Blog Archives

Birthday Brownies!

I celebrated a birthday yesterday, ending in “O”  So in honor of this special day, I am posting a delicious brownie recipe.  You can choose to make it either in the original, moderate or low fat versions.  All are delicious!  If you do not have apple sauce consider substituting pumpkin or Greek yogurt instead!


Serving size and frequency of eating are important factors in deciding when to change sweet baked products. This example offers the alternative of replacing margarine with applesauce.


Original                                       Moderate                                    Low Fat

½ cup margarine                           ¼ cup margarine                          Omit

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce                ½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1 cup sugar                                     1 cup sugar                                  1 cup sugar

1 egg                                                 1 egg                                              2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla                         1 teaspoon vanilla                        1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup flour                                    ¾ cup flour                                       ¾ cup flour

¼ cup cocoa                                    ¼ cup cocoa                                     ¼ cup cocoa

¼ teaspoon baking powder         ¼ teaspoon baking powder          ¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt                               ¼ teaspoon salt                               ¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped pecans                   ¼ cup chopped pecans                   Omit

Spray a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray coating; set aside. In mixer bowl, combine applesauce, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Pour into pan and bake at 350 °F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Yield: 16 servings

Approximate nutritional values per serving:

153 calories                                    117 calories                                     78 calories

9 grams fat                                     5 grams fat                                      0.2 grams fat

49% calories from fat                  34% calories from fat                   3% calories from fat

13 mg cholesterol                         13 mg cholesterol                          0 mg cholesterol

Viewing the Vertical Garden

With all the heat, our vine crops are having a ball and growing like crazy. I took some pictures earlier in the week of the different plants to gauge where they are at in starting to produce. Mostly I was looking for the presence of flowers, and if flowers were present, then I was looking to see if the flowers were male (for pollen) or female (fruit producing). We need both male and female flowers to get anything off of a particular variety. Female flowers have a swollen area behind the flower that often looks like a miniature version of whatever the fruit is supposed to be.

The ‘Salt & Pepper’ cucumber is blooming, but I only saw male flowers. No cucumbers on this vine yet!

The ‘Rocky’ cucumber is much farther along. A check of the label says 45 days to maturity, which would explain the early fruiting! These are little 3-4″ long snack cucumbers. We’ve harvested 4 of these cucumbers just this week .

The ‘Cucino’ cucumber is not far behind, with lots and lots of female flowers setting cucumbers. They will be producing like crazy by early next week.

I did find this one lonely female flower on the ‘Sweet Success’ cucumber plant. It is a little bit later and produces 14″ fruit, so I’m not surprised.

The ‘Suhyo Cross’ cucumbers, another long, slicing type, are also lagging behind. I didn’t see very many flowers at all, and certainly no female flowers.

The ‘Kazakh’ melon has lots of flowers, but they are mostly male flowers. I did manage to find one or two female flowers, and those seem to be increasing toward the end of the week.

The ‘Honey Orange’ honeydew melon is in much the same state. There are lots of male flowers, although if you look close at this picture, I think you can find 2 female flowers.

This is the ‘Pinnacle’ spaghetti squash. Again, mostly male flowers, but I did find this female flower. From checking this morning, it looks like it was successfully pollinated.

This is ‘Lil’ Pump-ke-mon’ ornamental pumpkin. you can see that it had some male blooms earlier that have died and now has some female blooms. I couldn’t tell for sure when I checked this morning if any of them have actually been pollinated.

On the other hand, the ‘Sunshine’ Kabocha squash hasn’t had tons of flowers, but I’m pretty sure that this squash is successfully pollinated and growing. We’ll be sure to keep and eye on it. This type of Kabocha squash is supposed to be a bright scarlet at maturity.

That’s what’s going on in the Vertical Garden this week. There are some other vine crops throughout the garden, but I’ll cover them in the context of “whole garden” overviews in the next couple of weeks.