Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

The chicken dressed up for Halloween.
Happy Halloween!   

Here's a picture of Melissa from Indigo Bath and Body.  It's not every day you get to see a cute ghoul on a tractor!  They make really good soap too!

In case you've been busy, or in a funk like mine, here is how to cook that Halloween pumpkin: How to Cook Pumpkin

The mum dressed down for Halloween.
Then a multi-use tasty recipe (that's not pie) to use the pumpkin mush: Pumpkin Cake, Cookies, Everything

Real plant info for gardening: What To Plant In October

And then some silly posts to make you laugh:

Hmmm...I'll get right on that.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fundraiser (Party)

I did not make this or take this picture.
I'm going to this event this weekend: Potluck for Peace.  If you have a heart, you should come too.

One of the hostesses, Hollis Gillespie, is an old, dear friend.  Or not, but I do know her and it's a good cause.  Sometimes you need to pay it forward.  Sometimes you need to repay the karma bank.  Either way, bring your brownies to get your brownie points at this fundraiser on November 2.

If you don't, you will need to leave a message for me on the Facebook page to arrange a time to weed the lettuces we are growing for the North Gwinnett Co-op (food bank.)  If you don't pay the Karma bank for your transgressions, Instant Karma's gonna get ya.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dove..Rhymes With...Shove

As a warning to my future self?
I'm starting to come out of a two day funk.  Maybe a four day funk for those that had to put up with me, but a two day funk for me.

Even chocolate didn't help.  In fact, it just made me mad.  The Dove caramel filled chocolates have awful fortunes on them.  The Dove milk chocolates  say things like, "You are the star for which all nights await."  Awesome.  Whatever woman wrote that really knew what to say to a friend in a funk.  

The caramel filled Doves where written by a guy with a cliché thesaurus. Example: 

"Hey, why not?" - Maybe they should go ahead and say, "Hey y'all!  Watch this!"  In Columbia, South Carolina...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Save the Tom Toms! Freeze Warning!

Me mum is from the frozen North.  Michigan.  It's near the North Pole.  Just kidding.  If it was near the North Pole the summer would be long enough for tomato plants and theirs wasn't.

She told me a trick for continuing to get tomatoes after winter has come.  I tried it last year on a very limited scale and it worked in a very limited way.  I don't remember what exactly went wrong, but it involved my lazy negligence.  I remember that part.

This year I am going to try saving tomatoes on a much bigger scale, mostly because I have a much bigger tomato-again harvest to save.  (FYI: tomato-again harvest is the one you get from indeterminate tomato plants as the summer wears on and they look like grasshopper poo but keep producing.)

Mom's method, that her family used successfully every year as she grew up was to...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dehydrator Dinner - "Sun" Dried Tomaotes

There was a restaurant in Memphis called Ciao! that had this delicious entree with sun dried tomatoes, a lot of olive oil and chicken.  I was trying to recreate that oh-so-tasty dish with my newly dehydrated tomatoes. 

Yummy!  It worked!  (How often do you hear that?)  Restaurant quality dinner for the whole family was made from one chicken breast, a handful of dried tomatoes and green peppers, a clove of garlic and half a bag of egg noodles.  Topped it with Parmesan cheese.  Here's the recipe:...

Let's Talk Tea

Let's talk tea.  If you serve tea but don't drink it, this is important so keep reading.  Most of anybody in the whole world is not as fanatical about tea as me.  I understand you don't give a rat's hindquarters about those flowering teas that open in the clear teapot.  Those are scary, for real.

Sweet tea.  Is a food that should...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chickencatraz Update

We're Out!!
The boys didn't have to wait long to chase down the escapees again.  The eight-foot fence didn't do a thing to keep the chickens contained.  They lined up like planes on a runway, diagonally across the pen to get the longest acceleration.  The celebratory squawk and flap could be heard from inside the house each time a hen was liberated.

I don't know why...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Check Out The Drunken Botanist!

The squirrels aimed well, but my avoidance tactics were better.  I made it to the table of sharp-cornered new books and surveyed the choices.  Then I went to meet the author.

Amy Stewart, one of the writers behind the popular Garden Rant blog I have guest posted on.  She has just released: The Drunken Botanist on Algonquin Books.  If you like eating and drinking the same boring food everyday, this book is NOT for you.  This book covers plant uses and combinations to add a little zip to your mix.

One of her older titles drew me in though: Wicked Bugs.  Nothing says "mother of boys" like a middle aged woman buying a book about bugs that aren't garden and house pests just creepy crawleys that are creepy. It's a great motivator for boys to read and unlike the 'Diary of...' books, all homonyms are really the correct word they should be.  I'm sure I knarled the grammar up explaining that, but you get it, right?  They kids can learn the correct spelling and word usage by reading.  I like that.  We are past the days when my goal is just to get them to hold a book or read anything.  Wicked Bugs has real science material along with correct word usage.  Amy Stewart is out to win the heart of every mother of a boy who hates to read.  

Now there is even a traveling educational exhibit of Wicked Bugs.  Awww.  They are so cute.

You have not missed the opportunity to thank this lovely author or get her to sign your copy!  She is in Atlanta again today and here is a link to other dates on her book tour!

Growing Money Plan: First Harvest

Bugs ate the first crop. #2 is doing well!
Today I harvested the first vegetables from the Growing Wealth Plan!  The mixed greens made three salads.  I have a big, ripe tomato too and some green bell peppers.  A HUGE bell pepper is hanging off the end of the patio.  It will be red soon.

These salads would have...

Our Costumes Aren't Ready Yet

Cinderella's Carriage
A giant pumpkin is sitting on my patio.  I passed it this morning and my stomach dropped.  I am an unfit blogger and they my ban me from the internet if I don't start posting Halloween decorations.

This pumpkin was (is) going to be Cinderella's carriage.  I carved one in college for the pumpkin carving contest and lost but got on the front page of the college newspaper.  Fat lot of good it did me in college when I needed the coat and the grocery gift card.

But THIS TIME it was going to bring me more page views and Pinterest followers.  Except it's not done and I got a Pinterest email two days ago called "Last Minute Halloween Ideas."  

Isn't Halloween next week?  Last minute is sending your 4-year-old trick-or-treating in his camouflaged warm-ups with...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Luffa Sponge Pizza

I made luffa sponge pizza Friday and again tonight.  Friday's was better.  I hope it wasn't just beginner's luck, because I plan on making it again.  It was good.

I grew the tomatoes, pureed them and cooked them into a paste that I used for Friday's pizza.
Today's pizza was the same tomatoes, pureed and cooked to a sauce rather than a paste.  Go with the ...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flip-Repotted The Growing Money Salad

The flip-repot technique.
There was a little turbulence with the lettuce.  The soil sank to a level that made it hard for the lettuce to get enough light and the plants stretched.  It's not a fatal problem like the caterpillars.  In about 5 minutes it was fixed, but it took a week to recover.

First, I found...

Garden Rant

Have I told you all I have another article on Garden Rant?

Well, I did and it's funny so you should read it.  It's about people stealing things from my garden.  Yeah.  Produce theft.  That's hilarious.  I'm not sure.

Here's the link: Vegetable Thief Master Class  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Vegtables in 7 Days!

Microgreens should be in your winter plans. 

They can be grown indoors so quickly that you won't kill them before they are ready to eat.

Since they can be grown inside, it doesn't matter if you live in a high-rise or a cold zone.

They are nutritious and provide a connection to gardening that can keep you sane.

I've written about them before, so check out the more extensive article: Microgreens! Vegetables in 7 Days!

The YouTube video is very popular too: Grow Microgreens! Vegetables In 7 Days!

Get some groceries in 7 days!  Well, 10-14 days if you keep them cold.

Really, you won't believe how much better you feel when you eat fresh, home-grown vegetables in the middle of winter.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What To Plant In October!

Plant some LETTUCE already!
Lettuce plant some cilantro and dill.  Lettuce plant some broccoli and turnips.  Lettuce plant some royal oak leaf lettuce, tatsoi, mizuna and red romaine. (Red romaine will happily grow in the lawn.  Ask me how I know.)  Lettuce plant some Lola Rosa Lettuce! Lettuce! Lettuce!  Plant some already!

It's such a great time of year to plant.  You can go out in the sun without becoming a crispy critter.  It rains often enough that watering is minimal.  Even if you just go out into the rain and throw seeds onto the garden, they will usually come up.  We'll get back to that in a minute.

It's also a great time to find free organic matter to add to your garden.  Leaves are THE BEST.  If you suck them up with the lawn mower, they will be chopped into smaller pieces.  Smaller pieces mean faster composting.  I just dump them straight unto to garden and turn them under.  Ain't Nobody Got Time For That composting stuff.

There is one sneaky vegetable that...

Dehydrator Débâcle

Drying.  Fewer burns than canning.
"Just go out and buy a dehydrator."  That is what I recommended.  I don't get out much.

Dehydrators are not available in stores.  Now they have juicers and food savers.  (Does anybody else get creeped out by hunks of red meat vacuum-sealed in plastic?  I'm the only one?  That's fine.  Just asking.)  

But garlic chicken with sun-dried tomatoes over pasta is on my winter list.  My Sunday Winter list.  With a dehydrator, I can make lemon grass tea!  Hot pepper flakes!  Christmas gifts!  I will save money!  I must have a dehydrator.

The link to buy one is in the right column.  That is where I got mine.  You can order them online or special order them, but don't expect to, "just go out and buy one."

