Just a good weekend…

My, my, what a busy weekend. I went over to my friend’s house on Saturday with intentions of us preparing a feast of wild game this weekend. Well, we ate lunch at Ruby Tuesdays and ended up being too stuffed to eat dinner. We watched Maleficent and The Equalizer. Before we started The Equalizer, I was feeling a little peckish so I decided to fix us a handful of jalapeno poppers. I used the packet of Ghost Crab spice that I received in this month’s Charleston Epicurean box (mixed with cream cheese), stuffing it into some jalapenos from my garden that I had frozen over the summer. I wrapped them with bacon and then baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Those suckers were SPICY! And absolutely delicious. I must get another packet of that spice to have one hand. It makes the perfect poppers if you like that kick. I might mix it next time with 16 oz. of cream cheese instead of 12 oz. because I know that not everyone is a spice fiend like me.

My friend and I made our way up to Trader Joe’s in Newport News on Sunday (forgetting, until my mom reminded me, that there was not only a Trader Joe’s in Virginia Beach, but a Whole Foods right there as well that would have been much closer). This was a completely impromptu trip and I’m glad that I keep a freezer bad in my trunk. I neglected to take a picture as I got home a little late that night but I purchased a small Chrysanthemum (for mom), a log of blueberry goat cheese, mini peanut butter cups, some dried Smyrna figs, a half gallon of organic whole milk, a package of chocolate lava cake, and I think that’s all I got. My friend got a couple of jars of the Island Soyaki (for marinating duck), a wedge of gorgonzola cheese, a jar of Dijon mustard, a jar of hot and sweet mustard, and I believe that’s all he got. It was his first trip to a Trader Joe’s and I think he enjoyed it.

We also made a stop to Abuelo’s for the first time. We will definitely stop here again. Our server brought us out a trio of salsas with our chips – a salsa verde with a hint of pineapple (our favorite), a regular salsa that tasted like it had a hint of chipotle, a hot salsa. My friend order the Grande Burrito lunch special (and it was GRANDE!) and I ordered the chicken and the cheese enchiladas with the Papas con Chile. My food was absolutely delicious and I fell in love with the papas. The papas were a combination of whipped red potatoes, four cheeses, red and green peppers, sour cream and a touch of garlic and jalapeño.

I spent this morning doing chores – vacuuming the house, vacuuming the car, cleaning my room. I added some garlic cloves to a piece of jar of honey to let infuse for use later on. You can use it for colds, but what I’m planning is to use the garlic in mashed potatoes and the honey in BBQ sauce.

A crummy cell phone picture of the lemon and blueberry pound cake my mom made today. She used blueberry frozen from our plants last year.
A crummy cell phone picture of the lemon and blueberry pound cake my mom made today. She used blueberry frozen from our plants last year.

Mom and I walked around the yard for a bit this afternoon and then she decided that she wanted to teach me how to make a grapevine wreath using the excess that she had trimmed off the vines. I’m in love with my little creation and we both gained a lot of enthusiasm for the craft thanks to Pinterest. We dragged the rest of the vines on the back porch so we can create some more crafts (I am planning on more wreaths and then I’ll work my way up to pumpkins while mom is set on making some of those balls with the lights in them).

A blurry cell phone picture of my wreath in progress.
A blurry cell phone picture of my wreath in progress.

All in all, a good weekend and now I’m working on what I want to order from the next farmer’s market co-op that will be taking place next weekend.

The finished product (another blurry cell phone picture - my regular camera is on the frtiz).
The finished product (another blurry cell phone picture – my regular camera is on the frtiz).

Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once made a visit to my tiny North Carolina town? He held a rally at the local armory in May of 1966.

Garden Update 8/26: Or That Time I Chopped Down A Tree

So in my last garden post, I mentioned that I thought my apple trees were past the point of no return and needed to be cut down. Well, this weekend, mom and I ventured in to town and noticed that one of the stores had just brought out their selection of apple trees. In the pouring down rain – and I know people were wondering what is wrong with us – we stood out there picking out two trees: a Winesap and a Honeycrisp.

I also purchased an Arapaho Blackberry on sale from another shop (they had raspberries on sale as well, but they had thorns and I’m searching for thornless). After loading them all in the truck, we got home realizing that we should probably go ahead and cut down/burn our two infected apple trees. Only problem? All we have available to use was a pruning saw and an axe. Not an issue, I say. Let me tell you – if you have never cut down a tree by hand, I definitely recommend that you try it because you gain a lot of appreciation for our ancestors who built their homes out of hand cut logs. It was a job.

With mom helping *some*, I managed to cut down a tree on Saturday and the other on Sunday. My hands are still sore two days later. But you know what? I actually ended up enjoying it, though Saturday about broke me. It was hot and muggy that day, while Sunday was cooler with the occasional sprinkles of rain.

Chopping away.
Chopping away.
One down, one to go
One down, one to go
The blackberry is all nestled in to its spot, and I ended up planting the fig that I had potted up earlier in the year.
The blackberry is all nestled in to its spot, and I ended up planting the fig that I had potted up earlier in the year.
Pulled these today - mostly peppers are all that's left producing in the garden right now: Jalapenos, Cherry Tomatoes, Hot Cherry Peppers, Scotch Bonnets
Pulled these today – mostly peppers are all that’s left producing in the garden right now: Jalapenos, Cherry Tomatoes, Hot Cherry Peppers, Scotch Bonnets
Our newest additions to the yard. After these, I'm only allowed to plant one more fruit tree and I already know it will be an apricot.
Our newest additions to the yard. After these, I’m only allowed to plant one more fruit tree and I already know it will be an apricot.

Weekly Garden and Harvest Update 6/10-6/18

You can’t get much more recent that these pictures. I just got back in from taking them (with the exception of the pickled garlic scapes). I didn’t do much out in the garden this morning except for taking pictures. I pulled a few weeds, clipped a little bit of lavender, and already the sweat started welling up on the back of my neck so I headed back inside. Today and yesterday has been hot (mid-90’s) but the weather is supposed to break tonight, which means that mom and I will be able to cut the air conditioning off and open the windows back up. I miss that fresh air and breeze.

Mom pulled up the old strawberries last week. Now we have some new squash and cucumber seedlings sprouting up around the sugarcane that is still there. I tied back my asparagus ferns to keep then from looking like a wild jungle (though my cat loves that). About half of my leeks have perished, but the other half, which have been mostly shaded by the asparagus ferns, are looking wonderful!

No tomatoes yet though our vines are full. I did add a few Scotch Bonnet pepper plants to our garden. Someone was selling ghost pepper plants and though I really wanted one – I didn’t need 4 plants so I had to refrain from purchasing them (this time). I did discover culantro, a neat little herb that I’ll talk more about soon.

Harvested this week:
– 5-6 jalapenos
– 7-8 green bell peppers (small ones)
– 2 cherry peppers; I have no clue what I will do with this
– 4 strawberries
– Pint of blueberries
– 3 cucumbers
– Handful of small squash

I’m doing a horrible job of keeping track of what we have harvested. I had such good intentions. I blame mom. 🙂 She’s able to pick things while I’m at work and she usually has them already cooked in to something when I return home.

Sampling of this week's harvest.
Sampling of this week’s harvest.
Pickled garlic scapes - I can't wait to open this jar and see how they turned out!
Pickled garlic scapes – I can’t wait to open this jar and see how they turned out!

IMG_3201 (640x427)

IMG_3184 (640x427)

IMG_3169 (640x427)

IMG_3183 (640x427)

IMG_3198 (640x427)

Weekly Garden and Harvest Update 6/2-6/9

Okay. I’ve been a bad garden blogger the past month (and I haven’t even kept the journal up either). I’ve just gotten busy and on top of that, I was sick one week *excuses, excuses*. But! I’m back now and ready to roll. We’ve been picking a few May Peas everyday the last few weeks, but I think that the harvest is over for that. Mom picked some small yellow crookneck squash last week which we ate for supper this past Sunday (cooked with bacon grease and onions – yum). Other than that, I’ve been trying to take weekly pictures of the garden so mom and I can look back at the end of the season. I won’t bore you with that. Instead, I’ll just start back with this past week.

