Long long overdue……wicked sorry to all.

Hey everyone!

Sorry for being off the radar for so long.

Let’s just say it’s been a very busy and very wonderful last 6 months.

Within this time so much has happened.  I had a busy and bustling summer and early fall with bumper crops of cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, and summer squash. I was quite occupied with gathering and preparing and cooking and preserving so much of it.

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The end of the summer turned quickly into fall and before I knew it Halloween was here.

However, before Halloween, Heather and Boo (Heather’s little feline friend) moved in during a very hectic September weekend.  Luckily, we had the help of many wonderful family members and friends.

In the midst of the big move in, I was in a car accident, where only the vehicles involved were harmed (only plastic and metal I kept saying).  This lead to my old car being totaled and I had to go car shopping, which was a whole adventure and experience in itself.

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Also during the move in, we decided to renovate and remodel the kitchen.  It needed some major upgrading!!  Why not create a little more chaos and get it all out of the way at once, right.

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We also got time to find some fun and adventure.  We visited the Roger Williams Zoo, got to get down to the Cape for a 5 day mini vacation with the family, I got out to a couple of concerts,  I finally finished the kegerator and I was the best man at a friends wedding.

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All of this and we hadn’t even gotten into October yet, whew!!!

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We definitely made the best of Halloween.  Fully decked out in the yard and we won best costumes at this particular party.

I also got back into some brewing.  I made a hard cider, a mead, and a dark winter ale.

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In the photo here on the right, those are the same hops I grew earlier in the year!!!!

Once we got through October, November brought the beginning of full holiday planning and shopping.  Starting with preparations for Thanksgiving with two wonderful families and then two more gatherings in the form of Friendgivings.  I dabbled in homemade cranberry sauce, brown bread, pumpkin muffins, and little cheese and bacon tarts. (of course I neglected to take any photos of food for this food blog, lol)

With Thanksgiving past and preparations for Christmas in full swing, the yard, house and tree are decorated, I decided to make the holiday season more exciting.

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Guess what, I’m getting married ya’ll!!!  Yee haw!!!

So, that pretty much brings us up to date, I promise to be much better on posting some great things more often.  I can now concentrate on cooking and posting with a fully functional kitchen back in control.

I’ll give you a shot of tonight’s dinner.  It’s a beef and lamb gyro style loaf, with a side of smoked quinoa and wild rice and some tender mixed veggies.

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I shall leave your mouth watering for more with this colorful plate.

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Why Expensive Paint Is Often Better | The Kitchn

Why Expensive Paint Is Often Better | The Kitchn.

They’re Here!!!!

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I tried one. Nice and floral, but no bitter flavor yet. I so excited for these to be budding so well! For those of you who don’t know what they are. HOPS!!!!!!

Low fat and extremely low carb Veggie Lasagna..

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Tonight for dinner I made a delicious and very healthy veggie lasagna. It was made with strips of summer squash as the “noodles” and roasted eggplant medallions. Layered with a cream of mushroom and pasta sauce combination and topped with red pepper flakes and Parmesan.

In the middle of a crazy fast July……

My garden is exploding!

 

Simply stated, almost everything in my little garden of tasty delights is growing with tremendous speed and proportion.

Everything that is, except my peppers.  I can’t figure out what is stunting them, but they are being nibbled on by some pest.  I have treated for insects and small mammals alike, but they continue to look like ragged nibbled leaves every day, with the occasional rogue pepper exploding from a hidden, lucky flower, amongst a veritable jungle of produce.

 

Throughout the past few weeks, I have been harvesting snap peas, garden beans, yellow squash, cucumbers, and the occasional ripe tomato.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been dabbling in a new canning experience, which has included pickles (which I have had two or three successful test batches before this years crop), canning of green beans and radish pods, and now have added jam making to my arsenal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made the jam on Monday night, it is a rhubarb (picked from the yard), strawberry , andblubeberry jam.

 

Following the JAM session, I made this for dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
This personal sized pizza was made with my best dough yet.  Come to find out, Heather had a bread maker all along.  So, on Sunday, I made a batch of dough from a pizza dough recipe tailored specifically to using bread makers.  The recipe filled me in on a little secret, which I will pass on to you.  During the ingredient adding time, add some herbs and spices.  I added italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, and parmesan cheese.  The flavor was instantly noticeable after the first bite!  With the aid of the kneading from the bread maker, the dough came out fluffy and crispy.  Just right!!! I made a bunch and froze for future dishes.

