Friday, August 31, 2012

Chris' Pickled Squash

I love summer squash but have you ever tried it pickled??  Pickled squash has a great taste and is so refreshing.  Perfect even on a autumn or winter day when the thoughts of summer have faded away.

Here is all you have to do:

Place 2 lb. squash, cut into 1/4 inch -thick rounds.  2 medium red bell peppers, chopped; and 1 onion, thinly sliced; in a colander.  Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. salt; cover and let stand for about 1 hour.  Do not rinse.  Tightly pack squash mixture into about 4 sterilized jars, filling to 1/2 inch from the top.   Now bring 3 cups sugar, 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp. mustard seeds, and 2 tsp. celery seeds to a boil.  Stir constantly to blend together.  When sugar dissolves, pour hot mixture over squash mixture in each jar.  Remove any air bubbles by gently stirring with a long wooden skewer or the end of a wood spoon.  Seal with lid.

Autumn Stepping Stones

Preserve autumn year round by making your own fall stepping stones.  All you need is a pizza box, a plastic bag, some ready-to-use concrete mix and a few fall leaves.  A pair of latex gloves may be a great idea.

Step 1:

Cut the lid off the pizza box and reinforce each corner with duct tape.  Then cut the bottom and side seam of a kitchen garbage bag to fit and secure it with tape.  This will keep the concrete from sticking.

Step 2:

Mix fast-drying concrete with water according to package directions, until it's the consistency of a thick cake mix.  Fill the pizza box with the mix, pushing it into the corners and removing air bubbles.

Step 3:

Press the leaves into the wet concrete surface.  Sometimes you may have to weigh part of the leaf down, so small stones may help. If water comes to the surface, no worries, it will evaporate.

Step 4:
When the concrete has completely dried, take it out of the box and pull out the leaves.  If part of the leaf sticks to the concrete, just leave that for it will wash away in time!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preparing Your Roses for an Autumn Rebloom

August is the perfect time to go ahead and prune your bush roses back to about half their existing size.  It's important to remember to fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer and add some blood meal to the mixture as well.  Remulch if necessary.  Spray with a insecticide and a fungicide mixture when they flush out with their new growth.   Now your roses will be in full bloom once again for the autumn season.  They love the cooler nights that are just around the corner.  Seat back and enjoy....

Delicious Poached Apples

Are you ready to make that perfect summer dessert that is so tasty and completely out side of the box?  Then let's get started!!!

1 bottle dry rose Champagne
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean (split)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Scented Honey
Ground Cinnamon
Whole pink peppercorns. lightly crushed
4 Fuji Apples

In a pan  mix together the sugar, vanilla bean and champagne.  The champagne will foam so no worries.  Core, halve, and peel the apples.  Place apple halves into the mixture.   Bring this to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, 10 to 15 minutes or until your apples are tender but not too soft.  Remove the apples and set aside, remove the vanilla bean as well.  Now boil the remainder of the mixture gently keeping it uncovered for about 25 minutes.

Serve by first drizzling a layer of champagne mixture on a plate and then place the apple half in your dish.  Now place a dollop of Greek yogurt in the middle of the apple half.  Drizzle honey over the top of the apple half and the yogurt.  For the final touch, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and crushed peppercorns.  Makes about 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fresh Cold Water with a Twist

Refresh yourself and your family with homemade flavored water.  Drink dispensers are great containers to show off your flavored drink.
Here are a few flavors:

1.  Add sliced pineapple directly into your water.

2.  Add watermelon slices with sliced cucumbers.

3.  Add honeydew melon slices with slice cucumbers and grapes. 

Let these waters stand with the fruit and ice for about 1 hours or so before you drink.  This will allow the flavors to be absorbed into the water.

Stay cool....

Floating Delights

Some of you may have a water garden outdoors but did you know that you  can have a water garden indoors with floating beauties.  That's right your very own water garden that is simple, clean, but yet beautiful.  All you have to do is find that right clear glass vase.  May be something tall or for that matter a short glass bowl.  Just fill with water and float some water lettuce.  You can find water lettuce a most local garden centers that sell aquatic plants.  Make sure before you place the water lettuce in the vase to gently wash the suspended roots so your water stays nice and clear in the glass container.  You can add some river rocks is you like and even a fish or two for the kids or the kid in you.