Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More Smoothie Concotions and a Massive Home Grown Papaya!

I've had several "non gardening" weeks in a row for one reason or another, including catching my boss's cold this past weekend (ggrrrrr!).  He uses my computer to check email periodically so whatta ya gonna do, eh?

I really enjoyed the "chai chia pudding" I wrote about here.  The flavor was wonderful and the texture was quite similar to eating dragon fruit!  It took me a while to figure out what the texture was reminding me of!

And speaking of dragon fruit...we bought one at our favorite Asian Market two weekends ago and I divided some seeds in three pots - and now I have several baby dragon fruit plants! I'm so excited!  I've already decided to put 5' posts in the ground to train them on when they've grown up enough to transplant.  This is how they're grown for mass production.

Stock Photo from the Interwebs
So back to the chia pudding concoctions...So that made me realize I needed to make a fruit based chia pudding.  I used 1/2 cranberry juice and 1/2 water (about 3/4 cup total liquid), 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and about 2 tablespoons of Maine wild blueberries (frozen) and let it sit overnight.  This filled a half pint ball jar.  I couldn't eat more than half - it is very filling - so I ended up adding the rest to a smoothie.

I've been enjoying my nutri-bullet, making all sorts of concoctions.

Last night's fruit concoction was 1 cup "Simply Apple" juice, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries and 1/2 cup frozen red grapes.  Oh My Yum!  I made a similar recipe using Simply Cranberry and that was mighty fine too.  It's an excellent way to get some fruit in me!

Tonight's experiment was a peanut butter smoothie - 1 cup of almond milk, 3 Tbls PB2 (powdered peanut butter), 1 Tbls Cocoa powder, 1/2 a frozen banana. It was pretty darn good.  The powered peanut butter is less fattening, but not as peanut buttery.  But definitely drinkable.  I'll add 1/4 cup oatmeal for a breakfast drink tomorrow.

Check out this gigantic papaya from my second tree:

Holy Moly!  I cut it up tonight to put it in the freezer for smoothies - I got two quart bags chuck full of fruit from this baby!  Twice as much as the fruit off my other tree.

Freezing fruit is nice because I don't have to use ice when making smoothies.  I don't want to kill my new nutri-bullet machine by adding ice.  And I've been happy with how things are turning out so far.

My favorite is still my Green Smoothie - 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 orange, 1 banana, 8 pineapple chunks and two handfuls of spinach.  It's pretty marvelous.

I'm also a fan of 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup mango, 1 cup papaya, about 8 pineapple chunks and two handfuls of spinach.  Also pretty darn good!

I'll be posting some exciting developments on the stick pile soon...!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Homegrown Smoothies

I picked two more papaya today!  I'll let them ripen a few more days before I cut them up for smoothies.

Here's the second papaya tree with huge fruits just starting to ripen:

Meanwhile, I put some in the freezer a few days ago so I'm going to use that for tomorrow's smoothie along with an orange from our tree and some longevity spinach as my green.

Longevity Spinach
I did a bit of research on longevity spinach to see if it would be okay to eat the stems raw. I've eaten the leaves many times either sauteed or in salads, but not the stems.  I think "young" stems will be fine.

It's pretty satisfying being able to make smoothies with homegrown produce! Quantity is the problem.  I definitely need to work on growing more greens!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Goji Berry and Blank Spots!

I planted three pots with goji seeds a few months ago.  All three sprouted, but only one survived. When I found this goji berry bush at Home Depot for $9.99 I just couldn't resist buying it:

It even has a few flowers!  I'm not sure if it's best to keep it potted or plant it.  I'll have to see how it does in the brutal summer heat.

Hey lady....you missed a spot!

While doing my garden walk today, I noticed that all my newly planted green beans have come up, all except one section (top right) which is utterly beanless.

Ooops.  I must have planted the side and front with green beans, but didn't go back along the rear to plant the rest.  Doht.  Oh well.  Not a big deal.  I'll fill in the gap with more beans, or something else.

