pumpkins and fall scenes of the farm

some of the pumpkin collection

I warned you. It was a bumper crop! In this picture we have melonette de jaspee vendee (little yellowish ones). And Winter luxury pie pumpkins. So far, I’m made pumpkin bean soup, pumpkin leek soup, and a maple pumpkin pie. Sheesh, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! Yes pumpkin will be on the menu this sunday! Thinking to do maybe a pumpkin spinach gratin, and of course a pie, probably my regular one.

Here’s the rest of the collection.

grand entrance to casa turdacres!

Don’t ask about the ladder!! These big ones are musquee de provence. It said they would be about 20 lbs, but these are more. Yikes! Hard to lift them. I’ve given away a few of the bad boys, but clearly need to start delivering them to unsuspecting neighbors or something!!

Yep, we’re working on our trashy yard vibe this year. Here’s our new patio arrangement…

casual seating plus water garden!

Featured in this area is our *new* aluminum glider (2.00 and came with free cushion!), alongside part of our 150.00 haul of old metal furniture. The water garden is a new thing. Notice the white pipe at the top left? That’s draining water off a flat roof over the patio which, for some unknown reason, was never fitted with a drainpipe! Water just accumulates up there and then it runs off on in one corner–rotting the roof line! Well now, we fixed that!

Water now runs out the pipe and into the galvanized trough which our neighbors had discarded. The plastic bit of gutter guard is in there, can you guess why? It’s an animal escape system. We learned the hard way that animals can’t get out if they fall in. RIP squirrel buddy 2010.

Yep we’re doing crazy rustic round here. Including a newly installed hoop house (cost 10.00 for a screen door). We made this bad boy from a trampoline frame, plastic sheet, some rebar stakes, plastic electrical conduit and…binder twine! It still needs some work, but we were happy to test the design. It gets pretty hot in there. Clocked it at 122 one day!!! So we’ll need some venting options.

dad likes to do a project when he comes down. this was a doozer!

While we have a lot of projects on the go (I won’t even show you the cardboard mulch project in the lower garden, or the new brick project for the potager)..one thing remains the same. Sure love that barn. It’s just so pretty!

barn with new hoop house neighbor


December 30, 2011, 6:52 pm
Filed under: recipe, spinach | Tags: , ,

I can never seem to use up a whole box of filo. So it was time to make some spanakopita.

What a nice dinner this was. And pretty easy too! The hardest part is to remember to take the filo out of the freezer to thaw! This recipe took about half a box–or 7 to 8 sheets. But really, it’s so forgiving! Go crazy.

Spanakopita pie

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
6 mushrooms
10 oz frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup olive oil for brushing filo

How to make it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10 x 7 inch baking pan.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and mushrooms until soft. You could add garlic but I didn’t.

In a medium bowl, mix together egg, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach and onion mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will hang over the edge of the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. I had a space in the middle so I added a folded sheet of filo to cover it. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot. Also good cold but it won’t be crispy.

indian split pea soup with spinach, carrots and potatoes
November 24, 2010, 1:00 pm
Filed under: beans, carrots, recipe, soup, spinach | Tags: , , , ,

Back in the early days of our relationship I would occasionally make the dude a fancy soup. These health tonics, as I called them, were not much appreciated. Dude recalled later that he dumped the Beet greens soup I gave him for lunch. And I have captured on film the inimitable expression of *pain* that accompanied my personal favorite, the Indian Split Pea soup. Sigh. Dude did, however, struggle on gamely with the strange parade of healthy soups, and for that he got the big prize–the live-in cook (who sometimes makes him good desserts, right?!)

Well last night he said he was in the mood for soup. I have been on a carrot rampage of late, having bought two five pound bags of the things in separate shopping trips. We’re almost through the second bag! Woo hoo! So as I was googling I found this recipe. I kind of missed the indian part, but noticed that it called for a block of frozen spinach and it was labeled fast. So off we went.

The Food and Wine recipe. I really didn’t follow the instructions so much as it required two pots. And we can’t have that, now can we? Not when you don’t have a dishwasher you can’t.

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
1 cup yellow or green split peas
9 cups water, more if needed
2 1-inch pieces fresh ginger, peeled, 1 piece chopped
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 pound boiling potatoes (about 3), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Here’s what I did. I put the green split peas and 3 cups of water and a chunk of peeled ginger on to boil. I cooked them for about 10 minutes or so, they were still a tad crunchy. Then I added the chopped carrots jalapenos and potatoes. I only felt like using 2 carrots and found that that was enough. I added the spices. I cooked the soup again for about 10 minutes and then added the frozen block of spinach. The pot simmered along and the spinach slowly melted.

Additional googling revealed a review on cooking.com. She confirmed what I was afraid of, the soup needed more spice. She had some good tips for sauteing garlic and spices and adding them at the end (basically 2 garlic cloves, and another hit of all of the spices and more jalapenos and fennel). I might do that next time. But the extra pot thing, remember? So I just added more spices.

Serve with yogurt on top. Yum.

Next time I would do the extra saute step. If we get that dishwasher that is.

spinach lasagna
May 22, 2010, 7:12 pm
Filed under: recipe, spinach

A few weeks ago I decided to make a lasagna. That’s not a common occurrence around these parts, and I don’t have a standard recipe. I found one in Cooking Light–Recipe here. And it was pretty good. Would make this again. As with all lasagna recipes I get hung up on the crazy layering instructions. It’s so overwhelming!! How much where? How many layers? ACK! And then I relax and just make it happen.

Spinach Lasagna.


  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  sliced mushrooms
  • drop of oil for the fry pan
  • 3  ounces  1/3-less-fat cream cheese (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1  (12-ounce) container 1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/3  cup  low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2  cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2  large eggs
  • 2  (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 12  no cook lasagna noodles–or a box?
  • 1  (27.5-ounce) jar low-fat chunky mushroom pasta sauce
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4  cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (i didn’t use this)

Saute onion and mushrooms in a fry pan until tender. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until smooth; add the cottage cheese, sour cream, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and eggs, beating well. Add the onion mixture and spinach, and beat well.

Spread 1/2 cup of  tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13 x9-inch baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles over the spinach mixture; top with 1 cup of spinach mixture, 3/4 cup of pasta sauce, 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese, and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Bake, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

the saag that goes with the paneer
February 21, 2010, 8:41 pm
Filed under: recipe, spinach | Tags: ,

Saag paneer is a nice indian dish to add to the repertoire. It’s easy and oh so good. Everyone likes it, and I think it makes the doode a bit more happy with the indian food dinner. The curries can be too hot sometimes you know. I don’t have a lot of experience with indian food cooking, but I have a goto recipe for chana masala, a good australian one for onion curry, and now I have this.

It’s from a book called Easy Indian Cooking, by Suneeta Vaswani.

Saag Panir

Serves 8

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced ginger
3 green chilies minced, preferably serranos (I’ve used jalapenos or green chilies)
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 packages frozen spinach (10 oz each) thawed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nonfat milk
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
2 tsp cornstarch
1 batch panir cut into bitesized cubes.

In saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Saute onion ginger and chilies until softened. 5 minutes. Stir in spices and cook 2 minutes. Mix in spinach and salt. Cover and simmer until heated through. Blend with milk –use a handblender. Reduce heat to low and add yogurt and cornstarch–blend again. Add panir and heat through.