October Holidays

Ok, I get it that every cause is important and that we enjoy celebrating all kinds of events. But when I was looking at what is coming up in October, I was truly surprised by the long list of events there are to celebrate. I won’t bore you with the whole list, but thought I would share some of the many interesting dedications.

Most people probably know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that Boss’s Day is October 16th this year. These are events that we, in the Flowers to Eat™ store anticipate and plan for.

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There are some celebrations tho’ this month that we had no idea were coming up.

Did you know that October is also Apple Jack month? Now I had an idea of what Apple Jack is, a strong alcoholic drink, but I had no idea there was a month dedicated to it. It’s apple season for fresh apples (think of a juicy, ripe apple or apple pie), but I would have thought Apple Jack month would come later after the apples were starting to be a little too ripe for a delicious fresh snack.

October is also International Drum Month (have you been to a Drum Circle lately?), National Popcorn Popping Month, Clergy Appreciation Month (do you think your pastor would like to celebrate it with some Apple Jack?), and Sarcastic Month. Now that last one is one my husband would probably say was right up my alley.

Then there are causes that don’t seem to warrant a whole month dedicated to them, they get just a week. Week one of October wears two hats, Customer Service Week and Get Organized Week. So, if you work in Customer Service, I guess you get time to get your workspace organized. Week Two is Pet Peeve Week, by limiting this activity to just one week it forces you to cull the list of your pet peeves to a reasonable number. OK, there’s that sarcastic thing coming out.

Special Days are even further down the list of time allotted to them.

Today, October 2 is Name Your Car Day

October 3 is Virus Appreciation Day and Techie Day……we need the techie to help us get rid of those pesky viruses.

October 5th is International Frugal Fun Day……if you have been affected by a down economy, this may be every day

October 6th and October 14th are Be Bald and Free Day……..bald folks need 2 days to celebrate their naked heads?

October 9th is Moldy Cheese Day…….yeah, bring out the blue cheese!

October 14th is also National Dessert Day……..does that mean we can have dessert for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

October 19th is Sweetest Day…….I think this is an autumn version of Valentine’s Day

October 21st is Babbling Day…….I think this one was thought up by men who didn’t want to listen to their wives of girlfriends

October 24th is both National Bologna and United Nations Day……..is that a coincidence?

And the list goes on and on, ending on October 31st, Halloween with Increase Your Psychic Powers Day.

I counted 67 single day dedications listed on the Holiday Insights.com website.

Whatever your background, vocation, hobby or special interest, it looks like there is a reason for you to celebrate in October. Happy Special Day!

 

What can “Avocado” do for you?

Avocados are really superfoods.

nine zero fit blog

imageFirst things first, the Avocado is not a vegetable. Its a fruit, now that’s out the way…Lets talk about the benefits of this delicious fruit that has gone through an identity crisis.

Avocado’s have more potassium than a banana, yes more than a banana. A single avocado has 975 milligrams to 487 milligrams for the banana.

Avocados are loaded with protein: 4 grams to be exact.

Avocados can be substituted for high fat condiments such as mayo or honey mustard dressing. Spread or slice the avocado on your bread and you just reduced the fat in your sandwich.

Avocados can be used in baking too:the creamy texture and healthy fats make for a surprisingly-easy baking substitution. And no, you won’t be making green muffins. In the right ratios, you can ditch some butter and replace with avocado for healthier chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and brownies.

OK so now you have an idea of what…

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Steak and Farro with Golden Beets, Garbanzos and Tarragon

TasteFood

~ Beef Ribeye, Farro, Golden Beets, Spring Onion, Garbanzos, Tarragon ~

There are a few reasons why this recipe is just right for tonight. The first reason is that it’s early summer in San Francisco and it’s freezing. Not literally, but enough to feel obliged to apologize profusely to visitors from out of town. Enough to don fleece outerwear to venture out to the grill, where hands are briskly warmed between flipping the burgers. Or enough to appear like it’s raining when technically it is not, but the mist from the fog is so heavy it soaks the garden furniture and leave puddles on the steps.

Another reason why this meal is just right is this is the first day following a whirlwind celebratory week of graduations, house guests and parties. When lists were made to remember lists. When we had great fun, but didn’t have a moment to reflect…

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Three Cheers for Pineapple

Here at Flowers to Eat™ we use a lot of pineapple. From our Pineapple Daisy bouquet which features delicious pineapple flowers with melon centers, to our Citrus Burst bouquet where we dip pineapple crescents into key lime coating, to chocolate covered seasonal favorites, the pineapple is a staple in our business.

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And, since we are located in Florida, I thought I would try my hand at growing my own pineapple. I remember how fantastically sweet the pineapple in Hawaii is, and was hoping I could produce a pineapple that came close to that level of ripeness and sweetness.

So, instead of throwing out the tops of some of the pineapples that we use in our bouquets, I brought 5 or 6 of them home. One person advised me to ‘just stick the tops into the ground, they’ll grow’. I wasn’t too sure about that method, so I turned to, you guessed it, You Tube. Now a days you can find out how to do anything on You Tube. (When I wanted to remove the hard drive from an old laptop, the professional I took it to told me he would have to take the whole computer apart and it would cost $70 – $100.00.  I found a You Tube video that showed me which 3 screws to remove and out popped the hard drive! But that’s another story for another blog entry).

The You Tube video showed me how to cut off all the leftover pineapple fruit, then start peeling back the stubby leaves at the bottom of the plant. Under these little stubby leaves are tiny roots just waiting for a chance to grow. I peeled back about 4 rows of these leaves, then suspended the plant in a glass of water. The water just covered the tiny roots, with the rest of the plant sticking up in the air.

In 2 weeks the little roots were now 2″ to 3″ long and I was ready to transplant it to my garden. I stuck it in a rich potting soil mix in a place that receives lots of sun. And 11 months later, here is the little pineapple that  grew out of the top of the plant.

ImageIt took about 6 weeks for the edible part of the fruit to grow to about 10 inches long, the size of a smaller pineapple that you might buy at the grocery store. Then it started turning yellow.  I had read that once it was mostly yellow, with some green on it, you should pick it. I watched it every day and was almost ready to pick it when disaster struck in the form of a 4 footed animal (squirrel, opossum, raccoon? ) Who knows which little beastie got to it before I did. But that morning when I checked on it, there was a hole about 3 inches across eaten out of one side of my first, prized pineapple.

What was I to do? I had waited a long time to taste that home grown beauty. I picked the mauled pineapple, took it inside and performed surgery. I cut the nibbled on side of the pineapple off, and then tasted the unadulterated side. It was delicious. So sweet! Almost as good as the ones in Hawaii.

The other 5 plants are now starting to produce fruit too, and I will be going back to You Tube to see how to protect the fruit from poachers as it ripens. Each plant will only produce 1 pineapple, but after you remove the ripe fruit, new little plants grow out from the bottom of the old plant.

I’m looking forward to the next one ripening in about 4 more weeks. YUM!

 

Peaches

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Peaches are one of my favorite fruits. Fresh, ripe, juicy peaches eaten by themselves or on cereal or topping off a fresh peach shortcake. Yum! Then there are the delicious smoothies that peaches can be included in. And don’t get me started on peach pies and cobblers, combined with a little brown sugar and cinnamon. Heavenly!

 My only regret is that we cannot include fresh peaches in the Flowers to Eat™ fruit bouquets that we create. They just would not hold up well, turning brown and wimpy very quickly when peeled and exposed to air.

 Most of the peaches that are sold in markets are freestone, and de-fuzzed by the grower.  They almost start to look like their cousins, the nectarines. If you are buying your fruit at a grocery store, select peaches that are colorful and free of bruises.  After you get them home, place them in a brown paper bag and let them ripen at room temperature for a day or so until they become softer. 

Now there are some purists who only like fresh peaches, and I respect their preference. In fact, I have a recipe from a 30 year old Betty Crocker cookbook for something called a Summer Jewel pie. It combines fresh peaches with blueberries, strawberries, bananas and melon balls, drenched in an orange glace and nestled into a ‘short pie crust’. For a fresh fruit pie it is absolutely the best I’ve ever tasted.

 But I also love a fresh peach cobbler, and I have included a recipe for a delicious one here for you to try. Enjoy it soon before peach season is over and we have to wait until next summer for the best, juiciest local peaches.

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Blend ½ c. sugar, 1 Tbs. cornstarch and ½ tsp. cinnamon.

Add 4 cups of fresh peach slices and stir to mix.

 

In separate bown, stir together :

1 c. flour

1 Tbs. sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

 

Cut 3 Tbs. of butter into this mixture, then add 1/2 c. milk and mix until dough forms a ball.

 

Butter a 2 qt. casserole, and add the peach mixture.

Drop biscuit mixture by spoonfuls onto the fruit.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.