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Squirrels, Pickles, and Other Adventures

August 11, 2011

I took a short trip to Philly early this week, taking advantage of my time off to spend some time with friends and family. I also acquired some veggies from my mother that she had recently picked from their garden. The loot included one huge zucchini (and it wasn’t even the largest one she had) and a variety of (extremely) hot peppers. We cooked up a couple of the long hots when I got home on Tuesday only to find that they were much too hot to consume on their own (and with all the innards in tact). Since we’ll be away again this weekend, I had my work cut out for me- using or storing the acquisitions from the farmers’ market on Saturday and the newly acquired zucchini and peppers.

Huge Zucchini- Thanks Mom!

Before I could get to that though, another problem arose: the squirrels had returned. After doing a bit more reading online, I am confident now that they are in fact squirrels. As other container gardeners have complained, the squirrels went right for the newly planted containers. I returned from my brief trip to find more than half of the pea sprouts gone, the one lettuce sprout gone, and both containers throughly dug up. I read about possible solutions and debated my options: chicken wire, saran wrap, b.b. guns, fake owls, and chile powder. None of them seemed to have a great chance of success. The chicken wire and saran wrap seemed most likely to keep out the pests but would be a pain to work around and not aesthetically appealing.  Since the squirrels have only visited three times, I decided to go with least likely to succeed but easiest option. I smoothed out the soil and planted more seeds and then sprinkled some chile powder on top. So far, no more visitors (which probably has nothing to do with the chile powder).

At least they only ate 2/3 of the pea sprouts…

Chile Powder on the Pea Survivors

With the containers back intact, I took a look at the fridge. First ingredient to tackle: goat cheese. This one is pretty easy to find a home for, but I had a bread recipe in mind that I thought would work perfectly. During my perusal of the 101 cookbooks blog (a frequent occurrence), I came across a simple and quick yeast bread that looked healthy and delicious. Here is the recipe for the Easy Little Bread. It came out perfectly and was quite delicious and probably healthy too until I lathered it with goat cheese and honey. It was also delicious dipped in a corn and potato soup (bought from Trader Joe’s but with the addition of some fresh ingredients). Yum!

Corn and Potato Soup with Bread

Bread with Goat Cheese (from Lynnhaven Dairy) and Honey

Next up was the zucchini. I needed at least two recipes. Already this summer I had made zucchini muffins, zucchini and quinoa salad, and sauteed zucchini. I was looking for something new. I decided on a Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake (which used 2 cups of shredded zucchini- 1/4 of my zucchini) and Quick Pickled Zucchini (which called for 3 medium zucchinis but I had to 1.5 the recipe for the 3/4 of my zucchini that remained). The pickle recipe also called for a chile pepper something I had lots of! I used two of the tiny but powerful thai hot peppers. The pickles are still cooling so I can’t report on the success. In the next post, I’ll let you know how they turned out.

Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake (quiche-like)

Pickle Ingredients

Zucchini Pickles!

The last project had nothing to do with any ingredient I had sitting around. Instead, it was the result of a friend’s mention of chocolate covered frozen bananas, my love for bananas and peanut butter, and Jeremy’s love for chocolate and peanut butter. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but it was suddenly clear: chocolate peanut butter covered frozen bananas. Apparently a lot of other people had already thought of this, which made it easy to find some recipes. I followed this recipe which I appreciated for its simplicity and lack of added sugar. They were just as delicious as I imagined.

So easy: melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave, dip bananas, freeze.

Ready for the Freezer

Tomorrow I plan to whip up a few batches of my favorite cookie recipe- Nikki’s Healthy Cookies (also from 101 cookbooks…noticing a trend?) to take to the beach this weekend. This cookie recipe has it all- the magical combination of banana and chocolate, oats, and no butter! They are difficult to resist.

And the rest of the peppers? I froze them. Hopefully you will find them here in a few months maybe in a chile or salsa recipe. From what I’ve read they retain their heat for up to a year.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2011 5:46 am

    i am HUNGRY now! ps will all these yummy foods still be around when i come to visit in september?? (please say yes…)


  1. End of Summer Garden Updates « growingcookingeating

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