I also noticed some volunteers have sprouted in my compost dump.

The last time I cleaned out the big compost tumbler I used most of it in the corn garden, then just dumped the rest of it in this spot - hoping something would sprout.  It's always a great experiment!

Here's a wide view of how things are coming along.

I planted pansies and marigolds all along the front edge and plan to buy bricks to make a border like I did on the other side.

On the far left in front of the old garden box (which still has papaya, pigeon peas and longevity spinach growing in it) I planted some of the herbs I had grown from seed a few months ago:

There's lemon thyme, sweet basil, holy basil, amethyst basil, Mrs. Burns' Basil, cilantro, peppermint, sweet mint, sweet annie, chamomile and some zinnias.  I added two "kitchen scrap feeders" to this little section.

The corn is doing okay, but not great.  But it's alive so I'm still hopeful.

The stalks on the far right are pretty unhappy.  They're probably right on the edge of the sprinkler and not getting enough water.  But we have a 60% chance of rain tomorrow so I'm crossing my fingers for a good soaking rain.

Blueberry Grape Smoothie

I just made a marvelous blueberry grape smoothie.

2/3 cup cranberry juice
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup red grapes
1/4 cup yogurt

Wicked good.  This recipe is a keeper.  Great way to get some antioxidants in ya.

What I particularly like about it is that I can have the fruit on hand in the freezer and I usually have yogurt and cranberry juice in the fridge.

I made another experimental overnight breakfast in a jar tonight.  The recipe name is "chai chia pudding".  It has chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.  The chia will expand and become gelatinous - similar to tapioca.  I'm hoping I'll like it.  I don't have a problem eating tapioca.  I had everything on hand so if I like it I can make it again.  If not, no great loss really.  At least I've given it a try.  If the consistency is doable, I've been wanting to try a version with blueberries, walnuts and banana.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kitchen Scrap Garden Feeder Pictorial

I've been asked how I made my kitchen scrap garden "feeders" so I figured I'd do a pictorial.  Hopefully my pictures explain it okay!

You'll need a plastic bottle (I used 1 liter bottles), a sharp knife, scissors, and some kitchen scraps.

I used 1 liter bottles for this experiment because they were planted in a narrow garden space along my deck.  You can use any size bottle using this same method.  You could use plant pots since the holes are already in the bottom, but I like the idea of a "cover" that has a small opening for rain water to get in but keeps critters out.  So far, no critters have bothered these.  

Take the plastic wrap off and throw out the cap.

I drew a line on the bottle so you could see how far down the neck I make the cut to take the top off, which inverted becomes the lid.

Next I make 3 or 4 holes about 1-1/2 inches from the bottom for worms to enter.

Then I invert the lid like so:

And there you have it!

Then fill'er up!

And plant in the center of some veggies or herbs!

Refill as the kitchen scraps disappear!

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Woods

I was out along the back fence today looking for a largish creature that had just skittered away.  I'm hoping it isn't a monitor lizard.  We know there are some pretty large ones up at the park a mile away.  Our younger son saw "an abnormally large lizard" a few weeks ago out on the old sailboat.  But we also have Five Lined Skinks so it might have been one of those.  Praying for the latter. Monitor lizards give me the creeps.

Speaking of creeps - I went to get a roll of chicken wire out of the shed and startled a large palm rat.  I startled him, he startled me.  I backed away slowly, with my roll of chicken wire, and quietly shut the door.  

But I digress.  I wanted to show you what is just on the other side of our back fence. Here's a large prickly pear cactus:

There are lots of passion vines, mother-in-law tongue (Snake plant), and the ground is covered in Wandering Jew.  In fact, the Wandering Jew has taken over a fair amount of woods behind us:

It's a darn shame this stuff isn't edible.

And here's our adorable baby Norfolk Island Pine:

It's been hiding in the debris of the cabbage palms.  I can't decide whether to dig it up and pot it or just leave it be.  We're still amazed that our 30 year old Norfolk Island Pine made a baby!