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Monday, September 24, 2012

Mom's Oven --- Tropical Fruits Drink


We are blessed to have so much fruits in our garden.  Since we can’t consume everything, we don’t want to waste anything also. That’s why, we share them with our relatives, friends,  and even our parish priest.  Sharing is a free gift from God embedded in our hearts.  God is generous to us, so we need to give His generosity back to others.   



 CANTELOUPE PLANTS


Newly Harvested Canteloupes


RIPE CANTELOUPES
Another member of the Cucurbitaceae family that provides *a wide variety of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  It is an excellent source of Vitamins C and A because it contains more beta-carotene.  It is also a very good source of potassium, and a good source of B vitamins (B1, B3, B6, and folate), as well as,  Vitamin K, magnesium, and fiber.




 

HONEYDEW PLANTS


Newly Harvested Honeydews

  
RIPE HONEYDEWS
Another member of the Cucurbitaceae family that provides *vitamins and minerals like, potassium which helps prevent heart diseases and an increase in blood pressure; Vitamin C which is necessary to boost your immune system; copper which maintains healthy skin; thiamine, niacin, and B vitamins which help reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.


I had one honeydew harvested, but it turned out it wasn't ripe yet.  It wasn't wasted because I made a recipe using this unripe honeydew  and it turned out to be so delicious --  Creamy Chicken with Honeydew.


WATERMELON PLANTS


Newly Harvested Watermelons


RIPE WATERMELONS
Like the cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelon provides *anti-oxidant-supportive beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory benefits for the body in which the primary nutrient is lycopene that inhibits the inflammatory process.  It is also an excellent source of immune-supportive Vitamin C and free-radical-scavenging Vitamin A,  heart-healthy potassium and magnesium, and small amount of iron, zinc, protein and fiber.



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



TROPICAL FRUITS DRINK
One of better ways to give yourself something a special treat for the day whether you are at indoors or outdoors is to have a nice, cold, natural drink in front of you. This tropical drink is all natural, simple concoction of  sweet, delicious, and nutritious fruits of cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon mixed together.  Made to provide healthy benefits your body needs to boost your immune system whether you are resting or being active during the day. No artificial flavors needed to give you the sweetness you like to enhance your stamina and hydrate your body after a day’s exercise or a hard day’s work.  Enjoy this tropical fruits drink and relax to lessen your stress.

Ingredients:
¼ whole cut           small cantaloupe
¼ whole cut           small honeydew
3 round thick cut   watermelon
1 tsp                       almond extract
1/8 c                       honey
                               ice cubes

Preparation Time:  30 minutes

Instructions:

1. Before cutting, wash thoroughly the fruits thoroughly with a fruit and vegetable wash and rinse well.  Cut a quarter of each  cantaloupe and honeydew and remove the seeds. Slice them, cut into chunks and set them aside on a plate.

2. Make 3 round thick cut of watermelon and slice them into chunks also.  Remove the seeds and set them aside on a plate.

3. Set the touch pad control in low and pulse settings only.  Shred the cantaloupe and honeydew first in a 10-cup food processor  and followed by watermelon. 

4. Pour out all the contents of the work bowl into a large pitcher or juice container.  Mix with honey and almond extract. Stir well.  

5. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture, pour on glass and add ice cubes as many as you desire. 

Servings:  approximately 5 glasses (1 cup per serving)



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“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." 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Fruits of our Labor - 2012 (Harvests #6)


"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."


CANTALOUPE FIELD


WHEN TO HARVEST CANTALOUPE
When the rind of the cantaloupe turns yellowish and its stem tendril nearest the fruit on the vine  becomes dry or withered, then it is ready to harvest.  But it’s more reliable to determine whether it’s ripe or not is when it changes its color to yellow and its skin becomes rough and has crooked lines. The cantaloupe must be cut off from the vine instead of pulling them to prevent it from getting rotten easily after picking. But this can also easily slip from the vine even without being cut just like when I harvested them, so be careful.  We were able to harvest sweet, delicious 25 cantaloupes as of this writing and there are still 13 more to harvest.  We gave away some to our relatives. Sign of more blessings to come.



