Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018

I lost my long list with New Year's resolutions but I remember one important resolution for me:
Be kind to your fellowman and woman.  So many many people have been so kind to me this past year when my husband and I have had trials and tribulation.  People have been nice.  Period. 

The second resolution of mine is to be kind to the environment:  Carry my own bags to the grocery store and forego the plastic as much as possible.  Some stores will recycle the plastics and that's where I will take my saved plastic.

Do I have third one?  Oh, yes!  Eat healthier.  Grow the garden for the healthy and nutritious produce.  Even if the garden is small, it will produce.

My wishes for the New Year is to stay healthy and I wish the same for you.

Image result for happy new year

Happy New Year!
Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Go Green

So far, I've had the most wonderful Holiday with family and friends.  Even our cat enjoyed her toys with a sprinkling of catnip.  I've had a sugar high caused by too many cookies from our dear neighbor's baking.  Furthermore, I've been in the kitchen cooking, tasting, and sampling.  Something has got to give!



Oh,my! 

The New Year's Eve is coming up in just a few days and with the  new beginning in sight, it is also time for the resolutions.  Let's be reasonable and make a few that we might be able to keep.




My one and only resolution is to Go Green.  OK, throw in a little color too.  The Back Forty garden was covered with weeds but my husband and I cleaned out the established weeds and it wasn't long thereafter when new weeds started a vigorous growth.

I decided that it would only be feasible to weed out and prepare the rows that were needed.  It turned out surprisingly well.  Now we weed as we go along, leave the weeds between the rows and use it as green manure.  Voila!

Our harvest is a continuation of pf Green Mustard and also the Red Mustard.  They are so easy to grow and these greens are so nutritious.  They are loaded with vitamin K and that is what we need the most.  A serving a day helps our blood from clotting and flow properly.  They are the most welcome vegetables in our garden and our cardiologist agrees.  Eat more leafy greens, he says.

 

On Christmas Day, we ended up harvesting some of our broccoli before it would burst out in blooms.  I have yet to cut this up into nice florets, blanch them, cool them, bag them, and put them in the freezer for later.

All I can say is that God has been good to us for letting us have a most giving and nutritious garden.
Let us be better stewards in the coming year.  Hmm!  Another resolution to keep.

Blessings and Healthy Eating for the New Year.
Go Green!
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Fourth Sunday of Advent 2017

This Sunday we take the time out to light all four candles in The Advent Season and to reflect on our  faith in God.


We put the final touches to the presents that we are to give and we give thanks for the presents, cards and letters, and support that we receive--not just this Sunday but throughout the year.

"This week we reflect upon Mary's example of faith and obedience to God, traits which permitted her to receive the Angel's message that God's Son would be born as a human, as one of us."  (from Sunday Connection" www.loyolapress.com).


We here at the Back Forty do wish you all a Blessed Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Preserving the Parsley

My small herb garden by the summer kitchen has done surprisingly well.  Sometimes I think that you have to find a spot that the herbs like and they reward you.  This time, I have been richly rewarded by strong and healthy flat leaf parsley that has to be harvested and preserved.

I recommend that you wash/rinse your herbs and dry them well in a tea towel.

Fresh Parsley in Margarine or Butter:  To use the fresh parsley in our every day use of margarine, I remove the parsley sprigs from the stems and finely chop them.  Depending on how much margarine I plan to use, I chop the parsley accordingly.  Of course, it depends on how much I like the taste of parsley too.



One Way of Freezing Parsley:  This is my preferred way.  First, I remove the sprigs from the stems and cut them up, not too fine.  Then I put them on a parchment covered tray, spaced out so that they are not too crowded.  Now I put them in freezer for several hours.  I might even forget to take them out, but that's all right.


When the leaves are frozen, I stash them into a plastic bag, label the bag, and put it into the freezer for later.

Another Way of freezing Parsley:  Prepare the parsley as above.  Then pack the parsley tightly at the bottom of a plastic bag.  Roll up the  the bag with the parsley from the bottom and up, label,and put into the freezer.

Drying the Parsley:  Another simple way to preserve the parsley is to dry it.  Either spread it out on a tray or bundle the sprigs up, tie them together, and hang them up in a cool dry place.

When you need the parsley for stews and soup, cut some off from the log,  bag, or bouquet.

It's a great way of preserving your parsley, which may be an biannual, until it's time to plant more in the spring.  Besides, it is economical and fun, too.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Third Sunday of Advent 2017

We are getting closer and closer to Christmas Day. The celebration of the birth of Jesus is indeed upon us. 

Hopefully, all our packages are sent and the cards are mailed.  The cookies  are made and food is bought.  The Christmas tree is dressed, the house is cleaned, and decorations are on display.  How did we do it all?

This Sunday will give us an opportunity to still our minds and hearts and to contemplate the celebration of the Nativity.  It is time to spend with family and friends.

Once again it is time to light the Third Candle in the Advent season.  It was a tradition in the home I grew up in and I carry on that tradition in my own home.  It is the same every year, year after year.


This is the Season of Advent and it is a beautiful season to listen to a beautiful rendition of "Lo, How a Rose  E'er Blooming" by the American opera singer Renee Fleming.


 I feel blessed for being able to enjoy a rose in my garden.  Blessings to you too.
This is the season.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gravad Lax

For many American Jews, immigrants from Germany, lox is their topping for the Sunday bagel with lots of cram cheese.  I am, however, going to share with you how Swedes make gravad lax.

In the olden times, even before my time, the salmon and any other fish was buried in the ground for preservation.  Today's Swede bury the lax in the fridge.  This is my way of making gravad lax.

I bought about a pound (1/2 kilo or so) of Salmon, with one skin side, at the local grocery store.  It had been frozen before and that is important because it will kill germs.

I mixed 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of salt.  I mixed in a little Kosher salt with the regular salt.

I had also picked lots of dill from my herb garden and finely cut it up and made a bed for the salmon.  The dill came from my herb garden.




At this point, I completely covered the salmon with the sugar/salt mix.  The skin side too. After that I covered the salmon with dill.

Then I carefully transferred the salmon with all its mixes into a plastic bag, sealed it, put it in a fitting container, and put it into the fridge where it will stay  buried for 2 - 3 days.

Turn the bag at least once a day.  It is also important to put something heavy to hold the Salmon down or it my swim away.

To recapture what is needed for gravlax:  Salmon, sugar, salt, and dill.  It is so simple, isn't it?

In Sweden, it apparently is a delicatessen on the Christmas table.  Make an open faced sandwich or spread a bagel with cream cheese and the gravad lax.

My husband can take or leave it.  How much lax can you eat, he asked?  My son tells me that he does not eat bait.  Let's see how you feel about gravad lax.

Happy Holidays!
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent 2017

It is the Second Sunday of Advent and we light the second candle in anticipation and preparation for Christmas Day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

The mornings are dark nowadays, the nights are long,and in some places it is cold and the snow is still falling.

It was particular meaningful to light the two candles at dawn while waiting for the sun to come up and warm us.

This is a hectic time--everybody is busy. Hopefully we will take the time out to still our minds and hearts--to remember why we celebrate this season.

Remember the reason for giving gifts



Today the Nobel prizes are distributed by the King of Sweden.  The ceremony takes place at the City Hall in Stockholm.  It is followed by a lavish dinner.

According to The Guardian the presentations will be awarded "amid criticism that this year's science prizes lacked diversity."

Many science winners said that "no women" were among the winners.  They also said that science was "for men by men."


I read about Advent as celebrated in Sweden and found out that rice porridge is eaten often during this time.  If you like to try it:  follow the direction on the package and use some milk instead of water.  The porridge is served with, milk, sugar, and cinnamon.


The celebration of the season and the food that goes with it is what you and I feel is important.

