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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Fruits of our Labor - 2012 (Harvests #1)


"There is nothing more exciting and happy moment than when you see your plants growing and bearing fruits after lots of hard work everyday in our country living."


BLACKBERRY PLANTS (garden)


MR. SUPER BLACKBERRIES
I named our blackberry plants as “Mr. Super Blackberries” because they still have remained alive in our garden throughout the 4 seasons, while other plants we planted last year were dead already.  Aside from this, they are excellent sources of *Vitamins C, E, K, manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, folate, and dietary fiber.  It is very low in saturated fact, cholesterol, and sodium.  My husband and I love to mix these blackberries in our oatmeal and cereals during breakfast.  See how they have grown from 4 small plants to big, robust plants today.  (-.-)

TOMATO PLANTS (wild)


MRS. QUEENIE TOMATOES
This plant came from our last year's ripe tomatoes that fell on the ground. Luckily, they grow without really planting them and bear more good fruits than last year. I named it as "Mrs. Queenie Tomatoes" because of its look alike crown-shaped blossom ends on top of its head. There are 4 wild tomato plants that grew by itself out of the seeds from the last year's tomato plants. The other new tomato plants are not bearing fruits yet. They are a good sources of *Vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, potassium, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. They are also very low in saturated fact, cholesterol, and sodium.  I love including tomatoes in my salad or eat them raw or sauteing them with mixed vegetables or making a sauce by sauteing them with garlic and onions only. I also like mixing them with ripe mangoes, onions, and fish sauce or even mixing them in one tamarind soup base recipe.  (-.-)

*Nutrition Reference:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2776/2

Please see Mom’s Oven for some recipes: 


WINTER SQUASH PLANTS (wild)


MRS. MUSH MUSH WINTER SQUASH
This buttercup winter squash is one of the vegetables my husband and I love to eat. It just grow in the pile of dried limbs I have gathered. The Great Gardener always throw the compost I have in the kitchen into those piles everytime I remove the seeds from the pumpkins I bake. Instead of buying raw or frozen vegetables from the grocery store, he canned a lot of squash to save money last year. I named this winter squash as "Mr. Mush Mush Winter Squash" because I have to mush and mush it hard after cooking again for 10 minutes and then mix it with honey.  They are good sources of *Vitamins A, B6, C, E, thiamin, niacin, potassium,  folate, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.  It is also low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  (-.-)

*Nutrition Reference:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2655/2

Please see Mom’s Oven for a recipe:



PUMPKIN PLANTS (wild)


MR. HALLOW PUMPKINS
The Great Gardener would just throw any pumpkin that becomes rotten somewhere at the back porch of our house. It's really a blessing for them to grow without expecting it (-.-).   I'm really embarrassed to admit this-- I thought pumpkins are not for eating because I saw giant pumpkins for the first time and they were displayed in the Worlds of Fun in Missouri when I visited my sister last 2006. Besides this, these pumpkins have always been used during Halloween celebration and that's why I naming it as "Mr. Hallow Pumpkins." This is also one of the vegetables my husband loves to eat, so he asked me to look for recipes on how to cook it. Luckily, I found good recipes and tried them. I even brought a different kind of pumpkin pie (double layer pumpkin pie) to my sister-in-law's house during the last year's Thanksgiving celebration. I'm proud to say that they really love it because it's so delicious. I baked lots of pumpkins-- pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin mini bread, pumpkin cake, and pumpkin pie. You name it -- they are all delicious! (-.-) They are an excellent sources of *Vitamins A, B6, C, and E, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese.  It is also low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. 

*Nutrition Reference:  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2601/2

Please see Mom’s Oven for some recipes:




Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mom's Oven --- Pumpkin Muffins with Fig Jam

"If you love baking, you don’t need to buy a cake or bread from the grocery store. Try this delicious pumpkin recipe with fig jam.  You can have somebody taste this and share a good, hot coffee or green tea during your breakfast or snack time.  If  there are leftovers, you can freeze and store them and they still have the same delicious taste when you reheat them.  


