Oct 14, 2012

Things that Keep on Giving

I admit to not paying a lot of attention to my vegetable garden lately -- a few weeks, in fact. My husband went out twice and picked green beans, but when I look out the kitchen window and see the garden getting dry and brown, I kind of assumed it was on it's last legs, and needed to be prepared for winter.

Not so.

Today I went out to start winterizing -- pull up all the plants, remove and clean up stakes, etc. - and to my delight, discovered that my garden is still going strong!

Here's today's harvest:

I found three red tomatoes (and at least six more on their way), a green pepper, four white eggplant, and lots and lots of green beans! Some of the green beans are too large to just steam and eat (shame on me for not picking them these past few weeks), but they will do fine in soups throughout the winter.

The dried beans in the front will be a project this week for Mr. B and I. We will open up the bean pods and pull out the dried seeds/beans inside, and put them away to plant for next year's garden. It's a huge cost savings if you don't have to buy seeds every Spring. You can't do this with all vegetables because many are crossbred and you won't know what will be produced, but beans are beans in my book, so I will plant these next year.

Bean, green pepper and eggplant plants are still flowering -- a huge surprise since we've had two heavy frosts already. I guess the fence and shed that back up to the garden are protecting the plants from the frost. Isn't it nice when you're the recipient of a happy accident?!

It started to rain as I was picking beans, but tomorrow is forecast to be a nice day, so I think I'm going to plant some spinach and lettuce seeds and see if I can extend our growing season a bit longer. Here in southwestern Ohio you just never know -- we could still get six to eight weeks of 50 to 70 degree weather, with just an occasional frost. That's perfect weather for lettuce and spinach.

Recipes also keep on giving, if you think about it. 

I did some baking yesterday, and need to share this recipe with the world - Donut Muffins! Oh my oh my. It's a muffin - and tastes just like a fresh donut rolled in cinnamon sugar. You can find the recipe here. I made a dozen in standard size muffin tins, but then made another dozen in the tiny muffin tins - donut holes!

I also made Cranberry Bread. When I was a little girl, my very favorite food was the Cranberry Nut Bread my grandmother baked. I visited her several times a year, and she'd almost always bake a loaf of Cranberry Nut Bread for me. (Braised short ribs was my favorite meal she cooked. I'd love to find her recipe for that. She made them in the pressure cooker, and before she'd open the pressure cooker, she'd clear the entire family out of the kitchen, "just in case".) Since we were having a family gathering for breakfast today (my son is visiting from Texas), I thought Gramma's Cranberry Bread would be appropriate. It went over very very well.

I also made Breakfast Burritos yesterday for breakfast today. I made a small batch of home fries (using this recipe from the Southern Plate web site, which has some of my all time favorite recipes, especially the Chicken and Dumplings!), then cooked up two big links of mild Italian Sausage (took off the casings and broken the sausage up into small pieces as it cooked), with diced onions and peppers. Made up a batch of scrambled eggs (6 eggs for 10 burritos), and mixed it all together, and put a big serving spoon full of the mixture on a burrito, sprinkled with grated Cheddar Cheese and a little Taco Sauce (I didn't have any Salsa on hand), rolled them up, put them in a 9 x 12 baking pan, covered it with aluminum foil, and stuck them in the freezer. Last night before I went to bed I moved them up into the refrigerator, and then popped them in a 350 degree oven this morning for 30 minutes. It might seem silly to freeze them for just a few hours (about 8 hours), but that prevented the scrambled eggs from getting watery, which they would have done if they'd just sat in the refrigerator. These burritos were a huge success!

Today is a lazy day. Windy, rainy, cool and just right for curling up and watching a movie. I've once again gotten my Cathedral quilt blocks out to work on while watching TV. Another winter preparation, I suppose.

Life is good - and even better with your family around you.

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