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What are you growing and cooking?

Tia

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Last year, the garden lizards developed a taste for my tomatoes and as soon as one would get ripe they would chew on it. This year I am putting fruit bags around the tomatoes to see if this protects them from the lizards and worms. This is probably too much effort if you have a full-size garden, but I just have 6 big tomato bushes in pots, so it's doable for me. This Early Girl bush has 17 bags on it with 1-4 tomatoes in each bag:
Where did you get the garden bags , amazon or ??
 

DeniseM

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DeniseM

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It was 97º today (it's 97º right now at 6:23 pm) - first hot day of the year! I got up early and watered everything real well, put some mulch under the tomatoes and transplanted some lettuce into a cooler spot. I also pitted and froze the cherries I picked a few days ago, and now my hands look like I murdered someone! I used a metal straw to pit the cherries and that was fast and easy. The cherries will go into an apple-cherry oatmeal-crust crumble next week for Rod. Since he had open heart surgery, I'm trying to make him healthier desserts so he will stay away from the junky stuff. He has a sweet tooth!
 
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DeniseM

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We had a beautiful visitor to the garden this morning, & everything seems to have recovered from the hot day yesterday. However, the high is supposed to be 104º today, so it's going to be another scorcher! For these extra hot days, I have a shade cloth attached to a frame above my hottest raised bed, which I can unfurl and tie down during the hottest part of the day.

Screenshot 2024-06-05 at 8.10.42 AM.png
 

DeniseM

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Growing: Today's high is only 89º (more than 10 degrees cooler than the last several days) so I fertilized my larger raised bed and pinched back the peppers in the hope that they will get bushier and we will have a larger crop. I also tied up the cucumbers to the trellis. I also found the big cabbage looper that has been terrorizing my lettuce and he went to recycling can heaven!

Cooking: I made this for dinner and it was a big hit:

Instant Pot Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken

Ingredients

• 2 pounds chicken tenders, frozen or fresh [I used 3 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs]
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
• 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
[I substituted 3 T. of my homemade low-salt taco seasoning for the 8 seasonings above]
• 1 cup mild salsa verde [I used a 10 oz. can of med. heat green enchilada sauce]
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice [lemon juice]

Instructions
1 Add the chicken and oil into the Instant Pot. Stir to coat the chicken in the oil. Then add in the chili powder, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin and black pepper. Toss to coat the chicken in the seasonings.
2 Pour the lime juice into the pot and stir. Dump the salsa verde and honey on top of the chicken.
3 Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 4 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up let the pot sit for 10 minutes then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid. [I did a natural release]
4 Use tongs to place the chicken on a platter. Then turn the Instant Pot to the saute setting and let the juices boil and reduce down for 10 minutes. You don’t need to stir. Turn off the Instant Pot and then stir the chicken back into the pot and coat the chicken with the juices. [I shredded the chicken for tacos and then put it back in the reduced sauce.]

Served with flour tortillas, homemade saucy refried *beans, Mexican rice, and green salad.

*Since it is so fast and easy to cook beans in an instant pot, I have stopped buying canned beans. I like to cook up a big pot full and freeze them in 2 cup portions to use in place of canned beans: healthier, tastier and a lot cheaper! I've also found that cooking beans thoroughly in the IP makes them easier to digest and therefore, less gassy to eat!
 
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JoeWilly

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Growing: Today's high is only 89º (more than 10 degrees cooler than the last several days) so I fertilized my larger raised bed and pinched back the peppers in the hope that they will get bushier and we will have a larger crop. I also tied up the cucumbers to the trellis. I also found the big cabbage looper that has been terrorizing my lettuce and he went to recycling can heaven!

Cooking: I made this for dinner and it was a big hit:

Instant Pot Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken

Ingredients

• 2 pounds chicken tenders, frozen or fresh [I used 3 lb. boneless/skinless chicken thighs]
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
• 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
[I substituted 3 T. of my homemade low-salt taco seasoning for the 8 seasonings above]
• 1 cup mild salsa verde [I used a 10 oz. can of med. heat green enchilada sauce]
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice [lemon juice]

Instructions
1 Add the chicken and oil into the Instant Pot. Stir to coat the chicken in the oil. Then add in the chili powder, kosher salt, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin and black pepper. Toss to coat the chicken in the seasonings.
2 Pour the lime juice into the pot and stir. Dump the salsa verde and honey on top of the chicken.
3 Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 4 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up let the pot sit for 10 minutes then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid. [I did a natural release]
4 Use tongs to place the chicken on a platter. Then turn the Instant Pot to the saute setting and let the juices boil and reduce down for 10 minutes. You don’t need to stir. Turn off the Instant Pot and then stir the chicken back into the pot and coat the chicken with the juices. [I shredded the chicken for tacos and then put it back in the reduced sauce.]

Served with flour tortillas, homemade saucy refried *beans, Mexican rice, and green salad.

*Since it is so fast and easy to cook beans in an instant pot, I have stopped buying canned beans. I like to cook up a big pot full and freeze them in 2 cup portions to use in place of canned beans: healthier, tastier and a lot cheaper! I've also found that cooking beans thoroughly in the IP makes them easier to digest and therefore, less gassy to eat!
Hi Denise,
Did you use frozen or fresh boneless chicken thighs?
 

DeniseM

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The recipe said you could use either frozen or fresh, but I thawed them out in the fridge over night. Since the cooking time was only 4 min. I let them stay in the pot for the full natural release time to make sure they were good and done, and soft enough to shred for tacos.
 

JoeWilly

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The recipe said you could use either frozen or fresh, but I thawed them out in the fridge over night. Since the cooking time was only 4 min. I let them stay in the pot for the full natural release time to make sure they were good and done, and soft enough to shred for tacos.
Thanks - I thought that but wanted to make sure. I've never used our Instant Pot.
 

DeniseM

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I used the Instant Pot for everything like stew, beans, many casseroles, hard boiled eggs, roasts, batches of chicken to shred and put in the freezer for casseroles, etc. I love it!
 

Panina

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I have a mango tree, lemon tree, banana tree and a small field of pineapples. The only thing growing is one pineapple. By now we would have 100's of mangoes, not one has grown. It looks like it will skip this year due to the excessive hot weather that came early on this year.
 

DeniseM

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Growing: The strawberries still aren't blooming - I think it's too hot. :( Tonight, when it's cooler I'm going to spray a Neem oil solution for white fly & powdery mildew, and a BT solution for cabbage loopers.

Cooking: It was supposed to be cooler today so I made ham and beans, cornbread muffins, and 2 cherry-apple crumbles (1 for the freezer.) Now, Rod really shouldn't be eating ham on a low-salt diet, (but he insisted) so I eliminated the rest of the salt from the recipe, and diced the ham up small, so a small amount would seem like a lot of ham. Giving in and making the beans was the lesser of 2 evils, because Rod can't cook (although he thinks he can) and lord knows what he would have come up with on his own. Then he announced that he was also going to have ham on his sandwiches this week, but I expected that and told him that I already put the rest of the ham in the freezer (which I had.) :LOL:

I also took the leftover Instant Pot Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken and used it to make enchiladas, which I put in the freezer.

Screenshot 2024-06-12 at 6.27.37 PM.png
Screenshot 2024-06-12 at 6.27.57 PM.png
Screenshot 2024-06-12 at 6.27.48 PM.png
 
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JoeWilly

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I used the Instant Pot for everything like stew, beans, many casseroles, hard boiled eggs, roasts, batches of chicken to shred and put in the freezer for casseroles, etc. I love it!
I made the recipe you posted for the Instant Pot Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken. It was good but mine had too much liquid as I only had about 2 1/2 lbs. of chicken. Next time I'll decrease the sauce or use more chicken. Maybe I was a little nervous as that was the first time I used the Instant Pot, but I'm not sold on it just yet. By the time it comes to pressure, releases pressure, etc. it seems like I could have baked the chicken in the oven. I'll try using it again and see if I if like it. I will admit, it was easy to use.
 

Chrispee

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Awesome to see what everybody is growing and cooking! We just finished construction of our house this winter so it’s our first season growing here. We built a raised planter that spans the entire length of our house and are growing blueberries, strawberries, figs, raspberries, rhubarb, peaches, apples, pears, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, bay leaves, garlic, lovage, and tea. Bit of a crapshoot the first year but things are coming along nicely.



IMG_5348.jpeg


IMG_5349.jpeg
 

DeniseM

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I made the recipe you posted for the Instant Pot Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken. It was good but mine had too much liquid as I only had about 2 1/2 lbs. of chicken. Next time I'll decrease the sauce or use more chicken. Maybe I was a little nervous as that was the first time I used the Instant Pot, but I'm not sold on it just yet. By the time it comes to pressure, releases pressure, etc. it seems like I could have baked the chicken in the oven. I'll try using it again and see if I if like it. I will admit, it was easy to use.
Good job! It will get easier once you become accustom to the controls + it doesn't heat your kitchen up in the summer like the oven does.

Question: After you removed the chicken, did you push the Saute button and let the liquid boil 10 min. to reduce the sauce? It does make a lot of sauce, which would be perfect over rice or noodles.
 
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DeniseM

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JoeWilly

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Good job! It will get easier once you become accustom to the controls + it doesn't heat your kitchen up in the summer like the oven does.

Question: After you removed the chicken, did you push the Saute button and let the liquid boil 10 min. to reduce the sauce? It does make a lot of sauce, which would be perfect over rice or noodles.
Yes, I did push the saute button. My husband said this would be good over rice.
 

DeniseM

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I've been hit with blossom end rot, which is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil.

Clarification: my tomatoes have blossom end rot - NOT ME! :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

A youtube gardener recommended a solution of Tums (calcium carbonate) and water to deliver calcium to the plant quickly. I'm going to try it right now!

Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 4.36.40 PM.png
 

Tia

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I've been putting in crushed up egg shells into my little garden patch
 

DeniseM

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This is what I did:
1. I dissolved 9 (off-brand) Tums in tall glasses of water - 1 glass/9 Tums for each tomato.
2. After the the Tums were dissolved, I poured the water/Tums solution from 1 glass into a 1/2 gallon pitcher, filled it with tap water, and stirred well
3. I then watered one tomato with the 1/2 gallon solution and then repeated with the other pots. In other words, I used 9 Tums in solution for each pot.
 
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DeniseM

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Tia - Eggs shells are a great source of calcium, that's a great idea, and I'm going to start doing it. Do allow the shells to dry before you use them?
 
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Tia

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Tia - Eggs shells are a great source of calcium, that's a great idea, and I'm going to start doing it. Do allow the shells to dry before you use them?
Yes I do leave them sit on a paper plate for a little while before crunching them up.
 

DeniseM

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My first tomatoes of the year!

Screenshot 2024-06-14 at 10.32.23 AM.png
 

Chrispee

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I'd LOVE to see pictures of you new house! Fabulous location!

I thought fulfilling your request would be easy but it turns out most of my pics of our house are of plumbing in the slab or unfinished trim. :ROFLMAO: Hopefully not hijacking the gardening thread but here are a few shots.

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Sandy VDH

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I'm growing my waitline and cooking nothing. Does that count.

Serious, living alone has made eating out less work than cooking. Given the size of portions in a lot of places I get 2 meals out of 1 purchase. I just had lunch out of my half eaten Chipotle Bowl that was last night's dinner.
 
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DeniseM

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@Chrispee - Your new home and the location are GORGEOUS!!!!
 
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