Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mystery Squash Pie

Remember that squash that Uncle Bubba sent us the other day?

I had a plan.....

Roly Poly Girl helped me carry out my plan..... She scooped the "guts" out of the squash and we got it ready for the oven.

Here it is in the oven. I baked it at 350 degrees for an unknown amount of time- sorry, I didn't look at the clock- just went by smell to know when it was done.

We got all of these seeds out of the squash so while it was cooking, we laid these little guys out to dry. We are saving them for Uncle Bubba to plant next year. At this point I wasn't sure if having these squash in the garden was worthwhile but I soon found out that it was.

This particular squash tastes just like pumpkin when it's prepared in a pumpkin pie recipe. I didn't even put a crust in because I was that unsure if it would turn out a disaster or not. (After all, pie crusts make me nervous and I didn't want to waste the time and effort to create one from scratch if the pie might turn out "yucky")

The verdict- It turned out tasting and smelling just like a pumpkin pie. It is a strange color for one thing. The pumpkin, when done roasting in the oven, turned out a white color. I knew that the kids wouldn't eat a "white" pumpkin pie so I added brown sugar to the pie mixture for some color. It worked. One of the kids didn't even realize I had a "pumpkin" in the house to even make a pie from!

So, it turned out pretty yummy. I told the kids not to eat the last two pieces because we were saving those for Uncle Bubba- afterall, I'm sure he will want to know how his squash turned out.

Later that day, I made a jar of lacto-fermented sauerkraut. I used a combination of 2 recipes. One from the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook by Sally Fallon and the other that you can find here. I had some left over that wasn't going to fit into the jar so I just added some mayonnaise and, the three of us that like "slaw", had a treat.

....and last on the food agenda of the day, my in-laws blessed me with a bag of pears. I have no idea what to do with them but I'll have to do something with them soon.....Any ideas?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Corn Worms, Compost, and Curtains (Not necessarily in that order)...

I've felt kind of mischievous lately. It might come from the wonderful invention called, "vitamins" or something. Hey, I'm not complaining. I'm just glad to be feeling better lately.

I've even gotten the gardening bug. Well, uhm, I guess you could call it, the "next year" gardening bug. Remember that cold frame experiment from yesteryear? I figured one of those old, wooden frames might have another year or two of life in them- a new life so to speak. No one ever goes behind the playhouse in the backyard so, I figured starting a compost pile at the house would be a good venture. It would be out of the way. One of those old cold frames would make a good housing for some rotting good stuff.

Last time, I filled a 5 gallon bucket with scraps and about once a week or so, I took that bucket to Uncle Bubba's farm to join his compost. Now, I'll be able to make my own. My goal is to make enough good stuff to plant my seedlings in next year. With that being said, I'm planning to garden next year. Having not really "gardened" to any large scale this year, I realized that gardening makes me happy. Hey, you just gotta' go with what makes you happy sometimes. It took shucking some corn to make me realize that....but that story is to come....

Here is the beginning of my compost pile. It already has 2 spent heads of lettuce, several apple cores (and a few peelings), the watermelon that was cracked (and we didn't realize it until it was too late), some cucumber peelings, the leftover organic dirt from my cucumber plants, some leaves, and of course, all of the corn shuckings and cobs that you see in the photo.

Where did the corn come from? Uncle Bubba. He gardened pretty big this year even if he got started a little late.

Scott and Go-Cart Boy brought these ears home the other day. We had no idea what condition (or stage for that matter) that the ears were in since the crop had been ready for many days.

"Hey, what are you lookin' at?"

I guess you can figure that my insect loving daughter had a ball finding all of the corn worms. (This corn was totally organic- nothing was sprayed on it so it was bound to have some critters in it).

"This acorn smells like corn"

I've never liked the wiggly critters. Even when I was younger, I always passed the "wormy" corn to my Daddy. (Let me rephrase that- scream and throw the corn down on the ground). He would just reach down, and flick them off and break off the "eaten" pieces. It would gross me out a bit. Have you ever come across "wormy" corn? If you have, you understand how gross it can be. Well, with age comes wisdom. I can now "flick" corn worms and break off the "eaten" parts of a corn cob. Roly Poly girl had no problem with it at all from the start. She didn't get that from me!

This is what we ended up with. The two dark orange cobs were already dried out! In case you were wondering, this corn was an open pollinated variety (heirloom) called "Bloody Butcher". It's an all purpose corn good for roasting, animal feed, and grinding (think grits). Uncle Bubba is going to let a lot of it dry out so we might have a "grits" making post one of these days. I'll have to read up on that before we attempt it though....

Roly Poly Girl found one tiny, little ear. She squeeled, "BABY CORN!!!" and took off for the house to tell her "baby corn" eating brother about it. They actually washed it and halved it. I didn't ask them how it was.

Scott brought some other goodies home too. The yellow guys are some type of Asian melon that taste like cantaloupes. The big squash, we have yet to slice and cook. I hope it tastes like pumpkin. I love pumpkin....mmmmmm

Oh, what did we do with the corn? Since a lot of it was a various stages and it was actually showing it's, "Blood Butcher" hues, I creamed it. I had no idea what I was doing so you can figure that I made a complete mess of my kitchen. (Hence the absence of a creamed corn tutorial) The good news is that everything turned out alright and I ended up with enough for 3 quart freezer bags (and I didn't scorch any of it!!). I'm going to give Uncle Bubba some since he grew the corn in the first place.

