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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Yes we had snow today and I wanted to share pics of the recent snowfall.

This is the redbud tree that was my Christmas gift.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

May you have a wonderful Christmas and much joy! 

I just finished baking chocolate chip cookies and they are headed for the freezer as soon as cooled -out of sight out of mind!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Old Victory Garden Now on Cable

I just came across the old Victory Garden programs on cable RL TV. What a nice treat!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tuesday's With Dorie: Baking With Julia-Gingerbread Baby Cakes

One of the December recipes for TWDBWJ is Gingerbread Baby Cakes. The host is Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories. So visit her site for the recipe.

It is chock full of molasses and ginger.Although the recipe called for 2 cups of molasses, I only had 1 and 1/2 cups in the house. So I made up the difference with a 1/2 cup of real maple syrup.  Not sure if I would make this again. It is a very dense cake and almost too overpowering in taste.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lemon Curd from Meyer Lemons

I just finished making lemon curd from my meyer lemons. I used a recipe from Gourmet magazine  that called for 3-4 meyer lemons that would make 1/2 cup of juice. In my case, 4 lemons made a cup of juice. So I doubled the recipe, and plan to freeze leftover curd. It took about 30 minutes for the lemon curd to come up to 160 degrees. So the 5 minutes the recipe states for whisking the curd to 160 degrees is a bit optimistic.  So be patient. It tastes delicious, and my husband loves it.

So now I need to figure out what to do with the last 5 meyer lemons I have left on my tree.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flower Boxes

I just finished decorating our flower boxes with greenery from White Flower Farm. As soon as I have a chance I will post photos. On Sunday I plan to weave white lights through the greenery.

The photo above is from the White Flower Farm catalog. Pretty nice!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tulips and Lettuce and Early Christmas Gift

I was able to plant about  75 tulip bulbs , harvest some lovely lettuce and to to take a look at my early Christmas gift. The gift from my husband is an Eastern Redbud tree. Our old Redbud was taken down. It was dying, but I so wanted another one. So that is what I got.

Trees are a great gift.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie-Baking With Julia:Buttermilk Crumb Muffins.

Alisa of Easier Than Pie will host the Buttermilk Crumb Muffins recipe for November 6th. So visit her site for the recipe.

These muffins were very easy to make. I did switch out the shortening for butter and I would suggest using paper muffin liners. It would make it much easier to remove the muffins from the pan. Overall, I would say that these muffins were average. They did not seem to have enough cinnamon.

Now would I make these again? Only if someone asked me to.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Meyer Lemon Harvest

I just harvested my first Meyer Lemon. I have 10 left on my 3 foot tree that are still turning yellow, and I would like help with what I should do with all of these lemons. The challenge will be that most of the lemons will be ready to harvest at one time. What do I do with 10 lemons???? Help.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Garlic Is In the Dirt

I finally got the garlic planted yesterday.  This is the first time for garlic in the garden and we shall see what happens.

The meyer lemon tree has 11 huge lemons that are yellow with still a touch of green. So they are not ready to be picked yet. I need ideas for what to do with the lemons.

For the most part, the garden is pretty well cleaned up so it will be easy to start planting in the spring. I still have lettuce, kale and beets in one of the raised beds.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A First- Basil

I have had a couple of cuttings of basil sitting in water for about 3 weeks in the kitchen. This evening it dawned on me that it has been staying green and so I pulled it out of the water. To my surprise, it has roots. This is a first and let's see how long this keeps up. Amazing.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Garlic Cloves

I received my garlic this weekend from Territorial Seed, and I started to prep the area where it will be planted with cow poo and compost from our compost bin. The compost is supposed to easily come out of the bin. Well, it was a little bit of a struggle because it was tightly packed. Once I started to shovel it out from the bottom things got easier. After I shoveled out what I wanted for the garlic, I mixed the bin materials very well. This will help the fresher material to turn more quickly into compost.

The bed that I prepped is like black gold. I think it will be perfect for the garlic. In our area, the garlic  should be planted in the next couple of weeks.

The other raised beds have been totally prepped for next spring. I have only one bed growing fall vegetables which is enough for us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Garlic Cloves Have Been Shipped and Dogwood

I  received an e-mail that my Music garlic has just been shipped, and I should be receiving it in a few days. I have been preparing an area of the garden for planting garlic and  this is the first time I have ever tried growing it. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

I also took out a Dogwood tree that had died and planted a Kousa Dogwood in the same area.I think the reason the original Dogwood did not make it was because it was planted in the spring and summers are rough in our area  when it comes to new trees. I am hoping that by planting this in the fall it will not stress the tree as much. I will post pictures hopefully this weekend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia-Whole Wheat Bread

It has been awhile since I have posted. I have been very busy with gardening clean up which I will detail in another post.

