Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rain laden blooms

Good morning everyone ~ I hope you are enjoying the start of your weekend. I'll be working again today, so my weekend hasn't started just yet. It is a chilly 47 right now right around 7:30 but is supposed to get up to around 72 later today. That will feel good.

Below are some blooms taken the morning after we got a good soaking rain from a thunderstorm that blew over bringing this little cold front.

Click on pictures for a larger view.

This is a sweet little rose called Borderer.

I think this is Bon Silene.

A Dainty Bess bud with an open blossom in the background.

I love the delicateness of George Tabor's petals.

A Louis Philippe bud against a frangipani trunk.

The next three pictures are of Louis Philippe growing up in front of and over the top of my shed.

More Old Blush.

Spiderwort, a real favorite of mine. There will be lots of blooms of this pretty soon.

Not a rain laden bloom, but a blossom anyway, sweet Tork, in my main garden. She had caught the scent of something and jumped up onto this column's top. She did not find what she was looking for. What an intense look she has.


There is no spot of ground,

however arid,

bare or ugly,

that cannot be tamed

into such a state

as may give an impression

of beauty and delight.

Gertrude Jekyll

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cooking Day

This morning it was gray and very wet out from a thunderstorm that dumped lots of rain on us last night. God watered my gardens while I slept.

So, I decided today would be a cooking day. I had several things in mind to do and thought of another two while in the mood.

First on the list was to get the crockpot going with 'Fat Burning Cabbage Soup'. I recently found this recipe online at All Recipes which has a lot of wonderful recipes. This recipe came out years ago and was supposed to help you lose weight. I figured we can eat this for lunch instead of sandwiches. We both like soups and I could stand to lose a few lbs. and this soup is very healthy too. I tweaked it to fit my crockpot, only using half a cabbage, less carrots and onion, added two cut up parsnips, used beef bouillon cubes with water, and 1 can of stewed tomatoes and no tomato juice. It smells wonderful and I look forward to eating it. I also added onion powder and garlic granules, and Italian seasoning.

Original Recipe Yield 15 servings


* 5 carrots, chopped
* 3 onions, chopped
* 2 (16 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
* 1 large head cabbage, chopped
* 1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
* 1 (15 ounce) can cut green beans, drained
* 2 quarts tomato juice
* 2 green bell peppers, diced
* 10 stalks celery, chopped
* 1 (14 ounce) can beef broth


1. Place carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, peppers, and celery in a large pot. Add onion soup mix, tomato juice, beef broth, and enough water to cover vegetables. Simmer until vegetables are tender. May be stored in the refrigerator for several days.


I made coleslaw with the rest of the cabbage, adding grated carrot, minced fresh ginger, craisins, mayo, sugar and Balsamic vinegar.

I used 4 of the outer cabbage leaves for stuffed cabbage rolls with a Bechamel sauce. That is now in the freezer.

I made up meat balls and they are also in the freezer.

I got out chicken fingers to defrost to have with ginger-kiwi sauce tonight. I want to serve that over rice along with some vegetable or other.

Ginger-Kiwi Sauce

1/2 cup each vertically sliced onion, julienne carrot and green pepper

1 tablespoon each julienne fresh ginger root and vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup each packed brown sugar and vinegar

3 kiwifruit, pared and sliced

Saute onion, carrot, green pepper and ginger in oil. Mix cornstarch and water; add brown sugar and vinegar. Pour over vegetable mixture and cook until thickened. Quickly stir in kiwifruit.

Serve over fish, chicken or pork.


Last night I made a meatloaf with provolone cheese in the middle, inspired by Sandra's recipe at her blog Full Bellies, Happy Kids. It was yummy, served it with mashed potatoes, and horseradish beets.

Horseradish Beets

1 1-lb can sliced beets (I used fresh beets that I had cooked up)
3 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tbs. butter

Drain beets, reserving liquid. Place beets in greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Blend sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in 3/4 c. beet liquid and vinegar. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over beets; cover. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Yield: 4 servings

Note: A zippy, delicious recipe. Taken from Southern Livings Vegetables cookbook.


