Friday, July 21, 2017

A TALE OF TWO SUNSETS

Occasionally I like to find two similar pictures but from different perspectives of the city and the farm.  Here is a set...

City Sunset
This is sunset as seen from our balcony in downtown.  Always a pretty sight with the twinkling building lights just coming on...

Country Sunset
And this is the sunset last month at the farm when we spent the night. They both are pretty, in different ways of course, but there is still something about sunset in the country that's just on a completely different level.  It's just the sun and the sky.  





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HOW TO SHRED AND FREEZE ZUCCHINI FOR LATER USE

(see bottom for Thursday update)

Here is what we did with some of our zucchini this first season.  We shredded it and froze it for future use in recipes (zucchini bread).

How to shred zucchini for freezing
I used the shredding disc on the food processor, a miracle tool if EVER there was one in the kitchen.  Wash and cut off each end.


Next, I sliced them into pieces that would fit in the chute of the food processor.  Just by pushing them down, they shred up in seconds.

Shredding zucchini in the food processor
Here's a full batch of shredded zucchini, ready for the next few steps.


I put a mesh strainer in a large bowl (so it sets up above) and allows the liquid to drain.


At this point I mixed in 1 tsp of salt.  This is to help push out the liquid.  I mixed it around with my hands and then just left it alone to sit.


Here it is after about 15 minutes.  
Definitely reduced down.


A lot of liquid drains out.


Did I say a lot?

Yep, that batch produced four cups!  Some people freeze it without the draining step but we heard it can make the thawed zucchini a bit too mushy to be used in baking. The salt is very minimal (and optional) so it doesn't affect anything later.  

Zucchini shreds for freezing
I divided all of it into 2 cup portions, loosely packed, to make the perfect amount for a recipe.

 

I did another batch of zucchini and had another full bowl of shreds.  

Shredded zucchini ready for freezing
We ended up with 3 bags of two cups each for the freezer from this batch.  We already had three other bags from a few weeks ago.

Vacuum sealed shredded zucchini
We used our vacuum sealer to take out all the air so it lasts longer in the freezer.  2nd Man can't wait to make some zucchini bread.

He's never done it, 
anyone have a great recipe?

(I'll catch up on comments tonight)

THURSDAY UPDATE:  We had sporadic internet connection (they are upgrading in the building) and so it was just too hard to try to reply and to put up a new post.  I could try from the phone but these 50+ year old eyes aren't cut out for THAT much phone time.  More later when we know it's up and running!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

NEW COLORFUL BIRDBATH

 Was at a grocery store the other day (of all places!) and they had these outside the entrance.  I was hooked immediately.  They are glazed and painted terra-cotta.  I took pictures of them and brought them home to decide.  We decided that any one of them would be fine. Bright colors and best of all?  These were only $25 EACH!!! 


I liked this one the best...but they only had one.  Of course when I went back, it was gone.  


This was second choice...


This was third but really, any one of them would be perfect.  

Ceramic glazed terra-cotta birdbath
This is the one we ended up with and here it is in its new home at the farm.  We put it in the corner flowerbed by the porch stairs, replacing the concrete one.  What will we do with the concrete one?  Oh, we definitely have plans for that one.  
Hint:  Future bees will love it.  

We love that it adds color and interest that will be there year round.  Heck at this price, if the red one reappears, perhaps I'll pick it up too. 

Can you have too many birdbaths?

Monday, July 17, 2017

RANDOM MONDAY MUSINGS

For those that saw the post yesterday, you know our weekend was a washout.  But we did manage to get a few things done since I didn't have to mow.

Dried okra pods for crafting
We have been leaving a few okra on the plants each week so that they can dry out.  Why?  Not for seed saving (already have some of those).  These, and a few more, will be saved for some holiday craft projects. Hey, as fast as it comes in, if we can't eat all of it, we might as well use it for something else.

Harvest Monday
Here's our harvest for the week some eggplant and more fresh jalapeños.  The jalapeños are being diced and flash frozen (like we posted about HERE) for use while cooking throughout the year.


Remember the great Alaskan basket I found that someone had discarded?  And we were going to use it for the random feathers we had found at the farm?  OOPS!  The feathers are a bit too big.  

Time to come up with a Plan B for the basket.

Funnel cloud?
I posted this picture yesterday but for those that missed it, I thought we'd share it again because it's kind of neat...in a creepy kind of way, ha.

There were funnel clouds reported all over this part of the state and when I was driving back into town, I saw this, pulled over and took a picture.  Several other people stopped too.  We all debated what it might be but decided it was best not to stick around to find out.  Nothing came of it but it looks like just maybe "something" was trying to happen.  Yikes!

Homemade Italian cream cake
And now for something delicious looking (and I think quite beautiful).  I say "looking" because I don't get to eat it!  BOO!  2nd Man made this Italian cream cake for a coworker's birthday.  This is what they requested.  Fortunately, I have had the joy of tasting this when he has made it before (delicious!).  And yep, I'll have to get him to share the recipe one of these days (he's worked hard to perfect it, getting him to turn it loose might require some bribery, ha).  

This coming weekend is supposed to be dry, so hopefully we can get out there and get some more stuff done.  Of course it will probably be 110, sigh.   

Hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

WEEKEND WEATHER WASHOUT


I didn't have to mow, the grass is brown and patchy and hasn't grown much...


I did edge, all around the fruit trees and the house and barns and flowerbeds.  That's always a relief.  It was hot for most of the afternoon, we got close to 100 until the clouds started building...


The rain was coming. I love seeing the rain in the distance raining in just one area...


But it kept coming and getting darker... 


And darker...


Not entirely sure if this was one, but there were reports of funnel clouds in the area (and we were under a tornado warning at one point).  I pulled over on the side of the road to take this picture.    


The farm is that little dot in the middle of the red (heaviest storms/rain).  This was yesterday when I got back into town.  The drive back was pretty intense. 2nd Family said we ended up with about 2 inches of rain...and today is more rain.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

OFF TO THE FARM BEFORE THE RAIN

Yep rain in the forecast for later today and all day tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and well, you get the picture.  It's shaping up to be a wet week.  But you know what?  We don't mind, it's been very dry at the farm.  In town has had some nice rains but the farm has been hit and miss, with more misses than hits.  

Not even sure I'll have to mow, but one thing for sure, it IS hot.  There won't be much done outside today.  Oh I DO have to edge.  Been putting that off, ugh, but have to do it.  Also going to see if I can do some work on the porch today, assuming I don't have to mow.  The porch is getting a little out of control because it's just so easy to put stuff on the porch and leave it "for next time".

Pics and updates later!


Friday, July 14, 2017

SLOW COOKER LINERS

Several of you asked about these in the post the other day about our slow cooker pot roast.

Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners
 They are made by Reynolds and are PTSP free so that's good and, hopefully, safe.

They have them at most grocery stores we've been in but of course you can always find them in different quantities HERE AT AMAZON.


Since I didn't take closeup before and after pictures of the liner with the pot roast, I looked through my photos and found these from one time when I made the yummy slow cooker BBQ ribs.  

Put your bag in first.  It's a large bag so it fits all sizes and shapes, with the excess just hanging over the edge.  Add the ingredients, pop the lid on and cook. These ribs were in for about 7 hours...

Slow Cooker Liners
...then just take the food out when it's done (obviously be careful with knives and/or forks) and lift the bag out. Remember, it will probably have a lot of liquid in it.  


It leaves your crockpot just as clean as it was when you started. Honestly though, we don't use them all the time, heck half the time I forget to buy them, ha.  It's not the end of the world if you don't use them but for something that makes cleanup a bit easier, they are worth it.  Especially for something that might be sticky or really messy.  Obviously you wouldn't use these for a slow cooker soup or stew.

Hope this helps!



Thursday, July 13, 2017

PATRIOTIC FLOWER BEDS, INSPIRATION THURSDAY

Every Thursday we like to post a picture of something we've found online that inspires us to do something similar at the farm.  
Sort of our own blog bulletin board so that we can eventually look back and someday, hopefully anyway, recreate it...enjoy!

Image via Pinterest.com
This was supposed to post last week (closer to the 4th) but I got the dates backwards, oh well, better late than never.  Anyway, while looking at flowerbed ideas, we saw these and thought it was a cool "someday" idea.  It's such a neat thing to do, plant flowers that are in colors for a holiday, especially the 4th of July.  What a great idea.

Image via Southernliving.com
So pretty, especially if you had company coming over, how neat it would be to have at least a flower bed devoted to something like this.  Hmm, I wonder about having a dedicated "holiday" bed in the yard?  Red, white and blue for Summer, maybe yellows and pinks for Easter and Spring, orange and yellows in Autumn?  Could be kind of fun. 

Be inspired!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

SLOW COOKER POT ROAST RECIPE

2nd Man loves when I make this.  Of course, I don't have to do much at all and it gives him a day off from the kitchen as well, ha.  

It's a slow cooker (or crockpot as it's also called).  


I try to make it as easy as possible.  I get a 4lb chuck roast because it has lots of connective tissue that melts over the long cooking process and makes for tender meat.  I season it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  You could really use whatever flavors you like at this point.


 Then to make it even easier, I use a 16oz bag of baby carrots...


And a bag of small potatoes, this was a variety of round potatoes but we use fingerling at other times as well.  The small size is great because I don't have to cut them up first.


Here is a great way to speed things up for the morning of prep.  The night before, I put some sliced mushrooms and onions in a bag.  There is also some parsley in here because we had some on hand.  Again, this is all to taste, more onions if you like them, less if you don't. 


I put the roast in first.  Some recipes call for browning it first in a skillet and that does work but we enjoy it just as much without doing that.  Then the potatoes go on top of that (I put things in the order of what takes longer to cook)...  


Carrots on top of that...


Onion and mushroom mixture on top of carrots...


And I didn't get a picture of the measuring cup but this is simply 1 cup of beef broth mixed with 2 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce. 

You can add other seasonings to taste, some people mix it with a packet of onion soup mix, others use Italian seasoning. We find the onions, salt and pepper, garlic powder, broth and Worcestershire sauce add plenty of flavor.


Pop the lid on, set it on low and 8 hours later...


We come home to this!  

Slow cooker pot roast and vegetables
It's so good, so easy and best of all, after working all day, it's nice to just have it done and not have to worry about "what's for dinner". 

What about y'all?  
Do you have a favorite slow cooker pot roast method?