Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Flowers




Last week we were in Athens Georgia with my daughter and her husband.  We took  a walk through the atrium at the University of Georgia Botanical Gardens.


The Christmas flowers were in full bloom and they bring us joy, at a time when our gardens are asleep and we search for blooms.

Perhaps this will get us through, until the catalogs arrive for us to plan the Spring gardens.  



May joy, love, hope, and peace....like candles.... Light your Holidays- and every day of the New Year! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Salad burnet














Tonight I am attending our monthly Master Gardening Meeting and need to bring a snack. For inspiration I turn to the garden. As I walked through my December garden, I noticed how tasty the Salad burnet still looked and I immediately thought of one of my favorite recipes. (Salad burnet dip)



I love this herb for its appearance as well as its taste. The young tender leaves have a cucumber taste,without the burping problems! The crinkle cut leaves stay green well into the winter and pop back up early in the Spring. The plants form a mound of tenderness, especially when the young leaves are continually picked and used.



Salad burnet does best when it receives at least 6 hours of sunshine. The stalk blossoms, are best cut down, but can be used to make a wonderful Rosy colored herb vinegar. If left to bloom salad burnet may reseed,which is not such a bad thing. However, the plant on which the stalks are left on can become tough and lack flavor.









The Recipe I use for the dip is as follows:



1 Pkg Cream Cheese



4TBL Burnet Leaves, chopped or cut fine



2TBL Garlic Chives chopped



add to a bit of chopped lettuce



1teaspoon salt and pepper



Blend with 1/4 cup dry white wine (I often use sour cream, mayo, or Greek yogurt)



Let the flavors mix together by sitting in the refrigerator for a couple hours. From here I have stuffed this in to Cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, served on crackers or as a dip for veggies!!

Enjoy!!























Blooms in December



Look what are blooming in my garden today. I love Violas, also known as Johnny jump ups or Heart's ease. No matter what you call them, they steal my heart everytime. I love them!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Decorating

 The sun was shinning today so I attempted to finish up the last of my Christmas decorating.  The reason I wait for at least a decent December day, is that all the makings for my wreaths, swags, and garlands come from my gardens.

It requires a full day of cutting, wiring, and arranging, but the results are well worth the efforts.  I use different plant material  every year, depending on which plants have had the best growing season. There is nothing logical about my choices, except what strikes my fancy. 




Nandina, Evergreens, Holly, Magnolia, Boxwood and Plumes from grasses are  a few of the many candidates.  Results to be published  later this week!

Sunday, December 4, 2011




With the nights now consistently dipping down into the 30’s, I journeyed out to the potager garden hoping to find some lingering vegetables. I was in luck, enough bits of kale to harvest and make into a fresh kale salad. Plus a bonus, some small but tasty globes of Brussels sprouts. These young tender bits of deliciousness I will roast in the oven for a great snack! Also one tiny rose bud yearning to come inside and open up!
I think that is what I love the most about my potager garden, vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs. It is one stop shopping.


Recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
I prepare the Brussels sprouts by cutting off the brown ends and remove any of outer leaves that are brown. I then spread them out on the roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with about 3 tablespoons of good olive oil. I season them with some sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. Sometimes, I will use an Italian herb mix or Bragg Organic Sprinkle.
I roast about 40 minutes. Often times I will shred some fresh Parmesan cheese on top of the sprouts.
 


Recipe for Kale Salad
I take the leafy part of the kale off the stem. From here I add a little bit of the dressing making sure in gets into the kale leaves. You may add any ingredients that you have on hand to this salad. Sunflower seeds, fresh peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes are some good suggestions.
For the dressing I mix together 1 lemon juiced, 2 teaspoons agave nectar, ¼ cup virgin olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper. I use a whisk to slowly stream in the olive oil till it is the consistency I enjoy!




Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Lights

I have been working on putting up outside lights this weekend. I hate that I put good strands of lights away in January and now they are half or more burned out!!! I bribed my husband, that if would work on the lights, I would bring him food and drinks and he could watch Foot Ball!

