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Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners for 2017

Top 10 Christmas Gifts for Gardeners for 2017

December is upon us once again and it is time to start thinking about those on our Christmas lists! This list is not in any particular order and are all items I have used or I would love to have! If there is something you think I need to add to the list I want to hear from you!

The Top 10 Christmas Gifts for the gardener on your list on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

To kick off my new 2018 garden series Grow Your Own Food we will start with a fantastic Top 1o list of gifts that won’t break the bank for the gardener in your life. If you are the gardener in your family these are some great ideas you should have on your Christmas list.

 

Bee Houses

A Bee House is on the top 10 list for Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Perfect for the backyard to attract and house solitary bees that work tirelessly to pollinate. Solitary bees do not produce honey, live in colonies or have a queen, their main job is to pollinate the plants all around us from fruits and vegetables to the crops grown by farmers. Just one solitary bees activity is equivalent of up to 120 worker honeybees in the pollination it provides. Now that is a powerhouse pollinator that you want to attract to your yard!  A  Bee House is simply an artificial nesting structure that mason bees, and other solitary bees, can use to lay their eggs.

 

Gazing Balls

Gazing Balls are on the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

Gazing balls have a very long history and have been around since the 13th century first being made by Italian artisans using blown glass. Kings first displayed them in their gardens believing they held magical powers and they were thought to have brought prosperity and good luck to the owner. Over time homeowners would place the  globe near the front entrances to ward off bad things like disease, evil spirits and even ghosts. It was thought to keep witches away when placed near the door to the home, thinking witches would see their own reflection and thus be scared away. I may be a bit late to the gazing ball party and would love one of these as an addition to my yard!

 

Woodstock Chimes

Wood Stock Chimes are on the top 10 list of CHristmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

These are the most amazing windchimes I have ever heard and I cherish the set I was gifted. They truly are musical. (taken from their website- In 1979, musician and instrument designer Garry Kvistad founded Woodstock Percussion with a single great idea – to make the world’s best sounding windchime. He’s been creating his world-famous, musically-tuned Woodstock Chimes ever since. Today his company offers a unique variety of high-quality, affordable, musical gifts from around the world that inspire, entertain and bring pleasure to people of all ages.) Garry is behind the design, development and tuning of all Woodstock Chimes.

 

Mother Earth News

Mother Earth News is on the top 10 list for Christmas gifts for the gardener in you life on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Mother Earth News is the definitive gardening magazine that  provides wide-ranging, expert editorial coverage of organic foods, country living, green transportation, renewable energy, natural health and green building. Every issues is jam packed with topics that inspire, teach and cultivate the passion to live well! A must have subscription for anyone who loves to garden.

 

Berry Scoop

Berry Scoops are on the top 10 list of Christmas gits for gardeners on Nutmeg Disruped

 

 

If you have done any blueberry or saskatoon picking it can be an enjoyable but time consuming and tedious activity.  There is a better way! Let me introduce the berry scoop! It makes it easy to pick large amount of berries much quicker then hand picking individual berries. A must have for any berry enthusiast.

 

Mushroom Growing Kit

Mushroom kits are in the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

These kits are absolutely fantastic! In as quickly as 10 days you can grow and harvest a variety of fresh mushrooms right in the comfort of your own kitchen.  They are very easy to care for and it is quite amazing to watch your crop of mushrooms come in! These easy to grow mushroom kits are a must have for any mushroom lover.

Pruning shears

pruning shears are on the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

There is something to be said for a high quality set of pruning shears. These are a must have for any gardener! They make cutting a breeze from trimming branches on trees and shrubs to chopping up amendments for the compost pile or any task the requires cutting. A good set of sharp shears make the job quick and super easy.

 

Terrarium

Terrariums are on the top 10 list of Christmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Terrariums are a fantastic gift! Gardening under glass is  great way to bring nature indoors, The gardener in your life will be able to create an amazing zen garden that can be enjoyed year round for many years to come.

 

A Gardeners Tool Seat

The Gardeners Tool Seat in on the top 10 list of CHristmas gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

 

These are small portable fold up seats that also house all of your hand held tools, row markers or anything you make use of out in the garden. It helps reduce strain on knees and hips by being able to sit low to the ground for a more comfortable gardening experience.

 

Hori Hori Knife

The Hori Hori Knife is on the top 10 list of Christmas Gifts for gardeners on Nutmeg Disrupted

A Hori-Hori knife, sometimes referred to as a “soil knife” or a “weeding knife”, is a heavy serrated multi-purpose steel blade for gardening jobs such as digging or cutting. The blade is sharp on both sides and comes to a semi-sharp point at the end. This one came highly recommended by the most amazing gardener I know. He has had his for 10 years and said it is the best gardening tool he owns.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a bountiful and prosperous New Year! Be sure to stop back in and follow along with my Grow Your Own Food series throughout 2018. If you have ever wanted to grow your own food but were unsure where to start I will guide you through the entire process from learning about your growing area, what seeds to select and will walk with you from Spring through the harvest in Fall and right up to prepping your yard and garden for 2019.

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Beet Leaf Holubtsi

Beet Leaf Holubtsi

When I plan my garden I have a few must have veggies that are top priority in my kitchen.

Number one on that list is beets.

Fresh beets from the garden.

Beets are the more versatile vegetable I grow. I use the entire plant, and especially love the leaves. You can use the baby leaves in salads or wash and freeze them for smoothies. But to truly enjoy them allow them to grow a little longer until they are about 2 1/2 inches wide. The perfect size for rolling them around a creamy rice, bacon, dilly onion filling.

I have been making Beet Leaf Holubtsi for years. The tender leaves make the perfect blanket for the rice with fresh dill and onions. Bacon is NOT required but makes a nice addition to the rolls.

They are finished off by topping them with a bit of butter and baking them in whipping cream with some shaved onion.

I like to pick the leaves the day before, Wash the leaves and place on sheets of paper towel to dry. Once dry I put them in a large bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and leave them in the fridge over night. The next day you will find them lightly wilted and ready for rolling. I have read of a few methods of wilting the leaves, from freezing them to placing them in the oven. I have tried the oven method with okay but very time consuming results. Just pop them in the fridge for the night. Trust me.

 

Beet Leaf Holubtsi

beet leaves

2 cups of white rice

2 tablespoons of butter

6 slices of bacon – diced

1 medium onion – chopped

whipping cream

fresh dill

salt & pepper

Prepare the rice according to the package directions.  Meanwhile fry bacon, after 5 minutes add 1 tablespoon of butter and chopped onion. It is done when the bacon is crisp. Pour the bacon and onions, over the rice. Add a generous amount of freshly chopped dill and stir to combine. Now is a good time to season with salt and pepper.  Add a 1/4 cup of whipping cream, stirring until it all becomes creamy.

Beet leaf holubtsil filling on Nutmeg Disrupted

Place a beet leaf on a cutting board and trim the bottom part straight across to remove the stem. Place a generous teaspoon of filling on the trimmed edge of the beet leaf and roll it towards the tip. Gently place the roll in a greased/buttered baking dish. Repeat until you have used all the leaves and filling.

Beet leaf holubtsi on Nutmeg Disrupted

*They are not rolled like cabbage rolls when in when making cabbage rolls you tuck the edges in when rolling. It is fine to leave the edges of the beet leaf holubtsi open.

Beet leaf holubtsi on Nutmeg Disrupted

Pour whipping cream and a few teaspoons of shaved onion over the rolls just until lightly covered. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apple Jelly

Crab apples have been part of my existence since I was little. One of my earliest crab apple memories were of my Gido taking us apple picking. Though we never really got to do any picking as the trees were so tall that ladders where needed.

Then there where the trees in my grandmothers backyard. And though as I kid I wasn’t a huge fan of crab apples I was truly amazed at how fantastic her crab apple jelly was. It was the most wonderful pink color and not at all tart like the apples. After she passed away I remember one afternoon my grandfather giving me his last jar of crab apple jelly. It was the best gift I ever received.

Flash forward a few years. I was at work some someone had asked if I wanted some crab apples. My thoughts immediately went to the jelly that I enjoyed so much in the years before. I was excited at the chance to try and do this!

Crab apples on Nutmeg Disrupted

I went and bought jars, a box of Certo and began my journey into jelly making.

Crab Apple Jelly
 
Author:
Recipe type: Preserving
Cuisine: Condiment
Ingredients
  • To make juice:
  • 4 quarts of crab apples
  • 6 cups of water
  • To make jelly:
  • 7 cups of prepared crab apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 box of Certo pectin crystals
  • 9 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
Instructions
  1. Remove the blossom and stem ends from 4 quarts of crab apples.
  2. Half apples and place in a large pot, do not peel or core.
  3. Cove with water.
  4. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Crush pulp and cover and simmer 5 minutes longer.
  7. Place the simmered apples into a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
  8. Now place in a colander and set over a large bowl or pot to catch the juice.
  9. For a clearer jelly do not squeeze the juice out, let it drip.
  10. Up to ½ cup of water can be added if you do not get sufficient juice.
  11. In a large sauce pan stir together crab apple juice, lemon juice and pectin crystals.
  12. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  13. Stir in the sugar.
  14. Add 1 tablespoon of butter.
  15. Return to a hard boil for one minute.
  16. Remove from heat.
  17. Ladle jelly into sterilized jars laving a ¼ inch of headspace.
  18. Apply lid and screw bands finger tip tight.
  19. Place the jars into a hot water bath and process 5 minutes.
  20. Remove jars and allow to cool fully.

Crab apple juice for jelly on Nutmeg Disrupted

Making crab apple jelly on Nutmeg Disrupted

Making crab apple jelly in Mutmeg Disrupted

 

 

 

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Crispy Roasted Lentils

Crispy Roasted Lentils

Looking for something different to snack on I hit the cupboard in search of potential said snack. I had such good success with the crispy maple red lentils I thought I would try my hand at a savory version. But looking for something with a bit more bite I decide to go with green lentils.

Wanting a good hit of flavor I started thinking I wanted garlic involved. Pure garlic is fantastic but it doesn’t always agree with me. Not true of roasted garlic.

To roast garlic turn the oven to 350 degrees. Grab a sheet of foil large enough to wrap 2 -3 heads of garlic. Trim the bottom end of the bulbs of garlic just exposing the inside of the cloves. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Wrap and pop the bundle into the oven.

Now to get some lentils cooking. Just place some in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer. Start checking for doneness after 20 minutes. You want them to have a bit of bite, not completely soft. Once they are at that point put them into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Making Crispy Roasted Lentils on Nutmeg Disrupted

Get a large cookie sheet covered with either parchment paper to foil. Set aside.

Check the garlic after 40 minutes, it should have a nice toasted appearance. Remove from the oven and drizzle the oil from the package over the lentils. Stir well to coat.

Roasted Garlic on Nutmeg Disrupted

 

Turn up the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a head of garlic, careful, it will be hot. I used a double layer of paper towel to hold it. Now give it a bit of a squeeze and rub the entire surface of the cookie sheet coating it with the roasted garlic.

Making Crispy Roasted Lenitls on Nutmeg Disrupted

Save the other two heads for another use, I like it in hummus.

Spread the lentils out on the cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for up to 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Store in a cover jar. They are ready for snacking, adding to salads or adding to any dish that could use a bit of crunch.

Crispy Roasted Lentils

 

 

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Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters

Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters

I have had a lot of fun experimenting with lentils these past few weeks. And my lentil infatuation is just as strong as it has always been. Though I am looking at them in a whole new light.

Next up is my freestyle entry for the Canadian Lentil contest with the deadline for entries just under 24 hours from tonight.

*Update: I am very pleased to announce my recipe for Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters was the runner up in the Canadian Lentils Recipe Revolution contest! *

My recipe choices have been quite the discussion during morning coffee at work with my bosses, everyone has made suggestions as to what I should make next. I forsee a lentil feast at our next managers dinner.

Canadian red lentils for brownies on Nutmeg Disrupted

So without further ado…. I present,  Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters.

3/4 cup of red lentil  flour (directions for making the lentil flour can be found in my previous post for Lentil Coconut Shrimp Tacos)

1 tablespoon of all purpose flour

2 tablespoons of cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup of milk

1 large egg

1 can of corn kernals

1 strips of bacon, chopped and fried

Vegetable oil, for frying

In a large bowl, stir together flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and cayenne.

Making Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters

Add milk and egg to flour mixture and stir together to create a batter. Add corn and bacon and fold to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Heat 4 inches oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375 degrees. Working in batches, using  two spoons, drop batter by the tablespoon into the oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and deep-golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; adjust heat as needed to keep oil temperature between 350 and 360 degrees. Transfer fritters to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Season to taste with salt.

.Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters on Nutmeg Disrupted

I served them with maple syrup. Depending on your mood and menu you could serve them with a variety of sauces or dips.

 

 

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