Looking Out My Back Door – October 20, 2013

The colors outside are more muted now.

Bunny Grazing in the Grass

Bunny Grazing in the Grass

Oh, there are spots of vibrant reds, oranges and golds but not as brilliant as we’ve had some years.

Bunny

Bunny

In case you couldn’t see him, there really is a bunny grazing in the grass in the photo above…right in the center of the back of the lawn.  Here is a closer view of the little fellow.

The ornamental grasses have their tassles now and look lovely swaying in the wind and glistening in the sunlight.

Ornamental Grass

Ornamental Grass

Although the colors are fading and the leaves are falling, there are still a few “pops” of color out there to delight in. 

The hardy orange (poncirus trifoliata) has grown higher this year and has fruit up on those higher branches.  From my kitchen window I can see these little suspended golden orbs hanging, almost magically, from the branches.  In years past, I have gathered some of these little oranges and studded them with whole cloves and arranged them in a small bowl to add a delightful aroma to the house.  I’ll have to cut one in half and show you in another post what the inside looks like…lots of little seeds.

Hardy Little Oranges

Hardy Little Oranges

The winged euonymus in the sunny areas has now turned a brilliant red:

Winged Euonymus

Winged Euonymus

And the monkshood is in blossom!

Monkshood

Monkshood

The unexpected lavender blue color of the monkshood in the fall garden is amazing.  They stand about 4 feet tall and are easily visible along the back of the bed.  The petals do look like monks’ hoods, don’t they?  The center of each flower has chartreuse green stamen.   Hard to believe this plant is poisonous.

I’m spending my time outdoors cutting down the phlox and other flowers…also raking the leaves.  I picked 6 large pole beans and added them to my salad yesterday.  Also used some of that basil in the salad.  There hasn’t been a frost, so these plants are still growing.

Getting around to matters other than what’s happening outside in the yard…fresh pineapple was on sale at the market and I can’t resist it.

Pineapple

Pineapple

I love eating fresh pineapple in the morning.  And I also have a pineapple and walnut cake recipe that is easy and delicious.  There is no shortening in this cake and only 1/2 cup of sugar. 

Some Pineapple Choped for Cake

Some Pineapple Chopped for Cake

Although canned crushed pineapple was intended for this recipe, I’ve successfully replaced that with finely cut fresh pineapple.

Cake Batter in Pan

Cake Batter in Pan

Pineapple Walnut Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4  teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt
1 large egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup finely cut fresh pineapple (or canned crushed pineapple)
2/3 cup pineapple juice or orange juice or combo of both
1/3 cup walnuts (coarse chop)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 8 inch square baking pan.

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cloves and salt.  Add egg, vanilla and juice.  Combine until mixed.  Fold in pineapple and walnuts and bake for 30-35 minutes or until top springs back to touch and toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool 10 – 15 minutes in pan and then remove from pan.

Just Out of the Oven

Just Out of the Oven

This cake is good the day it is made, but it is better the second day.  I don’t know why that should be, but it is.  I store it in the refrigerator.  It’s good served cold but it’s also good if you let it sit on the counter and warm up slightly.  I don’t frost  it but cream cheese frosting would work well with it…or a dollop of slightly sweetened (with a bit of confectioners’ sugar)whipped cream cheese on the side. 

I use orange juice in this recipe as I don’t have the pineapple juice from the can.  I’m thinking a mashed ripe banana might work well and if I have an old banana laying around the next time I make it, I’ll try incorporating that into the recipe.

Ready to Eat

Ready to Eat

This pineapple walnut cake recipe reminds me of my mother’s boiled raisin cake.  Her recipe follows.  She had a sensitive stomach and couldn’t take all the spices, but when I make it, and I do make it often, I put them all in…the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Smells delicious baking.  This cake is moist and delightful. 

My Mother's Boiled Raisin Cake Recipe

My Mother’s Boiled Raisin Cake Recipe

Recipe Continued....

Recipe Continued….

One last thing…talk about serendipity.  I’ve been thinking I need to do something with my face…like a mask or scrub or something.  I had it in my mind that I’d like a natural enzymatic treatment.  Guess what?  I found the following website which talks about a pineapple facial.  Just cut about a 1 inch square piece of pineapple and rub it all over your face and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes and then get in the shower to steam and remove the pineapple.

The author recommends following this up with a baking soda scrub.  Baking soda is amazing, isn’t it?  I bake with it, I clean with it, sometimes I brush my teeth with it and I have used it as a facial scrub in the past (and liked it).  And it’s inexpensive to boot. 

This is the web page for the pineapple facial.  Right below that article is the link to the baking soda scrub.  Excellent info!

http://gi365.info/lifestyle/diy-homemade-pineapple-facial/

Since I happen to have fresh pineapple on hand, I’m going to try the pineapple facial this morning followed by the baking soda scrub and will report back on the results in the next post.

Until next time….

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