June 4, 2012

BBQ Chicken Pizza on the Grill

A great way to cook during the heat of summer or in a power outage is on your BBQ grill. In addition to the traditional grilling you can do, you can also cook pizza on the grill :) Here is a recipe from Pampered Chef for pizza on the grill:

Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza


1 small red onion
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups shredded
cooked rotisserie chicken
1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Cornmeal for dusting
1 lb pizza dough
6 oz Colby Jack cheese, grated
Additional fresh oregano leaves for garnish (optional)


1. Prepare grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. Slice onion crosswise and separate onion slices into rings. Slice garlic. Combine chicken, 1/2 cup of the sauce, oregano and black pepper in small bowl; toss to coat.

2. Generously sprinkle a pastry mat with cornmeal; place dough onto center of mat. Roll dough into a 12-in. circle. Place dough onto BBQ Pizza Pan, gently stretching to cover bottom.

3. Spread remaining 1/2 cup sauce evenly over crust to within 1/2 in. of edge. Top with chicken mixture, garlic and onion; sprinkle with cheese.

4. Place pizza pan on grid of grill. Grill, covered, 18-22 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown, carefully rotating pan occasionally. Remove pizza pan from grill. Sprinkle pizza evenly with additional oregano, if desired. Remove pizza from pan; cut pizza into 12 slices.

Yield: 6 servings
Nutrients per serving: (2 slices): Calories 430, Total Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 65 mg, Sodium 730 mg, Carbohydrate 50 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 24 g

Cook’s Tips: For easier rolling, let pizza dough stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling it out.
© 2012 The Pampered Chef used under license.

P.S.  I recently bought the Pampered Chef BBQ Pizza Pan and I LOVE it!!

February 17, 2012

Spring Gardening Events

The following classes and events are free unless otherwise noted.  Most require advanced registration.  Please leave a comment if you know of any additional gardening classes or events in the area.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Tomatoes by Tom LeRoy
Friday, Feb. 24th from 10 am - Noon
Lone Star College - Kingwood

Harris County Tomato and Pepper Sale
Saturday, Feb. 25th from 9 am - 1 pm
3033 Bear Creek Dr, Houston, TX 77084

Spring Vegetable Gardening by Tom LeRoy and Bill Adams
Saturday, Feb. 25th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
Free tomato plant for first 150 people
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Gardening 101 - Spring into Water-wise Landscaping
Topics include: Tree Care, Pollinator Gardening, and Keeping it Green
Saturday, Feb. 25th from 9 am - Noon
The Woodlands Township Town Hall Board Chambers
2801 Technology Forest Boulevard, The Woodlands, TX

Raised Bed Gardening
Tuesday, Feb. 28th at 7:00 pm
Spring Texas Stake Center
25623 Richards Rd, Spring TX 77386

Gunter's Heirloom Vegetables by Leah and Pam Gunter
Saturday, Mar. 3rd from 9 am - Noon
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Saturday, Mar. 3rd from 11 am - Noon
Parks, Recreation and Environmental Services Campus
8203 Millennium Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX (next to the Woodlands High School)

Container Vegetable Gardening by Jeremy Kollaus
Thursday, Mar. 8th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Where Do We Garden From Here? (due to extreme weather changes) by Linda Gay
Saturday, Mar. 10th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Herbs: Old Friends and New by Ann Wheeler, Log House Herbs
Tuesday, Mar. 13th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Summer Annuals and Perennials by Tom LeRoy
Friday, Mar. 16th from 11 am - 12:50 pm
Lone Star College - The Woodlands
936-273-7446 or mcall@lonestar.edu

Montgomery County Master Gardeners Plant Sale
Saturday, Mar. 24th from 9 am - 1 pm

Texas Wildlife and Woodland Expo
Saturday, Mar. 24th from 10 am - 4 pm 
Lone Star College - The Woodlands
Clinics on plants, trees, water, wildlife and wildfire

Tough Perennials for Today's Gardens by Dr. William Welch, TAMU and Chris Wiesinger, Southern Bulbs
Saturday, Mar. 24th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Climate-Change Friendly Plants for Southern Landscapes by Dr. David Creech, SFA Univ.
Tuesday, Mar. 27th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Installing a Water System in Your Garden
Tuesday, Mar. 27th at 7:00 pm
Spring Texas Stake Center
25623 Richards Rd, Spring TX 77386

Herbs: Old Friends and New by Ann Wheeler, Log House Herbs
Saturday, Mar. 31st at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Root a Rose by Gaye Hammond, Houston Rose Society
Saturday, Mar. 31st at 1 pm
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Heirloom Shrubs and Vines for Houston Gardens by Dr. William Welch, TAMU and Greg Grant
Saturday, Apr. 14th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Madalene Hill's Herbs by Henry Flowers, McAshan Gardens
Tuesday, Apr. 17th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Basilmania by Ann Wheeler, Log House Herbs and Chef Chris Crowder
Thursday, Apr. 19th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Rainwater Harvesting Workshop 
Saturday, Apr. 21st from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Thomas R. LeRoy Education Center Auditorium
9020 Airport Road, Conroe, TX 77303
Cost is $50 and includes handouts, CD, and lunch

