I have made the mistake before of NOT marking my garden… and I forget what I planted in different sections of the garden. It can be rather frustrating and a bit of a guessing game till the plants get larger. We have used lots of different markers over the years but this is one of my favorite ways. Since you use the seed packet as the marker, you can go back and check things on the packet like growing time, harvest information or even save it so you know to look for that variety again next year if it is one your really like. The key is to make it water proof so it lasts till the end of the growing season.
These are so easy to make and turned out really cute. All you need is the empty seed packet, some wooden spoons and packaging tape. I got a bunch of wooden spoons at a yard sale so they cost me about five cents each, but you can normally find a 4 pack at the dollar store. Put the wooden spoon inside the empty seed packet, use packaging tape to cover the whole packet to make it waterproof and secure it to the spoon too. Simple as that you are done, now just put the handle into the ground and mark where you planted those seeds.
Recipe for Cooking ~ Chocolate Zucchini Muffins with applesauce and peanut butter chips
Watch our recorded LIVE video making these Chocolate zucchini muffins below
With all the zucchini from our garden I have been making Chocolate zucchini muffins with applesauce every other day. My kids are loving them, plus we have had lots to share as well! These are my favorite, hope you enjoy them as well! Also a money saving tip these freeze well too!
Recipe for Cooking ~ Chocolate chip zucchini muffins with applesauce and peanut butter chips
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon)
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
Add at the very end
2 cup finely grated Zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
In a large mixing bowl, cream the wet ingredients with a mixer till smooth (1-2 minutes). Sift in dry ingredients, blend thoroughly. Then stir in zucchini and chocolate and peanut butter chips by hand. Spoon batter into muffin tins (with liners) fill 2/3 of the way full. Makes 24 muffins. Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the wet ingredients with a mixer till smooth (1-2 minutes). Sift in dry ingredients, blend thoroughly. Then stir in zucchini and chocolate and peanut butter chips by hand. Spoon batter into muffin tins (with liners) fill ⅔ of the way full. Makes 24 muffins. Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes.
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I had a friend ask me how to make Freezer Corn so I thought I would share this post again. As you can tell by the photos this post was written and first published several years back. Look how cute and little my kids are 🙂 But I did update it with some better images of the finished product, feel free to pin them!
Growing up in large family, my Mom made sure we knew how to take our produce and can or freeze it. So I learned how to make freezer corn at a young age. In doing this we were able to save hundreds of dollars a year. My Dad is a farmer, he normally grows corn that is called field corn, which grows VERY tall. It is grown to chop up, stalks and all to feed to our dairy cows. But my Dad also grows a few large rows of sweet corn, which my whole family looks forward to every year. If you have ever had fresh tender sweet corn picked right from the field, it is so yummy. Nothing like what you buy from the store.
This year my Dad picked me a large sack of corn. It is now time for me to teach my little ones how to make freezer corn, just as my parents taught me. So we shucked the corn out on the lawn, to keep the mess outside. My kids were such good little helpers! They got the giggles every time one of the ears of corn had lots of corn silk, they would say ” yuck I got a hairy one”
After about 30 mins we were able to bring the cleaned corn back into the house to get it ready to cook.
In a large pot bring you water up to a boil, then add in your corn. In my pot I was able to do about 10 at a time. The corn is cold so it will take a minutes for the water to start to boil again, after it comes back to a boil cook it for 3-5 minutes.
After 3-5 mins, take out of the pot and put in a sink full of ice water. This will cool the corn down and let you handle it better.
After a few minutes in the ice water, take out and put on a towel to drain the water off.
Take your knife and run it down the corn cob and cut all the corn off.
I then take about 2 1/2 cups of corn, and put it into a quart sized freezer bag. Try to get out as much of the air as you can, then seal it closed. They will need to lay flat till they are cooled to room temp. At this point you just need to write the date on it and stack it in your freezer. I was able to get 21 bags of corn. This is one of my families favorites, and we look forward to eating it over the next year!
When you get ready to cook it, take it out of the freezer. You can thaw it in the refrigerator the day before, but I do not normally think ahead like that. So I cook it a glass container with a lid on high for 5-7 minutes. I season it with butter, salt and pepper and sometimes a little bbq sauce.
Update* Now that my family has grown, I put 4 cups into a gallon freezer bag. This is enough for a side for a larger family.
It did take some work, but it was FREE and well worth the time. Hope you take the time to try this out, not that you know how to make freezer corn.
So recently one of our friends just threw away some artichokes. They said they had never had artichokes and didn’t think you could eat anything on it. Well for years my (Matt) family has been eating artichokes on fun special occasions. Mainly when they went on sale. Now this way to eat them is not the only way, you can grill them (which I never really have tried) or cut out just the hearts and stems. The way we do it is boil them. In a large pot of boiling water, add the artichokes whole. Make sure you have enough room to spin them around and position them to get them under the water as much as possible. Boil them for about 15 to 20 minutes, just long enough that you can easily stick a fork down the end of the stalk.
So here are two of the artichokes we cooked. The one on the left has all of the hard outer leaves on. When you peel these leaves off – one by one- there is not much edible bits on them. But once the outer leaves are off, like the photo above on the right of the plate, the leaves get more and more tender and lighter in color.
The white part on the base of each leave is edible. Now don’t go biting this part off. Simply dip in butter, or even by its self, and slide it over your lower teeth and scrape what comes off with your teeth. You will learn how much pressure to use as the leaves move from being hard and “woody” to really soft and tender. As they get tender, you can almost just eat half of the leave. Any thing that is really tender is edible.
I have always just dipped these in butter, like lobster. I am sure you could use the healthy fake butter stuff. Next time I might try it with those new flavored butters with garlic and such already blended in them.
The outer leaves will look like this after you scrape them off on your teeth. Just the white inside bottom part of each leave is edible. But as you get further inside the artichoke, the leaves become pale green and maybe even cream or white color. Most of these leaves are edible and I will just bite off what ever snaps off. Be careful because the tips of these have little points on them that are not edible.
The artichoke on the right side, above, shows the pale white leaves that are really soft and good. Even the stalk of the artichoke is edible if you peel back the fibrous outside.
Once you get to the inside of the artichoke you will see these small feathery looking pieces – see above photo. They are soft and intriguing, but they don’t call it an artichoke for nothing. Those little soft pieces are the “choke”. They are not edible.
Now in the above sliced view of the artichoke. If you carefully cut out the choke with a butter knife, you can then eat the “heart”. You can see the choke which is a light pale green on the very top. You can pluck off the choke down to about the darker layer right under the choke. Once that is removed the artichoke heart is the prized piece. These are the things you see in salads and sold in jars at the store.
So now you know one way to eat those strange looking artichokes. These are fun to eat after dinner, mid day snack. You can even do this while watching your favorite sports game or at family movie night. Just be careful with the butter 😉
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