Well....after two hours and two beers only one strand fixed....I think the answer is to buy new lights each year!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving




It was a very different Thanksgiving for us this year. It was just my husband and myself journeying up to Indiana to his sister's house. They live in an amazing log cabin in the woods, we loved it!!



They have a house on the beach in Charleston SC , so her recipes reflected the love of food from that area. The Blue Cheese Bites were addictive!


BLUE CHEESE BITES

1 pkg. refrigerator buttermilk biscuits3 tbsp. butter3 tbsp. blue cheese, crumbled
Melt butter and cheese together in small saucepan. Cut each biscuit into 1/4's and lay in bottom of glass pie plate. Evenly drizzle butter and cheese mixture over biscuits. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve



I think I won over my Mother In Law with my Sweet Potato Recipe....even without the little marshmallows on top!




3 Cups mashed sweet potatoes

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter melted

1 teaspoon vanilla



Mix sweet potatoes,sugar,eggs,milk, butter, and vanilla together. Pour into a well greased two quart casserole. Cover with Topping. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.



Topping:

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup butter melted

1 cup coconut

1 cup pecans, chopped



Combine all ingredients and mix well to form crumbs. Sprinkle over the potatoes.


Enjoy!!!!
























Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recycling Wine Bottles




I have been trying to find a medium to use for a border for my paths in my gardens. I really wanted to utilize a material that I had readily available. Over the years I have tried various natural items but I feel the wine bottles are a winner! Several factors went into this decision.


#1 I seem to have a readily available source for the bottles. I love a glass of wine with dinner or as I weed the garden. Plus I love Mineral Water that I buy in glass bottles.


#2 I hate to waste anything. I have been recycling the glass but I have to take them into town.


#3 I have to drag the hoses through out the garden and the bottles stand up tall enough to protect the plants as I drag the hoses.


Sold!!!


So here is the beginning of the lining of the paths. I first tried to soak off the labels before I put them into the ground, but that was very time consuming. Now I put them in with the labels and the weather elements take care of peeling the labels off. I have a pile behind the compost pile for dead wine bottles, so when ever I have some time I work on the border. My neighbor was worried and asked me why I had a pile of wine bottles behind the garden!! It is fine...just a great use of a resource!





Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yes...I got it done!!

Today I planted 213 Bulbs. I am babysitting my grandbaby and accomplished this feat in between his two naps. I know in the Spring I will be so happy. I love the first burst of color particularly when they emerge when snow covers the ground.

We are having a good dinner tonight. I am going to use an herbal rub on a pork tenderloin for dinner. It is a recipe I have used many times and is always a hit. My husband and I are on a diet, so lean pork is good. I am also going to roast some fresh asparagus and then grate some Parmesan cheese on top. I love my grandbaby but I am tired so I am hitting the hay early!

Recipe for Pork Tenderloin
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
In separate bowl mix dry ingredients such as garlic powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, thyme and salt. Stir mixture with a fork until all the ingredients are well combined and they form a seasoning. This will be used as a rub to ensure the pork is well seasoned throughout. Sprinkle the rub over the tenderloin with a dry hand, then rub the pork with the seasoning over both sides of the meat, pressing gently so the seasoning adheres well to the tenderloin.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat. Add the minced garlic and saute, stirring, for 1 minute. Put tenderloin in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, searing each side using tongs to turn the meat. Transfer meat to a roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes. Slice and serve.


It was delicious! Best of all no added salt.

Thanks to Food Network for the Recipe

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bulb Planting Day












One of my favorite times in the Garden, is the early Spring. I love the color of the over 1000 Daffodils, I have planted against the pinks and purples of various early blooming shrubs, trees and different bulbs.


I vowed this year, I would not buy more bulbs....well I am here to admit I failed. I did not go crazy but I was taken in on a recent visit to Wilson's Nursery by some very early bloomers.


Today is a clear sunny but cool fall Saturday. I am going to take advantage of the afternoon and get this bulbs in the ground. That might help with my guilt, out of sight out of mind!!!
I am starting with some Crocus...I did a blog last year about the house on Main Street whose entire front yard is full of Crocus. I love it!!!! I have some but felt the urge to buy more!



