Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Birthday!

~posted by Noami~
Yesterday -August 6th - was my moms birthday! Before 4 O' clock that day she had no idea what we had planned for her. What we had planned for her was this:
5:30 - dinner at olive garden with dad
8:30 - cake and ice cream at home with family
10:00 - Movie at the mall with dad
While mom was eating dinner, I iced her cake.
Earlier in the day dad had taken her out to lunch.
That's when we baked it. When she came
home we had the cake and ice cream. It was about nine O'clock.

Now before we could eat the cake we had to light the candles so here's us
trying to light the cake. I burned my
fingers twice and well...... just watch the video.

Mom blew out the candles and we wished her a happy birthday. She asked for no present so there were none. But dad had sent her 5 e-cards!

After cake and ice cream dad and mom went back out to the mall for their movie. They were not back till midnight but that's ok. I think mom really enjoyed her birthday.

Blessings, Naomi

Friday, August 6, 2010

Volunteering In The Garden

Our garden has provided us with an amazing amount of produce this year. It has been a very wet year in our area, which I am sure has contributed to this. Most things are dry and shrivelled by this time of year.

Our tomato vines are covered with green tomatoes

We had an interesting situation with our canteloupes. Last year we had an open compost pile of sorts that we designed with an empty concrete pad and cinder blocks. We were impressed with the quality of the compost that came from that, however we got lots of volunteer plants which sometimes was irritating. After a bit of research, I discovered that part of the problem could have been that the compost pile was not getting warm enough to make the seeds so they would not germinate. This year we decided to invest in these composters from Sam's Club.

They also work well to hide the gas meters that seem to take up the most visible space in our back yard.

We needed the old compost pile, that was now nice rich soil, to fill in the new garden area that was formed when we put up the retaining wall near the new shed. We never dreamed that we would have so many volunteer melons. Look what we had for dinner last night!

It was very juicy and a bit sweet. We were amazed that this grew just because of God.

'Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?'
Matthew 6:26

Blessings, Suzie

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gobs of Peaches

This week, our small kitchen has turned into a peach processing plant!
Our little peach tree had so many peaches this year that we had branches breaking with all the weight. This is the same peach tree that survived the huge maple tree branch breaking and rolling under it rather than on top of it. You can read about it here. So we KNOW that these are all blessings from God!
This has been a wonderful family activity that we ALL have been involved in. The boys picked and washed. Naomi, David and I pitted and sliced while Joshua ran all of our 'leftovers' to the compost pile. We have canned 24 quarts in light syrup. Here is the recipe for the syrup and directions to can. I like this site because they have pictures. I didn't peal my peaches as it doesn't seem to matter to my family and it cuts the work down significantly. We also had to pick these a bit green, which would make them more difficult to peel.
As mentioned, we picked them a bit green because it is our experience that if we wait, the birds and bugs get them before us:)

First we washed, pitted and sliced peaches.

At this point, I sprinkled with Fruit Fresh, then had to decide what to do with it all. I had some jars, but not a ton and I didn't want to use them all because I will want to make applesauce later on in the year. So I decided that I would only can 2 dozen jars of peaches and save a dozen for applesauce later on. If finances are better in the fall, I may purchase another dozen quart jar, but that remains to be seen.

Here are the peaches we canned, all washed and labeled. I still had peaches to preserve even after all my jars were used up so I decided to make peach cobbler mixture to freeze. I found a recipe on Allrecipes for Freezer Peach Pie Filling making a few modifications. I increased amount of peaches used to 4 cups and added 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon. I will use this as a cobbler in a square 9x9 inch pan rather than a pie. I also doubled several recipes to be made in 9x13 pan for church potlucks and such.

Peach Cobbler Toppings

To top these beautiful peaches, I will choose from 2 that I took from other recipes in my collection. The first I made as a go along for breakfast the other morning. My mistake was making it the night before and allowing samples. There was very little left for breakfast:)

Crumble Topping

1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
(or you can substitute 1/3 cup applesauce for a lighter version)
Mix all dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add melted butter and stir til combined. Spoon over top of defrosted cobbler filling that has been put in a 9x13 sprayed glass pan. Bake in preheated 450 degree oven on bottom rack for 20 minutes. Turn down temperature to 350 and bake another 30-35 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Baked Cobbler Topping, it is more difficult to make 'lite'

2 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (use white)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mix in mixing bowl. Pour over top of thawed cobbler filling that has been put in a 9x13 sprayed glass pan. Bake at 355 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until the top is brown and sides are bubbly. Cool and eat, YUM!

Even with all our recent losses, it is so easy to see that God is blessing us more and more abundantly that we could ever imagine.
My prayer today is that you are able to see God's Blessings in your life.