October 31st, 2014

VIDEO: What to Do With All That Leftover Pumpkin Puree . . .

Many people can’t help but generously stock their pantry with can after can of pumpkin puree. You would think there’s a pumpkin shortage! Does this sound familiar? Sure, there’s pumpkin pie, but the puree can go so much further. These seven inspired ideas will help you use up leftover pumpkin in mouthwatering ways. From MyRecipes.com Pumpkin Hummus Ingredients2 tablespoons tahini 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon cumin, ground 1 teaspoon olive oil 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon red pepper, ground 15 ounces pumpkin puree 1 garlic clove, chopped 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped Pumpkin seeds Olive oil Directions Place tahini, lemon juice, cumin, olive oil, salt, red pepper, pumpkin, and garlic into a food processor, and process until smooth. Add parsley and pulse until blended. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl, and garnish with pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita chips. Information Category Appetizers, Dips Yield 4 to 6 servings Cook Time 15 minutes Print recipe Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Ravioli IngredientsFor the filling: 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree 1 egg yolk 2 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano, grated 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 tablespoons bread crumbs For the pasta: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 teaspoon olive oil For the sauce: 5 tablespoons butter 12 fresh sage leaves 2 tablespoons salt Grated parmigiano-reggiano Directions To make filling: In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, egg yolk, parmesan, nutmeg, and sea salt. Mix well, and slowly add bread crumbs until the mixture holds together. Cover filling, and set aside. To make pasta: Fit a food processor with a metal blade. Add 1 cup of flour, salt, eggs, and olive oil to the bowl, and process until the dough comes together. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface, and knead for 1 minute or until the dough holds its shape. Flatten the dough into a disk, and let rest for at least 15 minutes before you roll it out. Using a pasta machine, roll out the dough until it is 1/32-inch thick. Place pasta onto a floured work surface, and spoon filling out into evenly spaced balls on one sheet of pasta. Cover with another sheet of pasta, and press down around each side of the filling, creating your ravioli. Use a ravioli cutter to cut out pasta. To make sauce: Pour butter into a small fry pan over low heat, and let melt. Bring butter to a simmer, and fry the sage leaves for 30 seconds until crisped. Place sage leaves on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, and continue to simmer butter until it has turned slightly brown in color. Remove from heat, but keep warm. In a large pot over high heat, bring 5 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Add salt, and gently drop in the ravioli. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Using a large slotted spoon, remove ravioli from water and place in a large, shallow serving bowl. Top with browned butter, and garnish with fried sage leaves and cheese. Serve immediately. Information Category Main Dishes, Pasta Yield 4 servings Print recipe From POPSUGAR Food Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait Ingredients1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice 2 cups plain yogurt 1 cup granola Directions Mix pumpkin puree with pumpkin spice. Fold mixture into yogurt. Layer pumpkin yogurt with granola into a parfait glass, being sure to top the parfait with granola. Serve immediately. Information Category Granola, Breakfast/Brunch Yield 1 serving Cook Time 5 minutes Print recipe Adapted from Bon Appétit Spiced Pumpkin Bread Ingredients3 cups (21 ounces) granulated sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 3 large eggs 1 15-ounce can solid pack pumpkin 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 4 ounces (about 1 cup) chopped toasted pecans, walnuts, or a mix of the two, plus more for the top (optional) Directions Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Whisk together sugar and oil in a large bowl until smooth. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions, using a silicone spatula. Fold in nuts, if desired. Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks, and let cool for 10 minutes. Using a butter knife, cut around the edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks, and cool completely. Information Category Appetizers, Breads Cuisine North American Yield 2 loaves Print recipe Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman Cinnamon Rolls With Pumpkin Icing Notes The dough, icing, and cinnamon sugar filling can be made the night before, so this recipe will only take an hour the morning you make the rolls. Store the icing as well as the dough in the refrigerator overnight. When you wake up, all you have to do is roll out and assemble the rolls, which takes 20-30 minutes – tops. Let the icing thaw slightly as you prep and bake the dough. IngredientsFor dough: 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed 2 teaspoons instant yeast 2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons butter, cold 2 eggs 1 cup milk For filling: 4 tablespoons butter, melted 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon For icing: 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted 2 tablespoons milk 4 ounces pumpkin puree Directions To make dough: Combine flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse machine to cut butter throughout flour. Add eggs, and pulse a few times. With machine running, slowly pour in 3/4 cup milk through feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds. Add more milk, if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a slightly sticky ball. If dough is too wet, then add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn dough out onto floured work surface, and knead by hand for about 5 minutes. Form a smooth, round dough ball, return it to the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm area for 1 to 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. Alternatively, for a slow rise, store in refrigerator overnight (up to 6 to 8 hours). Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Use a pastry brush to apply butter to the insides of a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. To assemble: Turn risen dough out onto a floured surface, and roll dough out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Use a pastry brush to liberally apply melted butter all over the top. Then sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of dough, making sure to leave 1/4-inch borders without sugar. Spread sugar evenly around the dough using a plastic bowl scraper, and then press it into the dough using a fork. Use bowl scraper to help you roll the dough into a tight log. Slice it into 20 pieces (about 1/2 inch thick). Transfer dough pieces with bowl scraper (so cinnamon sugar does not pour out), and place them cut side up into prepared baking dish. Once all pieces are placed side by side, apply remaining melted butter on top of the dough with a pastry brush. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dough begins to turn golden brown on top. To ice: While dough is baking, mix powdered sugar with milk until a glaze forms. Add pumpkin puree, and keep mixing until incorporated. Pour icing over hot cinnamon rolls, and use a spatula to spread icing over cinnamon rolls. Serve immediately. Information Category Breakfast/Brunch Yield Makes 20 cinnamon rolls Print recipe From Martha Stewart Pumpkin Pancakes Ingredients1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup milk 6 tablespoons pumpkin puree 2 tablespoons butter, melted 1 egg Powdered sugar Maple syrup Directions In a bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and dry seasonings. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin, butter, and an egg. Fold the mixture into the dry ingredients. Place a skillet over medium heat, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the skillet, and cook about 3 minutes on each side until done. Serve warm with powdered sugar and maple syrup. Information Category Pancakes/Waffles, Breakfast/Brunch Yield 8 to 10 pancakes Cook Time 20 minutes Print recipe Adapted from FoodieCrush.com Pumpkin and Fried Sage Flatbread Ingredients4 cups pumpkin puree 1/3 cup honey 1 teaspoon red chili flakes 4 naan flatbreads 30 fresh sage leaves 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese Salt, to taste Pepper, to taste Directions Preheat oven to 400ºF. Mix pumpkin puree with honey and red chili flakes. Spread 1 cup of pumpkin onto each flatbread, and place flatbreads on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until naan is warmed through. Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan over a medium-high heat. Add sage leaves, and fry for approximately 30 seconds or until lightly crisped. Place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain oil. Top pumpkin flatbread with crispy sage and shaved parmesan. Serve immediately. Information Category Pizza, Main Dishes Yield 4 servings Cook Time 35 minutes Print recipe

