Independence Days Update

1.Plant something – green beans, lettuce, dill

We have many eggplant but this is the biggest one right now.

Some dill is seeding along with coriander.

dill seed

coriander seed

2. Harvest something – cabbage, zucchini, lots of herbs, lots of hot and sweet peppers, summer squash, onion, lettuce, arugula, carrot, green beans, green tomato, blackberries, cucumber, new potato.

3. Preserve something – frozen squash, zucchini, herbs and breadcrumbs. Frozen and canned blackberries. Zucchini Relish.

I love this relish but halve the recipe because that is all we can use in a season. I use it in my favorite cole slaw recipe, and on hot dogs.

Link to slaw- Cranberry Cole Slaw.

Make sure you use a 5% acidity vinegar!

The first time I made it, I started to use a cheap off brand and thought to check, while the recipe didn’t specify. That vinegar was only a watered down 4%!

I switched off to a 5% cider vinegar and that worked well.

Zucchini Relish

10 cups zucchini chopped
4 cups chopped onion
3 bell pepper chopped
5 tablespoons kosher salt
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups white vinegar ( 5 % acidity!)
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons celery seed
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Place unpeeled chopped zucchini, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper and salt into a large pot. Cover with water and allow to sit overnight.
Drain water and rinse in cold water. Drain again.
Combine sugar, vinegar,mustard, turmeric, cornstarch, celery seed, nutmeg and ground pepper. Pour over zucchini mixture in pot and cook on low heat about 30 minutes.
Ladle mixture into sterilized pint jars and seal in a boiling water bath.
8 pints

4. Prep something – new garden bed

5. Cook something – new! Roast Cauliflower and Green Beans with Dill.

Just take about 1/2 large head cauliflower and break up along with 2 handfuls fresh green beans. Throw it into a covered casserole ( I like to use my cast iron chicken fryer) sprayed with olive oil spray. Top that with a couple of tablespoons fresh dill weed and lemon slices. Salt, pepper and spray with more cooking spray then cover and roast in 375 for about 30 minutes.
To serve remove the lemon slices and grate some parmesan or asiago cheese on top. I can eat this for lunch by itself.

6. Manage your reserves- rotating canned goods

7. Work on local food systems – No

8. Manage waste- Still throwing on compost heap..

9. Learn something new – I have found a way to help rid my kitchen of garden gnats!

Anyone that brings garden veggies into the house has to know you sometimes carry in gnats too.
Just throw your compost waste in a bucket with a lid on the counter, but place the lid on the kitchen counter while filling. When you get ready to carry the waste to the compost heap slap that lid on top and hold down until you get outside. You would be surprise how many gnats you can transfer back out into the open

Wild Blackberry and Coconut Ice Milk

Key Ingredient is hosting July’s KICK recipe contest and the key ingredient is berries.

Since blackberries are abundant around my home right now I came up with a Blackberry / Coconut Ice Milk.

Lower in calories than ice cream, I also used Splenda. It was better eaten immediately, as storing for later tended to make it crystallize.

I used Thai Kitchen Lite coconut milk, along with skim milk.

Wild Blackberry and Coconut Ice Milk

14 ounces coconut milk — lite
1 cup skim milk
3/4 cup splenda
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 cup blackberries — wild, washed and drained

Heat all ingredients on stove top until about 170 degrees or just about to boil. Don’t allow to boil. Press down on the berries to extract juice into the milk and then cool in the refrigerator about 1 hour or more.

Strain out seeds and place milk into an ice cream maker. Follow manufacturers directions. Better if eaten immediately rather than trying to store it for later.

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit – June 2001

I left the skins on the potato and inverted the tortes onto serving plates to serve. I also used cooking spray instead of a drizzle of oil.

I found that their original suggestion of cooling and reheating didn’t work well, but it could have to do with the potato skins since the original recipe called to peel them.

Hot out of the oven they were very good!

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte – Adapted Bon Appetit – June 2001

1 cup green onions — thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 Yukon Gold potatoes — unpeeled,scrubbed and cut into thin rounds
4 yellow summer squash — cut into thin rounds
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray two 8-inch-diameter cake pans. Set aside 1/4 cup sliced green onions. Toss remaining green onions, cheese, flour, thyme, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend.

Layer 1/2 of potatoes in concentric circles in bottom of pans, overlapping slightly. Layer 1/2 of squash in concentric circles atop potatoes. Spray well with cooking spray oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese mixture. Repeat with potatoes, then squash and cooking spray oil. Sprinkle with cheese mixture and press gently to flatten.

Cover pans with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until tortes begin to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

Invert onto serving plates and cut each torte into wedges. Sprinkle wedges with 1/4 cup green onions; serve.

Description: source from

For Sher- A Celebration of Food

I first ran ino Sher of What Did You Eat in the food blogging medium discussing Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” on someone elses blog.

