value! This recipe is "loaded" with good stuff but it actually doesn't taste "good for you"! That made it a winner at our house!

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup craisins or raisins
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Beat butter with brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour. Stir in remaining ingredients. Dough may be crumbly. Spoon onto baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Potato Day!

Today is Potato Day! (Who comes up with these holidays anyway?) We just dug out our early potatoes, so I'll celebrate! We had a bumper crop of huge potatoes! We planted three rows but at three different times so this was only the first row. We've been eating potatoes off this one row since June and still picked a bushel and a half! The row was not even all that long! Some of the potatoes are so large that one potato would be a whole meal for our family! I'm sure the plentiful rain gets the credit!

I've shared this recipe for baked potato casserole before but I'm going to put it hear again since it is buried somewhere in the archives! We love this recipe and find it is a hit wherever we take it!

First dig a truck load of potatoes!

Baked Potato Casserole

5 pounds potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream (I use my homemade yogurt.)
1 T minced chives
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine potatoes and bacon. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add to potato mixture and toss gently. Bake in greased dish, uncovered, at 325 for 1 hour or until bubbly and light brown.

This also works well for the crockpot. Put it on low for 2-3 hours.

Mmm! So good!

Go to Tammy's Recipes In-Season Recipe Swap for more potato recipes!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Easy Peach Pie

This time of year, we eat a lot of fresh fruit and even our desserts usually contain fruit. Most peach pies are baked in the oven. Not only does this add unwanted heat to the kitchen, it loses the fresh picked peach flavor. Several years ago, I tried making a peach pie with my strawberry pie recipe. We loved it and now this is the recipe that I always use!
Usually I make up a big batch of pie crusts and pre-bake them. They freeze well and are great to have on hand for whenever the urge hits for a peach pie!

My mom tried using this same recipe for raspberries. That gave me the idea of using fresh sweet cherries. Once again, we loved the fresh fruit flavor and I loved the simplicity!

Give it a try!

1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 T. cornstarch
3 T. peach jello (or cherry, or strawberry, or raspberry or whatever fresh fruit you are using!)
pinch of salt
1 baked pie crust
fresh fruit to fill pie crust

Combine water, sugar, and cornstarch. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add jello to hot liquid. Add salt.
Place fruit in pie crust. Pour hot liquid over fruit in crust. Cool. Serve.

Hint: When cooling pie in the fridge, DO NOT cover. I always hated how the crust became soggy and found if I do not cover the pie, the crust stays nice!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Four Months Old! Already!

Where do four months go? In one way I'm relieved. We are over the new baby adjustments. I can get a decent night's sleep (usually). We are finally finding a sort of "routine"!

But when I look at the above photo of her first hours, I'm sad to think that our tiny newborn is gone!

But the newborn has been replaced by a grinning, squealing, chubby baby girl who we love dearly!

Just looking at this photo makes me want ten more children! My days are full but I love being a mom! There is never a dull moment around here and by the end of the day I'm tired. I fail so many times in patience and have so much more to learn about properly training these little ones. But I can't think of anything I'd rather do!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Row Covers for Worm Free Broccoli!

In the past, I've told of our success in using row covers in our garden here . I've had several questions about using row covers, and thought I should revisit the topic!

Row covers are thin white "fabric" that is used in the garden to cover plants. These row covers allow water, air and sunlight to pass through but help protect the plants. The row cover will help to keep the plants warm but my favorite use is to protect from insects. Of course, insects that burrow up from the ground will not be deterred but flying insects will no longer be able to bother the plants.

My best success has been with broccoli. Though our garden is not entirely organic, I do avoid the use of chemicals. I especially hate to spray any plant that I'm intending to eat. If you've ever grown broccoli, or any other plant in the brassica family you know how much the cabbage worms love them! These tiny worms blend right into the broccoli until you are cutting it up for a salad when they seem to reappear! I'm not the squeamish type when it comes to worms. (Just don't let me see a snake!) I try to remember that if a vegetable is edible to a worm, it is edible to me. In contrast with the grocery store broccoli that can't sustain life for a worm, and maybe not me either! But picking worms out of your supper isn't real fun! Which is why I LOVE row covers!!!

