Archive for the ‘garden’ Category

Menu August 28-September 3, 2011

August 29, 2011

Crazy week this week! I have garden goodies to can, snacks and food to prep to take with us for our trip, plus we decided to do a quickie camping trip Saturday-Sunday last week for Jason to go salmon fishing in Ludington, Michigan… unfortunately no luck fishing, but our campground was filled with pear and apple trees! We were told to help ourselves, so I brought a small bag of pears home and need to get them canned up this week before we leave.

Sunday: take out pizza (drove home from Ludington, MI)

Monday: baked egg rolls with homemade sweet and sour sauce, steamed broccoli, roasted zucchini
Canning: 1 jar spicy pickled beets, started another small batch of fermented pickles
making homemade instant oatmeal packets for our camping trip

Tuesday: pioneer woman’s sesame noodles, Beet green gratin with homemade ricotta (good use for the rest of our milk before the trip!
Canning: tomatoes and possibly pears
making instant pancake mix for the camping trip

Wednesday: chicken tetrazini (freezer meal), sliced tomatoes, roasted zucchini
making granola bars for the trip

I also froze a bag of elderberries for a future batch of apple cider elderberry jelly.

Thursday-Sunday we’ll be in Indianapolis and all week the following week we’ll be camping in the Smokies!

A Week in Review

August 25, 2011

Most of my free time this week has been trying to figure out our home school plan for this fall. Should we have one? Should we just roll with the days and “school” when we discover something and plan as we go? Well, I decided to have an actual plan. I’ve chosen a theme or book for every week from now until January and we will see how we do. If we follow it, great, and if not, then that’s ok, too. At least we’ll have possible activities when we need them. I’m loosely using Before Five in a Row and have chosen a few favorites to add in, as well as general season themes (apples, pumpkins, leaves, etc).

My general plan (all subject to change at no notice!):
August 21: Bear Hunt/ Goldilocks
August 28: same as above
September 5: We’re camping this week, so all outdoor play/learning/hiking/fishing
September 12: Corduroy and Pocket for Corduroy
September 19: Katy No Pocket and zoo
September 26: Apples
October 3: Owls
October 10: Ask Mr. Bear
October 17: Pumpkins
October 24: Halloween
October 31: Green Pocketbook
November 7: Leaves
November 14: Snow White
November 21: Angus Lost
November 28: TBD We may be in Florida this week
December 5: The Mitten
December 12: Shoemaker and the Elves
December 19 and 26: Christmas
January 2: Caps for Sale

Spring: My Blue Boat, Runaway Bunny
Other ideas: Brementown Musicians, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Princess and the Pea

A lot of it will be very craft focused, but we’re going to do a bit of Handwriting Without Tears with a bit of letter play as the year progresses. Speaking of letters, we spent some time organizing our letter cards earlier this week. I discovered that ice cube trays work perfectly for this!

In anticipation for our camping trip to the Smokies, we started with bears by revisiting We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We made bear masks:

and sorted bears on the felt board:
watched this great video of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt:

We also looked at pictures of lots of different animals that live in the Smoky Mountains and even watched a few videos of bears online.


Adelaide has been doing some learning this week, as well. She is now cruising along the furniture.

We’ve been enjoying our delicious garden bounty all week. It’s so satisfying to fill up the table with food that came right from our backyard.
The other night we had stuffed green peppers, cheese and basil topped tomatoes, coleslaw and squash casserole. Tomorrow we have eggplant parmesan planned now that a few eggplant are ready to be harvested.


Still working away on my Elliebelly knitalong coveralls. I’m about halfway through the first leg so I will update with a new picture soon.

Garden Bounty, or at least loads of zucchini

August 4, 2011

We’re loving our vegetables, fresh from the garden!
Our garden is doing so-so this summer. On the positive side, this bowl of zucchini is staying filled, even though I do my best to cook some every day. Our four zucchini plants are providing us with about 3 zucchini every day, which is great. I didn’t mean to plant four zucchini, but managed to get some of our acorn squash seedlings mixed up with our zukes. Oops!
We’re enjoying roasted zucchini every few days ~ delicious with olive oil, salt and rosemary. It’s amazing on pizza as well, especially if you roast it with some onions, too. I have plans for zucchini calzones tomorrow, and I love throwing it in with peppers and onions for tacos or spaghetti. I haven’t yet baked up a batch of zucchini bread muffins, but of course that’s on my to-do list. Yesterday I baked up some zucchini egg bites that are delicious.
Eleanore disagreed, but they’ll provide a quick breakfast for me, at least. I based my recipe off this one at Naptime Chef, but changed a few things. Here’s what I came up with:

3 c. grated zucchini (one large and one small)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 onion, finely chopped
3/4 c. shredded cheddar
3/4 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. chopped spinach
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a muffin tin, or use silicone liners. Combine all ingredients and fill each muffin tin to the top (they will shrink as they cook). Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until set.
I think next time I’ll also add garlic, but they’re delicious as is!

Our beans are doing ok ~ we’ve been able to have them a few times for dinner. Adelaide seems to enjoy them, and Jason keeps snagging them right out of the garden for a quick snack. Our turnips were eaten by cabbage maggots ~ blech, so I don’t hold out my hope for the carrots or the new batch of radishes I planted. Strange that my first crop of radishes weren’t bothered at all.
Our corn is almost ready to harvest, but we have a nasty earwig infestation. Sigh.
We’ll have our first tomatoes tonight, although our plants aren’t doing too well, as they got a fungus. Our super humid summer hasn’t helped, I’m sure. I don’t see us with a huge tomato harvest this year, which is a huge bummer.