I never got the chance to meet Sher personally, but I remember she posted that Americans were a “bunch of corn chips” talking about the section in the book about corn.

The comment made me laugh and that was when I began reading Sher’s blog.
I read more than I commented, as the dial-up demons of the day kept me in comment wars with my computer.

I was saddened to learn of Sher’s passing on the 20th of this month.

The Bread Baking Babes are holding, For Sher- A Celebration of Food, today.

Since I first ran into Sher in a conversation about corn, I chose to make her
Jalapeno Corn Pancakes.

We grow our own jalapeno so I don’t have to worry about food warnings out right now about this pepper.

It is funny, but we were also discussing food scares and warnings the day I first began reading
What Did You Eat. It was around that big recall on spinach years back.

Jalapeno Corn Pancakes made a wonderful brunch served with egg, salsa, and sour cream since I lacked the avocado in Sher’s serving suggestion.

I will be missing Sher with the laughter and thought reading her blog, and comments on others blogs, brought into my life. I am sure many others that never met her in this life will be missing her too.

Jalapeno Corn Pancakes

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup masa
1/3 cup corn meal
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup jalapenos — seeded and chopped
(you can reduce the amount if you wish)
1 cup corn — fresh or frozen and

Blend dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend milk, eggs and oil in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix with a large spoon until incorporated. Lumps are okay, do not over mix.

Serve with fried, poached, or scrambled eggs, black beans and avocado slices.

Steamed Carrots with Mint and an Award- In Honor of Sher

Sher of “What Did You Eat” passed away on the 20th.

I see that she even commented on this award that very day.

I will delete posts after this to put this one back at top until after the weekend. I am grieved.

Here is a memorial on Sher from her good friend Glenna, please read it.

Sher will be greatly missed by many.
Goodbye My Friend Sher – by Glenna Muse

The original post

First a local meal and then an award.

Everyone should have heard of One Local Summer. The challenge is to eat one meal within a 100 mile radius every week with the exception of oil, salt and pepper, and spices.

I have not officially participated, I don’t wish to feel I have to ( trying to avoid a bondage situation in my mind) but want to eat local . I have been trying to have many local meals each week and this is one of them.

Local strip steak grilled with Copycat Montreal Seasoning RECIPE LINK – The only non-local items are the salt, pepper, and fennel seed in the seasoning. ( I still have never attempted to grow fennel but hope to try by next year)

Roasted New potatoes – Only non-local items are salt, pepper, and olive oil spray.

Garden salad – non-local items were vinegar and oil, salt and pepper and a bit of cheese.

Steamed Carrots with Mint – The only non-local items are butter, salt, and pepper

The steamed carrots recipe came from Live Earth Farms Newsletters LINK.
This is one newsletter I try to read religiously and is full of just good down to earth recipes.

I must get the link on my link list as I have been visiting for a couple of years now. When I had dial-up I wanted to keep the link a secret, because I didn’t want too much traffic to make the link hard for me to access! 🙂

Steamed Carrots with Mint

4 large fresh mint sprigs plus 1 tbsp. chopped
fresh mint
1 lb carrots — peeled, and if
small, left whole [even with a bit of
green tops attached!]. Otherwise, cut
them into smallish segments or coins
1 tbsp. butter — room temp.
Fleur de sel [if you have it] or a nice
coarse kosher salt or sea salt

undated clipping
serves 4

Carrots are gently infused with a sweet, minty flavor.

Place mint sprigs in bottom of saucepan; place steamer rack in pan. Add just enough water to touch bottom of steamer rack; place carrots on rack. Cover pan and steam over high heat until carrots are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on size. Transfer carrots to a bowl; toss with butter and chopped mint. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
And a YUM-Yum Blog Award !

I was also awarded this wonderful YUMYUM award by Natashya of Living In The Kitchen With Puppies. Isn’t that cool? Now I am suppose to award it to 5 other bloggers.

Scott at Sugar and Lard
I love reading Sugar and Lard because Scott makes me laugh while still providing great ideas and recipes, especially barbeque.

Gattina at Kitchen Unplugged
Kitchen Unplugged never fails to make my mouth water and Gattinas photos are out of this world.

Ali at Henbogle
Henbogle makes me go YUM just looking at Ali’s garden let alone the wonderful food.

Sher at What Did You Eat
What Did You Eat was one of the first food blogs I ever began reading, and Sher never fails to come up with new and great recipes and photos.

JMom at Cooked From The Heart
I lost track of Cooked from the Heart for a while as my slow dial up bogged further and further into dark abbess, but since I have upgraded to highspeed I loved finding JMom again and the wonderful down home recipes, as that is exactly what I love.

Independence Days Challenge

While we know what the Independence Days Challenge was designed for as written by Sharon here.

I thought I might tell what the challenge means to me personally.

As we all know, we can not tell what the future may hold as far as climate warming and food inflation or even scarcity of certain foodstuffs may bring ( I have been having a hard time lately finding short grained rice, has anyone else had this problem? Good bye rissoto for the time being anyway).

