Archive for April, 2010

Making a Healthier Ramen


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Ramen noodles are cheap and easy for a quick meal, but they may not be the most healthy meal to have all of the time.

My son loves ramen. He who does not wish to be bothered by much preparation finds this the best meal. In fact, he often asks if we could have ramen for dinner. Nothing added, just what is in the package. My baby daughter figured out that she can open these packages, which she considers a most helpful act. I decided that I needed to make ramen for dinner with so many open packages; however, I did not want that flavor package with nothing more, so I changed the recipe.
    My garden is in a transition phase at the moment. Winter vegetables have gone to seed, while spring vegetables are coming into their own. Sure some vegetables are ready for harvest, but of the spring vegetables I have a little bit here and there that are ready to pick. One tomato was ready to eat, and some beans as well. Not enough for a proper side dish though. I also was slowly simmering a chicken. I guess that I could have made a soup, but I had that ramen. I cooked the ramen in the chicken stock. I also had a homemade barbecue sauce from the previous night. I mixed this into the ramen (no flavoring packets added). I chopped up various vegetables from the garden, and dropped them in. The added chicken stock was enough for the ramen to absorb, so no liquid was in the pot. I then chopped a good handful of mint for the ramen.
    To complete the meal, I took slices of the stewed chicken to be spread over the ramen. For a suace, chicken stock was mixed with the barbecue sauce. This meal was happily accepted by the children. Even my son, who vocally complians if I do not prepare the ramen to package instructions, was overjoyed by this version of his favorite dish. I think that the barbecue sauce was the secret ingredient for sucess, and the vegtables were well used.

Planting for Fragrance


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Do you like sitting in your garden? Colors create visually pleasing scenes, but planting for fragrance, scents , can enhance your experience.



I may not have been writing, but that is due to being busy around the home and garden. My daughters are wild about planting seeds right now, so the moment they see seeds for sale they have to have them. Besides the seeds, we have been watching the progression of fruits. The first few raspberries were ripe, and the girls descended upon them. My neighbor commented that this will be a haven for snakes. I think that snakes may not like that location though. The girls have figured out that they can pull the branches of the plum tree down, so they have gone after the green (unripe) plums. I am glad that their older brother has not been in their employ. Then I would have a problem.  My other neighbor commented that they have not seen me out front. Well, the backyard has been more fun for the children, so I have focused on that space. I do miss sitting on my front bench with the fragrance of the roses.
    Antique roses have such a wonderful fragrance which is not overpowering. Most hybrid roses have no scent. I think that is why I try to buy older rose varieties. The rose bush has put on a fantastic show this season. I think the secret has been deadheading the flowers. Heavy pruning seems agreeable to my bush. I use slight fertilizer on them. I do not care for overwhelming perfumes, and I think the scent of roses could be associated with that memory, but my roses produce no such fragrance. It is refreshing to walk by these bushes.
    I am waiting for the jasmine to bloom. I have these by the back porch, so this will make the backyard fill with fragrance soon. The little white jasmine flowers display nicely, but I do enjoy sitting on the porch with this scent. I think that I should begin planning more fragrances near sitting areas. I have marigolds in the vegetable garden. I like that they discourage some pests. That is something to watch. Caterpillars were feasting on my fennel, and I thought fennel discouraged these predators of my plants. Parsley is also supposed to deter insects from attacking other plants. I only notice the scents of these plants after a rain. The scents in the air after a rain make walking through the garden an experience.
    Most herbs have such strong scents, but they do not release these fragrances until crushed. I took the grey leaves of a curry plant and rubbed them in my hand for my older daughter. Katya thought this was great, so she is doing this with many of her finds in the vegetable garden. The herb curry plant is not what is used for curries, but this herb does have a flavor similar to some curries. I think this may be a great scent for a man’s cologne. (Oh yeah, I could start making some colognes or perfumes with these extra herbs). I do like letting my herbs spill over into the lawn. Cut grass is a good scent, but walking on the lawn with herbs is more fun. Having the scent of mint or thyme waft up under the pressure of my step is a pleasure.
    I will be on a search for more scented flowers for the garden. Color has been taken care of, and I think that I am overly packing the vegetables into available spots. (I have to convince the girls that we cannot keep buying seeds). I am going to avoid gardenias. I cannot take that fragrance.

Home-made Pizza with a Garden Twist


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

The kids want pizza, and you are trying to make bread. You may as well through in some herbs from the garden to make it more interesting.

