The Full Picture


Wild Onions~Remember These?

Remember when we found these wild onions? They were so good and fresh! Now I’m going to show you the next step.

Dried and Gone to Seed Wild Onion

Here is the wild onion gone to seed. The whole plant has dried and those ball-shaped flower heads have dried reveling many seeds for next years provision. The dried plant from flower tip to onion ball at the bottom measures 2414″ long. ¬†We have carried these home and will plant them in a place where the can provide us with onions every year without and labor of planting. Work smarter not harder! This is the full picture of the life of a wild onion. This is so exciting. Simple Pleasures as I love life. ūüėČ

Stemmed, Twice Washed Turnip Greens Ready to Cook

I went to church Wednesday and brought home more turnips and the greens. I am altering the way I did the greens last time since I love my hubby and want him to enjoy them too. He says things so rarely that I know that the stems left in to cook were not appetizing to him. I stripped the leaves from the stems and have contacted a dear friend that know so much. She is 94 so she has had lots of time to figure things out. I haven’t heard back from her yet. Turnip greens have a bitter taste caused by the calcium they contain. I rinsed them twice and cooked them in heavily salted water since I haven’t heard back.

When I looked online, this is one response to the question:

But not that bitter! Seasonal means after the first frost is the best time to pick the greens, the smaller leaves are better and more tender.
I never heard of cooking longer helping with the bitterness; you just have more tender greens or overcooked greens .
Cracker Barrel or country cooking serve pepper sauce consisting of small hot peppers pickled in vinegar to put on the greens so I guess vinegar or an acid helps with the bitterness. There is nothing wrong with adding a spoon of sugar or to taste–At any time in the cooking process, even the end. It definitely takes care of the bitterness.
Mustard greens have a stronger flavor than turnip greens but not an unpleasant bitterness. It’s okay to cook them together. Both cooked down much more than collard greens.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/284194   Interesting!!

I did see a recipe I would like to try:

TURNIP GREEN CASSEROLE
Printed from COOKS.COM

1 (15 oz.) can Bush’s chopped turnip or mustard greens, drained (Or Freshly Cooked out of the garden)
1 tsp. sugar
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 of (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. wine vinegar
1 tsp. horseradish
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Bread crumbs
Grated cheddar cheese
Blend all ingredients together except crumbs and cheese. Spoon into casserole. Cover top with bread crumbs and cheese and bake one hour at 350 degrees. Serves 6 to 8.NOTE: This dish multiplies well for a big crowd.
I figure that this is more of a Southern delicacy so I checked and found this recipe on http://www.southernliving.com/food/kitchen-assistant/turnip-greens-recipes-00417000072384/

Southern Turnip Greens and Ham Hocks Recipe
1 3/4 lb. ham hocks, rinsed
2 bunches fresh turnip greens with roots (about 10 lb.)
1 Tbsp. sugar

1. Bring ham hocks and 2 qt. water to a boil in an 8-qt. dutch oven. Reduce heat, and simmer 11‚ĀĄ2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender.

2. Remove and discard stems and discolored spots from greens. Chop greens, and wash thoroughly; drain. Peel turnip roots, and cut in half.

3. Add greens, roots, and sugar to dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 to 60 minutes or until greens and roots are tender.

So I’m learning that,

  1. These might be better picked after the fall frost and pick the smaller leaves.
  2. Vinegar and maybe some hot sauce are possible additions that help.
  3. Cooking with meat or beans is a good thing.
  4. Sweetening can be added.
In the last post, Harvest, I told how I cooked them the first time:
Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1 tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens.
I did leave larger stems on and cooked them so I changed that this time. The next day I mixed some of the greens with bean soup in equal parts and saw a definite improvement in them that way. I remembered having them that way growing up in West Virginia and served with cornbread.
Today I will take the cooked greens and make something, I hope good, out of them.
We had beet greens yesterday. They are much sweeter and very good.

Beet Green with Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Pepper, and a Pat of Butter

Darnell loves beet greens.. ūüôā Me too!
Does anyone out there have a special way you fix them? I would love to hear from you. I’m always interested in learning.
See you next time,   Jan
Fill in your Name, Email, Website if you have one, and leave a comment. I would love that.

Harvest and Sharing


Pickling Cucumber Beside Angel Wing Begonia

It rained yesterday and broke the stretch of unbearable heat.

