Home-Grown Goodness

Gardening does take a lot of time and effort, but the rewards are worth it.  Here on our property, we have a small orchard, blueberry and blackberry bushes, and a very small garden this year.  The peaches are just about ready for picking; the blueberries and blackberries are just about done; and the figs have another week or so before they are ready for picking.  I have about a dozen cups of jam prepared.  The hubby began eating his hot peppers about a week ago, and tonight we savored the first tomatoes!  Yummy!

Here is the Give-Away!

Many thanks to all of you who have been following our blog for the last 13 months!  Last week we hit over 2000 views, and today it is 2050!  So, here is the give-away that I promised.

THE RULES:  Read through the various recipes and other entries that have been posted.  Choose the one that you like the best.  Then come back to this post and leave a comment telling us which one you like best and why.  That’s all you need to do to be entered into the give-away.  The contest will start as soon as this post is published this morning and will end at noon eastern time on Friday, July 8.  All those who leave a comment here on this post will be entered.  A name will be drawn randomly using the random website.

THE PRIZE:  I was hoping to be linked up to some freebie sites by now so that I could give a kitchen item as the prize.  However, that is still in the works. Maybe I can do that next time!  This time the prize is a necklace made by my friend Katie over at Hinges Homemade.     Here is a link to her etsy site:   http://www.etsy.com/people/HingesHandmade?ref=si_pr

Hinges Handmade necklace pendants come on a rubber-made 24 inch long, 3.5mm round necklace with a lobster chain clasp.  The pendant is handmade and not cut from a mold, which makes each  necklace so unique that not one is like the other.

If you’d like to be considered to win this beautiful necklace, then be sure to pick either a recipe or other post, come back to this post and leave a comment telling us which one and why!!  Only one entry per person please!  Contest ends at noon eastern time on Friday, July 8!  Remember, the winner will be chosen randomly!

2001 Views!!

A big thank you to all those faithful viewers out there who have visited our blog. We just passed the 2000 mark. . .it is officially 2001 as of 2:45 this afternoon!  Yay!!

Next week I will be announcing a give-away, so stay tuned to this blog for the details.

Enjoy your 4th of July and remember that Freedom is not free! We have much to be thankful for in our nation.

Electric Griddle!

It is always nice to win a prize, isn’t it?  It doesn’t happen very often to me, but last week I did win a prize!  Our local Christian radio station is collecting recipes for a new cookbook, and listeners are encouraged to enter recipes as often as they’d like.  Every week a random person is chosen to receive a prize.   Last week, they actually chose my name!  I was so surprised!  They don’t choose a recipe but the name of someone who submits a recipe.  My prize is an electric griddle with a warming pan.  Pretty sweet!

Don’t forget to keep coming back to this blog.  We are getting near that magic number of 2000…only 60 more to go!  Once we hit 2000 views, we will run a give-away for our faithful followers!  No, we  can’t give away a super prize like an electric griddle, but we will have something special!

Garden and Orchard Produce

Like many of you, I have a small garden again this year. . .very small! Knowing that SC could go back into drought status,  I knew that a large garden would be too difficult to water if we didn’t receive much rain.  So I moved my garden back up by the house this year.  I have 4 tomato plants, 4 hot pepper plants and a basil plant.  With our long growing season, I am considering  planting a few more things.  The tomatoes are growing well, and we could have ripe ones in time for the 4th of July!  The hubby has already eaten 4 or 5 hot peppers, and we’ve enjoyed some fresh basil in several dishes.  Of course, I’ve mentioned in a previous post about the blueberries.  They are very prolific this year!

Our figs are looking great this year!  They will be coming in in about another 3 weeks or so.  The peaches are slim, but we might end up with enough for a few pies or a batch or two of jam, but our plums are almost non-existent this year.  We had lots in the beginning of the season, but most fell off during wind and rain earlier this spring.  Since we had tons last year, I’m not terribly disappointed!

Helpful Kitchen Tips

It’s hard to believe that March is finally over!  It has been quite the month with all sorts of crazy weather!  Here in South Carolina we went from sunny days with temperatures near 80 degrees to rainy, windy days with the temperature falling to the upper 40s. . .all in the same week!   I’m sure that April will be better, but it will also be much busier around this house. In less than 6 weeks I will have my first child graduating from college. . .the other half of this blog, Barbi!  And my 3rd child will be graduating from high school.  There is so much to do in so little time.

I thought that I would share with you a few kitchen tips that can help save time in the kitchen.  I will give 3 here today, but hopefully when things slow down again (will they really??) I will try to give some more!

#1.  Do you ever have trouble with your pasta sticking to your strainer or colander when you drain it?  I have a metal strainer, and my pasta always sticks!  Here is what I found works very well.  Spray a bit of spray oil on the inside of your strainer or colander.  Then drain the pasta through it.  When you remove the pasta to a dish or back into the sauce pan, none will stick to the strainer!

#2.  If you are making a recipe which calls for buttermilk, but you don’t have any, you can add about 2 tbsp. of either lemon juice or white vinegar to milk.  Let it sit for a minute or two before adding it to your recipe!

#3.  I have my mom to thank for this third tip.  A few years ago, I was making something in my one-quart saucepan, but got side-tracked or interrupted and ended up burning what I had been cooking!  I mean, this was totally burned. . .charred!!  After letting the pan cool, I tried to scrape it.  A few large pieces came out, but the rest was stuck fast.  I was ready to throw the pot away when my mom came to the rescue.  The remedy?  Put about 2 inches of water in the pan.  Bring it to a boil and add 2-3 tbsp. of baking soda.  Let the water and soda mixture simmer for about 30 minutes.  Pour out the water and scrape at the burned bottom.  Most of it will lift right out!  Repeat as often as necessary to remove all the burned food.  You may need to be patient here and do this step several times, but it is better than throwing away your pot!  I did, and I’m still using the same sauce pan today!

What are some of your favorite kitchen tips?  Feel free to share!