Thursday, October 16, 2014

and time goes on...

I am a lousy blogger right now...why?  Can't say.  I have all sorts of interesting ideas {{{at least in my mind they are}}} but to sit down and blog about them...well I have a deficiency of remembering why and what I was going to blog about!  Decided I would link this to Annie's Fridays Smiles this week.  Writing this post made me smile and feel all happy so it fits! Go check it out.  Lots of fun things to smile about!

I am going to blame it on all the summer time fun going on around here and my "feeling good" most of the previous quarter of the year!  I was too busy with all the stuff I was doing and enjoying the warm summer days.  I spent some time treading water in the swimming pool, tending the garden and eating the products of my efforts.  All without a lot of increased pain issues I might add.   Today it is a different story.  I have a flare up going on that has been bugging me for about 3-4 days now.  I hurt all over.  I can't use my thumbs because of too much pain and I wish summer was still around.  Chuck and I closed up the swimming pool for the winter on Sunday because 80 degree days and 50+/- degree nights aren't conducive to keeping it warm enough for us to swim in.
I love the swimming pool in the summer and I still feel like it was one of the best "home improvements" we did just after buying the house in 1987.  It is 8 1/2' deep and about 38'x18' wide.  The shallow end is only 3' deep and not big enough for water walking but treading water is gentle and causes very little stress to my already stressed body.
The pool closed and winterized...I'll probably open it again in April 2015
Gardening is another exercise in the summer that I miss when it turns cold.  With my fibro, chronic fatigue, orthostatic hypotension I am fearful...yes fearful of falling over all the time.  It takes me weeks to get back to feeling good when I do that! :-)  Chuck had the yard workers build us some raised beds last year and I love them. 
Six beds total four are about 5'x5' and the other two are 6.5'x6.5'  Being two railroad ties tall makes it easy for me to bend over to work in the bed and not worry about bending over too far.  I also use the wide edges as seating cause I can reach halfway across each bed from seated position so that really limits my ability to fall over!
I tried to follow the Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Barthalomew and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation method of gardening.  Sometimes it worked for us sometimes is didn't but we still had a good time playing in the dirt!
the cabbages when we first planted them. 
ready for harvest

cabbages after a few weeks.
we had a total of 9 of these gorgeous cabbages this year!!
 Chuck loves corn so each year we are devoting one bed to grow a corn crop.  This year we did pretty well getting about 50 large ears of corn in our harvest. 
corn patch at about 4 weeks!
Chuck holding an ear of corn he is harvesting!

one days harvest!

large beautiful ears!

Do you see the sunflower above Chuck's head in the picture above?  
It started out like this...
grew to this...

and ended up like this...the seed head was a good 12-14 inches across and the birds and critters really loved munching on it!

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This was taken on a hot dry day in July and the Okra looks pitiful as does the green beans.  Suffice it to say I have about 30 pint bags of okra off those pitiful plants.  Yummy for the tummy!
okra growing tall!

I bought a couple watermelon plants and planted them in with the corn.  We got a total of 5 melons off the two vines.
And surprise!  I forgot they were yellow meated. 

a volunteer cantaloupe grew in the corn and we harvested a couple great melons off that freebie vine.
We had tons of tomatoes and pepper s this year also.  Here is a heirloom tomato I tried that was purple topped.  They were prolific but not as tasty as the Juliet plum tomatoes I also tried this year. 

Lots of red and yellow peppers.  This lot ripened to orange!
 Well that was a pretty intensive gardening pictures.  I really did enjoy gardening and it was something that I could do and it didn't cause a flare up in my fibro or chronic fatigue.  I enjoyed that a lot.

Now how about something yummy to eat?  I tried a new recipe last night and ended up eating two pieces...I know I am a pig!  I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.  It is a gluten free pumpkin spice bar!  Yummy!  Recipe is huge though so I suggest using the adjustment for a smaller pan. 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin... 
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins, or 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup ginger
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large rimmed half-sheet
pan, about 18" x 13"; or line the pan with greased parchment. Note: to
make these bars in a 9" x 13" pan, see "tips," below left.
2) Beat the oil and the sugars together until well blended.
3) Beat in the eggs, then the pumpkin purée.
4) Stir the baking soda, baking powder, salt, spice, and xanthan gum into
the wet ingredients, then stir in the flour, beating gently to combine.
5) Stir in the nuts and raisins/ginger. Let the batter rest in the bowl for 15
minutes, then stir again to combine before pouring it into the pan. 
6) Bake the bars for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester
or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7) Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a rack to
finish cooling; or leave it right in the pan, if you've lined the pan with
8) To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together.
9) Beat in the maple syrup, then mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt.
Adjust the consistency of the frosting with additional maple syrup or
confectioners' sugar, if necessary; it should be nicely spreadable.
10) Frost the bars and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Once the
frosting has set somewhat, cut into squares or rectangles.
Yield: 4 dozen 2" squares, or 3 dozen 2" x 3" bars.

Tips from our bakers
To toast nuts, place them in a
single layer on a baking sheet and
bake in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10
minutes, just until you can start to
smell them; let cool before using.
Want to make this recipe in a 9" x
13" pan? Change the amounts of
ingredients as follows: 2/3 cup
vegetable oil, 2/3 cup brown
sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 4
large eggs, 2/3 cup pumpkin
purée, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/8
teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon
xanthan gum, 2 teaspoons
pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/3 cups
King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour, 1/3
cup chopped toasted walnuts, 2/3
cup golden raisins/ginger mini
chips. Bake as directed in the original recipe. 
For the frosting,
reduce ingredients as follows: 4
ounces cream cheese, 2
tablespoons softened butter, 1
tablespoon maple syrup, 1 1/4
cups confectioners' sugar, pinch
of salt, 1/2 cup diced toasted
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars: