Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dao Miew

"Dao Miew" in Cantonese are snow pea leaf tips. The top part of the plant is harvested and used in cuisine. Often, it's more costly than other Chinese green vegetables because the plants are harvested young and then won't bare any peas. They are also only in season during the early summer and fall when conditions are cool.

I couldn't help myself and started some in a pot indoors. This way we have some tender greens to eat over the winter. My grandmother cooks dao miew sauteed with garlic and oil which is so simply, yet so delicious.


4 days ago...

Less than 58 more days to go and it's yummy in my tummy.

Pollinating Bell Peppers

This bell pepper plant had lots of little flower buds on it. Since there was the danger of frost last week, I couldn't bare to see it die and potted it. I brought it inside, but since they like the cold I kept it on my porch. When the flowers open, I took my finger and swooshed the pollen around hoping to pollinate them. Without the help of Bees to naturally pollinate them, I had to take matters into my own hands.

Bell pepper flowers

The flower to the left is beginning to swell already, so I hope that's a sign that I was successful. If we're successful, we'll have peppers for the winter!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Apple Dumplings

Simply DIVINE! My friends Mary and Steve are from the Central Pennsylvania area and were talking about how their grandmothers make the best apple dumplings. What's an apple dumplings I asked? They looked at me like I had 10, no 50 heads! And began describing something that sounded so utterly amazing that I had to try it.

  • 5-10 medium apples
  • 2 packages (4 pieces) of pie dough
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
First, I started by coring and peeling the apples. I cut them in half again because I actually didn't have enough apples. For me, that was the perfect size dumpling. I think 1 whole apple is too big. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, 1 cup of white sugar and cinnamon.

Roll the dough out to 1/8" thick. Lay an apple in the middle with a sliver of butter on top or in the center of the apple.

Then fold the dough over the apple and pinch it with a little bit of water to wet your fingers.

Place them in a baking pan. Give them a little room, but if you don't have room, it's ok. They don't puff up that much. In a sauce pan, heat 1/2 stick of butter, water, and the remaining sugar together. Pour over the dumplings any which way. Sprinkle extra cinnamon on top of the dumplings.

Bake for 1 hour. Notice the syrup is brown and bubbly. Mmm

When they are nearly done, ladle the syrup over the dumplings and put them back into the oven. The dumplings will get all brown and crispy.

Remove from oven and eat while warm. My friend Steve told me to put one in a bowl and pour milk over it and eat it like cereal. I loved it this way!!! It was the perfect amount of sweetness! I can't wait to get more apples to do this again.

Have you ever had apple dumplings? Do you eat them with ice cream or milk?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eggplant Ragu

We had some eggplant leftover from the harvest, so I diced them up and added them to my homemade tomato sauce.

  • 1 large or 3 small eggplants
  • 1 onion
  • 3+ tomatoes or canned crushed tomato
  • 1lb of chuck beef
  • basil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic cloves, olive oil
  1. Slowly brown the onions and garlic in some olive oil allowing them to release their flavor and sweeten.
  2. Add your eggplant and cook until translucent, stirring often.
  3. Add the beef and tomatoes.
  4. Simmer for 45 minutes.

That's All Folks

With the threat of frost tonight, I brought in the rest of my basil. I plan to make jars of pesto and give them as gifts to friends and family this year.

The proud gardener!

Above photo taken by this little munchkin - didn't she do a great job?!

Freeze Warning

***Bring your plants and any other vegetation inside. Temperatures are dropping to the 20-30's tonight until tomorrow morning. Anything outside will most likely die.***

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Painted Shed

Each time I walked pass the shed this summer, I kept thinking "It needs something." Last spring, I painted the shed in the likeness of the house. I added a few small decorative touches, but it just wasn't prominent enough due to the distance. So today, I decided to see what else I could add to the shed.

Along the bottom are various flowers and a butterfly. The size is exaggerated, so it can be seen from the house. My least favorite is the toadstool. I love toadstools, but it seems too literal. I may paint over the toadstool and start again.

Along the top of the door, I painted a vine inspired by my Cathedral Bells. As a nod to my husband, I included a hummingbird which are one of his fascinations.

I used a 1/2" flat brush and layered the paint on in layers to create depth.

Another view

In other garden news...
  • Moved house plants inside to a sunny spot.
  • Started snow peas and sugar snap peas in a pot.
  • Potted bell pepper plant.
  • Rooting more basil.
I broke the chicks off the mother hen and arranged them in a "yin and yang" pattern. I put a few others near my other cactus to pretty it up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Moseying About

While my husband worked on the kitchen, I cleaned up the yard and organized the shed. I weeded and potted up some flowers for the window boxes. It may be Fall, but I still like to spruce things up where I can especially for Halloween festivities.

I cleaned all my extra pots and potted up my rosemary and Thai basil that I rooted. Remember my 10' tall Cosmos? I trimmed some of the branches and put them in a vase in our dining room. It makes a beautifully tall centerpiece. It's really impressive in person. Since they do so well in the Fall, next year I'd like to plant a ton of them in the very back of the yard.

