Thursday, August 26, 2010

Garden Pictures - August, 2010

Well, it's time for another update on our garden to see the changes and what's growing now. Hope you like the pictures.

This is our nectarine tree now! If you look at my March garden pics of this year, you'll see how much it's fluffed out. We're so proud of her. She produced one nectarine this year, and let me tell you, it was the most amazing, sweetest nectarine I've ever had. Everybody but G took a bite - he wanted the rest of us to enjoy it. I'm looking forward to more next Summer.

For Mother's Day, my family gave me these two avocado trees. The one on the left is a Stewart, and the one right in front here is a Bacon, so we've named it Kevin. Stewart and Kevin will have a long life together here on our plantation. Poor Kevin almost died when we first got him; that's how come he's so much shorter than his brother. On the fence is the grapevine that G planted a few weeks ago.

Here is just an example of our extensive pumpkin patch. They take up two short beds, a long bed, the ground, and stretch beyond the short fence onto our patio. The seeds came from our pumpkins from last Fall. GR's been cultivating her special pumpkins, while the rest of us maintain the rest. They are several varieties.

Here is an example of one of our white ones. We also have gray, orange, and striped.

Here is one of our strawberry plants. We didn't know it when we bought the seeds, but apparently this variety is small and tart. Hmm. I'll pay more attention next time, but they still are pretty.

Okay, there are several things in this picture. In the front right corner is our old artichoke plant. You can see the faded trunk extended several feet. It produced several artichokes for us, and they were all big and delicious. Well, I let an artichoke flower go into full bloom to see what it looked like, and it apparently killed the plant. I was going to pull it when G saw new growth at the bottom. Sure enough, we've got a bunch of new growth at the bottom there, and it's just as big as the plant next to it that we planted several months ago. It's coming back, and it's coming back strong! Behind the artichokes in the same bed are red cabbages and kale. We actually left our old kale plants in the bed to go to seed. I read that in Scotland it grows like a weed, so I wanted to see if it would replant itself. It seems to be doing so. In the bed behind this one, you can see our zucchini plants. We actually planted tomato seeds which had begun to sprout, but then the zukes totally surrounded them and they never took off. We've also grown and eaten sugar snap peas, as well. The children made an attempt at sunflowers, but they didn't do very well. I think I'm going to designate one plant to each bed from now on, except for beds with already established plants. We'll keep trying our hand at this gardening stuff!

This is our almond tree, which we were actually able to harvest a couple of dozen nuts from before the squirrel got them.

A new baby almond tree that SR is growing.

Our ruby red grapefruit tree is still growing... is our mandarin tree.

We got this golden delicious apple tree free from a friend, and you can see white apple blossoms just beginning to grow on it.

SR is growing the pink lady apple tree in the middle, and G is growing the black walnuts on either side of it.

(The pics I posted of our furry family members showed their tags with all our info, so I had to delete them. Next time, I promise.) Hope you liked our photos and that they encourage you to keep on gardening!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Red Potatoes Two Super Easy Ways

Boiled and Fried, yup. This is a post at which most readers would scratch their heads and wonder what's up. So, why am I doing a post on boiled and fried red potatoes? Because I am a conscientious blogger, and if there's even one reader who has never known the succulence of a boiled red potato or the crispy delight of a fried red potato, then I am duty-bound to introduce them to these culinary wonders. Not much recipe writing here, just some guidance, and a tip on hot sauce. Read away, dear ones!

Freshly boiled red potatoes. Large ones cut in half, small ones keep whole. Boil for fifteen minutes, until fork tender.

Here are some boiled red potatoes served with a fruit salad and sauteed veggies. The potatoes are topped with vegan margarine, salt and pepper, hot sauce, and sometimes nutritional yeast flakes, vegan sour cream and garlic powder.

This is one of my family's favorite hot sauces, well, really G's and mine. It's too hot for the little blessings. We call it rooster sauce in our home and always have. See the rooster pic? When I first started seeing the term "sriracha sauce" online, I had to check our rooster sauce to see if it was the same thing, and it was. So, on a previous blog, I mentioned it in its proper name, but it felt weird. Then, at home, I asked for the sriracha sauce to be passed to me, and G literally did not know what I was talking about! Me and my snooty blogger self, how could I? So, from now on, I am referring to this as rooster sauce on my blog - I've got to have sanity between my two worlds. If you forget what rooster sauce is, I'll remind you. Delicious, by the way.

Fried red potatoes. They look a lot like boiled red potatoes, I know, but they are different, I promise. My favorite way to make these is to make an overabundance of the boiled version (see overflowing bowl above). Then, the next day for breakfast or lunch, cut up said leftover boiled ones, and fry them in either olive oil or canola oil. You don't have to fry them for very long to get them a tad crispy because they've been pre-boiled, see? Top with salt and pepper, rooster sauce, and sometimes, even ketchup. So good.

That's it, folks. Hope you liked my little tour of one of my favorite spuds. Simple stuff, but good. And both of these dishes can definitely feed five hungry vegans.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rustic Lentil Zucchini Soup

This is a soup made from some of our garden zucchini abundance. We are thankful for the bounty that these plants continue to offer us, but I have been trying to come up with new ways to serve zucchini so that my children will continue to eat it. This soup certainly stepped up to the plate, er, bowl. The zucchini didn't overpower the other flavors and was a nice change for my children, who ate it all up. By the way, we eat soup year round, we love it so, therefore the hot dish doesn't bother us. Maybe you'll like it, too.

