Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recent Happenings

How is it that when family comes to visit, you always think "Man, I am going to have so much free time to garden, blog, exercise, etc." and it NEVER happens?  I was sure that I would have more time since there would be an extra pair (or two) of hands around. But with the family, holidays and Christmas shopping and baking I have had NO TIME!  Every Monday rolled around and I thought "I have to post about the harvest this week!" and next thing I know it's Tuesday (or in some casesWednesday).

Well...... Let's catch up then.

The rabbit ate all of my kale... all of it... down to the stumps. I had been putting off harvesting because I was feeling lazy. And I really wanted to try kale chips with home grown kale! Arg!!!!  I bought repellent that same day.

But thankfully I didn't pull the kale out and let it try to regrow. And boy has it!  This is what it looks like today.  Hopefully the rabbit repellent will work it's magic and we can eat this batch. YUM!

 And the kiddo's bok choy has been growing fabulously. We harvested 1 pound 5 oz from a single plant I am treating as a cut and come again plant.  And it's getting fuller every day, so I see more bok choy in my future.

I also harvested some tatsoi, but we ate it before getting a photo.

What else.... all the Christmas goodies have been shipped to the family and we finally have down time!  This year the tins included Black Forest Crinkles, Chai Shortbread, Snickerdoodles, Hazelnut Crunch, Peppermint bark, Peanut butter kisses cookies, and fudge. Oh My!  I did manage to not eat everything and gain an obscene amount of weight by telling myself for every cookie I ate I would have to run a mile to burn it off (except the chai shortbread, they are only 57 calories a cookie). So I only ate 5 cookies... so far! The big tins were shipped off, but here are some pictures of the little tins for close friends =)

Top layer - Fudge, Hazelnut Crunch and Peppermint bark

Bottom layer - Chai Shortbread, Snickerdoodles, Crinkles and Peanut Butter Kiss cookies

I love the holidays!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mom's visit....Day 1

To start off the food fest (which I am going to need to seriously start running to combat or diet heavily between Dec. 1 until Christmas....) I picked up my Mom at the airport and we immediately went to Ranch 99. My Mom lives in a small-ish town in Florida and LOVES, LOVES, LOVES going to the Asian market here in San Diego. I spent the last week clearing out the fridge because I knew she would go absolutely crazy and buy out the produce section. Last Thanksgiving when my Mom came to visit, we were days away from moving, and had worked so hard to clear out the pantry and fridge only to have my Mom stock up again! ARGGGGG! This time I let her go nuts. 

We gave my Mom a quick tour of our little garden and Ryle showed her his favorite part... His yummy Bok Choy. Yes, he likes to nibble on it while it's still in the garden. What a NUT!

One of my Mom's favorite things to get is the Peking Duck from Sam Wong's at Ranch 99. She has even been known to buy some and bring it home frozen in a cooler. (Ryle inherited his nuttiness from her!) We had a late lunch of the Peking duck, and despite initial hesitation, Ryle loved the duck.  Gray had no hesitation at all. The boy can eat!

I didn't say he was a neat eater... Yes, he managed to get rice up his nose. And not to be out-done, Ryle demanded a photo. And he actually wasn't goofy about getting his picture taken!!!

Mom made a great stir-fry using an ingredient that I have often seen and have never know what to do with, Chinese Okra. It was delish!!! I can see making it more in the future and maybe even growing some Chinese Okra in the garden next summer. Tomorrow is a trip to the zoo, should be lots of fun. Happy gardening all!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Harvest Monday - November 15, 2010

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions and is a great way to share what's coming out of your garden and see what other people are growing in their gardens as well! 

We had a small harvest from the garden this week, but that is because I am vain. My Mom arrives on Wednesday and I don't want to denude the  garden before she flies in. There are greens greens galore there!  Some boy choy, tatsoi, and turnip greens all waiting to come out. I can't wait to see what she cooks up.  I know everyone says this about their Mom, but she is an AMAZING cook. I cook well, but she cooks better.  I will keep the camera ready and make lots of posts about the yummies.

Fairy Tale Eggplant - 7 7/8 oz
Pin Stripe Eggplant 4 1/2 oz
Pimientos de PadrĂ³n - 1/2 oz

Fall is not a good time to grow peas or lima beans in this little section of SoCal.  Despite the babying and coddling, my arch nemisis Mr. Buddy is out to get me. The peas are being nibbled to the ground once uncovered and the lima beans are attacked from two fronts!  I nurture and nurture and nurture.... and he/she eat and eats and eats. When I uncover the tender shoots the bunny digs up the seed and nibbles it away and leaves a stalk with no base. Erg.

Sounds like it's time to make a special trip to the nursery to get bunny repellent. Happy shopping -- I meant gardening!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

DC Toured, MCM done, what next?

