Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where have I been????

OK I am so sorry...but I have been trying to keep my garden alive! Today is the first day of Fall and we set a record! It was 98 degrees September 22! My over 100 Hydranga's are in severe stress...so I am watering non-stop........

I have so many stories to pass on.....I'll be back soon!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

To Market ...To Market


Nothing invigorates me more than a trip to a Farmer's Market. Whenever we are near a Market on Saturday AM, it is part of the plan. I love the spirit and vib..lots of the time there is music, food to taste and plenty of colorful fresh food. Here in Shelbyville, I can even buy a bottle of wine from my favorite local winery

So yesterday after meeting my wonderful neighbor and a great hour walk and talk...I made my way to the Local Farmers Market. I arm myself with my cloth bags,of course I use the one bearing the name of BLITZ BUILDERS on it, and some small bills.

The result the freshest eggs, the brightest peppers, some freshly dug spuds and a weeks worth of meal ideas. I love it!!!! Oh not to mention that great bottle of wine, calling us for a great Sunday feast.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Saturday, August 14, 2010

In and Out Tasks


Today it is 100 Degrees, it will be an in and out day! I have already been to the Farmer's Market so I am set for the week, so I am searching for tasks in the garden that draw me in and out of the house.

#1 Make Opal Basil Vinegar.( I will post recipe below)

I have noticed that the Opal Basil or Purple Basil was crying to be cut. So it was done!! Into the pot it goes!

#2 Ever since the storm several weeks ago the Potager Garden has been a disaster. The Cherry Tree fell right into the middle of the tomatoes, all the tall sunflowers collapsed on the lillies and the trellis fell over onto the roses. I think you get the general idea. It has been 100 degrees everyday since the storms, so clean up has been a struggle. So today despite the heat, I am moving forward. I have sweated, pulled and yanked, but I was continually encouraged by the Hummingbirds and Butterflys. As the day draws to a close, I am sore, chigger bitten and tired but invigorated by the progress. Time to go in and fix dinner. I am excited I am making Turkey Meatballs with my homemade Garden Tomato Sauce....I will let you know how this turns out! Enjoy the evening.

Opal Basil Vinegar

Take a big bunch of Opal Basil, rinsed clean and dried.
1 large jug of White Vinegar

I put the vinegar is a pot and heat it just until boiling. Then I stuff the basil into the jug. I proceed by pouring the heated vinegar over the basil and pop the lid back on the vinegar. I let it sit for about 2 weeks then I pour it into individual fun jars each with a special sprig of Opal Basil.

I love doing this tasks...the vinegar turns a wonderful light red color! So cool.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cutting Down the BeeBalm


Cutting down the Bee Balm and Coneflowers

Under the welcomed shade of the Crepe Mrytle Trees, I am taking on the task of cutting down the Coneflowers and Bee Balm. There is a slight wind and cooler temps, so even Dixie is out here to help me.

I love this task because it refreshes my mind of memories of years ago.

When my now 28 year old son, was very small, he refused to take naps. So most afternoons I would pop him in the car and we would drive the back country Indiana roads in search of Bee Balm. He would hold his head up high and eagerly look about..until he spied the Bee Balm....his little voice would chime out Bee Balm Bee Balm Bee Balm.....then as if it were magic..he would fall into slumber.

I would race home and cautiously carry the car seat and Jake into the house and on top of the dryer....which I ran on a low cycle . Crazy but it worked!!! So my garden must always have BEE BALM!

Goodnight my baby Jake!

P.S. #1 Bee Balm was Jake's 2nd love.....he adored turtles and would search relentlessly for a turtle crossing the road.(which we promptly stopped and saved by moving across the road.) Why does the turtle cross the road? So Jake can save it!

So I have a special stepping stone for Jake in the Bee Balm Garden! The turtle stepping stone!