Wild About Wildflowers by Cherie Foster Colburn
Saturday, Apr. 21st at 1:00 pm
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Attracting and Keeping Beneficial Insects in the Garden by Skip Richter, County Extension Agent
Tuesday, Apr. 24th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Tropical and Citrus Fruit Tree Sale
Saturday, Apr. 28th
Seminar at 9 am
Sale Begins at 10:30 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

High Density Home Orchard Management Container Gardening by Angela Chandler
Saturday, Apr. 28th 1 pm
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

Summer Survival Tips for the Garden and the Gardener by Susan Wood
Thursday, May 17th at 10 am
Arbor Gate Nursery
15635 FM 2920, Tomball TX 77377

February 15, 2012

Growing Tomatoes in Montgomery County, TX

I am currently enrolled in the Master Gardener's course for Montgomery County.  Our last class talked about vegetable gardening and specifically about growing tomatoes.  It was taught by Thomas LeRoy, Montgomery County Horticulturist, TAMU.

This is his 'Guide to Successful Tomato Production in Montgomery County'

Step 1 - At planting, work in about 1/4-1/2 cup of slow release fertilizer such as cotton seed meal, osmocote or something similar.  Water the plants well after planting and place a tomato cage or stake by the plant.  Using cages will make step 2 easier.

[Staking versus Caging - which is best?  Whichever you like.  Tom likes caging better.  Caging produces smaller tomatoes, but more lbs of tomatoes per plant.  He uses concrete wire to form his cages - cut into 6 foot pieces.] 
For a 12"-18" tall plant, remove the lower leaves, then dig a trench and lay
the plant down, turning the tip of plant up.  For smaller plants, plant as
you would a regular plant.
Step 2 - Covering the cages with the tops open with some material such as "Floating Row Cover" (a light polyester material) or white or clear plastic bags will protect the young plants from the drying wind and greatly increases plant vigor and production.  In the event of a late freeze, the covers will help with frost protection as well.  
Leave row cover on until plants are about 1/2 up the cage.
Step 3 - A weekly application of water soluble fertilizer, sprayed on the tomato foliage will greatly increase plant vigor and fruit production.  A hose-end fertilizer applicator is one easy way to foliar feed your tomato plants.  Soluble fertilizers like Rapid Grow or  Miracle Grow.
You can spray the foliar spray right through the row cover.  Then spray directly
on the foliage of the plant after removing the row cover.
Step 4 - When the plants have set their first cluster of fruit, side dress with two to three tablespoons of ammonium sulfate [21-0-0] and water well.

[Fruit-set is affected by night temperatures.  Night temperatures below 50 degrees F delays the time from pollination to fertilization causing flower drop.  Bloom Set is a hormone that makes the flower hang on longer during cold nights.

Night temperatures above mid 70's disrupts pollen shed causing flower drop on large fruited varieties.  Cherry and paste tomatoes continue to fruit during the heat after the larger varieties have stopped.
Don't remove any shoots above the last cluster of flowers.

If you pick tomatoes when 10-30% of the tomato shows a change in color, the interior of the tomato will be fully ripe and after ripening on the counter it will have full ripened taste.  The benefit to doing this is you can save the tomato before the birds get to it. 

Refrigeration will increase the storage of tomatoes, but it will change the taste.

Get your tomatoes out early in the season for more production.  Because we've had such a mild winter, you can even put them out now.]

HERE is a printable handout of this information (without my added notes in brackets.)

Varieties Recommended for our Area (average lbs of fruit per plant):

Bush Celebrity (61)
Solar Set (53)
Dona (53)
Carnival (54)
Heatwave (50)
Early Girl (50)
Champion (73)
Sun Gold

Cherry Tomatoes:
Juliet (57)
Baxter's Early Bush
Sweet Chelsea
Yellow Pear (heirloom)

Paste Tomato:
Viva Italia

Tumbling Tom - cascades and comes back in the fall

Heirloom Tomato Varieties - They don't produce very well here.  They only produce 5-8 lbs per plant on average.

Some Additional Information:

January 4, 2012

Zaycon Foods Order - Chicken & Bacon

This order is CLOSED.  Click HERE to see what current orders they have going on.

Zaycon Foods is having another order in the Houston/The Woodlands/Conroe area. This month they have Chicken ($1.69/lb) and Bacon ($2.97/lb). I've purchased both of these from them before and they are extremely fresh and great quality. And they taste excellent!! I repackage mine in vacuum sealed bags before I freeze it. To order, click HERE.  Orders must be received by Saturday, January 14th.

Delivery is available to many locations in the Houston area, including a location in The Woodlands and one in Conroe.

The Woodlands
Friday, January 20th
9:30-11:30 am
Legends Sports Complex
602 Pruitt Rd
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Friday, January 20th
1:00-2:00 pm
Living Word World Outreach Church
3273 S. Loop 336E
Conroe, TX 77301

Below is more information from their website:

FRESH Premium Hickory Smoked Bacon
  • High quality, medium-cut hickory smoked sliced bacon (14-18 slices per pound)
  • Order includes two 15-lb cases with two 7.5-lb packages per case (Total order size is 30-lbs)
  • Premium, high-quality and consistent, this hickory-smoked bacon has a wonderful flavor and represents a great value for families
  • Easy to share with a friend if you do not think you can use the entire case
FRESH Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 100 % natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients
  • Comes directly from the processor and has never been frozen
  • Sold by the case — 40 lbs in each case
  • Case dimensions—18 in wide x 12 in deep x 7 in tall
  • [NOTE: Our chicken is delivered in its original wholesale packaging, a water resistant cardboard case containing three or four plastic bags of fresh chicken breasts. The smaller bags are typically sealed in a larger plastic bag. The smaller bags are not uniform in weight. There will be small amounts of naturally occuring liquids (i.e.,"chicken juice") in each bag and case. Chicken breasts typically come in double-lobed pairs ("butterfly") and will have small attached amounts of fat.]

December 13, 2011

Give the Gift of Preparedness this Christmas

If you are still looking for a gift for someone (or for yourself!), consider giving a preparedness gift. Here are a few ideas.

BSA First Aid Book
BSA First Aid Merit Badge Book ($4.49)
This is a great SMALL comprehensive book that will fit in your first aid kit.

It can be purchased at your local Scout Shop or online at the ScoutStuff website.

Cyalume SnapLight Industrial Grade Light Sticks (pack of 10 on Amazon for $9.35)

Light sticks are great to use when the power is out since they are safe for children.  These last much longer and provide more light than the more inexpensive versions available.  And they make great stocking stuffers!
Cyalume SnapLight

  • Industrial grade light stick for providing illumination for up to 12 hours
  • Measures 6" long and provides 360 degrees of illumination
  • Hook and gate top for hanging or attaching the light
  • Chemiluminescent substance is non-toxic and plastic body is phthalate free for safety
  • Five-year shelf life from date of manufacture for a maintenance-free alternative to other lighting
For more information, see Amazon's product description and reviews for this item HERE.

Stove in a Can (regularly $35 - on sale HERE for $17.49)

Stove In A Can is a portable, self-contained cooking platform that provides a week's worth of cooking.
Stove In A Can
  • Cooks for 4-6 hours (1 week's worth of cooking time)
  • Boils water in minutes
  • Holds over 300 lbs
  • Stores indefinitely and safely (no chemicals)
  • Can be lit and re-lit
  • Has an indefinite shelf life and works great in extreme weather conditions
  • Fuel cells are completely waterproof and will ignite in seconds
  • At up to 18,000 BTU's, Stove In A Can boils water in minutes and burns hotter than most other outdoor stoves
  • Is compact, lightweight, and ready for cooking in less than a minute
  • Comes with 4 fuel cells that burn for up to 90 minutes each
For more information, see the Quick Stove website.

Wind 'N Go Lantern/Radio (on Amazon for $30.84)

Wind 'N Go Lantern/Radio

  • Self-powered lantern with built-in AM/FM radio; ideal for the campsite or your emergency kit
  • Three minutes of winding the handle provides up to 75 minutes of use
  • Offers low setting (three LEDs), high setting (six LEDs), and emergency setting (six red blinking LEDs)
  • Has emergency siren, DC charger, nightlight, compass, audio input cord, and Nokia cell-phone adapter
  • Weighs 1.75 pounds; covered by one-year manufacturer warranty
For more information, see Amazon's product description and reviews for this item HERE.

IronKey Secure Flash Drive ($59 and up)

This is a great way to store your important documents since it is both durable and waterproof. (This does not take the place of having printed documents available for an emergency since you may not have access to a computer or printer.)
IronKey Flash Drive
  • Military-grade encryption and easy-to-use identity management
  • World's most secure flash drive
  • Comes loaded with a secure private browser that lets you surf anonymously and protects your passwords whenever you go online
  • Rugged metal casing protects against physical damage, and the internal components are sealed to protect against tampering
  • Passed and exceeded military waterproof testing requirement
For more information, see the IronKey website.

Lodge Logic 8-Quart Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Camp Dutch Oven (on Amazon for $60.09)
Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens aren't cheap, but they are fun to use whether it's an emergency or not! And if you take care of it, it will last forever. Buy one with legs so you can put coals underneath it, and make sure the lid has a lip so you can also put coals on the lid for quicker and more even cooking.
  • 8-quart camping Dutch oven made of preseasoned cast iron
  • Large wire loop handle for easy lifting and carrying
  • Self-basting cast-iron lid inverts for use as griddle
  • Integral legs for campfire and fireplace cooking
For more information see Amazon's product description and reviews for this item HERE.