Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best Ever Hot Fudge Pie

Heavenly Hot Fudge Pie would have been the name I bestowed on this little slice of heaven if I created it. This recipe wins the "Easy as Pie" recipe hands-down. Look over the ingredient list. Looks like you will most likely have every single one of these ingredients on-hand any day of the week. (Which could be a bad thing) You don't need a special crust, but I do recommend you have an ice cold carton of vanilla ice cream to serve on the side about 30-45 minutes after you pull this from the oven. I found this on Facebook from a post by "The Monogram Merchant." I made it on a Wednesday night to celebrate Dale and Amanda's 3rd Anniversary and then again on Sunday. Yes. It is that good.
 
INGREDIENTS:
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour.

  1. Preheat oven to 350. 
  2. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer for 3 minutes. 
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and continue to mix. 
  4. Carefully add in the cocoa powder, salt and flour. Continue to beat until well combined. 
  5. Grease a 8" pie plate with butter. 
  6. Pour mixture in pie plate and bake for 30 -35 minutes until center is set.
I cut slices for eight pieces to share amongst five people.
I think we had a few folks go back more than once!

Canning Season is Here!

It's time to go through all your canning supplies and restock what's missing. The first thing you need to load up on are lids and rings. You might be able to reuse your rings, but don't ever reuse your lids. After you put all that hard work into canning, why would you risk your food getting spoiled? Carefully check over your jars for defects or cracks. Replace any that are questionable. Three other handy tools are a good pair of canning tongs; a magnetic lid lifter that lets you safely remove your sterilized lids and a flat plastic tool that removes all the bubbles before you seal put the lids and rings on. For the past few years I have used a thick drying blanket to let my jars cool off on. It absorbs water well and cleans up in the washing machine easily. Another handy tip is to add 1 cup of white vinegar to the water in the canner. This helps reduce the white film that can get on the jars due to minerals in hard water, which we have.
This past Saturday, my daughter-in-law Amanda spent the afternoon canning with me. This was her first adventure in using a pressure canner. It took me, ahem, 50 years to get over the fear of using one. Well, I broke down and did it last summer and I'm so glad I didn't chicken out. Amanda is now well versed in the use and I look forward to us putting up enough jars this summer to last our family all year. Thanks to the help of grand daughter Emilee Rae and her new planting skills, we should have plenty of beans!
 Amanda has 9 pints of green beans ready to put under pressure. The full directions of how to can green beans can be found in the links below with additional canning recipes.
It takes 20 minutes to pressure can pints jars of green beans, but don't forget to factor in the time it takes for the pressure to be released so you can safely remove the top. Be sure to use the proper tools when removing these extremely hot jars from the canner. Even after they were removed, the water inside was at a rolling boil for quite a while. The canner allows the water to reach a temperature well over what can be achieved by a hot water bath alone. It is critical you follow the correct canning guidelines to prevent food spoilage and possible food poisoning!

The Flowers Enjoyed the Spring Rains of 2014

I have never claimed to have a green thumb. That attribute belongs to Andy. He can grow just about anything. If he'll grow it, I'll pick it, can it and cook it. When it comes to flowers, well I just say a little prayer for them on the way home from Home Depot. They pretty much hang in there from May to June but when July rolls around and the heat is just awful, forget about it. It's like one day I walk by and I'm like, Ohhh, now how many days has it been since I watered? When my little helper comes to visit, it's all good. Kids + water = fun and pretty flowers. So, since it's a rare occasion for me to have so many pretty blooming flowers this late, I just had to share them.
After a busy afternoon helping Big Poppa planting beans in the garden, Emilee Rae helps me
dead head some of the flowers. As a bonus, she LOVES watering the flowers and remembers to do it without me asking...which is a good thing.
 I only had one Peony, but it was beautiful! The rain knocked it down, so in it came.
 I love my lilies. This year the orange is gorgeous!
Maybe it's a good sign for our Tennessee Volunteers football team this fall? We can hope!
 These are one of the ferns that keep coming back every year.
 The butterfly bush is getting ready to be in full bloom!
 One of my favorite flowers is a Dianthus.
I prefer the silvery green foliage variety, but these are usually pretty hardy.
 I especially love this "succulent." They grow among my chicks and hens and don't require a lot of attention.
 And who doesn't love a basket full of Petunias?
 The magnolia tree is as heavenly as always.
 The honey bees have found plenty of reasons to buzz around.
 Vinca. I love it so much  have several colors.

Last but not least, you've got to have some marigolds.

Planting Green Beans with Your Grandchild

It's never too early to teach your child or grandchild to share your love of gardening. There's just something incredible about them learning the cycle of planting a seed, watching them sprout and later enjoying the fruits of their labor at the table. Andy tried really hard to explain how to "spread" out the seeds and Emilee Rae, who is three, didn't hardly grasp the concept but she had a wonderful time with her Big Poppa and that's what it's all about in the long run.

I'm glad to report, her planting skills worked fine as me and my daughter-in-law Amanda canned some of them yesterday.
 Like this?
 "Spread them out,"  says Big Poppa for the fortieth time.
"But I am," says Emilee Rae!
 "Am I doing good?"
 Are all the seed covered?

 I'd rather play in the dirt. It's a lot more fun.
 I love my Big Poppa!

Grisham Garden and the Flood of 2014

Here is a quick walk-through of our 2014 garden.We had some unbelievable flooding in May but we're still hanging in there...along with a prolific crop of mosquitoes!

This year we decided to stick with the basics: 
Cabbage
Onions
Carrots
Asparagus
Lettuce
A wide variety of tomatoes
Snap Peas
Green Beans
Okra
Squash
Zucchini
Summer Squash
Sweet Potatoes
Sunflowers (to feed the birds)
Plus we added raspberry and blueberry bushes

All other vegetables we'll be canning/freezing will come from our local
Farmer's Market on our downtown square. Are you supporting local?

Can you say Rain, Rain Go Away?

 Mmmm. That ditch besides the house is overflowing from the water running off the hill behind our house.
 And there it goes over the driveway and the road.
 And the front yard is now flooded.
Wow! Now I know why the ditch in front of the  house is as deep as it is! I've been here over 16 years and have never seen this waterfall. The garden is in the back yard, but I couldn't get pictures of it due to the flooding.

Relaxing on the Elk River 2014

A little over two years ago I started Man, That Stuff is Good and I'm so glad I did. I want to thank all of you for following my blog and sending me cool comments, emails and sharing your stories. Along the way, I have had folks from all over the country sharing their idea of what makes their stuff so good. When gardening slows down, I think I'll have more time to share some of the good stuff we have enjoyed making and eating...cherry preserves and jelly, hot fudge pie (hush your mouth!), the widest variety of salads so incredible your family can't say, "salads again?" Well, you get my drift.

I don't know about y'all, but we have had one crazy summer to start with. Tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding occupied a lot of May. We didn't know if our garden would survive the flood of 2014 but so far it has. I've got lots of new recipes to share and no time to get them uploaded. I thought I'd share some quick posts full of pictures showing you what we've been up to this summer. I hope all of you are fortunate enough to be enjoying time with your family and life to it's fullest!

Here are a few videos I took titled, "Got One" and "The One That Got Away." What is better in life than enjoying time with  your Grand kids? We introduced Alli and Aydan to a little limb line fishing and talk about fun! They had a blast staying in our old camper; fishing off the dock; taking that first dip in the cold, cold water and what camping trip is complete without a marshmallow roast? Enjoy!


What a beautiful way to wind down a full day...slowly motorboating on the pontoon!
The sun has set an another beautiful day!
 A smiling child and his fishing pole...life doesn't get any better!
There are no words for beauty like this.
 We replaced our picnic canopy which was destroyed a few weeks earlier because
of tornado that touched down around a mile from where we are. We were lucky.
 The kids (and most adults) have to roast some marshmallows before bed time.
 Mr. Mallard got a work out this year. The wind has been crazy!
Captain Andy on "She's A Keeper!"
 Alli is always first in the cold, cold river water every year.
Kevin agrees to help her take a dip.
And every year she is ready to get Daddy to pull her back out immediately!
 I think it was a little colder than she could stand.