Saturday, December 29, 2012

How about an easy to make chocolate cream pie!
Reduced sugar cream pies are easy to make and very tasty. This one is made from sugar free chocolate fudge pudding mix and milk, with a traditional pie crust and lite frozen whipped cream topping. I sprinkled the top with finely chopped peanuts. This will be served for dessert to tonight's dinner guests.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Yesterday I made a batch of Cinnamon Rolls to take to Christmas brunch this morning. They were assembled and placed in the refrigerator overnight then baked and iced this morning.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last night's dinner guests were served Beef Kebobs with Peanut Sauce. The vegetables included red onion, red potatoes, red peppers, green peppers, cherry tomatoes and zucchini. The grilling was done on the outside grill in the rain with the lights on so I could see! This recipe is included in my cookbook Dad's Home Cooking, Traditional Recipes for Preparing Healthy Family Meals to be published the first week of January 2013.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some herbs can be harvested from the garden and used fresh throughout the winter here in the Puget Sound Area. Here are some that I grow in my garden in the winter. I have to use a flashlight to harvest for the evening meal and sometimes I get wet but they are so much better than dried!

I grow my Bay Laurel in a large pot so I can bring it into a warmer location when the temperature drops below freezing. If they are planted in the ground and mulched they can withstand 10 degrees F for a short time.

Sage is planted in the ground and is hardy to 25 degrees F for short periods of time. I generally cover mine with a blanket when the temperature are headed for the twenties.

Rosemary is also planted in the ground and is hardy to about 20 degrees F. Below that I cover with a blanket until the cold spell is over. Note the small blue flowers throughout the winter!

Thyme planted in the ground is hardy to about 25 degrees F. I also cover thyme with a blanket when the temperature is headed into the twenties.

Parsley planted in the ground can take short periods of 15 degree F temperatures but I cover it with a blanket when the temperatures are headed for the low twenties.

Oregano planted in the ground is hardy to minus 20 degrees F. which we never get. I just leave it exposed throughout the winter!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rutabagas are a wonderful winter treat from the garden.

This one that I pulled today from my garden weighs 4 1/2 pounds! This is an open pollinated variety "Marian" that was planted from seed on July 20, 2012. This is about twice the amount I need to make Rutabagas Au Gratin for dinner so I froze the remained for use later.

Rutabagas Au Gratin ready to serve!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

                              The mustard jars are all labeled and ready to wrap for Christmas gifts.

Note that I ran out of "mustard" yellow paint for the jar lids!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Today I ground my mustard using a food processor. This was done outside as the grinding can be pungent.

Some of this batch will be for Christmas gifts so I packed the ground mustard in clean reused peanut butter jars. (I painted the metal lids a "mustard yellow".) They are ready to label. I will keep these refrigerated until it is time to wrap them as gifts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I started making mustard for Christmas gifts today. I'm making about 1 gallon using brown mustard seed for  European style course mustard that has a bite. This will set in the refrigerator for 2 days before I add the remaining ingredients and grind in the food processor. The recipe is in my soon to be published cookbook, Dad's Home Cooking, Traditional Recipes for Preparing Healthy Family Meals.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chicken noodle soup is always a good choice for lunch on cold days.

This was made without any chicken just chicken broth, white wine, egg noodles, mushrooms and vegetables from the garden including onion, peas, carrots and tomato. It was seasoned with salt, pepper and a dash of my homemade cayenne pepper!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

  What greens can you grow in winter in Washington State's Puget Sound Area? Here are 3 that I grow.

The plants on the left are collards and the ones on the right are red kale. Both were planted from seed in mid summer. They are very hardy and will grow throughout the winter and into early spring before they go to seed. The leaves can be steamed, used in green salads or used as garnish.

This is India mustard that was also planted in mid summer and it too can be harvested throughout the winter. This variety of mustard has a bite so use it sparingly in salads to add that zing. It too makes a great garnish for meat/ fish dishes and potato/pasta salads.