Sunday, August 30, 2009

A pear is a pear, appearantly...

This picture (though somewhat dark) pretty much sums up my weekend. But, I've finished all of my pears! I guess I still have a batch in the dehydrator, but the real work is done.

To be honest, I can't say my sealing rate, minus the stewed tomatoes, is one hundred percent. I forgot that I also did a small batch of beets, and the one pint I did (versus the rest, which were half-pints) did not seal. Travis was happy about it, though, and ate the whole jar in one sitting:) I think all of the pears sealed, so I'm on a roll now, anyways.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

August Harvesting...

I came home from work one day earlier this month, and Trav had picked me a mini supper. The watermelon had needed to come off, and it was a little green; but how sweet is that? (I figured I better put my hand in for reference, or else who would have known they were mini?)

Here is the product of what I am considering to be my first official "start to canning". I refuse to count the stewed tomatoes I did a week earlier, as that would throw off my current 100% sealing rate. One top popped off (which my mom, with years of canning experience, even thought was crazy). And I (know I shouldn't of, but tried to anyways) used old sealing lids. Oh well, live and learn, and probably don't eat. I then went out and bought new lids (side note: which are silver this year; weren't they gold last year? love the silver but they clash with the gold rings) and resealed. Hopefully they are okay to use, as I read about resealing being fine, but I will definitely use the "smell test" first. The one that popped off smelled horribly raunchy, which does make me worry a little; but I'll label them separately. Maybe I just won't use them. I guess I haven't decided yet- its just frustrating when you put all that work into them, and Trav picked me onions and carrots to go in, which I then had to peel and chop; but it is better safe then sorry, so they say. I guess its not like there's an onion shortage. *Picture above is spaghetti sauce.

And finally, terra masu from my Knit Wits party. We had a fabulous spread, thanks to KT. She went all out, and right down to the black berries that my dad picked, most everything was homemade/fresh from the garden. I regret not taking a picture of my table full of fresh vegetables with homemade dip served in half of a green bell pepper (and not typical dipping vegetables, we had zucchini and peppers too, with teeny tiny tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots). As well as tomatoes and cheese broiled on homemade french bread, and of course the terra masu. Beverages included Spring Grove pop and Honest Tea. KT was worried about an hour before the party that things weren't turning out, but she seriously out did herself from last year, which I did not think was even possible. I then stated, "No way you can do better than this next year." Its just not humanly possible. But, she reminded me she will be fresh back from Italy with all new tricks up her sleeves, so I guess we shall see...

Well, time to prep up a giant feast for Trav's lunch and get myself to work.
*We are now followers of The Lingens' new blog. Check out their tomatoes!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beautiful Vegetables

First things first, though...

Trav's new ride-

I thought I would catch up on the pictures I have;
before we have produce coming out of our ears.

Kohlrabis and rutabagas from our soup making days-
Green, yellow, and purple beans-
Purple cabbage-
Can you tell what my favorite color is?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hey Good Lookin'

Here's what's cookin' tonight...

Italian Zucchini Casserole
3 medium zucchini, sliced (about 6 1/2 cups)
3 TBS. olive or vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used fresh)
1 TBS. minced fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups dry instant stuffing mix
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In large skillet, cook zucchini in 1 TBS. oil until tender, about 5-6 minutes; drain and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the onion and garlic in remaining oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic salt and pepper; simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; gently stir in zucchini. Place in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with stuffing mix; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until golden.

Apple Cole Slaw- recipe from

I think Meow is tuckered out from our new schedule. She hardly got up for breakfast this morning, and the whole time I was in the kitchen she was sleeping here on the bed (on the afghan Trav's grandma made :)


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gardening, Victoriously

On July 18, 2009, Trav and I went down to Seed Savers Exchange near Decorah, IA during their annual SSE's Conference and Camp out. Reason being, Trav's sister (under her father's tutelage) gave Trav a hardcover copy of the wonderful Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch. Ms. Damrosch and her husband are both gardeners and authors (check them out at Four Season Farm), and were both speaking at the conference. We did not attend the conference, but Trav did get his book signed! After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, Trav said quietly to Ms. Damrosch, "It's nice to meet you," she signed the book, and that was it. Apparently Steve had a question for Trav to ask her, but neither of them could remember what it was.
After that, though, we checked out the farm, but because it was so busy we did not get see everywhere. We plan to go back at some point, maybe even for the conference next year as the food sounds REALLY good and is all local; as in everything is grown at the farm, or within a 50 mile radius of the farm.
There were example gardens for making salsa, herb gardens, tons of gardens! and an example Victory garden. I thought the sign was neat, especially after Time Magazine devoted a large amount of space towards Victory Gardens this spring, I think when Michelle Obama started one at the White House that apparently echoes Eleanor Roosevelt's from back in the day, and then there's our very own Victory Garden...
Anyways, the whole premise behind Seed Savers is saving and sharing heirloom seeds; they have the largest non-governmental seed bank in the US- now how cool is that?!? I could go on and on about specific seeds, i.e. how they finally found back a certain type of pure Swiss Chard seed in Australia that they had been looking for 10 years for (of course we purchased it along with sweet chocolate peppers, purple tomatoes, Italian broccoli, two kinds of cabbage, and Wenk's Yellow Hots Pepper). It was pretty inspiring for us, for obvious reasons (now I just have to catch up with the weeding again).
So, without further ado, (a small portion of) Seed Saver's Exchange-

Trav checking out the "example" gardens (By the way, a woman shrieked when she saw Trav's SDSU t-shirt, and was sorely disappointed that Trav has never actually been there. He told her he was just a proud brother, and agreed that his sister also thought the new jackrabbit image is just not as good as the vintage version)-
Myself, in the middle of the herb garden- which I bet would be neater earlier in the year before many of the herbs go to seed; but man! it smelled sooo good in there-

Our very own personal Victory Garden (look familiar?)...

Oh, and by the way, in case you haven't heard- We're famous now, too! You can check out our garden, which is now featured in a wonderfully written article, in the Springfield Advance-Press. (OK, they don't have an online paper to check out as they have a circulation of 1,685 according to the MN Newspaper Directory, and you'll have to ask us to see our copy; but Trav's sister wrote us a rave review, and it was pretty neat :).

Happy Gardening,