Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.........5/31/2012

Boy, this week has just flown by! I really thought today was Wednesday. I haven't posted or hardly read any blogs this past week. I think the heat really got to me.

This week I am going to post a recipe for Rose Petal Jelly. Although I did post this recipe last year,  I'm sure many of you did not see it. This jelly recipe was originally posted by Lynn at Wood Ridge Homestead in the Shenandoah Valley.

Tuesday afternoon, I noticed that the white roses were starting to go due to all of the rain. So, Sophia and I went out and picked  basket full of white roses and some red roses to make the jelly. My white roses are very fragrant, which is needed for a good jelly. My red roses, have hardly any fragrance. But they are added to give the jelly as nice color.

Rose Petal Jelly

  • 1 1/2 cups Rose petals, tightly packed
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (preferably white sugar)
  • 3 oz packet liquid pectin
Gather fresh Rose petals to measure 1 1/2 cups tightly packed. Rinse petals and pat dry. Place petals in large pot and bruise petals so the scent and color can be extracted.

Add 2 1/4 cups of water to the petals in the pot and heat to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for several minutes, making sure the petals impart their color in the water. More than likely, the water may appear somewhat grey — the color will brighten with the addition of some lemon juice.

After the Rose petals have simmered for a few minutes, remove from heat. Using a fine sieve, strain the petals from the liquid.  Discard the petals and measure 1 3/4 cups of the distilled liquid for the jelly. Return the liquid to the pot, then add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and stir. The petal water will brighten significantly.

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then heat to boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add liquid pectin and return to hard boil. Then allow jelly to boil for 1 minute while stirring continually.
Remove from heat and ladle jelly into 4 sterilized half-pint jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Add sterilized lids and rings. Process in water bath for 5 minute

Yield:  about 4 half pints

After we started on the jelly, I noticed that we didn't have enough sugar to make the jelly. The liquid is now in the refrigerator.

Sophia and I will finish the jelly this afternoon when she gets home from school.

This is what it looks like when it is finished.

It's really pretty and tasty too!

What's been going in or out of your cupboard lately......anything good????

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard .............05/24/2012

I can't believe that it is Thursday already! Boy, this week is just flying by! For Sophia's BD Bar BQ on Sunday, I made the first batch of baked beans this year. As I was making them I was thinking that I would use them for Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard. With everything going on, I forgot to take pictures.

I used the Great Northern White Dry Beans from last year's garden. That's the big jar of white beans in the back. These beans are only used for making baked beans.

These have to be the best Baked Bean in the world!
I found the original recipe on Allrecipes and have made a few minor adjustments over the years.

Baked Beans
  • 2 Cups Dry Beans, I use Great Northern. You can use Navy or any other bean of your choice
  • 3 Slices of Bacon
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. Molasses
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Mustard or 1/4 tsp Dry Mustard, I use homemade Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup, I try to use homemade. It really gives them a nice flavor
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water for about 1-2 hours, until tender. Drain and reserve the liquid
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F
  3. Arrange the beans in a covered bean pot or 2 quart casserole with a lid by alternating the Beans, Bacon & Onions.
  4. In a saucepan, combine the Molasses, Salt, Pepper, Mustard, Ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce & Brown Sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over the Beans. Add just enough of the saved bean water to cover the beans
  5. Cover and bake for 2-4 hours until the beans are tender. Check on the beans about every hour to see if they need any additional liquid. If so, add some of the saved bean water. I also stir them when I check them.
  6. When the beans are tender they are ready to eat. But, I turn the oven off and let them sit for a few hours. I have found that they taste better the next, this little trick of letting them sit does the trick and they taste just as good!
What goodies have been going in or out of your Cupboard lately???

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The State of the Plots Mid-May

It seems like it has been non-stop since we got home from vacation! I spent a few hours at the plots on Saturday and then we had to go shopping for Sophia's BD Bar BQ on Sunday. We always seem to be away on her BD. So, I told here we would have a BD Bar BQ on Sunday after we came home. After shopping there were important things to do, like bake a cake and start the homemade baked beans. Sunday was packed full of putting the cushions on the outdoor furniture, cleaning up a bit, cooking and then putting up a canopy since the temps were in the 90's! The Bar BQ was a great success and Sophia was very happy!

Yesterday I had planned to catch up on blog reading and visit everyone's Harvest Monday posts. In the morning I decided to clean out the refrigerators and some canned peppers that I was not happy with. All went well until I managed to clog the plumbing in the under-slab in the basement between the main pipe coming from the kitchen and the floor drain. The remainder of the day was plumbing related, including a visit from the Roto Rooter man!

I was going to post the pics I took on Saturday. But, this morning I ran over to the plots in the misty rain to cover the strawberries that the birds think is a buffet! So, I took some more pics. There are lots of pics in this post!

Click on any picture to enlarge.

