Monday, July 25, 2016

Perfect cinnamon rolls

Today I was able to get so much done! Markem and Maylee played in the blow up pool while I cleaned up. We had a relatively cool morning, and I was able to get a lot of work done in the backyard. After that we headed over to the library for some fun dinosaur games, and stories.

Markem and his BFF enjoying some watermelon in the backyard.
We had friends over after dinner for family home evening, and it was nice for the kids to enjoy a clean backyard! I made cinnamon rolls and cut up a watermelon for a special treat, and it was a huge hit! 

 I used up all the butter I had left on the rolls, so when I started making the cream cheese glaze I had to improvise. Instead of butter I added coconut oil, and it turned out to be a happy accident! The slight coconutty flavor was amazing! So glad I ran out of butter. lol

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze

2/3 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/3 + 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk
1/4 + 1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons of cinnamon
raisins (optional)

for the glaze:

2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
2 cups of confectioners sugar

mix yeast, 1/3 cup sugar, ans water together in stand mixer with whisk attachment. warm milk and 1/4 cup of butter and ad to mixer. Add egg, salt and 2 cups of flour and mix until combined. Switch to dough hook attachment and mix in remaining flour 1/3 cup at a time on medium speed until it has reached the right consistency. The dough should be soft and sticky, but beginning to pull away from the sides of the bowl; about 4 minutes. Transfer to oiled bowl and cover with a towel until double in size. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Grease two 13x9 in pans. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently stretch and roll into a 1/2in thick rectangle. Evenly spread 1/4 cup of softened butter over rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Starting at the long edge of the rectangle, roll dough and pinch the seam closed. Slice cinnamon roll into 1 inch slices. makes about 16 rolls. cover rolls and allow to proof for about 15 minutes. Preheat oven  to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake 20 to 30 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, add butter, cream cheese, and milk to the bowl of the stand mixer with whisk attatchment. Set to low spead and gradually add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until well combined.

When the rolls are golden brown, remove from over and immediantly spoon glaze over them. Allow to cool for a few minutes before digging in. I know it's hard, but just remember you cant enjoy them as much if your tongue is burned. lol


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Country fried okra

I have been collecting okra daily from my seven okra plants, so I thought I would try my hand at fried okra. It may not be the healthiest of foods, but this goes under the serious comfort foods for me!

I have such found memories of eating fried okra at my grandma's house. She would fry up a huge pile for everyone, along with fried squash, mashed potatoes, homegrown sliced tomatoes, green beans, and lots of gravy. 

Anyway, It turns out it is easy!

And it was quick; like under 20mins quick. :)

Country Fried Okra

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh okra
  • Oil for frying

  1. Beat egg and add sliced okra and set aside for about 5 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, measure and season cornmeal in medium bowl.
  3. Heat about a half inch of oil in cast iron skillet.
  4. Coat okra in cornmeal and shake off excess. Working in batches, add an even layer of okra to the skillet. Do not overfill.
  5. Stir occasionally until evenly brown. About 1 to 2 mins.
  6. Remove from skillet and place on plate lined with a clean towel.
  7. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cucumber juice with a touch of lime

Funny looking cucumber :P
Summer gardening for me means lots of cucumbers! I love to grow Armenian cucumbers and give them to friends and neighbors. They look so interesting, and taste so good!

I have been giving away cucumbers to friends and neighbors, and I still have a growing stash in the fridge. I have been trying to come up with ways to use up the abundance of cucumbers that isn't pickles and cucumber salad; which I like, but have not been mood to make. Then I remembered how much I love cucumber juice! This juice is so good. Everytime I make it for a party it is a huge hit! It is so yummy! <3

I tried to fit it all in one go...haha
I do not own a fancy juicer, but a strainer and cheesecloth work just as well for removing the pulp. Pretty much all the ratios can be adjusted to personal taste, but the process is the same. The recipe uses organic cane sugar, but you could substitute honey; although, it will affect the flavor.

Cucumber Juice with a touch of lime

  • 3 12in long armenian cucumbers (or about 4.5 cups of diced cucumber, peeled and seeded)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • filtered water

  1. Chop your cucumbers into smaller pieces. These are seedless, but if you are using a seeded variety you will need to peel and seed them first.
  2. Add cucumbers to blender and enough water to blend them into a fine pulp. You don't want any chunks left. Add sugar* to taste and salt.
  3. Refrigerate for about an hour. This step is important to allow the pulp to render it's cucumberness. :-)
  4. Line a strainer with cheesecloth over a pitcher. Strain pulp into large pitcher. Feed pulp to worms or compost.
  5. Add about 8 cups of water** and the juice of half a lime to the pitcher. Serve with lime garnish. Enjoy!

Might need a bigger cup! 

*I find that a little sugar goes a long way! start out small and add more later if needed.
**you may want to adjust the amount of water depending on how strong you want your juice. This would also effect the sweetness. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Taming the Jungle

So I don't get super freaked out by weeds. Actually I like to watch them grow. I think they are pretty interesting, so as long as they are not super invasive, or blocking something, I let them do their thing.Well after a few months of that, I decided I wanted to start cleaning up for my fall garden, and I realized how scary things had become.

Before...This is super embarrissing!

I decided to get up early to tackle the wildflower patch and path because this Texas heat is no joke! I was able get get most of everything cleaned up and my daughter helped me plant sunflowers and beans.

Looking way better! Still needs work, but the garden always does. 

Enjoy your garden! 😁

Training cucumbers onto a support

Growing vine cucumbers on a vertical support can go array unless you know a few basics to keep them contained. Cucumbers will not naturally find and climb on supports like peas, or morning glorys, they must be trained. They have a crawling and sprawling habit and without constant training and pruning, will end up looking like a huge mess like mine!

Some of the advantages to training cukes are:
  • Saves space
  • Helps prevent disease
  • Increases yield
  • Easier access fruit for harvest

There are many styles of supports for cucumber vines. You can construct one yourself or order a prefabricated one. I personally like the tepee style trellis like this. 

(excuse my crude drawing)

Now we get into the nitty to prune! First we have to know how cucumbers grow. We have the main vine, leaf, fruit, flowers, tendril, and new growth. 

(Another crude drawing...)

The tendril is what will grip onto the support you provide, but you will have to add additional anchors. Depending on your space and trellis style, you will trim off new growth as close to the main stem as possible with clean garden shears. 

(weird twin cucumbers)

You can also prune off any diseased leaves and fruit to keep your cucumber vines healthy and strong. 

Enjoy your garden! 

If you need to see a video, check out my instagram @eatthegarden