Picture if you will two little girls going after the carrots. The fronds become brooms as they work their way down the driveway. At the end of the drive, they decide to have a sword fight, using the carrots as their foils. Maybe they need to stop watching their brother when he has his foils out. They are hungry, and hoping for pizza, but you do not want the standard fare. Luckily, you are in the process of making another loaf of bread. Pizzas for all.
    I guess fencing works up your appetite. I have been getting back into bread making. I really need to start making cakes again. I use to make them every Sunday. Saturdays were my grandmother’s baking days. Her house was filled with treats, which I consumed on Sundays. I guess that is why I like baking on Sundays. I was working on a basic bread dough to which I added flax seeds for fiber. I did not think that I had the ingredients, but I wanted the kids to have their pizza, since they had been working around the house. My measuring cups have been disappearing on me, so I have been creative with amounts. I begin with 1 1/2 cups of warm water (milk is also good), a tablespoon of dried yeast, two tablespoons of sugar, and a cup of flour. I mix these together, and let them sit for 1/2 hour. This proofs the yeast. If I see bubbles, then I am good to go. I add another three cups of flour, a little salt, a little oil, and the flax seeds. Since I was given a mixer, I have been doing my kneading in that wonderful machine. I add more flour to the dough till everything is combined into a ball. Usually about two more cups of flour does the trick. I use a dough hook in the mixer for about four minutes. I do the final kneading on a floured board. The dough should be tacky, but not overly so. This will rest in a warm spot for an hour or two in an oiled bowl.
    It was at this point that the pizza request was made. I have some tomatoes on the vines, but they are not ready, so I broke into a can that I have for emergencies. I went out into the garden for rosemary, garlic leaves, and oregano. I chopped the herbs and added them to the crushed tomatoes. I spread this over dough that I had rolled out after the rising. I grated the only cheese that I had, Muenster. For a topping, I sliced up bratwurst from a butcher in the Hill Country. This went into a pre-heated oven (420F) for twenty minutes.
    I thought a salad would go well with my pizza. Since the girls had given up their carrot foils, and they wanted to eat those with dinner, I added these into a bowl. I sliced them thinly. Back out in the garden, I went after, swiss chard, the tops of pea vines, mint, and parsley.The ingredients were torn by hand into the bowl.  I added a little bit of oil, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar over the salad, then I tossed it all.
    Maybe I can say that this was a healthy pizza. Rustic may be a better term. This pizza was not like those purchased from pizzerias, but the meal was a success, considering how the kids ate. The crust was thick. I think that I should invest in a pizza stone to really have a better crust. Maybe I should make some tomato sauce to keep on hand. However, the “sauce” that I made worked fine. The dough took time, but there was not too much work involved. I would do this again.

A Garden Table Made by Recycling


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Small garden tables can be useful. They can be planting stations, art stations, or used as additional space when cooking on the grill.


I would not exactly say that I horde, but I do have a tendency to see if I can reuse material in some other way. Much of my garden art involves recycled goods. I use beer bottles as a garden edging (old German technique). When my wife threw out our ironing board, I was convinced that I could use it in some other way. With the patio project behind us, I discovered a good deal of lumber left over. One use will be for the children’s tree house, but I wanted a coffee table for my garden reading area, which also happened to be next to the barbecue grill (and the future site for a rocket stove that I will be making next).
Read the rest of this entry »

How to Make a Roof Over Your Porch


Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2198

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2199

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_post' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2125

Warning: Illegal string offset 'wordbooker_like_button_page' in /home/yourhou1/public_html/houstongardening/wp-content/plugins/wordbooker/wordbooker.php on line 2126

Having a seating area outside can be a great place to entertain. Having a roof over this space can make it feel more like a room.


porch canopy
My wife, as it seems to me, has to take on some large home makeover before any party at our house. This habit , I have to admit, is becoming a bit hard to take. The projects are fine, and frequently needed, but she gives little time to have them done before the event, which leaves me rushing to complete a task. For Easter, she wanted a roof or canopy over our back porch. I had created a sort of false roof by allowing jasmine to grow on wires over this space, but she wanted a real structure. She liked the jasmine, so she also wanted to keep these vines as part of the roof. We ended up with an open slat system for our porch roof.
Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings

This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at yourhoustonhomeinspector.com). For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank

Search
Categories

Canonical URL by SEO No Duplicate WordPress Plugin