Harvested:

– 5 small crookneck squash
– Small Tupperware bowl of blueberries
– 2 jalapenos
– Handful of May Peas

IMG_3136 (640x427)

Mom cleared the old strawberry bed today, leaving plenty of room for my sugarcane to grow. We'll be planting some more squash, cucumbers, and zucchini soon.
Mom cleared the old strawberry bed today, leaving plenty of room for my sugarcane to grow. We’ll be planting some more squash, cucumbers, and zucchini soon.
This was supposed to have been a cherry tomato plant, according to its label. Guess not!
This was supposed to have been a cherry tomato plant, according to its label. Guess not!
Already our cucumbers are doing better than they did last year.
Already our cucumbers are doing better than they did last year.
Ziggy is so glad that I have let the asparagus go to fern - it is his little hiding spot!
Ziggy is so glad that I have let the asparagus go to fern – it is his little hiding spot!
Our yard is full of gorgeous daisies in a whole range of colors, like this pink one.
Our yard is full of gorgeous daisies in a whole range of colors, like this pink one.

This upcoming Thursday, I’m going to have a photo recap post for the month of May so that you can check out what else I’ve been doing in my blogging absence.

Hot, Hot, Hot

I haven’t blogged much about my garden solely for the fact that my garden didn’t produce much this year. I don’t know if it’s a result of all the rain we have had here in North Carolina or if the soil wasn’t quite right, but everything pretty much flopped. I harvested a handful of tomatoes, a good bit of squash, and no cucumbers. I went out to my garden this weekend to weed the beds and to get them ready for a fall harvest when I noticed my pepper plants. The jalapenos and the banana peppers had run rampant, virtually overflowing on the fragile plants. I easily picked about 15 jalapenos (though some had corking – the internet assured me that they were edible) and half as many banana peppers. Seeing them all lined up on my counter, I wondered what I could do with so many peppers – I wanted something special.

PicMonkey Collage

It didn’t take long for me to decide on pickling the peppers. Pickling peppers is a fairly simple process, the most labor intensive part is slicing the peppers into rings. I added 6 tbsp of sugar for the jalapenos versus 5 tbsp for the banana peppers to create almost a candied jalapeno that still retains the crunch and a subtle heat that sneaks up on you. I could easily eat those peppers right out of the jar.

I couldn’t resist creating a dish for dinner that evening that would utilize my newly pickled peppers – so I used a recipe kit and created chicken enchiladas using the Kraft Recipe Makers Chicken Enchilada kit. It was so simple and since it was just me eating that night, I was able to half the recipe. I froze half of the cooked chicken breast (I found a recipe that resulted in a simple, perfectly moist piece of chicken for shredding) to make fixing dinner later on this week a breeze.

0810131013

I took advantage of the last Second Saturday in North Carolina by visiting the little craft sell up in town. I fell in love several soaps that Merrywood Farm brought with them including the African Black soap, which is a soap that I’ve been wanting to purchase for a while. I used it Saturday night and loved it. It’s great for my skin. I also purchased a Morning Glory muffin – which is the best muffin I have ever eaten (and it’s healthy).

In other news: I still need to plant seeds in the garden. Maybe tomorrow. DragonCon is in about 2 weeks – check out StyleNerd for more on that. I think that I’m going to try my hand at making mead soon. I would like to take advantage of the local honey I have stored in my pantry.

Interested in a good cause? Then check out Project Drive-In. sponsored by Honda, it seeks to preserve a special part of America’s car culture – the drive-in theater. Having been to a drive-in, it’s completely worth your time.

0810131102