Cappy's Cajun/Italian Lemon Ice For Grown Ups

With so much lemon juice "burning a hole" in our freezer, Cappy keeps coming up with different ways to "spend it". The lemon jelly was great, lemon squares were wonderful, lemon zest candy disappeared quickly, and we gave friends bottles of the juice. I forgot to mention the jars of hot lemon pepper jelly that melts in your mouth if it's sitting atop a little cream cheese, which is then also sitting prettily atop a cracker. Brave souls try this hot pepper lemon jelly straight up and end up in tears. If they are persuaded to try it again, using the cream cheese and crackers route, they end up guzzling the whole jar and beg for another jar to take home. If they try it with the cheese and crackers at first blush, the end results are still the same. We've lost a lot of good jars of jelly that way.
I see I have gotten off topic again. So. Back to the lemon juice that is sitting in the freezer.  I use it on everything from salad dressings to marinades, and so does Cappy, and thus, here we sit with gallons of it in the freezer, and it's laden with all sorts of wonderful possibilities.
    Now, Cappy has heard me saying over and over again how much I love Italian Ice, and he's heard me whining that I can't find Italian Ice in most stores without wheat in it (Why wheat, of all things, in icy anything??) I've thought about freezing lemonade in ice cube trays, then whizzing the cubes in the blender, to make a fake lemon Italian Ice concoction, but never got around to it, seeing it was just for me, and thus, not a priority on my...uh...priority list.
    Since, as I mentioned, Cappy has heard me go on and on, time and time again about my missing my lemon Italian Ice, he got an inspiration. To quote the Grinch,"...he got an idea. An awful idea. The 'Cappy' got a wonderful *awful* idea!"  He went to making his version of ...well, he called it Cajun Ice...or...Cajun sherbet...or..."something like that".  Then, seeing that scheme worked and I ate the whole thing...hence the, *awful* part of the "wonderful awful" idea, he came up with another hideous twist for his delicious icy brew with me in mind. The Southern Snowball. You see, I'm already hooked on these. My friend, Louise got me hooked on 'em, and I've gotten my own Yankee victims hooked on them as well. It's hard to find a really good snowball down here in the south, but when you find the good ones, they become part of any excuse to find yourself back in that neighborhood, no matter how far away it is, and often. Not to be confused with the snow cones they sell up north, because those northern snow cones are like tiny pieces of hail, packed into paper cones, drizzled with blue or red, all-but-flavorless thick sugar water. To the uninformed, they may pass as refreshing on a hot Summer day. The vendor who would dare try passing these weak specimens off to customers down here in the South, would most likely have a pack of dogs sic'd on 'em and they'd be run "plum outa town". They can't hold a candle to the snowballs that they have down here. (Not that anyone would want to, or should hold a candle to a snowball anywhere, anyhow. Why would they?)
   Dang, I ran off the road, into the ditch and down across the field again as far as what I was trying to say, didn't I? Okay. Southern Snowballs. Wonderful shaved ice, flavored with the most delectable pungent tastes imaginable. And Cappy knows I love 'em. They might start out like Italian Ice, but then after the lemon or whatever flavor has been added, they add condensed milk or ice cream or both (loaded). They serve it in cups. Big cups, which they call "small" in most places and "medium" takes about an hour for me to finish. I've never imposed on my liver, adrenals or whatever regulates sugar/insulin, by trying the large size. The several  bouts of brain freeze brought on by trying to consume the small cup is enough for me. But...they are FABULOUS! And this is what my evil Cajun kitchen genius had in mind this time around. With all that being said, I will now let Cappy, via this latest little video do the rest of the talking. Your link:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQny4Bi04eo&list=UUe6CkaSkPG0EXROyp-xQkjw&feature=c4-overview     


Charley Brown Cookies

Peggy found this amazingly simple gluten free cookie recipe.  It has become one of our favorites.  These lil guys are so tasty they wake ya up during the night seductively calling your name until ya have to go get one of them.
The recipe:
1 cup of peanut butter (we like extra crunchy)
1 cup of chocolate chips (take ya pick, milk chocolate, semi or dark.  even caramel chips if ya wanna)
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon of vanilla
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup of sugar 
(we use 1/2 cup of honey instead)
  Also when Peg aint lookin'I add another half a cup or so of chocolate chips.

Stir it up into a doughy consistency and spoon them out onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  No flour or oil needed that way. Bake at 350 degrees for ~12-14 min. til nice and lightly browned. (The color on the computer makes them look very brown) Remove them by pancake turner and cool them on a cookie rack for 5 minutes.

In honor of Valentine day Peg made some heart shapes of some that we gave away as gifts.

This is the second time we made these wonderful cookies.  They were so good that we made some to share.  They are very healthy with no gluten and no added oil, which is amazing on acounta how good they are.  A wonderful Valentine day treat!
They gone.


February 2014 Square Foot Garden Report

Yesterday, February 9, 2014 dawned clear and sunny with the temperature right at 70 F.  We decided what a great time to play in the yard!  We got our box gardens fixed up, did some pruning and getting ready to do our February fertilizing of the fruit trees and such.

These are our garden boxes.  The first 3 are 4 ft. x 4 ft., and the garden box is 4 ft. by 12 ft.  A good thing to remember is: the length of a raised bed doesn't matter, but it shouldn't be over 4 ft wide.  That way you can easily reach across it from both sides.
The first box is currently our salad bowl.  It is planted with a mix of leafy greens.

Looking close, you can see the salad greens are already just beginning to show.  The next box in line is our asparagus box, but it is currently dormant so we didn't include a photo for it.  By next month however the lil asparagus spears will be showing.  We can hardly wait.

After the asparagus box is the strawberry patch.  The plants are growing, and if you look closer they are flowering.

We have seen several flowers but no berries yet.  We think that's due to the lack of honey bees which seem to be napping now because of the cold spells we've been having of late.  There are plenty clovers in the yard and as soon as they bloom I am sure the bees will return.

We had to put up kitty fences on acounta our garden boxes look like litter boxes to them.  We didn't put the fence up til today 'cause we figure a lil kitty fertilizer wouldn't hurt.  We decided not to plant a winter garden this year, so last November we covered our garden with hay.  The kittys helped keep it stirred all winter and now its well on the way to compost.  The only thing growing in the garden now is green onions to the left of the picture, and Some romaine on the right that we sprouted from store-bought lettuce remains.  We figured 'stead of having them come up in the compost pile we would give a few of them a chance in the garden.  The hay makes a wonderful mulch for the garden.  You can see here that it is also a wonderful organic weed controller.

When we first put it down, it required some weeding as the hay seeds sprouted.  After the first cold snap it calmed down and is doing a great job.  We plan to spread little bare spots in the hay, exposing the soil where we'll plant each seed next month, then as the seed grows into plants, we'll move the mulch/hay back in closer to keep the plant from drying out and to keep weeds at bay.  We hope you find this helpful and informative, and plan to do more gardening posts this year in an effort to share our yard and gardening techniques with you. We don't know it all, and don't pretend to, but we keep learning; most of the time, the hard way. But we succeed enough to make it fun enough for us to keep trying.
So, get out there and play in your yard when you can.  We do, and the benefits are too numerous to mention, but top of 'em all has to be, its tasty!


Healthy Cajun Deer Meat Jambalaya

In an effort to eat healthy and maybe lose a few pounds, Peggy and I decided to tweak one of our favorite ole Cajun dishes and make it more diet friendly, while keeping that yummy Cajun flair.
We seasoned up a couple pounds of cubed, lean deer meat (a gift from one of our friends) with our own special Cajun spice, some Crystal Hot sauce, and a couple splashes of Lee and Perrins Worcestershire sauce.
We added 2 diced yellow onions, and began carefully browning it in our well seasoned black iron pot with no oil.
Because we were using no oil, we had to stir often and deglaze with water until we had the meat browned.  Once the meat browned we added a can of Rotel tomatoes and a small can of drained mushrooms.
After a couple hours of simmering,
We added half a bell pepper and a handful of sliced green onion greens.  I put in 5 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and brought it to a boil.  
We put in 2 cups of long grain brown rice, let that boil for 7 minutes, then turned the fire way down, slammed the lid on and forgot about it for an hour or so.

With a few fresh veggies and a good ole Opelousas yam, it was fine eating indeed, but with no oil, no sausage, no etc., that us Cajuns like to add to jambalaya.  If this is diet food sign me up!:drool