P.S. #2 I stepped inside to check the jam, I was cooking and noticed that I had several finches clinging to the Coneflower seed heads. I was reminded by their sweet chirps that I should wait to cut the coneflowers until the feasting was done!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Still Stewing Over The Tomatoes




We are taking a long weekend trip down to see our daughter in Carrollton Georgia. I am excited because we are going to visit some gardens and make a trip to my favorite restaurant in Villa Rica Georgia, “The Blue Brick”.

I despise the fast food we normally get along the way, so I decided to finalize the meals made from the Stewed Tomatoes/Chicken dish. I took the delicious chicken breast and cut them into nice chunks. A quick trip to the garden gave me some fresh basil, some sweet young carrots, and a few more chigger bites.

I added all the ingredients together plus some of the sauce from the stewed tomatoes, plus enough mayo to bind it together. Voila! A wonderful chicken salad, the bits of stewed tomatoes, celery, onions and pepper added a unique depth to each bite. I packed a cooler with the Chicken salad, some fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, and fresh cheese.

We stopped at on of my favorite stops, The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. www.kentuckyartisanscenter.ky.gov

This is a perfect stop as it offers all the traveler services, including a small cafe, and a wonderful store highlighting the works of over 650 Kentucky Artisans. There are exhibits, demonstrations, and Kentucky Cuisine.

Under a nice shade tree, we enjoyed our chicken salad and officially put the stewed tomatoes to bed or in reality in our stomachs. Then a nice walk through the center and we are again rolling down the road.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stewing over Tomatoes

Stewing over Tomatoes

In an effort to use all the “gifts” from my garden, Tuesday I made a big pot of Stewed Tomatoes. I used a recipe from Paula Deen (see attached recipe), substituting Splenda for sugar and using the fresh peppers I had in the garden instead of canned ones. It was so yummy!! I had it over wild rice and Randy had it on a grilled rib-eye, left over from Sunday’s dinner. The stewed tomatoes continued to feed us on Wednesday night as well. I took several organic chicken breasts and lightly fried them in olive oil and thyme, garlic and onion. I submerged them in the wonderful stewed tomatoes and baked the mixture in the oven. The result of my experiment was mouth watering.

I had a couple slices of fresh tomatoes and dinner was good to go! I love using leftovers to make creative meals. But the rush that I love the most is going out to the garden and finding dinner pickins! I stand by that statement in spite of the constant 100 degree heat index’s and constant attack of chiggers.


" Sweet Stewed Tomatoes"

5 large fresh tomatoes
4 Tablespoons bacon drippings or butter
1 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon The Lady's House Seasoning
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons milk
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

Peel and dice the tomatoes. Heat the drippings in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic, stirring to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the House Seasoning and the tomatoes, cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 35b minutes. Add the sugar and parsley. Mix the cornstarch and milk until smooth. Bring the tomatoes to a boil and pour in the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Add the Parmesan and stir well.

Recipe from "The Lady and Sons, Too"
Paula Deen

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sundays tend to be a work day at our household. At the end of the day, we love to have a wind down dinner on the backporch. I love to grill out so we tend to make this a Sunday tradition.

Early Sunday morning,I had been in Louisville and stopped at Paul’s to buy some pancetta, when I spied some wonderful organic rib-eye steaks. Next to the steaks were some Vidalia Onions, setting off in my mind a plan for dinner.

I recalled a recipe from “Down Home with the Neeley’s” for grilling Vidalia Onions, so they became part of the grilling meal along with grilled asparagus, rib-eyes and fresh sliced tomatoes with basil and mozzarella cheese.. I ended up even grilling the tomatoes, so we ended up eating right off the grill!

With the aid of several citronella candles, Skin So Soft, and my mosquito eating bats, we were able to enjoy a pleasant evening under the stars. To me it is very romantic to eat and observe the bats as they came out from under the shutters and swooped their way into the night to eat! It is fun to be on my porch at dusk.


Grilled Vidalia Onions with Bacon Butter
I brought the steaks to room temperature and then put seasoned them with Olive Oil and course Sea Salt. The asparagus and tomatoes all received the same treatment, the recipe for the Onions from the Neeley’s is written below.

