Produce & Pots and Pans – Beets!

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I have eaten beets throughout my life, but in my time as a cook, I don’t recall using beets fresh from the farm market. If I have attempted at some point in my life to prepare them for a meal,  they must’ve been such a disaster, I blocked it from my memory. ūüôā

‚ÄĘBeets are high in many vitamins and minerals. Potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. …
‚ÄĘBeets cleanse the body. …
‚ÄĘBeets help your mental health. …
‚ÄĘBeets are used as a stomach acid tester. …
‚ÄĘBeets are a high source of energy.
~ Fullcircle.com

This week, when I saw a bundled bunch of beets in the farm market for a good price, I thought, ‘Why not?’ Beets are full of vitamins and minerals, and are something different to serve with meals…at least in our house. I often make RED BEET EGGS as a side dish, but use canned beets for that recipe.

Because I am sensitive to red food coloring, I wanted to try a red velvet cake recipe of some kind using the beets as the coloring agent. I found a link for a good Red Velvet Beet Cupcake. Yummy, Healthy Easy’s Blog – Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes. This recipe turns out well and has great directions for roasting the beets in the oven.

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I roasted an extra beet and devoured it when it was cool. Delicious! I will be roasting beets for our dinners in the near future.

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Roasted beets processed according to the cupcake recipe directions. What a yummy pink the beets created.

I modified the recipe a bit to suit what I had on hand, substituting cake flour, apple cider vinegar for white vinegar, sugar in place of stevia, and dark chocolate cocoa powder in place of regular. The use of the dark chocolate is probably why there is no trace of the red beet color in my cupcakes. I also did not use food coloring as this was the point in me using the red beets.

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Simple Cream Cheese/Sour Cream Frosting

  • One 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, such as Neufchatel
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

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Blend together with beaters until smooth. I like to refrigerate these cupcakes to keep the frosting fresh.

Delicious…give this recipe a try, easy and healthier than boxed cake mix.

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Projects – Square Foot Garden Update

This is an early morning photograph of my Square Foot Garden. I have to say,¬†hopefully without sounding like I’m bragging,¬†this method of gardening has been a major success for me. I have lettuce daily, my broccoli and bread seed poppies are ready to begin budding. I have¬†cooked and eaten my¬†kale and swiss chard, and though I have always loved fresh greens cooked in various ways, I can now feel a “fresh greens fanatic” point of view taking me over.

The Square Foot Gardening Website can be found here: Square Foot Gardens. Take a look and browse the information and photographs. Better yet, buy the book and create your own little area of vegetable heaven.

This is a view of the back of my Square Foot Garden. I know my pea trellis leaves a lot to be desired, but the peas come and go quickly, and I will be replacing them in a few weeks.

Because I didn’t want to give up too many of my squares to the dozen tomato plants I am growing I planted half in containers. These are doing very well too, the¬†stems are beginning to look like tree saplings. I already have some¬†flower buds¬†on a few plants.¬†O Happy Day…tomatoes in a month or two. Hooray!

I was honored to see one of my Square Foot Garden photographs was featured¬†in a¬†Mel Bartholomew Blog Post. Take a look: My Square Foot Garden Squares On Mel Barthlomew’s Website.

Plants – Update Square Foot Gardens and Swiss Chard

My Square Foot Gardens are doing great. Except for a few empty squares in the second garden, most of the space is filled with seeds or plants and growing well. I have harvested many servings of lettuce already. In fact, I can’t eat it fast enough and have been taking¬†handfuls to family¬†whenever¬†I visit. The lettuce comes in a wide array of greens, pinks and reds and pairs perfectly with the arugula and water cress I have growing in the herb garden. A new sowing of mesclun is thriving and will soon be ready to¬†begin harvesting. The bread seed poppies are magnificent and I expect them to send up budding stalks any day now. The peas in the back of the garden are in need of quick staking,¬† they are growing a few inches daily.

Here is a closeup of the earliest sown squares. Last week I sauteed a few pieces of kale with olive oil and garlic powder. Ah, so amazingly good; I wish I had begun this type of gardening years ago. This week I tried several leaves of the swiss chard. I chopped the stems and ribs and kept them separate from the leaves.

I gently boiled the chopped stems, and after about three minutes added the leaves along with a little Adobo spice mix, and gently simmered a few minutes longer.

Wow! The taste was beyond my highest expectations.¬†I sprinkled the swiss chard with a squeeze of fresh lime, and “oohed” and¬†“ahhed” with every mouthful. The best thing about both of these greens is they are still producing. I can’t wait to try my hand at cooking and eating them again.