Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Recipe #4: Holiday Loin in the Crock Pot

One of the recipes Ott, E picked out from Gooseberry Patch's Homemade Christmas Cookbook for a slow cooker recipe.  So of course I was happy to fix this on a work day so we could come home to an already cooked meal.  Ott, E selected a recipe for a Holiday Pork Loin, but as you know around this house we eat a lot of lamb, so I simply replaced the two pounds of boneless pork loin it called for with two pounds of lamb chops.  All the other ingredients complimented the lamb well and it was easy to throw in the crock pot on the way out the door to work and come home to a great tasting meal.  (For more enticing pictures of this dish please click here.)
Here's how I made this Holiday Loin.

Monday, August 29, 2011

An Indiana Themed Meal for your Dinner Party

As you know I love to entertain, and go out of my way make great food when company comes over.  So I was racking my brains the other night for some meal ideas for guest we were having over for dinner.  The guests were not from Indiana so I thought, why not show them an Indiana themed meal showcasing food eaten traditionally in the Hoosier state. And what better to feature than Ott, E and my's favorite breaded pork tenderloin?!?!
Ott, E worked out a recipe to fix this famed Hoosier sandwich.
While I'm not going to reveal the recipe he used I will share some of his techniques.  He pounded the meat flat and then marinaded the meat all day.  Then he breaded the meat with a recipe he worked out on their own.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Canning week 2011: Winners

Whew.... What a week it has been?!?!?!  Like any party when it's over there lots of cleaning up to do.  But there is still one thing we need to do......  Announce the winners!!!!!
Kate from the Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking was the judge of our Canning Week Blog Party Linky.  She had quite a few entries to look through but after some deliberation made her decision.  The winner of the Canning Week Blog Party Linky is....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Canning Week 2011: Recipes

For those more advanced canners we are featuring canning recipes for today's Canning Week Blog Party Theme. I will be sharing my recipe for Italian Sauce using Tomatoes, Onions and green peppers from the garden.  This recipe has a fresh taste with wild mild Italian flavors and goes great over pasta.
To start I use my food processor to finely chop up 1 green pepper.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Canning Week 2011: Vegetable Day

Today is Vegetable Day on the Canning Week Blog Party and I am going to show you how to can Asparagus.  (Last year I blogged about canning Green Beans so feel free to check out that post.)  I know Asparagus may not be everyones favorite vegetable but when your garden is overflowing with more than you can consume during the growing season; canning is a great way to enjoy that same asparagus later in the year.  I will be using a pressure canner to can this and will give you step by step instructions so you will feel confident enough to try pressure canning on your own.  (Trust me if you can hot water can you can pressure can.)
To start with I cleaned my cut asparagus and cut it to a length that would fit in my jar.  (I used a tall jelly jar for this as I think it compliments the tallness of the Asparagus.)  The discarded ends I pureed into Fresh Asparagus Soup. 
I used the raw pack method for this and placed the asparagus in the hot sterilized jar.  (Raw pack just means the vegetable have not been cooked/fresh and are packed tightly.) 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Canning Week: Pickling Day

It's Pickling Day on our Canning Week Blog Party and today I am using up cucumbers from the garden and making a Hambuger Dill Pickle.  This recipe came straight from the Ball Cook Book, but I have a recipe card for your reference here.
To start, I clean and coin 6 pounds of cucumbers and cut them into 1/4 inch coins. 
I then raw pack the cucumbers into hot sterilized jars.  On the stove I have a pot with 6 T. of canning salt, 4 1/2 cups of water and 4 cups vinegar and I bring this to a boil.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Canning Week 2011: Jam Day

Today for our Canning Week Blog Party we are sharing some recipes for Jams and Jellies.  I always think jams are a great place for beginning canners to start as they are easy to make, easy to can and quite tasty to eat.  I will be sharing a recipe for an Apricot-Pineapple Preserve that has a citrus flavor that will tickle your tastebuds as you eat it and is sure to awaken your senses in the morning on your slice of toast for breakfast.  
To get you started here is a recipe card which you can click on, print off and keep to make this for yourself.
First you need to combine 2 cups of dried apricots with 2 cups of water in a pan over medium heat.  Boil until tender.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Canning Week 2011: Preparations

It's finally here.... Canning Week 2011!!!!
I am super excited to be "putting up" with Jen From Mess Hall to Bistro all week as we daily blog recipes and how to guides on canning your own fruits and vegetables.  It is our hope that if you are new to canning you learn a little bit more about the process and are encouraged enough to try it on your own.  Or, if you are an old pro at canning you find some inspiration for some new ideas and help share your knowledge with others.  This years Canning Week is going to be a blast!!!!  Be sure to check in each day for more recipes, more prizes and more ways to interact with other canners.  Each day you can check out the canning conversations we have going on in our facebook group "from garden plOTT to kitchen pOTT."  And if you are on Pinterest check out our Canning Board.  Also you can tweet along with us on twitter using #canningweek2011.  We will be hosting a linky party all week long, so feel free to link up recipes where you have canned something.  In conjunction with the Linky Party we are honored to have Kate from The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking serve as our guest judge.  At the end of the week she will select the best blog post based on writing, pictures, recipe and information on how to can and award the winner a copy of her new book; The Hip Girls Guide To Homemaking. Oh but wait..... there's more..... We will also be having lots of canning related give-a-ways you will want to be sure and sign up for each day. So without further ado.....  LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canning Week 2011: Linky Party

Link up your Canning related blog posts.  Please note within the body of your posts must be either our canning week badge (code found in sidebar) or a link to this site.  The linky will be open from Monday, August 22nd through Friday, August 26th at midnight (EST).

This year we are thrilled to have Kate from the Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking be our guest judge.  She will review the links based on recipe, pictures, tutorial and overall quality of the post and will award a copy of her new book; The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking to the winning blog post.
Oh but wait.... there's another way to win as well.  Underneath each of the entries pictures is a like button.  Click on the like button below for the entry you like best and the person with the most likes will win a Ball Discovery Canning Kit.  Recruit your friends, fans and followers to come vote for your entry!!!!
Big Thanks to Ball for being a sponsor of this weeks Blog Party!!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ott, E's Winning Photographs

We were very excited to find out that Ott, E's had two winning photograph's in this year's Indiana State Department of Agriculture Photo Contest. 
2nd Place Conservation - Wild Sunflower
The first is called "Wild Sunflower" as you can see there were growing as weeds along the edge of a cornfield.  This picture was 2nd place in the Conservation catergory.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

State Fair: recollections & remembrance

Summer cannot officially end until I've attended the Indiana State Fair..... 6 or 7 or 8 times.  I love the State Fair as it's a great showcase for the state's Agricultural heritage and future.  I like seeing families come out to the fair to enjoy the rides and exhibits.  I like seeing the livestock being shown by proud 4-Her's and the large vegetables being weighed against their competition by a proud farmer.  I like eating state fair food,  ribeyes or deep fried Oreo's.  I like seeing the lights of the midway against the nighttime sky, or the rows of antique tractors polished, shined and lined up sitting under the hot August sun.  There's the random vendors selling products in the manufacturers building, or educational exhibits from Purdue with consumer information.  Why I even like the smell of the hog barn while viewing the world's largest boar.   

I'm sure by now you have heard about the incidents that happened this past weekend at the Indiana State Fair.  What a tragedy to happen in a place that has always brought so many great memories.  Like most years I try to take in a concert while at the fair and ironically, Ott, E and I were in the Grandstands anxiously awaiting the Sugarland Concert to begin when the tragedy struck.  While we were safe the entire time, we were praying for those who were in harms way and those brave citizens who tried to rescue them.  Below is a picture of the memorial set up outside the Grandstand gates.
While we continue to pray for those affected by the accident the state fair did re-open on Monday and here are a few shots from the week to recap all that we saw and did.  The Great Indiana State Fair will run through this Sunday, August 21st and is still my favorite summertime activity.
The giant cheese sculptor in Our Land Pavilion.  (Look at that Pepper Jack.)  Below the kids from Beyer Beware meet Bennie the Bean as it's the year of the Soybean at the fair. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I like a Latte: Pineapple Corer/Slicer

Photobucket I am a sucker for a fun kitchen gadget that makes life easier, so when Ott, E's Aunt showed me this Pineapple Corer/Slicer around Easter time, I was so excited to try it out.  I'll admit cutting fresh pineapple was always a little intimidating so I usually bought it canned and pre-sliced.  Now with this new apparatus I was encouraging the whole family to eat more pineapple all weekend so I could continue using it.  (Pineapple on your Easter ham, Pineapple for breakfast, hey why not Pineapple for an afternoon snack??)  You get the picture.  Needless to say I Liked it a Latte' and was quick to go buy one for myself.

