Category Archives: Recipes

Eating Seasonally from The Winter Garden: Simple Nutritious Recipes

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Even though the weather is chilly, we can still enjoy warm savory meals from our North Florida gardens.

Greens and root vegetables, though humble compared to glorious tomatoes and crisp pickles, are still a comforting part of winter meals.

I have compiled a list of some simple yet nutritious ways to prepare some seasonal vegetables.

Even if you do not have a garden, you will find that the main ingredients are easy to find and economical too. Eating seasonally is good for your health and your budget!!!

Just click on the picture, and it will take you to the recipe. 😀

1. My Favorite Kale Recipe  If you love to eat a hearty breakfast, this is for you!

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My Favorite Kale Recipe

2.Savory Sauteed Mustard Greens This is a great way to prepare the greens that are so abundant at this time. If you have only ever had collards or turnip greens, this is a great way to try something new.

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Savory Sauteed Mustard Greens

3. Colorful Roasted Turnips, Carrots, and Radishes -This preparation is so easy, but the flavor that roasting gives to these vegetables is amazing!

Colorful Roasted Turnips, Carrots, and Radishes

4. Kale Chips – Classic. You can dress these up with different spices or Parmesan cheese.

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Kale Chip Recipe

5. Daikon Radish Recipe -Try something new from the farmer’s market! I can’t seem to grow carrots, no matter what I try; but I can manage to grow daikon radishes, which are shaped pretty much the same. Go figure. This is a delicious way to serve this unique vegetable.

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Daikon Radish Recipe

Of course, if you need some dessert to offset all that healthiness, you could also bake up some fresh cookies. 🙂 I love to eat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cranberry Walnut Cookies on these cold winter days.

Do you try to eat seasonally? I love harvesting vegetables in the afternoon to go with dinner. I don’t live on a farm, but it does make me feel pretty domesticated to head out to my backyard garden with a colander and scissors to get  part of our supper. Quite the satisfying feeling, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m thinking of trying to make some type of turnip-rutabaga-cheesy casserole type dish next. Maybe with a toasted breadcrumb topping?

Or maybe I will try wilted mustard greens in a creamy cheddar sauce??

Although I have started some seeds already (more on that later), still being able to harvest most of our dinner vegetables from the garden is putting a little hold on my typical rabid spring fever. 🙂

Which one of the recipes looks the yummiest to you? If you try one of them, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. If it looks like something you’d like to try later, you can pin it using the buttons.

If you know of another crazy gardener, feel free to share my blog with them and to also like me on Facebook! I love to hear from other gardeners!

Savory Sauteed Mustard Greens

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I think mustard greens are beautiful. I love the looks of their frilly, vibrant green leaves.

I like to eat them too.

David from Florida Survival Gardening recommended them as  his favorite greens. I found some seeds for a great price, and so planted about 25′ of them. Good thing I ended up liking them!

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They do have  a peppery, mustardy taste when raw, but they become sweeter when cooked. They are much more tender then collards and kale, and cook faster than either of them.

However, they still hold up well in cooking.

Here’s what I like to use to prepare them: 1/2 cup homemade chicken or turkey stock(I make mine in the Crock Pot), diced onion, a bunch of greens, and a bit of salt.

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First, saute the onions in the stock until they are translucent.

Add the torn greens a little at a time, wilting each batch down as you go.

I don’t believe in cooking these vibrant greens until they are a dull grayish olive green- yuck.  Just wilt them until soft and cooked through.

Salt to taste, then garnish with bolted pak choi. 🙂

Savory Sauteed Mustard Greens

If you really want some delicious flavor, add some of the vinegar from pickled jalepeno peppers- so good!!!

I could eat a whole bowl of them prepared in this simple way. The flavor is so rich, especially with the homemade stock.

I love to eat nutritious greens in our Florida winter, when fresh tomatoes and buttery squash are a distant memory.

Eating seasonally is so delicious! I save so much money by growing much of my family’s vegetables. Maybe one day I will have a mini orchard and provide much of our fruit too, but for now vegetables are a good start.

Mustard greens are quite easy to grow, even in North Florida’s poor soil. Maybe you’ll try them too?

Colorful Roasted Turnips, Radishes, and Carrots

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Sometimes simplest is best. If you have never tried turnips, I recommend this easy preparation.

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I planted my ‘White Egg’ turnips a bit too closely last fall, but have been able to harvest them at various times without succession planting them. I harvested some as greens, and others have made large roots as their neighbors have been cleared.

I have found them to be sweeter than the purple top turnips that I planted last year.

My husband doesn’t care much for them mashed, so I decided to try roasting them with some carrots from a friend’s garden, as well as with the last of the radishes.

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I tossed the chunks with some olive oil, and roasted them at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.

They  were seasoned with just a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a smidgen of fresh thyme.

I love the pretty pink of the radishes. 🙂

Also, my husband liked the roasted turnips!

I love eating fresh food from the garden. It is nice that I seldom have to buy the vegetable side dish for our dinners; I just harvest what is ready to eat and prepare it. That’s convenience. 🙂

Gardening saves me money and is good for us too!

Have you ever roasted radishes? I planted another row that I hope will be ready by the beginning of March. I’ll pull them, then plant some green beans!

I have another seasonal recipe for you coming soon- Sauteed Mustard Greens! They are quickly becoming one of my favorite greens, and when sauteed do not have a harsh mustardy flavor like their name may suggest.

 

How to Make Easy Biscuits using a KitchenAid

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For years, I have ruined biscuits in every way imaginable. Too hard. Too thin. Thick with doughy middles.

They have been called flatbreads, pancakes, and hockey pucks.

I even had a certified executive chef show me how to make them.

Twice.

They turned out great-when he was helping me.

For a while, I just decided that I would just buy biscuits and save myself the frustration of wasted time and ingredients.

I was so irritated, though.  I live in the South and really should know how to make a decent biscuit.

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How was it that I could make tiered wedding cakes and not manage a simple biscuit???

One night, I really wanted biscuits with dinner. I decided that I would not spend much time on them, since they were probably going to be disasters anyway.

I had all the ingredients: self-rising flour, milk, and butter.

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I decided to cut the butter in the lazy way, using the KitchenAid. Why not? Cutting it in carefully using knives and pastry cutters certainly hadn’t helped me.

I used the recipe from the back of the King Arthur flour bag: 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup cold butter, and 2/3 cup cold milk or buttermilk( I make my own buttermilk by splashing about a tablespoon of  vinegar into a measuring cup, then adding milk).

I put the butter (still pretty firm) into the bowl with the flour and turned it on low until the butter had mostly been chunked into the flour.

Then I added the milk and let it stir around a couple of times.

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I scooped the dough out and gently kneaded it together, then rolled it out to about 1/2 inch thickness.

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After I cut them out, I arrange them closely on an ungreased cookie sheet or close together in a 9″ round cake pan.

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I bake them  at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes.

If I can make them, so can you!! Easiest from scratch biscuits! Few dishes to wash too.

What would you put on your biscuit? Peach jam, blueberry jam, strawberry jam, or apple butter? If you are intimidated by canning, don’t worry; all those jam recipes have the no-canning option.

Maybe I’m the only person in the universe who has had trouble making biscuits, but if you have had trouble with them too, try this easy method!

Freeze Overripe Bananas for Smoothies

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Do your New Year’s Resolutions involve losing weight or cutting back on added sugar?  Typically, when one thinks of overripe bananas, they think of banana bread. However, though banana bread is soo good, it does add quite a few calories to an otherwise healthy fruit.

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I have found that frozen bananas are great for making smoothies creamy. I also love how they sweeten the smoothie without me having to add refined sugar.

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Peel, slice, freeze separately on a cookie sheet, then put into freezer bags for a healthy, quick, and delicious addition to smoothies.