Well, DC was a blast!  I managed to get several full nights sleep, saw the sights (not as thoroughly as I would like, but he, what do you expect with a whirlwind trip?) and ran a marathon. While I missed my boys so much, it was so nice to be free for 4 days!!!! 
Marathon Morning

Mid race photo - we don't look a bit tired do we?

Post race photo at the Iwo Jima Memorial

Grabbing the obligatory photo with some Marines. 

And now I am getting some rest (and feeling guilty for it) and hopefully making sure my achilles heals before the next race! And back into the garden and dealing with critters.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvest Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions and is a great way to share what's coming out of your garden and see what other people are growing in their gardens as well! This week we are really just enjoying the garden (from the windows!).

This past week was very wet and rainy.  This is pretty unusual for Southern California, October is usually a very dry and warm time of the year for us (think wild fires!). So we stayed inside and hibernated, which was kind of nice. 

We harvested several handfuls of basil and flat leaf parsley (not pictured) and 2 3/8 oz of Fairy Tale eggplant.

2 3/8 oz of eggplant

The plants all seemed to enjoy the rain. Everything became nice and perky. Pictured below are the komatsuna on the right, the tatsoi hidden on the left, bunching onions and peeking out of the back is a ruby swiss chard. 

My pea garden (hopefully).  It's being drowned out a bit by the nasturtium growing behind the plastic bottles. But look closer....

That's a flourishing pea shoot growing next to that bottle! Maybe we will have some peas by early December. It would definitely be nice. The water bottles are protecting yet another batch of pea shoots that I am nurturing.

In the area where I pulled the corn we planted some fava beans. Since I wasn't sure if bunnies like fava bean seeds, I decided to go ahead and cover these guys up also to ensure that we don't get an even later start than this!
Bottle protected fava bean sprout
 They apparently grow amazingly fast because this is the same shoot 2 days later!! And I checked today, it wasn't nibbled to the ground, so yay!
Fava Bean sprout - 2 days later

I'm going to need some recipes for wild bunny stew by the way.  On the other side of the lawn I found some nibbles had been removed from my pin stripe eggplant and a tomato. Grrrrr!

Not cool Mr./Ms. Bunny. Not cool at all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Monday - October 18, 2010

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions and is a great way to share what's coming out of your garden and see what other people are growing in their gardens as well! The word of the week - greens!

Komatsuna - unweighed

Ryle with the bunch of Komatsuna - it's big eh?

Bok Choy - 12 5/8 oz

Fairy Tale Eggplant - 5 3/8 oz
Japanese Eggplants - 4 5/8 oz
Black Beauty Eggplant - 4 7/7 oz

Fairy Tale eggplants halved, skewered, oiled and ready for the grill

Melt in your mouth yummy!

Smashed potatoes - Ok, I didn't grow the spuds, but I did grow
the parsley and the basil (also unweighed)

And a great reward for the week - a yummy steak! 

I'm not really sure where the week went, but it's harvest Monday again, and I'm barely skating in under the radar. I'm hoping that I get a chance to blog a bit more this week though. Bt now it's late and I'm sure that Gray will think that 5 am is a perfect time to start the day - blech!  So nighty night and happy gardening!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Necessity, who is the mother of invention.

When I was in college I had an illegal hot plate in my dorm room.  I will admit it now, because I am pretty sure the statute of limitations is expired on that. My roommate and I would always bring food back from break and we would share the awesome things our Moms would make for us.  We each had a favorite of the other person's Mom's cooking.  She loved my mom's fried rice (and my mom would make it with shrimp so she could eat it and still be Halal) and I could not get enough of her mom's chicken.  To this day I have no idea what it was called nor do I have the recipe for it.  And, since 'necessity, who is the mother of invention' demanded I attempt to make it, I "invented" something my husband and I call "Chicken Nartaya." It is not really too close to the original chicken dish, but I liked it so I kept making it.   Chicken Nartaya is one of the hubby's all time favorite meals and something that tastes like you slaved all day making (but you actually didn't).  There is a lot of chopping involved, but once the stuff gets cooking, I usually pretend I am busy ---- and watch a tv show on Hulu.... shhh, don't tell!

I don't really cook with recipes unless I am uncertain of the dish is made or if I am baking (because baking requires you to be a little more precise).  I'm a "little of this, pinch of that" type of cook.  Basically Chicken Nartaya goes something like this.... dice jalapenos (1-2), bell peppers (1 large or 2 small), yellow onions (1), garlic (2 cloves) and tomatoes (about 4). 

Chop up a bunch of cilantro.

Sweat the onions and then brown the chicken

Toss everything (garlic, tomatoes, jalapeno, bell pepper, cilantro) on top of the chicken and cook down until chicken is done. Season with a pinch of salt.

