My Year 2020 in Review

Greetings Everyone, I hope everyone is able to enjoy the holiday season 2020 despite the current events of this year. I hope you are all well and that your loved ones are too. Blessings to you and yours! I pray we all have a healthy, happy, and fulfilling 2021.

I started the New Year 2020 with high hopes of selling my property this year for an offer even better than the one I had rejected from Dollar General, but since my neighbor across the street from me sold out to them DG is now open across the street from me instead of the locally owned small feed store that had been there for years! This area was showing signs of commercial growth all around me at the beginning of the year.  

January 2020 began a new decade and it is 100 years since the “Roaring Twenties” had begun. In hindsight now after eight plus months of the pandemic I have often thought about the 1918 pandemic and wondered if the roaring 20s was a reaction to the lockdowns and deaths that pervaded everyone’s lives back then.  I wonder if now that we will have a vaccine and the pandemic will begin to subside will we also have a similar phenomenon, or will we see a different phenomenon perhaps a return to a simpler life of growing our own food and handcrafting.

That is what I thought might happen after experiencing the knee-jerk reaction of many people who chose to return to growing their own food and stocking the pantry with staple goods many of us saw empty grocery store shelves for the first time in our lives. I have seen that many times actually because I grew up in the Gulf of Mexico southern USA where every year due to the hurricane threats there were many times the store shelves were bare because people buy more than they usually would “just in case” and because we were taught to be prepared if you shelter in place then you may be on your own for weeks before aid will show up to help. Other people in 2020 bought up seeds in the same way to the point that there was a seed shortage.

Many people are fearful of the safety of our food supply from the stores and they decided to grow their own for the first time in their lives. I’ve had a garden off and on over the years because I love gardening and having veggies and fruit that I grew myself. I used to always save the seeds from the grocery store food but I had stopped doing that because it was so easy to buy seeds and you know what you are getting with seeds from seed houses that you trust.

When it comes to just needing to grow food though, the grocery store veggies and fruit seeds will still produce food you can eat, but if it is a hybrid then you may not get the exact same fruit that you got the seed from because hybrids are sort of like us humans who are mixed breeds. You never know what you will get in the next generations but we will still all be humans, and so it is with plants. A hybrid tomato may be a cross between a sweet round red tomato that doesn’t produce very well, cross bred with a tomato that is not sweet, that is odd shaped, and has thick skin but produces like crazy! So if you save the seeds from that plant then it may be more like one of its parents rather than like the other one. Such in my case, I had a fair skinned blond haired blue eyed Dad and a mom with a beautiful olive complexion and dark brown hair. I was a fair skinned freckle faced blond haired blue eyed child, where as my sister is blue eyed too but with more olive skin and brown hair. With plants, the first year hybrid is called an F-1 hybrid. You may have seen that in seed catalogs, and other seeds are called open pollinated or heirlooms. The difference is that open pollinated and heirlooms seeds will give you the same plant and fruit as the parent you grew it from, but hybrids are cross breeds so they won’t and it takes about 7 generations to stabilize a hybrid to be able to call it an heirloom. I had actually ordered seeds in January and February before the pandemic hit; however I probably would have ordered more varieties had I known what was coming in March 2020.

            I am very fortunate to still have my sweet old fur babies Zoie and Terra, they were 15 years old on December 5, 2020. I feel so lucky to have them especially because of their conditions called Laryngeal Paralysis. You can look it up on line but basically it is a disease of the throat where the muscles get very weak and there is partial paralysis of the muscles that close off the windpipe from the food pipe so they often get choked. They also have trouble breathing if it is warmer than about 68 degrees. It was a long hot summer and I was very worried about them especially because my AC went out during a hurricane. I am thankful I had bought a small unit in case of emergency. I put it in my bedroom and had to make them stay in that room most of the time. I also worried because the truck doesn’t have AC and so if I had to take them to Veterinarian they could die in the heat on the way to the doctor. We made it to winter and I’m so thankful now it is cooler weather. It is amazing what a difference it makes for them to breathe easy. They seem so much happier and active with the cold weather and they don’t wheeze with every breath as they do during the summer. Tango is still with me too, he was 11 years old in September.

            I had many bouts of allergic reactions this year that were worse than any time before that I can remember. I had swollen legs and rashes and breathing problems. I took new medications and they helped. I also discovered that pulling a bandana up over my face covering my nose when working in dusty conditions outside helped with not getting as many sinus and lung infections. I even started using a bandana instead of a mask when I go out in public, it works great!  I am doing much better with allergies now with the cold weather. I actually got vaccinated this year for the flu and for pneumonia, which is quite a feat for me because I never took either in my life and didn’t think I ever would but this year changed my mind. I look forward to when we can all have this current pandemic virus vaccine available so that those of us who want to take it can. Virtual doctor visits are now part of my life and I like it because I don’t have to leave home. I actually walked around my yard while talking with my doctor on video chat through the Sacred Heart virtual doctor visit browser! I hope that will continue after this pandemic is over because I really prefer it over driving to the office and sitting with a bunch of people who may have something contagious.

