Friday, April 30, 2010

Aphids, Begone!

From Jenni's Garden:

Suddenly we noticed little black bugs all over the garlic chives (oddly enough not on the regular chives right next to it). Thank goodness for Google - typed in "little black bugs on chives" and ended up discovering that we had an aphid problem, and found a list of solutions. I chose two - blast them with a hose to remove them from the plant, then put aluminum foil around the chives to "blind" the aphids and keep them away. The hose took care of the current population, hoping that they stay away!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How Does Her Garden Grow?

I have an update on Jenni and Kory's garden.  I did get to see it for myself on Monday and it is looking good.  I plan a couple of trips to Raleigh during peak veggie season.  Three hours is a reasonable drive for home-grown veggies, right???     
Welcome to our garden! This year my fiance went all out in an effort to produce food from the land, he has put a lot of work into it and my mom and I feel that it deserves some blog space :-) We just got our transplants in a few weeks ago - we didn't really plan it out fully, just went to the farmers market and picked out what we liked, and then came home and researched it all. Fortunately after doing some research we seem to have made some good choices. We have a great variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs, and I'm looking forward to sharing how everything turns out!                                                                                         

No deer or bunnies allowed!
Herb Barrel


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Super New Blog

I have a super new blog to tell you about.  It was just started today!  My daughter, Jenni, is a fabulous cook and a wonderful writer and decided to combine the two and start a blog of her own.  (she is also going to be a guest blogger on this one from time to time).  Go on over and take a peek into her kitchen!

Click on Jenni's avatar

Tips Coming In

I have gotten several tips for Recipe Organization and they are permanently posted on the Tips for Recipe Organization is on the header.  The tips run the gamut and I liked them all.  At the bottom of the list I have compiled a (growing) list of links that will take you to other articles about organizing recipes.  It appears everybody struggles to organize the great number of recipes they collect and nobody has found the 'perfect' method.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fitness/Diet Articles are Irritating Me

What do you see whenever you are in the check-out line of a grocery store?  Magazines.  What headlines are publishers luring you into buying their magazines with?   "Drop Five Pounds by the Weekend"....."Get Your Body Ready for the Beach by June".......Get Toned Abs in 5 Minutes a Day....."The New Water Diet"....New Soup Diet"....."Easy Fitness Routine"....I am just making these up, but you get the idea.
Now, suppose you buy the magazine.  You get home and sit down with your afternoon snackie and turn right to the article, and it is a rehash of the last 25 articles you have read over the past year!  At least as you continually read the same tips on how to lose weight and get healthy over and over and over it might lodge in your brain and you might actually remember some of them when making food choices or when trying to get up off the couch.

Now, for my first irritation with these articles.  Have you looked at the "menu plans" for those diets?    Now, I am always eager for menu ideas, but I am beginning to feel like there must be a big database somewhere that the writers of these articles access for their menus....they are all just alike.  Every time I flip to the menu section of a diet I am so disappointed.  Nothing new.  Ever.  Now, I know these menus are simply meant as guides, but many readers want to follow an exact diet, written down.    Who on earth is going to have that huge variety of food for a week's menus in their kitchen....just think of the piles of leftovers?   But I guess any menu plan is better than seeing this at suppertime: 

Note: if you click on the link for the 3 Day Diet, you will find some interesting information.  It is an older article, but very current.  I got the picture from  All clip art is free, but every photo links you to its original source and you can file some neat web sites.

The other thing I am ranting about is the exercises recommended in some of the articles on fitness.  I was reading an article in a magazine recently about using yoga to get fit and help reverse aging.  Now I am a yoga fan and I do yoga and pilates for my exercise and I know how simple and safe and effective yoga poses can be.  However, if I wanted to try this yoga idea and was looking for something to do easy and safe, and the article only bothered to refer to headstands and plow pose, I would think "well that is a type of exercise I certainly cannot do".  The article was touting inverted poses to increase blood flow to the brain, something we could all use, Now, guess what, most everybody can lie on their backs and put their calves onto a coffee table, the bed, or sofa.  Or bend over toward your toes and "hang loose" for awhile.  Simple, easy, safe.  Now why can't the article recommend something simpler?????? I searched around and found this article for anybody interested in exploring simple yoga inversions.  Be warned:  the photo on the webpage is not what they will be teaching you to do, so read the article.

If you want to know more about easy yoga, this yoga website might be a good place to start.

Another article on getting fit quickly was amusing to me, although accurate.  When you analyzed the exercise regimen, they had designed exercises that exercised two parts of your body at the same time, cutting your exercise time in half.  Now that one was clever.  Every article usually contains one new nugget of information,  so I will continue to read diet articles and fitness articles, even thought they are repetitious.  You never know when you will have a new aha moment.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Interesting Blogs

The button king
Heard about this guy on a radio morning show.

this is a local farmer in our area who has a weekly column in our newspaper.

I know this is a knitting blog, but you'll want to check once a week for Tabby Tuesday.

