Monday, June 27, 2016

Garden Changes

When I first start gardening, at least when I first started gardening here in South Dakota, I just wanted to grow things. Now things have grown and now I find myself wanting to simplify. Here's a recent picture of  part of the garden.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie with Dried Fruit and Nut Crust and Whipped Coconut Cream

I have been making this dairy-free pumpkin pie for many years.  I first made it for a friend who craved pumpkin pie but could not eat any dairy.  It's my easy go-to pie.  I have experimented with the crust.   I've tried gluten-free flour crust  and have tried oatmeal and nut combinations.  I think my favorite crust that compliments this not-too sweet pumpkin pie is a crust using dates and prunes. Serve topped with a dollop of whipped coconut cream.

You can make both the crust and the pie in a food processor,


1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup prunes

 Lightly grease a 9" glass pie plate with coconut oil.  Process the walnuts or pecans with the dates and prunes until finely ground.  The mixture will look like a paste. Press into pie plate.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Set aside. Make filling and add to pie crust.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

3 Eggs
3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar (You can substitute with other sugars for instance 3/4 cup honey)
2 cups canned pumpkin (You can also use roasted Butternut Squash. Drain squash if it seems wetter than pumpkin )
1 heaping teaspoon Cinnamon
1  teaspoons Vanilla and a pinch of salt
Walnuts  or Pecans for sprinkling on top of pie

1. Make pie crust –

2. Beat together eggs with sugar. Add pumpkin and other ingredients. Continue beating. You can also do this whole step in a food processor.
3.  Pour into pie crust. Decorate with Walnuts or Pecans if desired.
4. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes or more.  It is done when an inserted knife comes out clean. Cool and eat!
Note: The filling will not reach to the top of the pie crust. 

Serve with whipped coconut cream.

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can coconut milk. My favorite is Organic Native Forest. It has a good deal of cream.  Chill overnight in refrigerator.
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Chilling the can of coconut milk will cause the cream to rise to the top and .makes it easier to pour out the liquid and keep the solid cream.   Save the coconut water for smoothies or other uses.

2. Scoop cream into chilled bowl, add syrup and vanilla and beat until soft peaks are formed.

Coconut whipped cream does not separate when kept in the refrigerator.  It actually will set up firmer.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reworking Garden Paths

This was the year to do a lot of rock work. Here is an example of a starburst I got done. I'm trying to reduce the amount of dead heading and work in the garden. One thing I have learned after 20 some years of working on this garden 
Is that most plants need to be dug up and replanted or removed at's just what needs to be done. Weeds get in grass gets in.  So, now I'm trying to keep the garden especially in the front colorful but low. I'm trying a new blogging app so hope this works.   Gloria

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hi Everyone - It has been a long time since I blogged. The year was so busy and the garden was beautiful and a breath of fresh air and calm.   I did make garden changes. That's what gardeners do.  Each year spring comes with  an opportunity to learn and change and hopefully improve the garden.  But at the end of last year's growing season I said to Ted "That's it, I can't think of anything that I can change that I want to change.  Oh, there are always things we would change if we had the time, money and unlimited workers to do the job.  But, I thought I had reached a level of contentment for how things are.  But, alas and to my joy I have a list of things to change and I am excited about them.

The job that will give me the most aches and pains and the one I am most excited to tear into is changing this area right in front of the little garden house.  I want to make a 6 foot by 6 foot patio with 12" redish-colored cement pavers.  This is a picture from last year:

Last spring I placed one of those fabric raised beds in this spot.  This was a poor location for a vegetable planter, but should make a nice spot for a little table and chairs.  The fabric raised bed I plan to move to a sunny spot.
Our springs can be cold.  I always try to cover tender plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  The red and green covers are Wall-O-Waters.

I have a to-do garden list.  Included in the list is start plants by seed. Last year I bought all my plant-starts.  I missed the varieties you can get from seed.
Hopefully, I will show you how they do.  Enjoy spring.  We still have almost 3 months before we can plant outside...but I should be able to the patio and start the seeds before then. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter To-Do’s While the Garden Sleeps and You Know You are in South Dakota If:

This winter has been cold and snowy and has inspired some house reorganizing and finding new homes for unneeded things.  We all have so many things, things we no not need…getting rid of what we don’t need is liberating.  Today I cleaned out my closet and took some clothes to a friend and I also took a box of gardening magazines to friends.  A couple of weeks ago I found some things to donate to a fundraiser to raise money for 5 young ladies going to Ireland.
Their fundraiser also included a bake sale, so of course we had to go.  It was 6 below zero….Brrr cold.  While we were driving out of the parking area we saw this man in a motorized wheel chair trying to get over a snow drift.   Ted got out and had to shovel out the snow in order to help his chair move.  He could go neither forward or backwards.  Good thing we travel with a shovel in the car trunk.
A few days ago Ted and I were driving down a South Dakota road and look at what we saw coming head-on to us.
And bringing up the rear was this handsome cowboy.  Would you know it, we know him.  Not only is he handsome but kind.

I have been in a food-creative mood and  find myself thinking up new food combinations.  It helps that Ted is not fussy and is willing to try new tastes.  Here’s what I made today.  We were too hungry to take a picture.
                                                   MEXICAN CURRY CHICKEN
I didn't measure ingredients, but this was easy to make:
I cooked about 3 cups of cut-up chicken breast in a pot of water with added chopped celery leaves,  a teaspoon of dried oregano and a couple of bay leaves and some spicy black pepper spice mix.  Cook for about 20 minutes.  Let cool, remove chicken pieces and cut up into bite size pieces. If desired save the broth for another use.

In a large wide pan add a bit of olive oil and some ghee (butter would work)
Add 1 medium  chopped onion, add chopped chicken.  I added about a teaspoon of roasted chipotle pepper powder, 1 teaspoon of anchiote (ground annatto powder) a dash of cayenne and about 1/4 cup of roasted red pepper-tomato paste like that used on sandwiches.  (The roasted pepper paste can be found in the grocery store near the mayonnaise).

Add I can of coconut milk and a can or two of extra water. Simmer while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Extra:  In a separate pan  stir-fry some chopped celery and snow peas.   Do not overcook vegetables.  Keep them crunchy.
Serve chicken over cooked basmati rice and serve crunchy snow peas and celery on top of chicken-rice.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Won a Trip to St Pete & the Bay Area Festival of Food, Wine and the Arts!

I have been feeling great!  That is one reason I have not been blogging.  Let me explain:  After discovering about my particular food sensitivities and changing my diet, mostly rotating the foods I eat, I have found more energy.  With this extra energy, this summer I did of course garden, but also I have been sorting and cleaning and creatively changing  lots of little things and some big things.  One of my projects was to change around our guest room.  Since I needed to shop for a new mattress pad, I went online and shopped on the HSN (Home Shopping Network).  At the online checkout I received an invitation to sign up for a trip to St. Petersburg Florida to a food fest hosted by celebrity chefs.  It sounded fun so I added my name and email…Imagine my surprise when I received an email congratulating me, telling me that I had won a trip for two including airfare, car rental and 2 nights at the Lowes Don CeSar Hotel on beautiful St. Pete’s Beach.  Included were close to $400 worth of entry tickets to the amazing Food Festival and to Ingrid Hoffman’s food demonstration and a VIP evening invitation to a “meet the celebrity chef’s” reception held at the HSN studios.  We also had a tour of the studios, carefully tiptoeing by a live presentation.  I couldn't have been more excited!
enlarged at airport
This screen was set up at the baggage pickup area at the Tampa Florida Airport.
don Cesar
The Don CeSar is like a pink palace on a white powdery beach.
There were 70 demonstrators from restaurants and wineries ready to be discovered in 3 huge outdoor tents. I was ready with my camera phone, but I must admit I was too busy sampling food to take many pictures.
Ted at Festival
An action picture!
ingrid demo
We made our way through two of the tents just in time to attend Ingrid Hoffman’s food demonstration (We went back and worked our way through the third tent after the demonstration).  Ingrid is the celebrity chef from the Cooking Chanel’s “Simply Delicioso” and Univision’s “Delicioso”.  I love her food philosophy of tasty healthy foods.  She has found ways to switch out not so healthy ingredients for healthier, better ingredients without sacrificing flavor.  I bought her book “Ingrid Hoffman Latin d’lite”.  It is wonderful!  I once read that most people only use maybe 1 or 2 recipes from most of their cookbooks.  I can see that I will use many of these recipes and be inspired by many more of these recipes.  My Ted is thrilled, since as he says, he doesn't cook – he eats.   Right away I made her “frisee salad with figs, hazelnuts, and manchego cheese with guava vinaigrette”  But I didn't’ have frisee (curly endive) so I used baby spinach.  I didn't have figs so I used chopped melon and black grapes.  I didn't have hazelnuts so I used unsalted sunflower seeds and I didn't have manchego so I used fresh shaved Parmesan…but I did have guava jelly and made her delicious dressing.  The salad was so good that Ted ate it first before eating the rest of the meal and he commented that it was that good!  Her recipe inspired me to try a different type of salad!  I love this book!!!! 
reception intro
Sometimes it is serendipity.  The St. Pete’s Festival included many events hosted by the different celebrity chefs.  At the HSN reception the celebrity chefs were recognized. 
We were able to meet Ingrid Hoffman at the HSN reception.  Ingrid is from Columbia and has lived in many parts of the world.  She is beautiful, gracious and generous.  She hosted the Sip, Savor and Swing event at the beautiful Vinoy Hotel and Ted and I were thrilled to be able to attend. A fairy tale ending to our most wonderful trip.
My  smiling Ted
The next morning after we returned home my garden looked like this. And that night the temperature dipped to 5 degrees.  But, I thought back at how just a few days ago Ted and I were sitting on a bench looking out to the ocean at a spot where the locals told us they often see manatees and dolphins.  After sitting there relaxing, looking out to the never ending sea, a small thin elderly lady with a cane walked in front of us and smiled and said “Aren't we lucky to live in such a beautiful place.”   Yes, I thought we are fortunate if we are able to appreciate and feel gratitude to be alive  and be able to see the beauty in the moment no matter where we live or how cold it gets…

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Growing Amazing Plants in Pots–My New Discoveries

Last year I did a test. I grew the same plants in large pots and also in my 20 year amended-compost enriched heavy clay soil.  Wow, what a difference!  Plant thrive in the pots as long as they received regular water.  I filled the pots with potting soil and compost and a scoop of organic plant based fertilizer.  The lighter looser soil allows for the roots to grow larger.  The potted plants need daily water which I have provided with a timer and drip irrigation system.  I have been playing with 4 timers and 400 feet of 1/2” irrigation pipe and 1/4” drip irrigation. (100 ft of irrigation for each timer) I finally happily settled on burying regular water hoses to provide a water source to the back of the garden and then connecting a 100 feet of 1/2” hose delivering the drip irrigation to the pots and also to farther-out areas that I found hard to water.  All of these pots have drip irrigation:
I have 2 pots at the bottom on the front porch step.  These are the Tidal Wave Petunia I started in late winter.  The cactus came from my brother Juan’s California garden.  He is a master gardener. Gardening “runs in our genes”.
The other side.
I have Heavenly Blue Morning Glories beginning to travel up from the pots. Clematis is blooming
Purple Tomatillos are forming in their parachute-like husks.  These are growing in large pots that sit against the hot west wall. 
The irrigation provides 10 minutes of daily water from sprayers connected to  1/4” irrigation tubing.  Eggplant, peppers and shorter growing Santiam and Glacier Tomatoes are also growing in pots.  Potatoes, bigger tomatoes, squashes, cucumbers and corn are growing in my vegetable beds.  Because our soil is heavy they take less water and still produce.
There are 2 tomatillo plants per pot.  At least 2 are needed for pollination. The plants are taller than I am.
Ornamental corn can be used for popcorn.  It is growing in the 2 pots in front of the little house with Illumination Amaranth.
We have a carport next to the back door. It is along the alley.  The pots have irrigation.  In June I had a "Bring a Dish Garden Breakfast Party" - We had 59 friends stop by.  It was a beautiful fun day.  We set up tables in this area and in the garden.