About two weeks ago I shared with you all my latest venture with growing plants indoors. I figured that I needed to start super early here in northern New Hampshire, zone 4b. ( according to the USDA map) Usually I buy my plants already started and we plant them in early June. This year I thought that I could start them indoors and transfer to our greenhouse sometime in May.
In just two short weeks the Boston Pickling Cucumbers and Straight Eights are thriving and look like they may need repotting within a week or two. Now I’m on the hunt for bigger containers to repot them before we leave for Las Vegas in late April. ( I will dedicate a post to that trip soon after)
Now I know that this process doesn’t take long indoors! I’ll plant the seeds in early May next year for a month of growth before putting in the ground. So this year we will have to try to baby them until it’s safe to plant outdoors! Thankfully we have our new greenhouse to help next month.
Here I am on a sunny Sunday launching my summer garden by planting indoors! I got the idea last week after reading a bit about it. First I discovered Bear Creek Heirloom Seeds on Facebook from a friend’s post. She had just received her seed stash and was excited for the growing season! I did some research and decided to go ahead and buy my seeds instead of what I usually do. Every year I frequent Wal- mart and buy organic seeds from Burpee or Better Homes and Garden. But how do I know if they are GMO? Also all that time I was supporting a huge company instead of favoring a family run business. Additionally I would buy my tomato, cucumber, eggplant, all squashes, and basil plants already grown at a local greenhouse. (Here in New Hampshire you need a jump start for successful growing as it’s a short season. ) Now I’ve resolved to support this seed company owned by a little family in Missouri. All their seeds are organic and GMO and are heirloom seeds.
First I jotted down my growing list and decided what seeds I’d start now, giving them just over two months indoors. I’m growing Black Beauty eggplant, crookneck Summer Squash, Zucchini, orange Butternut Squash, Martino’s Roma Tomatoes, Tappy’s Heirloom Tomatoes, Straight Eight cucumbers, Boston Pickling cucumbers, corn and cabbage ( free seeds the company sent me).
Next I figured out what seeds could wait until June. I always plant carrots, green beans, lettuce,spinach, thyme, cilantro, oregano, and beets then. Those will do well in the warm ground and won’t need a boost.
We have a pretty warm room facing South. It’s bright and sunny, an ideal spot for germinating plants. Tom brought in our six foot folding table and placed in front of the window. I bought a growing tray and dome for a greenhouse effect for some of the seeds, a growing light with two LED lightbulbs, Happy Frog Potting Mix and wooden popsicle sticks for marking the types. Luckily we saved the plastic plant trays from last year. They are perfect to start the seeds with little wells in a tray of four.
I opened the soil mix and stirred it around, preparing it for planting. It warmed up easily in the window. Tom made a marker for 1/4 and 1/2 inch holes to plant the seeds so I could easily place it in, tuck a seed or two in and then gently cover with the mix. Each plant has a different planting depth.After prepping each tray I put the veggie marker in so I wouldn’t forget! It would be easy to do…the whole time I was visiting with my daughter in law and sometimes I can’t do two things at a time! Haha!
I tried really watering them well the first day. I bought a little water spritzer for watering the seeds, yet I don’t know how much to soak them from here on out. I sprayed it several times as the mix dried out quickly in the heated area. Today I’ll soak it well and hope that I get in a routine of watering everyday.
I intend on using the growing light on gloomy and dark days and a few hours after the sun goes down. I don’t feel comfortable leaving it on when we go to work as it gets quite hot. It will help keep the babies toasty.
So that was my Sunday project, immersing in the potting mix, plopping seeds in and hopefully giving birth to our garden gems. This hobby probably came from my dad, who has gardened much of his adult life as well as his father, my grandfather who has passed away years ago.
Are you planning or planting your seeds now? Do you have any advice for me, as this is really new to me?
The wind whips steadily as a few snowflakes fall outside on this bright Sunday afternoon. My son Branden is home for college spring break, giving me great inspiration to bake some goodies! Ever since I bought my Kitchen Aid mixer and invested in real Vanilla extract and King Arthur flour, I’ve enjoyed indulging in this baking game.
It brings me great satisfaction and joy to please my family and friends at work with baked goods. Even though everyone is watching what they eat,( including me) we all need a small treat from time to time coupled with our rich cups of coffee. Don’t you think?
The oven heats up as my mixer whirls. Today I chose to create Lunch Lady Brownies, a recipe I have shared before here. Find the recipe at life in the loft house.com. Https://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/It makes rich chocolately brownies with a chocolate frosting to die for. I plan to treat myself and have one today and relish every single bite! Yum!
I’ll share with you what I feel makes a difference in baked goods:
*Good flour, either King Arthur Four or Gold Medal Flour
*Organic Cacao Powder, according to Food Matters.com, raw Cacao is cold pressed Cacao beans, not roasted like Cocoa is made. When Cocoa is roasted, the Cacao beans molecular base changes, depleting it’s nutritional value. I’m using this instead of Cocoa now.
*Fresh farm eggs, thank you neighbors!
