Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

December Hiatus

Since I've been MIA in recent weeks I think it's best that I take a December hiatus.  Look for me to return in January.  Why?  Too many other things to do. Plus there's not much happening in the garden, the birds are happy, and though I'm reading I don't feel like commenting on them right now.

Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.  I know I will especially because it will be the first Christmas in three years that Sarah will be home.  Now that's something to celebrate.

Hope you have something to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving!

Merry Christmas!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Harvest Monday



One night last week after reading about Daphne's greens I harvested some tatsoi and some baby bok choy for dinner.
 Daphne described making soup with the tatsoi by using bouillon.
 I used beef bouillon and added some soy sauce.  I sliced up the tatsoi and
 divided it between two bowls.  I poured the hot bouillon over the tatosi, sprinkled on a bit of grated fresh ginger, green onions sliced and topped it with some chow mein noodles.
 We ate the soup before I thought to photograph it.  Sorry. It was really good.
The bok choy went into the stir fry.

See what others have harvested at Daphne's Dandelions.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Looking for a Good Read

I am very particular about the books I read.  Bottom line: they have to be good. But good for me may not be good for you.  A good read for me is usually an historical fiction that is believable.  Case in point and one of the best: "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society".  That is one of my all time favorites and I have read it twice already and will likely read it again. 

I do enjoy a mystery now and again and if it's also historical fiction, even better.  A recent example of such is The Conjurer's Bird".  That one had me spellbound and I didn't figure it out ahead of time.  Another one that can fall into the mystery category is a series by Alexander McCall Smith featuring a lady detective in Botswana.  I've read those twice now and thoroughly enjoy them all.

I also pick up non-fiction titles from time to time.  The last one I read was about Warren Jeffs of polygamy fame and presently serving prison time for the rest of his life.  The book "Prophet's Prey" was a look into the life of the Mormon cult he led and his capture and trial.

I've just returned from the library but with none of the books I went looking for.  I keep a running list of books I hear about from friends and from interviews on NPR.  I should just go online to the library to request these titles and will do that next time.  I did come home with three unknowns:  "The Sheen of Silk" by Anne Perry (a mystery with historical bent), "Mutiny" by John Boyle (historical fiction), and "Love on the Line" (not sure what category).  Don't know which one I'll read first but I won't finish "White Oleander" that someone gave me.  I was desperate for a book and started that one but got only so far before deciding this was not for me.

What books are you reading?  Any good reads lately?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Addendum To Thursday's Post

The chicken chili was so good last night.  I didn't need to add any additional salt.  I froze a good portion of it to thaw at holiday time for lunch when there are more people here to serve and kept  4 cups to have for lunch tomorrow and next week.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

White Chicken Chili

I made up this recipe after a friend shared hers with me.  For today's post I've modified it to use vegetables from my garden preserved by freezing.

Ingredients:
Chicken - I had the leftovers from cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot on Monday.
Canned cannelli beans - I used two cans drained.
Cream of Chicken soup - 1 can
Frozen zucchini
Frozen green peppers
Onion chopped
Chilis - 1 small can
4 cups chicken broth plus broth left from the crock pot
Spices: cumin, garlic powder, worchestershire sauce.
I will add salt once I taste it since the chicken had been salted already.

 Onions, zucchini, peppers visible in the broth into which cream soup has been added.  The brown circle is the congealed broth leftover from cooking the chicken with the fat skimmed off.

I put all of this in the crock pot on high since its already 2 pm and I hope its done by 6 pm tonight.  I'll add an addendum once its done.

Everything in the crock pot before its stirred.  As the zucchinis thawed I was able to chop them up.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The State of the Garden After Frost


 The garden has a different look these days.  Instead of flowers the interest points are seed pods and the promise of growth in the Spring.  These ferns have the most interesting formations left after their leaves have dried up and almost disappeared.
 The hibiscus leaves behind an interesting pod.  I wonder where the seeds will show up next spring?



 The Autumn Joy sedum has turned a muted burgundy.  I took cuttings of this lovely plant and stuck them in new spots.  I hope they reward me next year for my efforts.
 Even the obedient plant has pods and next year there will be more plants.
 The foxglove's new seedlings are bright green among the brown leaves.  I left them where they seeded themselves for now.  Next spring I'll have to decide if they need to be moved to other locations.
 The frost took care of the marigolds.  I saved seeds from these for next year.  They worked so well in the vegetable garden and as filler in the perennial garden this fall.
 The mums are going fast.  I hope they survive another winter.


 The greenest part of the perennial garden is the herb triangle.  Most of these will be green through the winter.  The sage is great to have for turkeys at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
 I hope the rosemary lasts.  This was a new planting this year.
 This compost bin is full as is the one by the vegetable garden.  It won't be long before I can shovel out from the bottom to nourish the beds.
 In the vegetable garden the garlic is up,
 there are some lettuce leaves to be cut,

 the bok choy is growing slowly but I plan to wait for Sarah's arrival home from China so she can prepare it for us along with
 the tatsoi, another Asian green.
 The shadows are long through the trees mid-day.  The sun is low in the sky in the south and will get lower for 6 more weeks.
Time for the gardens to sleep and dream of the next spring.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

I raided the freezer to make a pasta sauce this week.  I pulled out frozen red peppers, frozen zucchini and a bag of frozen tomatoes.



 First I sauteed an onion in olive oil, then added the frozen vegetables.
 I cooked down the vegetables until they softened.
 I added pepper flakes, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of molasses.
 For a change from basil I added fresh oregano.
 Once everything was cooked down I used the stick blender to puree it all.  I left some lumps.
 It was a spicy sauce for angel hair pasta.

See other recipes at Robin's Gardener of Eden.



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