Rustic Lentil Zucchini Soup


8 cups of water
1 cup of lentils
2 Tbs. of homemade bouillon or one cube of store bought bouillon
5 zucchinis, chopped
1 - 28oz. can petite diced tomatoes
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 cup of parsley, chopped
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 cup of pre-cooked brown rice


Put the water and lentils in a large pot together on medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients, except the rice, and continue cooking for another fifteen minutes or until the lentils are completely cooked and the veggies are tender. Add the rice and stir five minutes before serving. Great with a hunk of good bread and a side salad. Feeds five hungry vegans.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy 101 Award and fun stuff!

I received this cute award from Rose at If you've never been to her site, you are missing out on one of the most outstanding gourmet, beautifully photographed vegan blogs that exist! Can anybody say "cookbook"? Please?

Thank you, Rose! So, without further ado, here's how the award works: I list ten things that make me happy. Then I list ten blogs that make me happy. Please keep in mind that there are way more than ten blogs that make me happy, so this is just a short list. I also like more than ten things - can you tell I don't like being restricted? But, I did my best. Read on!

Ten things that make me happy in no particular order:

1. Cooking, creating recipes, trying new recipes, reading cookbooks, cooking with my children, blogging about cooking, reading cooking blogs.

2. Organizing small things like cupboards, drawers, closets, making lists (lovin' this!), creating budgets, creating homeschool lesson plans, micromanaging.

3. Watching Rutger Hauer and Adrian Paul movies/television shows.

4. Spending real quality time with my husband, where we can actually look into each other's eyes without a big splotch of food landing on my cheek or hearing something crash in the next room.

5. Photographing my children, my husband, my parents, my pets, nature.

6. Spending time with the Lord either in His Word or in prayer or in song or in thought.

7. With my husband enjoying individual daughter/son dates with our children where they can pick the restaurant and the activity for the night.

8. Standing outside, regardless of the weather, looking at the sky whatever time of day, looking at trees, watching critters.

9. Cultivating our garden and watching my husband do the same.

10. Sleeping in a cozy bed, stretching under the covers, not hurrying anywhere, able to slumber luxuriously with or without the kids in bed with me/us.

Ten blogs/bloggers that make me happy in no particular order:

1. Carissa at shares my love of the Lord and the vegan life.

2. Fayinagirl at makes very creative dishes, which her site's name exemplifies.

3. Shenandoah Vegan at questions who she is and why she is here on her unique vegan blog.

4. Maggie at is a vegan and part raw-foodist young mom.

5. Michelle at makes vegan dishes to feed herself and a very supportive omnivore hubby.

6. Stacy at is doing a great job with her brand new vegan blog.

7. Evelyn at is a raw foodist that also offers helpful advice.

8. Michelle at shares her daily fumbles and joys with the animal friends she has, her husband, and her love of vegan food.

9. 100 to Go at is working on her journey of losing weight and getting to her goal.

10. Susan at is a local Christian woman and friend of mine who periodically pens encouraging words.

Thank you, all, and have fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Seitan Pasta Sauce Over Angel Hair

Here is a very hearty pasta sauce that goes a long way. I used homemade seitan, but feel free to use your favorite store bought brand. If you've never added fennel seed to one of your pasta sauces, I highly recommend it. The heavy sauce is balanced out by the light angel hair pasta. I served it alongside my Summertime Corn Salad for another light addition.

Seitan Pasta Sauce Over Angel Hair

2 Tbs. olive oil
3 and 1/2 cups of seitan, chopped small
1 green bell pepper, chopped small
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 - 29 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 - 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 - 4.25 oz. can chopped olives
1 - 7 oz can diced mild green chiles
1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 lb. pound angel hair pasta


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the seitan, green bell pepper and mushrooms. Saute for several minutes until the bell pepper softens and the mushrooms release their liquid. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the noodles, and turn the heat down to medium low. Cook for at least another two hours, stirring occasionally. A few minutes before the sauce is ready, prepare the pasta according to package directions. Serve the sauce over the pasta. I recommend a light pasta and a light side dish to offset the heartiness of the sauce. Makes a big pot of sauce, definitely enough to feed five hungry vegans!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

This is a very rich recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. It takes only two ingredients, so it's super simple to make. And, they take just about an hour to set up, so they'll be ready for dessert the same night you make them! My girls can make these on their own now, and those are the best kinds of recipes, I think. :-)

Behold the beautiful Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup!

Filling the cups.

What you look and feel like after eating a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup - JK at three years old.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


2 - 1 lb. bags of vegan chocolate chips
12 tsp. creamy peanut butter


Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. To do this, take a small pot filled half-way with water. Put it over high heat. Put either a medium pot or a medium mixing bowl on top of the smaller pot. Add the chips in to the top pot/bowl. You don't want the water to boil, so when it gets pretty hot, just turn it down to medium. Stir the chocolate chips until they melt, just a few minutes. Set aside. Fill a cupcake tray with paper cupcake liners. Spoon 1 and 1/2 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate into the bottom of each liner. You mainly want to be sure that the bottom of the liner is completely covered. Spoon one teaspoon of peanut butter onto the center of each chocolate bottom. Finish covering with the remaining chocolate. Chill for about an hour, until firm to the touch. These actually are easier to eat if they come out of the fridge for at least five minutes first. Before that, they are a bit too hard. But don't let them warm up too much! Makes one dozen, which feeds five hungry vegans for a couple of days.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summertime Corn Salad

I made a meal for a friend's family recently and wanted a nice, light dish to go along with the heavier pasta entree I was making. I had these ingredients on hand, and when put together, the flavors blended nicely, with the lime juice adding just the right amount of punch. My friend, the mother of the family, said she practically ate this salad up all on her own. I made enough for my family to have for our dinner, too, and it hit the spot. I hope you like it, too.

Summertime Corn Salad

4 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 - 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1/4 lime juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 of a medium red onion, chopped small
1 tsp. salt


Toss all ingredients together in a medium-sized serving bowl. Keep chilled until ready to serve. Feeds five hungry vegans.