Saturday, July 31, 2010

taking shOTTs

Check it out... I bought a digital camera this past weekend.
Firstly, I have to fess up that I have been living in the last millennium when it comes to camera technology.  (Like I still had a 35 mm camera.  GASP!!!)  I know.  I know.  I would borrow Ott, E's when I had to otherwise I still dealt with film.  Crazy, yes but I'm a scrapbooker and there is something about holding a picture in your hand that I couldn't get over.

Well that phase has passed, and now that you are over the astonishment as well, I can tell you it's a Nikon Coolpix and has lots of fun features to use.  And the best part.... it's a plum purple color.  So be on the lookout for more pictures on my blog now that I have full access to my own digital camera.  :)


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ott, A is getting all ready to can

I was really excited to find out that this Sundays Paper will have coupons for $1.00 off Ball Canning jars and products and wanted to share that with you all.  As the produce in my garden keeps ripening I am getting more and more anxious to start canning.  So I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these so I can stock up.
Why am I so excited about canning you may ask??  Well I am getting ready to host a "Canning Week Blog Party" along with Jen over at From Mess Hall to Bistro the week of August 23-27th.  During that week we will be posting all kinds of tips, recipes, how to guides all about canning produce.  If you have ever be courious or skeptical about canning now is your time to learn, ask questions and give it a try for yourself.  We will have give-a-ways, a linky party and have started a facebook page "from garden plOTT to kitchen pOTT" so you can continue learning from others, trading recipes, etc.  It will be lots of fun, so we hope you will stop by and participate.  In the meantime, buy some jars so you too will be well stocked and ready to party!!!!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

hOTT off the grill: Sweet Corn

Yes... Summertime in Indiana calls for one thing.....Sweet Corn.  Although Ott, E and I do not grow any sweet corn in our garden it is a must to pick up at the local Farmers' Market.  One of the things we like to do with sweet corn is grill it.

To start with we pull the husk back (careful not to tear them off just yet).  The husk is the green leaf covering the ear of cord.  I pull off the silks (fine hairs on the end of the ear) and throw those away.   

Then I push the husk back  up and over the ear and soak them in water for about 20 minutes.

While they are soaking I melt butter and add a dash of salt, pepper and paprika in a small dish.  When the ears are done soaking I once again pull back the husk and brush the butter mixture over the ears.

I then place the ears on the grill and turn them from time to time so they are evenly grilled.  Soaking the husk keeps them from burning too much and keep the husk on the ear keeps the corn from burning too much but still having that great grill taste.

Prior to serving I will tear off the husk and throw those away.  The paprika gives the corn a little southwest flair and is great side for your next cookout.


This post was linked to: On the grill Linky Party

Monday, July 26, 2010

plOTTing and planting: varmit control

So last year we planted green beans in our garden and just as they were starting to come on something (probably deer) came along and ate them down to just stubs.  I think I only got two servings of actual green beans off our garden. 

My father gave me a suggestion of putting some cheap bars of soap around that the deer do not like the smell and would leave our garden alone.  The soap won't hurt the plants and I figured that would look better than a fence.  So I laid 4 bars of hotel room soap around our garden.

Then I was at the dentist and he said he heard citronella candles would keep deer away as well.  Again, they don't like the smell and would leave.  So I threw a couple of votive candles out in my garden as well. 

A couple times I would go out to my garden and the soap would have bite and scratch marks on it, or be a couple feet away from the garden.  Regardless if the soap and candles really worked or not, my green beans went unharmed and this past weekend I harvested a 5 gallon bucket almost full.

You know what that means?!?!?!?  It's Canning Time!!!  And I will have a whole week dedicated to canning on this blog and partnering with another blog during our "Canning Week Blog Party" August 23-27.  Come back then for lots of tips, recipes, linky parties and give-a-ways all on canning.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

this recipe for zucchini bread machine mix will hit the spOTT

One of the things Ott, E and I couldn't wait to buy with gift cards was a bread machine.  We love (not like) LOVE our bread machine.  It came with a recipe book, so I've only bought a box mix for it once, other wise I pour in all the ingredients in by hand.  I enjoy making bread, but I'm not a fan of kneading and this machine does that for you. 
So since I still have lots of zucchini from our garden, I made a zucchini bread. 
 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 T. oil
1/2 cup grated zucchini
2 T. chopped onion
1/4 cup red pepper\
2 T. grated Romano cheese
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 pkg. active dry yeast

Place ingredients in pan on order listed.  Select basic or white bread cycle with medium crust.  Remove when finished.  Cool.  Yield 1 1/2 lb. loaf.

This post was linked to:
Just Something I whipped up 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
Tuesday Taste at Crazy Daisey
Sunday  Recipe Swap at Remodelaholics

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the forgOTTen art of food preservation: freezing zucchini

It is no secret....I enjoy freezing and canning food.  I like going to my pantry all fall and winter and eating off the produce we raised in our garden the previous summer.  It is so nice and handy to have jars or bags of produce ready and waiting to be enjoyed throughout the year.  But in order to eat Ott, E's favorite Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake in the winter, I have to freeze zucchini in the summer.  So this past weekend I took some of the zucchini I had grown (and some that was given to me by a co-worker) and froze it. 
After picking and cleaning my zucchini, I pureed some in my food processor.

Then I measure it out into cups.

I put two cups in each ziplock freezer bag. Which I labeled with the name, date and amount. I then make sure to get as much of the air out of the bag as possible and make sure it is completely sealed. Then all I have to do is put it in my deep freezer.

Now anytime Ott, E is hungry for zucchini bread, zucchini cake or anything else I find to make with zucchini all I have to do is walk to my deep freeze, thaw out a bag and I will be a ready to go.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

country side phOTTography: black eyed susan

Ott, E took this picture last week of some Black Eyed Susans growing in a field.  (I kind of like these flowers because they remind me of sunflowers and we all know how crazy I am about sunflowers.  And they are related to sunflowers.) 
This post was linked to Outdoor Wednesday  and Wordless Wednesday at Live and Love Outloud.

chocolOTTe chip zucchini cake

Yet again this week I come to you with a recipe for something I grew in my garden.  Zucchini!!            If you would like to see a better picture of this recipe please click here.  

This is where my "plOTTing and planting" feature meets my "in the kitchen a lOTTe" feature. 

 I love going to my garden, picking something I grew, bringing it in the kitchen and baking something with it.  It makes me feel resourceful and downright thrifty.  So this here is my recipe for chocolOTTe chip zucchini cake.  This is definitely Ott, E's favorite cake!!!

We planted our zucchini in early May.  It bloomed in late June and we harvested it in July.  I notice people are always looking for something to do with their zucchini this time of year, when there is plenty of it around.  So when I found this tasty recipe I knew it was a keeper.

I use a food processor to grate/puree the zucchini for this recipe.
As always, here is a handy little recipe card you can click on, print off and use to make this tasty cake yourself.

This post was linked to:
Tempt my Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace
Tasty Tuesday and Beauty and Bedlam
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Tuesday Taste at Crazy Daisey
Saving Cents with Sense
Tuesday Garden Party

Saturday, July 17, 2010

snapshOTT of agriculture

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered than by improving a country's agriculture."   -George Washington

Now you may be wondering why General Wesley Clark, Dallas Clark and I are in a picture together????  Well, we all have an interest in agriculture, and in particular, ethanol.   Corn based Ethanol or E85 is made from field corn.   (Most corn you see growing in the countryside is what we call field corn and ends up becoming livestock feed.  To learn more about the differences between sweet corn, field corn and popcorn check out Farmer Fridays at 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs) However, some field corn does go to biorefineries and becomes ethanol. In 2009 Indiana Farmers planted 5.7 million acres to corn, and throughout the years farmers have become more and more efficient at producing more corn on less land.  This is due to a lot of things such as technology, corn genetics and machinery.  As more flex fuel vehicles are becoming available, consumers have an option to purchase and drive these vehicles, use E85 and support farmers and these homegrown biofuel resources.

Now back to explaining the picture at the top of this post.  I grew up in a family where both sets of grandparents had farms and raised corn and soybeans. I went on to college and majored in an agricultural curriculum and now have a job in agriculture.  Dallas Clark, receiver for the Indianapolis Colts, grew up in rural Iowa and had family that farmed corn and soybeans.  He has partnered up with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council for a program called Hoosier Horsepower: for every reception/catch Clark makes during the season the Council will donate money to a scholarship fund.  And, General Wesley Clark is an advocate for lessening our dependence on foreign oil and utilizing home grown resources in order to produce biofuels.  They were both at an Ethanol Forum I had the opportunity to attend, and I was very excited to get my picture taken with them, and a chance to tell you more about agriculture.    

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Awards from Ott, A

I have been very humbled here lately to receive some blogging awards.  Anytime anyone mentions my blog I get excited let alone when some gives me an award needless to say I am ecstatic.  So in this post I am graciously accepting 3 awards and passing on the award to others.

First up.... the Versatile Blogger award.  I had already received this award a couple of months ago, and passed it one but wanted to pass along a thanks to the bloggers who thought of me and awarded me this award.

I would like to thank MLE's ABC's and Ma, What's for Dinner? for recognizing me.  MLE is a fellow Hoosier blogger and has lots of fun posts about cute projects she takes on.  Ma, What's for Dinner has some tasty recipes and is a great commenter when it comes to my posts.

Next up, I received the Honest Scrap Award from Cris at GOODEness Gracious.  Cris is the reason I am a blogger so to her I am incredibly grateful. 

So the rules are I have to tell you 10 things about me and then pass the award along to other great bloggers.

1. I have naturally curly hair.  People always question me about it, so yes it's natural, and no I don't mind it.
2. I met my husband at Purdue where we both graduated from.
3. While at Purdue, I was on their Dance Team the "Gold Dusters" for two years and performed at football games.  I also got to go to 2 bowl games; the Alamo and Outback bowls.
4. I like country music.  Let me rephrase that... I like to sing along to country music.
5. I love shoes.  I'm am crazy about them.  When I shop for shoes I can't think of anything else.
6. My favorite color is purple.
7. I love musicals.  If I could break out into song and dance at random points throughout my day, my life would be complete.
8. I adore small town America.  I grew up in one, and live in somewhat of a small town now, and think they are the best place to live.
9.  I was a 10 year 4-Her.  I was interested in a lot of project some of which include baking, showing livestock, gardening, photography and scrapbooking.  (kind of crazy they are all the things I like to do and blog about)
10. I was also in FFA for 3 years in high school.

So I am passing this award on to:

Amy over at Positively Splendid I am a huge fan of her blog as she has lots of yummy recipes and cute crafts.  (If only I didn't have two left hands and could make something I would do some of the items she posts.)  And she pays lots of attention to detail, especially in her party planning.  Love it!

Finding Joy in my Kitchen.  What a fabulous place to go for amazing recipes.  She bakes daily the way I only bake when company is coming over and it all looks sooo yummy!

Frugalista Farm Life- Now I clip coupons out of the Sunday paper, but she has made an art out of CVS paying her to shop there. She can sniff out a deal a mile away and stretch a dollar farther than a country mile. Stop by her blog for lots of tips on saving moola.

I have also received 3 A Blog with Substance Award from my bloggy buddies Hoosier Farm Babe Tell Tails and Going Jane.  Both of these blogs have great insight to share on their daily life and how it relates to farming and agriculture.   

The Rules:

*Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
*Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
*Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance.
5 words: Learning, Trying new things, Relational

I am passing this award on to:
1. Welcome Home Sunshine:  I think this is a cute newlywed blog with tips on travel, food and other miscellaneous posts. 
2. The Little Round Table She has some great gardening post, and can dress up a table better than anyone.
3. The Pursuit of Happiness She has a happy blog with great recipes and tips on crafts.
3. Attempting Creative- She had this awesome cupcake carnival which has got me itchin' to bake more cupcakes, they are so darn cute.
4. Dogs and Country- A garden blog, and she like kohlrabi like me.  YEA!!
5. City Girl Can Survive- As much as I enjoy living in the country, reading about how she is adapting to it makes me laugh some days.
6. Crazy Daisey-A fun blog with fun recipes and a great linky party on Tuesdays.
7. Food Wine & Mod Podge- She bakes and she pairs wine with her food.  What more could a girl want?!?
8. From Mess Hall to Bistro - Need tips and tricks for the Kitchen.  Jennifer is your girl and she has lots of great recipes to try as well.  Definitely stop by and check her out.
9. Keen Inspirations- A gardener and a craftier, and some of her crafts are for the garden.  She held a fabulous garden party this past spring and I hope she will host it again.
10. Linda's Lunacy- Linda does a great job blogging about her garden, baking and kids.  No not children but kids as in baby goats.  They are really cute and you should check out her Saturday's on the Farm linky party. 