The first year I tried growing broccoli under row covers, I did so just to protect it a little from late spring frosts. When it came time to harvest, I was shocked to find NO tiny green worms! I quickly assumed that the butterflies could not reach the plants to lay their eggs on the leaves! After picking the broccoli heads, I removed the row cover. The plants later produced lots of side shoots which I also picked. But this time, we had many worms! I was now sold on the use of row cover for broccoli! We have used it every year since with continued success! No spray and no worms works for me!

Others who are plagued with the cucumber beetle in their vine crops have also found success with row covers. The cucumber beetle burrows into the stem of cucumbers, squash and other vines. The damage usually isn't immediately evident but the vine is stressed and usually about the time it begins to bare fruit, the plant wilts and dies. Row cover can protect these crops from the beetle when they are young. As the plant matures, the row cover needs to be removed in order to allow bees to pollinate the blossoms.

When should you use row covers? Plants should be covered with row cover immediately when set out in the garden. Don't even allow a few days to go by because those insects may beat you to it! The best way to cover the plants is to make a "hoop house". Use thin flexible pipe and bend into an arch. Either just push the pipe into the ground or drive some rebar into the ground and fit end of the pipe over it. Use these hoops to support your row cover. We have also just laid the row cover directly over the plants without the support of hoops, giving slack in the cloth to allow for plant growth. Go here for better directions!

Securely hold the row cover to the ground with clips, rocks, or boards. You don't want it to blow away or have any holes for insects to find. When you are ready to harvest, just flip back the row cover, pick and replace.

One idea I saw in the Berlin Seed catalog was to sew up some fabric "socks". Fill with sand or stones. Use the socks to hold down your row cover.

We have found row cover six feet wide is a useful size. This width allows adequate room to cover full grown plants.

Where can I find row cover? I've seen them sold online, in seed catalogs and at garden centers. This spring I called several local garden centers. Most carried some sort of row cover, though they went by many different names and brands and came in many different sizes. The folks at Veggicare generously gave us a piece of Mikroclima to test in our garden this spring. Mikroclima is a woven row cover and much more durable then most row covers. With careful use, any row covers can be used for several years. Our original piece of row cover we kept using even after it had holes but we had to careful fold and place rocks over the holes. Commercial crop farmers use row covers as a disposable product, replacing each year. Mikroclima, in contrast with other brands, is made to last much longer. We used Mikroclima for several months this spring and it shows no sign of use. I like that dirt doesn't seem to stick to it like other row covers. We bought a standard piece of row cover from our local garden center just to test it side by side with the Mikroclima. In my opinion, both kinds work, but the Mikroclima is much more durable. The extra cost of the Mikroclima may be worthwhile to have a product that gives you years of service.

What is advantage or disadvantage of using a row cover instead of a transparent plastic hoop house? Hoop houses covered in transparent plastic are often used as a cold frame to extend the garden season. Basically a plastic covered hoop house is a mini greenhouse. It heats up quickly in bright sunshine and can enable you to grow crops later, or earlier, then your normal growing season. The drawbacks of using plastic is that no rain or air can enter. On a bright sunny day, even in the winter, a plastic cold frame can overheat and fry your plants. Water and temperature need to be consistently monitored. Row covers, in contrast, allow water and air to pass through. You still need to check the moisture level occasionally but you should not need to remove the row cover to cool down. Of course, it also doesn't not keep it as warm as plastic may. What you wish to use may depend on your goals and how much time you have. I have more on my mind then regularly checking a hoop house and I know that any young plants would be doomed if their life depended on me to give them all their air and water. Row covers have worked well for this busy mom!

Some companies offer several different weights of row covers. There is thicker row covers that allow less sunlight to pass through but protect from colder temperatures. Thinner row covers don't do as well in cold weather but give more sunlight. The thinnest row covers do nothing to protect from cold and frost but merely give insect protection.

Hope I've answered all your questions and that some of you give row covers a try in your garden!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Readers Share - Even More Zucchini Recipes!

