Friday, October 31, 2008

Autumn recipe for crockpot

I had gotten some nice pork chops from Sam's Club this past weekend. They were 1-1/2 inches thick! Nine came in the package, so I repackaged and froze them in packages of three, as there are only 3 of us left at home! Anyway, I found a recipe on a slowcooker YahooGroups site, and revised it to my little family.

Acorn Squash and Pork Chops

3 pork chops, 1-1/2 inch thick
1 medium-size acorn squash
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (I used the Caribbean Calypso seasoning from The Spice House)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped green onion

Slice acorn squash in half, remove seeds and slice each half into 6
slices, approximately 1/2-inch thick. Place
3 pork chops on bottom
of 5-quart slow cooker. Arrange the squash around and on top of pork
chops. Combine all other ingredients pour over squash mixture. Cover
and cook on low 5-6 hours or until pork and squash are tender.

Serves 3

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Silly Hungary Coopers Hawk

I have a Coopers Hawk that comes by here all the time, searching for food. I think he's given up on trying to go after the squirrels, because they fight him back. So now he sits on my fence by the bird feeders and looks longingly back at my deck where the squirrel scamper for some corn and seed that I throw our for them. It's real cool to watch him as he turns his whole head around, just trying to find something he can have, which is birds. You can tell the hawk is by when those birds scatter so fast!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Using herbs from my garden

Today is my son's birthday! I think I'll make grilled chicken rubbed with a few of my fresh herbs (marjoram and tarragon) that I harvested on Sunday. I have some potatoes too. I'll just scrub some up, drizzle olive oil all over them, rub another herb mixture (rosemary and thyme) on them with seasalt, wrap them individually in foil and cook them on the grill also. I'm sure that he'll enjoy that!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It did snow yesterday

Well, we did the right thing picking all the peppers off of the plants and harvesting all of my herbs on Sunday. It did snow yesterday. I actually kept my poblano and jalapeno plants in the ground. I wanted to see what the cold weather did to them. When I looked outside yesterday, the leaves of the poblano were wilting tremendously.

The Coopers Hawk came by yesterday, looking for something to snack on. He was sitting on my fence, out by my birdfeeders, looking back at my deck, seeing if he can get something eating out of my squirrel feeder. The field was full of geese, why doesn't he go after them? He goes after ducks. Geese aren't that much bigger. Well, maybe they are, but it would be nice to clear them out of the field.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Harvested all my peppers

With the threat of snow last night, we picked all the peppers we could. I also harvested all of my herbs - oregano, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, sage, tarragon and marjoram. We cleaned up the backyard, got it ready for winter. Then around mid-afternoon, it started to drizzle - got cold and then we got hit with nice-sized hail.

Dinner was spaghetti with homemade garlic-basil-shallots tomato sauce and my homemade pesto meatballs (pesto mixed into the meatballs). It was wonderful!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time to clean out garden here

Though it seems warmer than it's been in over a week, we are expecting snow tonight. So it is time to clear out my garden for this year. I will miss my peppers!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cold Holy Mole Picture part 2

This is a more close up picture of the holy mole pepper plant that I had put up yesterday. Still looks good - nothing wilty - but still not chocolate brown!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Holy Mole Peppers in the Cold pictures part 1

A burst of sunshine was very welcome! My Holy Moles still haven't turned a chocolate brown. I hope I don't have to pick them early because of the cold!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poblanos in the cold part 3

Sometimes it still looks like spring, with new little peppers on the branches. But I really don't think these will get full grown - maybe not even half grown! Too cold outside!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poblanos in the Cold picture part 2

There are so many peppers on this branch! But that's not the total cause for the branch to be hanging down like that. It does have to do with the cold, which did hit in the 30's.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peppers are still looking good

Another cool day - my peppers are still looking very good. Don't know if the dose of Miracle Gro is the cause, but I count my blessings that the weather is holding long enough (hopefully) for me to harvest all my peppers. That may be a tall order - but one can hope!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My peppers in the cold

Well, it's not really cold - cold, but I'm trying to eek out the last of my peppers before it gets super cold! The blossoms have all turned brown, so I know they won't be producing any more - I expect that. But my plants have tons of little peppers that need to finish growing! They are near my house and I think it provides them some protection from the frost - at least so far. We threw on some more Miracle Gro to try to help keep them going just a bit longer. I have many poblanos, cubanelles and holy moles that are waiting to finish up. My jalapenos have some small peppers left, we'll see what happens to those too!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stuffing Peppers

I spent the day cutting, seeding and stuffing jalapenos and poblano peppers. I was able to stuff 24 jalapenos and 16 poblanos - then wrapped them in bacon - and froze them. I believe I may have enough appetizers to last until New Years Eve. I remember bringing my dragon bites to my mom's Christmas Eve party, and everyone asking what they were. They were gone in a flash! My husband and I even eat the poblanos as a main dish for dinner. Just wonderful stuff!

Maybe getting too cold for my peppers

The poblano plant closest to the house is still looking good. The other one doesn't look like a happy camper. I wouldn't either -it is a little brisk outside this morning! My pepper plants days are numbered.

But in the meantime, tonight, I will make homemade pizza and use plenty of peppers on top. Delicious!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gloomy kind of day

It's a gloomy kind of day. I little cool outside - grey - rainy. Actually a perfect day for the neighborhood Cooper's Hawk to come by. He loves the cold rain! I'm mad at him at the moment - he chased one of my blue jays out of my yard - so I don't know if the blue jay survived or not!

It's actually a perfect day to make my son's favorite soup -chicken noodle. The boy could live on my homemade chicken noodle soup, with homemade bread. I'll be making it with some carrots that my mom had given me from her garden, as well as some of my fresh thyme that I grow on my deck.

Time to go make my bread!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cool Weather and Peppers

I found my poblanos like cool weather. They actually wilt in hot weather and also like to be watered frequently. I always thought that peppers liked full, hot sun - actually not so much. They like semi shade too. The things I learned about peppers this year! My jalapenos, cubanelles and holy moles are the same way - growing so well! Gotta love those peppers!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Poblanos and coming weather

My husband has grown quite attached to the two poblano plants that we have. They are still growing so well - our best producers this year! He wants to dig them up and bring them in this winter. I don't think so. But I believe he will be absolutely crushed when they do die out. Maybe I'll plant a seed and give him a seedling for Christmas.

I chopped many jalapenos this weekend. I diced quite a few, and then just halved the big ones, getting them ready to be made into Dragon Bites! Very tedious work, but worth it in the end!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hornworm on my jalapeno plant

Yesterday, I was picking a bunch of poblanos and jalapenos. I picked 7 good-looking poblanos and started picking the jalapenos. I noticed a very healthy jalapeno had a fresh chewed hole near the top of the pepper. I thought, how odd - something is trying to eat my jalapenos. I look further down the jalapeno plant and find a small hornworm. He wasn't the bright green I've seen before - kind of looked sickly green, khaki-like. He must have tried eating the jalapeno and didn't like it! Well, out to the field he was pitched! Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jalapeno stuffed grilled steak

Last night, my husband wanted to go out for Mexican food. But I had planned a movie at home, so while he was coming home from work - I got to work. Last week there was a sale on some cheap boneless steak - a buy one get one free deal. So I had two 1/2 inch steaks that were pretty much the same size. This is what I did:

2 boneless 1/2 inch steaks - tenderized with one of those tenderizer hammers -to 1/4 inch thick. (Before I tenderized I sprinkled the steak with seasonings - ancho powder, caribbean calypso seasoning and vulcan fire salt - which I buy from The Spice House)
3/4 cup minced jalapenos (no seeds) from my garden
4 large shallots, minced - from my garden
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1 cup shredded mexican cheese of your choice (I had a blend)

Mix the jalapenos, shallots, garlic and cheese together, set aside.
Take one tenderized steak - lay it flat. Add the jalapeno mixture on top of steak. Spread it around to about an inch from the sides. Place the other steak on top. I used two bamboo skewers to seal up 2 sides of this steak package.
Carefully placed this steak on a heated grill and cooked each side for 20 minutes.

Afterwords, I realized that I totally forgot that I should have put fresh cilantro in the jalapeno mix too. But my husband and I enjoyed this steak, sipping margaritas and watching our movie!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cilantro Sage Rosemary and Thyme

Cilantro Sage Rosemary and Thyme - is that how the song goes? No? I know, it's parsley, but I didn't grow parsley. I grew cilantro, which looks a lot like parsley. I throw cilantro in everything! Doesn't my sage look nice? I'll have to make pumpkin and sage balls for my vegan daughter this weekend. Sausage & sage meatballs for the rest of us. Goes well with a pumpkin sauce over pasta. Happy harvesting!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Poblano picture and it's getting cold outside

Well - I went outside this morning to check out my garden - and it was cold outside! No frost on the ground, but you could see your breath! I know my garden days this year are going down pretty quickly. Now I'm starting to think, what can I grow inside? I have a spare room on the south side of my house. I have plenty of seeds for next year planting. So I wonder if I can experiment? Then I remember that peppers need the ants and bees to cross-pollinate. Maybe I will just stick with some herbs this winter.... maybe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Watched the Presidential Debate last night

While I thought the debate last night was fairly boring... I served my bacon wrapped stuffed poblanos and some wonderful guacamole that I made with some of my poblanos and homemade salsa - that was exciting.

