Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Easiest Way To Carve A Turkey-Carving a turkey for beginners (you can do it!)

Put down that electric knife! We understand that it’s fun and it’s just about the only chance for urban dwellers to get their annual lumberjack on, but it also kind of…well, mangles turkey. You can do this with nothing more than a large, sharp knife, a big ‘ol fork and a thoroughly cooked and rested turkey. Seriously, trying to carve a turkey that isn’t finished is an ugly thing to behold. Cook it just right, rest it for at least 30 minutes (or the juices will run right out and you’ll have the kind of dry turkey everyone complains about), then follow these easy steps.

 

  • Using the tip of a sharp knife, poke around the area between the leg and the thigh until you find the socket, or the “sweet spot.” Pull the leg away from the body with one hand and cut it away from the rest of the body.
  • Repeat on the other side, then separate the thigh from the leg and the wings from the body using the same “locate the joint” technique.

Now, for the white meat.

  • Using downward-slanting slices, carve the breast away from the body in even slices, holding the body down with a large fork. The slices will start small and gradually get bigger. Repeat on the other side.
  • Overlap the layers of white meat on the serving tray to help keep them moist – remember, moisture evaporates.

Sound easy? That’s because it is. Don’t fear the turkey.

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/11/23/easiest-way-carve-turkey

Some methods on how to Cook a Christmas Turkey

Ahhhh Christmas Turkey…

Every year when someone asks me about cooking christmas turkey it reminds me of two things. First is a story my mom tells best about years back when I was not yet a teen. She and her good friend went to market to see if my mom could score a good fresh turkey. By the time they got there, the farmer only had one left and it was 30 pounds. He told mom that if she took it he would give her a deal and so she did. They loaded up the turkey and all the groceries into the little small Datsun her friend had and headed home. When mom got the turkey out and started to get it ready she realized she had not thought if the turkey would fit in the roaster, nor the oven! My dad had to go buy one of those disposable roasting pans and after the bird was stuffed it barely fit in the oven. I remember her cooking that bird for a very long time and oh boy was it good.

The second story is when Hubby and I decided to try one of those plastic do-dads you stick in the turkey that pops out when it’s cooked. Take it from me and save your money. The thing popped alright but we discovered as we were carving we had a half uncooked bird. Half that bird ended up being boiled into soup.

Here are a few suggestions on cooking turkey:

You Can Choose the Method You Prefer

Fast Method
Wrap the bird in foil before putting it in the roasting tin. Put in a preheated oven, 230 deg C (450 deg F), open the foil about 30 minutes before it finishes cooking so it can brown. For cooking times, see below.

Slow Method
Don’t wrap the turkey in foil otherwise it steams rather than roasts. The oven should be preheated to 170 deg C (325 deg F). Baste it regularly. See cooking times below. I’ve cooked turkeys for Christmas for about 30 years and I always do what mom did. If you can, put your turkey on a rack in the roasting pan and put some water in below the level of the rack. That way, it’s easy to get your stock for gravy and keep your turkey from soaking in the fat and juices. You can buy the racks in some grocery stores in November or at Walmart.

Test to see if it is cooked by inserting a thin bladed knife or skewer – the juices should be clear of any trace of blood. Usually the last part to cook is the thickest part of the leg pressed against the body of the turkey. If it is taking much longer to cook than you expected and you have hordes of hungry people expecting dinner shortly, you can cut off the legs – insert the point of a sharp, strong knife into the joint closest to the body after you’ve cut through the flesh, and twist the knife and the leg should come off fairly easily. Then put the legs back in the roasting tin but with the fleshy side outwards, in effect the legs are back to front, that way the thick part is exposed to more heat and will cook more quickly.

With this method it is not as easy to calculate the cooking times but they are about the same as for the slow method. The advantage is that the higher temperature at the start seem to seal in the juices and the turkey is never dry.

Whichever method you use, the turkey should be ready about 30 minutes before you need to carve it. Just leave it somewhere reasonably warm – the kitchen on Christmas Day is an ideal place as it is usually like a furnace in most homes. This ensures your juices dont run out and that the turkey stays moist.

Cooking Times

 Weight                                     Slow Cooking Time                    Quick Cooking Time

6 – 8lbs (2.7 – 3.6kg)           3hrs to 3hrs 30 mins                         2hrs 15mins to 2hrs 30mins

8 – 10lbs (3.6 – 4.5kg)          3hrs 30mins to 3hrs 45mins         2hrs 30mins to 2hrs 45mins

10 – 12lbs (4.5 – 5.4kg)        3hrs 45mins to 4hrs                          2hrs 45mins

12 – 14lbs (5.4 – 6.3kg)        4hrs to 4hrs 15mins                          3hrs

14 – 16lbs (2.7 – 3.6kg)        4hrs 15mins to 4hrs 30mins         3hrs to 3hrs 15mins

16 – 18lbs (7.3 – 8.2kg)        4hrs 30mins to 4hrs 45mins         3hrs 15mins to 3hrs 30mins

20 – 22lbs (9 – 10kg)             4hrs 45mins to 5hrs                          3hrs 30mins to 3hrs 45mins

I think this is an excellent video on cooking a turkey:

Washing a turkey:

and stuffing a turkey:

DIY Easy Bake Oven Recipes

Almost every girl born since 1963 has had one of her earliest cooking experiences with an Easy-Bake Oven. What little girl (who is about 40-50 now) didn’t like having one? Most of our moms were working and didn’t really have the time to let us get our aprons dirty in the kitchen, making our own little cakes and brownies and icings. And so, Kenner came up with a great “toy” to keep us little gals busy in the kitchen with minimal mess and minimal supervision. It was one of the rare toys that actually accomplished something.

 

 

Here is the original Easy bake oven and a little history.

The Easy-Bake Oven is a working toy oven introduced by Kenner in 1963, and currently manufactured by Hasbro. The original toy used an ordinary incandescent light bulb as a heat source; current versions use a true heating element. By 1997, more than 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens (in 11 models) had been sold.

The oven comes with packets of cake mix and small round pans. (Additional mixes can be purchased separately.) After water is added to the mix in the pan, it is pushed into the oven through a slot. After cooking, the cake is pushed out through a slot in the other end.

The Easy-Bake Oven was introduced in 1963 by Kenner Products, a CincinnatiOhio based toy company. The original Kenner Easy-Bake Oven was heated by two 100 watt incandescent lightbulbs, came in a pale yellow or turquoise, and was designed to resemble a conventional oven. The design changed many times over the years. A more recent model resembles a microwave oven.

The Easy-Bake Oven was invented by Ronald Howes, a prolific toy inventor known for working with Kenner Products. He said he was inspired to make the oven after hearing Kenner salesman report how chestnuts were roasted by street vendors in New York City. In addition to his creation of the Easy-Bake Oven, Howes also was involved in the creation of or refinement to a number of other Kenner Toy products, including Spirograph, Give-a-Show Projector, and Close-and-Play Record Player. Howes died on February 16, 2010 at the age of 83.

 

 

Kenner became a division of Hasbro, and Hasbro continued to produce the oven. The Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center was introduced in 1993.

In 2002, a version for boys was introduced, the “Queasy Bake Cookerator”.

A decade after the Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center was introduced, the Real Meal Oven was released. This oven was different from the others as it could cook bigger portions and could cook two with two pans at the same time. It won the 2003 Best Toy Parenting magazine Toy of the Year Award. The neutral colors were more accepted across genders. The pans were bigger, and it could bake both desserts and meals. Also, this model featured a heating element and did not require a light bulb.

In 2006, a different version of the Easy-Bake was released, featuring a stove-top warmer, and a heating element. Like the first version by Hasbro, it had smaller pans and only could bake one pan at a time.

The new front-loading Hasbro design, a substantial departure from the traditional push-through arrangement, was apparently ill-conceived, as all (approx. 985,000) such units were recalled over safety concerns and reported injuries.

The oven was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 2011, the last version which used a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb was replaced by a new version with a dedicated heating element. The replacement was due to a greener lighting policy by the US Federal Government, which would eliminate incandescent light bulbs that put out sufficient heat to bake goods inside the Easy-Bake Oven. This rendered all models that used a light bulb as the heating element obsolete, without being able to replace the part once the existing bulbs burned out. However some critics of the redesign have indicated that halogen light bulbs put out sufficient heat to replace incandescent bulbs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easy-Bake_Oven

I never had an Easy Bake oven but my friends did as well as my little sister. I was too busy with Barbie dolls, their houses and Hot Wheels cars/tracks. I think i got more fun out of the Hot Wheels garage then my brothers did. And lets not forget Gumby! He and Pokey were my favorites since I could remember.

 

I used to go down the street to my friend’s house and play with her and her easy bake oven. I was amazed at the cakes that came out of that little thing. We used to ice up little layer cakes and have a tea party so we could devour our creations. My mom could tell who I was playing with when I came home because of the chocolate on the corners of my mouth.

Easy Bake ovens are a lot of fun. Both my daughters had one, but every time I had to go buy refills it made me cringe. The prices of those little packets are costly. To try to cut down on the expense, I used to buy boxes of cake mix and experiment with how much water to use etc until I had it perfected enough for the kids to use with success. Then along came the internet.

Over the years I have posted some of these recipes on my email list and folks love them. Easy Bake Ingredients on the Cheap! (I did not invent all of these recipes.) Here are some to get you started. I hope you and the kids enjoy:

~Children’s Chocolate Cake Mix

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Stir with a wire whisk until blended. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed and mixture resembles corn meal. Spoon about 1/3 cup of the mixture into each of 11 small containers with tight-fitting lids or ziplock bags. Seal containers. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 11 packages of Children’s Chocolate Cake Mix for Easy Bake style oven.

To Use:
1 package cake mix
4 tsp. water.

Mix together and stir with a fork or spoon until blended and smooth. Pour mixture into greased and floured 4 inch round miniature baking pan. Follow directions for child’s oven, or bake in mom’s preheated 375* oven for 12 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Invert onto a small plate and remove pan. When cool, frost with Children’s Chocolate Frosting. Serves 2 children.

~Children’s Chocolate Frosting

2 cups icing sugar — sifted
3 tablespoons instant nonfat milk powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening

In a medium bowl, combine icing sugar, milk powder and cocoa powder. (Sift cocoa if lumpy.) With a pastry blender, cut in he shortening. Spoon about 1/3 cup of mixture into each of 9 small containers or ziplock bags and seal tightly. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 9 packages of Children’s Chocolate Frosting.

To Use:
1 pkg. Children’s Chocolate Frosting mix
3/4 tsp. water In a small bowl, combine frosting mix and water. Stir with a spoon until smooth. Makes about 1/4 cup.

~Children’s Cookie Mix

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar — packed
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and brown sugar. Stir to blend. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles corn meal. Spoon about 1/2 cup mixture into each of 8 small containers or ziplock bags. Seal bags tightly. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 8 packages of Children’s Cookie Mix. Each package makes 9 cookies.

To Use: Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 package Children’s Cookie Mix
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon mini semi sweet chocolate chips sugar

Preheat mom’s oven to 350*, or follow directions for Easy Bake oven for baking cookies.

In a small bowl, combine cookie mix, water, raisins and chocolate chips. Stir with a spoon until mixture holds together in one big ball. Shape one teaspoon of dough at a time into a ball. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Butter bottom of a small drinking glass. Dip buttered glass bottom in sugar. Flatten each ball by pressing with sugar-coated glass. Bake
10 to 12 minutes in mom’s oven or as directed in Easy Bake oven. Remove from oven. Cool on a rack. Each package of mix makes about 9 cookies.

~Children’s Lemon or White Cake Mix for Children’s Oven

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon-flavored unsweetened drink powder — like Kool-Aid
1/3 cup vegetable shortening

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and drink powder. Stir with a wire whisk until blended. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening until evenly distributed and mixture resembles corn meal. Spoon about 1/3 cup mixture into each of 10 small containers or ziplock bags. Seal bags tightly. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 10 packages Children’s Lemon Cake Mix.

To Use:
1 pkg. Children’s Lemon Cake Mix
4 teaspoons water


Preheat mom’s oven to 375*. If using an Easy Bake oven, follow directions for baking cakes.

Grease and flour a 4 inch miniature cake pan. In a small bowl, combine cake mix and water. Stir with a fork or spoon until blended and smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 13 minutes in mom’s oven or as directed in play oven. Remove from oven. Cool in pan on rack for
5 minutes. Invert cake onto a small plate. Remove pan. When cool, frost with Children’s White Frosting if desired. Serves 2 children.

NOTES: Any flavor of Kool-Aid powder can be used for a wide variety of flavors. For a white cake mix, omit the powder. If you like, a drop or two of vanilla may be added at the time the cake is prepared.

Children’s White Frosting Mix

2 cups icing sugar — sifted
3 tablespoons instant nonfat milk powder
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening


In a medium bowl, combine icing sugar and milk powder. Stir with a wire whisk to blend. With a pastry blender, cut in shortening. Spoon about
1/3 cup mixture into each of 8 small containers or ziplock bags. Seal bags tightly. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 8 packages of Children’s White Frosting Mix.

