Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tonight's Dinner for Two

I've been planning this menu a couple of days now. The smoked ham and the bosc pears used were from our boxes bought from Angel Food Ministries.

Sauteed Bosc Pears With Toasted Walnuts, Balsamic Reduction and Basil

* One bosc pear, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch slices (I used all 4 pears and doubled the other ingredients)
* 2 tsp butter
* Cinnamon to taste
* 1/4 c. walnuts (no walnuts, so used pecans)
* 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
* 5 basil leaves, chiffonade into strips (picked fresh)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, core and cut bosc pear into 1/4 inch slices.

Place balsamic vinegar in small sauce pan and gently heat until simmering. Allow to reduce, swirling occasionally until reduced to 25-30% volume, about 10 minutes. Reduction should be dark and thickened. Test by seeing if it coats the back of a spoon (and tastes good). Do not over reduce.

While vinegar is reducing, place walnuts on a cookie sheet and put in oven. Toast walnuts, turning once or twice for 6-7 minutes. Do yourself a favor and set a timer. It is very easy to burn toasting nuts. I set the time for 3 minutes, toss the nuts, then reset for another 3 minutes. Remove nuts from oven, allow to cool, then coarsely chop.

Heat butter in a pan on medium heat until it begins to foam. Add pear slices and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook gently until slightly tender, about 3 minutes on each side. Turn with a thin spatula.


I cooked the pears til they were tender. I had to google online about when pears would be ripe, and found out that bosc pears are better for cooking than eating out of hand. Then found this recipe online here. This was delicious!!!

Here is the recipe for Ham and Spaghetti Parma from the cookbook Casserole Treasury, which is just one of my over 300 cookbooks. :-)

1 lb. cooked ham julienned
8-oz. pkg spaghetti, cooked
3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. butter
1 lg. mushroom sliced
2 tbs. minced or grated onion
1/4 c. flour
2 c. light cream or top milk
3/4 c. dry white wine
1/3 c. sliced green olives
1 pimiento cut in thin strips
1/4 tsp dried oregano or 3/4 tsp fresh, chopped
1/8 tsp fresh-ground pepper

1. Cook the spaghetti as directed on the package, but be careful not to overcook it -- it should be al dente, as the Italians say.

2. Drain and immediately toss it with q/2 c. of the cheese. Spread it out in a large buttered casserole and keep barely warm.

3. Melt butter in a large skillet and cook the mushroom and oion in it, over medium heat, 3-4 minutes. Skim out of the skillet and set aside.

4. Into the fat remaining in the skillet belnd four and gradually stir in the cream. Whin it thickens stir in the wine, cooked mushroom and onion, ham, olives, pimiento, oreagano, and pepper.

5. Spoon this mixture carefully over the spaghetti in the casserole, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and broil 4-6 inches from the heat until golden. Serves 6-8.


I only used about 8 oz. of ham, used a 4 cheese blend instead of Parmesan, did not have mushroom, used whole milk, 1/4. c. of Southern Comfort since I didn't have any wine, no pimiento, except in olives, and I sprinkled in Italian seasoning and minced dried garlic. I also did not broil it.

This was also delicious. I am so thankful that I 'love' to cook. It gives me great joy to create wonderful tasting food.

That's it, I've got to head off to the scullery to wash dishes before Survivor comes on.

Have a nice evening.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Epipremnum pinnatum - Golden Pothos

Good afternoon everyone.

This post is about a plant that, is for most of you, a house plant. About the size of the leaves in the first picture shown below. Golden Pothos, Centipede Tonga-vine info can be found here, and here.

We have this growing outside and it has turned into what DH calls jokingly a 'Tarzan' vine. We keep cutting it back, pulling it up, not to get rid of it, but to keep it under some kind of control.

I measured this leaf and it is 24 inches long by 15 inches wide.

When you live in sub-tropical climates,
this is what can happen to an ordinary house plant.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Protect yourself - do NOT go with the flow

How to Protect Yourself without Drugs and Vaccinations

There will always be threats of flu pandemics, real or created, and potentially toxic vaccines will continue to be peddled as the solution until enough people realize there’s a better, safer, saner way.