This is the season.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Winter Greenery

This is the time of the year when we bring in cedar and fir greenery to deck the halls on the Back Forty.  It does look very nice with some red of a poinsettia mixed in with the greenery.  It is also bringing in the outside, a little bit of greenery in this bleak season with cold and rain.  Rain and cold go away, won't you?

I was running low on vegetables in the freezer and my husband and I had to buy "fresh" vegetables from the grocery store.  Most often, we didn't know where the vegetables were grown and how far they had to travel to reach us.  What concerned us the most was what kind of herbicides and pesticides were used.  Finally, the price.

Although I am considered to be handicapped at this time:  I can't walk without my Rollator,  I decided that we had to have a garden.

What to heck!  I wheeled my Rollator into the weeds in one of the two garden plots and started to pull the weeds.  It worked out fine.  I didn't fall off the Rollator! 

As we have in the past, we transplanted green and red mustard seedlings and they took root and grew quickly.  The red mustard turns green when cooked but it adds color to the garden.



I also planted collard cabbage. "Collards?" my husband almost shouted.  "Not in my garden," he said.

Oh, well.  Sometimes, I don't read very well:  I thought that I had picked up cabbage!  So, I have to wait and see if there is going to be any cabbage growing in those plant.

They are putting out nice and healthy leaves that I have picked, blanched, and put into the freezer.  I like collards with pickle juice, of course.  I just have to cook them a long time.  I read somewhere 45 minutes.


This is the season.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Light Balls

My neighbor has been up the tree all afternoon hanging lighted Christmas balls.  Last night, my husband and I went across the street to admire his decorations and take pictures of the beautiful balls.  The pictures didn't come out very well so I have snagged somebody else's.

The wife came out and we told her how much we admired the only decorations along our street. She told us that her husband had made the balls using chicken wire.  She said that to create a ball you had to use a wire that was twice as long as it was wide.

Furthermore, she said that it was recommended that you wear gloves to handle and cut the chicken wire.  Once the wires were cut, you place the two cut sides together and connect by twisting the wires around each other.

Finally, he attached mini LED lights with using snaps from bread bags.

I was so impressed with what our neighbors had done to brighten up the area, I had to share it with you.

My neighbor said that they had researched how to make Christmas Light Balls on the Internet and I found a good source on "christmaslightsetc.com".


This is the season.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Red Plum Preserves

My husband went to the store to get milk, bread, and eggs.  He came home with two large bags with the mentioned groceries but he had also picked up two bags of large California Red Plums, 1.5 kilos each.  What am I going to do with those plums?



I cut some up, laid them out on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer.  They will be put in a bag when frozen and used in smoothie, if nothing else.

I also cut some up and packed them into jars, filled the jars with a sugar solution  (1 cup sugar, 4 cups water, or less, if you prefer), sealed the jars, and gave them a 15-minute water bath.

Before I got out of the kitchen, I made jams or preserves.  I cut up and pitted 2 and 1/2 lbs of the good tasting plums.  (This recipe may also be doubled.)

I put the diced plums into my large stockpot with one (1) cup of water and four (4) cups of sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolved, let it come to a boil, cut the heat down, and let it continue to boil/simmer for about 45 minutes or less.

To test for doneness or setting, I put a little of the jam onto a small cool plate and if it sort of settles, not running, the plum concoction is ready to be transferred into jars.

After the jam is put into jars, I seal them with hot wax, and put the tops on them when the wax has cooled.

Some canners feel more comfortable giving the jam a 15-minute water bath.  I don't have a canning pot so I use my stockpot.  I put a cloth on the bottom of the pot to keep the sealed jars from rattling and cover them with water well over an inch above the tops.

The jam turned out to be very good tasting although the yield was but a few jars.  By the way, the preserves also make nice gifts,.

This is the season . . .
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

First Sunday of Advent 2017

This is the season  . . .  This is the season to anticipate and mindfully prepare for the Celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

This is the season . . . .  This is the busiest season with gift buying, baking and cooking, harvesting the greens in the garden, making jams and jellies, parties, and obligations to friends and family.  What did I leave out?

This is the season . . . .   It is traditional in the Christian religion for churches as well as for families to light a candle for the first Sunday of Advent and one additional candle for each Sunday  until all four candles are lit in time for Christmas Day.

A long time ago, my mother gave me this copper candle holder for the four candles in the Advent season.  Unfortunately, I don't remember how she got the candle holder or who gave it to her.  But it is a treasure since my mother passed away some years ago.

It is meaningful to continue with traditions.  When I was coming along, the Swedes didn't have any other color but white for candles and my candles are always white during the Christmas holiday.  Purple is the traditional color in many churches.

For the First Sunday of Advent, it is for me meaningful to light a white candle in the stillness of the early morning and take a moment to reflect on the upcoming holidays.  I count my blessings and acknowledge that God has been good to me.

Have a Blessed First Sunday of Advent

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Sweet Satsuma Orange Marmalade

The Satsuma Oranges are too fragile to be shipped and the closest you may find in a grocery store are the Clementines.  We have two Satsuma trees on Back Forty and they are producing.  I have canned some, I have put some in the freezer, and eaten my share but we still have plenty of these small sweet oranges with few seeds and easy to peel.

I had my large enameled stock pot on the stove, left there since canning the oranges, so I might as well make Satsuma Marmalade.  Here we go:


I used 2 lbs which came out to be nine ((9) oranges, juice of two (2) large lemons, and 4 and 1/2 cups of sugar.

To spice up the marmalade, I tossed in a 4 inch stick of cinnamon and a twig of Rosemary.  No commercial pectin was used.

From the Cowlick Cottage Farm, I found out that I didn't have to peel the oranges just halve them and chop them up a bit and pulsate them a few times in my food processor.

I don't have a processor so I cut up the juicy oranges any way I could and collected them in  bowl.  Do cut them up as finely as you can or the marmalade will be too chunky.  I like my marmalade to be just a little chunky.

Now then, bring three (3) cups of water to boil in your stock pot.  When the water is boiling, add the  oranges, peel and all.  Let it come to a boil and ease up on the heat but let it boil for 30 minutes or until the rinds are soft.

When the 30 minutes are up, add the 4 and 1/2 cups of sugar and the lemon juice stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved.

Turn heat up and let it boil for 20 - 30 minutes and then start testing for setting.  I put a little marmalade on a small plate and put it in the fridge for a few minutes.  I found that it was indeed beginning to settle.

Time to ladle the marmalade into clean (sterile) jars and I sealed my jars with hot wax.  You may want to give the filled and sealed jars a water bath for five (5) minutes.  Keep it clean and keep it safe.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Decisions, decision!  What kind of a Christmas tree will it be this year?  This is the season.  Again.  A busy season too.  Is this the time to buy a tree or shall I wait a while?  How about a live tree or what about an artificial tree? 

When our kids were growing up, we selected a live tree with roots.  When we brought it in, our dog Sir Henry thought it was a great idea and was ready to mark it--naughty dog.  He learned.

When selecting a cut tree, look for a healthy dark green color, smell it, and feel it; however, some trees do not have a fragrance.  Wrap your hand around a branch and (gently) try to pull the needles and hopefully they do not come out but perhaps for a few.

You may also try to lift the tree a few inches off the ground and drop it on its base and again hopefully not too many needles will drop.

Ask the tree attendant to cut a few inches off the base so that you will have a fresh cut when or if you can't put the tree up right away but you can put it in a bucket of water and keep it fresh.  When it has reached it fill, it won't take up any more water.

The Frasier fir seems to be the most popular fresh cut tree because of its dark green needles and its ability to retain them. 

Some years ,we had live cedar trees that we set at in the front yard.  They grew and provided us with shade and privacy but had to come down after 30 some years.

My preference has always been a spruce with short needles but nowadays we have an artificial tree with built in lights.  This tree will last for many years and it is rather hassle free once we've correctly connected the lights.