            This year I have come to enjoy a new type of shopping called Curbside Pickup. I sit in my home on my computer and order things and pay for them online from local stores such as Tractor Supply, Home Depot, Lowes, Manning Feed and Seed, Rhonda’s Aviary, Michaels Craft Store, and Walmart. I was already using the pickup service with Walmart but all the other stores didn’t have that service until this pandemic occurred. I hope they continue the service after the pandemic is over because I am spoiled now and it’s the way I like to shop. I can order days ahead and set up curbside pickup all on the same day so I leave my house and go to 5 different stores, sit in parking lot, they bring out the orders, and I go home. It takes less time than if I went to one store and had to go inside and fight the crowds, and deal with checking out and all that goes with that. I definitely like curbside pickup! Another change for me this year is ordering more stuff online. I don’t have mail delivery at my home because I choose to use a post office box at a post office that accepts Fedex, DHL, and UPS shipments on my behalf and then I go there to get my mail and pick up packages.

            I also became more fascinated with heirloom and open pollinated seeds this year. I found many seed companies that I had never ordered from before. I decided to start a seed library this year of all my favorite vegetable and fruits. Many of the seeds I ordered are for vegetables and other plants that are not sold in our chain stores; they can only be found at Asian food markets, or some of the local farm markets. Since I want to insure that I have those plants I decided to find the seeds online and buy some. In my quest to find many unusual seeds I found over 25 seed suppliers that are small family owned businesses all over the USA that sell heirloom, open pollinated, non-gmo, and organic seeds. I have ordered seeds regularly every month this year from many of those seed suppliers. I made a spreadsheet on my computer listing all the seeds along with scientific names and growing information about the seed as well as the supplier I bought them from. I then file them by category so that when I am ready to plant some of the seeds I will be able to find them easily. So far I have 192 different packets of seeds for an assortment of my favorite edible plants and some that are not edible but I wanted to grow them for the beauty of their flowers. I have many different varieties of herbs, greens, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, legumes such as several of the Asian long beans and many other types of beans, radishes and other root crops such as beets and rutabagas. Most of the seed suppliers guarantee their seeds for at least 5 years of viability. I think especially now in these uncertain times that a seed library is a wonderful worthwhile endeavor! I found many of these seed suppliers from watching YouTube videos of gardeners, farmers, homesteaders, and other such channels that I been watching much more of this year.  You may not know that seeds are viable for many years. There are some gardeners who have sprouted seeds they found in their grandparents basement that were over 80 year old seeds! My own experience with old seeds is that the older they are the lower the germination percentage. In my own experience seeds over 8 years old don’t sprout for me but my seeds were not kept in ideal conditions either and that is the key to longevity of seeds. This new seed library that I have started this year will be kept in climate controlled conditions so that they will be viable for many years to come. I plan to plant just a few of each type just to have the experience of growing the many different ones that I have never grown myself. I buy the vegetables and fruits at the market but I have never grown some of these plants before such as many of the Asian greens, long beans, and the various radishes especially the huge Asian ones that I will be fermenting along with other root crops and various vegetables, and using in Kimchi ferments too. I’m looking forward to the experience of growing new varieties! There are so many different types of vegetables and fruits that many people have never tried that are delicious and nutritious! I buy them and cook them or ferment them and now I will grow some of them in 2021.  

            What have you been reading this year? Our libraries are still closed to public inside but we can checkout online and then pickup. They also have online ebooks to check out. I have done both this year but I have also purchased used books online when I find them at a reasonable price. I’m reading the Louise Penny series that is set in a fictitious village called Three Pines in Canada. It is her series known as the Inspector Armand Gamache Novels. I read some out of order from the public library but then I got serious and decided to collect the entire series so I been ordering used and I intend to collect the entire series. I think she is up to #17 now in 2020.

I didn’t ask you about what tv shows are your favorites since I still don’t have a television I probably wouldn’t know the show if it is newer than early 2017 because when my tv broke in March of 2017 I decided I wasn’t going to replace it and instead I would catch up on reading for my entertainment instead. I gave up cable tv in 2007 but I used an antenna with converter box after the USA went digital in 2009 and so I watched over air tv and PBS was my favorite channel. I been able to still see many of my favorites such as This Old House, Sewing with Nancy, Cooking and gardening shows by using the hotspot on my mobile phone I can get online on my computer and watch YouTube and many websites that are free.

            For those friends and family who are on social media, or who keep up with me online in other ways such as email or by subscribing to my blog, thank you for being there this year. It has been a blessing to be able to keep up with each other online and be able to see your posts, your pictures, and your wonderful correspondence during these strange times when many of us are staying home as much as possible. As you may know, I had taken a sabbatical from facebook (FB) from February 2019 when I deactivated my page. I let everyone know I was not going to be on there and to find me online at my Instagram page or by email. This year in early March I got back on my FB page with the intention of deleting my business page and removing my personal information on my personal page. FB makes you wait 2 weeks after you delete a page to verify you indeed want to do it because it is not reversible. I waited the two weeks for the business page to delete permanently and during that time I caught up with cousins and friends who I had not communicated with for nearly a year. The pandemic hit during that period of time and I decided to not deactivate personal page again. I may deactivate again in the future but for now I have it activated. I do many auto-posts to Instagram and to FB that means I post things to my page without actually being on the page actively. I try to spend a little time on there to catch up with friends and family members’ posts but I am mostly not there and I don’t use the messenger feature, I don’t have it on my phone and I don’t have the notification for it on. So if you try to reach me on messenger at either Instagram or Facebook and I don’t respond then send me an email to my email listed below.      

For those of you who don’t communicate with me online, I wish you would consider giving it a try. I will list below my online platforms that I use the most. If you choose not to use online then I hope you will take the time to write me a letter by snail mail (USPS = United States Postal Service.) I love getting letters and cards; I will write you back! We can be penpals!  I don’t care much for talking on the phone, but when I finally do talk on the phone I usually do a marathon session which I’m sure none of us has time for these days!  

Although I do want to sell my property I have felt very blessed and grateful this year that I am in my own home on my own homestead property during this pandemic. I don’t know if 2021 will bring me an offer I will be able to accept but I hope so because I want to pay off my mortgage and be able to pay cash for a more rural homestead farther north with a basement. I really want a basement. I have lovely memories of my Grandma Downing’s basement in Lena Illinois. As a child when we visited I got to go down in the basement with grandma to help her carry up canned goods that she had canned from her garden. There was a trapdoor in the pantry floor off the kitchen that she pulled open with a round metal latch that rested inside a round recessed place in the trapdoor. Grandma used to pull it up and then climb down a staircase that was more of a ladder and then I would go down after her, she was below waiting for me. There were also doors that opened at an angle to the outside yard to the back garden. I also used to love to go down in the basement at Mama’s sister Thelma’s house. Aunt Thelma and Uncle Emerson had a basement too. Uncle Emerson had a hobby that was HAM radio. He had a huge tower outside and his base unit was in the basement. I loved going down there with him and listening to him talk to people all over the USA and maybe other countries. Uncle Emerson and Auntie Thelma lived in Rockford, IL. Aunt Thelma had a very large garden, my sister and I used to play “Starlight-Starbright” in the corn rows of the garden in the moonlight. We also had fun when we would lay on top of the hill by the garden and roll sideways all the way to the bottom. I also remember the basement at my Daddy’s brother Uncle Sheldon Atherton and Aunt Aurora’s house; they lived in Barre, Vermont . They had a tiny basement compared to Grandma Downing’s house but it was also full of shelves lines with canned food that she had put up. All these years I have taken those memories for granted; this year for some reason those memories have become the most precious jewels of my childhood.

Contact information is below.

My mailing address is Maggie Leiterman, PO Box 813, Bagdad, FL 32530 for regular USPS mail, and for Fedex, UPS, DHL it is Maggie Leiterman, 4629 Forsyth Street unit 813, Bagdad, FL 32530

https://www.instagram.com/handcraftermaggie/  you can see literally thousands of pictures and video that I have been posting for many many years on my Instagram page, it shows my daily life around my homestead and my sweet furbabies.

https://www.facebook.com/mc.atherton.leiterman I usually post on Instagram and it autopost to FB for me and I don’t actually get on FB to post many of the posts you see.

My blog:  https://handcraftermaggie.wordpress.com/  you can subscribe for free to get notified when I post on my blog.   

My new email: farmer.maker.maggie@gmail.com I have many things planned for 2021 as a farmer and a Maker so I made a new email because my other ones are already overloaded.

My mobile phone: 850-686-1786 (I don’t have a house phone)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

Maggie, Zoie, Terra, and Tango

Doggie Friendly Oat Patties

I changed up my savory oat burger recipe so that my dogs can eat it and this is the recipe below and the nutritional label is at the end of the recipe.

***** correction to the directions ******* see below with ****

Dog Friendly Oat Patties

Ingredients

2 cups water

1 tbsp peanut oil

2 cups rolled old fashioned oats

½ cup ground almond pulp (wet ground almonds from making almond milk) or almond meal

½ cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions

Mix the oats, coconut flakes, and almond pulp together, set aside. Note that is you use dry almond meal you may need to add more water.  In large heavy bottom pot add water, bring to a boil, stir for in the oats, coconut,  and almond pulp, keep stirring, lower heat to low and stir constantly until the mixture is all mixed well and has thickened. This will take just a few minutes. Then set aside and cover the pan, let it cool, refrigerate to chill and then you can form patties and grill in iron skillet or bake in oven.

This recipe made 16 patties that were about 2” diameter and ½ thick, I baked in oven about 350 F for about 40 minutes ***** bake about 15 minutes then shut off oven, flip patties, and let finish in residual heat for about 15 more minutes. This helps firm up the patties so that they hold together. They are actually already cooked before baking but baking changes and improves the texture and the taste.   

New Recipe Share My Branny Cornbread

Hello Friends and Family, and anyone who may come across this post! I changed up my cornbread recipe a little bit and now this is my hands down favorite cornbread recipe! It has bran in it and I use wheat bran but if you have a gluten allergy you can find other grains that don’t have gluten and use that bran. I like it for the added fiber for the many benefits of fiber! I reduced the sugar even more and now it is just the right sweetness for my palate but feel free to add more sugar if you like it sweeter! I guess you could even try some artificial stuff if that’s your thing, not my thing but go ahead and try and let me know if you did and how it came out! I’m calling this recipe Branny Cornbread. See nutritional label following recipe.

Branny Cornbread

1-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups almond milk or any plant based milk
1/3 cup canola oil or any neutral tasting high heat tolerant oil

Preheat oven to about 400F, put a little canola oil or peanut oil or some other neutral tasting high heat tolerant oil, in iron skillet and let it heat in oven while you prepare the batter.

Mix together all dry ingredients. Make a well in center of the dry mixture, add in the milk and oil, stir together until batter is mixed well, be sure no dry clumps are hiding in the batter. Take hot skillet out of the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Bake in hot oven for about 10 minutes then reduce heat to about 350F and bake about 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and let finish baking. It should be done when cracks appear in top and sides let loose from pan. You can check with a metal tester or tooth pick to be sure it comes out clean. You can also check with thermometer by inserting into the center. It should be done around 185F to 210F depending on how done you like it. Remove pan from oven, place on a cooling rack, and let it cool down for about 10 minutes before cutting. It will still be very hot so be careful!

Enjoy! and see below the nutritional label I try to include with all of my recipes. I use the free recipe calculator on VeryWellFit, check them out by clicking on the nutritional label below.

Five Bean, Sweet Rice, and Dates Congee

This recipe is inspired by Regine’s recipe shown on a video she made on her channel Asian Garden 2 Table.

I don’t know if I made exactly like her recipe because I don’t know if she used sweet rice but that’s what I used. This recipe made 7 cups and I consider a serving 1/2 cup so that is what the nutrition label below is based on. I soaked all the legumes overnight, then rinsed well next morning and put in a big pot and covered with water. Then I washed the rice in running water using a big strainer. I added to the pot with beans, stirred it well then added more water to cover beans and rice. I then added in the dates that I chopped up into small slices. I stirred in well. I cooked on medium low heat stirring often for about 1 hour. I added water as needed to keep it soupy.

Ingredients

1/4 cup green mung bean

1/4 cup adjuki red bean

1/4 cup soybean

1/4 cup raw whole peanut

1/4 cup black bean

1/2 cup sweet rice

7 dates

Below is the nutrition label that I made on the website Verywellfit.com 

I had trouble getting the website to recognize ingredients and quantities for some strange reason. You can check it out yourself for recipes you want to know the calories and such of.

Allspice Almond Oatmeal Cookie

In my last post I shared my own original recipe for Almond Oatmeal Coconut Cookies. I mentioned in that post that I was going to try making a variation of that cookie without the coconut. I did it and here is the recipe below.

Here is a picture of these cookies that I baked today.

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal (I use the wet ground pulp from making almond milk)

1-1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup bran

1 Tbsp ground Allspice

1 flax egg (see recipe below)

This recipe nutrition label below makes 2-1/2 cups, each cookie is 1/8 cup of batter.

Flax egg: 1 tbsp flax seed meal and 3 tbsp water, mix together in small bowl and let set to gel, about 10 minutes.

Mix together the almond meal and all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

After flax egg has gelled, add the wet ingredients to that bowl and mix well.

Add the flax egg mixture into the dry mixture, let set a few minutes so oats and bran can absorb moisture from wet mixture then mix again and using a 1/8 cup measuring spoon place cookie batter onto prepared cookie sheet and bake at about 350F for about 20 minutes, rotate pan often if your oven has a hotspot,  turn off oven but leave the cookies in the oven for about 20 more minutes to continue baking with residual heat. Cookies should be golden brown with small cracks on top of cookies.

*NOTE

If you don’t have the wet almond meal from making almond milk and if you try using almond meal dry from the grocery store then you may need to add more liquid to make these moist. You can experiment to see what works, and be sure to let me know if you make this recipe, I’d love to hear how yours turned out.

 

Hello from Maggie’s Homestead, today I share my Almond Oatmeal Coconut Cookies recipe

I hope you enjoy making and eating these as much as I do. I made almond milk a couple days ago for this week and I kept the almond meal in refrigerator instead of freezing it. I usually measure and freeze it in 1 cup each containers. That way I always have it on hand for making these cookies as well as veggie burgers and other recipes.

I want to make these today but I don’t have enough coconut to make a batch; I’m not going to the store just for that so I’m thinking of trying without the coconut. I was thinking a little applesauce in the recipe might be good but may have to add more oats if I did that. I don’t have any applesauce in the pantry either though so won’t be trying that right now. I’m going shopping soon; my SSA retirement for September will be in my account soon and then I’ll pay bills and do my monthly shopping. I hope you enjoy these cookies and get creative making your own recipes. That’s how I came up with this recipe, I created it in July this year 2020. Happy baking!

I’ll have mine with a dark roast Italian coffee black.

Ingredients

1 cup almond meal (I use the wet ground pulp from making almond milk)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 cup bran

1 flax egg (see recipe below)

This recipe nutrition label below makes 2-1/2 cups, each cookie is 1/8 cup of batter.

Flax egg: 1 tbsp flaxseed meal and 3 tbsp water, mix together in small bowl and let set to gel, about 10 minutes.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

After flax egg has gelled, add the wet ingredients to that bowl and mix well.

Add the flax egg mixture into the dry mixture, let set a few minutes so oats and bran can absorb moisture from wet mixture then mix again and using a 1/8 cup measuring spoon place cookie batter onto prepared cookie sheet and bake at about 350F for about 20 minutes, rotate pan often if your oven has a hotspot,  turn off oven but leave the cookies in the oven for about 20 more minutes to continue baking with residual heat. Cookies should be golden brown with small cracks on top of cookies.

