Gardening and a Sweet Harvest!

What a wonderful harvest we are having and so early this year! Perfect tomatoes, no cracking except the birds love them this year too!! We have never had tomatoes this early. Picked our first one in MAY!!! My tomatoes are always late. Had loads of kale and beets just when Charlie needed them for his juices-praise God! Picking a basket full of goodies almost every morning! Thank you Lord!

Veggie Udon with Tofu (and pssst, guess what else....honey!)

Today's creative yum!

Today's creative yum!

Well, I just kind of threw this together today, there are no measurements but you can figure it out and adapt. 1. Cook up your fresh Udon noodles or fresh Soba according to directions, drain, rinse with cold water, set aside. 2. Have ready a rainbow of colored veggies like carrots, peppers, onions, zucchini, bok choy or cabbage. Cut the veggies in different shapes so some are long strips, some are slices etc. If you have firm tofu, slice that up too. 3. On high heat, Sautee the onion first in water, when it is soft add some sesame oil and some extra light olive oil. Another minute or so and it should start to turn golden. Now add carrots, zucchini, tofu or other veggies, Stir a few moments cover a minute, add soy sauce (careful some add MSG), salt, and honey. Mix up a few more seconds and add your greens like bok choy. Cook just till the veggies wilt a bit, sprinkle red pepper flakes, taste for salt and honey. Should be a little sweet and just right for the salt you know? Decorate with sliced green onion and black sesame seed when you serve. I haven't done that yet on the photo because I am serving this up later. ENJOY folks. I always use honey in my asian cooking instead of sugar!

Disappearing Molasses Cookies!

Disappearing Molasses Cookies!

Molasses Cookies
1 Cup walnuts
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup honey from FLOWING GOLD
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp aluminum free baking pdr
1/2 walnut or pecan pieces or halves

1. Place nuts, flour, salt and ginger in food processor and blend for 1 minute until it is all fine like flour.
2. In a mixing bowl combine flour and nut mixture with remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Using a small ice-cream scoop or spoon, place in mounds on a nonstick or lightly oiled cookie sheet, leaving a little space between cookies for them to spread out. Flatten with a wet spatula or shake the pan a bit to flatten them.
4. Bake at 350' 15-20 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet before serving or storing in an airtight container.
ENJOY!

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Canning Season-Honey Pickled Beets!!

Preserving Beets

Measurements not exact because beet sizes vary. I usually pull mine out of the garden when they are as big as a small orange. When they get old they are tougher, have thready fiber through them, the old ones I use for juicing, the tender, silky sweet ones I like to make borscht with, beet salad or pickle them for winter.

Pickled Beets are so yummy any time!

Pickled Beets are so yummy any time!

Have ready 4-5 sterilized quart canning jars and matching rings and new lids.

18 smallish fresh beets, boil, peel 1 C beet cooking water 1 C fresh lemon juice 1/2 C honey 1 tsp salt (if you like to add cinnamon sticks, allspice etc. you may add that to the boiling syrup and simmer 15 minutes. Then remove the cinnamon sticks and other spices before pouring into jars)

DIRECTIONS: Pull your beets out of the garden (or from the farmer's market), cut off the tops being careful not to cut into the beet itself because if you do some of the flavor will bleed out into the water while boiling. Cut the long tail off the tip but not into the beet bulb itself. Now scrub the beets clean of all dirt with a sturdy brush. Put them into a big pot and cover with 2-3" hot water. Use a bigger pot because they sputter and the red water makes a mess! Bring to boil. Simmer for about 1 hour or till the largest beet is soft when you poke it with a fork. Pour off the water but save about 1 quart of it in a jar. This cooking water will be used for canning, for this reason the beets were scrubbed diligently! Now, cover the beets but keep them off the stove. The beets will cool down and sweat in the pot so as soon as they are cool enough to handle the skin will slip off easily. You can also peel them under cold water. Working with cold water does not pull out the flavor so don't worry. After the beets are peeled you can slice them into a bowl. You can make sticks or squares or plain slices. I usually cut the beets in half and 1/4" slice. Everything these beets touch will turn pink so you may want to wear gloves and an apron.

Easy to can these!

Easy to can these!

Now pack the sliced beets snugly into the jars until full to 1/2" from the top. Get your canner ready. Now take 1 cup of the cooking liquid which you have saved, put it into a small saucepan with 1 cup lemon juice, 1/2 Cup honey, 1 tsp. sea salt, optional spices. Bring to a boil. If your canner is ready then ladle the boiling syrup over the beets to the top of the beets, leaving 1/2" headspace. Put the lids on and into the boiling water canner. Process 30 minutes. Remove and set aside for 24 hours. Check your seals and store in a cool dark place for up to a year at least if necessary.

PS If you need more syrup just make more quickly to fill up all the jars.

ENJOY!!!