Tuesday, July 26, 2011


 This weekend, I came into the possession of some cucumbers:


Chris' grandfather has a garden (and grows a bit more than he needs...)  so, he gave us some while we were visiting this weekend.  I already made a batch of pickles with six pounds of these babies, and I didn't even use half of them!  I am so excited to have cucumbers to make pickles that we can enjoy for the rest of the year.  I think I will make another batch tomorrow.  We'll see.  Any ideas for cucumbers?

I juiced one with four kale leaves and a carrot this morning for my breakfast. The kids resoundingly rejected it. :-)

Recipe to make pickles
Taken from the book Stocking Up
6 pounds of cucumbers
1 gallon of 5% brine (3/4 c. salt per gallon)
2 cups vinegar
1/4 cup salt
3 cups water
2 teaspoons pickling spice
2 teaspoons mustard seeds per quart
2 cloves garlic per quart
handful dill per quart

cut up the cucumbers into the size pickles you want and soak them in the brine over night.  the next day, combine the vinegar, salt, water and pickling spice in a pan and bring to a boil.  i put the spices in a tea ball so you don't have to strain the liquid. sterilize five quart jars, rings and lids. pack the jars with the mustard seeds, garlic, dill and (of course!) the cucumbers. fill jars with the vinegar water to 1/2 inch headspace. process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Today, I am grateful for cucumbers, and people who share them.  :-)

join us at heavenlyhomemakers.com for gratitudesday!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Zucchini... Series, Part IV

I used my zucchini in a new and exciting way tonight for dinner! 

New to this series?  Check out the rest here, here, and here. :-)

Ok, so the actual prep on the zucchini itself is not a new concept.  But the combination of ingredients was weird and different, and... good!  So I will share it with you. 

Here is what I stacked on our plates for dinner tonight, starting from the bottom, going up.

Breaded, pan fried zucchini
Leftover pasta tossed in leftover vegan alfredo sauce (that's a post for another day!)
A slice of tomato
A fried egg

Let me tell you, it was definitely a weird combo, with the egg on top, but I thought the zucchini, pasta and tomato needed something.  And we like eggs.  And it just seemed to fit.  And, it did!  The flavors went really well together, and the three 'serious' eaters in the house (my husband, myself, and Benjamin) ate all of ours, and liked it. 

Do you have a new and exciting way to prepare zucchini? Please share!  I still have seven in my fridge! :-)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Zucchini... Series, Part III

Wondering what to do with all that zucchini?  Catch up on my other posts here and here!

Zucchini Patties -- These were inspired by this recipe for corn fritters. We ate them with our hands, but you could even serve them as a hamburger replacement-- on buns, with all the fixin's!
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 cup (about) coarse bread crumbs (I used bread I had on hand and cut it into tiny pieces)
(1 egg) -- again, I would have used it if I'd had one!
1 1/2 cups millet flour, masa harina, or corn meal
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
garlic powder
-- beat the egg. mix the zucchini, bread crumbs and egg together.  mix the flour, water, salt and garlic powder together. this is where it gets messy. scoop out some zucchini mix with your hand (about an ice cream scoop's worth) and plop it into the flour mix.  then turn it over in the flour mix to coat the other side. then plop it into a heated cast iron skillet with some oil or palm shortening covering the bottom of the pan. flatten the blob into a patty looking shape. fry until golden brown and flip. fry the other side until golden brown.
-- this is messy.  don't say I didn't warn ya!  But it is good.  everyone liked them, and gobbled them all up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Zucchini... Series, Part II

We had a good friend over for dinner last week, and I had  made these the night before for dinner.  We ended up not eating them, so I used them the next night.  I don't usually make recipes I haven't at least tried once for people who come over for dinner, but since it was a vegetarian meal, and she's vegetarian, I thought I would just go for it.  Other than the 'meat' balls falling apart because I tried to toss them with the spaghetti sauce, they were really good.  I even surprised myself on this one!

We also had fried eggplant (from our CSA!) with this meal and Chris said, "This is the first eggplant I have ever eaten that I didn't think was gross."  .... I'll take that as a complement!

Zucchini 'Meat' Balls-- okay, for these, I'll be honest.  I'm not sure exactly what I did.  I will try and tell you and then also tell you what I would have done to make them better.
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 1/4 cup millet flour (masa harina or even corn meal would have the same affect)
1 1/4 cup water
(1 egg) I would have added, if I had any that day!
1/2 tsp salt
some basil
some garlic, or garlic powder
-- mix everything together except the zucchini.  fold in the zucchini.  grease 24 mini muffin pans. (this could also work on a greased cookie sheet, they just might spread out a bit).  spoon a small cookie scoop amount of dough (2 tsp? 1 TBS?) into each cup.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes, or until they start to brown around the edges.  Serve as you would meat balls.
--DO NOT mix these in with the sauce. I did that, and they kind of fell apart.  I made them with spaghetti, but I think they would work in the place of sweedish meat balls too!  Just ladle the sauce on at the table, so they don't fall apart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Juicer

I am so thankful to day for our recently acquired JUICER!  I know it's not tuesday anymore, but I just had to write this post! 

We got our awesome new-to-us juicer from a sweet sweet friend!  She got a new one and just GAVE it to us!  The last three mornings, we have been experimenting with delicious, healthful juice. 

Monday it was kale apple pear carrot juice.  Very sweet and delicious!

Tuesday we had kale apple carrot.

And this morning we had kale apple carrot zucchini! 

This morning it was much less sugary than the last two mornings.  I really liked it, though!  I am excited that this is a new way for us to get lots of vitamins and minerals from fresh veggies that we wouldn't necessarily eat. I mean, I will eat kale.  But every day?  Not really.  Plus, you should see the kale plants in our garden-- they are huge!  So not only are we eating fruits and veggies, but they are fresh picked from our garden!  Yay! 

Since I am a little wary of only drinking juice and not eating the fiber of the food with the juice, I will not juice every day, or at least I will make juice that is low in or has no sugar.  But even this morning when the juice was not that sweet, two out of three kids drank everything I gave them.  :-) Regardless, I am still excited about this new avenue to explore! 

Thanks so much for my juicer! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Zucchini... Series, Part I

what do you do with it all!??!

So, here are some things that I have done with my zucchini in the last few weeks.  I was going to make a mini-series about it, but with my blogging history, I better just put it all in one post and then you'll actually get to read about it!  :-P (While I was typing this post and it was getting longer and longer, I decided to split these recipes up!  Stay tuned all week as I share them with you!) 

Zucchini Oatmeal Coffee Cake -- made it this morning for breakfast.  I used 1/2 cup sugar for cake and topping, instead of the called-for amounts. Plus, I probably added 3 cups zucchini.

Zucchini Pancakes -- use a basic pancake recipe and add a cup of shredded zucchini.  Or however much you like.  I always add a lot.  OOOh, and add some raisins.  I forgot when I made mine, but that would be so good!  Like zucchini bread but in little round cakes on your plate for breakfast!
--Here's my basic pancake recipe.  Taken from Betty Crocker, but off the top of my head, so it might not be perfect. :-)
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS- 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. milk or water
2 TBS oil or melted butter
1 egg
--mix everything together and add whatever you want that sounds delicious.  be creative.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"Ice Cream"

K, so tonight I stumbled upon this blog with all these vegan recipes.  I was looking for a recipe for corn cake.  I don't know. I've never heard of corn cake before, but today, it sounded good to me and I wanted to see if it even existed.  Well, it does, and I am going to try it soon!

Anyway, on the top of the page was this amazing looking sorbet.  So I clicked on it and it looked so delicious.  I decided I wanted to try the blueberry banana recipe after dinner.  During dinner I presented this idea to Chris who made a face, and when I asked what was wrong with that idea, he said, "Well, first of all, there's the banana and the blueberry."  Ok, so the banana blueberry wasn't going to fly.  But I still wanted ice cream. 

After dinner, we were in the kitchen, and all the kids were asking when we were having ice cream (and I think Ellie was yelling something like, "NOW" in her sassiest voice), so I just started throwing things into the blender. 

Beet Blueberry Strawberry Sorbet
One small (fresh from the garden!) raw beet, shredded finely
Half cup of blueberries
One cup strawberries
About 1/3 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup coconut milk
Splash of lemon juice
Splash of rum or something (optional, keeps it softer after you put it in the freezer)

Put all ingredients in the blender.  Blend until desired consistency.  Taste for sweetness. Adjust if necessary. Eat right away, or put in ice cream freezer.  Then eat. 

