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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Busy Time of Year!!

I have to say that every year I never cease to be amazed at the bounty from our gardens, it is amazing just how much grows in such a short period of time,. Thinking back to late April and early May, preparing the gardens, planting the seeds, waiting inpatiently for the first green shoots to appear, then, it seems almost overnight, the plants are established and producing. There is a satisfaction in growing, cooking, and preserving food that you have grown yourself, and an awe in all that is provided for our family, when we are in the garden we feel very close to God!
Well with all of the product out of the garden the canning and freezing has been in overdrive, earlier this summer the green beans and peas were ready, we did about 90 pints of green beans, and a dozen pints of peas. Peas are a lot of work for a little, but I really love peas, and we have had nice time spent together chatting as we shell pea pod after pea pod... Jams are made, the strawberries and black raspberries did well this year, the tomatoes are going crazy, we have put up 63 quarts so far, and more to come, cabbages are looking good, we have a dozen jars of kraut on the go, and another dozen will get started today, green peppers are doing well, we have 5 quart bags of chopped peppers in the freezer, and will be adding to that today. Bags and bags of potatoes and onions are hanging in the basement, and some onions were chopped and bagged an put into the freezer. It is also enjoyable to make meals with most of the ingredients coming out of the garden, we have eaten some of our sweet potatoes, the first time we have grown them, and they were very nice. Our corn did horribly, I think we need to add nitrogen to the soil, but as any gardener knows, there is always next year :)
In addition to all of the harvesting we have been busy with other projects, Dave had to dig up and repair the water pipe coming into the house from the well, it had developed a leak, but is now fixed! I thank God that my husband is always able to take care of things around the house! Dave has also been busy, with the help of our neighbor, putting up fence posts so that the cow pasture can be enlarged, and he had to dig out a tree stump behind the barn so that he can build a lean to for some additional storage. I have been busy sewing, I made a couple of cute shirts for our grandson Henry, a new shirt for Dave, and a couple of shirts for gifts. I am working to finish hand quilting a quilt that has been put aside for a while, my goal is to have it finished by the 14th of September, I work best with a deadline. My next fun little project is to knit a sweater for Henry, winter will be here before we know it.
I love this time of year, the days are beautiful, blue skies, puffy white clouds, low humidity, comfortable temperature, the insects outside make a glorious chorus all day long for us to enjoy, it is truly wonderful. Soon it will be time to clean up the vegetable gardens and let them rest over winter, but by February, when we are inpatient for spring to arrive, we will start planning next years garden and the whole cycle will begin again!
Ways to use some of the bounty from your garden:
Homemade Pizza:
We use a little bit of ranch dressing instead of a tomato based sauce, sometimes we make a wholewheat thin crust, and other times a thick crust, top the pizza with onions, peppers, and tomatoes from the garden, a little seasoning, some cheese, whatever you have handy, and voila - a fabulous pizza for all to enjoy.
Brown up about 1lb of hamburger, add an onion, some potatoes, carrots, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes (if using fresh tomatoes peel them first), celery, a couple cups of broth, season as you would like, I usually add a bit of salt and pepper, and let it cook, this is nice served with cornbread.
Cook tomatoes, diced potatoes, green beans and ham until all vegetables are tender, this is a rich soup, and very nice with cornbread. Generally you do not need to add salt to this, the ham adds enough salt as it cooks.
Egg Mush Sandwiches:
Boil eggs, chop up, add a chopped tomato, add a little mayonaisse, salt and pepper, mix up, serve in sandwiches - this it SO good, even better when served on homemade bread.

Pizza Dough Recipes:
Wholewheat Thin Crust
3 T hot water
3 T milk
1 1/4 tsp yeast
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
1T oil
3 T wholewheat flour
5/8ths of a cup of white flour.

mix first 6 ingredients together, let yeast start to work, add flours, knead, place in a greased bowl to let dough rise, this should take about 20 minutes. Roll out the dough, add toppings, bake in a 500 degree oven for about 10 minutes, or until done.

Thick and Chewy Pizza Dough
3/4 cup of warm water
1 T yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 T oil
2 cups of flour

mix first 5 ingredients together, let yeast start to work, add flour, knead, place in a greased bowl to let dough rise, this should take about 20 minutes. Roll out the dough, add toppings, bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Homemade Bread recipe:
Oatmeal Bread
this makes four loaves, they freeze well, just double bag.
1 cup of wholewheat flour
2 cups of oats
1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
2 T salt
4 T butter
4 cups of boiling water

Mix the above ingredients together, let cool to luke warm.

Mix 2 T yeast with 1 cup of warm water, add to oatmeal mixture.

Add 9 to 10 cups of bread flour, I usually add only 9, and add the last as needed. Knead the dough until it is smooth, about 10 minutes, place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise, about 40 minutes. Punch down dough, divide into four, using a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle, fold into thirds, then roll into a loaf, place into baking pan. Cover the pans, let the loaves rise, about an hour and half, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, just until lightly brown.


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