The second group I am planting are Grape Hyacinths. I adore the purple with the bright yellow of my Wood Poppies and Daffodil. To add to this color combo I purchased some Early Snow Glories. It was touted as the only true blue flowering bulb.


Lastly, I bought 3 Giant Persian Blue Alliums. They are so whimsical in the Garden. Last year mine bloomed around the same time as the Siberian and Japanese Iris. It made for a really GRAND showing!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Great Cook Book

Last year for Christmas my husband gave me a new cookbook. Quite honestly, I was slightly mifted because I wanted earrings!!! So I put the book aside it was FARM TO FORK by Emeril Lagasse. Fast forward to summer, searching for a way to use the wonderful produce from my garden I opened the pages of this great cookbook. I have loved every recipe I have made, which now is quite a few. I have copied the Dill Pickle Recipe. They were very tasty and although I filled many jars, they are now all consumed! So I eat "crow" for being mifted but sure hope he picks out another great cookbook this Christmas.

Kosher-style Dill Pickles
1 1/2 pounds freah pickling cucumbers
6 sprigs fresh dill
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
9 Cloves garlic smashed
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried dill weed or dill seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepperscorns
1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1. Trim off the stem ends of the cucumbers, and slice them into 1/4- inch- thick rounds. Divid the cucmber slices evenly among the pint jars. Add 2 dill sprigs to each container.

2. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a small suacepan, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Ladle the hot brine over the cucumbers, being sure to get 3 cloves of garlic into each container. Set the jsrs aside, uncovered, to cool for 1 hour at room temperature. Refrigerate the jars for 1 hour. The cover and refirgerate for up to 3 months.

Thanks Emeril!!

Monday, November 7, 2011


Run Kalee Run

We are on our way home from a “racing” 4 days… Our daughter Kalee ran her first Marathon, The Rock and Roll Marathon in Savanna Georgia. Wow what an accomplishment. Running through the historic streets of Savanna, winding in and out of all the squares past beautiful fountains and antebellum homes 20,000 plus runners made their way to the finish line!!!

We maneuvered the course as best we could to spot Kalee, her mother and law, and brother in law cheering them on as best we could. 4 hours 59 minutes and 52 seconds later she crossed the finish line. I am so proud of Kalee. She set this goal four months ago and today it is checked off the “bucket list”.

After an invigorating but necessary “ice bath”, a vegetarian pizza and a Bloody Mary, we all celebrated at our favorite fried fish joint on the Tybee Island Marshes! “AJ’s”.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Scalloped Pumpkin and Spinach Recipe

As I promised ...here is one of the great Pumpkin Recipes that I made for Halloween. It was a smashing success.

Ingredients:
6 cups cubed and peeled fresh pumpkin
cooking spray
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cups shredded reduced fat Swiss cheese
1(10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

Pre heat oven to 375
Cook pumpkin in boiling water 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. Saute using cooking spray on the surface, onion on medium heat about 7 minutes or until golden brown, remove onion from skillet and set aside. add flour to the skillet and gradually add broth, stirring with a wisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 6 minutes)stirring constantly. Remove from heat: stir in salt,nutmeg, and pepper.

Combine pumpkin, onion,1/4 cheese and spinach in a bowl. Spoon pumpkin mixture into a 6 cup gratin sprayed with the cooking spray. Pour sauce over the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the gratin. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Broil 3 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Thanks to My Recipes.com for this great pumpkin delight!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Young and Old Halloween




Halloween is for all ages.... Here is my 92 year old Mom..as a Hippie ...winning the Best Costume Award at her Assisted Living Home ..and my new grand baby winning our hearts on his first Halloween. We had had such a great time at my son's In laws.

Marian had great candy for the Trick or Treaters and a really cool Frankenstein Appetiser. I made some Pumpkin Bread Pudding, so we ate good!!! Lots of fun!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin, Pumpkins and more Pumkins



So I am now a HUGH Fan of Pumpkin. It is so good for you. I am making my grocery list this week and I am making tons of Pumpkin Recipes....I will share them with you. But here are so Pumpkin Facts!!!

Then Pumpkin is a member of the curcurbit or gourd family which include pumpkins, squash, cucumbers,melons, and watermelons, and is considered a Fruit.