Very Small Cucumber Started Where Flower is Brown

Heat makes me sick and I find it very hard to function during stretches of very high, unbearable heat. It’s very hard on the garden and the plants looked as frazzled as I felt. Darnell goes out right at dusk and even sometimes after dark to water the garden and our flower beds. I’m amazed at how quickly the grass looks fried when the heat doesn’t let up. After the rain the cucumber in the picture above perked right up. At the bottom of the picture at the right, see the very small cucumber where the browned blossom has died. There will be a cucumber where each flower is. Yea!! Can’t wait.

Heard from my friend and blueberries are ready. Fruits had a rough time this year because of the 80 degree weather in March and then some freezes later than usual. She got 5 pounds for between 11-12 dollars. We will go get blueberries soon because I’m not sure how much damage was done to the crop.

We have a garden at our church. Pretty good size one. Thursday the pastor and his wife came and brought me turnips with the greens, chives, peas and raspberries and blackberries. I live the farthest from the church, I think and I can’t always make it to the services. I appreciated so much that they brought things from the garden out for us to use. They know I will put it all to use and it won’t be wasted. We are trying to have 0%¬†waste. I even take the parts of veggies that I don’t chop up and cook it to make vegetable broth for soup and other uses.

Here is how I fixed the turnip greens. I cooked 4 pieces of bacon till crisp. Set them aside to drain. Put the twice washed and chopped greens (8 cups)in the pan and just started frying them for a few minutes turning every once in a while. Add 1 cup water, salt (1¬†tsp), balsamic vinegar to taste, and a tsp honey then stir it and put the lid on and let it simmer on low till stems are tender. Crumble the crisp bacon and mix it into the greens. They have a bitter taste which is because of the calcium content. Vitamin content is similar to Kale so it’s very healthy. My husband didn’t like the stems and you can trim the leaves and leave off the stems. On Wednesday, Darnell made the best bean soup so I took the left over turnip greens and the last serving of the bean soup which was pretty thick and put one on either side of my bowl / plate. I ended up kind of mixing it up and eating it together. It was so tasty. I remembered then eating it that way when I was growing up with some good cornbread. That is an awesome way to eat greens like turnip or kale greens.

I can’t do peas the way I always heard you should do them.
On the side of the pea that is rounded outward, I cut the tip.

Cut a slim cut right down the side so that when you are done the pod is open and you can see the peas.

It is easy to open then and you break them from the pod into the bowl.

I got the peas out of the pods so we can have them with lunch tomorrow. I will put them in a steamer insert for my sauce pan. Only put enough water so that it doesn’t come through and touch the peas and it said to cook them covered for 2-3 minutes, but it took more like 5-6 minutes. It’s very quick. Salt if you want to and possibly melt a pat of butter in them. They will taste so fresh and good.

We washed and froze the berries.  The turnips I can wait a bit before cooking them. We had omelets with chives and cheese this morning. I just love having fresh vegetables. You know exactly whats in them especially if no pesticides are used.

I hope you are all enjoying fresh produce. It takes a little effort but the benefits are huge.

What are you growing in your gardens or picking up at the farmer’s market? Do any of you have different things you do with turnips or greens? Are you growing anything different in your garden? I would love to hear about it. We all learn something everyday if we share with one another.

Have a wonderful day!    See you next time,   Jan

The Blood Sugar Solution and More


Here is an update about the book, “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Mark Hyman, MD.

The Blood Sugar Solution
http://www.amazon.com & search the name of the book

I’ve been reading and re-reading it for some time (about 40 days). It is what I believe medicine should be. It is called Functional Medicine. In almost every case, and in every area, any system must have balance to function correctly. If you were installing a pond in your yard as a landscape element, all the elements of the pond must fit together in such a way that the pond reaches homeostasis. Homeostasis is¬†the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition of properties such as temperature or¬†pH¬†for ponds.

