We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Years Day

Tree number one is down. First load of laundry is in the wash and linens changed. I will gradually take down Christmas decorations starting indoors first. It is too cold this week to consider doing anything outside.

Pulled pork sliders and a salad with lettuce, mandarins,nuts and a tahini dressing is this afternoon’s meal. It has been a fun Christmas holiday. Now it is time to look through the seed catalogues.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Costco's Dark Chocolate Carmels With Sea Salt

I was at Costco yesterday and a lady was handing out samples of Sanders Dark Chocolate Carmels with Sea Salt. I rarely ever take a sample, but I did this time. They were the best I had ever tasted. Plus they were around $8.50 for the canister. I have purchased similar chocolate carmels for much much more elsewhere and they were not nearly as delicious. They would make a great gift or addition to a cookie tray. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Easy Holiday Treat-Chocolate Bark

Of all of the cookies and candies that I have made, this is the easiest treat I have made over the years. It is chocolate bark and you can get pretty creative with it. I prefer to use Lindt Bittersweet Berne bar. This year it was a challenge to find, but I did track it down. The bar is 10.58 oz and is wrapped in gold foil. Some call it the Lindt Gold Bar.

 I break it up and slowly melt it in a double boiler. I then prepare a half sheet cookie tray by lining it with foil. Next I toast either walnuts or pecans that have been chopped. Once the chocolate has melted, I pour it into the prepared cookie tray and I tip the tray back and forth to evenly distribute the chocolate on the tray. I gently sprinkle the walnuts and pecans on top and then add dried fruit. This year I sprinkled raisins and on part of the tray dried ginger. The final touch was a sprinkle of  sea salt. Salted cashews would be great too.

Pop it into the refrigerator. Once it hardens, I peel the foil away and break it apart. Then store the bark in a metal tin.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker

If you still have vegetables you need to use up from your garden or even if you do not, consider making The Minestrone Soup from Skinny Taste. I did make some changes . I used 1 teaspoon dried rosemary instead of a sprig. I also used I teaspoon or a tad more of dried basil. I only blended 1 cup of beans instead of the entire can. I then tossed in the rest of the can of whole beans. Also I sautéed 2 large sweet Italian sausages and cut them up into small pieces. I then added the sausages to the entire soup mixture for the six hour time period. What did I leave out? The Parmesan rind and the bay leaf. I did add a couple of tablespoons of a good Parmesan during the slow cooking process from the start. It was fabulous.

Also you can make this in advance and freeze it according to the comments on the Skinny Taste website. It is definitely easy and worth making. I am pretty picky about slow cooker recipes. Many are not that great. What is a favorite slow cooker recipe of yours? Do you use your slow cooker to make dishes for Thanksgiving?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Clean Up

I am starting to clean up the raised beds. I added bags of wholly cow to 2 beds today and they are ready for the garlic cloves which I will plant in November. I will do another bed this week and hopefully will finish up by the first week in October. I love how the freshly prepared beds look. I did leave the basil plants though. They are taking off for a second growth spurt since I harvested my massive basil harvest a few weeks ago.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wrestling With the Beasts-Roses

We had three large roses at one time planted near the side of the house. Over time two just declined and there was one still growing, but it was not that spectacular. After much research and consulting with experts, I decided to replace the area where the roses were growing with two hydrangea bushes.

I ended up purchasing two Incrediball Hydrangeas. They will get to be up to five feet tall and four feet across. The roses were much taller, but the hydrangeas will be a fine replacement height wise.

However, I had to remove the roses. Two came out fairly easily, but the third was pruned down and I will continue to attempt to remove the stump. See below regarding what I was dealing with. It had to be about twelve feet in height. Believe me it was a beast to try to take out compared to the other two.

I know these do not look like much now, but the flowers are white and can be twelve  inches in diameter. It will probably take almost three years before they take off, but that is fine.

This is what one Incrediball looks like ( photo from Hills Nursery).

Here is another photo from Meadows Nursery.

It will fill in the space nicely. The stems are very sturdy and they will not flop over like the Annabelle.

Another white hydrangea that is new, and has black strong stems is Zebra. I almost bought it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday's Harvest

Well this year the harvest of tomatoes and eggplant has been several weeks early. The tomatoes taste great. I have a tendency to pick the tomatoes early and let then ripen up further in the house. Otherwise the critters will get them, especially squirrels.