The tomatoes have been staring longingly at the link.  They are practising their, "What's a nice dehydrator like you doing in a place like this?"

I ordered extra...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Try Eating A Luffa Sponge!

The wide spread belief that anything sautéed in butter with garlic is delicious.  So that is how the luffa was cooked.

When the thought of a strange new food is sooooo scary, drown it in butter.  And garlic.  Or just butter.

These are the luffa sponges we started with.

They got sliced to disguise them a little.  It's always best not to know what you are eating if you are afraid of it.

Then I cooked them.  With a lot of butter and a half clove of garlic.  We didn't have anywhere to go that day.

This was the third time I attempted...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ogre Teeth

Quick! Halloween is coming!  Flip your vampire teeth upside down and you will have OGRE TEETH!

Tomato Finale! How to Stake Tomatoes Long After I Should Have

We can't mow here anymore.
Many tomato support systems have tried and failed, mostly by being too short.  As a small person, I will have to contemplate my feelings about that for a few years and maybe get some counseling when it inhibits my ability to function.

These are some of the ways I tried to stake the overgrown tomato plants:
  • Traditional tomato cages...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dry It before you Buy It.

Maybe I should have planned better.  OK, not maybe. 

Did you ever see some article or video that just clicked?  It made perfect sense and (for a change) you jumped in with follow-through

I saw this video on YouTube of this guy and his giant (wait for it..)
dehydrator he built from some windows and an outhouse looking shed thing.  Man! He had done so much!  Impressive.  Motivational. Sign me up. 

The next day I ran across an ingenious little greenhouse on clearance.  It was still $45 even after the mark down but I bought the cute contraption anyway.  Off-label uses may include turning it into a tiny vegetable drier.  At least that was my off-label use.

You see, even stored fruits and veggies taste better if you use good quality produce.  Jam is tastier from ripe, local berries.  Dried tomatoes are zestier from dark-red, ripe tomatoes.  The quality of your produce impacts flavor down the line, like dominoes.  My foodie child and I love good tasting food all year, not just during pesto season.  And he's already eaten the jam.

Here's what to do (or do differently)...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crunchy Critter Cookies

 This link has been open on my computer forever.  These look really good and the guy who made them said his family, including the kids, ate every crumb because they really were as good as they look. 

Still can't do it.

The UN recommends it and so does my cat.  But my cat eats some stuff that smells really awful.

Seems in Europe this is becoming very trendy...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Growing Money - 6 Veggie Update

Pick the big lettuce leaves and more grow from the center.
It has been three days since I shaved that first leg.  Having a hairy left leg should bother me, but it doesn't.  I'm going to blame it on the MS. It's hard to shave that second leg when your body is made of cement.  So the rest of you need to pony up.  With pictures.

If you are growing the vegetable containers to improve your diet and reduce your grocery bill, I wish you'd send some pictures.  The rest of the readers do too because they are tired of seeing the same pictures I took weeks ago.

Lucky for them!  I took some new ones!   My sister followed the plan and beat the tar out of me.

She got tomatoes!  Peppers!  She just planted the squash seeds.  

You know how psychologists say...

Monday, October 7, 2013


There are a few things that I never want to do, have or have to do.  I call this my UN-BUCKET LIST.

Thompson Smith used to grow pumpkins and we used to buy them to sell at the garden center.  One year, Thompson got a disease.  Wait, just Thompson's pumpkins got a disease, one that nobody had ever seen before.

Poor Thompson.  I think they named the disease after him, or let him make up the name or something.


What's on your un-bucket list?  I'll be adding to it regularly, sometimes with just pictures.  Please add yours as well.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Cookies!

Should have taken the pic before I ate most of it.
HERE IT IS!  The be-all and end-all recipe for pumpkin.  The only pumpkin recipe you will ever need to make pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins or pumpkin cookies!  

Yesterday I made it and used the same batch of batter for both the cookies and the loaf.  I told the kids if they emptied the dishwasher I would make more today, but they didn't.  My husband asked them to all day.  After I went to bed I heard him emptying the dishwasher.

This recipe started as a cookie recipe, but a very soft, cake-like cookie (see picture.)  The softness is what triggered the idea to make it into pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cake.  I was surprised how dense the muffins and cake were.  Add a couple extra eggs of you want a fluffier loaf...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Easy Cheater's Recipe: Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin is one of our favorite veggies these days.  When the fam sees the pumpkin on the counter, they dance.  Even the engineer.

I've been recalcitrant in my duties cooking the pumpkin mush, so last night I scooped it into one cup portions, dropped each in to a baggie, flattened them and stacked them in the freezer.

Only one thing comes from processing and storing your fresh produce: a burst of energy and cravings for the very food you just stored for the winter.  Another reason to plant a winter vegetable garden: there will be nothing left from summer.

This morning it is the Easy Cheater's Recipe For Pumpkin Pancakes: