Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's Going On With The Garden?

I know - I've been MIA recently. Work has been busy, family is ... family, one of my closest friends just had a pretty big move, and I could keep going on but I won't because this post is about my GARDEN, not why I've been so bad about posting!

Anyway... a few things have changed in the garden recently and since the seasons are changing, I'm expecting things to continue to chance for a little bit. I'm very excited about the possibilities and I only recently began thinking and planning!

A little over a week ago I was watering my garden when I noticed tiny little black things ALL over every shallot I had growing. They looked similar to what attached my chives the first time I grew them, but with multiple shallots growing, this was so much worse! I looked closer and sure enough, those little black things were moving! After some research, I'm pretty sure they were black aphids. I know, I know - aphids are good for the most part, but I didn't want to take any chances so I said goodbye to my shallots!  I may try again next year, but who know!

Another exciting changes is the newly sprouted garlic plants. I planted a few less this time hoping for bigger "bulbs", but I can only hope that this round is as successful and tasty as the last!

And the last change to the garden is that I am attempting to grow carrots again! I planted them a few weeks ago and they sprouted fast, but it wasn't until recently that they were big enough to identify as carrot greens. I had tiny ones last fall/winter, so I'm hoping I get a few the same size or bigger this time!

Now onto the old favorites...

The tomato plants are both still kickin'. The cherry tomato plant has a ton of clusters still with a few new blossoms and the other plant has one last tomato. I think this will be the last for the season, which makes a total of only 5 large tomatoes. Womp womp - failure in my opinion! I don't think I'll be doing these again next Spring, but may end up doing two cherry tomato ones instead! :)  

The green onions are still doing well and there are a few that need to get bigger before I an pick them. I don't think I'll be planting any more this year since it's going to get cool soon enough.

The jalapenos are doing AMAZING and there are quite a few little peppers on all the plants still. I probably have at least 10 to 15 more peppers still to come and I can't wait to use them.

As usual, I've saved the best for last - the herbs.

The basil keeps growing like crazy. Just when I thought it was nearing the end, new growth appears and starts to thrive!

The flat leaf parsley is back and doing well. I'm thinking of transplanting to promote more growth to have it on hand more often.

Like usual, the rosemary is pretty much the same and doing great. Sadly, this wonderful herb was the lucky one that I forgot to photograph this time! But remember, it's pretty much the same so look back at the most recent update before this and you'll pretty much get the idea...

The chives - or cat grass as my cats seem to think... are a little droopy, but I trimmed them after this picture and they look a lot better. I don't use them often, but it's nice to know I have them if I want to use them!

Finally - the thyme. It was thriving for so long, but recently took a turn for the worse and isn't doing to great. There are parts that still look good, but others are dry and dead looking. I'm rooting some to transplant next to the rosemary, so I'll let you know how that goes!

As I mentioned earlier, keep your eye out for more Fall garden chances soon.

It's Fall!!!

As of last Friday, it is OFFICIALLY Fall.  Oh how I LOVE the season and so much that goes along with it!

Now that it's Fall, it's time to...

Things such as cooler temperatures, earlier sunsets, crisper air, pumpkins, apples, saquash, Halloween, Thanksgiving, boots, sweaters, scarves, pies, soups, breads and SO much more!

I couldn't let the first weekend of Fall go by without doing some cooking that can somewhat be considered Fall dishes. I have no problem cooking all of them year round, but each an every one would make a perfect side dish to any Fall dinner.  

While making a quick stop by Trader Joe's, I noticed a stock of brussels spouts. I have only used them off the stock once before and that was YEARS ago so I was excited and had to buy it! 

After trimming all the sprouts off the stock I ended up with a whopping........


There is no way I could eat all of them over a few days if I cooked them all at once, so I picked out the 20 smallest sprouts and made Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts. YUM!

Cut all sprouts in half keeping any leaves that fall off.

Add a few cloves garlic -
cut into smaller "chunks" if on the larger side. (I used 4.) 
Toss in olive oil, fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Pour dressed sprout into a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until almost all sprouts are a toasted golden brown on both sides. Remove from oven and cover with freshly shaved Parmesan Cheese.

Server immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Before finding the stock of Brussels Sprouts, I made a quick trip to the local farm and picked up a few things. I love their produce, but love their prices on most things even more!

One of my farm finds was a bag of fresh beets. I love the taste of beets, but fresh ones are a million times better than ones from a can. After making them myself a few times I don't think I can ever eat canned beets again! 

There are many ways to cook fresh beets, but I decided to roast them. The flavor is so amazing and from my little practice, I feel it's less mess than the boiling method.

So how did I roast the beets you ask? I'll tell ya!

Wash beets and pat dry with towel.

Line baking sheet with foil and grab an extra sheet of foil.
Set beets in a row on extra sheet of foil.

Drizzle olive oil over beets.  

Fold foil over beets and secure tightly to trap as much steam/heat as possible.

Check beets with fork after 30 minutes. If not tender enough, recover and roast another 10 or so minutes.

Once done, take beets out of foil and let cool on a plate.

When cool enough to handle, remove skin either by peeling it off or with a knife.  Cut beets into desired shape and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  

And last but certenly not least is a Sweet Potato/Carrot Mash that is simply amazing. It is simple and it really is simply amazing. I got the idea from a coworker and have made it so many times since. It's just so tasty and I've even used the leftovers to make Sweet Potato/Carrot Pancakes!!!

To make the tasty dish, start with a few sweet potatoes. 
I used five because they are VERY tiny!  

Next, add a couple carrots.  
I used two because this is the normal sweet potato/carrot ratio I use. 
Feel free to change it up however you like!

Cut up both sweet potatoes and carrots into similar sized pieces and bring to a boil.

Boil them until very tender - almost mushy and drain.

Let them cool a little and then mash with a potato masher.

Add a little butter, maple syrup and salt and combine with masher.

Serve warm and keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Because of my love for the season, keep your eye out for many other Fall dishes in the next few weeks, as well as other seasonal posts in the coming months!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fun With Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - Take 3!

That's riiiiiiiight folks - ANOTHER recipe with good ol' Pillsbury Crescent Rolls! 

You know...I can't remember the last time I had them as regular Crescent Rolls. Haha.

The other night I decided to take a shot at making turnovers using the Crescent Roll dough. I made half raspberry/cream cheese to use up some berries and cream cheese frosting and the other half was simply chocolate chip!

Here's how it all went down:

Start with ONE Seamless Crescent Roll Tube

Take Some Berries - I used Raspberries

Chop 'em up REALLLLLLLY small.

Melt some Cream Cheese Frosting

Get some Chocolate Chips from the pantry

Open Crescent Roll Tube and spread out on cutting board.

Cut into EIGHT equal triangles.

Fill half with raspberry/cream cheese and the other half with chocolate chips.
Fold over to form triangle and pinch seam shut using a fork.
Cut a slit on top of each to vent while baking.
(I also melted a little butter and sprinkled sugar on top!!!)

Bake according to tube directions for about 10 minutes.

Almost done baking.

Cool for a little and then ENJOY!

Congratulating Adam and Elina!

Two of my friends got married over Labor Day Weekend. It was a wonderful ceremony followed by a VERY fun reception!

Mine and a friend's gifts.
I LOVEEEEE wrapping presents and doing bows! :)

Here are a few shots from the amazing night. 

And here are some photo booth pics!

Congrats to two amazing people! Wishing you a forever of happiness with each other.