CANTALOUPE HARVESTS


RIPE CANTALOUPE
Another member of the Cucurbitaceae family that provides *a wide variety of anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.  It is an excellent source of Vitamins C and A because it contains more beta-carotene.  It is also a very good source of potassium, and a good source of B vitamins (B1, B3, B6, and folate), as well as,  Vitamin K, magnesium, and fiber.  This delicious, succulent fruit is really my favorite of all the tropical fruits. I had so much craving for this fruit when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. Have a taste of it and enjoy.  (-.-)




HONEYDEW FIELD



WHEN TO HARVEST HONEYDEW
Just like the cantaloupe, when the stem tendril of the honeydew plant nearest its fruit on the vine becomes dry or withered, then it is ready to harvest this succulent, delicious fruit which I also love to eat.  Aside from this, you can also determine if it is ripe or not when it produces a hollow sound as you thump it.  You should have a gifted ear  that is keen in hearing the kind of sound it produces. We were able to harvest sweet, delicious 19 honeydews and gave some to our relatives also.  There was an abnormality in the shape of some honeydews we harvested. I wonder what makes them become deformed while in the garden? Whether well-formed or deformed, 19 pieces of honeydews are not bad, are they?


HONEYDEW HARVESTS


RIPE HONEYDEW
Another member of the Cucurbitaceae family that provides *vitamins and minerals like, potassium which helps prevent heart diseases and an increase in blood pressure; Vitamin C which is necessary to boost your immune system; copper which maintains healthy skin; thiamine, niacin, and B vitamins which help reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  I need to eat more of this fruit because heart disease runs in my family.  I will tell the Great Gardener to plant more of this next spring time.



WATERMELON FIELD


WHEN TO HARVEST WATERMELON
Determining whether a watermelon is ready for harvest or not is hard. You have to have a gifted ear . Thump it—if it produces a deep, hollow sound, then it is ready for picking. Look also on the stem tendril near its fruit on the vine if it is beginning to dry or wither just like the honeydew and cantaloupe. Inspect also the bottom spot of the watermelon where it was resting on the ground.  If its color is creamy yellow, then it is ripe.  While the color of its top is not shiny, but dull in color. We were able to harvest sweet, big 13 watermelons and gave some to our relatives, too.  Generosity begets more blessings.  Thank you very much, Lord.


WATERMELON HARVESTS


RIPE WATERMELON
Like the cantaloupe and honeydew, watermelon provides *anti-oxidant-supportive beta-carotene and anti-inflammatory benefits for the body in which the primary nutrient is lycopene that inhibits the inflammatory process. It is also an excellent source of immune-supportive Vitamin C and free-radical-scavenging Vitamin A. It is also a good source of heart-healthy potassium and magnesium. It also contains small amount of iron, zinc, protein and fiber. I really love and enjoy eating all of these fruits. I’m going to concoct a recipe for these 3 members of the Cucurbitaceae family later.

*Nutrition Reference: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=31

Please see Mom's Oven for a recipe:


THE SMALLEST WATERMELON IN THE WORLD (seedless)
Wow! I didn’t expect that I would have this kind of watermelon.  It measures 10 2/3 inches in circumference and 3 inches in diameter only.  Though small, it’s so sweet and delicious to taste and I thought it wasn’t ripe.  It was the last one I harvested and there were only two in the garden.  The Great Gardener planted seedless watermelons, but they were supposed to be bigger ones and not like this one.  Anyway,  I still love to eat it.  (-.-)  





Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Fruits of our Labor - 2012 (Harvests #5)


"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."


BUTTERCUP WINTER SQUASH PLANT (wild)


BUTTERCUP WINTER SQUASH HARVESTS (wild)


BUTTERCUP WINTER SQUASH FIELD (garden)


BUTTERCUP WINTER SQUASH HARVESTS (garden)

  
SWEET MEAT WINTER SQUASH PLANT (garden)


SWEET MEAT WINTER SQUASH HARVESTS (Garden)
Remember, we got only 3 winter squash from the wild plants that grew in the midst of dried limbs I gathered?  It's really a blessing because we didn't really plant anything in that area. Now, we got lots of buttercup and sweet meat winter squash from the real garden. We were able to harvest sweet meat (16) and buttercup (32) excluding those that were eaten up by bugs and got rotten. Not bad for just 2 spaces allotted for each type of winter squash, isn’t? When the rind of the buttercup turns dark green and hard, then they   are ready for harvest.  When the rind of the sweet meat turns creamy gray and hard, then they are also ready for harvest. The tendrils around the base of stem of both kinds of squash should look withered.  Leave a 1 inch of the stem intact when you cut them off the vine.  This winter squash is also a member of the Cucurbitaceae food family I mentioned before.  *It provides antioxidant support and anti-inflammatory benefits.  It also has potential blood sugar regulation benefits and prevention of type 2 diabetes. 


