Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Planting and Seeding for Spring 2011 has Started!

I never thought I would ever be so excited about Spring showing up and I cannot wait! As you can see from the title, seeds have been started on their journey. The same vegetables from last season have been started and a few more have been added.

I know I may be running a bit early as far as starting seeds but there is conflicting information online about last frost date for my area. It varies from January 2nd and covers up to mid April. I figure if I start them now, and depending on how the weather goes, they will be pretty much ready for anytime I need them. 

I wanted to grow most of the same vegetables as last season but add a few more and I think I can accomplish this. 

Full List of Crops:

Peppers:
Bananas
Green Bells
Habaneros
Poblanos

Tomatoes:
Early Girl
Moneymaker
Yellow Pearshaped

Squash:
Acorn 
Butternut
Spaghetti  

Carrots:  Danver Half-Longs
Cucumbers
Eggplant: Black Beauty and Front Runner
Honeydew Melon
Radishes: China Rose Winter, Crimson Giant, Sparkler 
Snow Peas
Yellow Onions


I know it seems like too much but it is not that much more than before. I also plan on adding potatoes, and maybe a few more. I actually still have some plants that have survived this long and I will see how long they set fruit. 

The raised beds are pretty much ready for when these new plants are ready to be added. The compost in the bin is looking good and should also be ready for the beds. The adishes, carrots and snow peas have  been directly sown into the ground. I do not know how they will work out but there is only one way to find out. 

I wonder if I have any readers that are gardeners themselves that would like to share what they are planning on growing this coming Spring. 

Luis

Monday, December 27, 2010

My New Toy: Salad Dressing Mixing Bottle

My mother in law has been a great resource for my gardening and she keeps on giving. I received a few gifts from her this holiday season but there is one that I am simply ecstatic about. I love cooking and I had never seen anything like this, until now.  It is not something that needs to be plugged in or turned on by any means. 

As you saw from the the title of this post, it is a salad dressing mixing bottle. There are many salad dressings that say they are all natural and some actually are but not all. These dressings come with a heftier price and some things that may not really be all natural at all.  By simply mixing the ingredients myself, I know that what I am eating, really is all natural. 

The idea is simple, follow the healthy recipes right on the bottle. There is no need to guess at the amounts of each as the bottle has a "ruler" of sorts right on it. The recipes are fairly simple and most kitchens already  have these items. 

I did not ask where the gift was purchased but I did find it online at a fairly reasonable price. I found it at Sur La Table for under $5 but I am sure other places carry it. 

I just thought I should share this great kitchen tool with everyone. 

Luis

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fruit Compote

I am back with another recipe and this one is my new favorite. I was in the mood for fruit but not in the conventional way. A quick online search brought up many recipes for fruit compote but they all had the same idea.

Ingredients:
Fruit: Fresh or Dried (Include fresh apples and pears to add real substance. )
Honey (to taste)
1 cup of Wine

Directions:
1. Peel apples and pears.
2. Dice all fruit.
3.Add fruit, honey, wine and water to saucepan.(Use enough to water to cover fruit)
4. Cook until all fruit is tender.
5. Remove fruit and leave just the liquid.
6. Cook down the liquid into a thicker liquid.
7. Add fruit into liquid

There are many ways to eat the compote and I will start you off with a few:

Serving Suggestions:
1. Pour over pound cake and vanilla bean ice cream. (add fresh strawberries to garnish)
2. Top off toast, that has been cut in half, is also amazing. I used blueberry toast.
3. Eating it cold or hot by itself also works.

Well, I give you a starting point and it is up to you where to go with it.

Luis