Whatever your preference, I hope you enjoy shopping for your Christmas tree, enjoy dressing it, and enjoying the season.  Let me know your decision!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Preserving Satsuma Oranges

Oh, the sweet Satsumas!  God is good to us:  At this vulnerable time of the year, the changing time of the seasons, when the immune system hasn't caught up, the beautiful sun colored oranges are brightening up our Back Forty.  They are providing us with C-vitamins, fiber, and a healthful snack when we need it the most.

My husband and I cannot possibly eat all the oranges and they seem to ripen at the same time.  We do have some help from birds and raccoons but we still have plenty.

How do I preserve the oranges for use later on in the winter?

I canned them!  I selected the largest and the most yellow, peeled them, and pulled the sections apart, and packed them tightly, into three (3) quart jars.

But first I made a light syrup consisting of one (1) part sugar and two (2) parts water in a pot, put it on stove and heated it up, stirring, until the sugar had dissolved.


I poured this sugary solution over the oranges in the clean (sterile) jars, put them into my stock pot and filled it up with water to come a few inches over the jars.

I let it come to a boil, turned the heat down a bit but let it simmer, good and hard, for ten (10) minutes.  I let it cool in the pot.

That's it!  Labeled and dated the jars.  They look pretty nice.  This is my first time for canning oranges.

By the way, save the rinds and cut them any way you like and let them dry in or out of the oven.

One more thing:  I have not written a word about washing the oranges. . . .  Of course not.  We don't use any pesticides, herbicides, and this year we haven't even used fertilizer, so we are able to go out into our yard and garden to eat right there.  (It is probably cleaner than my kitchen.)   Should you buy your oranges, be sure to scrub them well.

Bless you.
Thank you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving

This is no doubt the busiest few days for families and friends to move across the country and across the street to be with each other and celebrate the holiday.  This is the most difficult time for us to be mindful and give thanks.  There are so many distracting things and chores that we feel we must do.

Please, take time out and be thankful for the family.  Take care of each other.  Be together.


Give thanks and have a wonderful holiday.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veterans Day

Every Thursday morning, the Jax Vets meet at Denny's for breakfast and they meet at a very early hour.  They are all looking forward to see each other to shoot the breeze and tell stories.  They do have  good time sharing a few jokes and laughing.  They are from different branches of the Armed Services but they served their country well.

On a serious note, if one of these veterans need to talk:  they have each other.  

There is also Veterans Crises Line, 24/7, Confidential support:  888-457-4838
or
Veterans Crises Line Prevention Hotline  Chat & text:  1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.  
Text 838255.











Thank you for your service.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Taking Back the Yard

Our Back Forty has been sadly neglected for the last year and hurricane Irma did not do anything to help.  We finally decided that we had to go out and take back our yard.  Enough is enough! 

It is very nice to have a somewhat natural backyard--to let the trees, bushes, and plants grow as they want.

Add caption
The Plumbago with its delicately blue flowers was blooming profusely just a few weeks ago, but it was spilling out well into the yard.  It was growing against the shed and it made for a great source for butterflies and other pollinators but some of it had to go  It will come back this spring.  We did leave some of the greenery against the shed.

Mexican Petunia
Then there was the Mexican Petunia with its purple flowers.  It has a tendency to spread--it creeps and crawls.   Butterflies and bumble bees like the petunia.

Most gardeners maintain that you should not prune flowering shrubs at this time of the year.  It will encourage growth that may be susceptible to the cooler temperature of winter.  What winter?

Red top or Red Tip at its best
I drastically pruned the Red Tops.  They were scraggly and made for a sad looking hedge.  I cut off the branches at the hint of new dormant growth and left some of the branches alone.  I feel that if the bushes don't come back this spring, I have not lost much.

Lantana
The Lantana is a bush with pink/ yellow/orange flowers and is also popular with pollinators.  They spread quickly through their root system.  Lantanas that are more or less permanent should be pruned or the stems become woody and scraggly. 

