We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker

If you still have vegetables you need to use up from your garden or even if you do not, consider making The Minestrone Soup from Skinny Taste. I did make some changes . I used 1 teaspoon dried rosemary instead of a sprig. I also used I teaspoon or a tad more of dried basil. I only blended 1 cup of beans instead of the entire can. I then tossed in the rest of the can of whole beans. Also I sautéed 2 large sweet Italian sausages and cut them up into small pieces. I then added the sausages to the entire soup mixture for the six hour time period. What did I leave out? The Parmesan rind and the bay leaf. I did add a couple of tablespoons of a good Parmesan during the slow cooking process from the start. It was fabulous.

Also you can make this in advance and freeze it according to the comments on the Skinny Taste website. It is definitely easy and worth making. I am pretty picky about slow cooker recipes. Many are not that great. What is a favorite slow cooker recipe of yours? Do you use your slow cooker to make dishes for Thanksgiving?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Clean Up

I am starting to clean up the raised beds. I added bags of wholly cow to 2 beds today and they are ready for the garlic cloves which I will plant in November. I will do another bed this week and hopefully will finish up by the first week in October. I love how the freshly prepared beds look. I did leave the basil plants though. They are taking off for a second growth spurt since I harvested my massive basil harvest a few weeks ago.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wrestling With the Beasts-Roses

We had three large roses at one time planted near the side of the house. Over time two just declined and there was one still growing, but it was not that spectacular. After much research and consulting with experts, I decided to replace the area where the roses were growing with two hydrangea bushes.

I ended up purchasing two Incrediball Hydrangeas. They will get to be up to five feet tall and four feet across. The roses were much taller, but the hydrangeas will be a fine replacement height wise.

However, I had to remove the roses. Two came out fairly easily, but the third was pruned down and I will continue to attempt to remove the stump. See below regarding what I was dealing with. It had to be about twelve feet in height. Believe me it was a beast to try to take out compared to the other two.

I know these do not look like much now, but the flowers are white and can be twelve  inches in diameter. It will probably take almost three years before they take off, but that is fine.

This is what one Incrediball looks like ( photo from Hills Nursery).

Here is another photo from Meadows Nursery.

It will fill in the space nicely. The stems are very sturdy and they will not flop over like the Annabelle.

Another white hydrangea that is new, and has black strong stems is Zebra. I almost bought it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday's Harvest

Well this year the harvest of tomatoes and eggplant has been several weeks early. The tomatoes taste great. I have a tendency to pick the tomatoes early and let then ripen up further in the house. Otherwise the critters will get them, especially squirrels.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Frose Cocktail

The Frose was the hit new summer drink in NYC last year. Well I just got around to making it and it is a wonderful summer refreshment. I took liberties with the Bon Appetite recipe for Frose. After letting the strawberries sit in the hot sugar water for 30 minutes, I tossed the mixture in the blender with the lemon juice and blended. I added the frozen rose that I froze the day before in a 13 x 9 inch pan and whipped everything together for about 10-15 seconds. Poured the mixture into a ziplock freezer bag and tosed it back in the freezer. It freezes for a week. When we want a cocktail we can scoop it from the freezer bag and drink as is or whip it up for 5 seconds in the blender. Delicious.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Basil and Pesto

I harvested 8 cups of basil today and made pesto in my Cuisinart food processor. Some of you may have heard that Cuisinart recalled the chopping blade right before Christmas. It has taken about 6 months to receive my new blade and it worked well. I made 16 servings of pesto. We will use 2 tonight and the rest are freezing in packets in the fridge. I have at least 15 more basil plants to harvest and I hope to make more pesto to freeze.  I should end up with at least 40 servings of pesto to go on pasta. By the way, my garlic harvest has not been nearly as great as last year, which was a banner harvest. Such is gardening.

Friday, June 9, 2017

First Tomato and it Came Early

Below is the first tomato out of the garden. I have never had one this ripe  that could be harvested.
This is a sun gold which is a very small salad tomato. Usually I harvest these around the end of June if I am lucky. Also my garlic is probably going to be harvested early too. Our winter was not really that cold, and we only had a couple of snows which is unusual for southwest Ohio.. Thus, I am hoping my garlic has large heads. Stay tuned.