The orginal pumpkin pie was made by hollowing out the pumpkin and filling it with milk, honey and spices and then baked in hot ashes.

The word pumpkin orginated orginated from the Greek word "pepon" which means "large melon"

Pumpkins are made up of about 90% water

Pumpkins were once used to remove freckles

Shelled Pumkins are a less expensive alternative to pine nuts

Roasted and shelled pumpkin seeds are called pepitas

Early setler used pumpkins to make beer

Pumpkins are low in calories, high in fier and low in sodium

Pumpkin Flowers are edible

Check in tomorrow..I will have some really fun pumpkin recipes!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween????


Ok..it would be really cool if I said this was a decoration, But no..I am just trying to protect my annuals. I have company coming and this is a selfish move....does it work???

On a related note, I just read a great article in the "Herb Companion" "The Scary Herbs of Halloween" You can read the article as well as finding a wealth of herbal information by going to www.herbcompanion.com Click on the top where it says Grow. Then click on "The Most Popular Articles" You will find the article in that section! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lazy Sunday Planning!!


After a wonderful evening with our great buddies from Columbus,planning 2...Marge and Randy's 60th Birthdays, I am trying to re coop by working on cleaning out the Potager Garden. I have learned alot this year and still have crops hanging in there to harvest. I am writing this posting as a note to self...what to do different next year in this garden.

I love this garden, it full fills all my senses...sight,smell,taste,touch, hearing. I can go into this garden and find food and flowers and hummingbirds buzzing around my head...what more could anyone ask for!!!

OK... These are my lessons:

Do not plant my tomatoes so close together!! I literally have been crawling under the vines to harvest tomatoes. If I do this again slap me in the face!

Understand the plants I am planting. Number one example## Brussels Sprout Plants that have been growing since spring..just now showing the little sprouts, WOW I have never been so frustrated with a Vegetable...which by the way I love.

I do not need so many peppers! I need to plant more Bell Peppers in red, yellow and green colors. Not so many of the hot ones, that I can not even handle. I seem to struggle with the easy zucchini and squash, but had good success with butternut squash. I wish I could be the one with tons of squash. I could do so much!!!



I love my Greens..lettuce, spinach,kale, turnip greens, collards...so more more more!!! The zinnias are so fun and yes the wonderful Sunflowers!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hand Written Thank You's!!

Today I received in the mail a handwritten Thank You for the Master Gardening Meeting I had here last week. It was from one of our "Elderly Members". I loved it and it meant so much. My daughter is a big fan of hand written notes and I agree. In this age of quick emails...how lovely and wonderful to receive a note hand written letter on a card or special paper picked out just for you! I will continue to write notes...please lets all do this!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Chili....Chili inside and out!







So it is a cold rainy day...I rushed around yesterday and harvested all the tomatoes,peppers,basil etc, that were hanging on for dear life. In an effort to use what I have on hand I have come up with a different recipe, Pumpkin Chili. I am using ground turkey because I am on a DIET!!! I will let you know. My recipe is below..










Becky's Pumpkin Chili

Heat 1 TBSP oil( I always use Olive Oil) in a large skillet over medium heat and saute 1 cup chopped onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and 1 clove garlic clove minced. Saute until tender. Stir in 1 lb ground turkey and cook until evenly browned. Pour meat mixture into into the slow cooker. Mix in 14 ounces of fresh cut tomatoes and 2 cups pumpkin puree. Add some water ....maybe just a cup, this can be adjusted as needed. Season with 2TBSP Chili Powder and some fresh"hot peppers".
Add a dash of salt and pepper...Set the slow cooker on low and cook for about 5 hours. If needed add chicken broth... I added a can of Black Beans...just for my husband!


Have Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese available for toppings..plus I have "hot peppers"

I will let you know?????

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Master Gardeners Here!!





Lots of Fun!!

Our Master Gardeners Group met here last Tuesday! Everyone brought appetisers and then we roasted hot dogs in our new half done Kiva!! Some wine, some apple cider, good garden friendships!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Master Gardeners Coming...


