Friday, May 30, 2008

Heh, heh, heh

Today was a lazy day, so to speak. So says she who spent an hour and a half in the garden this morning, and even more time this afternoon dealing with other projects around the house.

So, enter the dinner negotiations with the husband: do I dig deep within myself to create a nice dinner with the left-over turkey breast tenderloin (nah! that's no fun!), do I find the energy to get dressed up so we can go out, or do we just order pizza in? Finally we decided on ordering pizza to go. Ah, but here's the twist: Kelley is out with friends this evening, but wants some leftover pizza. And Mr P and I don't agree on toppings. So I call to order the pizza and tell the young man that I want a large pepperoni pizza with 1/3 mushroom topping and 2/3 onion topping. Can I tell you that this young man was left sputtering over the phone?

But, it worked out and we got what we wanted. Not bad for publicly educated youth. I am impressed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another Day, Another Stroll
Come, see what is blooming in my garden now...

Rainbow's End Miniature Rose. Note to self: treat roses for black spot. A 'funny' fact: the fungus that causes black spot can't thrive in polluted areas. We have very little air pollution here, so black spot thrives.

This is my newest peony. I just planted this beauty this spring. When you plant a peony plant or the tuberous root, take care to only place it one inch deep in the ground. If you plant it too deeply, the peony may not bloom.

My favorite rose, an English rose that was created by David Austin. I truly wish you could smell this wonderful rose. Think of the old-fashioned heady, fruity roses from your grandmother's garden and you will be close to imagining the delightfully decadent fragrance that this particular rose imparts. Unfortunately, I have had little luck with preserving this rose as a cut flower.

And this is the 'something or other' clematis from the west-most edge of my deck. Hey, as many times as I have had to replant these things, you'd lose track of the name too.

I don't remember planting this. I don't think I planted this, but they come up every year and look nice anyway. Who am I to disagree?

My Tradescant English Rose. Very little fragrance as far as English Roses go, but it has a very nice deep red color, and it is decent in an arrangement.

Catmint. Nepeta Six Hills Giant.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Evening in the Garden

Come stroll with me through my garden...

Two more of my azaleas in bloom. Sweet Woodruff covers the ground below.

As promised, here is a picture of the bearded iris my husband messed with yesterday.

Nigella, or Love-in-a-Mist, blooms. This self-seeding annual is better known for its seed pods. More on that in an upcoming post.

My first Peony bloom.

I just can't leave these beauties outside. And there are plenty more blooms out there.

Memorial Day Dinner

Today was a casual day around here, after the excitement of watching not one, but two, exciting races yesterday. I am so proud of me: part way through listening to the Indy 500 on the radio, I found a video stream of the race on the Indy Racing League's web site. Sweet!

I found some leftover Napa cabbage in the fridge and finely chopped it. I then grated a carrot and diced some red onion.

Now for my homemade slaw dressing. I mix together about 1/4 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing, 2 tbs. white vinegar and 2 tbs. granulated sugar. I would suggest playing around with the amounts until you get the taste you like.

The cole slaw is ready for serving.

And now on to the mustard sauce. I mixed honey, whole grain Dijon mustard, yellow mustard and diced rosemary in a bowl.

This will accompany the sauteed pork chops.

I have three boneless pork loin chops for dinner. I seasoned both sides with my homemade pork dry rub seasoning.

Pork Dry Rub

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. Salt

Mix and store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.

Sear the pork loin chops over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the internal temperature is 140 degrees for a medium doneness.

I made Kelley's favorite green beans with bacon and shallots as an additional side.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blogging from the Deck

In what has become a yearly tradition, except for when it rains, my husband and I are sitting out on our back deck, while listening to the radio coverage of the Indianapolis 500. Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of living in beautiful Southern Indiana is that we cannot watch the Indy 500 live. And then, when it is broadcast on television, we will be watching the NASCAR Coke 600 instead.

Anyway, back to the present. It is a very nice day. After spending an hour out working in the garden this morning, I readied the deck for our afternoon. I opened the umbrella, brought out the chair cushions, the radio and the cat on his leash. Then, I brought out my laptop computer.

Back into the house to make my lunch and to make the veggie pizza while my husband made his famous cheese ball. Yesterday we made whisky sours, so we were ready.

And while sitting here enjoying this fine day and listening to the race, I decided I needed to take some more pictures. Ooh, and hey! I am online - even out here - so I can blog! Woo hoo! Life is good!

The other day, I had my daughter snap this picture of the new entrance to the Bloomington Tibetan Cultural Center.

The new entrance and these Tibetan style tents were erected just before his Holiness visited last year. The Dalai Lama's brother and his family live here in Bloomington.

Another bearded iris in my garden. I had yet another one blooming today and was going to take a picture of it for you, but then my husband happened. Grr. So I will have to wait for another one to bloom before I can photograph it.

My verbena are blooming off the back deck. As these hanging pots are in full sun, all day, I am constantly searching for plants that can handle these severe conditions.

After several disappointing experiences with heliotropes, I am pleasantly surprised with this plant. It is paired in a pot with a purple leaf sweet potato vine.

Life on the back deck.

Midnight is relaxing in the shade.

Now, this is the life.

Happy Memorial Day and best wishes to all of our brave service people!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Greetings from the Garden, Part II

The garden is slowly waking up. Unfortunately, the weeds are miles ahead of both the desired plants and the poor gardener.

The rhododendrons.

Bearded Iris.

The baptisia australis (false indigo) is just beginning to bloom.


Another columbine.

Bearded iris blooming amongst the lilacs.

My first rose of the season. Looks like the bug-wuggies have been busy munching on the leaves.

The azaleas are hiding in the landscaping.

Yet another columbine.

I seem to be running a cat hotel. And my cat, Midnight, is not happy about this at all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Grocery Hi-Jinx

I had the mis-fortune to shop at our local Hydrogenated, Corper-anated, Discombobulated WalMart this week. Now, you must understand this: I consider any unfortunate visit to Wally World, where I don't physically attack the mindless idiots surrounding me to be a rather unfortunate success, and at best a somewhat dubious adventure.

Er, anyway, this past week I had to go to WallyWorld and ended up buying both non-food and food items. And I have to admit that I ended up with a very friendly and talkative cashier. And then I went home and began unpacking.

I was almost laughing when I began to unwrap my purchaces. And then, finally, in utter disbelief, I began to count the plastic bags. 1 - 2 - 3 ----25! And then I checked my receipt. 45 items and - 25 bags.

Now I do recall the snickers that threatened to erupt when the diligent, if not compulsive, cashier bravely separated the packaged ground beef from the packaged ground pork (that was immediately, intimately acquaintanted with each other when I arrived home and made them into a meatloaf.

Now, fast forward this to another grocery store. Unfortunately, it seems that they will not be stocking morel mushrooms this year as no one (but me?!) bought them last year. As these rare mushrooms cost $39.99 a pound last year, and are expected to cost $49.99 a pound this year, I guess I should understand. But, hey! I have a blog and have a responsibility to my readers! And, eating a wonderfully cooked morel is a marvelous experience. Hmmph. Well, I will keep you posted on my successes (or not) on obtaining such mid-west delicacies. Oh yeah. I'm ticked, I'm ticked.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Family Dinner

Unfortunately, it is a very rare occurance any more when all three of us happen to exist at the same time and at the same place, and are ready to eat at the same time. I, however, am ready for each and every time this occurs.

Oh look, I'm Semi-Ho'ing it: I am making a potluck standby - Harvest Potatoes. Let's see: we start with pre-frozen, pre-shredded hash browns, condensed cream of mushroom soup, onion, various cheese, salt, pepper and sour cream.

First, we mix together the condensed soup, sour cream, salt, pepper, chopped onion and various shredded cheese. Then we add in the hashed browns.

Spread evenly in a greased casserole dish. Add additional cheese on top.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 3 tablespoons crushed crackers or breadcrumbs and spread evenly over the top.

Ooh, look! Meatloaf! And now on with the show...

Wow, it's a Who's Who of comfort food tonight. This time I added sliced shallots and sliced raw bacon to the green beans. Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil complete the dish.

Now admit it, you wish you were here.

Salad Days - Every Day

I have to admit that I love salads. Perhaps it is the idea that they are a healthy meal, or perhaps it is the idea that they should be a healthy meal, if you catch my drift. For while the salad itself may be quite healthy, the dressing will kill ya, literally.

Anyway, here is another of my favorite salads.

We start with romaine lettuce, sugar snap peas, celery, carrot and red onion.

Now for tonight's surprise player: wonton wraps.

The wonton wraps are sliced into 1/2 inch slices and are quickly deep fried in hot oil.

After draining, the wonton strips are ready for serving.

Meanwhile, I sear thinly sliced beef steak in hot oil.

Plated and ready to serve. Oh, this is delicious. And I'm very sorry that you can't taste this. No, really, I am...