Thursday, November 15, 2018

Midwest Gardening November 2018

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I enjoy seeing the changes of our yard as well as the rest of our area throughout the seasons.



Yesterday we had some brilliant sunshine, so I grabbed the camera and took photos of the yard just as it is. With Fall being so delayed, we had to scramble the last two weeks, not everything was accomplished, but maybe we will have another nice day.


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I've been in a bit of a mood, so my Fall decorating was confused, lol, and less than usual. Nothing I did this year was NEW, everything was a REDO or used.

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Since flowers were frosted in late October...I just shoved a few faux bushes here and there, for some color. Blowing leaves has been twice daily event.

 

It was noon, but the shadows were so long---and the sun is already low! That yellow pot had some flowers that just gave up. Have to put it in the shed! The urn will stay and hopefully I can do some Holiday decorating in it, if the dirt isn't frozen.

oldnewgreenredo

oldnewgreenredo
Part of our Fall gardening---is chopping up all the leaves and dumping them into the flower beds. This is a GREEN thing to do. We do not burn leaves, they are composted or blown into the flower beds making great fertilizer and insulation for perennials. 
Yesterday Hubby blew the last of the leaves into the flower beds. Mostly from our Maple trees, they are colorful and dry already. They will provide a nice blanket for the plants.

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Very low key decorating here---we had flowers until the end of October and holiday greens will go out in a week or two, after Thanksgiving.

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I swear blow up decorations were designed by seniors---it took me 10 minutes to set 'TOM' up and put a spotlight on him. Even Chicagoland wind hasn't upset him. Look at the difference in the trees from a week ago...!

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I did arrange some leaf garland in the wreath. Echoing the Maple trees we have in the yard. An ancient plaid bow is a REDO...still a nice subdued touch.

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I put up our bird feeder flag and our lone scarecrow squats in a pot with a pumpkin over a battery light, a GREEN thing to do. It glows a bit at night.

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Our mailbox planter is finally dead totally. I will pull everything out next week, when I add faux greens for the Holidays. (GREEN REDO--Christmas trees'-branches from Garage sales or thrift stores are great for exterior decorating)

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Our bird feeders are empty. They have so much to eat on the ground from the plants around our house, we will start to fill the feeders with the first snow.


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Behind the garage is the pond---frozen with leaves imbedded in it. See the bits of white, that is snow from 10 days ago...we only got a half inch, but it stuck in shady areas. I didn't get the pond drained this year, and the turtle needs to go into the shed. We had such cold and wind here, we are lucky what we got stuff done!

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On the east side----near the concrete of our foundation is this Giant Sedum...frozen, but holding its blossoms and waxy now transparent leaves. Normally, I use these for Thanksgiving arrangements, not this year as they will thaw and crumble.


They are the last bit of color---

oldnewgreenredo

We cleared the side patio and blew the leaves into the beds. 
My Dragonflies are the only color and the old OLD chair.

oldnewgreenredo

oldnewgreenredo
We didn't get the garden tilled, but we did dump dirt from some of the pots---in places that need amended soil. Thirty-three years of amending soil...since it is crappy clay! Maybe by the time we are here 50 years...it will be good.

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Impromptu photo of leaves imbedded in the iced tarp over the sandbox. 

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I managed to drain and flip the pond. Hanging on is the marjoram, the front right. I picked so much and cut back so much and it is still growing.


So many branches down from our wind! The fire pit is full of them, this one landed in a fenced area.


oldnewgreenredo
oldnewgreenredo

We have a low roof on this ranch house---it's noon and look how long the shadows are.

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I did get all the pots sorted and emptied and stored for another year...! They didn't get washed and bleached---it was just too, cold!

HOW HAS YOUR GARDENING...? There is always NEXT year!

Update: Today Noon



oldnewgreenredo

This is snow starting which we weren't supposed to get.

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No sunshine, no long shadows.

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I hadn't notice we actually had berries on our Barberry bushes....the Pond frozen in cold stillness.

I think this little guy has the right idea...a good book and a cup of coffee. Only one more post for Midwest Gardening, in December. Happy Thanksgiving

oldnewgreenredo



All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, unless otherwise designated. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.


Thanks ALWAYS for visiting!

I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.
Thank you for your cooperation,

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 Sandi Magle









Friday, November 9, 2018

Rustic Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake





Our family is definitely into Fall cakes, muffins, and breads. I roast our own homegrown pumpkins, puree the squash(yes, pumpkin is a squash) and freeze in 2 or 3 cup bags. Thaw out the pumpkin in a strainer and you have delicious fresh pumpkin for your recipes.  