That’s one example. A car engine is composed of many parts with different functions that must be within a certain range to work in balance with one another at which point you have a fine running car. In our bodies all the parts must work together for us to be healthy and stable. Just as we should run a certain octane gasoline in our car, we need certain elements in our body in certain quantities and we need to feed it a certain quality of food for energy and nourishment. This book is not just for Diabetics. This book explains the 7 areas that need to be in balance for you to be healthy. They are 1. Boosted Nutrition, 2 Regulated Hormones, 3. Reduced Inflammation, 4. Improved ¬†Digestion, 5. Maximized Detoxification, 6. Enhanced Metabolism, 7. Soothed Mind. There are quizzes¬†you can take in each of these areas that will show what areas are possibly in an unbalanced state. ¬†The quizzes check Magnesium, Essential Fatty Acids, Thyroid, Sex Hormones, Inflammation, Digestion, Toxicity, Energy Metabolism,¬†Oxidative¬†Stress, Stress and Adrenal Fatigue, and Diabesity. Once you take the tests, you can take your score and rate what level of imbalance you are in and then follow the plan to put it into balance. As it is in anything worthwhile, nothing is simple. Why? Why? Why? I wish something could be simple!

As you start the plan, you will give yourself a starting point by measuring and weighing.

Journal what you are doing and what changes you notice. Find out what¬†supplements¬†will help in this challenge. You will have to¬†eliminate certain foods and drinks from your diet to break addictions. It gives you guidance on exercise. If you follow the plan, you have the chance of eliminating medication, reversing disease processes, losing weight, and finding a balanced healthy way of living. It will help you know how to maintain this lifestyle choice. I know that if your health is better, then you will be happier. I don’t enjoy being sick. It is a total body adjustment. You will be tuned up and energized. ¬†I know this is a good choice for me and it is my plan to follow the directions I can and continue on the road to making a different choice about my life and my body. Change does not come easy to me. I have already been working on certain changes for the past two years. Some days I do great and other days I fall flat on my face. I get up and start again. My plan is to succeed.¬†I don’t beat myself up. I just pick myself up and dust myself off and continue on my way. I also give myself times when I’m free to do whatever I want without reprisal or guilt.

I hope you will be interested in this book. It is of benefit to everyone no mater what disease you have, whether you are skinny or fat, and no mater what age you are. Come join with me and find your healthy balance.

One Batch of Dish-Soap

Next Update: Homemade Dish-soap

Here is an update on the making of dish soap in the last post.¬†Psychologically¬†it was a little disconcerting because there wasn’t any suds. We are so programmed that it must have suds that when there isn’t any we feel like it isn’t cleaning. The new washers that require the HE brands of detergent, requires that because it is damaging to the washer and not only that. It is harmful to the environment. I finished and bottled the soap. It gave me approximately 5.5 cups of dish soap. ¬†It filled the soap dispenser on the sink and a tall instant coffee jar. I looked up on the internet what ingredient in the formula for store-bought soap makes it suds. It was phosphates. According to many sites, ¬†among other things, phosphates are notorious for promoting¬†algae blooms¬†and similar, aquatic life-snuffing stunts.¬†However, the non-phosphate brands of dish-washing soap just don‚Äôt seem to be cutting it ‚ÄĒ neither grease nor grime. ¬†(http://supermarketnews.com/blog/no-phosphate-rule-makes-suds-dud) So the problem, phosphates are bad for the environment but we want clean dishes.

I thought about the recipe I had mixed up and felt that it covered all the bases since the soap cleans and the vinegar cuts grease and is a rinsing agent. I got up the next morning and noticed a difference with the soap I’d made. My husband did a few dished in the night (He’s a night person.) so I ask him what he had done. He added the little bit of store-bought dish soap into the mix(1/4 cup) to make it at least suds a little. So if you can live with no suds then it works but if you can’t, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup to each container of dish soap so you can see a little bit of suds. It still reduces the footprint and puts less phosphates into the environment. I thought it was pretty cool.

This was a beneficial experiment that I would definitely do when necessary. For my husband, I would have to add a little store-bought soap so he felt they were getting clean. If we didn’t have any at all then he would adjust eventually. I am interested in making my footprint smaller so I can live with it. Hope this is helpful to someone out there. I love finding solutions to everyday problems.

Come visit again… ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Jan

French Onion Soup and Dish Soap?