This post is about my adventures making whole wheat bread. The hosts for this month's recipe are:

Michele of Veggie Num Nums and Teresa of The Family That Bakes Together. So visit their sites if you are interested in the recipe.

This bread was very easy to make. I used molasses instead of malt extract and the bread turned out great. I took some other liberties too. One loaf was made according to the recipe, and  the other loaf chopped walnuts and raisins were added. Both loaves came out nicely and make excellent toast. I also think the recipe could be used to for  whole wheat rolls.

This was a no fuss recipe. See my results below.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My First Charentais Melon

I just brought in my first Charentais melon and it is wonderful, plus it has a terrific fragrance. I bought my seeds from Baker Creek.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Eggplant)

On of my favorite pasta sauces includes not only tomatoes, but I like to add eggplant from the garden. Plus, the sauce freezes great, and can be used on pizza too.

Here is a great recipe from Saveur for:

Pasta Alla Norma (Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Eggplant)


2 medium eggplants, cut into 3/4″ cubes
7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz. can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, undrained and crushed by hand
16 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand
1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
4 oz. ricotta salata, grated

Heat oven to 500ยบ. Put eggplant into a bowl and drizzle with 4 tbsp. oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. Transfer eggplant to 2 baking sheets and bake, turning occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack; set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a 5-qt. pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add chile flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and half the basil, season with salt, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to tomato sauce. Stir in reserved eggplant and toss to combine. Stir in remaining basil and season with salt. To serve, transfer pasta to a platter and garnish with ricotta salata.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Garden Update

Diva cucumber planting  which is round 2. I had to pull the first plating because of wilt and replanted with seed weeks ago. So far these are looking very good.

 Here are my Meyer Lemons. I have 11 lemons and they are starting to turn yellow.

Charentais melon

Asparagus fern. Isn't it pretty?

 Round 3 of basil.

My beets are starting to look more mature.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvest Monday

Here is a photo of my latest harvest. It is a little bit of everything.
Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. So visit her site at Daphne's Dandelions

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More Fall Planting

Just finished pulling the determinate tomato plants and planting in its place, swiss chard and radicchio. This is the first time for radicchio, and we will see how it goes.

The cucumbers that I replanted several weeks ago are doing fabulously. They are producing little Diva cucumbers. I decided to plant them in a large pot. I ended up with wilt from the first planting and pulled them all up. So I am glad that round two is doing well.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cicada Killer Wasp

I had never heard of Cicada Killer Wasps and the past couple of weeks while in the garden, I noticed a very large flying insect that I thought was a horsefly. However, the closer I looked, it did not resemble anything  I had seen before. Our neighborhood now has been visited by Cicada Killer Wasps. The males do not sting, but they will dive after people in the garden. Sort of frightening because they are really huge.
Below is information on these wasps from Joe Boggs, a bug expert from Ohio State. For more info go to his post at Ron Wilson. As Joe Boggs states, these insects are impressive and I agree.

KILLERS ON THE LOOSE!  During a visit on Wednesday to Glenwood Gardens, a Hamilton County Park District park located north of Cincinnati, I observed one of the most impressive populations of cicada killer wasps (Sphecius speciosus) that I've ever seen in my entire career!  These giant wasps are the largest wasps found in Ohio, measuring 1 1/8" - 1 5/8" in length.  They are the nemesis of cicadas, particularly the annual dog-day cicadas (Tibicen spp.), so they are considered beneficial.  However, their low-level flights over sand volleyball courts, lawns, and bare areas in landscapes can be disconcerting.  Of course, if you know what's actually going on, fascination can replace fear when you look upon these impressive wasps.

First, remember that as with all bees and wasps, only the females possess stingers (ovipositors = egg depositors).  Second, unlike many of our other wasps, female cicada killers are notably non-aggressive.  You really have to work hard to make them sting!  The females spend their time digging and provisioning burrows with paralyzed cicada-prey.  Their attack on a cicada is signaled by an abrupt halt in the staccato "singing" of the cicada, often punctuated by a high-pitched screech, which usually means a cicada killer has committed an insecticidal act.

The males spend their time establishing and defending territories that encompass females.  Biologists call such collections of males gathering for the purpose of competitive mating "leks".  The males will aggressively buzz any transgressor who dares to enter their lek; including people.  The females prefer to dig their brood burrows in bare, well-drained soil that is exposed to full sunlight.  Although the wasps are considered solitary, all of the females have the same nesting requirements.  Thus, it is not unusual for there to be numerous burrows, and wasps, in relatively small areas.  The males are notoriously territorial and will chase after other males as well as picnickers, golfers, volleyball enthusiasts, and gardeners.  Fortunately, it's all a rouse since the males lack stingers.