This challenge is a way to work toward an independent mindset, while perhaps knowing I am certainly in no way independent for the moment. The more I continue in the challenge the more I come to realize how very much I rely on outside sources.

I do however hope to be prepared ( in my mind with contemplation) to meet any personal challenge that may come my way as we watch the climate change and the world with our food supplies change along side it.

With those thoughts, I continue with my Updates.

Plant something – more lettuce

Some of our eggplant is blooming and I am such a proud parent as this is the first time any eggplant I have planted has made it this far.

Eggplant is suppose to be easy to grow also, so who knows why all my attempts in times past have resulted in dismal failure?

We finally have some cucumbers forming.

2. Harvest something – About the same as last update LINK, with the exception of a few green beans added to that.

I am still anxiously awaiting wild blackberries.

3. Preserve something – frozen squash, zucchini, cabbage, onion.

4. Prep something – nothing

5. Cook something – new!
Zucchini Pizza. I just made a regular pizza with italian dressing drizzled over and grilled zucchini on top. Hubby liked it (but I had to add hamburger as he is a meat eater extremer), and it was very good with some of our dried chili flakes from last season.

6. Manage your reserves – Made a large batch of spaghetti sauce to use up some of my frozen roasted tomatoes. I am afraid our tomato reserve will not last until we have more ripe however. The tomato are really slow this year.

7. Work on local food systems – No.

8. Manage waste – Still throwing on compost heap

9. Learn something new – No

And, just a picture of some wild geese to end with.

While they are pretty they are also nasty things and we got the dogs mainly to keep them at bay. They used to get so brazen as to mess on our decks without the dogs.


PS, of course we have fallen in love with our dogs, they are part of the family!

Banana-Pecan Whole Wheat Loaf

This Banana Pecan Wheat Bread made good french toast because the bread is not cake like, which makes it easy to slice in a uniform manner.

This is a bread machine recipe from Fleischmann’s Yeast, although the link to this particular recipe seems to be gone .

While I was not crazy about the loaf in itself (not sweet enough for a banana bread in my own opinion), it did make some very good french toast.

Banana-Pecan Whole Wheat Loaf (1 1/2-Pound Recipe)

1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1/3 cup water (70º to 80ºF)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine — cut up
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Yeast
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans or raisins

Measure all ingredients, except pecans, into bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer, adding bananas with water.

Process on basic/white bread or fruit and nut cycle, adding pecans according to manufacturer’s directions; use light or medium/normal crust color setting, as desired. Do not use delayed-bake feature. Remove bread from pan; cool on wire rack.

“Fleischmann’s Yeast”
“1 Loaf”
NOTES : Do not make loaves larger than recommended by bread machine manufacturer. Use the 1-pound recipe if your bread machine pan holds 10 cups or less of water. Use the 2-pound recipe if the pan holds 13 cups or more.

Yellow Squash Lasagna

Yellow Squash Lasagna

4 large yellow squash cut thin lengthwise
8 ounces fat free cottage cheese
1 each egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or your favorite
1/4 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
1 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat a stove top grill sprayed with oil. Grill the squash until you get good grill marks.

Mix together well the cottage cheese,egg, fresh parsley and garlic salt.
Place 1/2 marinara sauce in a 9″ casserole then layer

1/2 the grilled squash, cottage cheese mixture , remainder squash and marinara sauce.
Top with the cheeses.
Bake in a 350 preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
Allow to cool a bit before cutting. (It probably won’t hold together anyway but still tastes good)
Top with fresh parsley to serve with (suggestion) a garden salad

Independence Days Update

You can find Sharons update with more updates in the comment section here.
I am running a very late update with the 4th weekend and all.

1.Plant something – more green beans, lettuce

The winter squash is forming.

Tomatoes are forming but very slow it seems.

While the cucumbers are blooming I find it odd that we don’t have cucumbers yet.

The corn is beginning to top.

2. Harvest something – cabbage, zucchini, lots of herbs, lots of hot and sweet peppers, summer squash, onion, lettuce, carrot, squash blossoms, wild raspberry ( wild blackberries are looking large and abundant but won’t be ready to harvest until the end of the month ).

3. Preserve something – tons of dried herbs, frozen squash and zucchini.

4. Prep something – nothing

5. Cook something – new! Grilled Honey Lime Shrimp Link to recipe. You know if worse comes to worse and I had to eat all local, I wouldn’t have the shrimp!

Let us pray.

Dear Lord,
Take the lobster and calamari if you must, but please leave me with shrimp and scallops. I will make do with our pond fish if I have to.

6. Manage your reserves – no I have been extremely lazy it seems.

7. Work on local food systems – No again.

8. Manage waste – Still throwing on compost heap, but forgetting to turn it .

9. Learn something new – Something about myself, I am not very good at maintaining compost and I don’t want to go without shrimp.