I made French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup (Photo credit: Sam Howzit)

Here is the recipe. It will serve 2 or 3 people. 1 large onion (larger than a baseball, smaller than a softball) 1 tsp. sugar 1 TBS. margarine or butter 1 TBS olive oil 1 TBS Garlic minced 1.5 TBS Italian Seasoning 1 quart beef broth or vegetable broth Mushrooms However many you want ¬†I just put about 5 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced French or other tasty hardy bread, 1 slice for each bowl. 1 c. Parmigiano Cheese Shredded or whatever white cheese strikes your fancy Directions: In a 12 ” fry pan, heat butter and oil til medium hot . Add onion, chopped in larger chunks and stir it for a minute or two ¬†Add sugar, stir, then turn down to low or 2 setting and cover with a lid. Check it periodically and stir. Your goal is to brown the onions which is carmelizing it. That is the reason I added 1 tsp of sugar, to aid in the carmelizing process. When you think the onions are just about ready, add garlic and mushrooms and Italian Seasoning. Stir and add broth. simmer with the lid on and set on as low a setting as you can keep it simmering very gently for 15-20 minutes While that is finishing, put the slices of bread under the broiler and toast on both sides. When the second side is done add the cheese and melt and slightly brown. Put each slice in a bowl when done. Soup should be done by then so ladle it over the toasted, cheesy bread and serve. It was extra yummy. We added a slice of meatloaf and a salad with blue cheese dressingto accompany the soup. It was enjoyed by everyone.

Lunaria annua www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.htm

Guess what? I discovered what the plant in the¬†one barrel is that I didn’t recognize. This is one¬†of the plants that Darnell foraged from the side of¬†the road. It’s a money plant! It bloomed¬†several times with those awesome purple¬† flowers and they had faded.

Lunaria_annua_flowers
Ph credit: http://www.wikipedia.org

Yesterday we went out to walk and the plant had these disks on them and then we knew what it was. I love the way the creator designed it. Those green disks contain the seeds and they eventually will turn tan and look a little papery. It is an interesting looking plant.

Lunaria_annua_seeds 
Ph cred: http://www.wikipedia.org 

¬† ¬† ¬† The disks are green when you first see them and then turn a silvery with a double layer of papery shell. The plant is biannual. I will re-seed itself and you can collect some of them. When you handle them do it carefully. You will remove the top layer of paper and then the seeds are exposed. Make sure you are over a table where you can let the seeds drop and then collect them. They can be planted in the spring after threat of frost is past or in the fall after it’s cold.

The “silver dollars” are the seeds and they will plant themselves or you can collect part of the coins and harvest the seeds. They can be planted in the spring after the treat of frost is done. You can plant in the fall after it becomes cold also. ¬†There are two layers of paper in the seed pod. The outside layer you have to remove in order to reach the seeds. Do this job over a table and remove the top layer of paper to expose the seeds and some will fall to the table. Dislodge the seeds that are still stuck and let them set on a plate or tray then package and date an envelope then put the seeds in it to store.

Well, necessity is the mother of invention!

Grated Bar Soap
Dove Tangerine Ginger

We have had a lot of medical bills which on occassions¬†causes a pinch in the budget. I am very good at penny-pinching and looking ahead so we almost always have the supplies we need. Somehow I missed backing up my supply of dish soap. When I realized it was not going to make it to our next shopping event, I started mulling over how I would wash my dishes! This is usually when I say, “Well, there must be a way to make it myself!” I head to the computer with a determined look on my face ready to search “to the death”¬† till I find the answer. Well…the computer never fails to amaze me and at least to give me ideas. I had to find an answer that did not require me to spend any money.

Boiling Hot Water, Bar Soap Grated, and White Vinegar

Here is what I found:  There were  three recipes. Numbers 1 and 2 required purchasing castile soap  but number 3 I could do.

Here is the directions:

Recipe #3: Solid Soap Shavings You can save even more money by making dish soap from leftover pieces of bar soap! Just be sure to chop them into very fine pieces first. 1. Place 2 cups of soap shavings into a large bowl. 2. Add 2-3 cups of hot water and let it sit overnight to soften. 3. Stir the mixture until it becomes smooth. Add more water to reach the desired consistency. 4. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice or white vinegar to help fight grease. 5. Shake well before using.

I made a few changes: I took a bar and used the grater to make the small pieces. I always change the recipe. I added the boiling hot water and stirred with a wooden spoon. When it was mostly smooth, I added white vinegar. I need to let is cool. It will thicken as it cools. I will let you know if this is something that I can live with. Now that I’ve started …I’m encouraged. ¬† ¬†Just looked … it’s thickening!

http://www.diylife.com/2009/08/03/how-to-make-your-own-dish-soap/

My pictures and facts About the plant came from various resources:

http://www.wikipedia.com

http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/weeds/plants/money_plant.

I took the pictures during the soap-making process.