Before we went on vacation, I planted all of the Tomatoes, Eggplants & Peppers in the rain!! It wasn't the perfect time to plant them. Although Sophia is perfectly capable of taking care of the plants, I really didn't want her to have to tend to them. She does have school and track, which is very important.

Bed#1 The Potato Bed
The potatoes really took off while we were gone. Some of these weren't even out of the ground when we left. Hopefully, I can get over there tomorrow and mulch them with straw.

Bed #2 Tomato Alley #1
The tomatoes are doing very well with the exception of Aphids. I found aphids on some of the plants on Saturday. I was hoping that the pests wouldn't find the new garden the first year. I am going to make a spray today with potato leaves and see how that works.

The new growth looks great and so do the weeds!! Mulching to do!

Bed #3
The empty front section of this bed will have a Three Sisters Planting and some trellises for beans, cucumbers and cantaloupe

Toward the other end of this bed is Cauliflower, Eggplant and Hot Peppers. 
There is also space for another trellis at the end.

The cauliflower was really small when I put it in. I didn't think I would have the plots ready in time to plant spring cauliflower. We shall see if they produce. If not, I have plans for a fall planting in another space.

New growth on the Eggplants look great!

The Peppers also seem to be doing very well.

Bed #4 Tomato Alley #2
Not the best pic, but the tomatoes are doing just fine. There are two though that are struggling a bit. 

Bed #5
The empty section at this end will have trellises for more Beans, Spaghetti Squash and Korean Melons. At the far end is where the Zucchini will be planted.

This is toward the other end of Bed #5. 
I have planted Broccoli, a few Cabbage, 4 Chinese Cabbage and the Sweet Peppers. There are also some tiny Leeks planted in front of the Chinese Cabbage. Hopefully the Broccoli will produce since it was started earlier then the cauliflower. If not, there is a fall planting planned. One of the Chinese Cabbages bolted from the heat over the weekend. So, it will be removed.

Bed #6
The Blackberry & Raspberry transplants are doing very well. Since the blackberries won't get too big this year, I planted onions & celery around them. There is also space for a trellis on the end where I will plant Lima Beans.

Bed #7 The Strawberry Bed
The plants that I covered were transplanted from the old site. The new strawberry roots that were planted this year are at the far end mulched with straw. They are all doing very well.

Bed #8
This bed is along the right side of the plots. The Asparagus beds are at each end and there are onions and a few celery plants in the middle.

As you can see, the asparagus is going to ferns. I am so pleased that they made it through the transplant. Even though we did not have much of a harvest this year. The Fava Beans in the front are doing much better with the exception of ants. Last year I had the same problem with them. As soon as the rain stops I will try using cinnamon on the plants as a pest control.

That's the "State of the Plots" right now. There is still a ton of work and planting to do over there. I haven't decided what I am going to do with the paths. The gate is not up yet and I also have to sow the popcorn and beans along the front. I really think the worst part of the work is over. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and I can spend a few days over there sowing some seeds and tidying up a bit!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Home Garden Mid-May

We made it home from our vacation in New Orleans about 2AM on Saturday. We had a wonderful time and ate a lot! "The Italian" and I were very surprised when we got out of the car and saw the home garden in the dark. It was just amazing how much it grew while we were away! Sophia must have given the plants a lot of love while we were gone!

The garden seemed to explode in one week! The Snow Peas and Snap Peas must be almost 7' high. The Alderman shelling peas are about 5' tall. They are a different variety then I have planted in the past and are supposed to get 4-6 feet in height.

All of the perennial flower beds exploded too! The Dutch Irises are just beautiful!

The Chinese Cabbage and Broccoli are looking good. I do see a little nibbling though. It must be slugs. All of my Pak Choi for some reason has bolted. The Baby Choi looks great though. I may have to try another variety of Choi in the fall and next year since this variety seems very sensitive to bolting.

Some Bunny climbed the fence and tried to make a nest. I guess I will get out the spray and add some additional height to the fencing in this bed.

Before we went away I removed all of the overwintered Kale and Vates Collards. There is some spring Kale & Georgia Collards in this bed. We really like the Vates Collards much better then the Georgia variety. The overwintered Celery in the back has bolted and will most likely be removed tomorrow.

The overwintered Kale is this bed is still doing quite well. The carrots are chugging along and the Escarole in the front has bolted and has to be pulled.

The Sugar Magnolia Purple Snap Peas are starting and so are the Spring Blush Snap Peas! They are just beautiful and tasty too!

This picture is a little fuzzy. But you can see how tall all of the peas are. It really took us by surprise to see such growth! The four early tomatoes in the Kozy Koats are getting pretty big. I will have to remove the cloches and stake them in the next couple of days.

The first Snow Peas of the year were harvested this morning! I'm sure that there will be many more peas harvested this week! Yum!