So next Tuesday the Shelby County Master Gardening Group are coming to my house. I have been on a rampage!! Perhaps I should always schedule a meeting in the Fall to whip me into action.

We have been having an attendance problem so I have offered to give any one coming a Free Plant! We are having a "Garden Happy Hour" to walk the gardens and talk! (Maybe some wine??)

So..this weekend will be 100% Garden Time.....

Check out what happens at:

ShelbyCountyMasterGardeners.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Basil Rescue


We have been in my favorite place...Sanibel..but rushed home a day early because of the threat of frost. I had just too much Basil to harvest. So today was a rescue my Basil day. I am going to make a lot of Pesto and some Basil scented oil. Then I will make some special dishes.

When we were on Sanibel,I had a Scallop dish with some fresh Basil ..it was so good.I think I can reproduce it. It was just seared Scallops in Basil oil, then they were placed on toasted french bread slices that had Gruyere cheese melted on them. A sprinkling of Basil on top and some shaved cheese. All of this with a side of fresh greens with a Basil/Lime Vinaigrette. So go...Thanks "Cips" a new restaurant on Sanibel.

When it comes to Pesto. I make a very basic sauce. I really enjoy one of Giada's recipes. It is just right for me...not too much Garlic.

Here it is:
2 cups packed Basil Leaves
1/4 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 freshly ground pepper,more taste
About 2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese.

In a blender, pulse the Basil, Pine Nuts,Garlic, 1/2 teaspoon Salt and 1/4 teaspoon Pepper until finely chopped. With the food processor still running , gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency. Transfer the Pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese. If I am not going to use the Pesto that day, I either freeze or can the Pesto.

Having Pesto on hand opens me to up for a wealth of Basil Love all winter long!

Recipe from one of my favorite Cookbooks " giada's family dinner" Giada De Laurentiis

Monday, September 12, 2011

Plant Sale!!



I have been working overtime to pull my gardens back into shape. It seems a year of neglect has given way to weeds as tall as myself. I am making an effort to stream line and reduce so that I can enjoy the gardens and write, cook and travel more. So I am having a Plant Sale. I am going to send out emails to people I know are interested. I will set up appointments and dig the plants they desire to buy. This way they are getting Plant information as well as tips! I hope to be able to do this Fall and Spring...along with adding Garden Antiques to sell out of my over 200 year old out building. I have attached the flyer I am sending out! Wish me luck or better yet come over and buy some plants!

COLONY SPRING FARM
PLANTS FOR SALE
SHELBYVILLE,KY
I am a Garden Addict …….
and I have collected plants over the last
30 years…..But I need to downsize. .So I am going to divide and sell. I will have plants to sell, but you can walk the gardens and I will dig the plants for you.

I will give you information to help you make my plants thrive in your gardens.

Great Prices, great information, great plants… Please call or email to schedule a time
502-682-6412 blitzbecky@aol.com

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tomatoe Recipe

Ok...here is the 2nd great recipe for tomoatoes. I have used it twice now and it has gotten great reviews. Thanks Giada!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/tomato-vegetable-casserole-recipe/index.html

Friday, September 2, 2011

Southern Living Cookbooks

I love all the recipes I have ever gotten from Southern Living. I guess I have had that feeling since 1982...I have all the Southern Living Annual Cookbooks minus one or two since 1982 thru..2009. I am trying to decide what to do with these books. Any one interested in them? I guess I have gotten spoiled by the Internet...put in the ingredients and it gives you multiple ideas...

ANY INTEREST IN THE HARDBACKS: EMAIL beckykirts@gmail.com

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tomatoes,Tomatoes and more Tomatoes...


I have been blessed this year with an abundance of tomatoes. I have made all the classic tomato combinations, so I decided to explore as many different recipes using my valuable edible resource. So far, there have been two that were big hits!

The first one was so easy and made such a great use of all the varieties of cherry tomatoes that I have been growing. The best result of this recipe was the next day I took the whole shebang and turned it into a tasty sauce for my Spaghetti Squash.

Thanks so Jamie Oliver for this great recipe that allowed me to double dip!

4 1/4 lbs ripe cherry tomatoes, mixed colors are great!
2 sprigs each fresh thyme, rosemary and bay.
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
12 good quality course Italian Sausage
Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the tomatoes in a single snug layer in a roasting pan. Top with all the herbs then drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar. Turn this to make sure the tomatoes are covered. Lay the sausages on top and then roast for half hour. Give the tomatoes a shake and turn the sausages over. Put back into the oven for additional 30 minutes.

I served this with a green salad, fresh bread, and a glass or two of a good wine!!

I'll share the next recipe, after I go weed some...today is such a nice cool day, Irene is being kind to us, but my heart felt concern for all in her path.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shade Garden Sunday






On a recent sweltering Sunday, I decided it was time to focus
any outdoor efforts to the Shade. I have three Chimney Pots from England that are temporarily gracing their presence in my Shade/Native Garden. They have inspired me to pull this wonderful space together. I love the Hellebores/Ferns/Hostas/ Hydrangeas/Toad Lillies/ and many unusual wonderful shade lovers that grace this garden with their interesting foliage and sparks of bloom color. I mulched this area with Pine Straw which just seems to show off the "shadies"while adding some acidity as well. I am compiling a list of all the different varieties of plants in the is a garden, which at this point numbers over 30! Who every said Shade Gardens are boring has not seen mine!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Athens Farmers Market




Saturday morning my daughter and I journeyed to the Athens Farmer's Market. It was by far the most beautiful Farmer's Market I have seen. All the booths were artistically layed out. I was mesmerized by the vegetables and fruits all looking so tempting.

What a gift to communities to have Farmers' Markets. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wild Trip with Wildflowers!

Today I am in Athens Georgia, visiting my Daughter and Son-in-Law. What was suppose to be a very simple 7 hour drive down turned out to be a "wild" drive. One wrong turn and I ended up going through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina and finally Georgia.

Feeling very frustrated, not only with myself but Mr. Garmin as well..I finally got onto the right track only to be rewarded with views of the most glorious Wildflower Beds along the highways.

It turns out that North Carolina has a Wildflower Program. It is sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Look it up!

It helped my trip down to Athens become a blooming success!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Basil Oil


Little did I know what a wonderful impact this Oil could make on simple foods. I made it as a dressing for a Watermelon/Tomato salad. From that humble beginning, its uses have grown! Tonight I made a tomato/green bean/onion/sauce(basically just using anything from the garden that needed to be used). I added some ground lean beef for my meat loving husband, and we put it on top of whole wheat pasta. I was snacking on the pasta and added some of the Basil Oil on it just for fun. Wow...it popped!!

So then I just sliced some Heirloom Tomatoes from the garden and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper and drizzled them with the Basil Oil. Then grated some fresh parm cheese on them...and added some "pickings" of basil. OK..so wonderful1!!

*Recipe for Basil Oil


Put 2 Cups fresh basil into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Put into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Let it drain completely. Put into the food processor and add one cup and a half of good olive olive oil.

Puree until smooth. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth lined fine sieve and seep over a bowl. Let stand for about an hour...no squeezing allowed.

Then this liquid gold is yours for the eating!!! Enjoy!

*Recipe loving adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe.


Monday, August 8, 2011


So .....this has been a crazy year. I have been so overwhelmed with "life", I have not been able to blog. That being said, I am so ready to jump into a new phase of blogging. I am going to connect my love of Garden Antiques and Traveling into my love of Herbs and Gardens. I am going to have a new online store of my special "things" as well. Plus blogging about this property and trying to weave it into my dream. It is part of Squire Boone's original farm, he followed his dream of moving west with his brother Daniel....so I must do the same.

This has always been my dream to develop this amazing property into what it was meant to be. I hope you will follow me...who knows where this will take us, but at 58 it is time to get going!!

**This picture is of "Yard Long Beans" from my Potager Garden.( See the Long and Short Connection???)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Daffadiles March 6th 2011



A couple weeks ago I visited my daughter in Carrollton Georgia. Much to my surprise the daffodils were in bloom. My father loved daffodils and every year he would mark on his calendar the first day that the yellow gems appeared. Every year when they appear, I am reminded that is still with us...marking on his big calendar in Heaven.