Please see Mom's Oven for recipes:


BUTTERCUP WINTER SQUASH (before baking)


SWEET MEAT WINTER SQUASH (before baking)
The Great Gardener likes this winter squash very much that we always have this during our meal.  When they are cut, you can see the difference between sweet meat and buttercup in their color, size, and thickness of its meat. I bake the buttercup for 1 ½  hours, while the sweet meat for 3 ½ hours. Then I scrape the meat off, put them in my food processor,  and mix the processed squash  with honey.  Since they are so many, I measure out one cup of its meat and use cling wrap  to store them individually in the freezer.  When they are hard and frozen already, I store them in a food saver bag by using my Food Saver Machine.  When time comes for a meal, it is ready to be served on the table by just thawing it and reheating in the microwave.


PUMPKIN PLANT (wild)


PUMPKIN HARVESTS (wild)


SWEETY PIE PUMPKIN FIELD (garden)


SWEETY PIE PUMPKIN PLANT (garden)
As you can see in the picture, the pumpkin turns yellow to orange and the leaves and vines turn dry and crispy when it is ready for harvest. The stem leading from the pumpkin starts to harden and crack.  When harvesting, wear gloves because the stem can be very prickly.  Try to leave a stem of at least 4 inches on the pumpkin and don't carry it by the stem to avoid getting detached for the pumpking is really heavy.  There is a 10 day curing period for the pumpkins at 80 - 85 degrees F to prolong its storage life. Store them in dark areas with 50 to 60 degrees room temperature.  Do not place pumpkins on top of each other for they will rot.  These pumpkins can last even up to 6 months in storage.  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. Pumpkins are also member of the Cucurbitaceae family.


Please see Mom's Oven for recipes:
     Pumpkin Granola Cookies           


SWEETY PIE PUMPKIN HARVESTS (garden)


SQUASH AND PUMPKIN FIELDS (after the harvests)
This is  how the squash and pumpkin fields looks now after the harvests. Though there are still some remaining, all the plants have withered already. We were able to harvest 37 pumpkins excluding those that were eaten up by bugs and got rotten. We were able to gather more pumpkins than squash. I will be making more pumpkin breads, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pies, and what else?  Non-stop working in the kitchen? It’s worth doing it because we have lots of foods to store for our personal consumption.  It is an advantage because we don’t need to buy these foods from the grocery store.  Food prices go up due to gas price increase, but this is one of the best ways we can save money—to have our own garden.  We can even sell the excess harvests to any grocery store or farmers’ market to increase  our source of income.  What do you say?




Sunday, September 16, 2012

My hands can do this --- Crocheted Glass Coaster


Canning is a lot of work, but it’s worth doing it.  You store your foods the right way to stay longer and to save money.  But remember, every time you do canning, mason jar lids need to be replaced.  The rubber in it becomes worn out due to heat exposure. I don’t like to just throw them away.  I really have to find an idea how I can make use of them again.  Since I have always excess yarns, I thought of making these lids into a simple, cute glass coasters with different color yarns that can be washable and replaceable.  These are easy to make and attractive to look at and use on the table while enjoying your meal with a nice drink or cup of coffee or tea. (Note: Image or letters can be drawn on this lid to add more creativeness.)




CROCHETED GLASS COASTER

Materials:
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic, 6 oz  (chocolate) 
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic, 6 oz  (soft pink) 
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic 6 oz  (plum perfect)
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic 6 oz  (light country peach)
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic 6 oz  (autumn red)
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic 6 oz   (bone)
(1) Caron Simply Soft, 4 ply acrylic 6 oz  (dark sage)
(1) Red Heart, 4 ply acrylic 7 oz  (pale yellow)
(4) used Kerr Mason canning jar lids (quart size)
     crochet hook size - F5 / 3.75mm

Note: These are all excess yarns.  I just listed all the yarns I used for this project, but you don't necessarily have to buy all of them.  It depends upon your discretion, if you like to use different colors or use only 2 complementing yarn colors.  

Level of Difficulty -  easy

Stitch Abbreviations:
(ch)    chain
(sc)    single crochet
(dc)    double crochet
(st)     stitch
(sp)    space
(sl st)  slip stitch  
(pc)    popcorn

Note:  Count first all the stitches you have made before going to the next row to avoid mistakes.


Special Instructions:
Popcorn -- 5 (dc) in same (dc), remove hook from fifth (dc), insert hook into first (dc) from front to back, reinsert hook in fifth (dc) and pull loop through first (dc) to complete (st). Pull yarn to tighten (pc).