While browsing through the food section at Job Lots I found this Cacao powder, something I needed for my daughter- in- law’s avocado chocolate mousse. I also found cheap spices like Cinnamon and Nutmeg there. They have baking ingredients such as Bob’s Red Mills flour and granola. I discovered a local business, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont’s sugar free Vidalia Onion salad dressing as well as Sugar Free Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. They’re delicious and with low calories! If you have an Ocean State Job Lots check it out! The store houses cool and unique finds!
The afternoon has waned with my brownies all frosted and waiting for tonight’s dessert. It was a perfect activity to engage in on a Sunday, to work in my warm kitchen. Now after having so much fun baking I’m ready to exercise to my dvd for an hour. That way I don’t feel guilty about indulging in one and I can work some of it off!
Okay blogging friends, what have you baked and sampled lately? What are your thoughts on baking ingredients…which are a necessity in a good recipe?
For many years cooking for my family unfortunately was one of my disliked chores. It’s not that I didn’t love serving my family but every day and night I had to rack my brain of meal ideas and then magically throw them together for their consumption. It was the constant pressure of having it done by 5:30 or 6 and no matter what was happening with the kids, it just had to be on the table for all. I can imagine many of you busy moms feel the same way, right?
With that said, the last six months I’ve noticed a change from dread to excitement with a burst of creativity. It may be because there’s just the two of us now or the fact that I wanted to transform these feelings from dread to desire. It happened slowly at first. My flourishing garden produced fresh herbs, greens, carrots and tomatoes ( to name a few), kindling my interest in cooking. As you may know, mastering delicious and healthy meals depends on fresh ingredients!
I would pick the ingredients in the afternoon for supper that night. It was straight from our rich soil to the dinner plate. This excited me beyond belief that I was homesteading in some ways! The food started tasting more delicious, for with freshly grown ingredients and locally raised meat how could you go wrong? I experimented with pungent Basil, sassy Cilantro and lemon Thyme.
My youngest son was greatly influenced by this, learning the herb names and cutting his own for his cooking creations. His interest intensified mine and my love for cooking grew even more! There were a few summer meals we co- cooked, which was so much fun!
With a positive and creative outlook, my disliked chore is a loved one now! I think I got tired of the dread hanging over me and I wanted to feel good about creating dinner! Now I plan ahead with the ingredients, read cookbooks, browse Pinterest and borrow recipes from my blogging friends, all to craft delicious meals for my family. I’m truly grateful for making this change and turning meal time into love! Wow, the food tastes more delicious because of my new passion!
Is there a household chore you dread and dislike? Could you put some imagination and creativity into it to make it fun and rewarding? Can you make a game of it? Is there a way you can have fun doing it by listening to a podcast or your favorite music? Whatever it is, I do hope you can beautify this chore to something incredible!
This Sunday morning I woke to yet more snow on the ground and chilly temperatures. After loading up the stove with trusty hard wood, I ventured to my kitchen to create a warm wholesome breakfast! My husband was out snow plowing while I happily cooked. One of his favorite breakfast foods is crepes, a thin pancake made with flour, salt, milk, an egg, and oil. ( I use coconut oil and added a few tablespoons of Oat flour to the white.)
I try to use up what I have in the fridge and freezer and since I had a few frozen whole strawberries, I tried my hand at making strawberry sauce. My first time, other than making blueberry sauce! I put the strawberries in a small pot, added honey, cinnamon and water. It took a few minutes to boil and then I turned down the heat to a low simmer. It smelled like homemade jam and tasted so delicious with a bit of New Hampshire maple syrup and crepes!
Below is the Crepe Recipe I took from my aged Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.
1 cup flour ( I added 3 Tbls. Oat flour for a healthy nutty taste)
1 1/2 cup milk ( I used Lactose free Milk)
1 Tbls. Oil ( I used Coconut oil melted)
1/4 tsp. Salt
Combine dry ingredients. Add milk, eggs and oil. Beat until blended. Heat a skillet or electric skillet. I brush it with butter. Spoon about 2- 3 Tbls. batter for crepe. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with blueberry or strawberry sauce and top with maple syrup.
I hope you enjoy your Sunday morning breakfast and savor every delicious bite!
The other day the latest Gurney’s catalog arrived launching my inner gardening planner to action. Although it’s been years since I’ve purchased anything, they continue to send it in hopes that I eventually buy. As February rapidly approaches, I dreamily think of spring gardening.
Who else jots down garden ideas, browses through perennial books and sketches plots in mid winter? I do happily , while I can’t wait to dig in the earth and be connected to nature. My new spring goal is to plant a new perennial bed in front of my husbands’ beautiful barn. I am pretty excited to put up our greenhouse ( that my dad gave us) and start seeds a little earlier! I’ll keep you all posted with it all!
I just finished this book written by Nicholas Evans, the author of The Horse Whisperer. It’s story is of a broken family, one that went through several changes including a failing marriage and daughter’s rebellious activities. I love the fact that Evans profiled the characters expertly, drawing me in and forcing me to invest in them. My favorite characters are Abby and the father, Benjamin.
I picked this up at a book sale a few years ago and stashed it on my book shelf until about a month ago. Sometimes I do this, put the book away and forget to read it. It was worth finding and filled many quiet winter moments and snow days for me.