Another recipe I found lately and want to cook to have with the rest of the meatloaf is
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries and Pecans found here.
(makes 4 servings)

2 slices bacon (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1 shallot (diced)
1 pound brussels sprouts (cleaned, quartered, blanched and drained)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons pecans (chopped)

1. Cook the bacon in a pan and set aside reserving 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease.
2. Add the shallots to the pan and cook in the bacon grease and saute until, tender about 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the brussels sprouts to the pan, season with salt and pepper, toss in the grease and saute for a minute.
3. Remove from heat and mix in the cranberries and pecans.


I LOVE to cook and bake. My love started in Home Ec classes, 7th and 8th grades of Jr. High. Do they still have Home Ec these days?

When we got married I knew very little about cooking, other than frying pork chops, chicken and hamburgers. I did know how to make tacos, my favorite meal from when I was a little girl. As a newly wed I started collecting recipes, my late MIL sent me lots of recipes, my SIL sent me my first cookbook the first Christmas for DH and I, and now I have over 300 cookbooks. (Mostly bought at yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets.

There is something so satisfying in taking ingredients, putting them all together and coming out with a wonderful dish.

There you have it folks, my days doings. Our little 700 sq ft cottage is smelling really good, and is warming up. It is supposed to get down into the low 40's again tonight.

I'm working at my job for the next three days, now I don't have to figure out what to fix for dinner when I get home. :-)

Happy Cooking, Baking and Eating,

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL


Good afternoon Folks ~ I thought I would do a post on 'homecaring' since several of you mentioned what a nice way of putting taking care of chores that we have to take care of each and every day. I first read this term in the book 'Simple Abundance ~ A Daybook of Comfort and Joy' by Sarah ban Breathnach. DH saw this book and thought it looked like a book I would enjoy. That was in Sept. 1999 and I have enjoyed it through the years.

I will post a few excerpts here about the subject of 'homecaring'. May you be inspired. You might want to get a copy of this book for yourself. It really is inspiring and encouraging in different areas of living our lives.


"Home is where we start from, T.S. Eliot observed. Today, a century after he was born, "home" is the place where many women are longing to return, if not literally, then figuratively. Begin believing that the time, energy, and emotion you invest daily in the soulcraft of homecaring -- carving out a haven for yourself and those dear to you -- is a sacred endeavor.

A house is who you are, not who you ought to be. Jill Robinson.

The sacred soulcraft of homecaring is creating a comfortable, beautiful, well-run home.

No matter where or how you live, look upon your home through the eyes of Love. Walk around the rooms and offer thanks for the walls and roof that safely enclose you and yours. Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that, at this moment, all you have is all you truly need.

An ancient metaphysical law says that we can never leave any situation that causes us discomfort until we learn to love it or at least to see love at work in it. I had many lessons to learn about order. Now I know in my heart that my small house is the perfect teacher. What good would a larger house do me if I couldn't keep a small one tidy? (Boy, this sure is the truth for me.)

"A beautiful home is an education in itself, but it is not made in a day; it must slowly grow," said Lucy Abbot Throop, who wrote on decorating in 1910. Today, look for the lessons your home is waiting to teach you through love. Make it as cozy, charming, and comfortable as you can with the resources you now have, and it will become a joy to live in. ~


When friends enter a home,
they sense its personality and character,
the family's style of living -
these elements make a house come alive
with a sense of identity,
a sense of energy,
and warmth,
"This is who we are;
This is how we live."
Ralph Lauren

Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Old Blush and Smith's Parish Roses

Here are two more roses that are really putting out the blooms right now. I love them both.

These two roses were given to me by a gardening friend who lives about an hour south of us. I met her through a gardening forum, and she no longer wanted these so asked if I wanted them.

The first is Old Blush, and the second is Smith's Parish which is a Bermuda rose.

Click on pictures for larger view.