The addition of a nice Red Wine topped off the evening and the meal.


4 Large Vidalia Onions
Kosher salt and freshly grounded pepper
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3 slice cooked bacon, crumbled (My husband loves bacon so I doubled this number)
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves.
Preheat grill to medium heat

Cut onion top and “backtail” so the onion can sit flat. Peel the onion. Using a paring knife cut a hollow cone-like shape into the center of the onion making sure not to go all the way to the bottom. Salt and Pepper to the cavity. Place onions on individual squares of heavy duty aluminum foil

Add the bacon, butter, blue cheese, and thyme to a bowl and mix until well combined. Add large dollops of the butter mixture to the cavities of each of the onions.

Fold the aluminum foil all around the onion, gathering at the top and sealing to create a tent. Place on the grill over direct heat and cover the grill.. Cook for 30 minutes until the onions are soft. Let cool for 5 minutes before opening the packets and serving.


Recipe from the Food Network 2010.
“Down Home with the Neeley’s”

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mom


Again Shelby Co Kentucky was hit by severe weather. The ones in the know called it a Micro Burst with winds up to 100 miles per hour. We lost many limbs and 3 trees. My pots were flipped over and tomatoes flattened. I spent most of yesterday picking up limbs..my shade gardens are becoming sun gardens, all is Topsy turvey in the Kirts yard!

However....I took timeout today to drive up to Indiana to see my incredible Mom. At 92, she is amazing. She enjoys life with her best friend Burky the cat! We found him abandon the day we put my father into the nursing home. The cat was less than 2 weeks old and we had to bottle feed the little baby, teach her how to use the litter box and generally how to be a cat. Mom felt she was a gift from God, so she would have someone to care for and love. Needless to say this is one different cat!

But she is a blessing....we all need love and companionship!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tomatoes,Tomatoes, Tomatoes..

Last night after harvesting three baskets full of wonderful tomatoes, I decided it was time to start getting creative with these gems. I have many different varieties, mostly heirloom and I love the weird shapes and colors. I found this wonderful Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis for "Pasta Ponza"

I continued with my tomato cooking spree by making a wonderful sauce using ground turkey,onions, peppers, zucchini and carrots.(all from my garden). I have feasted on the combination of the two for Breakfast and Lunch! It does not take much to make me happy. Enjoy!


Pasta Ponza

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time:
8 min
Inactive Prep Time:
5 min
Cook Time:
10 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Butter for greasing
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound ziti or other short tube-shaped pasta
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 ounces) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes, capers, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the prepared baking dish. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mailbox Gardens

One of my favorite gardens is my mailbox garden. Welcome to my house, is what I what all to feel when they see my entrance!

I have always been fascinated by the many creative ways people garden around the mailbox. Perhaps someday I will write a book highlighting Mailbox Gardens!

I am very excited because I have found that I can get wireless Internet out in my gardens. While I am out in the gardens, ideas flood my mind. Stories, recipes, and tidbits seem to grow as fast as the weeds! I have been working very hard in the gardens this season, despite Mother Natures many attempts to halt progress!(hot weather, bucket loads of rain, wind storms, etc , etc) so I an excited to jump back into blogging.... Like my gardens, I am renewed and invigorated!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Salad Pots


Salad Planters

I love to fill my pots with early spring flowers, I search out the first pansies, snapdragons, and sweet williams often donning a winter coat while I find them pot homes.

This year I decided to take a new approach. February and March were so wet....I just could not get into the garden to prepare it for early vegetable planting, so my spring veg’s and lettuces became my spring flowers.

It so far has been great! I have lettuce just outside my backdoor; soon I will have spinach, dill, arugula, carrots, greens, broccoli and even cabbage. I must admit I still planted Pansies at the Mailbox Garden......

Monday, April 12, 2010

Virginia Blue Bells

I love this flower...and so does my Mom. Perhaps because it is her name sake....Her name is Virginia! My spring wild flower garden steals my heart every time I step foot in it!!!

My the way, we accomplished a hugh task yesterday. All the trees are down in the Raspberry Patch. Randy and I have thorns and scratches all over us...but we are close to accomplishing the main goal of the season.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday's tidbit task

Yesterday's task was to again,see blog from last summer, rid the path to the gazebo of the Spurge.

I have been working to line the path with Lady's Mantle, Ground Roses and Hydrangea. But the Spurge keeps interfering with my plans. Although it is pretty this time of year as I do love it's yellow bloom in the spring.

All the yellow's contrast with the bright green new grass and thrill my senses. But the Spurge must move it just takes over. Notice I said just move....to a spot yet designated. I simply can not throw plants away.

So Sunday's task is to move the Hydrangea and mulch! Sunday is not a day of rest for me.....miles to go.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bleeding Hearts




As a child, I use to love when this flowers opened. I would play with them.. when turned inside out , it looks like a lady in a bath tub!!!!

OK...... I admit I still play with my Bleeding Hearts.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

DILL : Herb of the Year



Dill is the Herb of the Year for 2010.

So I am going to make at least one recipe using Dill every week. In order to do this I will need lots of Dill, so I planted Dill in pots today, and will continue to plant Dill in the garden.

Here is the first of my Dill Recipes. I made this for Easter for my husband to take up to his Mom's for Easter. (I opted to stay home and work in my garden) Randy's Mom is on a no salt diet, I think she enjoyed this appetizer.

Egg Salad Crostini

Slice a whole wheat baguette into small slices and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes.

Let them cool completely.

Hard boil 3 eggs. After they have cooled, mash and add 1 TBLS chives and 1 TBLS Dill Weed chopped. Add enough mayo to bind.( I use Helmans with Olive Oil.)

Chop up about 3 ounces of cooked shrimp. Slice very thin 1/2 of an English Cucumber.

Take the toasted bread slices...put a tablespoon of the egg salad on the toast/ put a dollop of shrimp/ then a cucumber slice. Put a sprig of the fresh dill weed on top...


This is an adapted recipe from Weight Watchers. I found that I needed to add a touch of fresh grinded sea salt.

Daily Tasks and Tidbits from the Garden...


Each day I am going to make note of what I have accomplished in my garden. I tend to walk through my beautiful grounds and see only the weeds that I have not yet pulled and the tasks that I have not yet tackled . This is my new positive approach.

On my many walks with my dogs, I often see small special gifts from Nature. I am going make a special note on any flower,bloom, bug, weed,or animal in nature that made me smile!



My yard and life are full of blessings........I am going to look at my yard as an accomplished work of art and love and not as a burden.



So I may end up having two blogs in one day. Gardening is my soul, I am the happiest digging and planting. It is here that I solve issues and find peace. OK on a practical side as well, this will help me see I am continually improving and enjoying my ever changing and evolving gardens!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Daffodile Give Away

My Father loved daffodils. So I see him in every yellow flower I pick. He was a wonderful man who gave to all.... I find my soul every spring by giving

bunches of daffodils to all my special friends.

This is such a special flower....... I just leave them in jars I have collected all year on people's door steps....

Hi I love you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Home




After being gone for over 10 days, we were amazed by how much Spring had sprung! All the flowers were coming on in their glorious,yellow's blues and purples!

As we pulled into the driveway weary from a long plane trip..an intoxicating scent filled the air. The Saucer Magnolias were blooming. Suddenly, I was thrilled to be back in Kentucky!

I have two of these fragile "perfumed beauties". Fragile because of the timing of when they open up. Often we will be hit with a frost and in that instant they are gone. But not this year.

Definetly these two trees have suffered with last year's ice storms but they have proved their worth for the Spring of 2010.

Now dearly a week since our return....the blossoms are falling. Drifting through the air like snowflakes and littering the ground with white and pink petals.

