Friday, May 27, 2016

Our New Obsession: Indoor Gardening

As many of you noticed, up until a week or so ago we were away from our blog for quite a long time. The biggest reason was a new project (which I should have been writing about, but didn't)- a garden room.

We call it a garden room instead of a greenhouse because it is heated year round and is connected to our house. The room is heated with solar and wood. Our hopes are to incorporate solar heated water for heating next winter.

We are experimenting with tomatoes (which we enjoyed all of last winter....I know, I should have written), cucumbers, lettuce and greens and herbs. Oh..and we also had one squash plant last winter and got one squash.

The small piece of gutter pictured below has been planted with lettuce seeds. We plan on adding more gutters which we can suspend from the ceiling to gain more planting space.

Tomatoes are growing in hang baskets and large pots.

 

We put wire in front of the  window for cucumbers to grow on. It is the first time we are trying cucumbers indoors. Next to the cucumbers is an avocado plant.

The goal is to grow as much as we possibly can during the winter to have fresh vegetables. I even put a few carrot seeds in a hanging basket.

More to follow....I promise!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Bar Brat Ice Ball Maker




Every once in a while we receive a product for free for an honest review.  This week we received the Bar Brat Ice Ball Maker. I would not put a post on our blog about a product if I didn't honestly like how the product performs.

I will admit when we first opened the ice ball maker I was skeptical. It looked too small to really bother with for making ice. But after we made the ice we were quite happy. I like the fact that this seals well so we didn't have to worry about water spilling in the freezer (we have a small propane frig with a very small freezer, so things tend to get knocked around a bit). The ice also removed very easily ( the mold is made of 100% BPA- free silicone) and because of the large size of the ice balls we only needed one per drink.

Our drink of choice was our homemade rhubarb juice
I am also going to use the ice ball maker to freeze juice to add to drinks as well....some frozen pineapple juice in our seltzer water, maybe some frozen grape juice in the rhubarb juice.  I think this would even be a fun way to freeze some fruit (inside an ice ball).

 All this fruit talk is making my mouth water for summertime fruits! The grapes are budding and so are the apple trees. I have already started preserving some rhubarb and am looking for new recipes to try. One can never have too many rhubarb recipes!



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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Spring Garden Pictures


It is finally feeling like Spring around here. The birds are busy making their nests and the flowers are starting to bud. I might even be able to cut some rhubarb in the next few days!



Spring Flower Closeups


Beet

Chive Bud

Chive

Dandelion

Pear Blosson

Poppy Bud

P
Violet
Teasel
Pear Blossom

"Weed", but so pretty!

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Easy Baking Recipes: Berry Cobbler

This recipe has become one of our favorites. It is a recipe I got from my grandmother, and I have made a few changes to make it a little healthier. I have replaced the refined sugar with honey and maple syrup.  We like this cobbler as a dessert, but even more for breakfast! It is good warm or cold.


Berry Cobbler

Ingredients:

4 cups frozen mixed berries partially thawed.
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange peel
1/4 cup honey

For the biscuit topping:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cold butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine berries, flour and peel in a bowl. Combine well. Add the honey and stir in as well as possible.  Pour into 8"x8" baking dish

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender, or your hands to work in the butter until the mixture resembles small peas.  Add the milk and maple syrup and stir until the dough forms. Add a little more milk if necessary.

Drop the biscuit dough onto the berry mixture in globs. It is okay if the dough does not cover all of the berries.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the biscuits are done.

Great served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.