So here they are Dad, my first Daffodils.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Time with Mom


Last Saturday my MOM..age 92!,my sister,her daughter,and me flew to my sister's house on Captiva Island. I really should not have come...work has been hectic and we are short handed but the time here has been amazing. On Sunday, Mom and I went to the Sanibel's Farmers Market and stocked up on her fav vegetables. Beets was the #1.

Yesterday we set on the beach and watched Dolphins jump way out of the water..we then came home and had a great dinner. We had used the beets in a salad, so I searched for a use for the beet greens. The result was tremendous.

Recipe From the Food Network
Alton Brown

Beet Green Gratin


Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound beet greens, cleaned and picked
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 cups ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup crumbled crackers (recommended: Ritz crackers)
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sweat. Add the beet greens and mix well. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt and pepper.


In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Combine everything and put into a lightly oiled 9 by 11-inch baking dish. Top with the crumbled crackers and bake for 30 minutes covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bogi..The "Fancy Feast Cat"



Bogi came into our lives about 15 years ago when we were moving to our current home which is about 100 years old. My daughter was very young and the neighbor kids told her the house was haunted. She would not sleep in her room, so I told her that cats would not sleep in a room that was haunted and that we would buy her the Fancy Cat she had always wanted. Now we are more into animals in need of homes, but this was a special situation...and it worked. Flash forward 15 years,we do not have our daughter in the house, she is married and on her own, just this Fancy Cat.

The crazy thing about Bogi is that for the past 15 years, at 5:45 am Bogi begins his crying meowing rant. Believe me this will continue, getting louder and louder until someone in the family appears and gives him his can of moist "Fancy Feast" Cat Food.
Do not try and give him a different cat food or even a different variety, only the sliced variety of "Fancy Feast".

Perhaps I have missed my golden ticket by not contacting the company that makes "Fancy Feast", so if you know anyone who works there...pass this on. Thanks!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It has been such a hectic week, which when you are in the Construction Business that is a great thing!! However, I have not been able to escape the Blitz Builders Office for long enough to get to the local Kroger. So I am trying to be very creative with what I have in the fridge. I made a dessert out of left over sweet potatoes and fried apples. A little cinnamon, nutmeg, cream and marshmallows..great dessert.

I had some great whole wheat pasta and fresh broccoli....add the cheese and a great meal for me. Left over spicy Chilly for Randy and we are good to go.

Voila!! Dinner..but I must journey to Kroger tomorrow. Magic can not be worked two days in a row.

BLACK PUSSY WILLOWS



I am on a desperate search for signs that Spring is just around the corner. The gray skies opened up to brief glimpses of sunshine on Sunday, so I took full advantage of the opportunity to survey the gardens.

My Husband was getting some leaves up(really late fall clean up) and I noticed the first small spike of the daffodils questioning if they should be emerging. As the sun decided it had teased us enough I quickly rushed over to checkout the Pussy Willows. Not yet....not even close enough to bring inside and force it to open. But soon, soon we will see the fuzzy black tips. My Black Pussy Willow is one of my favorites.

Until then I will worry like I do every Spring about the bulbs popping out to soon, the piles of leaves I still have around and the plants resting in the Herb House anxious to come back to life. So back to the seed catalogs...one of the happiest chores of winter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday

Today has been a hectic day...My daughter in-law had a baby shower, it was great baby fun. This will be my first grandbaby, it is a little boy. I have been giving my daughter in law, the books I read my baby Jake.

Babar...Goodnight Moon..The Run Away Rabbit...Go Frog Go and Richard Scary's Big Book Of Trucks...

We had plans to go to a Super Bowl Party but life as gotten in the way..so my husband and I are having our own party.