FIG TREE


NEWLY HARVESTED FIGS
They contain *calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc, and  Vitamins A, E, K, and B-complex.  They also contain chlorogenic acid that helps lower blood sugar levels and control blood glucose level in type II diabetes mellitus.

*Nutrition Reference  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/fig-fruit.html


This fig jam can be stored for a year.  You can give them to your loved ones as a gift on certain occasion.  They will surely love and enjoy it with their favorite bread or waffles during snack or breakfast time. You can also include this in your baking recipes or canapĂ©.  You can bring it also during picnic time and share with family members.



PUMPKIN PLANTS


SWEETY PIE PUMPKINS
They are an excellent sources of *Vitamins A, C, E, and B-complex group of vitamins, like folates, niacin, B6, thiamine and pantothenic acid.  It is also a good source of  phosphorous, potassium, copper, and calcium.  It has also zea-xanthin, a natural oxidant that offers protection from age-related macular disease in the elderly.  Pumpkin seeds are excellent source of fatty fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty that are good for heart health.   


Please see about planting other vegetables and tree - The Garden (2012) and The Garden (2013).



PUMPKIN MUFFINS WITH FIG JAM

Ingredients:
1 pc    small sweety pie pumpkin
3 c      all-purpose flour
2 tsp   baking soda
½ tsp  Clabber Girl baking powder
2 tsp   McCormick ground cloves
2 tsp   McCormick ground cinnamon
1 tsp   McCormick ground nutmeg
½ tsp  McCormick ground all spice
1 tsp   salt
1 c     white sugar
2/3 c   corn oil
1 pc    egg
¼ c     milk
1 jar   fig jam (see *How to Make Fig Jam)

Preparation Time:  approximately 2 1/2 - 3 hours 

Baking Time:  approximately 20 – 25 minutes

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 muffin trays or line with paper muffin cups.

2. Before cutting the pumpkin, wash it thoroughly with a fruit and vegetable wash and rinse well. Cut pumpkin in half, sliced lengthwise, remove seeds and strings. Place on baking sheet, cut side down. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven until tender for about 1 ½ hour. Let it cool. Remove pumpkin pulp with an ice cream scoop. (Note: You may put the pulp in a blender if you like).  Since the pulp is fibrous, it is so easy to spread them out manually.  Measure out 2 cups pumpkin pulp. Set aside.

3. In a bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. In a separate large bowl, beat together 2 cups of pumpkin pulp, corn oil, milk, sugar, and egg. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until smooth. Scoop batter into prepared muffin trays.

4. Put 1  teaspoon of fig jam on top of each batter.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

6. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out on wire racks and let cool completely. If there are leftovers, you can freeze and store them in a food saver bag.

Yield:   approximately 24 muffins


Please see my other Baking Recipes:
    How to Roast Sunflower Seeds           
    Nutty Figgy Bread                       
    Peach Cobbler                            
    Peach Cream CheesePie         


*********************************************************************************
“Cooking doesn’t only involve knowing what and how to cook and prepare  all the ingredients, but also how much you love to cook for somebody .”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mr. Pinto Beans' sticky notes --- The Great Gardener


  
The Great Gardener
The Great Gardener standing by his corn field.  He is a hard working man.  Everyday before sunrise,  he goes to the garden and looks after all the "fruits of his labor." Of course, I also help him do the rest, especially when he is out of the country working on his job. 


Picking Blackberries
He picks some ripe blackberries when I can't go out yet because of my chiggers' bite.  I'm going to miss picking the fruits, but one day, I will be alright.


Picking Tomatoes
He regularly waters the vegetation and checks on every fruit trees everyday.  Lucky him,  he got some tomatoes from the wild plants, too.    


Solar-Powered Electric Fence
One night, a "friendly, neighboring animal" visited our garden. It became nosey, torn apart the soak er hose, and pulled out some of the plants. He decided to install a solar-powered electric fence after the next day. It's a lot of hard work, but the garden should be protected.


Caught in the Act
Gotcha! Sorry, Mr. Raccoon. Did you not see the big sign? "PRIVATE PROPERTY - NO TRESPASSING."  (-.-)




THE BIG SIGN



The Handsome Hunter and Trapper
So you see, Mr. Raccoon, you can't get away from him.  He's not only a good Gardener, but he's also a good Hunter and a Trapper.  (-.-)
                   
  
Damaged Electric Fence
There was another "friendly neighbor" who visited our garden last night.  "What a mess! Look what they did to the electric post I installed.  This is really terrible and very annoying," (-_^) said the Great Gardener.  They are our garden varmints and very hard to control and discipline.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mrs. Jelly Beans' sticky notes --- Welcome to our Country Living


  
                         

Mr. Sunshine
Good morning, Mr. Sunshine!  A lucky day to have another day to start our day right. Thank you very much for giving us the energy to do the things we need to do at the right time and place, at the right phase, and with the right purpose. 


                          
  
The Shadow
Mr. Sunshine is really up already.  Look at my shadow as I stand behind it.  I look taller than in person and I like it.   It's emitting the most powerful energy in the world.  But watch out--don't get sunburn. (-.-)


  
The Gravel Road
This is the real Country Living where there is serenity, green trees, and fresh air,  EXCEPT when there is a vehicle or truck running along this gravel road.  Oops, sorry for the inconvenience.  (-.-)
                      


Trees Everywhere



The Garden of Eve
Trees are everywhere.  They are sweet haven for all animals and can provide an enormous sustaining necessities of all mankind.  More than enough to be thankful as if you have lived in God's Garden of Eve. Oops, too much daydreaming. (-.-)



Welcome to Native America.  The land rich in natural resources and cultural heritage. It’s a good place for hunting, trapping, fishing, boating, camping, kayaking, and doing other cultural activities. 
  



The Cotton Wood Trees 
These are cotton wood trees planted many years ago.  They grew so tall, even taller than our house already and trying to reach up the sky.  Their roots are visible above the ground already and possibly beneath our house's cement floor.  I hope someday we'll be able to build a new house.  I wish that  one day the HGTV people will come over here and feature our old house in the TV for renovation. They only feature houses in California. Oh my, I need to win in the lottery. (-.-) I love all these trees because they give shade to our house which makes our place naturally cool and provides a haven for many kinds of beautiful birds for us to see everyday at the front porch. 


The Oak Trees
Our house is really being surrounded by trees.  These big oak trees were planted at the same time as the cotton wood trees.   Their big roots are also visible above the ground.  I always pick many dried sticks from the falling limbs of the oak and cotton wood trees in the morning.  It’s a good exercise walking around the house while picking up these dried sticks.  These are the same dried sticks I used for making my coffee can projects, like coffee can birdhousecoffee can flower pot, coffee can hanging plantersnativity scene in coffeecan, and flower pot rack.


Neighboring Field
Hello, new neighbors!  Wait till you see them. 



video


New Neighbors
Good morning new neighbors!  Are you ready for a bundle? Phone…TV…Internet…Puppy  We allllll bundle….  Hey! Wait... Why are you walking away, neighbors?  (-.-)


The Holly Plant
Since this holly plant doesn’t bear any flowers, I arranged some artificial flowers I got from our parish church.  I went inside the house to get something.  When I came back, I saw a beautiful creature that made me excited to take its picture.


 Nosey Butterfly
Isn't funny that after I set the artificial flower on top of the holly plant, a butterfly became nosey to see if it can sip a nectar out of it? It really made my day happy.  Thank you very much, Mrs. Butterfly, for dropping by. (-.-)



Nosey Dragonfly
Here’s another little cute creature that is also nosey about my artificial flower I set on the holly plant.  I saw him this morning and he was a little bit camera shy. The holly plant seems becoming a STAR because it has been drawing  a lot of attention from some visitors.  Thank you for dropping by, Mr. Dragonfly.   Come back again.  (-.-)


Hummingbird Vines
This is the first time that this plant blooms after it was planted two years ago. This hummingbird vine, also known as “trumpet vine,” is a perennial climbing plant whose bright, trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds, hence, they are called hummingbird vines. This explains the reason why we have lots of hummingbirds flying around and even flying above my head when I set up my coffee can hanging planters in our front porch.  I was able to take a video of them, too.  