The finished product. We like to serve it with rice... because we love rice!

And a glass of wine (of course).  Viola, Chicken Nartaya.

When I decided that I wanted to start a garden in the spring, the hubby added jalapenos and bell peppers to the list of items I was growing, his request --- "I'd like chicken nartaya with vegetables from the garden."  Well, it didn't quite work out this year with the timing of the peppers and tomatoes, but maybe next summer! 

Did I mention it's even better as leftovers? Happy gardening!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Harvest Monday October 4, 2010 and update on peas!

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions.  It's a great opportunity to see what other gardeners are growing around the world. 

Sometimes I forget how wonderful the things growing in the garden can be. I spend so much time fighting critters, trying to keep my house in order, and get in my "required" runs that the simple joy of the garden is often overlooked. But I am reminded by other bloggers who actually utilize their gardens!  That is the case this week. We are getting some more green beans from the Scarlett Runner beans and the Tatsoi and Natsu Rakuten are lush and ready to be eaten. After seeing other's harvesting their Bok Choy, Ryle and I rushed out to the garden and pulled up some Tatsoi for dinner. Good plan too because it was declared to be "delicious" by the only person we really have to please at dinner-time, Ryle.  He loves to eat Bok Choy and anything that has "green leaves - [that he can eat] like a giraffe."

I think this was 8 oz of Tatsoi

3 oz of beans

Some FairyTale and Gretel eggplants

Raspberries are almost ready

Bell peppers getting their second flush of flowers

Volunteer Bok Choy from my super producer this spring, can't wait to start harvesting off this guy

Finally getting some pea growth from containers

Peas - I decided to cover the peas I tried to plant in the ground with water bottles (with the bottoms cut off) to prevent the bunny from digging them up. And I am pleased to announce that this crazy scheme actually worked!  I checked and we actually have little pea shoots under those water bottles. I will probably leave them on until the peas are tall enough  to handle the abuse by the bunny. (I think the bunny has deflected his attention to Ryle's radishes).

Growing bottles, errr I mean peas under bottles

A pea shoot growing under the water bottle protector

The garden was sadly neglected the last few days with all of the running around we were doing. Friday we gathered at the beach with some friends and came home late with some sandy dirty kiddos. Saturday started bright and early for a group run, the kids and I actually managed to get out the door on time for a change; 5:45 am, packed up and out the door. Unheard of. Then goofing off with friends and then home.  The boys enjoyed some play-time on the slip-n-slide and then well deserved naps. Sunday we spent all day at the Miramar Airshow. Loud but very fun.

And after the hot weekend, we started the week cool and drizzly. Which of course makes me want to make (and eat) more pumpkin muffins. I just pulled the second batch out of the oven, and the smell is heavenly.  I really need the weather to get sunny again or my waistline is going to suffer greatly. We managed to give away more than half of the last batch to friends and neighbors, so hopefully this batch will also find good homes besides my belly. 

So, I'm off for a jog since I only have one little guy at home for an hour or so and I can go out with just the single jog stroller. It's the little things in life that make us happy, right? 

Happy gardening!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rainy day

Today was a gray and rainy day in San Diego.  It was a welcome change after a few days of really warm/hot weather. I'll admit it, I'm a wimp. After only 8 years of living in California, I have forgotten how to tolerate warm and muggy weather.

Ryle and I went hunting for garden pests and found 14 caterpillars.  I don't know about you, but that seems and excessive number. Most of them were on my kale. We went from zero to 10 in one day!!!! 

 Ryle thinks that just because we are working in the garden, it's no excuse not to sample to goods. Today he selected green beans and raspberries.  Our Scarlett Runner beans are setting a second flush of beans.  It's nice to see the green and red in the garden since most of the fall stuff is still so small. The raspberries we planted in the spring are giving us a handful of berries.  Enough to satisfy a curious little gardener.

And since it was so gray out, and it is fall.... we decided it was the perfect day to make pumpkin muffins!  It's not fall until we have pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting. I assembled all of the ingredients, well, most all of the ingredients.  How I had 3 bags of sugar and barely a cup of flour I will never know (I blame my fuzzy brain to the cold meds..... That has to be it, I can't be a scatter brain can I?). And no confectioners sugar for the frosting. Man!  I am so not prepared for the baking season. So off to the store we go! 

Ryle has to make sure everything is in the right place. 

All ingredients mixing.  Orange yummy goodness is close.

My assistant.

Muffins are poured.

Frosting made.

Muffins are done and cooling.

And the final product....YUM!!!

It's really too bad I haven't run in 3 weeks due to the cold.  Because I really want to inhale about 3 of these.  I made due with 1 without frosting (but I got to lick the spoon!).

Happy gardening friends!