Speaking of poblanos... I didn't have to water them yesterday, or even today, as it's raining at a steady clip. I love my peppers! They are looking good!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Holy Mole - the peppers are loving this weather - recipes

How's this holy mole pepper? Isn't this pepper looking lovely? I can't wait to try making mole sauce. Here is a page full of links for mole sauce:

This week is supposed to be all in the 70's -great weather for us and peppers!

An observation I have made is that the holy mole plant grows very much like a poblano. The peppers hang just like poblanos too. No wonder recipes also call for poblanos in mole sauce!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blue Jay and Squirrel

The squirrels are getting real nasty! I threw out some peanuts for the squirrels and I heard a blue jay coming. They have a very distinctive, loud noise they make. I call it noise because it is loud! You can hear a blue jay coming from quite a distance away!. Anyway, blue jays are notoriously nasty birds. They dive bomb other birds, and anything else that gets in their way - like squirrels and even cats! Well, when the blue jay came to my deck, a squirrel jumped on him (actually, can't tell if it was a he or she, but we'll go with he for this story). Mr. Blue Jay flew off to my Norwegian Maple tree in the corner of my yard. I wasn't really paying attention then, when all of a sudden, I saw the blue jay from the tree take off really fast. Birds usually leave that fast because a hawk is nearby. I scanned the area, but found nothing. I got out my trusty binoculars and looked in among the branches of the tree, as I have one hawk who likes to sit and stalk in there. What did I see? Not a hawk. I saw the squirrel that had jumped on the blue jay on my deck. He had gone out there to get the blue jay off of his property and away from the nuts! He was finally satisfied that the blue jay was not coming back, so he shimmied back down the tree and came back to my deck! I tell you, this year is going to get cold!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

First Frost

Well, I went out this morning to fill my bird and squirrel feeders, I saw FROST in the field behind my house. It didn't quite reach my house, but my tomatoes are now definitely dead. Even my German Queens that had many green tomatoes hanging. I thought I had a week or two left before frost hit, but no such luck. I am watching my peppers though. So far they don't seem to be affected. You never know though, they may start wilting during the day. Hope not! Supposedly we are going to get 70 degree weather next week!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Peppers continue to grow

It's just absolutely amazing that the weather can dip down into the 40's at night and be around 60 all day, and yet my peppers are still growing! I'm still waiting for my Holy Mole peppers to turn chocolate brown. They are dark green and about 9 inches long! We have picked many, many jalapenos. Granted, even the Mucho Nacho peppers aren't so mucho anymore. They are growing about the size of regular jalapenos - but they are still producing! And of course, my favorite, the poblanos. They continue to bloom and grow. They are just wonderful peppers, lovely taste, just so nice! But I know their time will come to an abrupt end, when it really does get too cold and that will be a sad day!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Changes in environment

I noticed last year that the environment is changing. Last year was the first year that my roses didn't grow from the old wood. I have many rose bushes - regular, miniature and fairy. If they came up at all, they sprouted from the roots. I wasn't the only one with that issue. My mom's area had the same thing. And they also lost rose of sharon's too. I was lucky last year. I didn't lose any rose of sharon's. But this past spring, I did lose one of mine. I have a whole row along one side of my back yard, and the middle bush died. Well, I just planted two small bushes that my mom had grown from seed (from mine) last year. She grew many for her friends to replace what they had lost and she just gifted me with two of my own. I hope they do well!

This is also the first year that we've been attacked by the Japanese beetle. We've been here for 23 years, and never have we had that problem. Just this year. Supposedly brought about by all the rain we did have this year. They kept coming back and coming back. Luckily we would catch them before they did much damage, but we had to apply "Sevin" about 4 different times in two months. I never want to see them again!

I've never seen a tomato hornworm in my life - until this year. Yes, this is the first year I've gotten back into growing tomatoes again. But even my friend who grows them every year, got them too. And he's never seen them before either.

So yes, I think the environment has been changing. Everything is in a flux. We just have to wait and see what's in store for our gardens next year!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall has really begun

The nip is in the air. The squirrels are fighting for food. The birds are on the feeders in droves. The Cooper's hawks have been by here too many times lately, trying to catch the birds, squirrels, mice, or rabbits. You know when hawks are desperate for food when they go after squirrels and rabbits. The squirrels around here give them the smack down, but rabbits don't. They are sitting ducks. What I'm saying is that there has been such a flurry of activity - almost like a hint of desperation. It seems to me that this winter might be as bitter cold as what they are predicting, and the animals know it. I really hope things don't turn out that way!