I like to make my smoothies with frozen fruit, yogurt, and a splash of milk. Do you like smoothies? What do you put in yours?
For another healthy snack, you could make kale chips. Hope your resolutions are going well!

My Bizarre Christmas Present

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One year my brother had me unwrap layers and layers of paper and box after box, only to reveal a rather anticlimactic gift in the center: a toilet paper-wrapped onion. I thought nothing could top that.

I was wrong.

He was my “secret Santa” this year and managed to find this.

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Cracker bread? Cracker board? What is that?

Most food packaging comes pretty pictures indicating serving suggestions; you know, cereal with milk, black beans made into soup, etc.

No serving suggestions on this package.

I wonder, is it actually edible?

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My dog found it one night. He opened it a bit, but did not eat it.

Did you get that? Not even my dog would eat it!!

I wonder if it is biodegradable? Should I try to compost it? Drill a hole in the middle and use it to keep cutworms off my vegetables? It certainly would discourage weed growth.

My mom recommended that I melt some cheese on it. Cheese makes everything better, right?

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Any other bright ideas? I’d love to hear them-I hate to waste food, but I’m not quite sure what to do with this.

What is the most bizarre gift that you have ever received?

Note: He did really well on my other gifts, but I’d rather not have to use my massage gift certificate to de-stress myself over this cracker corkboard!

Happy New Year! My January garden to-do list will be posted soon-Florida gardening is awesome!

 

How to Freeze Peppers

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Florida fall garden pepper plant During the Florida fall, pepper plants seem to really produce peppers like crazy. I had to harvest all my peppers in anticipation of that random pre-Thanksgiving freeze. I think the final count was 54?

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Fresh peppers can be expensive, even more so prepackaged vegetables, fresh or frozen. I usually use peppers in spaghetti sauce, chili, fajitas, stir-fries, etc., so freezing them in strips or diced was the way to go for me!

Start by washing your peppers. Even if you did not have to spray them or fertilize, they may still have dust or little bugs on them.

Hold peppers upright, and slice off the wall of the peppers all the way around, leaving the seeds and core.

Cut into strips and/or dice the peppers.

No need to blanch, simply spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze. If you happen to think of it, stir them after about an hour so that they are separated.

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Do not skip the freezing-on-cookie-sheet step unless you have a recipe that calls for a one quart block of frozen peppers. 🙂

Put the peppers in freezer bags, label, and place in freezer.

I love having pepper strips ready to go into a stir-fry. It is so convenient to be able to take a small handful of diced peppers and to toss them into an omelette or spaghetti sauce.

Although I love to can my easy two ingredient blueberry jam, apple butter, and quick peach jam; I have to admit that quickly freezing a crop is the simplest way to preserve it for later.

Have you ever frozen a crop? How did it turn out?

 

Busy Day Crockpot Fajitas

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Busy Day Crockpot Fajitas

Some days you just know are going to be crazy, but even on crazy days the family needs dinner.

Enter the Crock-Pot.

I love meals whose prep consists of tossing ingredients into a slow cooker and pressing a button.

These fajitas are simple, yummy, and easy- and a healthy ending for a busy day.

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Start with a layer of onions and bell peppers. If your family can handle extra heat, you can even add some jalepenos or other hot peppers. I had a gazillion banana peppers on hand, so I threw them in there.

Add a can of diced tomatoes or jar of salsa.
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Layer chicken tenders or breasts(I used frozen) over the vegetables. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, a taco seasoning packet, or your favorite blend of spices.

There is no need to add water, as the moisture from the vegetables will be enough.

Cook on low for 4 hours.
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Serve in warmed tortillas with your favorite toppings.

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Personally, I like a bit of sour cream, shredded cheddar, gobs of salsa, and a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

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My little window box of cilantro should keep me supplied through the winter. I love fresh cilantro!

