Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Views of Spring

Front Porch

Wild (Chickasaw) Plum in Bloom as seen from the dinnign room window...

I'm linking with Wordless Wednesday and Our Homeschool Reviews today.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Harvest Monday - Lettuce & Peas

I didn't have a chance to check on the garden or do any blogging last week, because we had the flu in the house. I'm hoping it's done with now as our youngest is without a fever this morning.

Just picked this big head of romaine lettuce.  It's my favorite - Jericho, here's what they say about it:
Bred for the hot desert of Israel, this robust, bolt-resistant variety stays sweet and crisp in hot weather. Holds up the best in summer heat of all varieties trialed in New Mexico research farm. Very large, medium green, dense 14-16" heads
We have several big ones in the garden looking like they are about to bolt... I think I'll be giving some away.  I found a recipe for braised romaine lettuce I'm going to use tonight.  It looks really good and has some five-star reviews.  If we like it, we'll use up a lot of it this way.

Don finished getting the beds ready on Saturday, and I mustered the energy to plant two and a half with okra and squash seeds. 

The peas are loving our warmer weather.  It's been in the 70's for a week and forecasted to stay that way for the next.  We're out of the woods!

I'm linking with Daphne's Harvest Monday again today. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Shawl

Lover of shawls volunteered to hold it (and wear it..) out in the yard this morning...
I love the contrasting stripes and lace
100% baby alpaca - super soft and warm!
A fun project to knit - details here.

I am linking with Raising Homemakers today!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Harvest Monday - Something New

For the first time, last Fall, I planted leek seeds.  We had our first harvest last week, and they were scrumptious.  I made a creamy leek and potato soup, my favorite way to eat them.  I love their subtle, refined flavor.  I learned a little history about them today.  Leeks are an old vegetable, dating back thousands of years.  They are mentioned in the Old Testament:
We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. (Numbers 11:5)
So, apparently the children of Israel really liked them and ate them during their captivity in Egypt.

I mentioned peas last week, we've been harvesting about as much as is in the picture every other day. They've gone into salads, stir-fried vegetables, and fried rice.
We now also have celery and carrots ripening in the garden, plus plenty of kale.  So, lots of variety this week.

One thing I love about our fresh carrots is that their skins are so thin, I don't even have to peel them.  I just give them a good scrub, cut them up, and cook them or chop them up for dip.  I made a simple dip for them this weekend, and it and all the carrots vanished in seconds...

Smoked Paprika Dip

1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp smoked paprika

Mix well and enjoy!

I always fail to mention oranges in my harvest posts.  They are such a staple here in Florida and at our home, that I guess they get taken for granted.  We have been squeezing gallons of orange juice the last few weeks.  There is nothing like fresh squeezed OJ with a hot breakfast.  We have four orange trees, and they loved the cold winter we had this year.  We've been thoroughly enjoying their sweet and refreshing goodness.

I am linking with Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions today!

Friday, February 11, 2011


Honeycake is one of Don's favorite things. When he was growing up, his parents often had it at their home. The company where they bought it, The Holland Honeycake Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, went out of business about ten years ago. They have since tried honeycake from another company, but sadly the report is that it wasn't as good as the old Holland Honeycake.

So, I got this idea of doing it ourselves... Thanks to the internet, I compiled a bunch of recipes and tested them out on Don and the kids. I think we have one that is pretty close - even grandma and grandpa agree.

Honey and rye are the main ingredients in honeycake.  Interestingly, the recipes I found for Dutch honeycake (honingkoek) which called for rye were Jewish, except for the French pain d'├ępices  (spice bread) from Alsace, and it may too be of Jewish ancestry.

Dutch Honeycake

2 C rye flour
½ C sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
½ t cloves  -  optional**
½ t. allspice
1/3 C honey
¾ C water
1/2 C raisins and chopped dates - optional
1/2 C chocolate chips - optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil loaf pan and measuring cup.

Mix honey, water and sugar in mixer. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and gradually add to the mixer. Bake in water bath for an hour. 

I tripled this recipe, it's just about the same amount of work to do so.  Honeycake keeps well in the freezer.

** Don says that this recipe with the cloves tastes like the Spice Honeycake variety.

Don't forget to spray or coat your measuring cup with oil, the honey will flow out quickly without sticking to the sides of the cup.

Once you have your ingredients measured, it's just a matter of minutes before you are done.

Boil water on stove, enough to use for the water bath. The level should rise about halfway up the sides of the loaf pan.

After an hour, test for doneness.  Do not remove the honeycake from the oven until you know it is done.  It's been known to cave in a bit in the middle otherwise.  When done, allow to rest for five minutes, then unmold unto a wire rack, allow to cool (if you can), and enjoy!

I am happy to be linking with Verde Farm's new linky party - Farm Friend Friday.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Harvest Monday - More Greens

At the risk of boring everyone to death, here are some pictures of some of our harvest from last week.  We still have a profusion of greens in the garden, and I am more than thankful for them!  This is one of the things I love about winters in Florida. 

I planted two types of kale last fall - True Siberian and Red Russian.  The Red Russian is very pretty in the garden because it turns colors when the weather gets cold.  It starts out green with red veins then turns purple.  It looks wonderful for months, so it could be nice as landscaping around the house, even.

Aside from kale, lettuce, and parsley; we've also had sweet peas.  I'll post pictures of those next week...

The "Andrea's Shawl"
Here is something else that is green...  I've been working on this shawl since last week.  After a couple of false starts, I think it's finally taking off!  For some reason, my camera didn't like the lighting on the dinning-room table last night, the color is a lot nicer in reality.  If you are curious about this shawl, my knitting progress... you can go to my Ravelry account and see, there are notes there.

The yarn is like this picture...    ----------------------------------------------------->

I am linking with Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday, check it out!

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