Thursday, 13 October 2011

Let's take a Fall walk & Twice Baked Kale Potatoes

Scarlet Runner Beans
 I had no idea the beans were so beautiful...

We grow Scarlet Runners every year, on a teepee of metal stakes. These beans are like the proverbial Jack and the Beanstalk  - they are simple to grow and create a beautiful tower of green with red flowers which the hummingbirds love and we grow them for these lovely little birds.

I tore down the tower this fall to plant my Tulip and Narcissus bulbs but Hubbie had the forethought to pick off the beans so we can plant them next year. What he discovered inside these huge pods are the most beautiful beans I have ever seen. We don't eat them but apparently others do (but they need to be cooked properly to avoid toxins from what I'm reading on Wiki...). These are sitting on the dining table, I can't get enough of gazing at their beautiful opalescence and nuances in purples.

Twice baked Kale Potatoes

The Green Door Restaurant in Ottawa has a dish called Potato Kale and it is always offered at this cafeteria style restaurant so it must be popular. It is essentially a casserole of potatoes, kale, cheese and milk.  I decided to use some of my last bits of garden kale to make a stuffed version of this potato and kale combination but I must say that my version is much tastier! 

This is an 'unrecipe' - just eyeball it and it always turns out delicious...

1. bake as many potatoes as you want to make - I poke them then wrap in foil and bake in 400 degree oven for about an hour. If it's soft when you squeeze it (gently, now!) then it's ready. Take out of the oven, cool a bit then I get Hubbie o to cut them in half and scoop them out with an ice cream scoop.

2. Meanwhile I make the bowl of other ingredients into which Hubbie plops the potato filling:
  •  I grate about 1/2 to 2/3rds of a small block of extra-old cheddar and it goes into the bowl. You could use parmesan cheese, nuritional yeast or even no cheese at all. 
  • saute minced kale in olive oil with garlic then into the bowl
  • add chopped fresh parsley and  green onion and a good glug of milk (dairy or non-dairy) to make this a creamy blend.
  • season with salt and pepper
3. Mash it all together - I find it is nicer creamy so I tend to be more generous with the milk than I used to be and yes you will be making more filling than you took out of the potatoes so they will overflow - that's why the one in the photo toppled onto it's side! 

4. Place the empty potato halves in a baking dish/tray and refill them. If you are having these for guests then refill gently and don't overfill and keep any extra filling aside - it can be baked like a casserole in a small baking dish. If you are making this as we do - just for ourselves then just overfill them and accept they might topple over. You could top with more grated cheese or a sprinkling of Paprika but I don't bother

5. Bake in 350 (or hotter oven if you are starving and want to eat them NOW!) degree F oven for about 20 or 30 minutes to make them all melty and golden on top.

We serve these with a nice crunchy salad. There are always plenty of delicious leftovers -yum.

A Beautiful Fall Walk

This weekend was incredibly warm and beautiful, we took many walks and Hubbie attached the cutter to the tractor and made some trails as well as began a clearing to be ploughed for planting next Spring. We plan to cut and bale Hay for the donkeys (fingers crossed on getting them next year) and grow our own 'we don't know what' yet (many choices and we haven't decided).

So here we go...

There are as many leaves on the ground as there are on the trees

We have an abundance of sugar maples and one year when Hubbie is home for the entire spring, we will be collecting Maple sap and boiling it down to make our own Maple Syrup. this is a very involved process and I can't do it alone so it must wait until he can be home full time, sigh...

Bitter nut Hickory seed. The squirrels love these.

This one is getting older and...

this is what they look like on the inside. When cracked open they look like a walnut. I found a pile of these hidden away in our vegetable garden beneath some leaves. Squirrels hide food everywhere and then forget their hiding places! 

The area around the beehives. It's ok to cut it now as there are no more bee plants - I wanted to keep this area wild for the bees to forage but not it's all dry brush

Trail cut to the pasture

entry to the pasture - there used to be cows grazing here..

Hubbie has been busy. This will be mostly Hay field. Unfortunately (we hate this!) he scared-off 2 Deer sleeping in the long grass. This happened twice in two separate areas. He has kept a good swath of long grass all along the tree line as that is where the Deer are sleeping. We do everything to make our land a safe haven for them.

Now that there is no nectar and very little pollen, the honeybees are using the feeder.

Wild grapes (very sour!). I make wreaths from these vines

The two back hives. I have a lot to say about the bees soon in another post.
 It's been too warm to winterize them yet.

With so few leaves on the trees, we can see the house as we approach from the back


Time for some fresh apple cider...that was a long and warm walk!

Today the rain they've been announcing all week has finally arrived and the wetness makes the colours so much more vibrant. The wet leaves are bent-over and I see the hints of red which the Maple leaves develop. It's a beautiful sight of Burnt Umber glow out there and we are warm and dry indoors.

The Pullets just love this wet cold weather - so funny! They have been spoiled with carrot tops, beets and beet tops (Hubbie says their beaks were pink!) and then the insides of Butternut Squash - I can tell you that when they see The Mama they come running - I even gave them 3 boiled eggs mashed with their shells (I read it's good for them) so they have been very happy too.

This little feeder is so very popular with the Chickadees and Nuthatches, so happy to see them pop in and out all day long.

Around here, it's all about Fall, we love it rain or shine, warm or cold and it just gets better with Halloween creeping around the corner...

Happy Fall to you all!


  1. What glorious pictures, it's just beautiful up where you live! I've never seen purple beans, seems like a waste not to use them, but if there's a risk of becoming ill or dead... guess I wouldn't cook em either!! :) Fall is my favorite time of year, leading right up to the yuckiest time of year, colder weather! :) Thanks for posting all those wonderful pictures. :)

  2. Oh I love having a tour around your land, it looks so beautiful. We don't get beans like that here, or at least I don't think so, they do look gorgeous in that purple. I love the chicks especially when they have their bums in the air, sooo cute xx

  3. Reply from Pinney,

    Anne, it truly is magnificent here right now, my heart is flying high from all the beauty. It's funny how we all have a season that just speaks to us. I'm so glad I could share my Fall with you! I love winter too but it lasts too long.

    Lizzy, those chicken bums are just too cute,eh? I giggle every time I see them bent over with their fluffy bottoms popping out!