Sunday, November 28, 2010

Orchids and roses, etc.

We are having a lovely, quiet, gray, with a little rain, Sunday. I am hoping we get a lot more rain as we really need it. Speaking of water, I posted this summer about losing our well, and having to use city water for watering gardens. I don't water like I used to do, even though I was frugal with watering then, but am more so now. This week in our water bill we were told that it's possible our water bill will go up $50-$75 a month, because of the EPA. Oh for goodness sake! What next? Here's what next, we found out in the same days' mail, that our car registration went up around $22 more for each vehicle.

Ok, enough being unthankful. I'm thankful we have clean water and vehicles to drive. Now, where's that $$ tree to grow in my garden?

DH has been sorting through iron collected through the years, some to sell for scrap and some to keep. Well, in his keep pile, I found two smaller heart gratings for windows. I showed the larger one here. As I was sitting here writing this all out, I thought of where to hang these on our cottage, and told DH what I thought. He said it was a great idea. They will hang on either side of the front window on the outside wall of my little space, after we repaint of course. Which is a project for cooler weather. Yippee!

Here come the blooms: click on pictures for a larger view.

Cassia bicapsularis

Confederate Rose ~ A pale yellow, but in this lighting it looks more chartreuse.

Desert cassia

Golden sun

Louis Philippe a.k.a. Florida Cracker rose

Next two pictures are of morning glories.

Pink Pet or Caldwell's Pink in the next two pics.

An unknown, that someone told me the name of recently but I don't have it in my brain yet.

These next tiny orchids I bought many years ago at a local garden event. I lost the tag.

Here is a Vanda I think, given to me by a friend a little over 20 years ago.

Last but not least is a comical picture of our outdoor girl, who is sleeping in a nest in the liv. rm. right this minute. This terra cotta chicken is a planter, but I haven't put anything in it because there is not a hole in the bottom. Anyway, we put water in it and Tork likes to drink out of it.


Don't go through life,

grow through life.

Eric Butterworth


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

A Quiet Thanksgiving

Hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving.

We puttered around here Thanksgiving morning. (I had already made the pecan pie with struesel topping the day before.) I got the turkey giblets, and heart simmering along with the neck so that I could make gravy later. Then got the turkey in the oven, and made the green bean casserole. That was such a yummy casserole. I will definitely make it and the pecan pie again.

While I was puttering inside, DH moved a heavy bit of concrete that had been in the ground and had had a 4x4 post embedded for a fence post. The post had rotted and broken off, so the cement was dug up and just sitting around until we could figure out what to do with it. I thought of using it as a mushroom next to our huge frog out front, so that's where DH dug a hole to for the 'mushroom'. This morning I found a piece to put atop the square hole in the cement and like the look. Click on picture for a larger view.

~ Back to food preparation ~

For something to snack on to keep us from starving before dinner was ready, I cooked up the turkey liver in a bit of butter, mashed it all, added a tad of dry sherry, onion and garlic powders, and 4 oz of cream cheese. Mixed all together and refrigerated it until time. I served it with a little sherry and that was nice before the meal.

The spread was served on homemade garlic/onion bread that was cut into squares and triangles and toasted.

This was the best green bean casserole I've ever had. To the recipe I also added sliced water chestnuts and diced celery. I think I'm going to do up a batch of onion rings like in the recipe to have with wine before dinner some evening, as it's much less fattening than battered and fried onion rings. These were delicious.

The pie was made using 2 c. of processed fresh pumpkin, that I'd made up from a pumpkin we bought at the veggie market for $1 the day after Halloween. It was so good and then that struesel with the bits of candied ginger in it. Oh my. The recipes can be found here.

May we all have thankful hearts each and every day,
for our many blessings.


There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude,

a quiet joy.

Ralph H. Blum

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Plum Cottage happenings and Thankfulness

Good morning Folks ~ This will probably be my last post for a few days, as I'll be spending time in the kitchen cooking and baking, eating and enjoying the day with DH, then working at my job Fri and Sat.

I want to say a big thank you to all of you who read and comment here on my blog. It is still amazing to me and I am thankful for friendships made here.

I am thankful to the two buyers who have bought my beaded/embroidery works. One was before I even had the shop set up, and the other just after it was set up. Thank you Ladies.

I'm thankful for the 'freebies' we find curbside. I know this kind of shopping isn't for everyone, but we enjoy it. Just the other day, I looked across the street and saw a box of angle looking stuff overflowing a box, I didn't have my glasses on, and told DH about it, thinking it might be iron parts or something he can use. Well, what he walks back with is a box full of VHS movies, that had just been thrown all in the box, which is why I saw angles. We got around 40 good ones, and 30 that are mostly children's movies that must have been stored in a shed and gotten damp and moldy. We still have our VHS rewinder, and it still works too. These movies were not rewound. Over the years we've found so many useful and artistic things that others just throw away.

I'm thankful we have our little cottage and food to eat. At one really low time in our life, we picked dumpsters behind the grocery store for food. We got fruit, veggies, bread and some times cheese. We ate and never got sick. Times have gotten much better for us, (that was about 30 years ago), but going through that rough time makes us appreciate the many blessings we enjoy now.

I'm thankful I'm able to cook and bake, garden and craft. Thankful I still have my job, even if it is now only two days a week.

I'm thankful to God for His love, forgiveness and tender mercies. Thankful for the freedoms we still enjoy in this country.

I'm thankful for DH's love and encouragement and all that he does.

I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving day celebration.

Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Click on pictures to enlarge.

Penelope next three pictures.

Louis Philippe - Florida Cracker Rose

The next pictures are of the east side of our cottage. The wall below is the 'scullery' wall. You can see through the open lattice door into the secret garden. DH hung these two bird cages for me the other day. The pot on the left has green and white spider plants. The pot on the right has spider plants also and orchids growing in it. The Mexican pot that DH bought for me recently is only sitting on the bench temporarily. This area is on the north side of our screened porch off the kitchen.

You can see that the house paint is peeling and we hope to pressure wash and paint once it gets cooler down here. We already have the paint, and I'm ready to freshen it up and the color will be more plumy once again.

The 'secret garden' door is closed, and you can see 'last years' Christmas wreath. :-) The iron piece leaning up against the door will hang over the white outdoor bar once we have the house repainted. I may paint it white, or leave it as is. Haven't decided yet.

Here is the screened porch, which is the main entry into our cottage. The porch sure keeps the mosquitoes from coming into the house so much. Plus it's a nice place to sit.

Here is the south side. I did some clean up of fallen leaves, hung the piece of wall art, and rearranged some pieces. I love sitting here and Tork, our outdoor/indoor feline girl likes to sit in my lap here, especially in the summer in the shade of the big tree.

Below are Apple Snail shells that DH found in a nearby canal up on the bank and some at the waters edge.

I love the sunlight shining through the colorful shell interiors.


It is a glorious privilege to live,
to know, to act, to listen,to behold,
to love.
To look up at the blue summer sky;
to see the sun sink slowly beyond the line of the horizon;
to watch the worlds come twinkling into view,
first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count, and lo!
the universe is white with them;
and you and I are here.
Marco Morrow


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Thanksgiving Recipes to try

Good Sunday morning Everyone. I've been up since around 4:45, just couldn't sleep anymore, too many thoughts rambling around in my head.

I found two new recipes to try for our Thanksgiving dinner and am looking forward to them both. I love to cook and bake, it's the clean up that I have a hard time with. :-) But, I'm thankful that we have food to eat, and dishes to wash.

Anyway, the first is a healthier green bean casserole. Takes more time than opening cans of soup and fried/dried mushrooms, but I'm ready to give it a try. It sounds really good to me, and I enjoy the process.

The recipe below was found here.

Green Bean Casserole
Healthy Weight High Fiber Healthy Heart
Active time: 30 minutes | Total: 45 minutes

This healthy revision of green bean casserole skips the canned soup and all the fat and sodium that come with it. Our white sauce with sliced fresh mushrooms, sweet onions and low-fat milk makes a creamy, rich casserole.

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided (or olive oil)
1 medium sweet onion (half diced, half thinly sliced), divided
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup low-fat milk
3 tablespoons dry sherry (see Ingredient Note)
1 pound frozen French-cut green beans (about 4 cups)
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder (see Ingredient Note)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices are almost evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and sherry and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in green beans and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in sour cream and buttermilk powder. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
3. Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup flour, paprika, garlic powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Add sliced onion; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with any remaining flour mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the onion topping over the casserole.
4. Bake the casserole until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings, about 3/4 cup each.
Per serving: 212 calories; 10 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 10 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 533 mg sodium; 259 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Calcium (16% daily value).
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Servings
Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 fat

Ingredient Notes:
Don’t use the high-sodium “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets. Instead, purchase dry sherry sold with other fortified wines.
Look for buttermilk powder, such as Saco Buttermilk Blend, in the baking section or with the powdered milk in most supermarkets.


The other recipe is Pumpkin Pie with Streusel Topping found at Prudence Pennywise

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel, adapted from Bon Appetit
1 pie crust, partially baked
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
1 1/2 cups half and half
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (about 2 1/2 ounces)
1 tablespoon finely minced crystallized ginger, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.For filling:Whisk all ingredients in large bowl until combined. Pour into partially baked, cooled pie crust. Bake until skin begins to form on filling and filling begins to set, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Let pie stand 10 minutes to set slightly. Maintain oven temperature.

Meanwhile, prepare topping:Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until mixture begins to form small clumps. Sprinkle topping over pie. Bake until pie is set and streusel is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely. Serve with whipped cream.

Happy Thanksgiving to All who celebrate this holiday.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Friday, November 19, 2010

More roses :-)

I hope you all don't get sick and tired of seeing roses that bloom here in Plum Cottage gardens. I took these pictures yesterday morning but didn't get to work on them until this morning, as I got stuck in the computer working on other things yesterday.

Click on pictures for closer view.

Old Blush.

Vincent Godsiff next two pictures.

White Ducher

I believe this is Cape Honeysuckle with morning glories in the background.

These morning glories, grow like a weed here.

I believe this is Borderer, it's a rooted cutting I did from my little Borderer bush, as soon as she blooms I'll know for sure.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Finally ...

After taking photos, editing, and uploading, and going to PayPal and generating code for the buy now button, I 'finally' have some miniature, hand embroidered and beaded pieces listed over in ArtistikUs ElastikUs.

I think I've got the hang of it, and will take more pictures, etc. etc.

Below is one of the pieces.

Hope you all have a nice evening. I did get out and took some pictures of flowers this morning, but then got stuck in the computer taking care of 'business'.

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL