Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Gardens

The phlox is in full bloom.

And Teddy is on patrol.

The raised beds are about to be disassembled. The stink bugs ruined my fruits and vegetables last year. Basically, my gardens were stink bug magnets. They devoured them and all I got out of them were the bugs. I can't believe it but I am not planting anything this year. I need to see if this will effect the number of bugs I have to deal with this year. Perhaps my bugs will fly off to find food somewhere else. If so, I won't be planting gardens until someone figures out how to get rid of these nasty things.

Phlox by the upper pond.

Really tall tulips by the copper mushroom path lighting.

The hostas are opening.

So are the ferns.

Look at the size of those hostas and they aren't even fully open.

Wild strawberries have spread all over my gardens.

A Japanese painted fern.

Sweet Woodruff on the steps.

Poison Ivy. It is coming out today because I am deadly allergic to it.

Ladies Mantle spreads like crazy!

The lower pond....Teddy's water bowl.

Teddy waiting patiently for me to return to the upper gardens.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just When You Thought You Had Escaped The Royal Hoopla

Did I tell you that I am the Royal photographer? I guess I forgot. I've been pretty busy lately.

Whatcha lookin'@ Harry. You are next. Anyone thinking James Hewitt here?

I know it is sad to lose your baby, mama....but you just acquired the whole Royal Family. A fair trade.

I mean this is a fun loving group.

And you know what hot fun these two are.

Ahhh...sweet girl. You had the chance to run.

Kate, make sure not to be seen socializing with bad boy Spencer. The Queen would not approve. The only thing worse you could do is hang out with Fergie.

If I were you Kate, I would have flickered like a candle in the wind and hit the yellow brick road.

Your brother looks overjoyed too.

He can't wait to party with these two after the ceremony.

Now, I for one, would pick this dude to party with.

He is the Royal bad ass.

Unlike his auntie. (I thought that country comedian Minnie Pearl had died. Who knew she just disappeared into the Royal Family?)

Oh well, the deed is done.

It's a dirty job but someone has to do it.

Is this the top of the wedding cake?

If anyone can change that family, you are the girl to do it Kate!

And whomever you are little girl, be scared, be very scared!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grillades and Grits

It's that time of year again. The ponds and stream are running.

And guess who is happy about it? This is a first. I just hope she doesn't try this when we open the pool.

I've posted these before but since I made it this last week for The Marine, I figured I might as well post them again. I love grillades and grits. True comfort food. I use a bottom round roast and slice it into 1 inch steaks. Then I make a combination of flour, garlic powder, salt, pepper and dried thyme.

I dip the steaks in the flour mixture and fry them in oil until the are browned and crispy on both sides.

Set the steaks on a plate and leave the oil and browned bits in the pot.

Heat the oil until hot and add diced peppers, celery and onions.

In a separate pan, make a roux. This is about 3/4 cup of flour to 1/2 cup of oil.

Keep stirring the roux as it darkens.

When it is a rich chestnut color, it is ready.

Add the diced vegetables to the roux and stir to coat.

Pour in 1 cup of red wine.

Add 2 cans of Ro*tel.

Add 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce.

Add some hot sauce to taste. This is my favorite hot sauce, Gator Hammock.

Throw in a few bay leaves.

Add 3 cups of beef stock.

Submerge the meat into the liquid. Cover the pot and place in a 275 degree oven for about 3 hours.

When it is ready remove the meat and shred it. It should fall apart easily.

Place the shredded meat in a bowl.

Add the remaining sauce.

Stir to coat all of the meat.

Make some grits. I use stone ground, not instant, but you can use instant if you want.

Sometimes I add cheese to the grits. I like blue cheese with this dish but goat cheese or cheddar is very good too.

This time I served the grillades with plains grits, seasoned with salt, pepper and butter.

These were all packaged and frozen and sent back with the kids.

I always label the containers because once they are frozen it is hard to tell what is in them. If you have elderly parents, this is a great way to make sure they are getting something good to eat. Make several different meals and soups and put them in their freezer and all they have to do is take one out and microwave it.