Fresh Broccoli Lasagna

I was craving lasagna yesterday but wanted it to be full of garden goodness, so turned it into broccoli lasagna by using our broccoli we froze and fresh tomato sauce.  This is super delicious.  I dare you to only eat 1 piece. 

Ingredients:
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
10 ounces of mozzarella cheese
20 ounces of frozen broccoli (thawed and chopped)
24 ounces fresh tomato sauce
12 lasagna noodles
cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook lasagna noodles per directions on the box.
Thaw your broccoli, pat dry so it’s not full of water, chop it up.
In bowl combine ricotta, broccoli, mozzarella.
Cover the bottom of your 9×13 pan with a light layer of sauce.
Build lasagna: Noodles, Tomato Sauce, Cheese/Broccoli mixture.
Repeat to the top.
On the top layer of noodles, put sauce and a light layer of cheese mixture.
Spray cooking spray on foil and cover pan.
Bake for 40 minutes.

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I’m Not A Vampire. I think.

Officer: Miss, what is in your freezer?
Pamela: Officer, I swear those bags are filled with sauces.
Officer:  Really,  those bags are filled with sauces?
Pamela: Yes! They are filled with tomato sauces of all kinds.
Officer: Are you lying to me?
Pamela: No! Officer, you see, we have many tomatoes and I had to do something with them. So now I have tomato sauce for the rest of my life!
Officer: One more question..
Pamela: Yes, go ahead.
Officer: Will you make me dinner?
Pamela: But of course Officer!

My freezer is looking a bit suspicious.  Yesterday I added 10 more servings of tomato sauce to the army of ones already there.  I still have tomatoes on my counter but I’m not having a anxiety attack about it anymore.
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I’m proud because I actually got everything packed in.  It only took me rearranging everything 4 times at 2AM on a Saturday night to do this.
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Green Pepper Plants

Our green peppers are doing good.  I’m always amazed by how many peppers 2 plants can grow. 
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I’m craving stuffed peppers so tomorrow I’m going to pull the red one I’ve been saving up. This guy is big, we’re talking wrap both of your hands around it. Isn’t it beautiful?
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I spotted many new baby peppers starting to grow, we’ll have plenty more peppers throughout the next few months!
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Perfect Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie.  I just don’t love it, I LOVE it.  Thanksgiving to me means pumpkin pie.  It’s really the only time of the year I buy a full pie and eat the entire thing. Ok, I lied about that part, I do it more than once a year.  So with us picking so many pumpkins from our garden, I decided  to make my first ever pumpkin pie from scratch.  From seed to pollinating to pulling to baking – this is completely made out of love.  I can’t get over how good this tastes, how when you first bite in you realize the freshness of this.  It’s really extraordinary.  It’s almost all gone too.

I used this recipe here, but instead I used fresh pumpkin.  If you can do this, I would really go for it, it’s such a special taste.
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Full walk through behind the cut.

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Storm Is Coming..

There is a big storm heading our way. We just spent the last 2 hours in the garden wrapping fabric, moving containers, giving kisses to the soy beans.
This is coming our way:
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This is how it looked when we first got to the roof:
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Then the sun went away and everything got wrapped up:
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The tomatoes get tied to the bars so they stay in place:
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We wrap them up as good as we can, but they’re so tall:
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Wind Blocker Fabric, you are our hero:
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The soy beans got moved completely into a cage as there was no protection for them:
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Not much we can do besides that but just hope it isn’t that bad or misses us.. stay safe garden.
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Update Edit: Everything is ok! HUGS!

Cat Stories

Hey Mom, how are you doing? Just sitting with my paws over the edge.  It’s comfy.
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Boy, am I tired!
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Can I get a kiss?
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Where’s Xanadu? Oh there she is..
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Let me lay on a desk and mess all your documents up, it’s totally ok.
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I have a nice pink belly, would you like to rub it?
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Why is everyone sleeping behind me?
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Ok, I guess I will sleep too..
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When you are ready for bed, I’ll be here waiting for you with my paws crossed like a gentleman.
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Garden Fresh Italian Tomato Sauce

I have been living by 2 tomato sauce recipes this summer – this one – and the one below.  Today I made 128 oz of this tomato sauce, I need a new freezer.  Please be careful when opening my freezer, blocks of tomato sauce could fall out and break your toes.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 
This sauce is pretty amazing.  When I tasted it I was blown away as it’s richness, thickness and freshness.  It tastes expensive.  It tastes like magic.  You will swoon.  You will eat it by the spoonful.  It’s real good.

Ingredients:
3.5 pounds of fresh tomatoes chopped– please make sure to skin and deseed them
7 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
6 oz tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Skin and deseed your tomatoes, chop them up into quarter pieces.
Over medium heat add your olive oil to a pan.  Add garlic, sauté.
Stir in tomatoes, salt, sugar and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce to low and simmer for 90 minutes.
Stir in paste, basil and pepper. 
Simmer for 30 more minutes.
Remove bay leaf before eating/storing.

This freezes great in bags, I like to separate it into individual dinner servings (2 cups).

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More pictures behind the cut.

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Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I just baked pies, roasted seeds and simmered sauces for the past few hours.  Honestly, I’m exhausted.  I’m going to escape to the couch with a glass of ice water and a handful of seeds soon, but first here’s a roasted pumpkin seed recipe.  Use this for your summer pumpkins or when October comes, you’ll be set.  Either way, these little guys are delicious and a great snack.  I like them on top of soup too. :)

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Full recipe behind the cut.

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It’s raining tomatoes, Hallelujah

This is our harvest today.  Oh my, oh my!  I googled while picking tomatoes “Is it possible to overdose on tomatoes?”  I was completely serious. 
So for that, I will share these lyrics, with a few changes.

God bless Mother Nature
She’s a single woman too
She took on the heavens
And she did what she had to do
She fought every angel
She rearranged the sky
So that each and every woman
Could find the perfect tomato
It’s raining tomatoes, Hallelujah
It’s raining tomatoes, Amen
It’s raining tomatoes, Hallelujah
It’s raining tomatoes, Amen

Ok, let’s begin..
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Cherry tomato time.
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More cherry tomatoes..
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Keep picking them kid..
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5 pounds of cherry tomatoes.
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Beef tomato time…
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Over 6 pounds of beef and roma tomatoes…
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With plenty more looking to turn red soon..
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Job well done tomato boss.
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Let’s pick a watermelon too.
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There’s more watermelons where that came from.  I love my mini melon roof patch.
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Throw some strawberries in there too.
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Ok, pick some corn too.
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You’re a beauty!
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You too!
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All of you are beautiful!
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Husks go directly into the compost…
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What a harvest today.
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Now what am I going to do?

Cat Door, Come On In

We have a cat door on our bedroom door.  We originally installed it to keep the air conditioning in so we could keep our door closed at night.  Xanadu had no problem going in and out, Brother either.  Essy doesn’t really go into the bedroom much but if needed she will go through that cat door at full speed so it shakes on its hinges.  FiFi Bofinkles though, she doesn’t really get cat doors, she doesn’t understand why she has to press her nose against something to open it so usually she just pounds on the door at night with her paws until I wake up, open the door, pick her up and insert her onto my pillow, followed by a nice love tap on the head which then causes her to close her eyes and curl her toes.

But that door broke.

It was installed for years, was kind of cheap plastic, and Xanadu and Brother fist fought on opposite sides of the door too much.  Plus Brother squeezed his big 14 pound body through that door so  many times I think it shortened the lifespan.  So that led to just a cat door frame with no actual door.

But that all changed today.  Let me introduce you to the TubbyKat Door.
This just arrived, lifestyle of a Maine Coon!
This cat door is for big cats up to 25 pounds.  That means Brother can grow some more and still fit in! This door is monster, it looks like a mack truck.   The best part is there is a magnet at the base, which means the flap door always closes after a kitty enters or leaves. 

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We just installed it and Xanadu was our first victim.  It took her a few minutes to wonder what was going on and how was she going to get in. She tried to ignore the cat door and just use her paws to open the door like a human would (her preferred method, she’s way too smart).   She could see us, we could see her.  Eventually she went through which caused us to clap and yell “hooray” which caused Xanadu to drop to the floor and look terrified.

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So we immediately left and Xanadu was like “What? I just got in and now you guys leave.  This isn’t funny.”  Eventually it took her so long to get out the door I had to bribe her with pieces of my ham sandwich.  She came out.

Brother has not tried it yet, although I’m sure smiles will ensue.

For The Love of a Pumpkin..

I love our pumpkins. I love them alot.  They are one of my garden favorites.  I have a dream where I have a entire field of pumpkins and everyday I go out and walk around them, patting each of them and then laying in the middle and telling them a story.  Then they all come alive and surround me, and we all hold hands and dance around.  It sorta sounds likes a cult, but I would totally be into a pumpkin cult.  I love pumpkins!
So with 4 pumpkins sitting on our counter, I decided it was time to get them baked and pureed, enjoying their seeds along the way.  I’m thinking pumpkin soup, pumpkin pasta, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin pie – anyone else have any pumpkin recipes they’d like to share?  I’d love to hear them!
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Hello pumpkin, look at you.
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You have the most beautiful insides I’ve ever seen.  (not a line I was expecting to say.. ever)
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But boy, is this the worst job ever. I think it’s worst than deshelling peas.
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After I separate the guts from the seeds, I will let them sit on a cookie sheet for 24 hours, this will make any of the guts that are left hard so it’s easy to separate.  Then I will bake the seeds and eat them all!