I’m Getting a Greenhouse!
I have met many new gardening friends since we moved to the country, and I visited some very nice greenhouses. I am thrilled to report that I am getting my own!
After doing quite a bit of research, I decided on the Monticello kit from Riverstone Industries. First we put in the foundation.
Next we put stones inside the foundation, then attached the base and started erecting the walls.
With college students from Sam Houston State University helping us, the work has gone quickly. We’ve got three sides up!
Until next time,
Lisa (aka Veggie Gal)
We put in two large vegetable gardens this year. I had no idea how much fun it would be to go out and pick dinner. Very cool. Our okra plants have been very prolific, as have our pepper plants. Tomatoes have been good as well, but those are nearing the end. We had a good crop of sweet potatoes and onions too.
With the okra bounty, my husband asked me to make up a recipe for Vegetarian Gumbo. I did and it is awesome. We had it fried many times as well. We have used the jalapenos in homemade Salsa, which is so good and fresh that you may never go back to salsa in a jar. The tomatoes were fabulous. My mother-in-law has been eating those for dessert!
The sweet potatoes have gone in to Sweet Potato Stew and Baked Sweet Potato Slices. We had yellow squash earlier, which we cooked a variety of ways, from frying to Skillet Squash and Onions to Squash Casserole.
We are getting new things now. Pumpkins are ripening, plus watermelons are amazing. I can’t wait to see what we come up with for these!
Lisa, aka Veggie Gal
We had a serious crop of okra this year, then had a serious bumper crop as well. My husband requested I come up with a recipe for vegetarian gumbo. Here it is.
2 stalks celery1 cup yellow or white onion4 garlic cloves2 cans petite diced tomatoes½ cup diced green bell pepper2 cups fresh green beans2 cups purple hull, black-eyed or cream peas2 cups fresh okra1 8-oz package seitan¼ cup unbleached white flour¼ cup vegetable, canola or peanut oil1 Tbsp creole seasoning1 to 3 cups water
To Make It:
Prepare ingredients and set aside:• Wash and slice celery into thin sections.• Coarsely chop the onion.• Mince the garlic.• Wash and dice the bell pepper.• Wash and cut the green beans into 1-inch to 1-½-inch sections.• Wash the peas (if fresh) or measure out if frozen.• Wash and cut the okra into ½-inch to ¾-inch sections.• Rinse seitan and cut it into small pieces.
Put a heavy Dutch Oven or Chef’s pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and heat for about a minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the oil/flour mixture is light brown. Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook 4 minutes. Add the garlic and creole seasoning and cook one minute more. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, green beans, peas, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, mist a separate skillet with oil and put it on the stove over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook about 5 minutes until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
Add the seitan and okra to the Dutch Oven. Add more water, if desired, until the gumbo is the thickness you like. Cook for 20 minutes.
Serve over warm rice.
My sister-in-law bought a cookbook at the Airing of the Quilts in Huntsville, Texas. It was put out by the Texas Thyme Unit of the Herb Society of America. As I thumbed through it, I noticed the TTU met on the fourth Wednesday of every month at the Wynne Home in Huntsville. I was finally in town and made it for the meeting this past month and was delighted to meet a terrific group of women who are dedicated to herbs—and more. Most of them are Master Gardeners!
The Herb Society of America (HSA) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that focuses on educating its members and the public on the cultivation of herbs and the study of their history and uses, both past and present.
The HSA is subdivided into districts and units. I happened to hook up with the Texas Thyme Unit just as the District Gathering is about to be held right here in Huntsville. Very exciting!
Membership is open to anyone interested in herbs or any business concerned with growing, processing or selling herbs and herb-related products. Individuals may join as a member at large or may choose to become active in a local unit. If you are interested, go to this link to get more information or find a Unit near you.
Vegetarian Gumbo and Sausage
V Vegetarian GumboV RiceO Andouille or kielbasa sausageV Oyster crackersV or LV Berry CrispWe had a great okra crop this year, which is still producing. My husband requested I come up with a recipe for vegetarian gumbo. I am so glad he did—this is delicious! I think of our Creole neighbors in Louisiana every time I make it. If you want meat, boil sausage links in a separate pan. Those who want it can cut it into thin slices and add it to their bowl. End with this seriously good Berry Crisp.
I have a knack for making fluffy rice every time. I reveal my secrets here.
1 cup white or brown rice1-¾ cups water for white rice2 cups water for brown rice1 tsp salt1 Tbsp canola, vegetable or extra-light olive oil
The two tricks to fluffy rice are to (1) wash the rice and (2) use a heavy, preferably nonstick, pan with a tight-fitting lid.
So, first put the rice in a strainer or colander and rinse it under cold water for at least two minutes. This will remove the starchy residue that is the main culprit on making rice sticky.
Put the rice into a heavy pan. The heavier the pan, the less likely the rice is to burn. Add water, salt and oil. Put on the stove over medium to medium-high heat until it boils. Stir and reduce heat to simmer. Cook approximately 16 to 20 minutes for white rice, 45 to 50 minutes for brown rice. Fluff before serving.
Quick Vegetable Casserole
LV Vegetable CasseroleO Pan-fried boneless chicken breasts LV Pineapple Coconut DessertThis Vegetable Casserole is made using frozen vegetables, so comes together very quickly. For omnivores who want meat or poultry, serve it with pan-fried boneless chicken breasts. End with a tasty and also very quick Pineapple Coconut Dessert.
This is a variation of a recipe I got from my dear friend Jeane. It is an easy and fairly quick recipe, great for a weeknight one-dish meal. For those omnivores who want meat or poultry, serve it with pan-fried boneless chicken breasts.
1 Tbsp extra light olive oil
1 stalk celery1 small white or yellow onion1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese¾ cup eggless mayonnaise¼ cup pine nuts¾ cup frozen green peas¾ cup frozen baby lima beans1 12-oz bag frozen carrot slices, cauliflower and broccoli
2 Tbsp butterEnough crackers to make ¾ cup cracker crumbs (12 to 22, depending on the size)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mist or grease a 2-1/2 to 3-qt casserole dish (be sure it has a lid) with the olive oil.
Toast the pine nuts by putting them into a small skillet on the stove over medium heat. Stir frequently until slightly browned. Remove them from the skillet so they do not continue to cook.
Wash the celery stalk. Cut it into thin slices and put it into a large mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the onion. Add it to the bowl. Open and drain the water chestnuts. Add them to the bowl. Grate the cheese and add it to the bowl. Add the eggless “mayonnaise” and the pine nuts. Stir with a spoon until everything is well blended. Add the frozen vegetables and stir until they are well coated. Spread into the greased casserole dish. Cover and bake until bubbly, approximately 25 to 35 minutes.
While this is baking, make the topping. Smash the crackers into crumbs. My mini food processor does this quite handily. If you don’t have one, another method is to put them into a plastic zipper bag and smash them with your hands or a rolling pin. Put the cracker crumbs into a small mixing bowl. Cut 2 Tbsp of very cold, very hard butter into small pieces and put in the bowl. Squish the butter into the crackers with your fingers and thumbs, making it into a crumbly topping.
When the casserole is bubbly, remove from oven, remove the lid and sprinkle the cracker crumb topping on top. Return to the oven without the lid and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the cracker crumbs are lightly browned.
Blueberries and blackberries looked so good at the supermarket. Here is a crisp using both of them.
1-½ cup blueberries1-½ cup blackberriesJuice from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)¼ cup turbinado sugar1 Tbsp unbleached white flour
⅔ cup unbleached white flour½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar1 tsp ground cinnamon¾ cup old-fashioned oats6 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter or vegan substitute
Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or non-dairy topping
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with butter or vegan substitute.
Wash and drain the blueberries and blackberries. Put into a bowl and add lemon juice. Put the turbinado sugar and 1 Tbsp flour into a large plastic zipper bag. Mix well. Add the fruit to the bag, then gently turn it back and forth until the fruit is coated. Dump the fruit into the pie plate.
In medium bowl, mix 2/3 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats. Cut the butter or vegan substitute into small pieces, add to the bowl and mix with fingers or a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the berries.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes until fruit is bubbly and top is lightly browned. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or non-dairy topping on the side.
4 rings pineapple4 scoops coconut ice cream or coconut sorbet½ cup caramel ice cream topping
If using fresh pineapple, peel the pineapple and cut 4 slices. If using canned pineapple, open and drain. Put one pineapple ring on a small dessert plate. Put a scoop of ice cream or sorbet on it. Drizzle 2 Tbsp caramel topping over the ice cream. Serve immediately.
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Each month we will bring you breakfast, dinner and special occasion menus starring the foods you are already cooking, and featuring tantalizing new vegetarian dishes to appeal to everyone.