*NOTE

If you don’t have the wet almond meal from making almond milk and if you try using almond meal dry from the grocery store then you may need to add more liquid to make these moist. You can experiment to see what works, and be sure to let me know if you make this recipe, I’d love to hear how yours turned out.

Below the nutrition label is based on 20 cookies and is for one cookie.

My Homemade Granola

Hi from my homestead, I’m Maggie. I want to share my recipe for the Granola that I make. For both of these recipes you preheat oven to 425F, then while oven is preheating, mix together the oats, oil, and cinnamon. Spread the oats out on a pan lined with parchment baking paper, or if you don’t want to use parchment baking paper then just directly onto a pan that you can spread the oats mixture in a thin layer. Place in middle of the oven, turn off the oven and set timer for 5 minutes, at 5 minutes rotate pan another 1/4 way around and sort of poke the oats with a fork to slightly stir them around. Now wait another 5 minutes rotate another 1/4 way around, wait 5 more minutes, and rotate pan one more 1/4 turn so that the pan has been rotated all the way around and oats should be golden and soft. Remove from oven, and dump into large bowl while it’s hot, mix in the fruit and nuts and stir in well, then let cool completely, next place in a container for storage.   I keep mine in the refrigerator but it’s not necessary to refrigerate.

If you like lots of raisins or other dried fruit in your granola and not much oats the first recipe is for you. If you like more oats in your granola the 2nd recipe is for you.

Ingredients for Granola 1

3 cups old fashion rolled oats

1/2 cup oil (coconut or canola)

1/2 cup agave or maple syrup

3 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups mixed dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, craisins

1 cup broken pieces of pecan or walnuts

This nutrition label is based on using raisins, and maple syrup, and pecans, but I think other choice of fruit or nuts would be about the same calories and fat. The only thing that would make it different is if you added some sort of animal product because then there would be cholesterol. This recipe made 7 cups. The serving size for nutrition label is 1/2 cup serving. Also if you add salt then you would need to add that in to recipe at the http://www.verywell.com nutrition calculator. Click on the nutrition label to go to their website and make you own nutrition label for your own recipes.

Ingredients for Granola 2

6 cups old fashion rolled oats

1 cup oil (coconut or canola)

1 cup agave or maple syrup

3 tbsp cinnamon

2 cups mixed dried fruit such as raisins, cherries, craisins

1 cup broken pieces of pecan or walnuts

This nutrition label is based on using raisins, and maple syrup, and pecans, but I think other choice of fruit or nuts would be about the same calories and fat. The only thing that would make it different is if you added some sort of animal product because then there would be cholesterol. This recipe made 7 cups. The serving size for nutrition label is 1/2 cup serving. Also if you add salt then you would need to add that in to recipe at the http://www.verywell.com nutrition calculator. Click on the nutrition label to go to their website and make you own nutrition label for your own recipes.

Hello from Maggie’s Homestead; I share a recipe for My Savory Breakfast Patties

Hello Everyone! I hope you all are enjoying your August weather no matter where you are or what you may be doing! I’m enjoying being home on my little homestead. Last year at this time I certainly could not have imagined all that would happen in 2020. Last year in August I was still in the mode of preparing for selling my property! If you been following my blog or Instagram then you know that has been my goal for last few years. I am fortunate that I have a homestead to hunker down on and do some gardening, cooking, and enjoying my sweet old dogs Zoie and Terra who will be 15 years old December 5, 2020, and Tango who will be 11 years old next month in September. They are showing their age and it is hard to deal with at times but I love them and will try to do my best for them to make them comfortable as well as try to keep them enjoying life. I post often on Instagram, see my page here:  https://www.instagram.com/handcraftermaggie/  and you will find many pictures and videos of my sweet old dogs. You will also find pics and videos of my gardening efforts and my passion for plant based cooking.  I have been experimenting with lots of different recipes, as usual but this year it seems I’ve settled on a few that I been making regularly at least once a month, some once a week!  I decided to write this post and share with you one that is in my favorites list; this one is now a regular on my menu at least three times a week. Oats are an ingredient in most all of my breakfast patties and burger recipes. Oats actually do help reduce cholesterol levels in our blood, did you know that? Oats are a heart healthy food. Also important is the great versatility of oats because they can be an ingredient in savory dishes as well as in sweet treats. I like to know the calories, carbs, fat, sugar, protein, etc that is in my recipes; I want to share a website that I use to calculate the nutrition of my recipes, here it is https://www.verywellfit.com/recipe-nutrition-analyzer-4157076 

This recipe is my absolute all time favorite plant based breakfast patty! I am sorry to admit this but I don’t remember where I got the inspiration from. Usually I try different recipes by different cooks and tweak things here and there to suit my own taste buds. I usually write down the original website or cook’s name who inspired me so that I can credit them but this one I didn’t, or at least it is not notated on my recipe card that I wrote the final version of this recipe. If I run across notes someplace I will give credit for the inspiration later. It may be that my version is so completely different that the original idea that I decided not to note the glimmer of inspiration where ever I first got the idea. OK, now on to my recipe!  Let me say one more thing though, and that goes for all my recipes, if you don’t like an ingredient then don’t use it, be brave, substitute your own plant based ingredients and see what you come up with. Think of it as an experiment, the worst that will happen is you won’t like it; you can just toss it in your compost pile because it’s all plant based ingredients!

Here is three savory breakfast patties shown in frying pan with a baby Bella mushroom, and hash browned potatoes ready to plate up!

 

Savory Breakfast Patties
2 cups water
1 tbsp oil
2 Tbsp dried chopped onion
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sage dried powder
1 Tbsp parsley dried leaves
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper ground
¼ tsp red pepper ground

2 cups rolled old fashioned oats
½ cup ground almond pulp (wet ground almonds from making almond milk)

Mix the oats and almond pulp together, set aside. In large heavy bottom pot add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil, stir for a few minutes then add in the oats and almond meal, keep stirring, lower heat to low and stir constantly until the mixture is all mixed well and has thickened. This will take just a few minutes. Then set aside and cover the pan, let it cool, can refrigerate for later use.

This recipe makes 3 cups of mixture. I use 1/8 cup per patty so I get 24 patties from this recipe.

Form patties using 1/8 cup per patty, cook in a well greased hot black iron skillet over medium low heat until browned. I start out with pan medium high heat, brown lightly on both sides then lower heat to medium low and let patties cook slowly turning a few times until golden brown. When done the patty will spring back when poked lightly with finger. Technically this mixture is cooked when you stir it all together and cook a few minutes to thicken it but to transform a mushy gooey sticky mess into actual breakfast patties that have a texture similar to pork sausage then cooling, forming into patties, and frying is the finishing touch of the cooking process.

I like to form up all my patties and fry them then store some in refrigerator and the rest in the freezer.  At only 22 calories each and ZERO cholesterol these breakfast patties can actually be called healthy! The nutritional label does not include the oil to fry in. If you barely coat a hot iron skillet then it’s only trace but if you are like me a use a bit more then be sure to add in your oil calories. I like to fry these in peanut oil.

 

I will try to write some more posts soon with some of my other favorite recipes that I been making regularly. So if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog and if you are so inclined go ahead and subscribe, it’s free and the blog people will send you a message by email each time I post on my blog. I have a youtube channel but I rarely put up videos there. I keep saying I’m going to cobble together a bunch of the one minute videos that I post on Instagram and make one longer video to put up on youtube but I never get around to it. If you want to check out my youtube I did post a short video on a bean burger I make and it has the recipe in description area. Here it is Bean Burger recipe on my YouTube Channel  Subscribing on YouTube to my channel is also free and if you ring the bell they will notify you when I post a video.

 

July 2020 Updates and Announcements

My last post was in April 2020 which was about a month after I first became aware of the pandemic that was gripping the country. You can read that one here if you missed it. Now it is mid July and we all are still grappling with an ongoing pandemic. After the first phase of reopening in Florida where I live we saw a rise in cases but the percentage of positive was about the same as before, but when phase two began there was a tremendous spike and that is when the percentage tripled or maybe even quadrupled. What I mean by that is this for example, and these are not the data in Florida, I only use these numbers to illustrate my point but the percentages are about what we had during the times I mention because we were having around 3% positive for those tested but in phase two reopening it went up to about 12-1/2% the last time I ciphered it a few days ago. So, with that in mind, these numbers are only for example, when there were 10,000 tests and 300 positive cases recorded, then the percentage was 3%, and when there were 100,000 tests and there were 4000 positive cases then it was 4%, however in phase two I saw it jump up to about 12% positive cases of those 100,000 tested, which would be 12,000 positive cases. The government reaction was to re-close the bars when this spike occurred because contact tracing indicated that most of the positive cases had frequented bars, or at least that is what was reported in the local news. They allow the pubs that serve food to remain open with a stipulation, I believe they have to have shown 50% or more percentage of food to booze sales, but they had to have been doing that before the pandemic hit in order to qualify to remain open without losing their booze license. I’d love to go to my local micro brewery and enjoy a good cold freshly brewed ale and eat some sweet potato fries, but I haven’t and won’t during this pandemic, nor will I go to any restaurant, takeout or otherwise. I will only be eating food I prepare at home. There are lots of folks who want to go out to eat, they should be able to and I’m happy for them but I won’t be doing it myself any time soon. I was thinking that if government would pass some emergency measures to make exceptions to help many of the small bars that want to expand to having a grill and serving food it could make the difference between them surviving this pandemic or going out of business. Many of these small locally owned bars are locally owned small businesses that support the owner’s family as well as all of their employees families. Most everyone loves a grilled burger, sausage, and chicken, yes? And who doesn’t like some sides of potato logs, sweet potato fries, or other such fare? Even I occasionally indulge or I would if not for this pandemic; I will again after the pandemic is behind us, but that may be a couple years from now and I hope that my favorite brew pubs don’t go out of business in the meantime.

Before March 2020, before the pandemic hit me at home, all I could think about was selling my property so that I could be debt free, pay cash for rural land, and do some traveling. I’m not sure when it happened but sometime in the last few months I decided I was very fortunate and blessed to still be here on my homestead because I wouldn’t want to be out looking for a place to buy or doing any traveling during this pandemic. I decided that I was still here by divine intervention or perhaps just by fate or lucky coincidence, but no matter how it came to be, I sure am glad I am still here. I do want to sell this place but for now I will hunker down, grow a huge garden, work on sorting things out while keeping an eye on the not too distant future when the pandemic is over and the economy is recovered, then perhaps another commercial enterprise will make me an even better offer than the one I turned down a year or so ago.

If you read this because you follow me here on my blog thanks for being a subscriber! I posted it on Facebook, yes I said Facebook… I know… don’t remind me… but for now I am keeping the page activated because it benefits me for some family correspondence, and for local news and gardening information. I also posted on my Instagram page, so if you came over to my blog from Instagram or from Facebook, WELCOME! I don’t post very often these day but if you subscribe to my blog you will be notified when I do post on this blog. If you haven’t visited my Facebook or Instagram pages here are the links to those pages: Facebook and Instagram.

Here in northwest Florida it’s humid, muggy, buggie, and a mosquito lagoon at my homestead in the Florida panhandle. It is not a pleasant time of year but this year I find comfort in planning my fall garden. It’s been many years since I’ve had a big vegetable garden because for many years now I been in the selling my property mode and so I wasn’t wanting to plant a crop that the commercial buyer would bulldoze into the ground along with my mobile home, garage, and the old house. That is what Dollar General was intending to do if I would have sold to them. Instead my neighbor sold to them and I watched the demolition crew knock down the concrete block building that had been a feed store, and then they proceeded to rip out a couple acres of thick old growth trees that have been there since long before I bought my place in 1993. They knocked the trees over with a large machine then they hoisted the trees into huge big dump trucks and I reckon they hauled to the dump! I was heartbroken to see this happen; I thought they would have at least logged the trees out for the lumber mill! I was really shocked at the way they devastated the land and trees over there across the road and turned it into a parking lot! That all happened last spring and summer, around August last year is when they opened the new Dollar General store across the road from me. It’s been non-stop traffic going in and out all day and night. Many in the area apparently don’t have vehicles or don’t have a driver’s license because they ride down the ditch on everything from a four-wheeler to a Kubota tractor!  My homestead is on a corner of a major highway and a county road, the Dollar General is across from me on the County Road. People come from both directions, from the state highway and from the other end of the county road; many of the off road vehicles have worn a path across nearly 1/2 acre of my 2-1/3 acre property at that corner. No one paid any attention to the no trespassing signs so I finally put up a fence, more about that later.

I’m looking forward to this Autumn, it starts getting cooler and less mosquitoes in September, we begin to have some cool nights again as Fall approaches. Fall is my favorite time of year in Florida, I also enjoy early Springtime; both times of year my homestead is blissfully mosquito-less and many pests just don’t seem to be as bad as they are in the summer. Summer in Florida is the worst season for me. Winter is mild here but we still get freezing weather, sometimes down to 18 degrees Fahrenheit but I much prefer it to summer. Winter is the best time for my sweet old dogs, they suffer from old age maladies and breathing for them is much easier when the temps are in the 40s, 50s, and low 60s. They seem to turn into younger versions of themselves when it’s cool weather because they have pharyngeal paralysis so it’s much harder for them to breath in hot humid weather because as you may know dogs don’t sweat like humans, they pant to cool off and because their throat is partially paralyzed they could suffocate trying to breath while panting heavily. My Zoie sounds like she’s having an asthma attack, gasping for breath from just a little exertion when it’s hot. The Veterinarian told me they need to be kept cool, he said no warmer that 68 degrees Fahrenheit. He said to limit their outdoor activity to 10 minutes out to potty and back inside. He warned me if I’m not very careful with Zoie this summer she could die. Both the girls, Zoie and Terra are getting down in the hips, it’s hard for them to stand in one spot for long and Zoie has great difficulty getting up and down. They are sisters born in same litter, they are mix. Their mama was a Labrador and daddy was a golden retriever. Zoie and Terra will be 15 years old this December 5, 2020. I’ve raised them from pups, they are my faithful companions and I cherish my time with them. Summer here is very humid, rainy and with lots of mosquitoes around my homestead. I have to wear long sleeves, gloves, pants, socks and boot to keep from getting bit up. I actually have worn a bee keeper net hat before while working in the yard! I don’t like to wear bug spray on my skin, it worries me that one of my dogs may ingest it while giving me a loving lick when I go inside so I usually just cover up with light cotton clothing. I don’t want to spray poison that would kill mosquitoes because I don’t want to kill the beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, black soldier flies, and all the other helpful critters. I don’t mind the heat but I detest biting bugs and I’m not fond of humidity but I can put up with that if not for the mosquitoes! So thinking about my fall garden, planning the layout of the garden in an area of my property that I been letting rest for several years is helping get me through this part of summer. I’m actually reclaiming much of the area where the local nincompoops wore a path with their four wheelers, riding lawn mowers, and tractor! I also had many large trucks with trailers parking there! And when they were building the Dollar General that crew thought my place was their parking lot! I have a cheap rickety fence up for now it seems to be getting the message across finally. They have only ran into it a couple times in the dark but now they know it’s there so they are wearing a new path up and over the driveway culvert. I put up the flags along the top of the fence to help night drivers see the fence is there, more about that later.

tomato and pepper plants

This was taken June 16, 2020

This was taken July 12, 2020. The tomato and pepper plants are triple the size they were a month ago but tomatoes have not brought on any fruit yet, the peppers have lots of peppers on the plants. I’ve only lost two plants to early blight, I pulled them out so that they wouldn’t infect the other tomato plants and so far none of the others have got it. I’ve been picking of mini horn worms and so that prompted me to spray with BT. The early blight may have been caused by the frog jumpers that were present a couple weeks ago but I spread with Neem oil and pulled out the two blighted plants. I haven’t had anymore problems with that disease but still no tomatoes, the blooms come on beautifully but then they dry up, turn brown and drop off. I will let them grow and run their course this year to see what they may do eventually. I will take suckers off and transplant them for my fall garden and see how they do.

I have been tending to my small garden that I started from seed this year but they aren’t doing as well as they would out in more direct sun. I planted several heirloom varieties of tomatoes and peppers. I also had volunteers come up of two different sweet potato varieties that I grew last year. I have a few different bean varieties growing too. All of them are planted in an area that is shady much of the day with maybe 4 hours direct sun in morning on the tomatoes and peppers but the sweet potatoes only get dappled light through the tree canopy. I have oak trees that are hundreds of years old in my back yard outside the kitchen door where I have this small garden area this year. I have been busily preparing my property for putting in a very large garden area out in the field where I had a garden many years ago. I put up fence to keep out the trespassing, four wheeling, trailer driving, knuckleheads that were using my property as if it were a public ride-share parking driveway. I bought some flag banners and as I mentioned earlier, I attached the flags to the top of the fencing to alert off-road drivers that the fence is there. The flags look very festive and are usually cheerfully flapping in the wind. I had a plant nursery here back in the mid 1990’s. Also a previous owner had a farm stand at the highway where they sold the vegetables and plants that they grew on this property. My property is zoned agricultural and I am registered with the state of Florida as a plant nursery so I can sell plants. I pay for my license every year but most years I don’t sell many plants, mostly just the ones that are in the ground that have multiplied. I stuck them in various areas around the property to root and multiply which they have done in most areas. I need to get into those areas to pot up some of the plants so I can plant more out front now that I have the fence up I can start transplanting many of the ones I will be selling, now that no more motorized traffic will drive over the top of them. They killed my bottle brush tree and gardenia bush out there by driving over it, it looks as though they did donuts around it and ripped it out of the ground then came back and ran over it. I need to clear out all the uninvited plants that I don’t want growing on my property such as the thorny Smilax, and the Virginia Creeper. I’m not sure of the variety of Smilax I have but I’d like to find out because the tuber can be dried to make the drink sarsaparilla. The article with https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mv130 explains the varieties and clears up the myth that sarsaparilla comes from the sassafras tree, which is doesn’t. The Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) vines are woody, they can be used to make baskets, rope, and many other useful items. I have a lot of it wound up dried in my garage to make baskets with. Here are some links about this plant which is actually grown by many people as ground cover but it is very invasive and some authorities claim the berries are extremely toxic. https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_paqu2.pdf and https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/parthenocissus-quinquefolia/  and  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp454

I will post again all about the garden I will be putting in out in the field. Years back when I had the plant nursery over at the old house, I had a lean-to type greenhouse on the front of the old house that actually helped heat the house during the winter. I had dreams back then of having a thriving roadside farm stand and even thought about having a gift shop and garden center but instead I accepted a job in the commercial construction industry which required me to travel extensively. I did enjoy it most of the time but I looked forward to when I could retire. I’m retired now and my plan was to sell this place to be able to take the equity from selling to pay cash for a small rural homestead and be able to travel in a homemade camper that I want to build. I hope that I can still do that after the pandemic is over but for now I’m thinking maybe I could get a small farm stand going this fall or at least by springtime 2021 and that may peak some interest in a different use potential for a commercial investor because being next door to the Dollar General seems like a perfect place for a garden center that also had a farmer’s market on the weekends! There not anything like that out here in this area and I think people would shop it.

If you don’t know, I eat mostly plant-based diet so I eat loads of vegetable, grains, and fruit. I make my own nut and bean milk and cheese that is plant-based. I enjoy cooking and especially I enjoy inventing new recipes. I have been on a veggie, nut, and bean burger kick lately; I have developed some doozies of recipes that I will share but not in this post, this post is way longer than I had intended. I have also have been making breakfast patties that are in the style of a sausage patty but mine are made with oats instead of pork. I post pictures and video on Instagram that auto-share over to my Facebook page, and I post the recipes there sometimes. I been saying I’m going to post about the recipes and still haven’t but I will, just not this time.

Please keep my sweet old dogs Zoie and Terra in your prayers, I do my best to make them comfortable and happy, the sweet old dears, I cherish my time with them, they will be 15 years old this Dec 5, 2020; I’ve raised them from pups, they have been my faithful companions all these years. Tango is still with me, he is a sweet old boy. He will be 11 years old in September. For those of you reading this who don’t know, I was his dog sitter from about 2012 to 2017 then the owner abandoned him, I been caring for him the best I can and he is part of my family.

Stay Tuned! Until then, Stay Safe, and Healthy!