Instructions:  (Chocolate)
1st Row - Make 4 (ch).  Make the first loop hole bigger than the rest so you easily insert the hook and make the succeeding (dc’s). Make 11 (dc) in 4th (ch) from hook. Hide the excess yarn as you make the double crochets. Join in top of beginning 4 (ch).  
Result - 12 (dc)

2nd Row - Make 3 (ch).  (Dc) on the same (sp).  (Dc) on next (dc).  [2 (Dc) on next (dc). (Dc) on  next (dc)] 5X.  Join with (sl st) to beginning 3 (ch).  
Result - 18 (dc)

3rd Row – Make 3 (ch). (Dc) on the same (sp).  (Dc) on next (dc).  [2 (Dc) on next (dc). (Dc) on next  (dc)] 8X.   Join with (sl st) to beginning 3 (ch). 
Result – 27 (dc)

4th Row – Make 3 (ch).  2 (Dc) on the same (sp). Make 7 (ch) and (sl st) on 7th (ch) from hook.  (Dc) on next (dc).  [(Dc) on next (dc).  (Dc) on same (sp). Make 7 (ch) and (sl st) on 7th (ch) from hook. (Dc) on next (dc)] 12X.   2 (Dc) on last (dc).  Make 7 (ch) and (sl st) on 7th (ch) from hook. Join with (sl st) to beginning 3 (ch).
Result – 42 (dc) and 14 (7-ch)

Connecting Another Yarn:  (Soft Pink)
Insert the soft pink yarn into the loop hole of chocolate yarn. Pull the chocolate yarn and tie it twice with the soft pink yarn. Cut the chocolate yarn.  (Sl st) on same (sp) and on next (dc).  Hide the excess yarn as you crochet.

5th Row -  Work in front of every succeeding (7-ch)'s. Make (pc) on same (sp). Make 2 (ch).  [Skip (7-ch) and 2 (dc). Make another (pc) on next  (dc). Make 2 (ch)] 13X.  Join with (sl st) to beginning (pc).
Result – 14 (pc) and 14 (2-ch sp)

6th Row –  Make (ch). [Skip (pc) and 2 (sc) on (2-ch sp)] 14X. Join with (sl st) to beginning (sc). Fasten off.  Hide the excess yarn.  Insert the Kerr Mason lid.   
Result – 28 (sc)

Related Greenecraft Projects:

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Fruits of our Labor - 2012 (Harvests #4)


"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."

  
SUMMER SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI FIELDS (before)


SUMMER SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI FIELDS (now)
After I featured our newly planted garden last July,  the two pictures showing the squash, zucchini, and pumpkin plants above, have a lot of visible growth.  They are still growing continuously like crazy.  That’s a great, well job done,  by the Great Gardener. I sometimes get confused which ones are squash or which ones are pumpkins or which ones are zucchinis.  I have to use a bamboo stick to look where they are because they are so crowded already. They all look  like the same to me and I’ve found out that they really belong to one group of family-- (clap your hands please) -- the *Cucurbitaceae family.  So, Golden Egg, Saffron, and Zucchini are cousins. Hmmmm... I wonder who their grandfather was.  (-.-)


Golden Summer Squash Plant


GOLDEN EGG SUMMER SQUASH


Safron Summer Squash Plant


SAFFRON SUMMER SQUASH
Golden egg and Saffron summer squash are *low in calories and  high in Vitamins A & C that can help protect from heart disease and stroke and maintain healthy blood pressure.  Its fiber also helps promote colon health.  I like the texture, size, appearance, and most of all, the consistent rich color of Golden Egg. Though Saffron has pale color, its appearance and smooth, shiny texture are also likeable.  I love them both (no jealousy please). (-.-)




Zucchini Plant


 ZUCCHINI
Being a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, makes zucchini also so important to include in our daily food diet. It is rich in *Vitamin A , folate, potassium, and fiber that makes heart healthy as well as colon healthy and has been linked with cancer prevention. It also contains Vitamin C and lutein which is excellent for the eyes and helps to reduce bruising. I like eating zucchinis raw with its skin on because they are as good as eating cucumber raw. I also like sautĂ©ing mixed vegetables, but I don’t over cook them so to preserve its crispness and nutrients. I have other upcoming recipes for this Cucurbitaceae family.



When to Harvest the Cucurbitaceae Family of Vegetables
 As you can see in the picture, the zucchini, as well as, the saffron and golden egg can be harvested when their blossom ends have withered already. Don’t wait too long till become they bigger before you pick them. Their seeds will become matured as they grow older and bigger. Look also on the color of its skin especially the golden egg.  When its color turns too dark like dark yellow orange, it means it’s getting older and forming matured seeds and its skin becoming thick which are not good signs anymore to cook. 