My husband and I are pleased with the work we have done so far but we have so much more to do.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Friday, October 27, 2017

White Beans and Sausage

It got down right cold the other morning.  It is time for long sleeves, long pants, and socks in your shoes.  It is time for slow cooking beans on a warm stove.  I read somewhere that is is a good idea to soak the beans overnight and that will reduce the flatulence.  Good to know

I recently read a Face Book request for inexpensive food/meals and what is less costly than beans?  Any kind of beans.  Notice that I did not say cheap? There is nothing cheap about such nutritional, complex, and inexpensive food that will feed quit a few people.  Some of the beans you may grow in your garden, e.g. black eyed beans--good to eat and good as cover crop.

My favorite recipe is for White Beans and Spicy Sausage a  la New Orleans style.  I cooked the dried white beans as stated on the package, soaking overnight.  On the second day, I boiled/simmered the beans until soft, a little less than two (2) hours.

In the meantime, I stir fried the onions, green Bell peppers, and celery (the Trinity of NO cooking) with a bit a minced garlic with the spicy sausage.  I poured this mix into a large pot with the beans, added 8 - 10 cups of stock (or water) let it come to a boil, and let it simmer for about half an hour.  Use less liquid if you don't plan to simmer for very long  No need to overcook. 

Herbs and Spices.  Since the sausage is rather spicy, go easy on the spice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  I added one Bay leaf, 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, and 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley, saving some for decoration.

Serve as a main dish over cooked rice.

A native of New Orleans, a legend however sky, recently passed away.  May he rest in Peace.


Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Late October Garden for Vitamin K

Every time I go to the grocery store to buy "fresh" produce, I cringe.  I don't know where the fruit and vegetables come from, how they grew with what, and how they were handled in the store.  Although the labels read 'organic', I question that and the price that goes with it.

Last week my husband had a scheduled appointment for an echo cardiogram and since he is on coumadin, the nurse checked his INR (International Normalized Ratio) and it was off the chart.  He ended up in the hospital and his cardiologist thought it was lack of green leafy vegetables.  Mostly.

Eventually,tests normalized and needles to say, we found it imperative to start a garden.  Ergo, me and  my Rollator headed out to the Back Forty and I started to pull the weeds, fast and furiously.

The first seedlings that go into the ground is the curly kale that contain vitamins A and C in addition to vitamin K.  One (1) cup of lightly cooked kale has 684% of the daily intake or 1230% of DRI (Dietary Reference Intake).  Vitamin K helps to normalize the clotting of the blood.  In warmer climate, it grows all winter long.  This is the most important vegetable in our garden on Back Forty.

Brussel Sprouts is another important vegetable that goes into the garden.  It contains 116% of the DRI of vitamin K, A and C.  !/2 cup of the sprouts meets the intake of vitamins C and K.  It's low in calories but high in protein which surprised me when I read it.  I usually finely slice them and stir fry them with onions.

Broccoli is the third most important vegetables for us here at Back Forty.  It contains 116% of the DRI of vitamins K, A and C.  If you don't want to eat it raw, cut it up in florets and lightly steam it.

Of course, the cabbage completes my October planting.  It contains 85% of DRI of vitamin K per up. It makes for strong bones which I need.  It is also good for diabetes type 2.


It may be too late for basil but I picked up a healthy looking plant in the grocery store.  Interestingly, only one (1) tbs of dried basil contains 107% of DRI while two (2) tbs of fresh chopped basil give you 27% of DRII

This, folks, is the power of food!



Disclaimer:  This information is mainly for us at the Back Forty.  Please, do your own research.

Good Sources for Additional Research:
health.facty.com 13 Foods High in Vitamin K.
A List of Foods with vitamin K--Coumadin (found on the Internet)
The National Institutes of Health has an extensive article on Vitamin K.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Scalloped Tomato and Bread Casserole

I must confess that 'scalloped' is a bit fancy for a simple and easy bread and tomato pudding, but let's go with it because the end result is rather good.

Somebody in my household believes that cluster tomatoes are beautiful, red, nice and even.  So, we had more tomatoes than we could eat during the week.

First, I prepared the casserole dish by spreading a little oil on the inside.  Then I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.

When that was done, I cut up day old bread into croutons, chunked three (3) tomatoes and mixed them with the bread in a bowl.  I drizzled the mixture with a generous amount of canola oil and kept mixing to make sure the bread and tomatoes got some oil.  I set this bowl aside


I diced onions, pepper, and celery and mixed them in another bowl.

I added this mixture to the bottom of the dish
and topped it off with the tomatoes and bread.

I was tempted to add cheese to the casserole but resisted; however, sweet basil goes well with tomatoes.



I baked the casserole for 30 minutes and it came out golden brown., sort of.

This tasty and easy dish may be served as a side dish with any meat or it may be served with a tossed salad too.

Happy Cooking!




Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The October Garden

I have done some serious manual weeding around the house among the bushes.  I have barely finished when it's time to start over again--an endless job.  I was going to fertilize and mulch the bushes but read in the local paper not to fertilize because it will encourage new growth that might be sensitive to cold weather.

Time flies when you are having fun, they say.  So true.  October is here and it's time for north-east Floridians to start planting a fall garden.  The broccoli and cabbage are a given in my garden.  I like cauliflower but it is a bit difficult to grow--the diva of the Brassica family.



I also plant the leafy vegetables such as kale and mustard.  At some point, I usually let the mustards go to seed and its small yellow flowers hopefully will attract pollinating helpers.

Another leafy seedling to plant is the Georgia Collard which will grow well and prosper in any condition.  It certainly has been more than enough for us but it is also nice to give away to friends and neighbors.


I recently bought a small pot each of dill and thyme.  I divided the dill and set it out in my still living and growing herb garden by the summer kitchen.  I find thyme a little tricky to grow but I always give it a try.  It is not too late to plant basil but I would set it out in a pot that I can bring in when the weather
gets chilly.

Parsley is always nice to have and it grows well in cooler weather.  So does sage.  It's good to be able to pick your own seasoning for the Thanksgiving stuffing.

Other herbs to plant are Rosemary, of course, borage, lovage, and chervil   These herbs like cooler weather.

All the vegetables and herbs that are on my and yours wish list are subject to availability at nurseries and home improvement stores.

Happy Gardening and thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Landscaping by Irma

Early this month, hurricane Irma came blowing by the Back Forty and dumped a lot of rain and littered the yard with debris.  My husband and I left with our cat for a beautiful place west of Tallahassee and weathered the storm in a small motel.  We sat in a slow moving parking lot to reach our destination.


We made it home after a few days stay by the Seminole Lake.  We found that the boarded up house had not taken in any water and although we lost the electricity for a few hours, no food had spoiled.

The Back Forty was filled with downed cedar trees.  Behind the shed, we had a wild cherry tree with small berries for us to eat and share with the birds.  We cleared it.

We had an assortment of downed cedar trees that at one time was home to many birds and a play area for squirrels.  Some of the trees were leaning from last year's hurricane and another had lost most of its greenery.  Altogether four cedar trees had blown down.

Our neighbor across the street also had downed trees and workers were already cutting and removing the debris.  My husband went over to see if they could take care of our trees too.  Sure, they could.

A strong and dedicated tree cutter came over with a chain saw and a large Bobcat.  In no time had he stripped the trees of the branches, cut up the trunks, and neatly piled it all up.

Using his Bobcat, he hauled the debris to the front yard to be picked up by the city.  The tree cutter was done in less than three hours.  We were impressed and we were grateful.  It was a load off our minds.

The loss of trees has opened up the Back Forty to a lot of sunshine.

We still have a lot of small dead trees to cut and remove.

We feel blessed that Irma left us with some downed trees  with a lot of debris.  It could have been so much worse and we think about the people whose homes were destroyed byt this powerful hurricane.

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