The process of Spring gardening and recipe testing has begun. I am stoked with the idea of creating a lovely sitting area flowing with living greenery rustic and antique metal pieces. Having lived within suburban and urban settings most of my life, I have never really been concerned with wildlife as close as 15 feet of my patio. While it is beautiful and peaceful, it has a few challenges for this city girl.
The constant researching of sustainable plantlife that will assist with minimizing the unwanted pest life mosquitoes, knats and etc. without the need for harsh chemicals that I must also breathe in continues. I am assured that such a thing does exist by many naturalists and enviornment practitioners. I am not ready to reveal thee current stage of my patio santuary, but soon.
Almost forgot, the exerimenting of Gluten Free and non dairy recipies is going to a new levels. Tried a few recipes out this past weekend on a few unsuspecting quest with rave reviews. The dinner guest did not care that it was GF and ND, but rather the reviews were that of delight and repeat servings..
Enjoing the Spring, its going to be very exciting.
As I am sure most of you have experienced times when life became so busy that something had to give. Well, I am sorry to say, my blog has had to suffer. Which brings me to a teriffic announcement. Spring will find more post, products and inspirations for those who visit with GG.
I am so excited about the revamping that is being done in my kitchen and look forward to sharing with you.
Stay tuned… gardens go in the ground in April and then its a go….
As a vegetarian and sometimes a vegan, I have to pull together some pretty interesting combinations of food. Don’t get me wrong, I am very discriminating when it comes to what I like to eat. My first thoughts usually don’t stir me wrong, so I’ve learned to follow my gut, [pun intended]!
I don’t generally have quick food or fast food items in the home, so what I prepare is usually something fresh. One rule I follow: if it’s in my refrigerator or pantry, then I can eat it. So I go from there. This morning was no different, I had literally 20 minutes to prepare and run out the door. Given my time constraint, I decided to fix a wrap. I ran to the refrigerator and proceeded to remove a handful of items I felt would make a great combination with little fuss.
More than a week ago, I roasted some eggplant just to make sure it did not go bad before I got to it. I gathered that container with a grateful thought; this will finish the eggplant and add bulk to my wrap. Next, the kale; this needed some attention to prep for cooking. In a few moments, it was in the pan. I sliced and chopped the red and green bell peppers and tossed them in, I had prepped onions the night before and froze them, so I tossed them in too. The simmering of the sauté was going nicely, I sliced and cubed tomatoes and tossed it in and stirred for another moment. Adding a dash of pepper and splash of Braggs liquid amino and place the flour tortilla on top of the heated veggies to heat. After a moment, turn the tortilla over. Remove the tortilla to parchment paper; add cheese to the stir fried veggies while they are hot! Using a spatula, put cooked veggie mixture onto the flour tortilla and proceed to wrap it up in parchment paper till sitting at my desk.
Ingredients: Portioned for 1 – 2 Wraps
1 cup uncooked Kale, washed, dried and stems removed
These are a few of the pics from my patio -container garden 2015. Watering a patio container garden is different when you don’t have available water source – so what do you do. Keep bottles of water on hand for those hot and thirsty days to keep the plants green and growing sturdy. You just about have to water on a daily basis to keep the soil from drying out. I saw some cool ideas on the net that I might try for 2016 – some self watering systems. Enough about that!
2016 I will also try indoor herbs that require a very different approach not so much watering. I am so excited about that possibility. I already have the seeds and medium for planing and the pots are so cool, they are made from recycled natural materials. It won’t be long now, in about a week or two I will break ground, so to speak.
As soon as my helpers arrive, we can get this party started. Stay tuned.
Gardening this past year has been a real joy and an experience. I have never to this degree attempted so much and achieved as much or greater than I anticipated. There are reasons why this idea would not be successful, but in my mind there were as many reasons if not more that it would be successful. There were many challenges but those challenges just seem to encourage me more. Let me explain the tool and supplies I used.
5 gal buckets, old shelving, table, patio greenhouse from Christmas Tree Shop, assorted planters, watering tools, spade, troll, small shovel, shears, gardening gloves, organic plant soil, fertilizer, seeds, seedlings or starter plants and lots of interest.
Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Peppers (sweet and hot),Cucumbers, Bush String beans, Beets, Eggplant, Strawberries, Basil, Chives, Thyme.
The Patio Greenhouse was very helpful with the seedlings / starter plants and herbs. It provided a safe place for the tiny plants to mature without getting sunburn. The greenhouse held in moisture, keeping the plants moist during the hottest days of the summer in-between watering. Watering is a tricky thing when you live in an apartment that does not have an outside spigot on the patio. My improvisation was to acquire numerous gallon water jugs and keep them ready for the next watering. In the beginning I would keep at least 4 jugs always in the ready, but as the plants grew I acquired four more; in order so the plants could be adequately watered without my having to make additional trips to the kitchen sink.
Progress was exciting and contagious.
More to come with pictures and recipes of how I used my garden bounty, even some pictures of GG’s Garden Helpers.
Apricot Upside-down cake was a great surprise; never having tried it before, I found it delightful. How I came across the idea was this: I brought the most beautiful apricots from the farmers market this past summer and once I had them home, I had to determine what I would do with this. Time was quickly passing; a few days had passed and I still had not decided what to use the apricots. I had considered making a jam, a compote, a barbecue sauce, but still not sure. When checking out Google, I came across an apricot upside down cake by http://heghineh.com/apricot-cake. Her timing could not have been more perfect; I follow her site often because of her wonderful recipes and ease in the kitchen with her children however this particular day she just happened to be using her fresh apricots in a cake.
This cake was very light and luscious at the same time, I took it to work and shared with others whom became equally enamored. I will keep this recipe in my rotation for next spring when the apricots are again in bloom.
You can find the link to the actual video footage for this recipe above.I will include the ingredients below.
Heghineh.com Apricot Upside down cake
70 grams unsalted butter , plus a little extra for greasing the pan
1 and 2/3 cups of sugar , Divided*
1/3 cup water
10-12 medium size apricots, or as many as you need to cover the bottom of the pan
2 Large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Generously butter a 9-inch pie dish and arrange the apricots in the dish
Slice the apricots in half and place the cut side up
Start by making the caramel ,sugar syrup
Combine 1 cup of the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360°F on a candy thermometer
Swirl the pan but don’t stir
Pour evenly over the apricot slices
Mix until combined
Pour the cake batter evenly over the apricot slices
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean
Cool for 15 minutes, then put the cake onto a flat cake plate
Chilly mornings invite breakfasts that warm you from the inside out and satisfy too. This morning, I caught a video presentation of a vegan chef preparing a peach and granola dish and it gave me an idea for breakfast.
Not having any peaches on hand this morning, i decided to use frozen blueberries from my freezer to recreate the dish I had viewed.
The blueberry granola dish was a simple creation but very satisfying. I just added a cup of tea for that extra warmth and called it a wrap.
Fresh blueberries aren’t always available during the colder months and when you can find them the price is usually more extreme, therefore it is acceptable to use a frozen variety that can be kept for longer periods of time in the freezer.
Of the other ingredients, the granola and dried fruits; well, I make my own granola and put it in containers that will keep it fresh. I make a variety of granola, some with dried fruit, some with nuts, some with neither. Granola is a great base for cold or hot cereal, desserts and even quick snacks. Granola can be eaten in a bowl hot or cold, in a dish with yogurt or by the handfuls. Granola when served with nuts and dried fruits add immensely to the nutritional values.
Dried fruits can be purchased or dehydrated in an oven or dehydrator. Once this is accomplished, the dried fruits are placed in air-tight containers away from light and it can last for extended periods of time. Dried fruits have large amounts of concentrated sugars and while they make for a quick sweet treat; these concentrated sugars can be a source of concern for people with diabetes who react to sudden spikes in their glucose levels.
This morning, my quick and very inexpensive Blueberry Granola breakfast gave me the right boost of energy and satisfaction to begin my day.
1 cup granola
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 Tablespoons cold water
raisins / craisins
In sauce pan, add blueberries, salt, coriander, raw sugar and 1/2 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Once blueberries mixture is boiling, mix the cornstarch and cold water to a paste and add to the blueberry mixture, lower heat and continue cooking until the liquid thickens and becomes a blue sauce. Turn off the heat and prepare the dish.
Layer the granola on the bottom of the dish, cut up the banana and place slices around the dish and then pour the blueberry compote unto the granola and bananas slices. Top with dried fruit and nuts of your choice and enjoy.
I hope you will share this with others, and let me know how your dish turned out and if you were encouraged to further improved on this very basic breakfast dish.
Winter is slowly approaching with bouts of spring like temperatures of 60- 65 degrees, but we have an idea of what is coming. What’s coming, is not an early spring to usher in our famous “leap year”, no its not going to bring early April showers that bring May flowers… No, it is going to snow, blizzard and freeze for the months that precede April and May.
And your point is, it does that every year (just about)…
Enough of the frigid talk… lets talk about something that we can enjoy when we hunkering down on inside keeping warm.
I prefer to cook when I am hunkering down. I enjoy making savory meals with lots of spice to warm things up.A large pot of Chicken and Dumplings, a dish of Lasagna or even Eggplant Parmesan comes to mind with; and oh don’t forget a pot of 5-bean chili. I almost forgot the home made pot pie.. When this pie comes out of the oven bubbling over with goodness, I can hardly contain myself. if it weren’t so hot… well you get the idea. These are the kind of meals that are prepared ahead of time and lay awaiting for the chilly weather to send me inside to grab a bowl of a hot and hearty meal, without much fuss but with plenty of enjoyment.
Lately, I have made a habit of making 1-2 loaves of fresh whole wheat bread weekly. This practice has not only kept me from buying the more expensive higher quality store brought breads, but it allows me to include the beneficial nutrition that I know I need without the added oils, sugars and eggs. There is nothing like the smell of bread baking in the oven, or toasted in the mornings for breakfast.
Sliced and ready for the toaster. Good Morning!
Home Made Loaf Bread – [no Egg or Oil in bread]
Mix in large bowl the following:
1- Cup Whole Wheat flour
2- Tbsp gluten flour (optional) or Bread Flour
1- Package yeast [2-1/4 teaspoon]
½ – 1 tsp salt
2- Tbsp ground Flax
1 1/2 -cup warm water
2- Tbsp honey (sweetener)
¼ – cup oil substitute (coconut milk or 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans with 1 cup of water)
Beat for two full minutes.
**Add additional flour gradually; until able to knead by hand. Continue kneading and adding flour until flour is not sticky.
Shape into loaf.
Place in oiled pan(s)
Let rise for 20 – 30 minutes
Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes [depending on oven… thump to check for doneness.
Allow to cool before slicing.[cool for 2-3 hours]
**Note: Additional flour needed to complete the kneading process of bread making.
It has been quite awhile since I last posted…so much has happened over the past few months. Survice it to say, I have gained so much in the way of new inspiration and I cannot wait to share some with you.
By the way, “www.testarecipe” will be brimming with new recipes very soon…
As you may know “inthekitchenwithgg”, is a homegrown compilation of years of creative and faithful energy. GGs’ “faith walk” begins with a need -to-fill, and inspiration takes over from there.
GGs’ embarking on natural hair and skin products began with the need to find products, “quality ” products that would support and sustain healthy African American hair worn naturally . As, with many black women who transformed their hair from the straight processed hairstyles to the freeing, “dred” or “sister lock” hairstyles; I wanted, no needed hair products that where versatile and safe. So, with “the need” created; I began my research .
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. For past eight years, I have grown healthier hair then ever before in my life. My hair length went from 2- inches to 24 inches in that short time. Before my hair conversion , I had believed my hair was too-fine and would break, my hair would also shed a lot then. I was wrong, once my hair transitioned , it was healthier and stronger than anyother time in my life. As the saying goes three strands are stronger than one.
A few months ago I cut my hair back to neck-length, and it has again reached my shoulders.
GGs’, has gotten so caught up in the hair and skin products that she has created a line that is quite suitable for the season ahead. GG has shared the hair and skin products with many who love to use it on their skin.
After previewing GGs’ Lemongrass Shea Body Butter, many requests created a demand. So as before; the need was created and “faithful” inspiration appeared.
Great smelling, lovely to touch and long lasting body butters, suitable for hair and skin.
From the freshest products an imaginary dish appears.
I call these Kale Steaks, because they are scrumptious and filling. It is okay that the meal is good for you and pretty. It is a stand alone dish with all the major food groups present. But then I am a vegetarian, what else would you expect.
I am Grandma Goodie or G.G. for short,and I am a food enthusiast!
G.G. became my name with the birth of my first grand-daughter. It seems, my only goal was to get her to eat wonderful things. Kids are funny, they watch others eat to determine what they like, my grand daughter knew that when I made my plate; we would share from it. When her sister came along, the dynamic dual decided they both should side-saddle G.G. and eat from her plate. These were times of much joy; actually this still happens on occasion.
Cooking is a longtime passion of mine, learning survival cooking skills was a necessary joy; because every young woman needed to know how to feed their family someday. Becoming skillful at feeding a large family on a small income was an essential tool, there were ten (10) in my immediate family. Mastering the art of surplus cooking and making it a wonderful first-run meal (no leftovers here), was always a bright spot. Cooking became second nature, at an early age, I learned the value of hospitality and used any opportunity to sharpen those skills by entertaining. Even as a young child, I loved to organize parties and cook special meals for my family. Every birthday and anniversary was an occasion to celebrate.
It not surprising the kitchen is my go-to place. I find solitude and my mind is free to create; I still have the inquisitive spirit of youth, even at my age, [LOL].
As G.G. the blogger, I will practice the art of hospitality and invite you into my kitchen and other kitchens as well. It will be my pleasure to invite myself into the kitchens of other foodies and feature them on this site; they have been for warned.
I am available to test recipes that are under consideration for publication, revamping or recreating as well as available for research. I will be offering small group cooking classes for kitchen basics for beginners. Email your interest and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
As my new friends, I hope you will stop in often… I would love to see you again!