Please see Mom's Oven for several recipes:
     All Summer Squash Mini Bread
     All Summer Squash Pizza
       Double V-Hamburger Patties
       Garden Blend Salsa
     Posagoz Mixed Salad                
     

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mr. Pinto Beans' sticky notes --- Garden Varmints


Normally in a country living, there are lots of animals living around the area that are nuisance to people.  They are disease carrier which can be dangerous and can cause damage to your  house and crops. That’s why, we need to protect our garden to preserve our produce.  Here are some animals that the Trapper  was able to trap in our garden. 


Raccoon


No Trespassing Sign
Gotcha! Sorry, Mr. Raccoonie.  Did you not see the big sign?  “NO TRESPASSING.” (-.+) This is one of the furry animals the Trapper likes to trap.  Its fur sells good in a fur auction.  It needs a lot of work and knowledge how  and when to trap furry animals. You have to know their behavior, diet, habitat, intelligence, life expectancy, reproduction, and senses.  The Trappers knows all about it.



video


Armadillo
“Please let me out,” said Mrs. Armadillo. Look here, Mrs. Armadillo, I will let you out, but you better stop digging in my garden. I will bring you to somewhere else, so  you can do your thing there.  That’s a better deal.  “I’m really sorry, Mr. Gardener.  Thank you very much.”  (-.-)

*Armadillos dig because their food source is found beneath the grounds surface. They use their powerful snouts and sharp front paws which can severely damage your lawn or garden.  They have  very poor eyesight, but very sensitive noses. They are territorial, so we condition them to stay away from our lawn or garden. 

*Information taken from http://www.protectymyyard.com/



                                     video


Opossum
Just what you have seen and heard in a TV commercial-- “Hey, dad, I think it’s dead.  Nope, he's just playing opossum.” (-.-)  Then suddenly the opossum started growling which made the kids startled. In this video, he can't just play acting-- he was caught in the act eating our honeydew in our garden.  The Trapper had set up a trap in that area when he saw the other day a watermelon almost half-eaten.

*They are considered pests due to its somewhat raccoon-like-behavior-- raiding trash cans and nesting in locations that are not suitable.  Its tail without fur is somewhat similar to a giant rat tail. Their teeth allow  to eat many different types of foods--small insects, small animals, fruits, vegetables, and also carrion.   They can caused mayhem if encountered within a human living space and that's why they are often killed and trapped. 


*Information taken from http://en_wikipedia.org/


video


Skunk
I saw this animal early in the morning when it was a little bit dark and the sun wasn’t up yet.  He was just roaming around, probably looking for food in those piles. I told the Trapper about seeing a skunk and took a video of it. He told me that I was lucky not to be attacked by this animal.  He warned me not to come near it the next time.  Has anyone smelled something awful?  Oh my! (-._)






Anybody who will see a snake in front of him or her, whether it is small or big,  poisonous or not, will really get scared.  One morning, I passed by our drive way to go to our garden and get something.  I didn’t see any snake at first.  It took me only a minute to get what I wanted. When I passed by our drive way again, then my eyes became bigger -- why?  a snake crawling.  It really made my nerves shaking and at an instance, I grabbed what my hand could reach immediately – a big broom.  I smacked its head several times until it was no longer moving.   It happened not only once, but twice, on different occasion. The Welder was not around when that happened because he was working on his job. 


video



A big snake crawling in our front porch
There was another snake and it was bigger than these baby snakes.  I was about to open our glass door in our front porch and then I saw this big, long snake.   I got my camera and took a video of it, but I felt scared.  Luckily, my brother-in-law was driving his four-wheeler drive and passing by our area.  I called him in his cell phone and asked for help.  He stopped and got an iron bar and killed the snake. 
 
I had an experienced, too, seeing a snake inside a house when my eldest daughter was just small.  It was bigger than those in the pictures shown above. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it because I got my daughter first to secure her  safety and it was gone when I looked around.



Birds
Birds are also one of the  garden varmints, but they are not dangerous.  I love them and I even made a coffee can birdhouse for them. There were hungry birds in my flower basket before. That's why it's understandable to see birds picking our fruits even before we can pick them.  

Oh my (^_^) This is life in the Garden of Eve


For more of animal storytelling, please view also:
       Teddy and Wally
       The Birds  
       The Frogs