Crackers with cheese
Scallops marinated in garlic and french dressing

Roasted Root Veg's
Scallops wrapped in Bacon

Sauteed Baby Spinach with fresh Parmesan cheese


Apricots dipped in Milk Chocolate/pistachio's

We have decided that maybe our own personal Super Bowl Party is the BEST!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011



Upon arriving on Sanibel at the wonderful house we rented for the month of December, I noticed an empty clay planter. I knew it was perfect for an herb garden.
I was able to find some fresh herbs to plant. Basil,flat leaf parsley, curly parsley, dill,cilantro, oregano and thyme all helped fill the planter. Even with daily trimming,the warm sunshine and moisture helped the once sparsely planted pot overflow with herbs. For my family, these gems helped flavor our food all month long, for the next renters a special treat from Basil Becky. I even left my go to favorite recipe for "Tomato and Basil Salad", and a note by the herbs...saying "please use me"!!!

RECIPE
Take any fresh tomato( I love to use a variety of Heirloom's), slice these delights and arrange on a platter. I lightly grind salt and pepper directly on the tomatoes, then slice some fresh mozzarella cheese and arrange on top. Of course my favorite step, I tear lots of fresh basil on top of the cheese. For the dressing, I prefer a light sprinkling of good virgin Olive Oil and a splash of my Opal Basil Vinegar. I have used an herb vinaigrette, or a balsamic vinegar dressing as well This always a hit!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Sunny day....

Gosh it is great what sun does. ... I just need the Sunshine. I spent the day cleaning up the pumpkins from Thanksgiving. Since I was gone for the month of December..they were still here. I am going to have pumkin vines all over in the spring.


But the sun was shinning .......that makes life good.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

December on Sanibel












Beaches were alive on Sanibel last December. I do not know if it was the colder than normal weather or the "oil spill" or just the tides, but everyday brought new live shells. I think that is one of the greatest things about Sanibel, the beaches are different everyday. In fact I am now reading the book "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The beach is a wonderful garden designed everyday by the tides.....I LOVE IT

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beautiful Nature Photos

Last night I journeyed with two good friends to a lecture on the art of wildflower photography.

It was sponsored by the Jefferson Co. Master Gardeners and was at a beautiful historic home, Whitehall,which happens to be where my daughter's wedding reception was held about 4 years ago.

It was wonderful. I love that this Professor at the University of Kentucky looks at nature from not only the textbook nerd put it in a category aspect..but as a true art form. His photography is breathtaking.

Please look him up and notice that his book is now on my bed night stand.

http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Forestry/TBarnes/Web%20pages/photography.htm
http://www.edisonhouse.org/Whitehall/WhitehallHistory/TheWhitehallMansion/tabid/1334/

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Cooking...

I love a lazy Sunday, when I spend the whole day cooking and blogging. My husband is into the playoff games so I have made some "manfood" for him. About 2 weeks ago we had a great ham and I still had the bone, so I have made him "12 Bean Soup". I am not so into Bean Soup so I am making a pork chop recipe from Giada and Steamed Lemon Custard, green beans and a great salad.

Today is my son's Birthday. He is at Vero Beach on a Babymoon. We love Vero Beach..there are great restaurants there. I thought it would be good for him and his wife to go away for a nice relaxed weekend before the big event.

It is about 8 degrees here..but the sun is shinning.

Here is the recipe for the Man Soup...

2 cups beans from Bob's Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix
which I soaked overnight..

Then I added the great Ham Hock I had form the ham I had cooked two weeks ago.

2 1/2 qts water brought this all to a boil and then let it simmer for 4 hours.

I then added 1 can of tomatoes crushed. ! tbsp chili powder and two garlics minced

It is simmering until there is a break in the action and Randy is ready to eat.

I will let you know if it is...great!!!!

Sanibel Farmers Market

One of the greatest things about being on Sanibel for the month of December was the Farmer's Market. It is so much more than a trip to buy groceries, it is a Sunday Morning Social. Locals,tourists,and many four legged friends join in on the festivities. We would ride our bikes to the Market and spend time eating, browsing and planning the week's good eats. I love clean eating so this market is just my cup of tea! The results of a Sunday morning thoroughly enjoyed continued all week long while we feasted on whole fresh food!






Information from the Sanibel Farmers Market Facebook Page
The Sanibel Island Farmers Market is held at City Hall.
Sundays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
This open air market features 30 vendors including baked goods, live plants, honey, pasta, cheese, sausages, fresh fish, and fresh organic produceInformation
About:
The Sanibel Island Farmers Market is held at City Hall.
Sundays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin