July 20, 2010: Too Much on My Plate?

I think I got in over my head today. I started by going out to the garden to dig potatoes, pull beets and pick peppers and basil. Everything was brought in, washed, trimmed, weighed, photographed and refrigerated. Then I started a batch of dough for hamburger buns for tonight's dinner, scrubbed the potatoes and put them, and the eggs, on to cook for potato salad, got the celery cleaned and an onion skinned and ready to dice.

With the dough ready to form into rolls, I decided to go ahead and start a loaf of bread. I bought myself a new bread machine last week, and I'm still playing with recipes. I never used my old machine for baking, as the loaves just didn't turn out the way I liked. So far, two loaves have been made in the new machine, one with so-so and one with good results, so I decided to try a third recipe, and a different setting for today's bread.

While the bread was mixing, and the hamburger buns were rising, I began pulling leaves off the basil, for making pesto to freeze. I decided to make it without cheese (because I didn't have any), and right in the middle of it, Mr. Granny began hinting he'd maybe like some lunch. I stopped the pesto making, and heated up the leftover chicken and noodles from last night's dinner, got him and myself fed, then went back to the pesto. I don't have an ice cube tray, so I dropped it by spoonfuls onto plastic wrap, then put the little packages into the freezer. I began cleaning up the kitchen, and guess what was on the counter....the garlic. I made and froze an entire batch of pesto without the garlic!

That's what happens when you have too much going on at once. Especially me, as I'm not a good multi-tasker.

Potatoes were dug, beets were pulled, peppers and basil were picked.

Burger buns were made, and bread was baking in the bread machine. I didn't have any burnt buns this time, because I gave in and bought myself some new air bake cookie sheets!

The loaf of bread turned out pretty good, too. So far, I'm quite happy with this inexpensive bread machine (*Sunbeam 5891, $56.95 from Amazon.com, with free shipping). I must say, it's easier and less messy than oven baking. * I guess I'm supposed to state I received no compensation from Sunbeam or Amazon.com for including this information.

I had a bit of a catastrophe out in the garden last night. Do you remember this photo of the tomato plants behind the shed?

Back there in the left corner, there are five indeterminate plants that have nearly reached the top of the 6-foot fence. That was a week ago, and by yesterday they had reached the top of the fence and more, by probably six inches. This morning they looked like this:

They "shrunk" to about three feet high. They got so heavy, even the clothesline rope I'd tied to hold them up couldn't keep them from collapsing. Unlike the other indeterminates, these plants didn't have the double tomato cages, just one cage each. I really thought the cotton clothesline rope would contain them. Nope.

They aren't exactly on the ground, but they're close! It's a real jungle now, and will be difficult picking....or even finding tomatoes as they ripen.

The Clear Pink Early is just about ready to give me her first tomato.

I can't believe the tomatoes this little plant has forming! This is the other side of it.

I've picked a few cherry toms, but this Sibirskij Stambovyj (try saying that three times. Heck, try saying it just once!) will give me my first full sized, albeit rather small, tomatoes. Doesn't it figure it's my sickest looking plant? It's all tomatoes, sparse leaves.

Yesterday I picked my first Black Cherry tomato. I wasn't expecting much, as first tomatoes on a vine aren't usually anything to write home about, but oh, my. It was the closest thing I've had to a "real" tomato this year! I also had a Sungold that probably isn't a Sungold, and the flavor was much improved over the first two samples. Not exactly sweet, but it tasted like a tomato.

The first Black Cherry tomato.


  1. Dang about those tomatoes falling down. I had a similar problem my second year growing maters, I tried to use a Florida Weave. It ended up just being a big mess of stakes and string and floppy plants. It's so annoying when tomatoes are hard to find.

    You definitely had too much on your plate, Granny. I mean, geez Louise, you make your own burger buns? Something's gotta give!

  2. That's a nice bread machine for the price. I may just think about getting one.

    It's amazing how much the garden is growing right now. I can bearly get between most of the beds in the garden. Do you believe that I harvested 8.5 lbs of tomatoes today??

    Hey, you are not the first one to forget to add a main ingredient...I do that kind of stuff all the time. I just say it was a blonde moment!!

  3. Alison, I did the Florida weave last year, and it was a total mess. That's basically what I did with the ones that fell down last night, I had them tied every foot, up to about 4 feet. I shouldn't have stopped, but I ran out of rope! At least I could pick from both sides of the bed last year. I won't be able to even get close to that fence.

