Saturday, September 22, 2012

Freezing green beans

I have done this for the past couple of years and fell in love with this method of freezing green beans. 
Wash the beans and cut off both ends, just like you see on the picture below.  

Fill a pot with water and bring it to boil. Place the beans into the boiling water and press start on a 3 minute timer right away.

In the mean time, prepare a bowl with ice cold water where you will transfer the beans right away after the 3 minute timer beeps. Keep the water cool, you might have to add cold water or ice. You are trying to keep the beans from continuing the boiling process.

After you cooled your beans down, put them in labeled ziplock bag. I don't own food vacuum sealer so I use the straw method. you seal the ziplock bag until there is a tiny hole that you can only fit the straw thru and begin to suck air out of the bag until it looks "vacuumed".

This will assure you don't get freezer burn. Now that that's done, I can go on to do the same thing with my edamame. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Old fashion catapult fun

Sometimes we come across the best books in our library. One of them is "How things work in the house" by Lisa Campbell Ernst. The kids are obsessed with this book. They looked thru it about million times and every time they do, they come up to me and ask to make a project they are showing on one of the pages. On the page about Spoons, there was a catapult made out of a plastic spoon and a piece of wood. Since we had all the supplies, I couldn't say no. And the fact that we used marshmallows could not have been any better for the kids. Try it! I guarantee you hours of laughter!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Enjoying some new friendships

Isn't it a blessing when you meet new friends? The other day I got finally together with a woman whom I have been seeing at several kids activities around our town and never got a chance to hang out with. My kids have been asking for play dates with her kids forever now, so finally this seemed like the best time to get together. Everyone had a great time... and you just never know what new things you can learn from new people. We bonded over some delicious muffins and home made lemonade. God bless new friendships :-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Loving zucchini

This year I am a huge fan of this side dish - summer squash (or zucchini) with spices and parmesan cheese. I just simply cut the zucchini into cubes and put it on a pen with a little bit of olive oil. Then I sprinkle some garlic salt and oregano over it and slowly stir it while the heat is on medium. Now it's ready to be eaten! I just sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and enjoy this delicious veggie either as a side dish or as a main meal if I am not too hungry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Spearmint oil made easy

I am currently reading soap making books and I can't wait until I will be able to make my own soap. Playing with the ingredients and fragrance is my idea of having fun ;-) One of my favorite aromas is spearmint. I happen to have the spearmint plant growing in my garden so all I need is to turn it into oil to use it in my soap. And here is how I did that.

First I picked fresh, good looking spearmint leaves and rinsed them out. 

Next I stuffed the leaves into a dark glass bottle.

Then I poured a high grade olive oil over it. I filled up the bottle to the top.

Close the bottle with a lid and let it sit by a window for 3 days

After the 3 days I took gauze and poured the oil thru it into another glass dish to get rid of the leaves and then returned the finished oil back into the dark glass bottle, which helps it keep fresh and protects the oil from deteriorating in reaction to sunlight. Also you should know that essential oils should not be stored in plastic containers because the chemicals in the oils will react with and partially dissolve the plastic, which will then get into your oil.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Potato harvest

As we are coming to the end of the summer season, things are slowly disappearing from the garden. For example, my potato bed is empty by now, which makes for a really early season, considering that usually potatoes stay till at least September.

Look at these beauties I dug up couple days ago. We had 2 dinners out of this bowl and I dug up 2 more dinners couple weeks before that. 

I am pretty sure you can see that I made one huge mistake this year while I was setting these potatoes up in the garden. If not, I will give you a hint - notice their size. Many of them are too small. Apparently, you are suppose to pile a huge amount of soil around the the plants when they are just about 8-10 inches high. This will help the plant to form tubers deeper in the soil and the potatoes will have enough space to grow bigger. They like their space nice and deep, as much as possible. 

This is my potato bed with the spuds in the ground. This was the first year for this bed. I left the seed potatoes in a cool dry place for about 2 to 3 weeks and when the sprouts were about 2 inches long I planted them outside into the soil.

Here I took a picture of the plants way past their "pilling" period. I also read that you could cover them with hay, which will make it difficult for any ground traveling beetles to get to them. Something I will try next year as well.

This is how my potato bed looks today. You can start harvesting potatoes as soon as the plants start dying over. They will turn yellow brown and fall over. That is the right time to dig them up. You can dig up only few and leave the rest of them in, if you wish but don't wait too long because they might start sprouting again.

Good luck to you!