Thursday, September 27, 2012

Baked Flying Saucers - Mexican Style!

Its been a while since I did a recipe post...

In case you are wondering, I have been posting those all to my facebook page and group.
(It just seemed to happen like that this summer)

But I promise to stop that and even things out a bit!

We raided my mother in law's garden recently,
grabbing stuff that was just finishing up.

Like more flying saucer squash!

Ideally you want to pick those squashes when they are fist sized,
but like zucchinis, if you blink, they will grow to enormous proportions!

What you see above is ONE paddypan squash!

We halved it and scooped out the seeds and inner flesh.

What you get left over looks kinda like when you scoop out a pumpkin!
You can dry these seeds and roast them in butter and salt just like pumpkin seeds,
but we rinsed the seeds and dried them off for planting next year.

In a frying pan, we added cooked brown/wild rice, black beans drained and rinsed, roma tomatoes chopped and seeded, yellow tomatoes chopped and seeded, pressed garlic, 1 chopped white onion and spices.  The spices include cumin, cayenne powder, S & P to taste.

Cook off the mixture until the moisture is all but gone.

Fill the squashes, top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees C for 30-40 mins.
Each half served one.


Super healthy and filling for these cool fall evenings.
This dish also qualifies for Meat-Free Monday!

This dish is easily a meal in itself but you can serve it with a small green salad or cucumber/tomato salad.

I was STUFFED with just the squash...(pun intended)

Anyway, check out my facebook group or page (link beside this post)
for more tips, tricks, recipes and photos from other readers and their garden creations!

Enjoy this wonderful fall!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Update from the property...

So the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler.

We have been fully engulfed in making way for next years' plans.

In the works:

Making room for a fruit orchard, chicken coop, seed saving and getting the full garden going.

One side of our property provides the shelter of pre existing trees...but we've been discovering that most of the trees we thought we had...are actually dead tree trunks with thousands of vines growing up them.

The result is a bunch of trees that appear to have foliage...tricky mother nature!

Our plans include apple, pear and cherry trees.
I need to research what types are hardier for cool climates.
I need to learn about cross pollination,
some types won't produce if your don't have a couple of more than one type around.

I also drafted next year's water barrel structure.
It still needs the ends evened up with a saw and nailed or screwed together.

Elevating the water barrels will provide nature force to the stream of water from the barrel faucets.

The dead trees we've been removing from the scrobs around the edges of our property became a huge store of kindling and logs for our fireplace.

We're pretty stoked about it is one step towards not caring if the power goes out.

We were given these crates by some guys staying at Desert Lake Resort.
The were elevator guys working in Kingston for a few months.
The crates were actually boxes for shipping their parts for the elevators.
The guys left them for us for burning, but I had other ideas!

Another thing we're waiting on is our potatoes!
I think I forgot to mention our composter experiment.

When we moved we found a bag of potatoes that had started growing.
We threw them in this composter and started filling it with top soil
every now and again.

The top soil is now about 4-5 rows of holes up the barrel!
The idea is that when the tops start to die off, we'll empty the dirt out of the barrel.

Ideally we'll have a big pile of potatoes too!

Perfect for storage this winter!

I'm still toying with some locations for a cold storage at this new house.

I have a couple of candidates but I want to monitor the temp fluctuations throughout the seasons.
I also want to monitor if these locations have any moisture issues.
I had a spot in mind, but the roof over top of it might leak during heavy rains through an air vent.

These are all things I prefer to investigate prior to losing a whole harvest to pests, mold or rot.
I can't think of anything more disappointing.

I've also been saving some seeds too!
So far I've cleaned and dried canteloupe seeds and green onion seed bulbs.

So as the leaves change colour, don't forget to enjoy all that fall has to offer:

-Pumpkins and squashs
-apple cider
-apple pies & crisps
-using nutmeg and cinnamon in your cooking (they taste like fall to me)
-root vegetables, roasted & buttered
-warm wooly sweaters
-thick socks
-cool evening walks in the woods
-the smell of campfires or wood stoves

Monday, September 17, 2012

Corn Maze!

Owen and I had the opportunity to try out a corn maze recently.
I had never been to a corn maze...but I'd always wanted to.
Corn mazes are a wonderful way to spend an afternoon outside, enjoying nature, supporting local business, supporting your local food producers and after the maze season is over...the farmers harvest the corn!

We were in Brighton visiting my Mom at her cottage in Presqu'ile Park.

She introduced us to Cricklewood Farm...
It was a lot more than just a corn maze!

We showed up on a fairly hot day and we were sure to bring lots of cold drinks.

We went into the farm store to see what we needed to know before starting out on the corn maze trek.

Above, Owen is pictured with the info board inside the farm store.

We were greeted by some very friendly ladies who explained everything we needed to know.
There were a few rules to follow while in the maze:

-no smoking
-no running, no bare feet
-do not pick corn
-no short cuts (it damages the maze)
-an adult must accompany anyone 15 yrs or younger
-dogs must be leashed and scooped
-no drugs or alcohol (its trippy enough in that maze without extras!)

They gave us some take away pamphlets with more information.

Not just about the corn, Cricklewood farm features lots of produce including many, many kinds of apples.

I had no idea there were this many kinds of apples!?!?!

Owen was really getting into the whole experience!
(Pictured here with apple picking carts)

Cricklewood farms has dwarf trees for easy pick your own apples.
They are also introducing some experimental types...ready in the next few years.

There's no stopping Owen...on with the corn maze already!

The corn maze itself was amazing!  (sorry about the pun)
There were 2 mazes to try:  one was a small toddler maze, which took about 15mins max.
The other was the giant 6 acre maze that took an hour and a bit.

The toddler maze featured little sign posts that detailed the life of "Kernie the Kernel"
We read all about how Kernie starts as a seed, gets planted, then grows up to be a big strong corn plant with lots of healthy ears.

The giant maze offered something similar, but way more involved.
We were given a sheet all about this year's corn maze theme.  There were word searches, definitions, wildlife in trouble and a cross word.  All activities were centered around wildlife.

Above is a selection of the mazes of the past. 
Each year they design a new one and an aerial picture is added to the large collection. 
This year, Cricklewood Farms partnered with the CWF (Canadian Wildlife Federation) to produce this year's theme "The American Badger".

Once finished the maze, we were happy to find the rest area for visitors to the farm.
A picnic area...

An apple maze you trace with your finger to help the worm get to the center of the apple and back out again...

A hay mountain (which the brochure states is for kids and adults)...

And those boards your put your head through and take pumpkin!

All in all it was a great afternoon!

I urge you to check out some wonderous fall activities, which can include, but are not limited to:

-pumpkin patches
-apple picking
-corn mazes

These activities can be found at your local pick your own farm...
or click on the link below:

Don't forget the apple cider!!! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ode to Eggs...

So we are decided.

We're going to be chicken farmers.

It was something that my husband and I have talked about for some time.
Now we are in a property that would allow us to actually have poultry
and not disturb our neighbours or break any by-laws.

The property we bought in May has a fenced in area.

Some of you may remember it from my post breaking the news about the new place.

Its been a few months and we really neglected this particular corner.
We had other things going on.

I finally took a crack at it with the lawnmower.
That is saying a lot when you consider wild black raspberry canes and goldenrod had taken over the entire place, standing about waist high!

The entirely fenced space is just perfect now!

I even found an old sink (that matches our clawfoot tub used for gardening) buried!

One of the previous owners apparently had rabbits.
The old structures are still present.
Old and dilapitated.
Rotting and foul.

The fencing needs some attention.

In some areas, the nearby trees have grown right around the fence!

Our plan is to research all winter about what kinds of chickens, what housing is needed, how to design it and built it.  We will be saving all winter to be able to feed these animals and what will be required for care.
There is a nice introductory chapter in The Backyard Homestead about chickens along with a simple design for a coop.  Fingers crossed and come next year we'll finally be protein producers!

So this recipe post is in honour of people who raise their own chickens!!!

Here's to years of omlettes and quiches!
Here's to roasten chickens all winter long!

After all that mowing, I was tired, sweaty and hungry.

I made a quick salad and ate it on the back porch, observing all that I had done.
Feeling quite proud of the progress I had made.
Next step will be to have the husband clear out the dead trees and chop them up for winter wood burning in our fireplace.

For the salad, I mixed up some baby spinach, boston lettuce (that a friend gave us), baby pear tomatoes (from nana), some white onion and cucumbers.  I hard boiled an egg and sliced it up fine.  I also made a quick mustard vinegrette.

Dijon Mustard Vinegrette:

glob of oil
splat of white vinegar
a few drops of lemon juice
squirt of grainy dijon mustard
1 small pressed clove of garlic
fresh ground salt & black pepper


- If you use dandelion greens or garlic mustard greens, omit the black pepper and lessen the dijon mustard
-If you use purslane, add more lemon juice
-you can also add chopped up bacon or ham

And don't forget to check out my all my recipes on facebook...I've been posting them there all summer long...

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