I had 2 more bell peppers today and it looks as though there will be more if it survives the cold. In the mean time, my green tomatoes that I picked when I hacked everything down are starting to ripe.

This chilly weather is perfect for some soup, so I made the husband some beef barley soup! His favorite. The recipe is here.

Then for dessert, I made Apple Dumplings for the first time after my friends Mary and Steve told me about them. They are both from the Dutch Pennsylvania area and these are staples. Steve eats his in a bowl with milk poured all over it. YUM!!

Mmmm, did I get your hungry yet??

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Sweaters, stew, hot cocoa, pumpkin spice and mums...another reason why I love Fall.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Surprise from Leah!

My friend Leah sent me a package over the weekend. I opened it up and it was lap blanket that her grandma crochet for me! It was too much. I can't believe she did that for me. When I visited her in Seattle, I was telling her how my legs are cold on the airplane and how I am cold all the time. This blanket is perfect for me. It's my color and just the right size and shape for a person my stature. Thank you to Grandma Butterscotch! Love you Leah!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cherry Blossom or Weed?

How awesome is this?!! I found a cherry blossom tree growing under our deck. It's been there at least 2 years because I thought it was a weed and kept cutting it back. I gave up on cutting it, then I noticed my neighbor had a similar weed in her front yard near her rose bed. Me thinks, why is she nurturing a weed? So I asked her yesterday and she told me it's a cherry blossom tree, but that what I have is probably a weed. Today, I went back to my weed and checked out the leaves and they were the same as the cherry blossom across the street. Looking at it more closely I recognized the horizontal ridges in the bark. Then it hit me! It's a tree!

I dug it up quite brutally because I had no leverage to dig it up from under the deck. I potted it and watered it generously. I hope it survives. I have to read up on how to care for it over this winter.

Odds and Ends

Right now, I'm rooting some Thai basil and Rosemary for the kitchen.

It's late in the season, but we picked our watermelons and we're going to try it tonight.

The start of a cathedral bell. See how it starts out lime green.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


At Home Depot, the shrubs and trees are all 50%-75% off, so I picked up these boxwoods for $3! Dig your hole twice as wide and deep as the pot to ensure the soil is loose enough for the roots to get established. Place the plant in the hole and water well.

Boxwood is a compact shrub that makes a nice and neat border. It also stays green all year long. I lined them along a curve around my peonies. They will help act as a natural "fence" to hold the peonies up when the heads get too heavy. Then I planted the lambs' ear that I was rooting in the shade of the boxwood.

Here's another shot of the Cosmos. It's in full bloom and looks so pretty.

I spent the day raking up the debris and cleaning up the garden.

Dig Up your Dahlias

For our climate, it's recommended that you dig up your dahlias in the fall and store them in a paper bag in the basement over the winter. Then replant them in the spring. You should let the stalk die off naturally allow the tubers to sit out in the sun for a few days.

This is my big salad plate dahlia. The tubers have really multiplied and grown! You can break these up and each one will have a flower next year.

I separated the different colored dahlias, so I would know which was which next year.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin Pudding

She's as cute as a pumpkin, but no you can't have her! She's my niece and I love her.



  • 16 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 12 oz. can EVAPORATED milk
  • ½ stick butter


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Grease the baking dish with butter.

Stir the pudding ingredients together.

Add the can of pumpkin. Mmmm

After it's mixed together, pour it into the baking dish.

Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and cinnamon.

Bake at 350 for approximately 45 mins.

The edges get brown and crispy which is my favorite part. Mmmm


My cosmos is in full bloom this week! It's gorgeous. The photo doesn't do justice to it. It's so pretty and whimsical.

And it's also about 10 feet tall now!

Close-up of the flower.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

How to divide your plants?

My friend Miriam asked me a very good question which I thought I would post here for anyone who wanted to know the same thing.

"I want to divide some of the plants in our garden (thyme, hardy hibiscus, etc). Can I do it now?

Do I cut them back and then divide or vice a versa?

Do I replant them outside or inside?"

Different plants are divided or rooted differently, so you have to read up on what their care requirements are and understand how they grow and propagate.
  • Most herbs can be rooted by taking cuttings a few inches below the top and putting it in water or something light like vermiculite until it roots. As soon as it roots, put it in potting soil.
  • Keep herbs indoors and anything that won't survive the cold of the winter.
  • Herbs can be cut and rooted at anytime. If you put them back outside, keep them out of direct sun light until they are strong.
  • As for perennials like peonies, lilies, irises, tulips, and dahlias; they can be dug up, divided by pulling the roots/bulbs apart and then planting them back into the ground. You can cut these back because they are done blooming until next year.
  • Most perennials should be divided in the Fall when they go dormant.
  • From what I read about Hibiscus, you don't want to cut them back because they bloom from the top.
If anyone has anymore questions, feel free to leave me a comment. I hope this helps!