Sunday, November 17, 2013

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato....PIE!

With the first couple of freezing nights, my garden season has all but come to an end. One of the last big harvests I brought in was my sweet potatoes!

I planted sweet potatoes last spring in a plastic garbage can in which we had drilled several drain holes. Didn't do much with them over the summer, just gave them a drink when I watered the rest of the garden. Today I dug up about over 6 pounds of potatoes!

Here is the garbage can. I wrapped it in an old piece of tin for aesthetic reasons!

Upon request of my husband, I made a sweet potato pie! Thanks to my oldest daughter for a yummy, gluten-free crust. I followed the recipe and used white sugar, but next time I may try honey.  If you use honey, leave a comment telling about your experience!

Here is a modification of the recipe I got from

1. 1 uncooked pie crust
2. 1 pound sweet potatoes
3. 1/2 c of sugar
4. 1/4 t cinnamon
5. 1/4 t nutmeg
6. 1/2 t vanilla
7. 1 egg
8. 1/2 c milk
9. 1/4 c soften butter

Boil potatoes in skins until soft (fork will easily go to the center). Rinse in cold water and hand peel (the peels come off easily!). Mix  3-5 together in a small bowl. Whip eggs, then add milk and butter. Mix all ingredients with the mashed sweet potatoes. Pour mixture into the pie shell.

(Keep in mind that you are using natural ingredients that are not pre-measured in a can. The mixture will be thin, but might need to be slightly adjusted according to your taste and the amount of sweet potatoes you end up with after taking the skins off and cutting out any eyes.)

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I usually check around 30 minutes to make sure the crust is not browning too much. If it is, shield it with a thin strip of foil.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Surprise Fall Garden

This spring and summer my garden was remarkably unremarkable! I only had a few tomatoes (except the cherry tomatoes which seem to produce no matter the conditions!). Most plants only yielded a handful of produce. By midsummer, I stopped watering all but the peppers, cherry tomatoes, one watermelon plant, and the zucchini. I mostly watered these to keep them blooming for the bees.

October came along and we experienced the wettest October on record in the central Texas area! My garden unexpectedly sprang to life! Even plants that hadn't been watered in a month seemed to leaf out and flower. Without any effort on my part I had an official fall garden!

The greens came back with a fury: arugula, spinach, collards, turnip, kale and amaranth. Large green globes of pumpkins began forming. Zucchini and butternut squash took off. Bountiful pepper plants with large weighty peppers crowded each other. Even a green bean vine produced several green beans (which became crunchy garden snacks since you can't really do much with 3-4 green beans at a time!)

The biggest surprise of all was a cantaloupe! You see, I didn't plant cantaloupe last spring! It must have been a seed from my compost pile that sat dormant from last year's garden. But there hangs a perfect cantaloupe, waiting for a few sunny days to develop its golden hue.

After talking to my daughter-in-law in Colorado, it began to dawn on me how blessed I was to be here in central Texas. She told me that it was 20 degrees there. They have experienced freezes for a few weeks already. Here it is November and we have yet to have a freeze. I wouldn't trade this long gardening season for all the mountains in Colorado --  I am often able to plant at the end of March and harvest up until Thanksgiving. One year it never did freeze and I had tomatoes throughout the entire winter!

Next time we suffer through a summer heat wave and I have all but given up on my struggling garden, I'll remember the spark of hope planted by this year's unplanned fall garden and hang in there a little longer. Who knows what my next fall surprise might be?

Deuteronomy 32: 1-4

"1 Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. 3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! 4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he."

Psalm 37:1-9

"1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; 2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil. 9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land."