Sunday, September 10, 2023

~Saving Zinnia Seeds!~

Beautiful Zinnias!

Do you have beautiful colorful Zinnias growing in your garden(s)?  Are you interested in enjoying the flowers again next summer?  You can next year without purchasing new seed packets or small plants from your garden center!  Save the seeds from this year's pretty flowers and plant the seeds in the Spring after any possibility of frost in your area is gone.  

Saving the seeds is not difficult!  It's at this time of year that I snip the colorful flowers from the plants growing outdoors and save them in cut down Kleenex boxes, so the flowers can dry out. 

Colorful Zinnia blossoms drying out!

After the flowers dry out, harvest the seeds by pulling them away from the stems of the plant.  The seeds are "tear" shaped.

Blue arrows point
to the dried out Zinnia seeds!

After harvesting the seeds place them in large labeled envelopes and seal.  You are on your way to enjoying beautiful colorful Zinnias again next year.

Happy Gardening!


Friday, September 1, 2023

Freezing Green Pepper Strips

Green Peppers ready to prepare!
(File Photo)

These past two weeks I've been freezing Green Pepper strips.  The local Green Peppers are still available at roadside stands and also at Farmers' Markets.  In the colder months I defrost a package whenever needed and use them in many entrees.  They are very easy to freeze!    

Sauteed Green Pepper strips are a great addition to a Meatball Grinder!  Quite often a batch of my Meatballs are found in our freezer.  After preparing them I divide them into portion sizes to freeze.  Whenever we have a craving for Meatball Grinders it is easy to defrost the Meatballs for a quick dinner.  It is also very easy to take out a package of frozen Green Pepper strips to defrost/ saute and add to the tomato sauce that I will be using.  You may ask," What about the grinder rolls??"  Oh, I freeze grinder rolls, too.  Defrost them when needed!  It is one of the meals that we enjoy when I never snap a photo, because we are hungry and the aroma of the Meatball Grinders invites us to begin eating. 

Green Pepper strips also work well on homemade Pizza and in Chili!  Plan on purchasing a few Green Peppers this weekend to cut into strips and freeze.

Click here for my method for Freezing Green Peppers!

This winter just reach into your freezer to take out a portion size to use.  You will not need to purchase a Green Pepper in the grocery store either in the produce section or in the frozen food aisle.



Saturday, August 5, 2023

Veggie Sauce

Veggie Sauce
(File Photo)

It's the time of year to use my slow cooker (crock pot) to prepare Veggie Sauce!  It contains chunks of local Eggplant and local Zucchini and local Green Peppers along with canned tomato sauce and tomato paste.  After a quick walk to my spice rack the dried Basil and dried Oregano are added to the slow cooker's pot.  Dried Parsley is a great addition, too! Now, is when the local veggies are available at the roadside stands, farmers' markets and grocery stores.  It is good to "buy local" and support our local farmers!  The fresh veggies are so delicious, too! 

**When preparing this sauce if I have ground beef in the fridge, it is browned in a skillet, drained and also added.  I have learned over the years that with my slow cooker's "non stick" coating it is still always best to spray it with PAM, first.  Then, I add the Green Pepper Chunks.  If ground beef is used it is added to the pot second.  

I like to prepare this sauce with or without the meat.  It is easy to prepare and tastes so good.
Click here for the recipe.     

In the colder months it is always a treat to take out a container of this yummy sauce to defrost/ heat and serve over pasta for dinner.  Do you prepare foods to have "on hand" in your freezer, too?  They make great "take out" meals! Just reach into your freezer and take it out!


Sunday, July 30, 2023

A Welcome Visitor!

Colorful Zinnias grown from last year's saved seeds!

Every year in September I snip some of the colorful Zinnia blossoms from the stems.  The blossoms are dried out and then the Zinnia seeds are harvested and saved for next year's crop.  

The dried Zinnia seeds

The following Spring, usually in late May, the seeds are planted.  Before we know it the little green sprouts have 3 to 4 sets of leaves.  They are on their way to add color to our gardens.

Today it was great to see an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly fly in for a visit!

That is a great perk!  The colorful Zinnias also attract Monarch Butterflies and we have seen Hummingbirds visit.  

 Do you have Zinnias blossoming in your gardens?  Do you save seeds to plant the following year?  It is easy to do.

Happy gardening!

Friday, July 28, 2023

The Month of Blueberries!

Fresh Local Blueberries!
The month of July is the month of blueberries!  Blueberries that are locally grown and available at farmers' markets and also ready to be purchased at roadside stands.  After the "buy local" freshly picked blueberries are purchased it is a tradition for me to prepare many of them to store in freezer bags and place the labeled/ dated bags in our freezer.  I always appreciate just reaching into our freezer to take out a bag to defrost during the colder months of the year.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Not all of the juicy blueberries find their way into our freezer.  A batch of Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes are always prepared that week and enjoyed for breakfast! It is a favorite breakfast here. I have been making these pancakes for so many years!  Click here for recipe.  Oh, there are definitely extras.  Those extras are placed in the freezer for quick breakfasts on other mornings.  Reheating the pancakes in the microwave is so easy on a busy morning.   

Another treat is to bake a batch of Yummy Blueberry Muffins!  Yummy definitely is a great description for these muffins!  Click here for recipe.  A fresh muffin or two really hits the spot.  After they cool, a few muffins also find a spot in the freezer.  It is a nice surprise to find and defrost a few weeks later.

Yummy Blueberry Muffins
Fresh local blueberries are just delicious!  Delicious for snacking, for adding to cereal and also to use when baking.  Do you purchase fresh local blueberries?



Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Happy Fourth of July!!

Norman Rockwell's Liberty Bell (Celebration)
Cover of American Artist
July 1976 issue

Courtesy of Norman Rockwell Museum

Celebrating our country's birthday by admiring a beautiful work by the artist Norman Rockwell! 

Have a happy and a safe Fourth of July!!

Friday, June 16, 2023

Local Strawberry Season

"Buying Local" and enjoying the delicious strawberries!

June is the month of local Strawberries and "buying local" is the way to go here in New England.  Suddenly, we learn that the red berries are available at the roadside stands and our purchase is made.  It would not be the typical month of June for me if bags of this prepared fruit were not placed in our freezer along with Freezer Jam.

Click here for my method of freezing strawberries and preparing Freezer Jam.   

Time flies when you are having fun!  It also flies when you have traditional projects to accomplish.