Roasting pumpkins can be found in this post: Delicious Homemade Pumpkin Puree


Makings for your cake.


I use bagged apples for baking, these are Galas.




Rustic Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake                         Oven 350 degrees
Serves 8-10                                                                45-50 min

Ingredients:

2 cups of Flour (I use 1 cup of unbleached and 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom (optional)
½ tsp cloves
¼ tsp of ginger
10 Tbsp. of salted butter softened (1 ¼ sticks)
1 cup of sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup of pumpkin puree (canned or I use fresh baked pumpkin drained and pureed
2 tsp of vanilla extract
2 cups of diced apples (approximately 2 large or 3 medium) with peels.
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup of raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees



Measure dry ingredients into a sifter. (I sift twice since I use heavier flours.) Sift and put in a bowl. The green handled sifter is an antique---very useful. It has two lids so you can sift, flip and then sift again...VERY convenient and throughly mixes spices into the flour! It was my grandmother's. 

In mixer, cream softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg at a time, combining completely.

 Add the pumpkin and vanilla and blend well. Add flour 1/3 at a time until totally combined. 



Dough will be stiff, add chopped apples.


The apples will loosen up the dough. 





Dust your raisins with some of the sifted dry ingredients.



Fold in raisins and chopped nuts.

Generously spray or grease your Bundt pan. Spread batter evenly and bake for 45-50 min or until cake turns golden brown and tester comes clean. Remove and wait 5 mins. Run a knife carefully along the edge to make the cake easier to remove after the waiting time. 



Invert on a plate and sift powder sugar over---OR----




I make a simple syrup of 2 Tbsp of butter, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 cup brown sugar.  Lightly brown nuts in butter in sauce pan, add brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add 2 Tbsp of water, cook on low to make a thick syrup. (I cook this until the syrup doesn't roll off the spoon quickly but in slow drops, and then pour over the warm cake slowly.)  




Enjoy! I’ve taken this cake to so many parties/meetings and it always disappears. No leftovers, sigh!



All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, unless otherwise designated. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.


Thanks ALWAYS for visiting!

I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.
Thank you for your cooperation,

 Sandi Magle














Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Delicious Homemade Pumpkin Puree.


We've always learned in school, the Pilgrims had pumpkin on the first Thanksgiving.
Pumpkins have assumed to have been from the Americas. When the Pilgrims landed the local Indians already had pumpkins and squash under cultivation. Early pumpkins or 'pompion' were hollowed out raw, filled with milk and spices and then roasted whole in the fire into a sort of pudding. No bakery pie pastry shells were involved as there were no ovens for controlled baking.

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Nutritionally pumpkins were a welcome addition to the Pilgrims' meals. Rich in all kinds of minerals and vitamins, pumpkins had vitamin C which helped to prevent scurvy. Over half the pilgrims died the first year for lack of proper nutrition and resulting disease.

We have been taught--Pumpkins are a traditional food for Thanksgiving.



Today we use our homegrown pumpkins outside as decorations. After a heavy frost---I bring them in and they become a source of garden produce and then food.



This is one of last year's pumpkins, growing on our antique cultivator.


Another large one hid in the vines.



Roasting Pumpkin Puree is easy, and ecologically sound. 

 Scrub your pumpkin off, even if it is store-bought. Slice it open. You don't have to remove the seeds, just layer the pieces skin side up in a roaster as high as you like. Add 1 cup of water to the pan, cover tightly with foil. Roast at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or more---test by piercing the thickest part of a piece and if it's tender, it's done or I just push down on the humps of pumpkin and if they are soft, they are done...and I leave it covered until cooled to finish roasting for sure.

Let cool, scrape the seeds and slime off first, discard.  Then scrape the flesh and with the skin removed, process in your food processor until smooth. If it is too thick, add a bit of water from the roasting pan to process. Measure, bag, label and freeze for recipes. 
It is delicious and I think far superior to canned pumpkin.
When thawing I drain excess water out by putting paper towel in a strainer, the resulting puree is more the consistency of canned pumpkin.



Even the decorative pumpkins get roasted for eating.


Fall Pumpkin Spice Apple Muffins  Post: HERE.

Pumpkin pies, breads, soups are all delicious and high in nutrition.

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So ---remember, there were no pies at the first Thanksgiving. Sigh!

Hope your preparations are going well and that you have
wonderful PUMPKIN PIE and all the trimmings.


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All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own, unless otherwise designated. I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or any products shown or anywhere I shop.


Thanks  ALWAYS  for visiting!

I will try and respond to every comment and answer every question.
Thank you for your cooperation,

I will post at the following Link Parties, I hope you visit them. 

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