Sugar Free Almond Joy Cheesecake


My husband and I always crave a little something sweet after supper. We found that by taking one of our favorite cheesecake recipes, and swapping out some of the ingredients for "sugar-free" options, we could enjoy this tasty and filling dessert after mealtimes or at a special event like a birthday or potluck. The original recipe is just as delicious, so if you aren't looking for a sugar-free treat, just follow the original recipe which is listed at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

Filling:
  • 4 8oz pkgs cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cups Pyure, (organic stevia blend sweetener)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup un-sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
Topping:
  • 6 Tbsp whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup un-sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled

Directions:
  1. Beat cream cheese till smooth. 
  2. Add sugar and beat till creamy. 
  3. Lightly beat in the eggs, extracts, and salt till thoroughly combined.
  4. Fold in the coconut and almonds.
  5. Pour mixture into a non-stick silicone baking pan.
  6. Turn oven to 325° and bake for about 75 more minutes or until the outer 2 1/2" is set.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Topping: 
  1. Heat cream in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir slowly and constantly until till smooth. 
  3. Pour over the top of the cheesecake, letting some drip down the sides.
  4. Sprinkle toasted coconut in the middle and toasted almonds around the edges. Chill till set.
  5. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. It is even better the next day!
This recipe has been adapted from the original non sugar-free version, over at: "CreationsByKara"

How to Grow Food Hydroponically in a 5 Gallon Bucket

Earlier today we received an awesome message from one of our followers. He sent a video over of his latest hydroponic experiment and we are thrilled to share it with you.  Anytime we hear about friends who are inspired by anything we're doing over here at The More One Sows, we celebrate right along with them in their success.  

"Hello mentors! Yes, I know, you had no idea.... But yes, I read your blog and page and consider you mentors on how to live a good clean life with love and lots of vegetables. I wanted to share with you both the tomato plant & pepper plant I grew this year in a 5 gallon bucket of nutrient solution. I wouldn't even have tried this if you had not shared with me the fact that tomatoes will grow in deep water!"

Enjoy this video of Chris showing off his tomato and pepper plants, grown hydroponically in a 5 gallon bucket using a deep water culture method. So easy, anyone can do this you guys! We'd love to encourage you to try it and let us know how it goes!


Aged, Fermented Hot Pepper Sauce


With an abundance of hot peppers growing in our hydroponic beds we are looking for new and delicious ways to preserve the harvest. I won't even go into the insane number of pepper jelly jars sitting in our food storage right now.  If you know my husband, you know he LOVES hot sauce. He literally puts it onto everything he eats it seems. Nothing has ever been too hot or spicy for him and we're always pushing the boundaries trying to find something that's too hot for him. Even my last batch of Scotch Bonnet and Ghost Pepper jelly wasn't enough to make him break a sweat.  I about died just making the stuff and the heat index didn't even phase him. 

Today we are trying out a new recipe from "Phickle" and it looks amazing. Not sure how long we will let it ferment, but this was by far one of the easiest fermenting recipes I've ever tried.  I highly suggest visiting her page if you are interested in learning the art of fermentation. Here's her recipe for Aged, Fermented Hot Pepper Sauce, and we'll continue to update this page with the progress of our ferment! Happy pickling. 
Equipment
  • Quart Jar
  • Food processor or high power blender (Vitamix would be ideal, but, sadly, I don’t have one so I use my Cuisinart which does a great job!)
  • Vinyl or rubber gloves
Ingredients
  • 3.5 packed cups whole hot peppers of your choosing (fresnos, cayenne, habanero and jalapeños work particularly well, but you can use anything), stems and green caps removed
  • 5 cloves garlic (we used some of our elephant garlic from last year!)
  • (optional) additional seasonings, cloves, star anise, mustard seeds, brown sugar, etc
  • Brine (1 T salt dissolved in 2 cups room temp water)
Process
  1. If using seasonings, place in bottom of jar.
  2. Pack peppers and garlic into jar, as tightly as possible.
  3. Pour brine over and ensure that pepper are submerged under brine, using your preferred method to submerge vegetables and cover the jar. You want to use as little brine as possible here, so be sure that your peppers are well packed in.  It’s okay if they crack here and there while you’re packing them in.
  4. Allow to ferment for at least two weeks and up to 8 (or really, a year if you’d like).  If you want to stop there are just eat this hot peppers as pickles, go for it!  At 3 months, my serranos where still perfectly crispy.
  5. Once fermentation is complete, drain and reserve brine and place peppers and garlic in a food processor, removing any whole spices first. Process for 2-3 minutes, or until very liquidy.
  6. Add brine a tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency. For a liquid, tabasco-style sauce, add it all. I like a sriracha consistency, so I usually add back between a quarter and a half cup of brine.
  7. Run the puree through a food mill or fine mesh strainer.  I work with a pretty awesome OXO fine mesh strainer (you can use metal here) and a spatula, stirring and pressing until my pepper dregs are quite dry.
  8. This is one ferment that keeps almost indefinitely.  I have sauces that are over a year old in my fridge, and they still taste great!
5 1/2 months into fermentation

Tips for Starting Your Fall Vegetable Garden Seeds


So you've decided to be adventurous and have a fall/winter garden! Yes! So excited for you. If this is your first year growing some cool-season vegetables later in the year, it can be overwhelming to guess which varieties you should plant not to mention wondering how they'll do.  You can research different crops and what might do well in your area, but if you're looking for an easy way to start, you should consider purchasing an "All-In-One Fall & Winter Season Garden Seed Kit". 
SeedsNow.com offers this All-in-One Variety Pack which includes an assortment of the 15 most popular varieties. All the guesswork has been taken out for you! Anyone can grow these varieties, and in a number of different situations. Whether you're growing in a greenhouse, on a balcony, deck or raised beds...this kit will be perfect for you! 

Want a tip?
"If you live in a hot-summer climate, you might need to start seeds of your favorite cool-season vegetables indoors; many do better in air-conditioning than they do in the heat. If you start your seeds directly outdoors, plant them a little deeper than you would in spring; the soil is typically moister and cooler and extra inch or two down." - BHG.com


Ready to Start Planting? Grab Your Seeds and Read: How To Start Your Seeds Indoors, Successfully! 

How to Get Your Garden Ready for Fall & What You Should be Planting


Summer is on it's way out, and now is the time that you'll want to start thinking about your fall gardens. This month, begin making room for your soon to be planted fall varieties. Take out any summer crops that have stopped producing or that have been plagued with disease or pests. 


Now is also a good time to get ahold of any weeds that might be in your garden. Pull any existing weeds so that they won't compete for moisture or nutrients with your newly planted seedlings. Apply a decent layer of mulch afterwards to help keep future weeds from appearing. 

Amend your soil with some organic matter like homemade compost.  This step will ensure that your soil is loaded with adequate "food" that your newly planted fall crops will need to grow and thrive.  Your crops will only be as good as your soil is healthy! So make sure to amend the soil each time you practice crop rotation throughout the different gardening seasons. 

Varieties To Plant in the Fall

Basil: It can be grown year-round indoors or in frost-free climate. Basil also needs daytime temperatures over 70° F and nighttime temps over 50° F. Read more...

Beets: Beets are hardy and may be sown as soon as the ground can be worked. Beet seeds can germinate in cool soil, but they sprout best when soil temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be planted directly in the garden one month before your last spring frost. For succession crop, plantings can be made every 2 weeks to mid-summer. Beets can become tough and stringy if grown in hot weather during droughts; ample water supply is essential to succulent roots. Read more...


Bush Beans: While summer temps are still around, start some bush beans. These are a "fast growing crop" and if you start them early in the fall you should be able to harvest them before your first frost. Plus, who doesn't love homegrown green beans for Thanksgiving? Read more...


Broccoli: In midsummer, start a crop of seedlings for August planting and late fall crop. Broccoli is hardier than cauliflower, and can withstand several frosts and still keep producing. Read more...


Brussels: Brussels sprouts are an annual cool season crop, hardy to frosts and light freezes. Read more...


Cabbage: Cabbage is an annual cool-season crop, hardy to frost and light freezes. A smaller cabbage head has better flavor and can stay in the field longer without splitting. Read more...


Cauliflower:  It is the most sensitive of the brassicas to frost. Cauliflower should not be transplanted outdoors until all danger of frost is past, unless covered. Read more...


Cilantro: If you're in a frost free period, and without extreme heat during the summer, you'll have no problem growing cilantro.  Basic rule of thumb is if you are in a mild climate, grow cilantro during the summer, and if you're in a tropical climate, stick to growing it during the dry and cooler season. Read more... 


Green Onion: Onions are a cool-season crop, hardy to frost and light freezes, although certain varieties are exceptions. They can be grown practically everywhere, and prefer a cool- season start. Onions are as hardy as they come. Frosts, freezing temperatures and snow will not kill them. They should have steadily moist soil and even growing weather to mature at a steady pace. Otherwise they bolt to seed or do not form good bulbs. High temperatures and low humidity are advantageous during bulbing and curing. Read more...


Kale: Kale can be planted pretty much anywhere in the United States where there's a cool fall growing season. It's a cool-season crop, hardy to frosts and light freezes. Kale's flavor is reported to improve and sweeten with frost. Read more...


Lettuce: Lettuce it is a cool-season vegetable, with an ideal temperature of 50-60 degrees. It does poorly in hot weather, and is tolerant to some frost and light freezes. Read more...


Mustard Greens: Mustard greens prefer cooler weather, so plant late in the summer for a fall harvest, or very early in spring before the summer heat sets in. Read more...


Peas: Peas are a cool season vegetable, and do best in a climate where there are two months of cool growing weather, either spring planting in the northern regions or fall planting in the warmer, southern regions. They are hardy to frost and light freezes. Read more...


Radishes: Radishes are a fast growing, cool-season crop that can be harvested in as little as twenty days. They will thrive in cool, moist soil. In cooler climates they can be planted in both the spring and fall. In warmer climates they should be grown over winter. Read more...


Spinach: Spinach can grow anywhere there is at least a month and a half of cool growing weather. Spinach is a cool-season crop, hardy to frosts and light freezes. Read more...


Turnips: Turnips like cooler weather - especially at night. Turnips have been known to survive temps as low as 25F.  Read more...


...and since we're talking about FALL... DON'T FORGET TO DROP YOUR GARLIC



Why I Never Tell My Husband He Can't Go Fishing


Since moving to Florida, my husband has become quite the fisherman. He's somehow accumulated 10 new fishing poles, built a custom rack for them, and hung it on the wall right next to MY side of the bed in our master bedroom.  My new reality is hearing the alarm go off no later than 3 or 4am every weekend followed by a soft whisper that says "Wake up honey, it's time to go fishing".  


Now I could go on and on about the hundreds and hundreds of dollars that he's spent on fishing gear and bait in the last 12 months.  I could talk under my breath about how I loathe fishing line being found in all lengths all over the entire house.  Last week my vacuum somehow found a reel with a bit of line unwound and that was it! My vacuum hooked that son of a gun and unwound hundreds of feet onto the bottom of it. That was fun to get off. Hooks on the floor, fish guts constantly in my freezer & bloody cutting boards all over the place.  Yes, my husband likes to fish. 


Not only does he love to pack up both cars, and take every beach gadget, toy and luxury item we own, but he wants to take his kayak. He will want to spend all night, and sometimes all morning along the beach casting his fishing line into those emerald waters.  This means more work for me, since I will have to make sure the children have enough food/water/and toys to keep them occupied. It means I'll be spending my entire day likely without a shower or fresh make-up, unless that is I want to do it at 3am in a rush before we head out into the darkness. Um, no thank you.  I've learned that he's also usually more than generous enough to stop at the local Circle-K gas station and let me fuel up on some bitter and burnt coffee. He might just be stopping so he can get a block of ice for his fish cooler. Either way, I don't complain.  


You see, I'll never tell him he can't go fishing. I'll never tell him that it's a nuisance or annoying hobby he's taken up. I'll never roll my eyes or grunt with disgust at the mere mention of how the tide is, weather is, or any other factors that might determine how good the fish are biting. Why? Because my husband, who was (or is) an addict, needs to fish. 



Filling his free time with a harmless and productive hobby is a good thing. If he wants to be passionate about gutting fish on a pier, getting sunburnt and having salty skin, then by all means...I will let him enjoy it! He's found something to fill his free time, and bring him joy. As a wife and partner, this makes me feel joy.

Seeing the man I love who has struggled with substance abuse his entire adult life, find a healthy hobby that we are able to do together and spend time together as a family doing has been a beautiful blessing.  One our whole family has enjoyed. This is why I'll never tell my husband that he can't go fishing. Plus, I am able to catch some pretty awesome sunsets. 

Here's to many more years of sobriety, and a lot more fishing. I should probably buy myself a tackle box, huh?