You can break free of the drug-solution trap right now by following these natural health principles. I have not caught a flu in over two decades, and you can avoid it too, without getting vaccinated, by following these simple guidelines, which will keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with.

Optimize your vitamin D levels

As I've previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu -- not the flu virus itself.

This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take.

If you are coming down with flu like symptoms and have not been on vitamin D you can take doses of 50,000 units a day for three days to treat the acute infection. Some researchers like Dr. Cannell, believe the dose could even be as high as 1,000 units per pound of body weight for three days.

Avoid sugar and processed foods

Sugar decreases the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a strong immune system is key to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.

Get enough rest

Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu.

Have effective tools to address your stress

We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as Meridian Tapping Techniques, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.


When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. You can review my exercise guidelines for some great tips on how to get started.

Take a good source of omega-3 fats like krill oil

Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils like trans fats found in most processed foods, as it will seriously damage your immune response.

Wash your hands

Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.

Eat garlic regularly

Garlic works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria, virus, and protozoa in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up so it is an absolutely safe product to use. However, if you are allergic or don't enjoy garlic it would be best to avoid as it will likely cause more harm than good.

Avoid hospitals and vaccines

In this particular case, I'd also recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you're having an emergency, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds, and could be one of the likeliest places you could be exposed to flu bugs of all kinds.

For more info visit this website

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Felt like Christmas

Good morning everyone. Hope you are having a great weekend.

Yesterday morning we went to the distribution center about 3.5 miles from us to pick up our ordered and paid for food boxes from Angel Food Ministries. We had ordered three different boxes. I felt like it was Christmas morning. I had to head on to work, DH took the boxes home and put the goodies away. After supper I set up the table to show the three box loads. The only thing I didn't get right was the apples were part of the Signature Box, not the fruit and veggie box. I look forward to preparing meals, and enjoying it all.

Since we are eating less meat these days, this should last us awhile longer that what they say. I will be getting out some cookbooks for recipes, happily anticipating the good eating we will enjoy.

Angel Food Ministries was started to help families who were struggling with the economy many, years ago. Every month a different list of items is in the Signature Box, and I'm sure the fruits and veggies would be different also, depending on the season. Since they buy in quantity, the price to the consumer is about half of what it would cost at grocery stores around the nation. You can go to Angel Food Ministries website to check them out yourself. You or someone you know could possibly be helped out in this way.

Below is a picture of the Signature Box. Here is a list of what we got this month.

1.5 lb. New York Strips Steaks (3 x 8 oz.)
1 lb. Steak Fajita Strips
2 lb. Chicken Stir Fry Skillet Meal
1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
1.5 lb. Breaded White Meat Chicken Tenders
1 lb. avg. Center Cut Ham Steaks (Hickory Smoked)
1 lb. Bake or Fry Fish Sticks (32 sticks)
1 lb. Pasta
25 oz. Marinara Sauce
1 lb. Frozen Baby Lima Beans
1 lb. Frozen Mixed Vegetables
2 lb. bag Fresh Apples (8-10 ct.)
10 ct. Flour Tortilla Wraps
32 oz. 2% Shelf Stable Milk
Dozen Eggs

Fruit and Veggie box

1 Premium Sweet Golden Ripe Pineapple

3 lb. bag New Crop Florida Tangerines
1 Premium Vine Ripened Cantaloupe
4 Premium Washington State Bosc Pears
4 Premium Juicy Limes
3 lb. bag Premium New Crop Large Red Potatoes
2 lb. bag Premium New Crop Yellow Onions
1 head Premium Green Cabbage
2 bulbs Premium Jumbo Garlic
2 ct. Premium Large Green Bell Pepper
3 lb. bag Premium Bagged Idaho Potatoes
1 lb. bag Premium California whole Peeled
Baby Carrots

7lb. meat grill box

1.5 lb. Ribeye Steaks (3 x 8 oz.)
2 lb. Pork Chops (4 x 8 oz.)
2 lb. Lean Hamburger Steaks (4 x 8 oz.)
1.5 lb. Bratwurst Sausage with Cheese

The most indispensable ingredient of all good home cooking:

love, for those you are cooking for.

Sophia Loren

~ Bon Apetit ~

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bauhinia acuminata 31 May - 22 Oct.

For months I have excitedly watched my little pots of seedlings. I planted two seeds of Dwarf White Orchid trees among other things, and was rewarded today with an open bloom and being able to put my nose into it to inhale the delicate, sweet, fresh scent. It smells clean, different. I like it. There are more buds waiting to open, joy oh joy for me. The first bud that was about to open never fully did, then the petals started falling off. What a disappointment. We have had lots of strong winds all day and night for several days now and that might have something to do with it. This second bloom opened right up and I was thrilled.

Growing from seed takes patience, but what wonderful elation when you finally are rewarded with a bloom. My other little tree is smaller, but now has buds on it too. The pictures below are a sequence since 31 May, until this morning. In the first picture the little seedling of this plant is in the foreground.

The following information is taken from here.

This unassuming plant produces fairly small, white flowers that look vaguely like snowflakes hanging on the branches, and it is sometimes called the snowy orchid tree. The leaves are easy to spot too, as they have a twin-lobed shape, a bit like an ox hoof.

The bauhinia acuminata, as those lovers of Latin like to call it, grows enthusiastically in full sun or in partial shade. It can grow in most well-drained, moist soils. Even sandy soils are fine, but give it plenty of water. With the right conditions, it will flower almost continually - it doesn't seem to get bored in this regard.

From here, is more info.

Bauhinia acuminata is a rarely seen true dwarf orchid tree.

Few Bauhinia (the family of all orchid trees) have any scent at all ...bu
t there is a huge exception ... the fragrance of this Bauhinia acuminata is heavenly. A delicate and sweet perfume aroma perfectly matching this dwarf orchid tree's stature and delicacy

Flowers appear starting in spring ...then less ...then more, all months into early winter in zones 9 and 10. Winter months leaves are deciduous to semi-deciduous.


This little tree is well worth looking into for any of you who live in warmer climates.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Morning has broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing, fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the One light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

As Sung by Cat Stevens
Lyrics by Eleanor Farjeon

Click on pictures for a larger view.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What's blooming on our first 'cold' day.

Good morning. It is our first cold morning of the season. It was 53 and felt like it was 46 when we got up around 5:45 and right now around 10:15 it is 56 and feels like it is 49 and really windy out. I am bummed because I don't get to play outside today having a ratchy throat and runny nose. I did go out to take some pictures though with a jacket and hat on. The sun is shining and it really is beautiful flannel shirt weather. DH is doing some patio work out back.

I've got garlic/herb bread making in the bread machine and plan to make a nice garlic/vegetable/smoked sausage soup later, heavy on the garlic which is a great natural antibiotic.

Have a lovely Sunday.

The first three pictures are of unknowns.

This is spiderwort, one of my favorites.

This next one is South African Foxglove.
This is grown from seeds from another FL gardener.
She just sent me some seeds for the lavender colored ones. ;-)

These are periwinkles. I also have pink ones.

Passion flower

Morning glories

The wonderful yellow color is fading out of this nice little rose called 'Golden Sun'.

This beauty is Don Juan.

These are clerodendrum, I call them bleeding hearts.

These next two pictures are of 4 o'clocks.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall Bloomers

Good morning. Here it is another weekend already. It is 'supposed' to go down into the 50's tonight and we are so looking forward to that.

I started feeling a sore throat yesterday afternoon while at work, and am a bit congested this morning and feel like ... I'm working again today, so will take my herbs and vitamins and use some essential oils and drink lots of water.

Here are some beauties that are blooming here. I know a lot of your gardens are closed down or are winding down for the winter. This is the time of year that ours do well.

Have a great weekend Whatever your plans are.



Philipine Violet

I love growing this. The color is wonderful and the plant self-seeds so that I have babies to move around to different areas.

Dwarf Poinciana is in the next two pictures. It gets great seed pods. I grew this from seed last year I believe and this one is in a pot. I have another one in the main garden.

A flower's appeal is in its contradictions -
so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance,
so small in size yet big in beauty,
so short in life yet long on effect.

Adabella Radici

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL