Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Country Side phOTTography: Wheat Field

As you drive around the country side this time of year a lot of wheat fields are turning that golden color which means they are about ready to harvest.  Ott, E took this picture of a wheat field not too far from our house.  Wheat was first planted in the US in 1777 and by the year 2009, U.S. farmers planted 63 million acres of wheat in 42 states.  One acres of wheat can produce 1,680 loaves (1.5 pounds each) of commerical white bread.  Or one acres of wheat could be used to make 1,800 boxes (24 oz. each) of a wheat flake cereal.

This post was linked to: Outdoor Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday at Live & Love Out Loud and Saturday's on the Farm

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

plOTTing and planting: Trees in our yard

We planted two Bing cherry trees in our yard....ahhh...let me rephrase that.... Ott, E. planted two Bing cherry trees in our yard.  (Whew, that got me out of trouble quick.)  Anyway, we had been wanting to plant some fruit trees and finally decided on cherry.  While we were shopping for trees I learned something that I wanted to share with you.  Tart Cherry trees are self pollinating, so you only need one and it will produce fruit just fine.  (You can have more than one too.)  Sweet cherry trees are cross pollinating so they need to be planted in groups of two or more if you want them to produce fruit.  Just thought I would pass that tid-bit of information along to you in case you too were in the market for fruit trees. 

Next we come to our Burr Oak.  This seedling has a little story to it.  Ott, E wanted to plant a tree at our new house after we got married and let it grow as our marriage grew.  So he found a Burr Oak seedling (notice not a maple or a walnut but an Oak because as Ott, E said an Oak tree is slow growing, sturdy and long lasting just like our marriage will be.  Alright, all together now.... AHHHH... Isn't that the sweetest thing you have ever heard?!?!) that grew from an acorn seed that probably fell from a tree and planted itself about the same time we got married in of the fall of 2008.  Then he also collected some acorns in the fall of 2009 and tried to grow his own seedling.  One acorn germinated this spring and it is pictured directly above.  So we have two Burr Oaks in our yard that are one year apart in age. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention an Ott family contest.  They plant Castor Bean seeds and compete as to who in the family can grow their Castor Bean Plant the tallest.  Sadly, Ott, E and I could not find our seeds this spring, so we bummed a seedling off of a cousin and got that planted.  I'm guessing we are pretty far behind the others, but at least we are in the running.  Keep your fingers crossed for us that it will grow quickly.

Monday, June 28, 2010

you OTT to try this recipe for kohlrabi casserole

I have found that a lot of people are unfamiliar with the vegetable: Kohlrabi. From time to time you may find it at a farmers' market, but rarely a grocery store. Ott, E introduced me to it and we have grown it in our garden for two years now. As you can see in the picture it is easy to grow and bulb like in appearance. The plant is related to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. You can cut it up and eat it on a salad (I think it taste a little bit like a radish when you do). Or, you can fix it on the grill like I did here.

Firstly, to prepare the kohlrabi for anything you will need to break off the leaves, stems and taproot and then wash it.

Next, you will need to take a vegetable peeler and remove the skin of the Kohlrabi, it is tough and hard to chew.

Then slice up the kohlrabi into bite size pieces.
I have searched and searched for recipes for kohlrabi and they are hard to find. However, this past winter a co-worker of mine brought a cookbook into the office and I stumble upon this recipe for a kohlrabi casserole. I held on to it all these months, until our kohlrabi was ready to harvest, and fixed it this past week. Surprisingly enough, it was really good and I would totally recommend it to anyone. If you have seen kohlrabi and wanted to give it a try this is the recipe for you!! (As always I have a handy recipe card here with the ingredients and directions and have some tips for the recipe below.)
Here it is!  This will make a great side dish to any meat entree.  It has good flavor and is fairly simple to make and will add some diversity to your dinner selections.  Enjoy!! 

This post is linked up to the following parties:
Just something I whipped up Monday on The Girl Creative
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tasty Tuesday and Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
It's a Blog Party Delicious Dish
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap
Tuesday Taste at Crazy Daisey
Saving Cents with Sense



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

an OTT, E speciality; the south of 70, north of 40 lamb burger

Yes, that's right!  Ott, E has a signature burger that he makes at our house and he has creatively called it "the south of 70, north of 40" burger.  Now I bet you are wondering what all does "the south of 70, north of 40" burger entail?????
Well it starts with Lamb burger to be exact.  This is cooked on the grill.  Like I've mentioned before we eat a lot of lamb at our house.  Lamb burgers are leaner than hamburgers, and do have a little bit different of a taste, however I think you'll still find them very similar. 

Next you add the bun and a big spoonful of Ott, E's Guacamole.

Next you add a slice of tomato.

And, a slice of bacon cheddar cheese.
Top it off with some ketchup and mustard and there you have it; "The South of 70, North of 40" Lamb Burger.

For a quick side we harvest some potatoes out of our garden.  Sliced them up added some EVOO, salt and pepper and cooked them over the grill right along side the lamb burger patties.
The next time you stop by I'll have Ott, E fire up the grill and make his "South of 70, North of 40" Lamb Burger


Our Homeschool Home

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

plOTTing and planting: Garden Update

Well I thought for this weeks edition of "plOTTing and planting" I would give an update on our garden as it is in full bloom right now
The zucchini is blooming.

The egg plant is blooming!

We have a baby eggplant that has started.  I can't wait to harvest it and make Egg Plant Parmesan with it.

The tomato plants are blooming.

The Green Beans are blooming.

The potatoes are still blooming a month after they started.

And the onions are ready to harvest.

This post was linked to Bloomin Tuesday and Fertilize Friday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

your epiglOTTis will be asking for this sloppy bbq chicken pizza

Photobucket Now firstly I know what your thinking.....What is the epiglottis?  Well thats the piece of skin that hangs down the back of your throat and covers the wind pipe when you swallow.  (I bet you didn't know you were going to get a vocabulary lesson today.)  But this recipe is sooo delicious, unique and has a stick to your ribcage goodness that your epiglottis will be happy for you  to eat again and again.
I have a Rachel Ray cookbook and one of my favorite things to make is her Sloppy BBQ Chicken Pizza with a cornbread crust.  As Rachel Ray herself would say...."It's YUMMMMOOOO!" (For better pictures of this recipe click here.) 

To start off I have a handy recipe card with all the ingredients and directions.  You can easily click on it, print it and make this dish for your family tonight.

Below is a picture of what the cornbread crust will look like in your skillet.  Be sure to wrap the handle of your pan with aluminum foil.

Next the sloppy chicken BBQ mixture (pictured below) which you can season to your own taste and make this as spicy or as sweet as you desire by adjusting the seasonings in the recipe.
Lastly, once your pizza is baked you can slice it up into 8 wedges and serve.  Enjoy!!!

This post is linked up to the following parties:
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tasty Tuesday and Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
It's a Blog Party Delicious Dish
Tuesday Taste at Crazy Daisey


Thursday, June 17, 2010

hOTT off the grill: Bourbon Tenderloins


This week we grilled Bourbon Tenderloins from a Marinade that I mixed up for dinner. As usual, I make the marinade in the morning before I leave for work so it has all day to sit and then when I get home from work, all I have to do is throw the meat on the grill and discard the marinade. I also grilled Kohlrabi, which is a  vegetable that grows in our garden, and pictured below.  (I've noticed a lot of people aren't as familiar with Kohlrabi so that's why I took a picture of it.) 

Before I get to the recipe I wanted to share with you about a trip Ott, E and I took last fall when we toured the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky.  This trail consists of distilleries which provide tours and tastings of the Bourbon making process.  One of the reasons Ott, E and I enjoyed this trip was learning more about the agricultural component of the distilling/fermentation process.  Every one of those distilleries will tell you that they buy the corn for their mash from farmers in Kentucky and Indiana.  The mash can consist of other grains such as wheat, rye and barley and this can vary by recipe.  The grains are milled and cooked until they release starch that is then fermented.  After that process is complete the liquid is drained from grains and goes through the distilling process before being placed into oak barrels where it will mature for at least 2 years before it is bottled.  Below is a picture of Ott, E at Markers Mark dipping his bottle of bourbon into their signature red wax.

Now that I shared all that information with you about Bourbon, I can get on to telling you how I made this marinade.  Here is another one of my handy recipe cards for you to click on and print out so you can make this tasty dish for yourself.

As for preparing the kohlrabi: I take a vegetable peeler and remove the skin.  Then chop it up into little chunks, sprinkle with EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and a dash of salt and pepper.  I then place it in my grill basket (although you could use aluminum foil) and place it all the grill right next to the tenderloins.  This way I can fix my meal on the patio and don't have to run back and forth between the grill and kitchen.  Overall, this marinade gives the pork a really great flavor.  Bon Appetite'!

Our Homeschool Home

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

on wiscOTTsin: wines & signs

This past weekend Ott, E and I traveled up to Wisconsin (or wiscOTTsin to keep with the theme of the blog) to see his family and attend his cousins graduation party.  This actually ended up being a nice trip for us as we weren't quite as rushed as we usually are to get up there to celebrate whatever holiday or family event is going on and rush back home.  We actually got to drive around and see the sights this time and lots of the country side. 

We started with a cookout prior to a small town parade at his grandma's house.  And, as it turns out, there was an Ott in the area running for Sheriff, so of course we had to take pictures with the sign, just for fun.

The next day we drove to Door Peninsula (which is the thumb of Wisconsin that sticks out into Lake Michigan) it was quite scenic.  Wisconsin has 36 wineries and 8 of those are located on this peninsula.  Cool climate grapes, those that can handle the winter, grow well in this area.  We stopped by a couple of the wineries one of which was Parallel 44, which is pictured here.  They had an exquisite wine called Frozen Tundra.  The peninsula has lots of fruit trees growing up there and I noticed some of the wineries carried sweeter wines made with fruit from the area that are ideal for serving with dessert.  I really like these wines and find they are great for sippin' on the patio in the evenings.  If you would like to learn more about grapes and wineries in the midwest (yes, wine isn't just in California anymore) I recommend checking out the blogs Adventures in Vineyardland and Discover the Surpise Indiana Wines.  Both these ladies have lots of knowledge to share with you about growing grapes and producing wine.  Cheers! 

Later in the day we drove past the farms and land his family owned when he was little.  There were/are so many Ott's in the area that they even have a road named after them. 

The next day we went to the graduation party and then headed home.  As you may or may not know when Ott, E and I travel we keep track of all the counties we have been to together and were able to add 2 new counties to the list.  Yea!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

tuesday tag-a-long with Ott, A

What a surprise when I woke up this am and found out that I would be the hostess for today's Tag-a-long Tuesday.  I was so excited for such a great opportunity to meet new bloggers!  I have been blogging for a couple of months now and enjoy posting about gardening.  I have a weekly feature called "plOTTing and planting,"  I also enjoy cooking and have posted some recipes and tips "In the kitchen."  And then I usually throw in some posts about newlywed life as Ott, E and I have been married for 625 days.  So come right on in, pull up a chair, the Latte's are on me as we look through all these great blogs together.
Tuesday Tag-Along
Here's how it works:

Create a new Tuesday Tag-Along blog post. Include the Tuesday Tag-Along button by copying and pasting the code above. (You are also welcome to copy and paste these instructions in their entirety, or any portion of this Tuesday Tag-Along blog post!)

Add your blog name and the URL of your TTA post to the MckLinky below.

Follow Twee Poppets, the hostess blog listed in the first slot. Twee Poppets will follow you back! (Note: If you want Twee Poppets to follow you back, you MUST leave her a comment saying that you are a new follower and leave a link to your blog!)

If you can, please follow the blogs in the three slots before you (e.g., if you're number 20, follow numbers 19, 18, and 17). This is not mandatory, but it will help ensure that everyone who signs up gets a few new followers!

Follow as many other blogs as you want. The more you follow, the more that will follow you back! Be sure to tell them that you're following from Tuesday Tag-Along! You may also want to leave a link to your blog so they can return your follow more easily.

When you get a new follower through Tuesday Tag-Along, be sure to follow them back! It's just common courtesy. :)The weekly Tuesday Tag-Along MckLinky opens every Monday night at 8:59pm Pacific Standard Time (that's 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time), and the TTA blog post will be posted well in advance of that time. The MckLinky will be open to add your blog until 11:59pm Tuesday night. You then have all week long to visit blogs and return follows!

There is a new list every week. The link you enter one week will not carry over to the next week's MckLinky. Please link up again each week to join in the fun!

Tuesday Tag-Along Blog Hopper of the Week:

Note: To be eligible to be Blog Hopper of the Week, you MUST place the Tuesday Tag-Along button somewhere on the main page of your blog or website (and since I'll be checking for it manually, I must be able to actually find it). If the randomly-drawn winner does not meet this condition, a new winner will be randomly selected. If you do not want to place the TTA button on your site, you are still more than welcome to join in the blog hop, you will just not be eligible to be the Blog Hopper of the Week.

Each week, one blog will be chosen randomly from all the links, and that lucky blog will be placed in the desirable second slot for the following week's MckLinky!

Monday, June 14, 2010

patriOTTic cupcakes

I was trying to think ahead for a cute dessert I could make over the 4th of July.  I had an idea to make the cake part of a cupcake red, white and blue. While I realize there is big trend for cupcakes right now, I haven't quite gotten bitten by the cupcake bug (so to speak).  But I like I said, I wanted something festive, I had an idea, and I just so happened to have a family cookout this past weekend... so. I thought what better way to put my idea into action than to bake my 3 layer patriOTTic cupcake and see how it would turn out prior to the holiday.  I headed off to Wal-Mart and they had patriOTTic cupcake liners, and some red, white and blue sprinkles and red glitter frosting.  (This was going better than planned.)

I baked an average white cupcake recipe and was sure to use one that called for egg whites so I would get that crisp white cake color and not a more light yellow appearing cake.  I then separated my batter into thirds and added food coloring so one third was red and another third was blue, leaving the final third white.

Next I poured the batter into the cupcake liners with the blue first, followed by the white and then the red on top.  While I was doing this I was careful to smooth the batter flat across the entire circumference of the liner to ensure the lines in the cake would be clear and not run together.  (I was also careful not to mix the colored batter while I was doing this and tried to let it fall off my spoon as much as possible to prevent this from happening.

Surprisingly, just like I planned it, it worked out quite nicely with three layers of patriOTTic perfection.  As you saw in the first picture on this post I had lots of fun decorating the cupcakes with sprinkles and even drew flags and stars with the glitter gel.  This ended up being a great way to release some of my creative juices.  At the cookout people were surprised by what they found when they peeled back the liner to see the layers.  Definitely a festive dessert to make again on the 4th!!!

The Girl Creative
Cupcake Tuesday at
Blessed with Grace