I am so thankful that I was home in time to breathe in the aroma and catch the petals as they fell. One of the many joys of Spring!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Emerging into Spring




Today the sun is shining, the birds are singing and we are getting ready to go on a Kirts Family Spring Trip. All my favorite things. Family,flowers,and fun.

I was talking to a new friend today and she asked me my favorite time in the garden...that is a hard one for me, but as I walked around the garden today, I knew the answer. It has got to be Spring. The emergence of green shoots, after a long dark winter gives me a high better than a glass of Chardonnay. I will be gone a week, but I will be so excited to get back and see what is coming up. How can anyone not love gardening...it is a rebirth for me every spring.

I love SPRING!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Applesauce..one last tribute!





One last tribute to my Dad! My father traveled and worked long hours when I was young, so any time with him was cherished. We had several large apple trees in the back yard, the job of all 6 kids was to pick up the apples and help Dad make applesauce. I loved it. So today I made an updated version.

Using the same equipment Dad and I used, I made my version of Applesauce. I loved it when Dad and I made it because we added Red Hots and lots of sugar! My job was to push the cooked apples down and around. Well, my version uses cranberries and agave nectar, I loved pushing my version down and around in the same equipment Dad and I used. My Applesauce is great....Dad would be proud.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Remember...


Today I drove up to visit my 91 year old young MOM. We had breakfast at "Bob Evans", hung out at "Wal Mart" a while then I drove home. It was the 2 year anniversary of my Father's Memorial Service. My Father was so grand...but the thing is he loved the Spring Daffodils. In his life time he planted thousands. Dad would write in a notebook every spring when the first daffodil bloomed. Two Years ago they were blooming today, but not this year,so I picked the tallest blooms and brought them into the house and then took them up to my Mom today. They opened up tonight. We love you so much Dad.... God Bless you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friendship

On Valentine's Weekend, my dear Supper Club Friends came to town! We had a grand weekend which included visiting some sights on the Bourbon Trail, Lunch at Talbot's Tavern in Bardstown, and some hanging out fun!!

We also had a wonderful adventure cooking our hubbies a tasty Valentine Meal. All of us have been married over 30 years, it was a fun celebration. I had decorated with Roses and Hearts and we cooked up a storm. Marge who is a great shopper with a zest for life surpassed by few,had purchased all of us Pink Hearts for the occasion.

A week or so later, I received this Thank You Poem in the mail. It made my day. Thank you Marge for being you and being my friend for over 30 years!

The Weekend

Just the other day I was shopping
through the mall,
moving as if underwater from store to store,
from kiosk to kiosk,
when I found myself in the valentine section
where my eyes fell upon a chain with a pink plastic heart.

No gift card for any amount
could send one into this thrill-
a thrill where I darted quickly
through the bright shopping center
stretching to reach and then grabbing
the heart, a gift for my friend Becky.

I had never seen anyone use this kind of heart,
or wear this kind of heart,
but that did not keep me from thinking
over and over again and again
until I decided to buy
the pink plastic heart for my friend Becky

She gave me food and wine from her counter,
and I gave her a pink plastic heart.
She provided me with a bed to sleep upon,
a tour of the Bourbon Trail,
games to play and music to hear
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me how to cook and laugh,
and I,in turn presented her with a pink plastic heart.
Here are several meals, she said
and here are the recipes and directions.
and here is your pink plastic heart, I replied,
which I purchased all on my own.

Here is a well fed body and a smiling face,
rested, relaxed and grateful,
and 4 or 5 new recipes to live on, she said
and here, I said, is the pink plastic heart I found for you at the mall.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift---not the worn truth
that you can never repay a true friend,
but the honest admission that when Becky took
the pink plastic heart and wore it all weekend,
I was sure as a friend could be
that this useless, worthless thing I gave her
would be enough.

Joel Salatin Talk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxTfQpv8xGA


Friday evening my Husband and I attended a talk presented by the Community Farm Alliance. The presenter was Joel Salatin. His approach to Farming is amazing! I am not a farmer, but would love to attempt some chickens. Please watch the attached video! He has incredible insight...we should all be stewards of the land. Cleaning Farming ..the way nature attended.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Black Pussy Willow




As a small child my Mother and I would watch the Pussy Willow's and when the small fuzzy catkins appeared, we would pick a bunch, and I would root the limbs and play with my fuzzy friends.


Flash forward many years....Mom and I were wandering through a large nursery near where my Father was in a Nursing Home, we came upon a Black Pussy Willow. (Salix gracilistyla 'Melanostachys').


It was a must have for my garden. Now I delight every early Spring in the fuzzy catkins that appear. I always clip branches and root them to pass out to my friends. My bush is now a tree, as it is in a moist area with full sun, it has grown with vigor.


Yesterday, as I clipped the limbs, it made me smile and remember happy childhood memories.

Monday, March 8, 2010

BOGIE


BOGIE IS BACK!

Bogie is the only cat we have ever paid money for...the rest just appeared or were dropped in to our lives, anyway 15 years ago we bought Bogie for Kalee, our daughter. We were moving into an old house a "friend " of Kalee's told her the house was haunted. But I had told Kalee that cats and dogs would not go into a haunted room, so we got Bogie for security.

Kalee and Bogie have had a love/hate relationship but push forward 15 years ...Kalee's suitor came to ask her father for Kalee's hand in marriage, her father's response was only if Bogie is part of the deal. They have now been married for almost 4 years and Bogie is still a part of the picture :).

First on the block..


Ok... I just have to be the first on the block to put flowers out.... Maybe because I love Pansy's...I am a Theta and they are our flower, or maybe because my Mom and daughter were Tri Delta's and that is their flower or maybe it is the colors that open up and smile to us first thing in the Spring!

It makes me so happy!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Blooms




Here are the first blooms from my gardens, clearly Spring is on the way.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring into Action !



There is a house on Main Street in Shelbyville that is my first signal that Spring is coming!!! The entire front yard of this aging white brick home erupts into a mass of purple crocus with the first burst of warm spring air. Well, today was the day! March 4th, 2010.

I love what sunshine does to everyone...people were out walking and smiling, dogs were prancing, cats dancing, birds singing and I was raking!!

My emerging daffodils are pushing hard to break through the blanket of leaves, so I must help them. Tired and sore from the labor, I will go to sleep smiling....the daffodils will soon show their yellow faces. Spring is coming.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Roasted Carrots, Feta and Parsley

While walking Tasha last night, I spotted the first young sprigs of parsley emerging from the frozen ground. I got so excited I promptly picked it.


Once inside, I looked at my semi- bare fridge(Friday is the designated grocery day) and spotted
a large bag of carrots. I remembered a recipe from an addition of my "Clean Eating Magazine" for Roasted Carrots.

So I tried it and wow it was so good that I am making it again tonight for my daughter and son-in-law. Never underestimate the power of fresh parsley!


Hurry up spring..I need more fresh herbs!.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Inspired by the Warmth and Sun...



Sunday was easily 60 Degrees! The sun was shining and the melting snow showed bright green patches of hope!!!

When we purchased this house over 16 years ago, I had so many plans the 60 different varieties of trees, multiple fruit trees, asparagus patch, raspberry patch, gooseberry patch, kiwi vines,fig trees , filled me with so many projects and hopes.

But life just gets in the way....

But now, I am on a roll, first the raspberry patch then who knows. This is actually a very long patch of Everbearing Raspberries and Thornless Blackberries woven in between with multiple varities of Daffodils. Peach Trees secure each end and an asparagus patch and Concord Grapevines outline the back side.

Currently scrub trees have taken over my patches...but we are on a mission. It looks like the weather will cooperate, I have the best workers food can buy, and the dreams of fresh fruit all summer long.

Results to be posted next week! Wish us luck.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Side Note on Visit !!