    Robin, I have to go through the shed to get to the tomatoes behind it. I can't get through the squash vines going around the back. Squash hunts are getting real fun now, too.

    Hey, at least I didn't leave the yeast out of the bread ;-)

  4. I wish I had a fraction of your energy! I got nothing done today, NOTHING! (sigh!)

  5. Granny, I would be willing to (temporarily) move into your tomato jungle if that means I can learn to grow tomatoes like you do.

    Your burger buns and bread look so fresh and delicious!

  6. Oh, Erin, you kept up with two little boys. I'm sure you fed them, too. I only have to take care of Mr. granny, and he's not too demanding. Most of the time.

    thyme2, I'm eating a burger as we speak, and I must say...there is nothing as good as a grilled sirloin burger on a home made bun! Especially with a big slice of sweet onion and some home made sweet relish and garden lettuce. And potato salad made with freshly dug new potatoes and more of that super sweet onion. I think I died and went to heaven ;-)

    You can camp in my tomato patch and have half of anything you find ;-)

  7. Wow, wow, and wow! I am so impressed that you make your own burger buns, and I'm even more impressed that you also made bread and pesto at the same time! Excellent eating ahead!

  8. meemsnyc, once you make your own burger buns, you're never happy with packaged ones. Bad thing is, we eat too much bread when I bake it! As far as the pesto goes, I'm tempted to thaw it out, put it back in the food processor, and add the garlic to it!

  9. I so agree about the burger buns, unless of course, you live near a Fuddruckers, they'll sell you the buns and they are darn tasty (I used to live just blocks from Fuddruckers back in Montana...)

    This may be a dumb question but do all the breadmachines end up with a hole in the end of the loaf from the blade? I had a machine for a while that I got on Freecycle. I was never happy with the loaves. It seemed they either expoded out the top or didn't cook right and they always had a huge chunk missing from the blade. I re-freecycled the bread machine before we moved here. I use my mixer to knead bread now so it's easy to make but it would be nice to be able to walk away sometimes.

  10. I wish I had half your energy! The Clear Pink tomato looks promising. Can't wait to hear how it tastes.

  11. Amy, no Fuddruckers near us.

    Yes, the bread has a hole in it from the mixing paddle(s). In my old bread maker, the paddle would stick in the bread and I'd tear off half the bottom trying to get it out. This one, so far, leaves the paddle in the pan and the bread shakes right off of it. It's a small hole, my pinkie finger fits in it to the first knuckle. I don't find it annoying. With my old bread machine, the bread would always rise too high and then collapse while baking. No problem with this one. Actually, yeast, salt and sugar adjustments to the recipe probably would have taken care of that problem, but it also made such large loaves, the slices wouldn't fit in a toaster. Even half slices would stick way up out of the slots. The 1-1/2 pound loaf with this one fits in the toaster perfectly. If I had to say what I don't like, it would be that the side and bottom crusts get too done for my liking. I thought choosing the "light crust" setting would take care of that, but it just makes the top crust lighter. It's still great for toast, but I'd like softer crusts for sandwiches. I can use my food processor, and have bread dough mixed in less than five minutes, but I have a big mess to clean up, and the oven heating up in the summer (which I did for the buns, anyway). I still prefer oven baking of the loaves, but with the machine I'll bake a loaf at a moment's notice, and not just once or twice a month like I did before.

  12. Dan, I do hope the Clear Pink has a good flavor. Could I be lucky enough to find such a compact plant with full sized good tasting tomatoes? Thomas grew this too, and he already harvested one of his, but he didn't say anything about the flavor.

  13. Your old one and my old one sound similar. Mine would always rip out about 1/4 of the loaf. I can't imagine what the loaves would have done at my current altitude, they didn't come out right at sea level! I may have to rethink the bread machine one day. I've not been baking lately because I don't want to turn the oven on when the house is already kind of hot (no central A/C).

  14. AG, is doesn't matter if you aren't good at multi tasking. The fact that you make your own bread and grow all your own produce is rare today, despite the growing homesteading trend. I have never used a bread machine. Then again, I've never made an actual loaf of bread. I've been sticking to pizza doughs so far. They turn out really well though. What recipe are you using for your hamburger buns? One you started yourself?