I found this particular model at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I'm sure most stores with larger kitchen sections carry these.  This slices and cores the pineapple into rings.  It also came with an attachment to cut the slices into pineapple wedges. 

To use, start by cutting the top off your pineapple.

Then place your corer in the center of the top of the pineapple.  Start to twist the pineapple clockwise and press into the flesh of the pineapple.  Continue twisting until you reach the bottom of the pineapple (you'll start to feel get harder as you reach the bottom.  Then use the handle of your slicer and pull straight up and all of your slices will come up and out of the pineapple.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Recipe #3: Chocolate Oat Chews

I was surprised when Ott, E picked this recipe out of Gooseberry Patch's Homemade Christmas Cookbook as it had marshmallows in it and Ott, E does not like marshmallows.....  Ok this calls for a funny story that I just have to share with you before I share this recipe.  There are two things I don't particularly like to eat; peppers and onions.  So naturally when we go out to eat I try to order things without those 2 items.  One time while we were dating Ott, E heard me ordering and told me I was a picky eater.  There are only 2 things I don't eat, and he's calling me a picky eater.  Well one winter after we were married I made him fudge and the recipe I use calls for marshmallow cream.  Ott, E likes fudge but he didn't like to eat my fudge after he found out there was marshmallow cream in it.  At that point I found out that he didn't like marshmallows so I couldn't resist the urge to tell him "You don't like marshmallow's?  You're a picky eater."

Ingredients for Chocolate Oat Chews
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup quick cooked oats, uncooked
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Join National Can-It-Forward Day to get ready for the Canning Week Blog Party

Did you know August 13th is National Can-It-Forward Day? 
And like most of my weekends in August, I'm spending today in the kitchen up to my elbows in tomatoes canning salsa, juice, sauces and more.

Canning is a great way to put up extra produce you can't consume while it's fresh so you can enjoy it later in the year.  I grew up canning with my mom and now that I'm married I have continued on with that tradition.  Canning a couple of afternoons in the summer saves me countless hours all winter long, and it also saves me some grocery money as we eat vegetables canned straight from our garden.  While there is a little bit of an investment up front canning does save me money in the long run. 

Here are a few canning recipes I have shared on this blog in the past.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tall Sunflowers

The one thing in our garden that has flourished in the heat is our sunflowers.  I had a few big headed sunflowers that came up as volunteers and wow, did they ever grow.
Now if you'll recall we handed out packages of sunflower seeds as party favors at our wedding.  So every year I have planted a few of those and above is a picture of one of those.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Recipe #2: Baked Spiced French Toast

A lazy Saturday morning with nothing to do is my favorite way to start a weekend.  Although both Ott, E and I are morning people just the thought of knowing that an alarm will not be waking you up in the morning brings us such a relaxed feeling.  I love Saturday mornings were we sleep about 30 minutes longer than normal, and Ott, E goes out and gets the paper while I stumble out to the kitchen and make us a good breakfast.  We slowly eat our breakfast while watching the news and reading the paper.  This particular morning Ott, E selected a breakfast recipe for me to make for him out of the Homemade Christmas Gooseberry Patch Cookbook which I will be cooking out of for the next 10 weeks, and then giving away a copy to one of my readers. 

The recipe he selected was for Baked Spiced French Toast and one of the things I really liked about this recipe is that you do all the prep work the night before and then just wake up and bake it and you're ready to eat.

Baked Spiced French Toast
12 slices of cinnamon bread
6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 T. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 T. cinnamon

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Our Montana Vacation: Going to the Sun Road

One of our last days in Montana was spent at Glacier National Park and driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This is a 50 mile road through the center of the park and up some mountains to about 10,000 feet in elevation. Sadly, the day we took this drive it was cloudy, foggy, rainy and cold. (The kind of day where you're glad you drank your morning Latte' to keep you warm and alert.)  But it still made for an adventurous day, as driving this road was a little bit like an episode of Ice Road Truckers. We were high enough at times there was still snow on the ground and sometimes we were driving through clouds, which was really weird to experience. Imagine driving along and all of a sudden it gets so cloudy you can't see 10 feet in front of you and then in a split second it's gone and you can see again.
Below is a picture of the weeping wall.  Due to snow melt higher in the mountain there is always water coming out of the rocks at this location.
Here are some pictures of the road so when I told you it was along the side of a mountain you know I wasn't joking.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Montana Vacation: Glacier National Park

So by mid-week of our week in Montana we hit the road and drove from the West Yellowstone to Glacier National Park which is actually an International Park as it is located on the Canadian border.  It was about a 400 mile trip and along the way we saw lots of ranches and some Antelope.  We also saw some wheat, barley, hay and potato fields and I must say agriculture looks beautiful with the rocky mountains as a backdrop.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Montana Vacation: Wildlife & Wildflowers

While in Yellowstone we were able to see lots of wildlife.  Some where pretty up close.  Now I'll be the first to admit that I thoroughly enjoy seeing wildlife but I appreciate a little space in between them and I.  Early one morning we were driving through Yellowstone along the edge of a rocky wall with a cliff on the other side of the road we came around the bend in the road and there about 50 feet in front of us was a large buffalo standing there in the road looking at us. I immediately stopped the car and said to Ott, E... "there's a buffalo.... in the middle of the road.... what do I do?"  Ott, E said, "Lets take some pictures."  So he leaned out the window and took pictures (even some video) and eventually the buffalo walked over to the edge of the road and we proceeded (in the car) around him and on our way.  We joked about that morning every day for the rest of the trip.
This buffalo was laying down near the edge of the road, so we snapped a quick picture of him too.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Our Montana Vacation: Geysers in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park has the highest concentration of active geysers of anywhere in the world.  I was amazed at how many of them their were inside the park.  Besides geysers we saw mudpots, furmaroles (steam vents) and hot springs.
First up are some pictures of Mammoth Springs.  There was a terraced boardwalk you could walk along to view this area. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gooseberry Patch Recipe #1: Cheesy Eggplant Casserole

PhotobucketAfter coming back from vacation I was anxious to get out to the garden to check on things.  It didn't really rain while we were gone and hasn't rained much at all the month of July, in fact I think they are saying it's one of the driest July's ever here in central Indiana.  Needless to say, I was glad to see my eggplants and tomatoes survived the heat in our absence.

Now, if you'll recall a couple of weeks ago the readers voted on which Gooseberry Patch Cookbook I would cook out of for the next 10 weeks and selected Homemade Christmas.  You should also recall that I said I would let Ott, E select the 10 recipes I would cook out of this book so you would get a man's impression on what sounded good, looked good and how he thought those recipes tasted.

I'll admit when I heard the winner was a Christmas themed cook book I was already to run to the store and buy peppermint, pumpkin and cranberries as I figured each recipe would have a Christmas theme, what I was surprised to find was that there were a lot of recipes you could use any day of the year.  I was even more surprised that Ott, E picked one that called for eggplants, tomatoes and onions which we currently have growing fresh in our garden.  So after a short walk out the back door and into the garden we were all set to make this dish.

Wait a minute..... do you think Ott, E's really reading through the cookbook?????

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Montana Vacation: Yellowstone National Park

Come on in and grab a coffee because I have to tell you all about our vacation this past week.  Ott, E and I went to Montana for our summer vacation.  If you'll recall last summer we went to Alaska, and Ott, E assured me that Montana was a closer version of Alaska so off we went to see Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.  We flew into Bozeman, Montana and rented a car and drove to Yellowstone.  (Actually the majority of the Park is in Wyoming, but we stayed the right outside the north entrance in Gardiner, Montana.)  It was about an hour and a half drive through rugged terrain.  But once we got there I was not disappointed. Yellowstone was a beautiful and diverse National Park (2.2 million acres) which I will show off through pictures for the next couple of days.  Today I'm showing off pictures of the landscape inside Yellowstone.

Below is a picture of a glacial boulder.  These are really large rocks the glaciers left behind and are scattered throughout the park.