It went over well.  There was none to put in the freezer.  There are lots of newly stained clothes in my house, though!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garden Picture Update

Here are some pictures I snapped in my garden the other day.  It's doing pretty well overall.  :-)  I can hardly believe it looked like this just a few short weeks ago! Here is a tour of the garden from the beginning of the season.  ;-)

Brussels Sprouts
One of two zucchinis
Sam and the falling down tomatoes
Acorn Squash!
Butternut Squash
Pepper Rows
Cute dirt baby and Chris (She LICKED off her hands after playing in the dirt.  Gross.)
Chris and our fallen over tomatoes after a storm.
Well, That's all I got tonight. 

Join us at smockityfrocks.com for other garden updates!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Menu Plan 7.11.2011

Hey!  It's 7/11!  Makes me think of slurpees... :-)

Well, it has been officially FOREVER since I posted a menu plan.  Or even had one, really. But this morning I sat down to think about what I would even buy at the store today, and I realized I should make a menu plan.  Or something.  So, I did.  Kind of.  :-) 

It's summer, and it's hot so I don't want to cook ever.  But Chris DID put in the A/C unit in our living room today!  So instead of being 95 in here at the end of the day, it will be 80 or 85, with no humidity!  Yay!  But I digress... here's the plan!

  • Grilled mushroom 'burgers'
  • Pasta salad
  • Spaghetti
  • Zucchini Cakes (hoping to post a recipe-- I made these last week and the recipe needs a little perfecting yet.  But I have 8 or 9 zucchini in my fridge, so I have plenty to practice with!) 
  • Leg of lamb on grill
  • Tuna Salad
  • Egg Salad
  • Bean and Rice burritos (we had these last week, and I made the best tortillas EVER! and some delicious tomato corn salsa to go with it) 
  • Veggie wraps
  • Tomato sandwiches
  • Cauliflower and potato curry
  • Quiche
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
Well, that's what was on my list.  Ben requested soup... but I vetoed that due to the heat!  No one except Ben wants to eat soup in 90* weather!

Last night we had a picnic out back.  It was so hot, and we hadn't been home, so the house was closed up and stuffy, and there was at least a breeze blowing outside.  So we had tuna sandwiches (with tomato from the farmer's market and lettuce from my porch planter) and apple slices. 

Alright, the children are begging to go out, so we will ride bikes before it is 100* and while Ellie is asleep. I hope to get back on the blogging bandwagon sometime this week. :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quick Garden Update...

Okay, so there are some updates from the garden, but I don't have pictures. Sorry!

  • My tomatoes have bacterial speck... not much I can do about it I don't think. (That I have found in my research-- anyone else have experience with it?)
  • Tomatoes also have blossom end rot... got to put some eggshells out there and water those sad plants!  It hasn't rained in weeks! 
  • The eggplant is still (somehow, I don't know!) alive, producing very small eggplants that keep turning red-- Chris got a red china.  Haven't eaten them yet, though. 
  • The zucchini is getting into gear.  We have five from our garden and three from our CSA in our fridge right now!
  • We tried planting potatoes this year... but we planted them very late! and only seven or eight plants came up.  Oh, well, we'll get on that better next year!
  • We DUG OUR GARLIC!  Hooray!  Now I need it to rain sometime in the future so I can plant something there! 
  • We have baby acorn squash growing!  I love how the squashes start out so small and cute.  I can't wait to have delicious squash all winter. 
  • We are making a cinnamon spray as per my MIL suggested.  We have yet to spray it.  Will keep you posted.  
  • I picked one beet so far this year and we put it in a salad. Yum. 
  • The brussels sprouts are getting all eaten up and sad.  I just want them to grow!  I am hoping some cinnamon spray might get them through. We'll see.
Maybe I will update this with some pictures tomorrow.  We went swimming today.  It was hot.  But I DO need to get out in the garden, give everything a good watering and also put some eggshells around the tomatoes.

check out other garden updates at smockityfrocks.com!

Good night for now!

Breakfast this morning...

My children ate wasabi peas with breakfast this morning and I'm not even kidding. 

That's all for now!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Lunch today was a perfect summertime feast!

Cold leftover homemade baked beans, cold sauerkraut (sadly not homemade), tomato sandwich with homemade bread and farmer's market tomatoes, and farmer's market corn! Yum!

With flowers from the garden: echinachea, coriander and broccoli.