Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Peach Season- 2017

 This year we were eagerly awaiting peach season! i have two trees that were completely loaded, but with the lack of rain we had during the summer the peaches were small and green. When we finally got a good rain, the peaches immediately plumped up. The trees were so full that the tops of two of the trees broke in half.
Next year the trees will have to be pruned way back, i'm not sure how this will effect them next year, but this year we are enjoying beautiful peaches!!

"Millions of peaches, peaches for me Millions of peaches, peaches for free" Every year when we get a good peach harvest we sing the President's of the United States Peaches song. Husband says the song isn't really about peaches, but what ever. i'm going to sing it every peach season.

One tree was ripe before the other, so by the time the second tree was ripe i was almost peached out. i've been working on canning them, i also worked on pasta sauce earlier this week. :) Canning peaches is a pretty simple, but time consuming process. i used the directions from the PickYourOwn website. This site is a valuable resource for canning and preserving fruits. i did the hot pack method, where you cook the peaches for 5 min. in boiling syrup before packing them in the jars. In the past i've also done the cold pack method, and i'm not sure which i prefer. The cold pack is quicker, but the hot pack is supposed to be safer. While searching for peach recipes i came across one for peach honey, which is made with all the peach peelings that you remove when canning. i love this idea of 'no waste' even though the peeling will end up in the compost and are not really wasted.

i had so man peaches this year, i ended up giving 4 big boxes and a couple bags of peaches away, and still had a crazy amount on the trees. This is just from the first tree, when they first began to ripen. The rain was knocking them out of the tree so i picked as many ripe ones as i could so they wouldn't hit the ground and bruise.

Besides canning peaches, i made peach butter in the crock pot. i didn't really use a recipe. i just cooked down a bunch of skinned peaches with a couple cups of sugar, a bit of lemon juice and some cinnamon. i think i did 5 hours on low, then turned it up to high until it was the correct consistency.

Yesterday i started peaches round two...with peaches from the second tree. After canning the peaches in a light syrup, i cooked down the leftover syrup and made a peach sauce. This can be used on icecream or pancakes.

i also made a peach crisp and peach sorbet which i drizzled with my peach sauce. So good! i'm down to my last box of peaches, so i need to decide what i'm going to make with them. Many are bruised ( i canned the unbruised ones) so i'll probably use them in baking or freeze them.

It's been sort of a weird garden season, with so little rain but things are still doing well. Besides peaches, i've been canning a ton of tomatoes and still have tons in the garden. The weather has started to cool down a bit, so garden season will be winding down soon as well. i did get some fall crops planted, but need to put in a few more.  Feeling pretty good about the amount of produce i've been able to put up this year.

"Blow up your t.v. throw away your paper Go to the country, build you a home Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches Try an find jesus on your own" - John Prine, Spanish Pipedream

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sweese Butter Crock Review and Giveaway!

Sweese kitchen and dining is dedicated to creating the most useful products that’ll be a staple of your kitchen! They want to create products that not only enhance your daily cooking chores, but become an integral part of your everyday life. Efficiency and durability are two of their biggest values, and it’s one of the guiding principles when it comes to making their plates, bowls, and cooking tools.

This week, i had the opportunity to review this lovely porcelain butter crock. A butter crock, also called a Butter Bell or French Butter dish allows you to store butter at room temperature, so it is always soft ready to spread on bread.  The Sweese butter crock is made from  pro-grade porcelain. It is FDA- approved and made of durable porcelain, a type of premium lead-free and non-toxic ceramic, chip-resistant and more sturdy than glass or stoneware.

This butter crock design makes the butter stay fresh for up to a month in the water seal. There is a water line in the base, so you just pour cool water up to the line and pack the lid with softened butter, then place the lid into base, leave on worktop away from sun. It is a wonderful way to keep butter and have it soft enough to spread without it tearing bread or muffins. Just remember to change the water every 3 or 5 days.

It also works great to store my homemade butter. Just make sure to pack it in well or it could fall out. Butter easily absorbs the odors of other foods and air is the source of turning butter rancid. This airtight design helps keep your butter fresh, soft and tasting great!

The Sweese Butter Crock comes in 5 lovely colors! 

BUY IT! You  can purchase the Sweese Butter Crock here  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XKT4G5Y

To enter leave a comment on my blog letting me know which color you would pick.
Then click the image below and enter your name and email address!
*Please note, winner must have amazon Prime to enter.

  • Visit Sweese Fan Page on Facebook to get more chance to win.
  •  USA  only and must have Amazon Prime.
  • Visit Sweese Fans on Instagram
Giveaway ends in 2 weeks, and the winner will be chosen and contacted by Sweese.
Good luck!

i received this butter crock in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Natrogix Bliss Essential Oil Set- Review

i really love using essential oils in my diffuser and homemade bath products. i have a nice collection of oils, but i'm always looking to add some new scents.

This #Natrogix Bliss essential oil set contains 9 different fabulous smelling oils. The set contains Rosemary, Sweet orange, lemon, lemongrass, frankincense, tea tree, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender oil. Each bottle has .33 fl oz and is in an amber glass bottle. 

It also comes with a booklet with information about each scent//oil and recipes/uses for around the house.  i really love the packaging of this oil set, it would make a fabulous gift! The cardboard sleeve has the design cut out, and then it slides over the purple box that houses the oils. It's really packaged lovely. 

 The backs of each bottle contains information about the use if each oil, how it was extracted, plant part used and which oils it blends well with. Natrogix essential oils are all carefully sourced in the USA! 

i'm having fun playing around with different scent combinations in my oil diffuser.   What are some of your favorite combinations? 

The set is available $18.99 on amazon and comes with a free e-book. #natrogixessentialoil 

*i received this product in exchange for my honest review, i was not compensated. 

Brickfair 2017- Chantilly, Virginia

Last year my son wanted to go to Brickfair (lego convention) when he found out that members of his online Bionicle podcast would be there. It was a really neat experience, and so he found out they'd be back again this year he wanted to attend again. This is the last weekend, before school starts so we decided this would be a fun way to end the summer.

This year, there were a few additional members from the podcast that were not there last year and so the first thing we did was wait in line to meet them. Even though the podcast members are basically a bunch of kids themselves, my kids think of them as celebrities. It was fun to see their excitement getting autographs and pictures. 

My boy was thrilled to get the chance to chat with his favorite podcast members. He also had everyone sign the back of his TTV podcast shirt. 

Sage was recognized right away, and stole the show again. :)  She finally got to meet her favorite podcast member, Purple Dragon (girl in the back) and there was a lot of hugging and crying going on. It was super sweet. :)

Brickfair is always pretty overwhelming! It was really large and there were so many people! One of the rooms had all the lego models on display. These are not sets you can buy, but models people created on their own just using lego pieces. They were truly amazing! i'm sharing a couple of my favorites.  There was also an area for venders with Lego sets, mini figures and custom pieces for sale. They had bingo going on all day. It was free to play, and you could win lego sets if you were lucky.  In a second room there were more displays, bounces houses and lego vending machines, an area for kids to build legos and a snack bar.. 

 The Harry Potter Quidditch pitch was my favorite. The details are unbelievable. Harry and Malfoy are both on broomsticks in the field. You can see Snape, Hagrid, Dumbledore etc up in the stands. i could have stood there all day looking at all the details and finding different mini-figures we recognized.

i'm normally the one to take pictures, but my son really wanted to take the photos this time so i (reluctantly) gave him my camera. i ended up with about 400 slightly blurry pictures to sort through. :) He did get a few good ones though.

There were tardises everywhere! It was fun to see a tardis in almost every display. This one was especially clever,  if you peek inside the door you'll see it really is bigger on the inside. 

One of my favorite things is the 2-d art. Some of the pieces were so amazing, and to think they were all done with legos. Just crazy. This was my favorite.

There was a  crane machine that was really fun and one of my favorite parts of brickfair. It would actually pick up scoops of legos! It was .25 to play or 6 scoops for $1. They had ziplock baggies there so you could collect your legos.  We had to wait in a long line to try it, but it was so much fun! You really ended up with a lot of legos for your dollar!  We are already planning to go back next year, and i'm going to save my dollars for the crane machine. tee hee. So fun.

This was our last real hurrah before school starts again. We already have one back to school night done and one more to go. Then we head back to school Thursday. i'm so not ready. 

We really enjoyed the Brickfair, and plan to make it an annual back to school trip. 

Friday, August 4, 2017

August Butterflies- The Swallowtails have arrived!

Earlier this summer i noticed there were very few butterflies. Typically we'd been seeing tons of them in the spring and summer, but this year there just weren't many at all. That is until August arrived, with it came the Swallowtails. i walked out side and count 15 butterflies on just one of my butterflies bushes. 

 This is a male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

 This is the female. She can be identified as the female, by all that blue on her tail. The male only has a few dots.

This is also a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Only the females have the dark morph.

This one is a Spicebush Swallowtail They are smaller than the Easter Tiger. 

This is a Pipevine Swallowtail, which i rarely see here.  This year i've seen several!

i think the dry summer may be what caused the butterflies to delay their visit. They seemed to all appear right after we finally got some rain. Looking forward to getting more pictures this week.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Garden update- Harvest pictures from July

i post a lot garden photos on my facebook, but don't always get around to blogging about it. This year's garden has been a bit challenging. We had no rain for about 5 weeks, even though it seemed to hit everyone else around us. The lack of rain caused a lot of my plants to be stunted or really slow to grow. i still have a pretty good spread though, so i can't really complain.

