Monday, March 5, 2012

Mother Nature's reminder March 5th 2012 - it's still Winter!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One of my favorite ways to eat Oatmeal

It's Winter...  well, that's what the calendar says. Last day of January and it was 58 degrees here in S.W Michigan today and warm throughout most of the country. We've had very little snow here all winter. I haven't even had to dig the knee high Winter Muck boots out of the closet this year! I'm really getting Spring Gardening fever with the warm sunshine. And only two more days until the groundhog pops his head out and forecasts the arrival of Spring. Usually by Groundhog's Day I'm so tired of deep snow, cold blustery winds and heavy coats that I'm cheering for a cloudy day when he comes out.  Somehow I'm assuming that we will eventually get a bunch of snow and cold this season - have to !

I did find my Baked oatmeal recipe today - made a batch and wanted to share this delicious way to get your oats.

Baked Oatmeal

It’s like a big fresh Oatmeal cookie with breakfast

3 cups Old Fashioned (not quick cooking) Oats
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup butter
2 cage free brown eggs – slightly beaten
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup cinnamon applesauce
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
½ tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and pour into 13 x 9 buttered baking dish

I also like to add dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches or pears depending on what I have on hand. I also sometimes add a little freshly grated nutmeg……

For a special treat crumble a little brown sugar, cinnamon mix  on top before baking

Bake at 375 for about 30 to 35 minutes until it’s getting slightly brown around the edges.  

Allow to cool slightly – cut and enjoy!  Hint – you’d better eat some yourself before it’s all gone!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter's finally here and the soup's coming

After what's been  an unusually warm and snowless Winter the season finally arrived this week. We ended up with about 7 inches of snow covering everything. This is really the first significant snow cover of the Winter. That's very unusual for Southwest Michigan. Some surrounding areas that are more prone to the lake effect snows had 12 to 15 inches to dig out of yesterday after two days of Winter storm watches, then warnings, white out conditions and now the prisitine white calm and sunshine that typically follows a storm like that. .

It was 17 degrees this morning forecast to warm up to the mid 20's A good day to make some soup! I've been wanting to make some potato soup for several weeks and decided to give it a little different twist with some poblano peppers still from the garden and dried Mexican Chiles. Here's what I came up with and it's DELICIOUS !

Poblano Mexican Chile Potato Soup

Oil for browning onion
One medium onion chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic
1/2 chopped poblano pepper – seeds removed
           Reserve other half to slice thinly for soup garnish
1 dried Red New Mexico Chile – seeds removed
4 stalks organic celery
2 cups cubed or chopped washed but unpeeled potatoes. I generally use whatever kind I have on hand. You could also use Yukon Gold or Red Skinned
3 cups water or vegetable stock
1 tb McKay’s vegetarian seasoning if using water
Ground black pepper

In a Dutch Oven  cook onion over medium heat till it starts to turn translucent. Add chopped garlic. Cook about another minute or two till garlic aroma comes up. Reduce heat, Add celery. Cook a few minutes more over low heat to soften celery a bit.

Meanwhile remove send then  chop or tear dried Chile pepper into small pieces. Place in small dish and add about 1/3 c  boiling water.. Allow to sit for a few minutes until pepper softens.

Add peppers, chopped potatoes, McKay’s seasoning and water to onions. Cover Dutch Oven. Bring to a boil . You may have to add a little more water to keep potatoes covered with about 1 inch. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly. Puree in a food processor or blender just until smooth, being careful not to over-process. Over-processing will result in a gummy or pasty soup. Return to the pot, stir in the  sour cream and bring just to a boil. Add salt to taste if you wish.   Use the  remaining Poblanos for garnish. Sprinkle with grated  Artisan Mexican Cheese Blend and serve hot.
Like most soups, stews, etc. it is even better the next day and the day after that if there’s any left!  the flavors just really set in and intensify I've definitely become a fan of roasted poblano peppers.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

January 8 2012

Delightful day in the gardens. Sunny, balmy 42 degrees. You know you're from Michigan when 42 degrees is balmy and you're out gardening.

Winter seeded some spinach in with the garlic I planted on Columbus Day. The ground was not really frozen. I dig in the seed a bit and covered it with mulch of leaves and chopped straw. I've read planting seeds now might work and might even produce a fabulous crop.  Springtime will tell.

Here are a few things I saw out there today:

Gone Till Spring

Feeding 1st the butterflies now the birds
Feathers of grass

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lake Michigan Winter Sunsets

The sunsets over Lake Michigan have been far too early in the afternoon but none the less quite spectacular:

Garden Dreams

Standard Waterbed Frame

Good Green Guru Square Foot Garden Raised Bed

Have you ever noticed the similarity between a waterbed frame and a raised garden bed ? - in fact recycled waterbed frames make great Raised Garden beds! That's what this one is! I used to sleep in it.. now I still dream! Sweet Dreams......