Jalapenos are slowly coming on, as are the bell peppers, my broccoli is starting to head out and my first three eggplants are growing! I’ve never grown eggplant before, so that excites me a bit. The cucumbers are slow this year. Last year we had a great harvest, so it’s probably good that I put up so many pickles last year. I managed to pickle two pints last weekend, but unless they really pick up, I don’t know if I’ll have a lot this year. I did pickle up something new last weekend~ a pint of Egyptian walking onion heads. A little different, and I’m not sure what I’ll use them for, but I read that you could do it, so I decided to give it a try. Not many people use their walking onions, but everything on them is edible ~ the stalks as a green onion, the root or bulb as a cooking onion, as well as the seed bulbs that “flower” at the top.


July 11, 2011

Busy enjoying sunshine and life. I feel like we’re really (finally) getting into the groove of summer. Eleanore has been swimming everyday in her little pool and her newest fun outdoor activity has been washing her bikes with a sponge and a bucket of water. She has spent hours washing them every day. Water play is so much fun!

I loved watching the clothes and playsilks we tie dyed hang in the breeze to dry.


I’m really happy with the way my tie dye came out this time! In the past I’ve stuck with mostly low immersion scrunch dyeing, as the tie dying intimidated me.

Our garden is flourishing. I hope it continues to do well while we’re out of town this next week. We have lots of green tomatoes growing, and tons of little squash and cucumbers, too!

Our first harvest of black raspberries! We transplanted a cane we had growing wild on the edge of our property into our garden area last year and it has done fantastic this year. We should have more by the end of the week. I think this is a great year for black raspberries. While out driving last weekend, we passed by a huge patch of them and pulled over. Jason picked two cups of them in just 15 minutes. We ate half and froze the other half for me to add to our own harvest so I can make jam when we have enough harvested.

And I’ve been baking up a storm. Bagels and hamburger buns and bread galore. The bagels were delicious. I’ve already made two batches.

And the yogurt cheese I made was perfect to top them with, and so easy. Just hang a big dollop of yogurt (I used full fat organic) in either cheesecloth or layered paper towels or coffee filters all day and then mix in herbs.

Goofy girls and first major canning of the season

July 8, 2011

Adelaide doesn’t quite know what to think about solids. She gave me a few terrified looks after being served carrots a couple weeks ago.

but really seemed to enjoy her peas this week.

We are being very relaxed about eating real food at this point, of course. 99.9% of her diet is still mama milk, with solids (green beans, carrots or peas) only occasionally, not even every day. I remember being so worried about Eleanore’s dislike of solids at this point. She really didn’t take to real food until she was 10 or 11 months. It’s wonderful to be able to feel relaxed this time. I know she will eventually get it!

Taking pictures of two girls is exponentially more difficult than just one. One always has a goofy face, or is slightly out of focus, or one or both has food on her face … or all three…

Last weekend we picked cherries, so this week, it was time to can. There is nothing quite like the “thwap” of a canning jar sealing after all your hard work washing, pitting and jarring up goodies. Have I mentioned how much I dislike pitting cherries? Especially sour cherries that are a little soft from being picked a few days prior. Ugh. I know we will appreciate when the pies are made though! 8 pints cherry pie filling, 5 pints sweet cherries in vanilla syrup and 3 pints cherry syrup. The cherry syrup is *delicious* in water kefir, and Eleanore loves it on her pancakes, too.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

June 28, 2011

How does our garden grow? It’s time for our last check-in with the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge!

From compost and dirt in the spring

To full beds and everything growing! Not much to harvest yet, but our corn is huge, a lot bigger than the field corn we’ve seen growing. It was a tough year for farmers, but we’re definitely knee high by the fourth of July. I’m hoping we get good pollination so we have lots of ears, but we’ve never grown corn in our raised beds, so it’s a gamble. They are at the top of a hill with a good breeze that blows through, so hopefully we do ok.

Our cucumbers have their first blooms and the bush beans are up.

Our peppers don’t look so great, but we’ll see. Even the plants we bought seem sort of stunted. Maybe it’s been too wet.

Our tomatoes are growing great, and have started blooming.

Acorn squash and zucchini are growing well, and my catnip and oregano are threatening to take over my herb bed.  I need to cut them back and dry bunches.
I forgot to snap a picture, but our pumpkin plants are doing fine, too.

I’ve been harvesting and drying lots of chamomile and my garlic scapes are ready to be picked, too.
We’ve let our back hill grow wild, so we’ve been picking nice bouquets of wild ox eye daisies and purple hairy vetch for our summer nature table, and red clover to dry for tea.

I failed to snag a picture, but I did manage to make two batches of strawberry jam from a flat of strawberries we picked up at Spicer’s. One with sugar and one with honey and apple juice as the sweetener. Eleanore loved helping me wash the strawberries, measure out the ingredients and count the jars and lids to help me make the jam, and she’s definitely been enjoying the jam on her sandwiches and toast.

I think it might be time to pull out two of our Before Five in a Row books that touch on gardening and expand on some of the activities we rowed last year:
The Carrot Seedgreat resources here
Blueberries for Salactivities here
Jamberryactivity guide here

I’ve finally managed to finish a knitting project. I feel like it’s been weeks. And that’s because it has… It took getting out of town and away from the garden for me to manage to finish this pair of scrappy short shorties for Adelaide.
Hopefully it won’t take me as long to finish the pair of shorties I cast on last night, from Three Irish Girl’s Teague colorway. I bought the yarn intending them to be for Easter, and you can see how that turned out…

I also think it’s time to break out the sewing machine. I want to sew up a quick, hopefully simple skirt for Eleanore. She’s kind of being shorted in the knitting department because it’s summer-time, so I was thinking of maybe this pattern.