I will do a separate post on the state of the plots.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard @ Spring Garden Acre .....5/16/2012

Since "The Italian" and I are away on vacation enjoying New Orleans, Jody & Belle at Spring Garden Acre will be hosting "Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard". Hop on over to their place and see what's going on!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard...........05/10/2012

I had a very nice meal that I was going to make last night for dinner and post today. When "The Italian" got home I ran out to the store to pick up a couple of essential things that I need for vacation. It wasn't much, just a couple of plain T-Shirts and a Jean Skirt. That should be an easy task and only require one or two stores...right??? Nope, it took me several hours and a lot of frustration!! What is with the clothes today??? The fabrics are just awful and the styles....well, much to be desired! After several hours, I did end up finding basically what I need and it was take-out pizza for dinner at 8:30 PM!

The post that I had planned is not to be. So, I figured that I would share another simple seasoning recipe of "The Italian's", a nice Bean Recipe and also show you what my cupboard looks like today.

You may remember the well stocked Cupboard of canned goodness that I had at the end of canning season last year. You can see it here. Well, this is what the Cupboard looks like today.


Sorry about the mis-aligned pics. I couldn't get Blogger to do what I wanted. As you can see, our stores are getting pretty low. 

Steak Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. Salt
  • 2 Tbsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. Tumeric

The following recipe was originally posted by Anna at MojVrt. She no longer has a blog and I sure do miss her.

Beans in White Dill Sauce

  • 1 lb. Green Beans
  • 4-5 Tbsp. Flour
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 1/2 Cups Milk
  • Oil
  • Chopped Dill at least 2 Tbsp.
  • Salt & Pepper
Saute Chopped Garlic and Flour in oil on medium heat. Add Milk & Salt & Pepper. Stir until the sauce starts to cook. Then add beans and cook for about 10 minutes or until the beans are done to your liking.

This is a very simple and very tasty recipe that will come in handy once bean season starts.

How is your Cupboard looking these days????

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Home Garden at the beginning of May

I haven't posted much about the Home Garden lately since I've been so busy with the Community Garden move. The garden is growing well...but it's pretty messy around here!

This is the Left Cold Frame Bed
All of the overwintered Kale & Collards have been removed in the back of the bed. I planted some Celery and Baby Choi in their place. Do you think that we have enough lettuce growing???? Maybe somebody needs to harvest some!

This is the Right Cold Frame Bed
The overwintered Kale in the back of this bed is still doing well. It does look a bit funny since I just harvested most of the leaves. There is also some lettuce in the back that definitely needs to be harvested. Maybe Miss Banana will take care of that for me today! The mid section of this bed has carrots growing in it. I am keeping the bird netting on to deter those darn squirrels and birds!

Look at all those little carrots!

The Garlic is growing like crazy!

And so are the Snow Peas behind it! 
I know that they are not supposed to be friends....but, I have growing peas and garlic next to each other for years and they do just fine. Look at those boards just laying there....what a mess!

There are 4 Early Tomatoes growing in Kozy Koats in this bed with carrots in between. The pill bugs were so bad under the boards that I had to remove them. I decided to put the shade cloth over them for awhile so they could get a little bigger.

This is Bed #1
There are two different varieties of Snap Peas growing on each end and Shelling Peas along the long side.

Bed #1
Garlic growing at one end.

Bed #1
Some Pak Choi, Lettuce and Spinach at the other end

Bed #1
I also planted a few Broccoli Plants, Chinese Cabbage and I think a couple of regular Cabbage plants in the middle

One end of the messy deck. The cushions and table tops need to be brought out of the basement and put on the furniture. Someone also needs to replace 4 boards on the deck and then power wash and stain it!

My new little Dwarf Carmine Jewel Cherry Tree is in it's pot.

The Herb Garden definitely needs a little cleaning up!

This is the part of the Herb Garden behind the messy patio furniture.
That's a bunch of self seeded Cilantro, weeds and greens from the daffodils!

There is one flower pot that is looking good!
I planted perennials in some of the pots last year and this one doesn't need a thing added to it!

My new Dwarf Tophat Blueberry bush and some weeds in the stone pathway in the background.

The Carrots that I started in this pot in the basement were very happy until I took them outside. I'm sure they will perk up and green up once they get used to being outside. I also have three more large pots that need carrots planted in. That will have to wait until after vacation. And there's that dirty deck again!

Not the best color in this pic.
Here are the Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplants and some herbs hardening off on the back porch waiting to to planted......

Here!! Yes, the beds at the plots are finished!!! Yippee!!

Well, it's going to be a busy week! Today I will be baking for the graduation picnic tomorrow. "The Italian's" daughter is graduating from college tomorrow. We will be leaving early in the AM. Then her graduation dinner here (not at our house) on Sunday....then the plots must be planted before vacation next week!