The site from Illinois is awesome and lists too many to number of plants, insects, trees, and shrubs in this North Central area That includes Illinois and Michigan.I know you will enjoy this site full of information.

It’s time to close for today. I feel good about learning skills that will help me save money day to day and in an emergency. Tell me your tips for keeping on top of the things that are needed for everyday. I would love to hear about it.

Come visit again,   Jan

Tying Up Loose Ends


What a nice week……with varied temps and some rain. Today it was sunny and 70 degrees. The perfect day.

This was a week of tying up loose ends.

Pictures 1 & 2.

All the Red Clover Blossoms and leaves are dried and bagged.

I will harvest more soon.

1. Half-Filled Gallon Bag Red Clover Blossoms

2. Half -Filled Gallon Bag of Clover Leaves

Worked carefully to not waste anything in the leftovers in the frig.
Browsed through the corners of my mind for creative recipes.

Set up the payments for the June bills.

I Read over and over parts from the book: “The Blood Sugar Solution”.
Battled with myself over what I read.
Since the book isn’t mine; Typed the tests from the book, that help in making health decisions.
Made notes that will help me remember important information later from the book.

I am rather befuddled by some of the things in the book. As usual I will have to blaze my own trail and find my own ways to come as close as I can to do what they’ve described. I agree with so much in the book. In treating disease, they approach it in looking at the ¬†whole body and finding the balance in 7 key areas as they relate and work together in the body. There is a correlation between all the¬†preservatives, dye, pesticides, hormones and other polluting factors and how it affects our body. This isn’t just for diabetics though. I would recommend this to anyone who cares about their health.

I will find a way.

3. An End Stalk of Celery That I’m Re-growing

Picture 3

This picture shows the end of the celery stalk after we ate the stalks. I just put the stalk end in the container with a quarter-inch of water and basically forgot about it. One day it caught my eye and I saw it was growing. I will plant it in the dirt this week. I first told you about this in a post called, “Gratitude and Contentment and How Gardening Helps!”

I sat the container in the pot that contains a pickle especially made for pickling. The pickles will be smaller so I thought it might work in a hanging basket since the pickles are smaller.

4. Flower Bed with a Pink Rose

Picture 4 and 5

I wasn’t outside this week much.

When I went out I discovered that aphids had attacked all of the roses. I have a pink, a white, and a red rose. I had no way to treat the plants and couldn’t go get something , ¬†I was told by a friend that orange oil could be used to repel the aphids. I have some face cleanser that is all natural ingredients and has a major amount of orange oil ¬†in it. It’s Burt’s Bee Orange Oil Facial Cleanser. I figured I would try it so I put a nickel size spot in a spray bottle and put just a little hot water in with it to dissolve it, then filled the bottle with cooler water. I shook it up really good and sprayed the roses all over. It seemed to work but I didn’t want to use all my face cleaner for that so when we went into town, I got some Whitney Farms 3-in-1 Rose and Flower Care.

5. Close-up of the Pink Rose

Picture 6. This flower bed is flanked on either side by half barrels. One has Lettuce planted in it. I made a salad this week with this lettuce and radishes from the garden, then added cucumber, tomatoes, celery, and onions.

6. Lettuce, One Marigold, One Nasturtium

The other barrel has a plant I don’t recognize that has purple flowers, zinnias that haven’t come up, and hen and chicks. I don’t have a picture of that one.

7. Daisies


Picture 7. This is a raised bed and I have one on either side of my back door. ¬†This bed has Daisies, Snow on the Mountain, another ground cover that is silvery in two tones. There was a field down the street where they brought in fill-dirt. Evidently there were daisies planted in the place where the dirt was picked up because these are cultivated daisies. My husband pulled them up in that field and brought them to me and planted them in my garden. What a sweet guy, going to the free flower store to bring me flowers! You don’t need money to show someone you love them.

8. Echinacea and ONIONS!

Picture 8.

This is the bed on the other side of the back door. I have Echinacea and Onions

English: Echinacea purpurea blooms in a flower...

Echinacea Blooms   Wikipedia

will be hidden behind them. The picture from Wikipedia shows what the Echinacea will look like blooming. My youngest son and his girlfriend gave me the glass sculpture that you can see part of it. It’s made out of glass plates and green vases. I love it! This is just a little of our flower beds I don’t want to talk your arm off so I will say adieu for now. Hope you have a good week.Come and visit again.

Jan


Journey Along the Garden Path

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