Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day Old Bread - Okay Really, Three Day Old Bread

What do you do with bread that did not turn out good enough?

Make bread crumbs, of course!

A few days ago I tried a new recipe for sandwich buns. I was quite disappointed. The bread was still edible but not what I was looking for. Now three days later there are still some left. If these buns were really good, they would have been gone by now.

This evening I made Garlic Scalloped Potatoes for dinner. I do love bread crumbs on top. So I cubed one old sandwich bun and whirled it in my food processor. Out came the most beautiful looking crumbs. I tossed some fresh chives from my garden in my newly created bread crumbs, poured on some melted butter and had perfect bread crumbs. My potatoes came out delicious with these homemade bread crumbs on top.

While dinner was baking I processed the rest of the day old bread into crumbs and put it in the freezer. Now my mind is wandering.... What can I make with my wonderful bread crumbs?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cole Slaw

Since I had fish the other day, I have been craving a simple fish sandwich. So that is my dinner tonight, fish sandwich with cole slaw.

I do so enjoy making my own bread and cooking from scratch as much as possible. I tried with a new recipe for sandwich buns this afternoon. They turned out good, but not good enough. So the quest continues for a nice bun recipe. I will keep trying.

Melody Cole Slaw
½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons buttermilk powder
½ Tablespoon lemon juice
½ Tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

1 bag cole slaw mix
Whisk all ingredients except slaw mix together in large bowl.
Stir in slaw mix.
For best flavor refrigerate several hours or over night.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tartar Sauce

Yes, Tartar Sauce. Something as simple and basic as tartar sauce.

I am not much of a meat eater. But I do love fish, almost any kind of fish. I like my fish fried, as any southern woman would. And I like it with tartar sauce. I have always made my own tarter sauce. What you can buy in the grocery store is so tasteless.

Melody Tartar Sauce

1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tablespoon Sweet Relish
1 Tablespoon  Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Chill. Yum!

Yes, my Yankee roots cause me to prefer Miracle Whip over other brands. I really want to master making my own mayonnaise, but so far, all attempts have been complete oily failures.
If you have a tried and true, dependable technique that works every time I would love to know.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Is It About the Garden?

What makes you go out in the garden each and everyday? What is it that draws you to put your hands down into the soil?

I absolutely love my time in the garden. It is simply a perfect way to begin my day. It is still cool here, so I can wait until late morning or early afternoon to enjoy my playtime in the garden. When the weather warms, I will be out earlier and earlier.

There is a grounding effect. It calms me. It makes me smile.

This morning I planted the almost empty raised bed one. I filled it with lettuce. Yum! I love lettuce picked fresh from the garden.

Black Seeded Simpson Loose-leaf Lettuce
7-10 Days to Germination
45 Days to Harvest - about April 12

Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce
7-10 Days to Germination
68 Days to Harvest - about May 5

Great Lakes #118 Head Lettuce
7-10 Days to Germination
82 Days to Harvest - about May 19

It seems I planted a lot of lettuce today. But they will not all mature at the same time. It is nice to have an early, mid, and late variety of the same vegetable to create a long harvest time. I am hoping that when the warmer days of May finally arrive I will have some beans, peppers, or tomatoes planted in there to provide some much need shade.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring Raised Bed Layout

My home sits on top of a hill. I have used all my flat area out back for raised beds. I like stepping off my back porch and stepping right into my garden.

Years ago I had in ground gardens at the bottom of the hill between my backyard and the pasture.While I had larger gardens in that area, I got tired very quickly of having to lug supplies and vegetables up and down the steep hill. How I envy people with FLAT land. But here in northeast Georgia there is not three feet of flat ground anywhere.

My front yard is not much better. It is two acres that gently slope down to the road. Eventually I will fill this area with fruit trees.

I have seven raised beds out back. They are different sizes and different depths. At one time I thought larger beds were better, but not now. I find the smaller beds much easier to work. When the time comes to build more beds I will make them no larger then 3x5. Four feet wide is too difficult for me to work. My favorite raised bed is my little 2x6 bed. It is small and easily manageable.

Most of the beds have been planted with spring vegetables. But two beds are almost empty. Bed one has only three parsley plants that survived through the winter and are growing strong. Lettuce will probably fill the remainder of bed one. The trough will be planted with carrots and shallots soon.

Here is my spring layout as of February 15. Notice the beds create a curve from the right side to the bottom. That is where my hill drops off. Ack!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunny Afternoon in the Garden

What a wonderful day of planting in my garden.

I am trying an experiment this year. I saved some of my potatoes from last year's crop for seed potatoes this year. I hope they will grow just fine. I dislike having to purchase new seed potatoes each year. I am sure my grandmother saved potatoes to plant the next year. I hope this little experiment works. I want to try to get into more and more heirlooms each year.