And lastly, one night I opened up my laptop to blog and Ott, E had posted this sticky note to monitor.  He had given me a bloggy award.  It read: Bloggy Award: The Lovely Blogger Presented by; Your Husband.  (Awwww....  isn't he just the best.)  This award I am keeping and not giving out to anyone.

Monday, July 12, 2010

plOTTing and planting: an update on my flower pots

If you'll recall earlier this spring I blogged about my flower pots.  Well they have been blooming and growing, so I thought I would post some updated pictures so you can see how well they are coming along. 

This post was linked to Bloomin Tuesday and Fertilize Friday.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

ridOTTo for eggplant parmesan

This is absolutely, hands down the most exciting thing for me to do this time of year....getting to cook with what we grow in our garden.  I wait patiently all spring and summer until the vegetables are ready to harvest and then I get to take them into our kitchen and make something tasty for us to eat.  I don't know what it is about eating what you grow but it always taste better.

So this week I am going to share with you my recipe for Eggplant Parmesan.  If you'll recall I have babied this plant for awhile.  First it bloomed and I got all excited.  Then the eggplant formed and started to grow. 
And the eggplant got bigger and finally I picked it.

Eggplant Parmesan
1 Large Eggplant
3/4 cup EVOO
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Peel Eggplant and cute into 1/4 inch slices.  Fry on both sides in skillet in hot oil until browned.  Drain well on paper towels.  Place a layer of eggplant slices in a shallow baking dish: cover with a portion of the following ingredients: tomato sauce, and sprinkle with basil and garlic powder, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Repeat  layers until all ingredients are used, ending with mozzarella cheese.  Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Serve over spaghetti pasta.  Yield: 4 people.
A meal like this calls for an Italian ridotto.  (a ridotto is a favorite Italian public entertainment, consisting of music and dancing.)
This post was linked to:

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
Tuesday Taste at Crazy Daisey
Recipe Swap Sunday at Remodelaholics
Saving Cents with Sense

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ott E's 30th Birthday Party

One time this past winter I asked Ott, E what was his favorite birthday party?  He answered that when he turned 8 the family came over for cake and ice cream and played baseball out in the yard.  Little did he know when he gave me that answer, the wheels in my head started turning working on plans for a 30th Birthday Party.  Obviously I wanted to make sure his family could all be there and that there would be baseball.  In northern Wisconsin there is a Minor League Baseball team called the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (which Ott, E was somewhat of a fan of when he was little.)  A couple of phone calls to the T-Rats ticket office and all of Ott, E's family, put my plans in motion.  And, a week ago we drove up to Wisconsin where the family was waiting to celebrate Ott, E's surprise party.  (He is the one in the red shirt pictured above; front and center.)

I think a great party starts with a fabulous invitation.  So since this was a surprise party I wanted to keep with that top secret theme and what better way than with a "Top Secret File" for an invitation.  I actually had someone else make the invites, but I crafted up the wording for the inside to sound spy talk; all the information about the Target (a.k.a. birthday boy) and each Secret Agent (guests) mission (attending the party).  Tickets to the game and a picture of the target were paper clipped to the file and it was mailed in a manila envelope with a top secret sticker on it.

The evening started with a tailgate prior to the game. 

Then Ott, E and his brother got to participate in an in-field promotion prior to the start of the game. They tried to chip a golf ball from home plate to a hoola-hoop out in center field.

Also at the game was Wendel, the Miller High Life Delivery Man who does commercials for Miller.  Ott, E got to shake his hand and pose for a quick picture. 
Back  in the stands I had reserved patio tables right off of 3rd base.  I thought this added to a great party atmosphere as guests could watch the game or have lots of room to mingle. 

I also had centerpieces for each table with pictures of Ott, E when he was young and played in Little League.  I had the pictures enlarged and placed in frames and then decorated with baseball and party scrap booking stickers.  There was a baseball for all the guests to sign.

During the game Ott, E got his name on the scoreboard for celebrating his birthday there. And everyone enjoyed ice cream cake for dessert.

For more pictures of the party go HERE!