Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Snickers Cake

I was on the refreshment committee last week for
my Bible study group.

This recipe was a new one I had been wanting to try.

I teased them they were my taste testers as I sliced up the cake.

They gave it a big thumbs up!

Hope you enjoy it too!


Apple Snickers Cake

1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups peeled and diced apples
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cup chopped Snickers bars, divided
1 cup milk
1 box Jello instant pudding (3.4oz.)
1 tub Cool Whip (8oz.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the applesauce, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and sugars.
Beat until creamy.
Stir in diced apples.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Slowly add to the apple mixture until thoroughly combined.
Stir in 1 cup of chopped Snickers.

Pour the apple batter into a 9x13 inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake at 350 F. for 35 minutes.
Place on cooling rack and cool completely.

Whisk together the milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.
Fold in the Cool Whip gently.
Spoon on top of the cooled cake and spread out.
Place in refrigerator for about an hour to thicken.
Sprinkle the rest of chopped Snickers bars over the top before serving.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What is Pine Nut Syndrome

I had a very strange thing happen to me this past week.

Every time I drank something or took a bite of anything
I experienced this awful bitter taste in my mouth.

I remarked one night after dinner to the pipeliner
that this "problem" 
was driving me bonkers!

He thought maybe I was coming down with a cold.
Both him and little man had been dealing with one.

The next night after a dinner, a meal I could barely eat, I decided to "google"
bitter taste in my mouth.

I read through the titles that popped up on my computer screen.
But one title really stood out.

Pine Nut Syndrome

People suffering from a constant bitter or metallic taste as a result of eating pine nuts.


I was on to something!

This is what I had made earlier in the week:

A big batch of fresh pesto!

Those little things up in the right hand corner, pine nuts!

I kept on reading different articles about this strange syndrome.

The adverse reaction can develop suddenly and inexplicably within 12 to 48 hours after consuming the nuts.

It can happen out of the blue,
even to people who have previously had no adverse reaction.

It does  not seem to matter whether the pine nuts are raw or roasted.

It does not seem to matter whether three nuts are consumed or a handful.

The syndrome does not involve mold or any bacteria on the nuts.
It is not an allergy to them either.
Right now it just seems to be a mystery.

However most of the nuts that people have a reaction to come from China, and the Chinese species of white pines called
Pinus armandii.

The Food and Drug Administration is aware of the problem.
They even posted a page on Pine Mouth and the Consumption of Pine Nuts in March of 2011,
when there was a lot of reported cases.

Their report states the bitter taste can last between a few days, to 2 weeks, or as long as a month.

They also go on to say it is exacerbated by consumption of any other food during this period. 
Also refrain from sugary foods.
Sugar enhances the bitterness.

Nobody seems to know why it happens,
but it is not supposed to be dangerous.
Just very annoying!

I thought I would pass this along because this is the time of the year
we are busy harvesting our basil crops.
Getting ready to make that pesto for the freezer.

I guess this batch is going in the garbage!

It was so good too!

After all I did quite a bit of taste testing.

And now my taste tester will be out of whack for a week or 2!

I hope this post helps somebody else who developed this strange sensation!


Head on over to the hop!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Still producing

The count down to fall is on.

The days are still filled with warm sunshine.
The nights are crisp and cool.

But I know it wont be long until the weatherman predicts
the first frost.

I am still trying to keep up with all of the veggies
that the garden produces.

Trying out a few new ideas.

Sundried cherry tomatoes seasoned with Italian seasoning smelled
so good drying in the oven.

I have had fun using my new food dehydrator.

How pretty mixed peppers look in a canning jar.

I have been experimenting with green pepper jelly.

I am still trying to find the right flavor by adding jalapenos.

My flowers are really loving the cool nights and warm days.

The celosia are in full bloom.

And the zinnias just keep blooming!

Here is a picture of my prize winning zinnia!

I was so excited!

I love to dry these pretty gomphrena.

They make great dried arrangements for the winter.

I have also been trying out bread recipes that incorporate honey.

This honey oatmeal bread recipe
seems to be the favorite so far.

But it is so much fun taste testing,
I am sure we will have a new favorite soon.

Fall weather also brings my other favorite season,
football season!

It sure makes Sunday afternoons canning sessions 
a lot more entertaining when there is football
on the tv!

Well except maybe today,
the Packers lost.

Keep on canning!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Honey Harvest

When we purchased our new home,
we asked the previous owners if they would consider leaving their 
bee hive for us.

They happily agreed.

Neither the pipeliner or myself had any bee keeping experience.

What were we getting ourselves into?

Over the spring and summer we have tried to educate ourselves about all things bee related.

I even took a one day class at our local community college presented by a local bee keeper.

Finally feeling confident,
we bought our bee keepers suits.

Our bees had been "bearding" for a good week or so.

It had been hot and humid out,
making the inside of the hive very warm.
The bees stay outside to fan the hive trying to cool it off.

But this is also told us that the top super was probably full of honey.

It was finally time for our first honey harvest!

We got all of our supplies ready and headed out to the hive.

The pipeliner gave them a little puff of smoke before opening the top cover of the hive.

It was a little intimidating at first.

All of those bees buzzing are loud!

But it is all so interesting you soon forget all of that noise.

The pipeliner lifted the first frame out.

It was dripping with honey!
As were the rest of them.

We replaced the frames with new ones
for the bees to begin the honey making process again.

The full frames of honey were then taken to the shed to begin the honey extracting process.

This is the pipeliner cutting the cappings off of a frame full of honey.

Then the frames go into an extractor.

It has a hand crank that you turn.
As you crank the handle the frames whirl around throwing the honey onto the side of the extractor.

It runs down the wall and collects at the bottom.

As it poured out of the bottom valve we strained it into a 5 gallon bucket.

This little honey had fun watching the whole extracting process.

We strained it again through pantyhose,
then bottled it.

This is our honey haul!

We were so excited and surprised on how much out first harvest netted!

I have been rendering bees wax.
This is my first batch.

I would have to say that I am pretty happy how our first experience went.

No bee stings for either one of us.

We are seriously thinking of starting another hive next spring.

We have been giving away honey to friends and family for now.

But maybe the bee keeping can turn into a little money making business next year.

We are both looking forward to watching and learning more about these amazing buzzing creatures!


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cajun Chicken Pasta

The garden is still producing fast and furious!

I try to use a lot of garden fresh ingredients in our nightly meals.

This recipe had set on my counter for a week or so until I finally found the time to make some fettuccine noodles.

After the first taste, it was worth the wait!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
3 teaspoons Cajun spice mix ( I used Mrs. Dash)
1 pound fettuccine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 whole green pepper, seeded and sliced
1 whole red pepper, seeded and sliced
1/2 whole red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 whole Roma tomatoes
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
cayenne pepper to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. 
Drain when pasta is still al dente, do not over cook!

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken pieces.
Toss around to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in heavy skillet over high heat.

Allow the chicken to brown on one side. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute.

Remove with a slotted spoon and place on clean plate.

Add remaining olive oil and butter.
When heated add peppers, onions, and garlic.

Sprinkle on remaining Cajun seasoning.

Cook over very high heat for 1 minute stirring gently and trying to get the veggies as dark as possible.
Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Remove all of the vegetables from the pan.

With the pan over high heat, pour in wine and chicken broth.
Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze.  

Reduce heat to medium low and pour in cream stirring constantly.
Cook sauce over medium heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture.

Taste and add black pepper and or cayenne pepper.
The sauce should be spicy.

Finally add the chicken and vegetables to sauce.

Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot.

Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

I love all things pasta!
This one will be on the favorite list for a long time!

Hope you enjoy!


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer Ends

I know I am like every other gardener out there.
This is the time of the year that we reap our rewards.

Boy oh boy does it keep us busy!

I am extremely pleased how well our first year garden turned out.
The soil wasn't the best.
But the harvest has been wonderful!

This is just the first picking!

I am canning pizza sauce, ketchup, bbq sauce and spaghetti sauce.

I hope that uses up all of the tomatoes!

I did a couple of batches of Candied Jalapenos

Oh are they good!

We have froze sweet corn and quite a few bags of green peppers.

I still have quite a few peppers to dehydrate.

This has got to be the best chocolate zucchini cake
recipe I have ever tried!

What a great treat for all of the hours working over a hot stove!

Of course there have been other things happening around our place.

We got the chicken house all painted and ready to go!

I am hoping by next week we will have our first little flock out clucking around.

Last night we pulled out first batch of honey from the hive!

Every frame was dripping with the sweet stuff.

Friday night we will begin the process of extracting.

I am still reading up on how to render my cappings for beeswax.

We did enjoy a little break from all of the goings on at home.

The pipeliner and I took a long weekend in the city to celebrate out birthdays.

Whats a little rain delay?
Even more time to sit back and relax.

We enjoyed the last official weekend of summer taking little man to our local towns Labor Day parade.

It is so hard to believe that this summer is almost over.

I am very thankful that the pipeliners jobs were all located with in 20 miles of our house.
No traveling for us.
That never happens!

We got to spend our first summer at our new house,
making it into our special home.