The last item on my title says, "curtains" The curtains in question have nothing to do with corn or compost but it was a major event at my house this week. I had seen these curtains at a local home improvement store but shuddered at paying the price they had marked for them. Walking away from the curtain display was a simple thing to do since I'm somewhat frugal at heart. Speaking of being frugal, I went to a thrift store over the weekend and what to my surprise did I find (brand new and still in the original packages)? You guessed it, the very curtains I had sighed and walked away from at the home improvement store. They were more than 80% cheaper (did I mention, brand new and still in the package?!!) Needless to say, my girls have the "girly" curtains that I wanted and they love them. All it took was a quick run under the iron and they were ready to go. I love it when things work out like that... God is good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

This summer in Photos....

Summer around our house has been pretty busy. The bad thing is, I missed a lot of opportunities to take some funny pictures because I wasn't carrying around a camera with me. Oh well, that's alright. There will be other funny moments in time. In the mean time, I did take a few snaps of some things we've done over the past couple of months.

I grew these cuties. Yes, "grew"!! I had ordered these little guys from Baker Creek Seeds and planted them in pots out on the back porch. If you remember, it was part of my "gardening epiphany" project. I managed to keep enough little cucumbers coming in to make one small jar of lacto fermented cucumbers from my 6 or so plants that survived. I gave them to Uncle Bubba since lacto fermented cucumbers are good for the gout. He could use all the help he can get in the "gout" department. They actually tasted pretty good but were a little too salty. The recipe was from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

We went to a birthday party at a local lake. I took this little snapshot of the birdhouse not far from the dock. I have to admit that it made me a little nervous knowing that just some wood planks were the only thing between me and numerous mud turtles.

We threw a few birthday parties......

Go Cart Boy did some "ice" experiments..... quite pretty actually

Uncle Bubba brought some boxes of clay for us to play with. Go Cart Boy made this alien. I made an alligator (he turned out so hideous that I didn't want to share)...

....and last but now least (and probably one of the funniest things) Poppy was bit on the nose by an alligator.... or is that a crocodile?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

SHARK ATTACK!!! (or, what's outside my windows)

It's been quite awhile since I saw something interesting outside my window. Well, this little doozy made up for the months of no excitement!

This is how it ended:

You might be saying, "dead shark". Yep, it met it's match. You see, that guy in the right corner calling 911? He's the cause of this predicament.

Now, this is how it all started.....

Balloon man (in the black shirt- inside the shark's mouth) was apparently trying to help this poor shark out by checking his teeth) The tall guy holding the shark's nose thought he would provide some extra insurance for Balloon Man's safety by holding the creatures snout firmly.

I knew instinctively at that moment that disaster was in the air.......

Notice the guy's arms are bending slowly as the shark is inching pressure down. Balloon man is frantically hurrying to finish his inspection as he knows the danger is rising......

Then it happened..... it was inevitable. The shark broke free of the guy's grasp and swallowed up Balloon Man, the guy holding the shark's nose, and the guy that had been watching from the side line. All that was left was the strong guy in front. He called for help immediately......

This guy, who happened to formerly be a zoologist, leaned over to examine the situation and give his scientific input. The strong guy on the left said, "I'm not waiting for your scientific mumbo jumbo" and he quickly punched the shark in the nose!

"Take that you evil creature!". He moved his position to scope out the situation and see if their were any survivors...

So that is how the situation unfolded (or should I say, "deflated"). The zoologist and the strong guy were the only survivors that sad day. What is the guy doing in the picture you ask? He's calling for help to remove the other three guys from the dead shark.

I have to say that this situation was the most exciting thing that I have ever seen "outside my windows".... Don't you think?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Halloween Goodies at Minnie Maes (sorry- not the eating kind)

I've been busy at the sewing machine lately. The result, you ask? A bunch of Halloween trick or treat bags were born. Last year, I made 3 of my kids a bag each. Do you want to know what I really think about these bags- they are wonderful- and I'm not biased because I made them. They really work, they are durable, they fold up to be stored out of the way, they can be washed, and they are just plain, cute!

Thanks to my fabric savvy sister in law, I was blessed with a bounty of Halloween fabric last year. I had forgotten about the fabric until last week when I came upon the bag of it- buried deep in my fabric "tub". It was actually kind of exciting to pull the bag open and see what she had bought me. I don't know why I didn't look into the bag last year. No matter though, it was nice to get a surprise. There were at least 2 yards of approximately 7 or 8 different patterns. Whoo Hoo!!

Here are just a few goodies that I sewed up from my gifted stash:

This brightly colored trick or treat bag is my favorite because of the bright colors and cute pictures. You can find out more about this bag here.

This is the second bag that I made from this bright orange fabric with owls. Do you want to know what happened to the first one? My owl crazy sister fell in love with it. She got an early Christmas present- even if it was Halloween related.

The bag in the photo is a double lined grocery bag that can be used for all sorts of things. You can find out more about it here.

This is one of my toddler treat bags. They are made especially for small hands to carry. After all, little kiddos like candy too you know! You can read more about this bag here.

Like I said before, these are just a few new goodies so be sure to check out my Etsy shop to find more handmade goodies!