So, next time you feel a bit harried, consider an easy Crock-Pot dinner for a busy week night. Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe? I’d love if you would share it! Post the recipe in the comments below or add a link to your site.

How to Make Homemade Crock-Pot Chicken or Turkey Stock

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Wait! Don’t throw out that turkey carcass from Thanksgiving! I know that you are probably sick of turkey by now; but with just a little effort, you can have rich turkey stock for savory winter soups.

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Simply put the bones, skin and all, into the Crock-Pot.

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For added flavor, add vegetable scraps and herb clippings. Usually I am an advocate of composting carrot peelings, celery leaves, and onion ends; but they are put to good use here. Herbs are optional, but I like to add thyme clippings or even parsley that has gone to seed (pictured above).

Cook on low overnight or 8-10 hours. The longer you can let the stock simmer, the better it will taste.

Use a strainer with small holes to strain out the stock. Refrigerate the stock until the fat has risen and hardened slightly, then skim it off of the top.

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I like to freeze my stock in quart bags for easy use in soups later. I also like to freeze some in ice cube trays so I can use a bit of stock to deglaze a pan when cooking.

The most obvious use for this stock is for yummy homemade chicken or turkey noodle soup, but I have also used this stock in beef stew. I have been in the mood for bacon-potato-corn chowder, and this stock will add nice flavor to this as well. Maybe I’ll let my Crock-Pot make lunch tomorrow!

Have you ever made homemade stock before? How do you like to use it?

I still have plenty of homemade pumpkin puree left, once my Crock-Pot is done making lunch, maybe I’ll put it to work making pumpkin butter. I have read that pumpkin butter is a good base for making homemade pumpkin spice lattes, and I would love to put it to the test!

Oven-Roasted Pumpkin Puree

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Happy Thanksgiving! I don’t know how your last few weeks have been, but mine have been a whirlwind. Our family experienced the loss of my Grandpa, and then I went back to work teaching. I have had my nose in the books studying alkali metals, valence electrons, tangents, proofs, the cardiovascular system, and graphing inequalities. Whew!

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It has been nice to have a little time off to spend with my family and to play in the kitchen a bit. I thought that it would be silly of me to buy pumpkin puree when I have perfectly nice large pumpkins already at home. Fall decorations will be coming down anyway soon, so why not turn one of them into pumpkin puree? In case you were wondering, those strong muscular hands above belong to my husband.:)

First, slice a side off of the pumpkin and scoop the seeds into a bowl for another use.

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Tilly from Simply Grateful Housewife has an easy way to clean the seeds in her Squeaky-Clean Pumpkin Seeds post.

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I’ll let you read all about it on her site, but I ended up with over 2 cups of clean seeds from my pumpkin!

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Slice the pumpkin, then use a spoon to scrape off any strings or seeds.

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Cut into chunks (do not remove the rind) and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg if desired.The spice sprinkle was my husband’s idea, and it really made the house smell festive!

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Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 375 for 30-40 minutes, or until fork-tender. You will find it quite easy to slice off the rind at this point.

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Puree in small batches. Notice the color is bright and fresh, quite different from canned pumpkin. If you have ever steamed fresh green beans and then compared them to canned green beans, you probably noticed a similar difference in color.

Some say that if you puree a large pumpkin rather than a small pie pumpkin, you will get a watery, stringy product. I did not find this to be true.

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From that one pumpkin I got about 12 cups of puree. Economically, I saved money by making my own fresh puree. The pumpkin cost $6 at a local pumpkin patch. Typically a 15 oz can sells for $1.99; this week you may have seen them on sale for less. Essentially I got 6 cans for $6 each, enjoyed a festive decoration, and I have some pumpkin seeds to play with too! 😀

Anybody have a yummy recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds? Feel free to add the link or recipe in the comments!

Homemade pumpkin cheesecake made with oven-roasted pumpkin puree is a much anticipated part of  today,  a holiday dedicated to gratefulness and enjoying God’s blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!