Because we have a wide space area in our country living, we decided to make our first garden.  Please see these posts:
       The Garden - 2-13  


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Fruits of our Labor - The Garden 2012


This is our real Country Living, our own place-- where real sweat comes out of our hard work as we cultivate the soil and nurture every plants everyday and tears of happiness for every fruits we harvest to share and offer our relative and friends. This is the beginning of our Garden Story....   




BLACKBERRY FIELD


FRUIT-BEARING TREE FIELD


CORN FIELD


VEGETABLE GARDEN
                                                                                                    
There is nothing more exciting and happy moment than when you see your plants growing and bearing fruits after lots of hard work everyday.  They say that one should have a 'magic green thumb,' otherwise you can't successfully make one plant live.  I still believe that a person who likes planting should have lots of energy, patience, perseverance, knowledge, and yes, lots of love for the plants.  I also believe that this kind of inner feelings will resonate to the plants you want to grow. Actually, I talk to plants and seeds while planting and watering them.  It’s like a karma that can be applied not only to people, but to other living things like plants.      

I’m very proud to dedicate this section, “The Fruits of our Labor,” to  my husband, the Great Gardener, for his very hard work in our garden.  Only last June of this year, after his job ended in Newport News, Virginia, he started to sow different varieties of seeds in our garden. Though he was late in planting, it didn’t bother him at all and even made a bigger garden than before.    My husband is a hard worker who wakes up everyday at 4:00 am and drinks his coffee while waiting for the sunrise.   I wasn’t able to help him plant this year because I was torn up by chigger bites.  It was my first time to be bitten up by these small, but "extremely terrible insects."  The itching hasn’t stop until now and I’m beginning to feel how my son suffered, too, because of these “friendly bugs.”  Anyway, I will be doing the job of watering them when my husband goes to another job again in other states.

We first started planting in our small garden last spring of 2011 only.  The first plants he ordered to buy-- two of each kind-- were fruit cocktail, nectarine, peach, and his favorite, gala apple trees.  All the trees are still alive and have survived the winter, except the gala apple trees.  He had them returned for an exchange and planted them again this year.   We had a good harvest of  squash, pumpkins, watermelon, okra, bitter melon, green beans, cantaloupes, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes.  Some plants didn’t grow good like-- spinach, bell pepper, cauliflower, and broccoli. The corn didn’t have   good produce because it was infested by underground beetles, while the snow peas were damaged due to heavy rain.  The blackberries grew, but they didn’t bear fruits yet, until this year only. We shared some of these harvests like-- okra, zucchini, carrots, bitter melons, and onions with our family members and friends.  My husband canned the squash and green beans, while I baked a lot of pumpkin breads, cookies, pies and did fried okra.      


THE COMPOSTUMBLER
This year, 2012 ,  the Great Gardener sowed different varieties of seeds for squash, pumpkins,  and watermelons. He also sowed seeds of okra, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, corn, green beans and sunflower. He also planted sweet potatoes, grapes, and yes, even walnut trees . He bought additional seeds of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. He also set up a good water irrigation system by using a soaker hose. I will not have a hard time watering them with a single hose anymore.  He even bought a small compostumbler.   He mixes the grass, dried leaves, coffee granules, tea bags,  eggshells, fruit and vegetable scraps. Aside from the organic fertilizer that will be made, my husband gets also some compost tea.  It is the juice that drips out  of all the mixtures in the compos tumbler.  He mixes it with water and uses it as liquid fertilizer for the plants.

Even though, it’s not much yet,  still we are proud to show “the first fruits of our labor” this year.  Anyway, have a taste of our harvests for the day and you will really like them.  



Please see the Fruits of Our Labor (2012):
       Harvests #1
       Harvests #2
          Harvests #3
          Harvests #4
       Harvests #5
       Harvests #6
       Harvests #7
       Harvests #8