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6 Popular Ways to Preserve Tomatoes from Your Garden


By now we are well into the summer months. We're dragging out the canner and stockpiling our homegrown tomatoes on the kitchen counter. Even if you've never canned before, I've got some great tips and easy recipes for you to try as you preserve those delicious homegrown heirloom tomatoes.

If you're wondering what tomatoes we prefer to grow in our own backyard vegetable garden, have a look at these heirloom varieties

All of these varieties seem to do well when either grown in traditional soil or hydroponically. Now, onto the recipes! 

1. Make Tomato Paste:

"Tomato paste is really just tomatoes that have been reduced...and reduced...and reduced some more! You can make a small batch using a few leftover tomatoes that are about to go bad, or buy up several pounds at the market to make enough paste to last the entire winter." (via theKitchn)




2. Freezing Tomatoes

"This freezing method takes very little prep, does not heat my kitchen up like canning does, and I can freeze a batch in smaller amounts, as the tomatoes come in, instead of needing a large amount of tomatoes to even make the canning worthwhile. Of course, as with anything, there are pros and cons. You do need to have freezer space available. And there is always the possibility that you could have a storm and lose power for several days, and if you don’t have a generator, you could lose all your effort and harvest. So, weigh these factors, and decide which method is best for you." (via MakeItHomemade)


3. Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes:

"The best tomato to use for dehydrating is the Roma tomato because it contains less water and seeds. You can use any tomatoes but they may take a little longer to dry. All drying times below are approximate. It takes about 7-8 pounds of tomatoes to yield about a pint of dried tomatoes. Herbs are optional, you may prefer pain tomatoes for greater cooking versatility. After the tomatoes are dry, store in air-tight containers, or pack in oil." (via Food)




4. Homemade Ketchup:

"We take ketchup (or catsup, if you prefer) for granted - it is everywhere and Americans use it in almost everything.  Some even put it on scrambled eggs.  So maybe you wondered if homemade ketchup taste any different or better?  And if you have a mountain of homegrown tomatoes that are going to waste, here's your chance to make your own ketchup and customize to your own taste!  Need a low-salt diet?  Skip the salt!  Want a low or no sugar ketch? You can skip the sugar! Want a spicy ketchup?  Add some Tabasco or chilies. Making and canning your own ketchup is something families remember years later.  No store bought ketchup compares with the taste of that made from your own tomatoes from your garden or fresh-picked from a local farm!  In the middle of the winter, you can pour the ketchup on your food and taste the summer flavor of fresh tomatoes." (via PickYourOwn)


5. Canning Tomatoes Without a Canner:

"Have you wondered about canning, but then been overwhelmed by all the stuff it seems to require and crazy little details you are worried you might get wrong? I feel you. Please allow me to show you how to can tomatoes, without a canner, in the simplest way possible. So maybe you have a garden full of these babies…" (via PrettyPrudent)




6. Freeze Your Own Tomato Sauce:

"If you’ve never canned before, this recipe is for you! Yes, you can still use up those tomatoes and enjoy homemade tomato sauce year round – just from the freezer instead of the pantry. Let’s get started!" (via SimpleBites)


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We Have a New 8th Grader in our Family!


Summer has almost come to an end, and usually by the end of July I'm completely wiped out.  We've spent the last few weeks purchasing new school supplies, new school clothes, and getting mentally and physically prepared for another school year.  

This year our oldest will be going into the 8th grade. Say what? Yeah I almost cannot believe it. When did she get so big? When did I become so old? Noahh will be starting pre-k this year and I think both of our daughters are equally excited. 

Becca's handmade "photo sheet inserts" for all of her new 3-ring binders...

Becca's main focus so far has been on her new clothes, new hair and decorating her school binders. It'll be her first year having real lockers at school too, which she thinks is super cool. It took a few trips to the store to figure out which backpack would be "just right", but she finally made a decision on which one would be most "her style". Style. Yeah, she's got one of those supposedly now that she's a teenager and stuff. 

This is what getting NEW HAIR looks like at our house...









As Becca's Mom it has been such a blessing to watch her grow into the beautiful young woman she has become. She has a soft heart, and is smart beyond her years.  There's never been a moment she's let us down, and her desire to always strive for excellence is something to admire. I wish her all of the success and happiness that a new year at school can bring. May all of her adventures be wonderful! 

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