What I planted today-

Sweet Onion
the remainder of the bag from Monday's planting

French Breakfast Radish
4-6 Days to Germination
24 Days to Harvest - about March 16

Sparkler Radish
4-7 Days to Germination
25 Days to Harvest - about March 18

Champion Radish
4-7 Days to Germination
28 Days to Harvest - about March 21

Purple Top White Globe Turnip
7-10 Days to Germination
55 Days to Harvest- about April 20

Yukon Gold Potato (saved from last year's harvest)
80 Days to Harvest - about May 5

Red Pontiac Potato (saved from last year's harvest)
80 Days to Harvest - about May 5

Danvers #126 Carrot
8-12 Days to Germination
75 Days to Harvest - about May 12

I hope everything does well.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Garden Beds Prepared - Sweet Onions

With the help of two young men I was able to finally complete the preparation of my raised beds. They are weeded and filled and ready to be planted with yummy goodies.
The only thing I planted today was onion sets. This is the first time I have planted onions from sets. I hope these do well. I have tried onion seeds and onion plants before with little success from either. Isn't this was gardening is all about? Finding what works best for you in your area.

These are Sweet Onion bulbs I found at Walmart this morning.
They should be ready for harvest in about 3-4 months.
Around the end of May I will be watching for the top growth to fall over.

Carrots are a good companion plant with onions. I think tomorrow I will seed some carrots in between the rows of onion.

Pea Update:
These little fellows have sprouted and are breaking through the ground. Yea!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Macaroni Salad Yum!

It is a day for making my favorites. I just love creamy non-lettuce salads - macaroni salad, potato salad, and cole slaw.

Melody Macaroni Salad

2 cups dry spiral pasta
2/3 cup salad dressing
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1 Tablespoon pickle juice
1 Tablespoon sweet relish
2 boiled eggs

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.
Mix together salad dressing, milk, sugar, and relish. Add pasta, stir well. Fold in chopped egg.

Recipe Favorites - Creamed Peas

Planting my peas last week got me craving one of my favorite side dishes. Creamed Peas.

This is such a simple and delicious recipe I think I could eat it everyday. At the end of April I will be having this often. Too bad I eat up all my peas right away and never have enough to freeze or can.

Today I am making my creamed peas with commercially canned peas.

Melody Creamed Peas

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 15ounce can peas

Melt butter in small sauce pan. Stir in flour. Cook flour and butter about one minute over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Add milk, sugar, and salt. Cook about 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy, stirring constantly.
Add peas and heat through, stirring often.
This is my lunch today with some homemade bread.
Simple food, simple living. I am one happy girl.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day Two in the Garden - Peas

Yesterday and today I have enjoyed being outside in my garden. There are many days of bed preparation ahead of me. It is good for my body and soul to be playing in the garden. I am looking forward to a wonderful garden year.
After removing last years weeds, amending the soil, and pounding in the pea trellis, my little 2'x6' raised bed was ready for lots of little pretty green pea seeds. Finally a bed is ready to plant. Yea! There is something very satisfying about getting the hose for that initial watering in.

One bed planted. Seven more to go.

Alaska Peas (Wilt Resistant)
Early Maturing
8-12 Days to Germination
58 Days to Harvest - about April 21

Finally! Time to relax and get back to a normal pace.

My I am tired. These last six months have been super busy. One of my goals last year was to join the local YMCA. When that happened it seemed everything else in my life stopped. I became so busy socially that I pushed most of my other goals aside. I will not let that happen again.

2011 Goal Update.
Personal Learning and Development
1. Stay busy and focus on doing good and helping others
-Yes. I remained actively involved in my church callings and as a master gardener in my community.
2. Learn to play every song in the LDS hymnal, all 341 of them
-Incomplete. I learned 224 of the 341 songs.
3. Learn alto part to every song in LDS hymnal
-No. I only learned a few more than I already knew.
4. Learn to preserve by dehydration and bottling
-Yes. Dehydrated green peppers, onions, chives, and herbs. Also learned to make jelly.
5. Learn to propagate a variety of plants
-No. All attempts were failures.
6. Join YMCA for exercise and social interaction
-Yes. Big mistake.
Keep house clean Everyday - quit skipping days (this is the most difficult for me physically)
-No. I still struggle.
Increase food and water storage
-Yes. Increased my food and nonfood storage tremendously.

Remove cedar and bradford pear trees along driveway
-Incomplete. Removed most of the bradford pears, but the cedars still remain.
Prepare fence row (8'x250') for perennials and shrubs
Prepare perennial wildflower triangle at fence/road/pole
Plant climbing vines at both power poles - I hate vines, but this is the only option here
Prepare Orchard area, up to half acre
Built 5 more Raised Beds for vegetables
Build Perennial Herb Raised Bed
Have something edible growing in my garden every day
-No. Borrowed one and decided I did not want an electric dehydrator.
Canning/Bottling supplies

Some goals were met and some were incomplete and some were not at all, but each year I learn and I grow.
Isn't that the real purpose of goals?