I enjoy blogs written by people living in another country, probably because I have lived in Iceland and Germany.  This blogging couple live in China and bonus:  it is a food blog.

If you listen to podcasts, this is very informative weekly one out of California.  It is a podcast of the weekly program, KCRW/ Good Food

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Version of Shortcake

The other night we still had lots of strawberries and wanted another shortcake.  Alas, I did not have a baked pie crust.  Then I thought of the flour tortillas in the fridge and of my new mini deep fat fryer.  Voila!

I think we like this version better...those deep fried flour tortillas were amazing.  I have fried them whole and cut into wedges.  A good way to use up dried out, stale tortillas.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Breakfast Gems

This recipe came from freshman home economics class at Auburn University in 1967. It was always a hit when I made it in the 1970's, but had not made it since. It was written on a recipe card that I recently found. When Grumpy's Honeybunch announced the muffin contest, I immediately thought of it and sent it to her.

I was curious if it still was as good as I remembered, so decided to break down and bake it (I have not been baking anything since there are only two of us to eat it and we do not need all those extra calories sitting around).

Breakfast Gems

1 3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup drained, crushed pineapple (small can)
1/4 cup fruit preserves

Mix dry ingredients. Mix egg, oil, milk, pineapple. Mix together to moisten. Spoon into muffin cups 1/2 full. Top each with a tsp preserves. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Changes I made:  As I mixed these up, ideas came to me.  I drained the juice into a cup and just put in enough milk to bring it up to the 2/3 cup measure.  I also tossed in a handful of sweet shredded coconut.

We liked them for breakfast, but they were really good served for dessert with whipped cream.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

BBQ Fakeout

Do these two items have anything in common? 

Think not?

Think again!

This idea is from Paula Deen.  She said she mixed bbq sauce and canned tuna and everybody thought it tasted like pork bbq.  Add coleslaw and homemade tortilla chips and have lunch!

Blog of the Day

I like eating vegetables, so am enjoying exploring A Veggie Venture.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do You Know What This Is?

Do you know what this is?

A milk frother for capuccino.

Don't drink capuccino? Do you know what else it can be used for?

Salad dressing!

Beats a whisk, any day.  Begone all you bottled salad dressings full of high fructose corn syrup!!!

Another lovely blog I found:

Picture a Day

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saving Recipes from Magazines

As you see on the left, I am conducting a poll on how you handle keeping recipes that you want to try someday from magazines.  I am conducting the poll mostly for my own amusement, since I actually do it all the ways I have listed.  Right now I have a combination of methods. 
  • When I first flip through the magazine, I rip out what appeals to me and pile it on the kitchen table or cabinet.
  • Before I toss the magazine, I go through it again and my mood is often different, so I tear out more.
  • Recipes that I want to try quickly I keep on the kitchen table.
  • Recipes that I want to try soon, I slide loose into a notebook that has category dividers.
  • Recipes that have been sitting about for awhile go into an accordion file for much later.
  • When the recipe is a known keeper, even before I try it, I will glue it to a piece of notebook paper and put it in the looseleaf notebook that is my "use everday" notebook.
I know my fellow foodbloggers in yahoo group have been voting.  I'm going to announce the poll on my other recipe yahoo lists.

I find that I want to know more details about how you save and organize your leave a comment telling me!

Tea Set Comes Home

This is a beautiful antique tea set.  Officially an antique, since it is over 100 years old.  The cups and saucers are Haviland, the pots are Bavarian.  I don't know the exact original ownership, but these did belong to my Mom.  When she died, years ago, I did not particularly like them because they are definitely not my style, and offered them to my friend, Sharon.  She graciously took them and carefully stored them away...knowing I would want them someday.  She was clearing her attic for a garage sale and brought them to me, asking if they were mine.  They were.  Here is a vignette on my coffee table.  Now I enjoy them.....

Blog of the Day

Yummy Recipes!

Monday, April 19, 2010


With the volcano erupting in Iceland in the news, I wanted to share photos of a volcano erupting there in the 1970's, while we stationed there in the Navy.  It did not involve a glacier and the lava was able to flow into the sea.  It was on a island just off the coast and, of course, the residents had to evacuate to the mainland.  The U.S. Navy asked military personnel to volunteer to shovel ash from the homes and a friend of ours went.  These are pictures of the pictures he made.  In the "small world" category, my uncle worked for the company that was hired to pump water from the ocean onto the lava to cool it, etc, and he volunteered to come as the supervisor, since he had a niece to visit.  Who would have ever thought my uncle in Indiana would be in Iceland?

We really had no way to get local news, and did not know the volcano had erupted until the next day....but we saw a plume of smoke on the horizon that never moved or went away and were puzzled.  We had that view on the horizon for quite awhile.  After the initial eruption was over and it was safe to ride past the island, we drove over there.  By that time all we really saw was steam rising into the air, because the lava was flowing into the sea underwater.

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy these photos.  I also have a chunk of lava rock somewhere is storage, I think.  Our friend picked it up off the ground while it was still hot.

Update on Storing Cilantro

The trick on storing cilantro was not a 'fluke'. It has worked again. I am going to buy another of those small spinners for my parsley.

My Strawberry Shortcake from Childhood

The strawberries were so beautiful this year and such a good price, that I was inspired to make my mom's version of strawberry shortcake.  Now, I absolultely hated this version as a child; I wanted those ubiquitious sponge cakes with the sunken middle that are always sold right beside the berries in the produce section.  But, noooooo, my mom baked a homemade pie crust, cut it into wedges, and used that for the shortcake part, layering wedges of crust with sweetened berries and topping it all off with sweetened whipped cream.  But I wanted cake.

Flash forward many, many years.  I had a refrigerated pie crust in the fridge, for the first time in a very long time.  There had been a coupon in the paper.  ....  Anyway, I baked that crust in one of her old aluminum pans.
I cut it in wedges and piled up the strawberries.  And whipped the cream.

Why, oh why did I dislike this as a child?  Granted, it is very messy to eat.  (The photo above was taken after we had eaten it twice and all that was left was one wedge of pastry apiece).  I do not know the origin of her version, whether this is the way she ate it growing up in Indiana, or perhaps it is the way my dad grew up eating it.  Anyway, it was never prepared any other way in my mom's house.  Try it.

My Blog of the Day
Visit Daisy Cottage and listen to the music...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yummy Supper: Parsley Salad

Found this on Foodgawker. I use parsley as ingredients, but never thought of it as a stand-alone salad. More iron than spinach? I like it better than spinach, anyway, (although sprinkle some parsley in a spinach salad.....)
Update:  my husband said he really did not care for parsley alone.  I put it in lots of things and he has never said a word.  Oh well

Edamame Dumplings

In the May 2010 Food Network magazine, Bobby Flay said one his top five picks in Atlantic City was edamame dumplings at Izakaya.

Since Atlantic City is pretty far from Charlotte, NC, I googled edamame dumplings and came up with this one.  We love asian dumplings and love edamame.  Sounds like something to try at home, for sure. 

Early Morning

Tommy Tomlinson is a columnist I really enjoy. He has a column that appears on Sunday that I look forward to. I really like this column about silence.  My favorite line:

"In a place as big and crowded as Charlotte, it was as close to silence as you can hope for"

Read more:

Hearing noises on the back side of the night -
Reading this makes me wish I could make myself get up early in the morning and enjoy the silence.  When we lived in Iceland in the 1970's, the thing I noticed most about getting out into the countryside that you could "hear the silence" experience I remember clearly. 

Mexican Fiesta

I love Mexican food, but my repertoire has been pretty much limited to opening a can of tortilla soup and adding more black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cooked chicken. Now that I have discovered Compare Foods I am branching out. Compare Foods has piles of the fresh produce used in Mexican cooking, and not at specialty prices like Harris Teeter.

This weekend I made my standard Black Bean Salad, kicked up a notch. Now, I have been making this salad for years and taking it to potlucks, as an antidote to all the pasta salads that are on the tables.

Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn (you can also use fresh or frozen and either yellow or white)
 1/2 c.cilantro,  chopped (can use parsley, but cilantro is better)
1 red bellpepper, chopped (either raw red bell pepper...or green...or chopped canned piquillo peppers.
1T cumin
Italian dressing to taste

My secret ingredient, that nobody believes, including me, is the Italian dressing.  It does not make sense for Mexican cuisine, but it is perfect flavoring.  The cumin brings it to fiesta time.  This time I used the chopped piquillo peppers for the first time, because I did not have any fresh peppers, and it was much better.

Now for the soup.........

I bought some tomatillos this week at Compare Foods because I found this recipe for Mexican Chicken and Tomatillo Stew online.  I did make some changes, but it was the best soup I have ever made.  Much better than my doctored up canned tortilla, for sure.  I am getting some confidence in the soup category, at last.

You can go to the link to print the recipe.  Now here are my changes:

When I poured in the carton of broth, I also put it 1T of the defatted chicken gelee (from my roast chickens) that I keep in the freezer. I did not put any protein into the stew, but will stir in leftover fish, shrimp or chicken into the individual soup bowl.  I made the flour tortilla strips to stir into the stew, which nicely thickened the broth, but I topped each serving with (homemade) deep fried corn tortilla strips.  Instead of garnishing with avocado, I stirred prepared guacamole into each serving. I confess that I forgot the cilantro.  That would have sent it over the top.  Thank goodness I have leftovers so I can add it.

My Blog of the Day

You'll love this blog, mostly about food.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dishes and the Dollar Store

I love "Dollar Stores", especially the housewares section.  For a confessed dishaholic, they are nirvana.  A new chain, Mighty Dollar, recently opened near me and I hit pay dirt. 

Coffe mugs in my favorite shade of green

New water glasses, also green

Even some cheerful measuring cups.

You'll love the photos on The Blue Hour
Click Below