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October 16th, 2014

VIDEO: British Homeowner Follows Passion With Vineyard

Will Gissane planted a vineyard on his one-acre lot in Herefordshire, U.K., where he produces wine for a hobby. Photo: Vanessa Berberian for The Wall Street Journal.

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October 13th, 2014

Protecting Your Pond Plants In Winter

As the colder weather makes itself all the more apparent, it’s important to take steps to ensure the survival of your beautiful pond plants.


This is a key point. Trim back any leaves or other foliage and remove dead leaves and waste from the pond and surrounding areas. This will stop it rotting and releasing toxins into the water. For this reason, it’s a good idea to remove any sludge and waste from the pond floor too.

Put together an arsenal of equipment that will take you through all of the seasons. A net, pond vacuum and some plant scissors are ideal. Swell UK has a wide range of maintenance equipment that will keep your pond looking its best.

To keep the pond tidy, think about purchasing a pond net. This will keep the pond tidy all winter and cut down on maintenance for you.

Remove less hardy plants

Exotic and delicate plants should be removed at the start of the cold weather, if not before. They do not fare well in frost and may well not recuperate. Keep them in a greenhouse or in the home, and well watered over the season.

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October 2nd, 2014

How To Control Pests – Part VI

There are, of course, some insect pests that NO one wants. One of those insects is the Japanese beetle. Japanese beetles like over 275 plant species. For TheGardenLady Japanese beetles are especially awful on the roses.

To get rid of Japanese beetles, one should start early in their life cycle when Japanese beetles are in their grub stage living in the soil of your lawn or garden. Milky spore is considered safe to use. For answers to questions about milky spore read this.

Milky Spore’s effectiveness can be enhanced by the use of beneficial nematodes – specifically NemaSeek. Read package instructions for best time to apply in your area.

If you did not kill all the grubs in your soil with the milky spore or if some fly in from your neighbors yard, there are some other organic remedies that one can use.

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September 16th, 2014

VIDEO: The Unbelievable Way Plants Can Grow Without Rain! – DNews

If you could add something to your food crops to make it live healthier and longer, would you do it? Trace is here to explain how adding a fungus to a plant can help it live through a drought!

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September 16th, 2014

How To Control Pests – Part V

So what should a gardener do if there are insect pests in the garden?

There are too many suggestions to write just one short article about how to prevent or get rid of insect pests, but TheGardenLady will give some suggestions in this brief post.

This garden site is for the person who is a garden hobbyist, not a person making a living from the garden: but even farmers might find some good ideas on how to get rid of garden insect pests- or recommend some great ideas to the readers of this blog.

Here are just a few of TheGardenLady’s suggestions:

First of all don’t be so stressed over your garden. Expect insects to feed off your garden just as you feed off its beauty. The garden should be fun and help you relax and get rid of your stress, not cause more stress. Perfection isn’t the name of the gardening game. Remember that Nature or God made it so that all can live together: man, beast and insect.

Today more and more gardeners are going organic. It is no longer a fad or something just hippies are doing. Even the government is recommending less use of toxic chemicals and have even banned many. Going organic means using no toxic chemicals on plants. But if you feel that you can not go all the way to organic then there is a strategy called IPM or Integrated Pest Management that tolerates a little use of insecticides. IPM encourages the use of the minimum amount of pesticides after having used all the other strategies to get rid of insects- those other strategies are organic. If you are organic or using IPM, you will tolerate some insect damage in your garden. (see here)

Plant plants that attract beneficial insects that will kill insect pests. Or you can even buy some beneficial insects like lady bugs for your garden. For photos of 10 beneficial insects read this.

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August 23rd, 2014

How To Control Pests – Part IV

This post is the fourth in a series of posts on the control of pests.

When it comes to pests, the last question you should ask yourself is, “Are insecticides the best overall management tactic?”

Insecticides have strong and sometimes dangerous chemicals in them. After all they are designed to kill. Some of these chemicals not only kill insects but are toxic to humans and animals. Some of the chemicals get into our skin, nose and mouth. Some of those chemicals get into the soil and water and last for generations if not hundreds of years.

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August 17th, 2014

How To Control Pests – Part III

This post is the third in a series of posts on the control of pests.

The third question a gardener has to ask is “Will the pests spread to other plants?”

Knowing about  the pest that is affecting your plant is important so that you can know enough to outsmart the insect with the minimum amount of force or effort. Some insect pests love many crops while others insect prefer only one family of plants.

The insects that eat only one family of plants are easiest to eradicate. By getting rid of the family of plants, you eliminate that insect population. Sadly, that is what is happening to the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch butterfly’s caterpillar can only feed on the asclepias or milkweed plants – no other plant family. Milkweed is a weed pest on farms and are destroyed when builders build houses with gorgeous lawns. So the Monarch butterfly is dying out.
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August 7th, 2014

VIDEO: Using horticultural oil to control insects

Horticultural oil is a great way to control many insects on plants. The oil acts to smother the adults or egg stages of several different species of pests. Horticultural oils are refined petroleum oils combinedwith an emulsifying agent. Some plant-derived oils also are used.Depending on the weight of the oil, you can use them all year or just in winter. Be sure to read the labels carefully. Horticultural oils can damage some sensitive plants. If you use the oil that i…

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August 5th, 2014

How To Control Pests – Part II

This post is the second in a series of posts on the control of pests.

The second question a gardener has to ask when seeing pests or pest damage in the garden is: “Are the pests still actively damaging the plants or have they long since left or matured?”

Many pests have a brief lifespan. They do their damage and in a few weeks of damage their eating-part of their life cycle is finished. In that brief period when they are eating the plants they may do what seems like a lot of damage because they eat a large number of plants including flowers and herbs. Their damage is ugly. Then when the move on to another phase of their life cycle, they might not need to feed on the plant leaves or stems.

This spring the the four-lined plant bug did a job on my mint and my Russian sage. Almost all the leaves were eaten and affected. But I knew that when it was time for the flowers to emerge, they would not be eating and the flowers would look fine. My flowers and plants recovered. But I am not a farmer, so I can be tolerant. And in my garden the plants they ate were mostly weeds, so I did not have to be concerned.

Get to know the insects in your garden. By knowing about the the four-lined plant bug, I knew that in my garden I did not have to do anything drastic like use any strong pesticides (see here).

If you want to ID the insect and learn about it but cannot find the information online, take the insect in a closed jar to your local Master Gardener office or agriculture extension office. Do NOT squish the insect. To kill it put the closed jar into your freezer overnight.