Cultural practices that promote a thick growth of turfgrass will usually eliminate a cicada killer infestation in a lawn in one or two seasons.  In landscapes, the wasps prefer loose soil in full sun; however, they will occasionally set-up shop in open areas that are covered by a thin layer of mulch.  Deeping the mulch layer and periodical raking to disturb the mulch or adding plants to shade the soil will make conditions less favorable for the wasps.  Since this is a beneficial insect, there are no insecticide recommendations specific to controlling these wasps.  Education is one of the best approaches to reducing the angst sometimes caused by these wasps.  Indeed, Glenwood Gardens have a nice sign posted next to one of their cicada killer colonies located in a high-traffic area to educate the public on what's really going on with these bio-allies.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 100th Birthday to Julia Child

I remember as a little kid watching Julia Child on WOSU. I was amazed by her and thought she was great. She was having so much fun. One of the first cookbooks I bought was

and then I bought
and then

and then


    and I have others, but you get the idea!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pinned on Pinterest for My Mixed Berry Galette

My mixed berry galette was pinned on pinterest at http://pinterest.com/pin/65091157085223736/

Pesto and Herbs

I have harvested the last of the basil for pesto. I freeze it in serving sizes for dinner to have later.Although I planted more seeds a few weeks ago for the third planting, it will be awhile before I get any basil from that planting..

I also found thyme and chives on sale at a local nursery and snapped those up too. They are now in the ground.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Favorite Cosmo Recipe

Here is my favorite Cosmo recipe and Friday evening is when I enjoy one of this. This recipe makes one serving and it is very easy to make.


  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger vodka
  • 1/2 fluid ounce cointreau
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces cranberry juice


  1. Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously for several seconds and strain into a cocktail glass. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Baking With Julia- Mixed Berry Galette

Well this month I am the host for TWDBWJ along with 
Andrea of The Kitchen Lioness. The recipe we are hosting is the Mixed Berry Galette from The Baking With Julia cookbook. We loved this galette and I would make it again. It has a touch of cornmeal in the crust which gives it a nice crunch. I would advise placing the galette on parchment paper to catch all the dribbles while baking. Make sure you place the galette and parchment on a rimmed baking sheet also. It is delicious with vanilla ice cream.

I used about 2 tablespoons or so of sugar in the berries because they needed the sugar. The amount in the recipe would not have been adequate with the fruit I used. I also added a couple of plums.

The recipe is included below along with my photos. Enjoy and I encourage you to make this lovely galette.

Mixed Berry Galette
             ½ recipe Galette Dough, chilled

             1 ½ cups mixed fresh berries ( or cut up fruit)
             1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. sugar

             1 tsp. honey

             1 tbsp. cold unsalted butter

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll into an 11-inch circle that is about 1/8 inch thick. Since the dough is soft, you will need to lift it now and then and toss some more flour under it and over the top. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Spread the berries over the dough, leaving a 2 to 3 inch border. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit and drizzle with honey. Cut the butter into slivers and scatter it on top of the fruit. Fold the uncovered border of the dough over the filling, allowing the dough to pleat as you Iift it up and work your way around the galette. Dip a pastry brush in water, give the edge of the crust a light coating, and sprinkle the crust with the remaining teaspoon of sugar.
Bake the galette for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the galette rest on the sheet for 10 minutes. Slip a wide spatula or a small baking sheet under the galette and slide it onto the cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, cutting the tart with a pizza wheel or a sharp knife.
The galette is best eaten the day that it is made.
Galette Dough
3 tbsp. sour cream (or yogurt or buttermilk)
1/3 cup ice water
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
7 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 to 8 pieces

Stir the sour cream and the ice water together in a small bowl, set aside. 
Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine.
Drop the butter pieces into the bowl and pulse 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture is speckled with pieces of butter that vary in size from bread crumbs to peas. With the machine running, add the sour cream mixture and process just until the dough forms soft, moist curds.
Remove the dough from the food processor, divide in half. And press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.
The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two, or it can be wrapped airtight and frozen for a month. Thaw, still wrapped, in the refrigerator. It is convenient to roll the dough into rounds, place parchment paper between each round, freeze them wrapped in plastic, this way you will need only 20 minutes to defrost a round at room temperature before it can be filled, folded into a galette and baked.
                       Contributing baker Flo Barker         
Recipe from Baking with Julia written by Dorie Greenspan