Pie Pumpkins in the Trunk

This is what 50 hand picked pie pumpkins look like in the truck of my car…..well Company’s car….Oldest daughter who does not cook is having car trouble and is driving my car. Hope she drives my car for a while, I kinda like this car better haha!

I am taking these pie pumpkins to school tomorrow to start a two day lab on making pumpkin pies from scratch using fresh pumpkins.

I will keep you updated if this all works out. If it doesn’t then I still will update you : ).

I might be knee deep in pumpkin puree before it is all over.

Good thing the custodians are great where I work!!!

Becky

“The Project, Part Two”

You eyes are not deceiving  you, we put a long groove in each of our future rows of strawberries.

Have we lost our minds?

At this point in the project, I thought maybe we had : ).

If  you read my last post, you know that the big project was starting a strawberry patch with a plastic mulch system. This works by, making a 2 foot wide mound of dirt and as long as you want to make your row. You cover the row with plastic, cause the plastic keeps the dirt warm and then you cut holes in the plastic and plant your strawberry plugs. When I did my research it did not sound too bad…..that is yet to be seen haha…

The one thing you have to think about is, that if you put plastic over the rows, you have to water the strawberry plugs somehow.

That is where drip lines come into play.

We installed a drip line that was 60 feet long and bury them a little below ground so we could water the strawberries.

The drip lines come in 50 foot lengths, so we had to add several feet on to each line. You use this barb looking plastic inserts that connect the two lines.

One end of the drip line is connected to a water hose and the other end is tied off using this doodad. Forgot the name of it, but it bends the drip line prevented the water from going out that end.

On the other end that connects to the water hose, you have to connect each drip line to this faucet set up. This one has enough hooks up for four drip lines. We also put these faucet connects on the end of the drip line to connect it to the faucet set up. Then you just connect your water hose from your hose and turn it on to water the strawberries. Cool uh? : )

Here is a picture of all the installed drip lines before we buried them in. After we buried the drip lines, we started on the plastic.

Now we unrolled the plastic and cut it to length. Then we unfolded it and cut  it into the width we needed.

Here is what two of the rows looked like. You take landscape hooks and hook the plastic into the ground so it does not blow off. This is as far as we got one night. When I came the next day, I brought oldest grand girl to help plant the strawberries. It was then I realized we did not put our fertilizer on top of the dirt rows before we put the plastic down. So, before we could go any further, we had to take the plastic up on one side and sprinkle the fertilizer down and then re-stake the plastic. ugh!!!

Here is what the rows looked like after we covered each row with plastic.

Step two is done with our strawberry project.

Tomorrow, I will tell you how we managed to get all those strawberry plugs planted. Let’s just say, we had to cut 250 round little holes in the plastic to be able to plant to the plugs in the ground.

Oh my…what have I got ourselves into….

That is the question of the day : ).

Becky

 

“The Project!”

Have you been wondering where I have been lately? I am so sorry that I have not had to time to tell you about making Baby College Girl a apple pie when she came for the weekend.

Here is the picture of the deep dish apple pie I made for that apple lovin’ college girl.  Actually, I made two of them. One for home and one for her to take back to her little apartment to bake in her little Barbie size oven. This pie was a act of love, cause I did not get started peeling the apples till 8 o’clock at night and it did not come out of the oven till 10:30. Super Hero came home about that same time and came down to the kitchen to see what was baking.

I did not know that warm apple pie tasted so good at 11:00 at night.

I have not had time to mention some of my coupon deals, either,  at Walgreens, (beef jerky for $1.50 a bag and snickers for .33 cents a bar) and Schnucks (chocolate chips for .50 cents a bag and yogurt for less than .10 cents a container).

I have not had time to tell you anything……CAUSE of, “The Project!” (Jeanetta, if you are reading this, this project was kinda like us making all those cheese cakes and remember those 300 or 400 cupcakes????)

For the last week and a half, every free minute I have had after work and on the weekend, I have been helping Company with a garden project. I wish I could put all the blame him, but, it was my big idea. (Yes, the cheese cakes and cup cakes were my idea too….and I even forgot to mention those million of cake pops and whoopee pies…..)

