First Sweet Potatoes

So, I said I would keep you posted on my sweet potato experiment and this is the outcome. Eight tiny sweet potatoes that I was actually able to use. I cured them and they all emerged edible. A small win – literally. 😂

I started out by planting two whole, sprouting sweet potatoes. I then did some research and learned that you’re supposed to cut the sprouts with a bit of the sweet potato off and plant those. So, I dug up the original sweet potatoes (which were growing leaves like crazy), sliced off the sprouts, and replanted them. I had no idea how it would go.

I left them in the ground until after our first freeze, then pulled everything up and found the eight little guys pictured up top. I consider the experiment a success because it actually yielded something and because I learned a little bit about growing sweet potatoes. Next year I’ll plant them somewhere where they’ll have more room and hopefully see a bigger yield.

I love the experimental aspect of gardening. If you mess up, try to learn from the experience and just try again. Try different plants in different locations, and keep notes. That’s something I neglected to do in the beginning. It was a huge mistake because I couldn’t remember what I had done with what plant. Hard to learn that way. 😉. I can’t wait to try some new things in the spring. It’s an adventure!

P.S. I used my baby sweet potatoes in my sweet potato casserole for thanksgiving. 😋

Until next spring!
🌱😊

Monday Mug Shot

This week’s mug is really more of a tea cup. I don’t think I’ve ever used it for coffee. It just has that delicate teacup feel to me so, tea is what I use it for.

I got it at one of the coolest places I’ve ever stayed! The Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah.

My husband, two young sons and I were traveling to Colorado to pick up our youngest daughter and we spent a night at this lovely resort. It’s located near hot springs and boasts the Homestead Crater where you can swim. The indoor pool is like swimming in a pleasantly warm bath. It was winter and I remember floating in that heavenly pool with a breathtaking view of snow-capped mountains.

Our room was luxurious and cozy all at the same time. The on-site restaurant was wonderful! The grounds were beautiful.

It was an unforgettable stay and I would go back in a heartbeat! There’s so much to see and do there and we barely scratched the surface. But, I have my mug to remind me of the wonderful time we had and that I’d like to go back someday. The mugs are all about the memories!

☕️😊💕

Adventures in the Dirt

I love to garden, but since moving to Texas and attempting several summer gardens with minimal success, I gave up. I realized that I was failing because I don’t like to go outside during a typical Texas summer. It’s my hibernation season. Inside with the air conditioning is where you’ll find me. I come out of my cave at the first sign of fall. Fall, winter, and early spring are when I do my vacationing, daytripping, and anything else I can find to do outside. Including fall gardening.

Things have changed in the past year, however. Due to health issues, I can no longer pursue some of the indoor hobbies I enjoyed during the summer months like crocheting and scrapbooking. I discovered I COULD still do the gardening thing. So, I decided to brave the heat and give it another go. I go out early in the morning, and I mean just after daybreak as much as possible. I don’t spend anymore than thirty minutes at a time (even though the temp. isn’t too high this time of day the humidity often is) and I focus on just one or two chores. So far it’s been manageable and fall is just around the corner. I think I’ll make it.

I actually only planted two summer crops. Baby steps and all. The first was green beans. I had some issues with them in the beginning. The leaves weren’t looking healthy and the beans would show up then immediately dry up and turn brown on the plant. After some research I realized the plant was lacking nitrogen. I cut all the unhealthy leaves off and cut the plant back quite a bit. I’ve been fertilizing it for several weeks now and this is what it looks like today.

The summers are long here in Central Texas and even though it’s September it’s basically still summer. I’m hoping for at least a small yield before it’s all said and done.
I also planted some cucumbers, a little late, so not sure what’s going to happen there. My garden this year is basically one big experiment. Next to the cucumbers I have some sweet potatoes. These were actually a couple of potatoes that were sprouting in my kitchen. Just for fun, I stuck them in the ground to see what would happen.