Like the musician,
the painter,
the poet,
and the rest,
the true lover of flowers is born,
not made.
And he/she is born to happiness
in this vale of tears,
to a certain amount of the purest joy
that earth can give her children,
joy that is tranquil,

Celia Thaxter, An Island Garden, 1894


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Another Gorgeous day

It was a chilly 43 when we got up this morning and with the wind chill factor felt like it was 38. But it has warmed up nicely, 65 right now, and the sun is shining and it felt wonderful being outdoors earlier. I cut back the star jasmine hedge out front that was way out of hand, and I'm pooped. That's just the east side of the front gate, I still need to top the west side, but had done enough for one day. The bread machine made a loaf of bread while I was out working. I made us salmon pattie sandwiches with the bread for lunch.

Tonight I am planning on making a home made pizza, since we've not had one in awhile. We always enjoy that.

My boss told me last night before I left work that I will probably be working more and that was good news to hear. In the middle of the night when I couldn't get back to sleep for awhile I thought, uh oh, I'll probably not be blogging as much, or beading and embroidering as much either. I started both of these ventures about two years ago when the economy went south, and I had more time on my hands. So, I may not be in here as much as I have been in the past, we'll see.

Anyway, here are some pictures taken in the last few days. Click on the pictures for larger view.

The first three are of a sweet single rose named Cocktail.

Here we have Bon Silene.

White Ducher

Duchesse de Brabant

George Tabor Azaleas


Not sure about this one.

Mm. Laurette Messimy

Pink Pet

Star Jasmine

Vincent Godsiff


You do not need to know anything about a plant
to know that it is beautiful.

Montagu Don


Zone 10 ~ s.e. FL

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Danish Puffs and a Great visit

What a great visit we had with our NC cousins today. We are thankful for reconnecting with DH's cousin, and meeting his wife for the first time and thankful we were able to have two visits with them in the last week.

I did see a few things I forgot to dust and some cobwebs too. :-) Didn't catch it all, but that's ok. We talked, laughed and enjoyed each others' company.

For lunch we took them to the Publix Deli for their delcious hoagies/submarines. We think they make the best ones around. They hadn't had hoagies in ages and really enjoyed these. If any of you have a Publix grocery store in your area, do check out their hoagies. You won't be disappointed. DH and I always split one.

Yesterday I made Danish Puffs to have with coffee this morning and thought I would share the recipe and a picture of them here.


1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. water
1/2 c. butter
1 c. water
1 tsp. almond extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
3 eggs
Powdered Sugar Glaze
chopped nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350°. Cut 1/2 c. butter into 1 c. of flour until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over flour mixture; mix. Gather pastry into a ball; divide into halves. Pat each half into rectangle, 12x3-inches, on ungreased cookie sheet. Rectangles should be about 3 inches apart. ~ Heat 1/2 c. butter and 1 c. water to rolling boil; remove from heat. Quickly stir in almond extract and 1 c. flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute; remove from heat. Add eggs; beat until smooth and glossy. Spread half of the topping over each rectangle. Bake until topping is crisp and brown, about 1 hour; cool (Topping will shrink and fall, forming the custardy top.) Spread with Powdered Sugar Glaze; sprinkle with nuts. Makes 2 coffee cakes (5-6 servings each.)

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T. butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 T. warm water

Mix powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla. Stir in warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is of desired consistency.

I made this recipe into 12 individual rounds, using a heaping tsp. of the dough patted out into about a 3 inch circle, then mounded on a heaping tbs. of the custard. Bake for 30 minutes.

I also didn't have almond flavoring this time, so used half and half of vanilla and orange extracts. Delicious!

The recipe is from Betty Crocker's Cookbook.


Last night I was really pooped from 'home caring' and told DH I would just wash the dishes in the morning. He looked at them, and said I'll do them right now, and he did just that and I was so thankful and told him so several times. It was a happy ending to all the flurry of activity around here.

Thank you all for your kind comments and for visiting my blog. I really do appreciate it.