Big ideas are scary….right!

My big idea all started when I went blackberry picking at the local pick and pick place, outside of town. The owners where talking about planting strawberry plugs this fall using a plastic mulch system. With this more commercial way of planting strawberries, you get more yield the first year and with a lot less weeds.

Sounded like a great idea…..Right?

It is a great idea, for those farmers that have the right equipment to actually make the rows and put the plastic down at the same time. That is why it is more of a commercial way of doing it.

But……guess what?????

We got it done!!!!

With a lot of help from ibuprofen.

I am going to start with step one that took us about 3 to 4 days after work to get to finish. Just keep in mind that by the time I drive to Company’s house after I get off work, we only have a couple of hours of daylight or less to work in the garden.

So here goes!

First thing….after Company took his tractor and disked up part of the garden, he took the tiller and loosened up the part where we were putting the strawberries rows in.

The we tried to measure rows of 2 feet wide…..see the tape measure on the ground….I think I need private lesson on how that thing works! After we measure off a somewhat 24 inch wide row, we measure another 24 inches for the walk way between the rows.

We did this three times. The rows are 2 feet wide and 60 foot long.

Did I mention that this was a project…..?

Then we started shoveling dirt between the rows and building up the dirt on the rows that we are going to plant the strawberries plugs in.

Here is a picture of me shoveling too. We had to time to shovel a row a night….so we shoveled…..for……….

…..three days….here is a picture of Company on one side of the row and me on the other, meeting each other, shoveling our last row! Don’t you love his worn out favorite pair of work boots?

Here is a picture of our rows after they were shoveled and dirt mounded up.

To finish our rows, we took a piece of wood and level off the top of the mounds of dirt.

Here is what a couple of the rows looking like after we leveled off the top.

The rows are not perfect, but we got it done!

Good thing too….cause…

….the strawberry plugs arrived!

Yep, the strawberry plugs arrive all the way from Arkansas. All 250 of them.

Yes…..250 of them.

What can I say….Company likes strawberries. ; )

Anywho….this was step one of “The Project.”

I will try to post step two tomorrow night, after I get my next, big idea, project done.

Company is helping me pick up 50 pie pumpkins from a local garden center tomorrow…..

Long story….don’t ask.

I promise to tell you all about the pie pumpkins later.

If you have any wonderful strawberry recipes, send them my way around April. I should be (better be) picking loads of strawberries about then.

Is anyone out there doing any winter gardening….or completing a big idea project?

I would love to hear about it!

Talk to you tomorrow!

Becky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Bundt Cake equals New Cake

A week or so ago, Bed Bath and Beyond had a clearance sale on selected items. Who knew that one of the items would include a bundt cake pan.

I could not pass up a bargain and picked up a new bundt cake pan.

I got a new lasagna pan too.

Plus I was able to used a 20% coupon on the clearance items. Yippee!

After my last bundt cake near disaster, I was anxious to try to make a bundt cake again. For those that might have missed my earlier post, “Can This Cake Be Saved,” I blogged about making a bundt cake for a church ladies day. The cake got stuck and broke in two.

Has this ever happened to you?

It kinda makes you want to buy a cake in the bakery department at your local grocery store.

Even though this cake looked like it had been dropped, used as a basketball and a dog nibble on it’s side…. I could not just give up on this recipe…..it really is a wonderfully tasting pound cake.

So…… I went ahead and tried this recipe again.

And Guess What………

My new pan did the trick. The cake came right out of the pan!

Yippee….

Anywho….since I finally had success…I wanted to post this moist and yummy Caramel Apple Pound Cake recipe.

Above is the ingredients that you will need to make the cake. The apples are ones that I picked right off apple trees at Company’s house.

The first thing you need to do is melt the butter. Then pour the butter into the brown and white sugar. Mix together with a mixer until creamed together.

Next, add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix them with the sugars and melted butter.

Then add the vanilla. I love real vanilla!

Now, you can add in the flour, apple pie spice, baking powder and salt. Mix in all the dry ingredients to make a nice cake batter.

One of the changes I made from the first time I made this cake was to dice my apples smaller. So my second cake, the apples were diced smaller.

Now, take your diced apples and add the cinnamon and some brown sugar.

Stir the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon together until the apples are well coated.

With my New bundt cake pan, I sprayed it down the vegetable spray and coated it with flour to help with the release of the cake.

Now the fun begins. You will make layers of cake batter and the diced apples. Take a third of the batter and spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Take half of  your apples and spread over the batter. Did you notice the apples are diced smaller this time?

Add another one third of you batter over the diced apples, and spread the rest of the apples over the batter.

Using the last one third of  you batter, cover the diced apples. Put cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for around 50 minutes.

Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the cake from the pan.

Here is truth time…..will the cake come out of the pan???? Can you hear the drum roll…..?

Yippee…..relief…..success….Can you see the layers of spiced apples and batter? If you do not want to see the layers, do not put the apples all the way to sides of pan, just put the apples in the middle of the batter.

Here is what the inside of the bundt cake pan looked like after the cake came out.

Now, you can cool completely and decorated it with a cream cheese glaze, caramel drizzle and chopped pecans (if you likes nuts). I made the cream cheese icing a little thinner this time around, (by accident) that is why it looks a little different from my first cake.

Here is a close up of a slice of the cake. I would have taken more pictures, but The Princess, Dad, Jeanie Beanie and grand son,  Oldest Daughter who does not cook, Grand girls and Company was waiting on their piece of cake.

Family holding up forks, waiting on their piece of cake, makes me nervous.

Apples are still in season, so it’s not too late to try to make this cake!

Don’t be afraid to try it! Even my broken cake went like  wild fire at the ladies day.

Here is the recipe:

Caramel Apple Pound Cake

Adapted from Southern Lady magazine.

Ingredients for the pound cake:

1 cup sugar

1 and 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided. (I used dark brown sugar and it worked out fine)

1 and 1/2 cups butter, melted

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla (I almost always use real vanilla, it does make a difference)

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon apple pie spice (you can make your own too, just use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cardamon)

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chopped Granny Smith apples.(I used ones I picked right off Company’s apple trees)

2 teaspoons cinnamon.

(You will use caramel ice cream topping in the icing, recipe is below, and to drizzle on the cake. You can also top with chopped nuts.I used pecans because it is my favorite.)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your bundt cake pan. I sprayed mine with vegetable spray and then coated it with flour. In a large bowl, mix together the white and 1 cup of the brown sugar. Add the melted butter and continue mixing until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Next add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl you will get the dry ingredients together. Combine the flour, baking powder, apple pie spice and salt. Take a whisk and whisk all the dry ingredients together.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, and mix until the all the ingredients are combined.

In another bowl, combined the chopped apples and the remaining brown sugar and the cinnamon.

Spoon one third of the batter in the prepared bundt pan. Spoon one half of the apples on top of the batter. Be careful not to get too close to the edge of the pan because it may cause the cake to stick. Next, spoon another one third of the bater over the apples and then top with the rest of the apples. Finally, cover the last layer of apples with the rest of the batter.

Place the cake in the preheated over and bake for around 50 minutes or until a wooden pick comes out clean from the middle. Take the cake out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Top with the Cream Cheese icing and chopped nuts. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Ingredients:

1–8 ounce package of cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk (I used skim milk and it was fine)

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Next, add the milk and the caramel topping. Mix altogether until smooth. Spread over the top of the cooled pound cake.

 

I am sure you can think of a reason to make this cake!

I have several reasons…..apples, caramel and pecans

Enjoy!

Becky

 

Blame It On The Princess

Did your Mom ever teach you how handy an old kitchen butter knife can be?

You can use them as a stirrer.

You can use them to fish stuff out of the garbage disposal.

You can use them to pry open a stuck window.

You can even use them to spread butter on a roll!

But, blame it on The Princess for teacher her girls to use it as a screw driver!

I was using my apple peeler so much making apple pie filling and apple butter over the weekend, the knob kept falling off.

I could not find a screw driver anywhere, so I found a handy dandy old butter knife.

See how well it works now!

Thanks Mom!

P.S. Dear Santa, I need a new tool set for Christmas.

Becky