Still want some more zucchini ideas! You readers are an endless source of great ideas! Our family has loved some of these! Give them a try!

Spaghetti Zucchini - Laraine

4c. zucchini
1/2. tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4c. flour
1/2c. Parmesan cheese
1c. shredded cheese ( your choice)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 med. green pepper
1 lb. browned ground beef
1c. spaghetti sauce
2c. mozarella cheese shredded

Combine all the above ingredients and place in baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the mozarella cheese and bake at 350 for app. 50 min.

Zucchini Casserole - Laraine

3c. cooked zucchini
2 carrots shredded
1 small onion chopped
1c. cream chicken soup
1/2c. sour cream
1/2c. butter
2c. cheddar cheese
1 box Stove Top Stuffing

Make stuffing according to directions on box. Mix all of ingredients and add 1/2 stuffing to zucchini mixture. Put in baking pan. Top with rest of stuffing and bake 350 deg. 30- 40 min.

Calico Squash Casserole - Becky
  • 2 cups sliced yellow summer squash (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 cup sliced zucchini (1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 cups crushed butter-flavored crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained (optional - I almost always leave them out.)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
In a large saucepan, combine the first five ingredients; add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook until squash is tender, about 6 minutes. Drain well; set aside.
Combine crumbs and butter; spoon half into a greased shallow 1-1/2-qt. baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the soup, water chestnuts, carrot, mayonnaise, pimientos, sage, pepper and remaining salt; fold into squash mixture. Spoon over crumbs.
Sprinkle with cheese and the remaining crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 8 servings.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reader's Share - Zucchini Recipes

I asked for ideas to use up zucchini and you all sure gave them to me! Besides all the ideas readers shared in the comments found here, many of you emailed recipes to me! We found some new family favorites! Today and tomorrow, I'm going to share them with you!

Zucchini Seafood Casserole

I was referred to this recipe in our church cookbook by a friend, and my husband says it's a keeper. We substituted ground sausage for the seafood, but either would work. Hope it helps you enjoy your zucchini even just a little bit more! ~Eunice

4 c sliced zucchini, 1/4" thick
1 1/2 c Bisquick
1 1/2 c shredded sharp cheese
1 c chopped onion
1 -6 1/2 oz can tuna or crab meat, drained
1/2 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients. Spread in 12x7x2" greased casserole. Bake at 400 degrees uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Makes 6 servings.

Bleanies or Zucchini Potato Patties - Karen

1 ½ c. shredded zucchini
1 ½ c. peeled shredded potato
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. flour
1 t. parsley
1 t. salt
pepper to taste
3 eggs, slightly beaten

Toss together zucchini, potato and onion with flour. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat small amount of oil in skillet over medium heat. Drop mixture into skillet to form patties. Fry on both sides till golden brown. May top with a slice of cheese, if desired.

This is a typical Polish recipe (from the same ethnic group that invented Pierogies) - right from the start of the Anthracite Coal Region of PA (which is where I'm originally from). At home, they don't often put zucchini in - just potato, but this is a fantastic way to use up the zucchini. Also, cheese is rarely put on top - but some people might like it.

Zucchini Bacon Quiche

I really liked this recipe from Taste of Home because it was fast and easy and used up zucchini, but you can hardly tell it and its a great diversion for breakfast! - Linette

1 tube (8oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 tsp. prepared mustard
6 bacon strips, diced
3 c. thinly sliced zucchini (about 1 1/4 lbs.) Note: I shredded the zucchini.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 T. dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried basil

Separate crescent dough into eight triangles; place in a greased 10 in. pie plate with points toward the center. Press dough onto the bottom and up the sides of plate to form a crust; seal perforations. Spread with mustard.

In a skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 T. drippings. Saute' zucchini and onion in drippings until tender. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheeses seasonings, bacon and zucchini mixture. Pour into crust. Note: I sprinkled the bacon on top for pretties.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cover edges loosely with foil if pastry browns too quickly.


Related Posts with Thumbnails