 

Before making the dough, I spent Sunday smoking a pork shoulder and a gorgeous ham.  Both rubbed with spices and mustard the night before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After they were done, I sliced them up and vacuum sealed.  Some has been used for meals all week and some is stashed in the freezer for future use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked this crop tonight after work.  The cucumbers were pickled after dinner (the jars seen above).   I stashed a couple of them and a couple summer squash in the fridge for later.  As for the rest, I chopped them up, placed in a bowl, drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and added some garlic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, they went to the griddle on my grill.  Meanwhile, I took a piece of that smoked pork, added some more spices and splashed some IPA on it, then put the fire to it.

The smells coming from the grill were intense, friends.  Oh my!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As fresh mid summer meal!! Save, the protein, I grew it all.  I placed a dollop of blue goat cheese on top of the pork and cut up a cucumber into spears, then enjoyed my meal!

 

I am constantly on the go and taking care of this luscious fauna before and after work, but I promise there will be more sharing to come as I explore my culinary vises!

This morning’s crop and our berrys….

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This morning I picked 3 yellow squash, a 11″ cucumber, a pile of pickling cucumbers, a few cherry tomatoes, and a bunch of beans. I think I’ll be making some pickles tonight. Gonna pull out that canner again!

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Here our little raspberry plant has shown signs of life and is giving us a flower. I wasn’t sure if it was developing at all. I guess its just a snails pace. Cant wait for the berries!!

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Over the weekend we went blueberry picking. I got some inspiration and insight on the growing conditions they require. Full sun and acidic soil are the key points. I transplanted our bushes into pots so I could move them into the sun and along with us next year. Hope to show you flowers of these soon!

Blueberries!!!!!!

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Tonight we are picking blueberries in Thompson, Ct. Got some great inspiration for how to improve my own blueberry plants. Mmmm. i can taste the pancakes now.

Our gardens and homesteading tools

Hey everyone!! I wanted to share a few photos of the various garden areas and tools I built around our yard.

 

 

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These are our fruiting plants. We have rhubarb, raspberries, and blueberries. The berries have been slow to develop so far.

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Here we have Heather’s potato plant. This should give us a few rounds of french fries down the road.

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This is my pumpkin patch. This one in front is going to hopefully grow a 300lb pumpkin.

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These are our topsy turvy strawberry patch.  We’ve been eating these fresh strawberries since mid June.

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These are my hops. I shall be making some tasty IPAs with these.

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I picked these this morning. My cuke here is 11 inches. Whoa baby!!

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Here we have the herb garden.Oregano, thyme, lavender, rosemary, mint, cilantro, and basil.

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Last year I had just the one rain barrel coming from the downspout.  This year I added a second barrel and after researching the net, found that this piping was the best way of connecting them for filling and for acquiring the water.

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Here we have the main garden.  We have red onion, yellow squash, brussel sprouts, eggplant, cucumbers,various tomatos and peppers, snow peas, and garden beans.

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The blue barrel is a homemade composter and the two barrels hold our fertilizer manure tea.  Diluted with water it is a natural miracle gro.

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Here is our side garden.  It holds various flowers, spinach, arugula, many lettuces, yellow beans, and the potato plant.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed our little tour. I hope to involve many of the fruits of these gardens in future posts as I cook with all of these components.

 

Happy Summer!!

My tablet is back in my hands….

Within one month of owning my tablet, the camera hardware became defective.  This rendered the unit nearly useless for my foodie updates in my travels and cuisine created through the spring and early summer, especially on a week and half vacation Heather and I took in early May.

After dealing with the defective camera for nearly two months,  I decided that it was long enough.  After some research online, I found that other tablet owners of my brand had the same problem.  There was debate over whether it was hardware or software, after a couple of firmware updates, my problem was clearly hardware.   So, I contacted the manufacturer, reported my problem and received an RMA to send it in and get fixed.

 

Now, after nearly three weeks, most of which was travel time ( I think they repaired it within 3 days of receiving the unit), I got a notification from the shipper that it was delivered on my doorstep.  I rushed home to grab it and test it out.

I am happy to report that it seems to be good as new.  My only concern is if the renewed hardware my have the same problem some day down the road.  I sure hope not.

With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, I will surely be posting from it with some snazzy new photos of something colorful and delicious.

 

 

My little backyard garden

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Hops flowers starting to form. i noticed them this morning.

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My garden from different angles. Tomatoes,yellow squash, eggplant, and brussel sprouts in photos above. Cucumbers and peas below.

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I picked some beans, peas, a cuke, and yellow squash for eating today!! 🙂