To Use:
1 pkg. Children’s White Frosting mix 3/4 teaspoon water

In a small bowl, combine mix and water. Stir well with a spoon until smooth and creamy. Makes about 1/4 cup frosting. A drop or two of vanilla may be added if desired.

~Children’s Lemon Cake Mix:

1 c. sugar,
1 1/2 c. flour,
1t. baking soda,
1/2t. salt, 1t. lemon Kool-Aid,
1/3 c. vegetable shortening. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Spoon 1/4 mixture into about 12 sandwich bags. I then put all the little bags into a freezer bag. Zip it up and store it on the shelf in the pantry. It will keep for about 6 months.

To have your little one make a cake: Mix 1 package of mix with 1 tablespoon of water. Stir well until smooth. Bake in greased pan in easy bake oven until slightly brown.

Child’s Chocolate Cake Mix All ingredients are the same except replace the 1t. lemon Kool-Aid with 3 Tablespoons of baking cocoa (the unsweetened kind)

~Easy Bake Oven Biscuits

1/4  cup  Bisquick
4 teaspoons  milk

Combine Bisquick and milk with a fork. Drop by half-teaspoonfuls onto a well-greased pan.

Bake 10 minutes. Yield:   8 biscuits


~Easy Bake Brownies – 6 pieces

2 1/2 tb Sugar
1 ts Oil
1/8 ts Vanilla extract
4 ts Chocolate syrup
2 tb Plus
1 ts Flour

Sir together sugar, oil, vanilla, chocolate and flour until the batter is smooth and chocolate-colored. Pour batter into greased and floured pan. Bake 15 minutes. When cool, cut them into wedges or little squares. Makes 6 wedges or 1/2 inch squares.

~Easy Bake Cookie Mix

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar — packed
1/2 cup vegetable shortening

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and brown sugar. Stir to blend. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles corn meal. Spoon about 1/2 cup mixture into each of 8 small containers or ziplock  bags. Seal bags tightly. Label with date and contents. Store in a cool dry place. Use within 12 weeks. Makes 8 packages of Cookie Mix. Each package makes 9 cookies.

To Use:

Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 package Children’s Cookie Mix
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon mini semi sweet chocolate chips sugar

Preheat mom’s oven to 350*, or follow directions for Easy Bake oven for baking cookies.

In a small bowl, combine cookie mix, water, raisins and chocolate chips. Stir with a spoon until mixture holds together in one big ball. Shape one teaspoon of dough at a time into a ball. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Butter bottom of a small drinking glass. Dip buttered glass bottom in sugar. Flatten each ball by pressing with sugarcoated glass. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in mom’s oven or as directed in Easy Bake oven. Remove from oven. Cool on a rack. Each package of mix makes about 9 cookies. Thumbprint Cookie Mix

1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Margarine
1/4  teaspoon Vanilla
1/2  teaspoon Water
1/4  cup Flour Your favorite jelly

Stir together powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, water and flour until the flour disappears. Roll the dough between your fingers and make 12 small balls, 1/2 inch each. Place a few balls at a time on an ungreased sheet or pan with space between them. Press your thumb into the middle of each ball to make a thumb print. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, then remove. Repeat until all the cookies are baked. When the cookies are cool, fill each thumb print with jelly. Makes 12 cookies.

~Barbie’s Pretty Pink Cake

5  tablespoons Flour
1/4  teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8  teaspoon Salt
5      teaspoons Red Sugar Crystals
1/4  teaspoon Vanilla
4      teaspoons Vegetable Oil
8      teaspoons Milk

Stir together cake flour, baking powder, salt, red sugar, vanilla, oil and milk until the batter is smooth and pink. Pour 3 Tbsp. of batter into greased and floured cake pan. Bake 15 mins. Repeat for  second layer. Makes 2 layers. Barbie’s Sparkling Frosting

4 teaspoons Vegetable Shortening
2/3  cup Powdered Sugar
1/4  teaspoon Vanilla
2  teaspoons  Milk Colored sugar crystals for decoration

In a small bowl, mix together shortening, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth and creamy.  Spread 2 tsp. of frosting on top of
1st layer.  Add 2nd layer and continue frosting. Sprinkle with colored crystal  sugars.

Frosts a 2 layer cake.

 ~Crazy Cake

4 1/2 t flour
3 t sugar
1/4 t cocoa
1 dash salt
1/8 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salad oil
1/8 t vanilla
1/8 t vinegar
1 T water

Pour water over all ingredients and mix well with fork, but do not beat. Bake in oven about 10 minutes.

And if you are even more adventurous, try letting your children make you breakfast in their Easy Bake:

Line the little cake tin with tinfoil and put in a little melted butter.

 

Crack in an egg, add a touch of salt and cook till done.

 

You can cook Bagel Bites, Taco Bites and quartered mini pizzas as well. Try it out and Bon appetite!

 

 

 

How to grow vegetables all winter long

Defy winter and grow your vegetables year-round, even after the first frost.

For most gardeners, winter means staring out the window, making plans for spring and pining for better weather. “This is the season of lists and callow hopefulness,” Katharine White wrote in her 1979 seminal work, Onward and Upward in the Garden. “Hundreds of thousands of bewitched readers are poring over their catalogues, making lists for their seed and plant orders, and dreaming their dreams.”

Although the growing season in Atlantic Canada is short, with about 130 frost-free days, an increasing number of gardeners are using inexpensive and innovative methods to extend the growing and harvesting season through the coldest months of the year.

“I pulled carrots from the ground in late November and early December last year,” says Niki Jabbour, a Halifax-based garden writer whose first book, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, comes out in mid-December.

Off-season gardening is “ridiculously easy,” Jabbour says. “There are so many different crops you can grow. I just think people don’t know they can do it because they think it’s too cold. But it’s not the cold—it’s the amount of light we receive.”

Plants will stop growing when there are fewer than 10 hours of daylight available, Jabbour explains. She says the key to success is knowing what to plant at what time of year and selecting cool-season vegetables like lettuce for fall planting.

“If you plant lettuce in late August when it’s hot, it’s not going to germinate for you,” she says. “So you have to plant at the right time, grow at the right time and eat at the right time.” You also need some form of cover to protect against frost and wind.”

Many gardeners use fabric row covers made of spun polyester to extend the growing season by a month in either direction. You can also use bell-shaped cloches to cover and protect individual plants. These are available at garden centres or you can make your own at home from old milk jugs.

Cold frames, or bottomless boxes with clear tops, are popular season extenders. You can build these from wood, brick or straw bales, covered with old windows or greenhouse plastic. Another option is a hoop house or mini-tunnel, consisting of plastic or metal conduit bent around a raised bed to create a hoop. The whole structure is covered with plastic sheeting, allowing light to reach the plants but protecting them from frost, snow and wind.

Layout 1

 

(To construct a hoop house, start by building a raised bed from new or recycled materials. Metal rods from an old bed frame can be used as angle irons in the corners of the box. Form hoops by bending 1/2-inch (1.3-cm) PVC pipe across the raised bed. Space the hoops one metre apart and place a metal strap across the top to stabilize the hoops. Fill the box with compost and plant cool-weather veggies. Cover hoops with plastic to protect seedlings from frost.)

A self-described lazy gardener, Jabbour appreciates that cold-season gardening involves less maintenance than warm-season gardening. “In the middle of winter, there are no bugs, there are no slugs,” she says. “And because the plants are covered in a cold frame or mini-hoop tunnel, there are no deer. All I do is harvest in the winter.”

Certain vegetables—like carrots, parsnips, leeks and kale—are even sweeter in winter because their starches turn to sugar as a natural form of anti-freeze. “It makes them taste better,” says Jabbour. “I don’t even pick carrots until we get a couple of frosts.”

By pushing the gardening season later into the year, she was able to discover vegetables she had never heard of before, such as mâche (a small, nutty green common in Europe), claytonia (miner’s lettuce), tatsoi and mizuna (the latter two, Japanese greens). Jabbour says being open to new tastes, textures and flavours, and trying something new each year, have been highlights of year-round gardening.

A few hours away in Darlington, Prince Edward Island, Amy Smith and Verena Varga operate Heartbeet Organics. They tried cold-season gardening for the first time last year after buying a house that came with two large greenhouses.

“Last winter was intense in P.E.I.,” Varga recalls. “Sometimes the snow went halfway up the outside of the greenhouse.” Despite the weather, Smith and Varga managed to be among the few purveyors offering fresh spinach and salad greens in mid-winter at the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market.

Although their greenhouses were equipped with propane heaters, they wanted to try growing without heat. Smith planned on testing some of the techniques she had read about in books, especially those by Maine-based gardener and writer, Eliot Coleman.

“We had no idea what would happen,” she says. “We were really experimenting.” The pair had good success with mustard greens, spinach and bok choy, but had trouble growing mâche.

“We heard it was a great late fall or winter crop,” Smith says. “But it was a major disappointment. It germinated and then went dormant. We expected it to be the best crop but it was the worst.”

Trial and error is part of the game, Smith says. She kept detailed records of the crops they planted and carefully tracked the amount of daylight throughout the fall and winter to mark when they had crossed the 10-hour threshold.

“The biggest challenge was getting the snow off the greenhouses,” says Varga. “But being inside was almost therapeutic because it was so warm and humid in the middle of winter.”

One big thrill came on New Year’s Eve, when the couple had family visiting. “We were making a New Year’s feast and we went out to the greenhouse and cut some baby bok choy and made a salad out of it,” Varga says. “The joy we got from being able to run out and snip some greens and have a salad in winter was just awesome.”

What to plant (Courtesy Alison Lynes, Halifax Seed)

Plants that can overwinter for early spring harvest:

  • alliacea (garlic, leeks, onions)
  • herbs (thyme, oregano, sage, chives)
  • root vegetables (turnips, carrots, parsnips)
  • greens (spinach, kale)

Plants for late-fall/winter harvest:

  • brassicas (broccoli, rapini, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kohl rabi)
  • root vegetables (turnips, rutabaga, carrots, beets, radishes, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes)
  • greens (kale, bok choy, collards, swiss chard, spinach, arugula)

Growing tips

  • Pick varieties that grow to maturity in short time periods.
  • Water less in the late fall to prevent freeze/thaw cycles from splitting vegetables.
  • Plant greens, lettuces and herbs every few weeks to ensure continuous harvest throughout the season, including late into fall.

http://eastcoastliving.ca/2011/11/gardening-winter11/

Home made grease cutter

I forgot where I got this from originally but here is a good do-it-yourselfer for grease cutter.

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 TBSP liquid dish soap, I used Dawn

1/4 cup washing soda

2 gallons of very warm tap water

Place all ingredients into the bucket and mix well. Mop floors but do NOT use on waxed floors.

Works pretty well.

 

Homemade Laundry soap, Part One.

Yesterday I decided since it wasnt that great outside that i would try a laundry soap recipe that came on an email list i am on. Lets see how it turns out and how easy it really is?

– 1 4 oz bar of soap. I am using sunlight and will weigh out 4 oz but you can use any. (Ivory or Dial ect)

– 1 cup borax and 1 cup washing soda

Grate the soap into a bowl and add the borax and washing soda.

Mix it all together and that’s it. The recipe called for 1 Tbsp per load. I tried that and didn’t think it was enough. I use 2-3 depending on soiled items. I also had to pre-treat hubbys work pants and my sons shirts but they had a lot of dirt. So far it is still pretty cost-effective and you don’t get all of the chemicals found in regular store-bought laundry soap.

I still want to try making the liquid kind but for now this will do. It cleans pretty well, and if you like nice smelling soap you can add a few drops of essential oil into it such as lavender or patchouli.

Wash on folks!

Quinoa Burgers

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QUINOA BURGER

So yummy!  If you want a change of pace that’s meat-free, yet full of protein, fiber, and very filling…this might be for you.

I like it with Tzatziki on top (my recipe is in this post), or  a little “fry sauce” (what some drive-ins call that wonderful mayo/ketchup combo), and with a thick slice of tomato, avocado, onion and lettuce, as a burger should be, it’s fab.

Don’t be afraid of Quinoa.  It cooks just like rice – might even be a little easier! – and can be subbed almost straight across in most recipes.   I made Rice Burgers for my kids for years and this is the same recipe, with Quinoa instead.

UPDATE!!   I recently found myself without carrots so used shredded zucchini instead.  WONDERFUL!  And my husband says I have to make them like this from now on.  The measurements are in the recipe, also, if you’re interested.)

rounded cups cooked quinoa (see note below for cooking instructions)

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)

1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 medium carrot, finely grated (OR 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed dry)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 green onions, including white parts

1 /2 teaspoon Splenda or sugar

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Olive oil for frying

.

To cook quinoa for the above recipe:

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

.

In a large bowl combine the 2 rounded cups of cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, Splenda, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.

(To help them stay in patty form and not fall apart, I cook them on med-low slowly so they have longer to set-up without burning.  Makes them easier to flip, too.)  Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Mixture will be slightly sticky, so using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mixture into pan and lightly flatten to 1/2 inch thick.  Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.

Per burger:  Calories 132; Protein 8 g; Fat 5 g; NET Carbs 12 g; (Fiber 2 g); Sugar 0 g; Sodium 200 mg

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