Sunday, September 24, 2006

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake always tastes better when the carrots are fresh from the garden. This cake is for a co-workers birthday tomorrow. I made a dozen cupcakes as well and my son has pretty much inhaled them! Posted by Picasa

Canned Tomatoes

I canned 6 quarts of tomatoes today. These will taste so yummy when I make my wonderful Chicken Chili. Canning tomatoes is so easy. You just plunge the tomatoes into boiling water to losen the skins and then peel them. Cut into the size pieces you want (or keep whole). Heat to boiling and fill jars. Adjust lids and process. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Miscellaneous Garden Thoughts

This has been a good gardening year - and it isn't over yet. I love the crisp fall days - and Football (well the Green Bay Packers).

I dug the last of the potatoes out of the garden this weekend as well as the parsnips. I boiled them up with some carrots, onions and garlic and then I mashed them with margarine and fake sour cream (we don't eat dairy in our household - my child is on a restricted diet) and my were they yummy!

The raspberries are doing well - especially the yellows. I just throw them all in the freezer for now and then when I have time I will pull them out and make jam. I opened the last jar of yellow from last year a couple of days ago and I think I know why you don't see yellow raspberry jam sold commercially. No matter how wonderful it looks when it is fresh, within a couple of months it starts to discolor on the top - the jam still tastes wonderful, but it doesn't look so hot. I don't know how to prevent that. If it were up to me I would just make jam with all of the colors of raspberries mixed together but Dan really likes the yellow so I separate out the different colors and make black, yellow and red raspberry jam.

The tomatoes are also doing well. I made tomato soup yesterday and I canned 5 pints of tomato sauce today. I might make some fresh salsa tonight - we'll see if I feel like it. I should can some more tomatoes but I don't know when I will have time.

Next weekend is the Cranberry Festival in my hometown of Warrens, Wisconsin. It is the only time any more that I see my brothers and sister. It is always a good time. For more information: If you live in the area, you really should check it out.

Then I have to go to Atlanta for a conference for work on Tuesday the 26th and I won't be back until Saturday. Not much time for gardening - good thing the garden can pretty much take care of itself this time of the year - heaven knows Dan wouldn't know how to take care of it.

I hope everyone else out there is having a great fall as well.

Brussells Sprouts

The Sprouts are looking good. They are laying down and crushing the basil (which you can see in the background), but they always seem to lay down. I tried staking them one year and they just pulled the stakes down. I just try and plant them near something that will either support them or be done before they start falling over. We ate some last night for dinner and they were very tasty! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hot Chili Peppers

The chili peppers are turning red. Posted by Picasa


Kind of a fuzzy picture - but the pumpkins are turning orange - we will have pumpkins for bread and pie! Posted by Picasa

The Sunflower Fort

The Sunflower Fort has gotten really tall now and the flowers are finally blooming - I hope the seeds have a chance to mature. The ones in the right are leaning way down - a storm a few weeks ago bent them down - but that is actually cool because they are at Andy's level and he has been watching the flower first bloom, then insects walking across it and now he is getting to see the seeds develop up close. Posted by Picasa


Today's picking of carrots. I grow many varieties - from baby to big and both yellow and orange. The one yellow one there if you can't read the tape measure is 13 inches long. There were a lot of interesting shapes in this batch - again not sure how well they show up. Interesting thing about the yellow carrots is that I think they taste the same as the orange, but my little carrot man (who could live on carrots and fruit if I let him) won't eat the yellow because he thinks they taste icky - I think it is all about the color for him! Posted by Picasa

Green Beans

Hard to believe that the green beans are producing heavy now when the weather is so cool. I thought I had lost them during the extra hot summer. If you can't read the scale it shows almost 2 lbs - that is what I am picking daily - in September no less! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Making Zuchinni Dill Pickles

Cut up 2 pounds of small zuchinni and two medium onions Posted by Picasa

Preparing the Zuchinni and Onions

Layer the zuchnni and onions in a small crock or a bowl made of glass or ceramic. Sprinkle each layer with pickling salt - do not use regular table salt. Cover with water and weight down the top with a small plate or bowl. Let sit for two hours. Posted by Picasa

Prepare the brine

Use two cups of vinegar and two cups of water. Add fresh dill from the garden, or dill seed and pickling spices. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Posted by Picasa


After the brine has simmered for the 5 minutes, add Zuchinni and Onions and bring back to a boil. Turn off, cover and let sit for two hours, stirring occasionally. Posted by Picasa

Preparing the Jars

Use clean jars. Check the rims to make sure there are no cracks or nicks that will interfer with the seal. Then put fresh dill and garlic in jar before filling with the zuchinni and onions. Posted by Picasa

Getting the air bubbles out

It is really important to run a knife along the edge all around the inside to get the air bubbles out. Trapped air bubbles can cause a bad seal. After putting the seals on , process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. Posted by Picasa

Finshed Pickles

The pickles should set for at least a week before opening - longer is better if you can keep your children away from them. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The start of spaghetti sauce.

My helper is helping pushing the tomatoes through the press as I turn the handle. Posted by Picasa

Tomato Press

Making the sauce - you can see my helper sitting on the table in the background. Posted by Picasa

Tomato Juice to cook down

My 20 quart stock pot is 3/4 full - now I will cook it all down to the right thickness Posted by Picasa

Seasoning the sauce

The sauce has cooked down and I have moved it to a smaller pot and added fresh basil and garlic from the garden - I will cook it down more and add more ingredients later - but I like to have the basil and garlic flavor really cook in. I will remove the basil leaves when I add the next ingredients. Posted by Picasa

Adding the next ingredients

I saute up onions and bell peppers from the garden before adding them. Posted by Picasa

The canned sauce

I processed the cans in a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. Posted by Picasa