Friday AM, my daughter was caring for her two dogs and packing to come to Kentucky. Well, as dogs do, a spat between these two beautiful babies over which food bowl belonged to which dog, resulted in an emergency trip to the Vet.

Maybelle ended up losing her eye. She has very shallow eye sockets and Pepper's swat was dead on center. Fortunately, the Vet is only minutes away and as luck had it the Surgeon was in the house.

The journey to Kentucky was shorter and sadder, but Maybelle is doing great, only now she has a great new theme for Halloween!

It is ironic, because my wonderful daughter had just two months ago rescued a dog that only had one eye. We all fell in love with Coco! So perhaps this was God's way of preparing us for this new phase of Maybelle's life. One-eyed Maybelle will be even more of a Diva!!! I have no doubt she will continue to rule the roost!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Coming Home



There is nothing better than my Baby Girl coming home for the weekend. She is my Best Friend and her great husband adds so much love to our time together. She will bring with her, "my grand dogs and cat" , that certainly will add an element of excitement to my already animal laden house.

So let the fun begin, we are predicted to have a bunch of snow...I don't know if King Charles Cavalier Spaniels from Georgia can handle snow...we will see!!

GOOD TIMES!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

WINTER WEATHER and SNOW ANGELS




The last week has been a mix of winter's worst wrath. I am so ready for SPRING!

However, Saturday morning I awoke to find the ground covered with a beautiful white blanket of snow. The ugly gray skies were replaced with magnificant sunshine, that made my yard look like a glistening cushion of clouds.

As I do first thing every morning, I took my big old dog out for a walk. Tasha, who is a Tibetan Mastiff loves the snow. Just like a child, she finds a perfect spot rolls down to her back and methodically wiggles back and forth. It remains me of all the times, as kids, we would follow the same procedure and make "snow angels". She will continue to sprawl her 12 year old body in the snow for several minutes, then slowly push herself back up onto all fours. Once in the proper erect position she will shake with joy and send snow flakes all around. Often times, she will go down into the snow over and over again.

As we lumber back to the house, I notice the brilliant red cardinals. They are all about in the trees and on the ground, jockeying for their turns at the newly filled bird feeders. They are an amazing contrast with white..almost like a Christmas Light Bulb dancing in the snow.

So maybe just for a while, this winter wonderland is OK!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Shoe Project
















I love the fact that my daughter cares so much...she rescues any dog in trouble, she would do anything for any animal in need. Perfect example- Coco the One Eyed Wonder, now in a fantastic home because of Kalee. Thank you Pam and Tommy!!!

Currently, she is in the process of getting her Masters degree and Teaching Certificate. As a teaching moment she patterned a program for her first graders about the power of donating our resources- in this case, old shoes. She based her lesson on the book, "Running Shoes" by Frederick Lipp, which can be found here.

She developed a lesson for her class about donating and global giving. Then, she engaged the entire school in the shoe drive with the Beta kids doing the counting and tracking, the REACH students making posters and the 1st graders leading the charge by discussing the project on the school's morning new channel, GNN (the Gator News Network). All told, she collected a grand total of over 1,500 pairs of shoes!!! I am here in Georgia to rent a U Haul and help her take them to the Warehouse that will distribute the shoes to kids across the country and all of the world, most likely the shoes will go to Haiti. Gosh, it was fun tying them to gather and bagging them up. The organization that she is donating them to is Soles 4 Souls.

Her father is coming tomorrow to pull the U-Haul down to deliver the shoes... we are so proud of our Kalee.

I will post pictures tomorrow. This has been so much fun and so very rewarding.

Villa Rica ...while visiting my daughter

If you are ever in Villa Rica, please go eat at the "Blue Brick". It is amazing!! When we arrived without a reservation, it was totally packed but they made room for us at the bar. The food was amazing. For an appetizer, we had pommes de terre. They were so great. Thinly grated potatoes where deep fried with parsley, garlic, sea salt and love. Oh my gosh they were to die for....

Then I had a wonderful feta/spinach/herb quiche. It was so smooth and cooked to perfection. My son in law had the Frog Legs. They were covered in parsley and garlic butter. He loved them and my vegetarian daughter even sampled and agreed.

The next course for me was Roasted Vegetables. Wow...parsnip mashed potatoes/ broccoli with garlic and butter, asparagus, lentils, and kidney beans all accented with a pineapple salsa.

I have to say this was one of the best meals I have had in Georgia!!! Who would have ever thought. This great place is owned by a couple, the Chef is from France and his wife is from the South. The Best of Two Worlds...Southern Hospitality and fantastic French Cooking in Villa Rica Georgia...


http://www.bluebrickfrenchrestaurant.com/about.html

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sage still fresh!!

Sometimes during the week , my husband heads to our other offices, so I am left to fend for myself. As I came into the back door I noticed I still had fresh sage. I had the makings for the perfect recipe for me without my husband ( he is a meat eater!!). This was great for me and will be fantastic for tomorrow's lunch!


Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Mushroom and Sage Sauce

1 16 oz package whole wheat gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter( I did use more)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook gnocchi according to package directions and drain. Cook butter and olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until the butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add stock and sage, simmer until
liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add hot gnocchi to sauce in skillet and toss to coat. Serve with cheese sprinkled over the top.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Milk Punch for Christmas




Almost three years ago, our daughter married a great young man from Atlanta.We have learned much about the "South" since this union, it has been great fun.

We had the two of them here for a Christmas Celebration this year and they brought with them the magazine "Garden and Gun". I was looking for a Traditional Christmas Punch, but I do not like Eggnog due to the raw eggs, but as luck as it we came across an article about Martha Foose's Milk Punch.

Being good Kentuckians we love Bourbon so we gave this punch a try! Well, it was wonderful and lightened up the cooking and celebration greatly! We all highly recommend this festive drink.

Thanks Martha Foose.

Matha Foose's Milk Punch
(serves 1)
1 1/2 ounces good bourbon or brandy
2 ounces half and half
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
drop of vanilla extract
Ice cubes
Freshly grated nutmeg

Combine the bourbon, half and half, sugar, and vanilla in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly until the mixture is cold and frothy. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with a grating of nutmeg.

I actually had my son in law make this in batches and put it in my Mother's antique punch bowl. We served it in the bright red fosteria glasses that I saved from my Mom's yard sale pile.
It was so festive. I think this will be a Christmas Tradition in our house.

**Recipe from "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Some Sage Advice

I loved cooking for two Christmas Celebrations.... but the best thing of all was that we still had fresh herbs in the garden. I made this appetizer with sage that was so popular! I used the regular garden sage, the size of the leaf was perfect!

Apricot Bites

Take a large dried apricot, place a small age leaf on it and wrap the apricot and sage leaf with a strip of bacon. Place this on a baking sheet and cook for about 12 minutes or until the bacon is crispy.

Serve immediately!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Anniversary Trip















For our 35th Wedding Anniversary and my husband's 58th birthday,I planned a mystery trip for him. He had no idea where we were going. It was great fun. We ended up on the Island of Eleuthera, one of the outer Islands of the Bahamas. Well..it was amazing. The beaches were the best I have ever seen and I found conchs. I have been searching for this shell for years and I found them on the beach on my Mom's 91st Birthday! More to come on this trip but for now here is the recipe of the fruits of our labors!! My husband loved this salad.

BAHAMIAN STYLE CONCH SALAD
1 (2 lb.) conch meat
15 limes, squeezed
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
The best conchs are those that have been frozen in salt water.

Squeeze limes and defrost the cleaned conch meat in the lime juice.

Combine all of the vegetables in a large bowl. Add them to the lime juice.

Chop the conchs into 1/2 inch cubes. It's easier to do this while they are still partially frozen.

Return the conchs to the lime mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Taste and add salt and pepper and cayenne pepper, if needed. 1-2 hot peppers is usually enough.

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