  15. You know, if the garlic is all you managed to forget with all that you were doing - I'd say that was a banner day! Your beets, basil, potatoes, and peppers look beautiful. My peppers are blooming but so far I cannot see any fruits formed. We are so much cooler that everything takes forever in comparison to sunny central Washington!

  16. Kalena Michele, I use the recipe at:


    I use this same recipe for all my white bread and rolls. Mr. Granny will only eat plain white bread and rolls :-(

    Kitsap, my peppers have a problem this year. I thought it was sun scald at first, but I'm even finding it on those in the very middle of the pepper patch, so it's definitely something else. Possibly a fungal disease from the cold, wet spring?


  17. Wow, Granny! You really put me to shame with all you do in one day! Even if I didn't have two kids, I don't think I could keep up with you.

    That's a great price on a bread machine. I love LOVE my bread machine, but never bake in it because of the loaf pan shape... I need the bread to be sandwich bread size, so the dough goes into the oven.

    Ok, ok... You've sold me on the Clear Pink tomato. I'm totally buying a pack next spring.

  18. Every thing looks fantastic. I just don’t know how you do it you must be the Bionic woman. Just got an idea, why don’t you go to a costume shop this October and buy her outfit and wear it next gardening season. Then I could understand better. John

  19. Momma_S, you'd better wait for the taste test on the Clear Pink Early! They might taste awful.

    LOL, John, if you wear your Superman costume I'll wear my Bionic Woman outfit!

  20. Good luck with fixing the tomatoes, like you needed another job to do.

    Forgive me. I just got distracted by The Idiot Gardener's post title. Gotta run.

  21. Cheryl, TIG does have a way of drawing our attention to his blog, doesn't he? I had to tell Mr. G what I was snickering out loud about this morning!

  22. Granny, made me laugh that my other comment got through even when it said it didn't! I'll have to go back and see did the others go through, too. It's almost like Blogger is playing a funny little game with me. ;)

    I hate it when the tomatoes fall over. Tcha! At least it doesn't stop them from setting fruit and getting on with business. We had such a disastrous cage fail in one spot last year that F. insisted I save some space on the edge of the forest for that ground-growing technique, just as Mother Nature does with wild tomatoes, and just to see was it easier. Ha! Not easier, and it looks horrible, and it's a mess to find the fruit. Oh, well, live and learn. :)

  23. Meredith, I emailed you a copy of your post log, which will be much easier than trying to find each one on the blog.

    I actually grew lovely tomatoes many years ago, before I knew about caging or trellising. They do just fine on the ground, as long as they don't get too wet. These happen to be watered by drip lines, so the surrounding soil is dry.

  24. Good Grief! No way I could keep up with all you were trying to do! I don't multitask that well, either.

    But I do love my bread machine. Makes things so much simpler. Have you seen the Grandmother Bread recipe at the Chickens In The Road blog? It's yummy. I've baked it completely in the bread machine, and just on the dough cycle. She has a huge number of variations on the loaf as well. I've tried some of them, but still have lots to go.

    Sorry about your tomatoes; hope the herbicide didn't kill them...

  25. sb, that bread does look good! I ignore what my machine recipes say, and proof my yeast, 110F. water and sugar in the pan for ten minutes, then add my butter or oil, flour, salt and whatever. I find it gives me a much nicer loaf than putting the yeast on top in a hole. I also found the sandwich bread setting was more to our liking than light or medium crust. We've gone through 3 loaves of bread, along with the burger buns, since I got the machine. We'll be blimps before winter!

  26. Really? Never even thought of doing that, strange as that sounds. Of all the things I've tried, it just never even occurred to me to do that. Can't imagine what I thought might happen; don't think I've ever heard of a bread machine blowing up! LOL! Next loaf, think I'll try it and see what happens.
    And, yeah, we eat too much bread, too, but it tastes sooo good!

    BTW, here are a couple more bread machine sites you may not have:



  27. sb, another thing I've learned is to always use the quick or bread machine yeast, and use about 1/2 tsp. for each cup of flour...my favorite recipe actually calls for 2 tsp. with 3 cups of flour, and that works fine in this machine. I would love to make all kinds of bread, but Mr. Granny will only eat plain white or French. I am going to make and freeze some for myself though. I love some of the crunchier breads and raisin bread.

    Thanks for the sites. I'm bookmarking them, and will be adding to my Bread Machine recipes file!