The other day I went digging around to see what was going on. One potato was just sprouting more leaves, buuut the second one had little baby sweet potatoes on the ends of some of the roots that had sprouted. I stuck them back in the dirt and the picture directly above this paragraph is where we are right now. I also planted some Kale seeds for the winter garden and they’re doing well so far (pictured below).

I haven’t done a whole lot of flowers in the past. Mostly herbs and veggies. I have a little seating area on my back deck that I thought could benefit from a little color though. I prefer perennials and wanted some color that would carry through at least the beginning of fall. I chose several different colors of mums and put them in pots around the deck.

Along with my already present asparagus fern, I also added a Coneflower.

I have two of these Asparagus ferns and two Fountain Grass plants on the deck as well.

As much as I love putting things in the ground and watching them flourish, my knowledge is very limited. I think that’s going to change now that gardening has taken a priority on my list of hobbies. Who knows, maybe next summer I’ll actually have enough of something to put some up for winter! Stay tuned. If I get any kind of yield from what I presently have planted, I’ll post pics. Until then, happy gardening!

😊🌱🌻

Monday Mug Shot

This week’s mug is one I’ve mentioned before. It’s the original Lake Tahoe mug. The one I’ve already highlighted was acquired in 2018. Today’s mug was bought on a trip taken in 2005. The year before we moved to Texas. In the picture, you can see the little chip I mentioned in a previous blog. Not sure how it happened, but I suspect it has something to do with boys doing dishes. 😏

My youngest sister and brother-in-law, along with my nephew, came to visit us that summer. It was the first time that my brother-in-law had ever visited us in Cali. My nephew was actually born in California as was my sister. That was a fun summer! We took them all over our neck of the woods; Yosemite, Sonoma, fishing at Martinez Marina . . . Lake Tahoe. My brother-in-law fell in love with Tahoe (as do most people who visit there) and decided he might like to retire there. He has a few years to go, so we’ll see if that actually happens.

I believe my sister ended up with a bigger version of this same mug. Think soup mug. It’s the perfect size for a cup of tea or a plain cup of coffee. I don’t use it for my latte’s, but it’s one of my hubby’s favorites for tea. This little guy invokes memories of one of our favorite places, visited with some of our favorite people. It’s also one of the first of my collection and therefore has a certain extra sentimental value.

😊🛶🏔☕️💕

Monday Mug Shot

We’re baack! I halted Monday Mug Shot for awhile as I adjusted to my new normal with Cervical Dystonia. I’m still adjusting a little, but decided it was time to continue the mug shots. I thought it might be getting boring, but I’ve been told by a few that they enjoyed it. So, for those lovely souls who actually like my little stories – the return of Monday Mug Shot.

Our story continues with a new acquisition. This one, again, is from Branson. My hubs and I took a week- long trip this past April for our 25th wedding anniversary. We spent a few days on our own and a few days with our besties. On one of our solo days we found a beautiful shop called the Crystal Fish. On our first visit, I spotted a ceramic collection that included some unique and beautiful mugs that caught my eye. I resisted, however, reminding myself that I have plenty of mugs at the moment and we didn’t need to spend the money even though we could.

The next day my love decided that he wanted another of the candles that we had purchased the previous day so as to have a matching set. So, back we went to the Crystal Fish. This time we visited with the owners for quite awhile and the ceramic collection called to me again. The owner of the shop gave us a little history into the artist and her work. My hubby and I were both convinced – this mug was coming home with us.

We actually fell in love with the entire collection, but that would have been more than a pretty penny and just a little crazy. That was several months ago and this one has become a favorite to both of us. I love the design and my sweetie loves the functionality and how comfortably the handle fits his hand. Not to mention that it doesn’t get the least bit hot to the touch in the microwave. Beautiful and functional. What more could you want?

I love this mug for so many reasons; the unique and beautiful design, the fact that someone created this by hand, it’s big enough for a latte’ . . . but, more importantly than all of that. This mug reminds me of a beautiful time spent with the love of my life, celebrating 25-years of making amazing memories together by making more wonderful memories! I am a very blessed woman!

💍 2️⃣5️⃣🎊🥂😊💕

New Kitchen Toy

My husband recently gifted me with a new toy for my kitchen that he found on Brad’s Deals.  An 8-qt. pressure cooker that he got for $50!  WooHoo!  Isn’t it pretty?!

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One of the first things I made in it was a super cheesy Mac n’ Cheese, from scratch, in about 20 minutes!  It was awesome and really tasty!

Since then I’ve cooked a roast from frozen to fabulous in about 90 minutes, Egg Roll Bowls in less than 10 minutes start to finish.  I’ve made Curry Chicken, Lentil Stew, and even yogurt!  I am loving this thing!

The kitchen is a more challenging place for me since my diagnosis and as a result, we’ve been eating out more, which isn’t good.  It takes me longer to prepare things and there is a level of frustration that causes me to get a little discouraged and take even longer, or give up altogether.  Then, there’s the whole, “I forgot to thaw the meat!” thing.  With this new pressure cooker, both of those challenges are alleviated.  Even if it takes me longer to do the prep, the cooking time is cut so short that it balances out.  We dont end up eating at 8:00 (which I hate) because I’m a slow poke in the kitchen now, or abandoning the prospect of cooking dinner altogether because I forgot to thaw the meat out.  It’s a win-win!

I’ve only begun to learn all the things I can do with this time-saver.  I’m very excited to try new things in it.  I’m especially excited that I can make my own yogurt again via a much easier process than the crockpot or stovetop, not to mention it’s quicker.  I’m also excited that we got such a great deal!  These things aren’t cheap.  If you’ve never heard of Brad’s Deals you might want to check it out.  Not that this is a plug for them, it’s not.  If you’re in the market for a pressure cooker, that just might be another place to keep an eye out for a deal.  Either way, I’d say a pressure cooker is a good investment for any kitchen!

👩🏻‍🍳😊👍🏻

 

Kitchen Genius

Last week I had a couple of grandgirls over for a sleepover. One of them, Leah, has enjoyed being in the kitchen since she was little.  She’s very creative and likes to invent things.  My plan was for us to make banana muffins together.  Leah, however, needed to take it to another level.

We started with our basic banana muffin recipe and this time Leah did most of the work while I supervised.  After all, she’s 11 now and quite capable in the kitchen – not to mention tall enough to reach just about everything that I can reach. 

After the muffins were baked is when the real fun started.  Leah decided she wanted a peanut butter filling in the muffins.  So, we brainstormed a couple of ideas for doing that with muffins baked in a liner.  After trying a couple different methods including sticking an icing tip directly into the top of the muffin to extrude filling into it that way, and using a straw to make a small indentation to put filling in, Leah had a stroke of genius.  She used a small spoon to scoop out some of the muffin from the top, piped filling into the indentation, then sprinkled it with pieces of the muffin she had removed.  Brilliant!

 

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The result was quite tasty and not too bad to look at.  I’d say our little pastry chef has some potential.  The recipe is below if you’d like to try it out for yourself.

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LEAH’S PEANUT BUTTER FILLED BANANA MUFFINS

3C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Salt
1/2 t. Baking Powder
2C. Sugar
1C. Vegetable or Canola oil
3 Lg. Eggs
2t. Vanilla
4 Ripe Bananas, coarsely mashed

Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.  Preheat oven to 325°F.  Mash bananas and set aside.  Whisk together all dry ingredients except the sugar in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, beat wet ingredients and sugar to blend.  Stir in the banana.  Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.  Drop batter into muffin cups with an ice cream scoop.  Bake 25-30 mins. until tops are golden brown.

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

1C. Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2C. Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2C. Powdered Sugar

Using a stand or hand mixer, combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy.  Let muffins cool completely. With a small spoon scoop a small amount of the muffin out of the top.  Using whatever icing tip you prefer, pipe a small amount of filling into the recess you created in the muffin.  Sprinkle the filling with pieces of the removed muffin and enjoy!