Friday, June 13, 2008

Garden Fare

My mother, brother, and sister-in-law put in a vegetable garden this year. Mama has quite a few health problems, but Joey set chairs out at the ends of the rows when he realized that she was going to be in the garden so that she could rest and not overdo it. Mama has been sharing fresh vegetables with us.

Tonight I cooked stuffed zucchini and new potatoes with butter. For dessert we had banana nut muffins.

Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium zucchini (I actually used just one - a really, really large one)
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teasoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Halve the zucchini and put it in a baking dish...microwave not over 5 minutes. Scoop out the center, mash and set aside. Place zucchini boats in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with a bit of salt. Cook ground beef with onion until onion is translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms; stir and cook until the mushrooms cook down. Remove from heat. Drain off any excess fat; stir in mashed zucchini. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Spoon into the zucchini boats; sprinkle with more grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.

Banana Nut Muffins

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Spray 12 muffin cups with oil or grease them. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add bananas and vanilla; beat until smooth. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened; stir in chopped nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 18 minutes. Cook for a few minutes, then turn muffins out onto rack to cook longer.

You can also bake these in the little muffin tins. They will cook 10 - 15 minutes. Be sure to watch them closely!

Earlier this week, Mama came over with enough yellow squash and onions to make pickles.

8 cups sliced squash (we use yellow squash, but you could also use zucchini)
2 cups onions, sliced in rings or chunks
3 tablespoons canning salt
1 cup jalepenos, quartered
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
mustard seed
celery seed

Combine squash and onions in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt on top. Let stand 1 hour. Drain well, do not rinse.

Seed some of the jalepenos if desired to reduce the overall heat. Add to the squash and onions. Combine vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Put 1 teaspoon mustard seed and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed in each pint jar. (Remember you did not rinse the salt off the squash and onions so no need to add salt.)

Put the vegetables into the jars. Pour the boiling vinegar over, seal, process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

My photo of the day - my mother slipped on her front porch back in March and hit her head on the window facing. After a stroke then triple-bypass heart surgery back in the mid-90s, and two TIAs a couple of years ago, she is on blood thinners. And she did bleed!

We went to the movie one night. I let her out 'up front' and then parked the car. I walked up just as a young man held the door for her. He looked, did a double-take, then looked away. I said, "If you think she looks bad, you should see the guy she put in the hospital." Mama overheard and started laughing.

She now has a pretty ugly L-shaped scar over her left eye - a bit into the eyebrow. She tried the Mederma scar cover/healer stuff but was sensitive to it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I mentioned my grandmother in my last post. Just in case you are all wondering...when you look up the word "grandmother" in the dictionary, the photo of the lady representing that word is MY grandmother...

Ruby Syble Durham Sanford. Oh, yeah, my grandfather, Grover Weldon "Punk" Sanford was a pretty neat guy too...especially to me. I was raised (as we say in Texas) with a bunch of stinking brothers and male cousins.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Gone Again

Sigh. Sam has gone back today (Sunday) to complete the bulldozing job for his son. He plans on returning home on Wednesday. I will be able to stay busy - subbing at the public library tomorrow. Tuesday my mother has a doctor's appointment out of town, so that will keep me busy then.

I should get a bit of quilting done too. I am working harder on the crazy quilt block that I intend to turn into a clutch for an Alaskan cruise we are taking in August. (Sam's son gave us the cruise this past Christmas.) I need to purchase more green floss and put some leaves on the pink spiderweb roses in the lower left corner. Then that leaves the large blue area. When the clutch is folded, the fold will run through that piece. A friend suggested hearts...I forgot to point out the new addition. I added ribbon around the bullion roses at the top - that will be the flap. I beaded a larkspur which doesn't show up very well at all. It is to the left overlapping a blue and purple section. In the center, I added a lace fan surrounded with seed beads. Then I did some whatever it is called - but looks like netting and added beads.

I embroidered hollyhocks just under the spider web on the quilt block. Oh, I also did some embroidery and beadwork on a couple of seams.
On the food forum on the HGTV site, there's been a discussion about cast iron skillets/griddles/Dutch ovens, etc. I have a divided cast iron cornbread skillet that comes in handy for scones. The first time I shared with my mother, her comment was that her mother used to make scones. I make certain to share with her everytime I make them.

Here are my two favorite scone recipes:
This one is a crunchy heavy scone:
Oat Raisin Scones
2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup butter, chilled
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Oven 425 degrees. Stir together the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, stir together the ceam, eggs, and vanilla. Add the ceamed mixture to the flour mixutre and stir to combine. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.With floured hands, pat the dough into an 8-inch diameter circle in the center of an ungreased cookie sheet. With a serrated knife or pastry knife, cut into 8 equal wedges (like cutting a pie). OR Before stirring everything together, spray your divided cast iron skillet with cooking spray and put in the oven to preheat while the oven is heating. Pat the dough on your work surface. Cut into 8 wedges. Put a wedge in each section of the skillet.Bake for 15 - 17 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown.
We love these buttered (yeah, I know it already has a stick of butter in it!) and with orange marmalade or pear preserves.

This is a lighter scone. My mother said that these (which are cake-like) are more like what her mother made.

Buttermilk Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cups raisins
Oven 400 degrees. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Stir in raisins. Either pat out on a cookie sheet and cut into wedges or use your divided cast iron skillet like the above recipe. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes.
These are also good buttered with orange marmalade or pear preserves. I have recipes for marmalade and pear preserves that I'll post another day.
(I don't know why this started double spacing with 'enter.')