Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Gems

At this time of the year I get hungry for just about anything made with pumpkin.
These cupcakes taste of fall and are delicious, light and fluffy. They have a delicate pumpkin flavor and if you like them spicier add more cinnamon.

Pumpkin Gems

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
Mix all ingredients together. Fill paper lined cupcake pans 2/3 full. 
 Bake 20-25 minutes at 350.
Cool then frost with Cream Cheese frosting or a Buttercream frosting.
Sometimes I sprinkle some sanding sugar on these.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Michigan Flowers

I took a lot of flower photos when I was in Michigan last month and decided to put them together in their own post.
I don't have names for all the flowers, but maybe I'll add them as I find out what they are.

Black-Eyed Susans

Autumn Joy Sedum

Flowers from a dogwood. Not sure which species. Maybe Red-Osier?

I love the zoomed in details of this flower.

And they are followed by these berries.

This Monarch Butterfly had just hatched out of it's chrysalis.

Monarchs that hatch at this time of the year are the 4th generation. These are the butterflies that will migrate south over 2000 miles for the winter to either Mexico or southern California.

I like these dwarf zinnas. The colors are so vibrant!

Butterfly Bush

These hibiscus are often referred to as dinner-plate hibiscus due to the size of it's blooms. This one was huge!!

This one had very crepe-paper thin petals. Just beautiful.

Joe Pye Weed


Some fall color showing at the end of August.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Bubble Pizza

Here is a recipe that combines all the traditional flavors of pizza in a casserole. You can easily adapt this to your liking by changing the ingredients. Some suggestions would be sausage or ham. You could add olives which I hate. Anything you like on a pizza.

Bubble Pizza

2  (7 ounce) packages refrigerated buttermilk biscuits  
1 lb. hamburger browned and drained  
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1 small onion chopped
1 can sliced mushrooms drained opt.
2 cups pizza sauce
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced pepperoni (any amount)
parmesan cheese
1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 13 x 9 inch pan.
3. After my hamburger is fried and drained I like to add my onions and peppers to the meat and fry a little more or you can saute them in a little butter separately. I just don't like them added raw.
4. Add pizza sauce to the above mixture. Also add mushrooms if you are including those.
5. Cut each biscuit into 4 or 6 even pieces with kitchen shears. I like 6.
6. Arrange half (1 tube) in the bottom of greased baking dish. It will not cover the bottom.
7. Spread half of the sauce on top of the biscuits.
8. Top with the full amount of pepperoni. However much you want.
9. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese on top of the pepperoni.
10. Repeat the layers, remaining biscuits, sauce, and cheese.
11. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese on top.
12. Bake at 350 for  25-30 min. or golden brown and biscuits are done.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pizza Sauce

I know the tomato season is nearing the end but I'm still getting some so I made pizza sauce. I must say this is the best pizza sauce I ever made!!
 Well, I confess it's the first pizza sauce I ever made but it turned out delicious. I got this recipe from a friend from church. Thanks Jean. This is actually half of the recipe and made 19 pints.

Pizza Sauce

7 quarts tomato juice
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsp onion salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil
1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
1/4 cup salt
1/2 cup oil
1/2 of a # 10 can tomato paste or 6 cups
Heat juice. Add seasonings oil and paste. Bring to a slow boil. Fill hot jars and cold pack for 15 min. in pint jars.

printable recipe

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Late Summer Blooms

Summer is winding down and Fall is on it's way... I can't believe I'm doing fall clean-up already. It's been such a short summer and not a great gardening year. Too wet and cold then hot and dry. It sure has been a year of extremes!

I took these pictures last week before a round of cold wet weather came through, but have not had internet service for a few days. So I'm a few days behind getting this posted.

These zinnas got huge! I think those tallest ones were about 6 ft. They make great cutting flowers too.



Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera Daisy is blooming nicer now than it has all summer. I counted at least 9 blooms on this plant, more than it had all summer total! What's up with that? This pot has overwintered in the garage the last two winters.

Orange Cosmos
I love these cosmos!! I save the seed and scatter them in the spring. They are just so cheery and happy.

Japanese Anemone
White Phlox

The Hydrangea's are turning into their beautiful fall colors.

A few Perennial Geraniums bloom here and there.

Verbena Bonariensis
 These are a butterfly magnet!!! And such a prolific reseeder. I pull out more of these than I keep. I like just a few growing in and among my other perennials.

Impatiens are so common but I still like them. This year I planted my hypertufa troughs full of them and lined them up on the front porch. They got morning sun and they did very well there. I think I will do this again next year.

I want to do a tutorial on making hypertufa troughs next year.

Phlox and Rudbeckia

The Annabelle Hydrangea is a beautiful plant with massive clusters of flowers.This  plant is a real trooper and just thrives in about any kind of weather. The blooms are white in the summer and turn this pretty color green in the fall. If I had one complaint it would be the blooms can get so heavy they droop to the ground. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Michigan Trip Final Day

Our last day is here and its time to load up and go home, but first...

we have one final stop on the itinerary. Mac Wood's Dune Ride.

This is a great way to see the dunes, Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, and to learn a little history about the formation of dunes.

The dunes got started by clear cutting  the timber off the land bordering Lake Michigan in the 1800’s, the strong winds off of the lake quickly revealed the sand dunes. Eventually burying most of the tree stumps and light soils and underbrush that once covered them. Eventually the trees will take back the sand dunes which have also been stabilized by the planting of sea oats and grasses.

The ride is about 40 minutes and we follow a 7 mile trail on the sand dunes and a stop at Silver Lake and Lake Michigan for about 5 minutes. The ride is mild and not at all dangerous. In fact I kept hoping they would "kick it up a notch".

Uh-Oh that had to hurt!

This is Silver Lake. The dunes are expanding further and further all the time and the lake is getting smaller and some houses have already been covered by sand. One guy has removed sand 3 or 4 times this year alone to keep his cottage from being buried.

These poplar trees are estimated to be about 60 feet tall and only 15 feet is still above the sand level.
The poplar trees are survivors though and can continue to grow higher and develop new root systems even as they get buried deeper each year by the dunes.

Here we are at Lake Michigan and stop to take some pictures.

Group 1

Group 2

Our drivers Chris and Weasie.

And one more group shot.

One of our guides mentioned a lighthouse located close by, so we thought we might as well see one more.

This lighthouse was built in 1873-1874 and stands 107 feet tall.

Originally named Petite Pointe Au Sable. The name was changed in 1910 to Little Sable Point Lighthouse, meaning "little point of sand," representing its location which juts into Lake Michigan.

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

 We climbed 139 steps up to the cast iron walkway and...

checked out the views over Lake Michigan.

Well, the bus is waiting and unfortunately it's time to go home. We had such a great time and I am looking forward to next years trip when we head to West Virginia.