6-29  Blueberries are just starting to come in. Still getting a few peas and the beans are producing well. These are the Red Swan and Dragon Tongue beans. The peas are Sugar Magnolia tendril.

 7-8  Getting lots of beans and blueberries. Still getting lots of leafy greens and getting a few cucumbers. Pulled some of garlic as well, and made some garlic braids. Still getting Red Swan and Dragon tongue beans, also getting Rattlesnake Preacher beans and Borlotto Bush.

7-11  Blueberries did really well this year, and my freezer is packed full. We actually had a really good year for blueberries, red and black raspberries, but then the deer ate all my wine berries and the blackberries dried up from the lack of rain.  i've picked a few, but there just hasn't been much. The eggplants are all coming from my greenhouse. They seem to love the heat.

7-16 Finally starting to get some ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse.  Beans are still doing great, and i'm getting  quite a few cucumbers.  Purple pole beans are starting to come in and the dragon tongue are still doing well.

7-20  Still no rain. Greenhouse tomatoes are really ripening quickly.  Dug a few potatoes, but still have a lot to dig. The ground was just too hard to dig them. Finally getting a couple squash, but the plants seem pretty stunted. They are covered in blooms, but no new fruit.  

7-24 Yellow wax beans are just starting to come in. Purple pole are producing well, and dragon tongue and Borlotto bush are still producing. Picked a couple okra, a few more tomatoes and cucumber and a few carrots. 

7-29  The beans just keep coming and i put in a second planting so there will be more soon.  More greenhouse tomatoes ripening and a few from the garden. Getting a couple more summer squash, but really just not getting much from them. Peaches are starting to ripen.

We finally had a good rain this last weekend, which seemed to help a lot of my plants start producing again.  i have lots of green tomatoes waiting to ripen, and more beans and squash just coming up.  i can't believe i'm already starting seeds for a fall garden, but it's that time.  i really feel like summer just started.  i've been busy blanching and freezing beans, and am hoping to have enough tomatoes to can. So far though we've just been enjoying them fresh. i still can't really believe the kids are going back to school in a week. Summer always goes way too fast!!

How is your garden growing?

Red Lentil and Swiss chard Dahl- made with Veda Organic Ghee Recipe and Review (sponsored)

Ghee is a clarified butter that is commonly used in Indian cooking. It's a central component of Ayurveda, an Indian holistic healing system that dates back thousands of years. Ghee is packed with MCTs, vitamins A, D, E, and K, Omega 3 and 9 (essential fatty acids). Veda brand organic ghee is artisan made in small batches from pasture raised cows. It's slowly heated at a low temperature following the ancient method that preserves health benefits and locks in earthy freshness. Ghee is a highly-nutritious oil with a high smoke point and great taste that is ideal for frying or baking.

i wanted to use it in a recipe and decided to make a simple red lentil dahl using ingredients i already had. i used some of my homegrown veggies, dried red lentils, organic ghee and spices.

i cooked the onion and garlic in the ghee until they were slightly browned and aromatic. Then i added the tomatoes, cooked them down before adding the other ingredients.

The Dahl turned out delicious!. i spread a little of the ghee on my flat bread, then broiled it until crisp. So good and so easy!

Red Lentil Dahl with Swiss chard 

1 onion, chopped
 1-2 tbsp minced garlic 
1 tsp turmeric 
1 tsp cumin powder 
1/8 tsp cayenne 
1 cup chopped tomatoes 
1 cup dried red lentils
3- 4 cups water 
1 tsp sea salt 
1 tsp each cumin and mustard seeds (optional)
½ tsp ghee
 ¼ cup chopped parsley or cilantro
1 cup loosly packed shredded Swiss Chard (or spinach)

Heat ghee in a large pot. Sauté onions and garlic in ghee until brown. Add spices and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until soft. Wash and drain lentils. Add lentils and water to pot. Let simmer around 45 minutes,  or until most of the liquid is dissolved and the lentils are soft. i start with 3 cups and then add more water if needed. stir often. Add salt and Swiss chard.  Heat ½ tsp ghee in a small skillet and fry seeds until they pop. Add the stir fried seeds and chopped parsley on top.

Can be served with Naan or Pita bread, or over rice.

i really love the flavor of this ghee. It has a sweet buttery taste like traditional butter.  i'm looking forward to trying it out in a few other recipes this week. 
You can read more about the product here http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N53M3PU

i received the product at no cost in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own. #sponsored