Friday, May 31, 2013

Italian Pasta Salad

 I made an Italian pasta salad recipe for the shelter this morning.  This is a really delicious recipe and I am sure I will be making it again.  I will list what I used in it but you can use all sorts of different ingredients depending on what you have on hand.  I will also give you the portions to make with one pound of pasta.  I made about 5 X this recipe for the shelter. I diced about 4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery and one large cucumber.  Then added 1 can of drained chick peas, 1 can of drained black beans and 1 can of black eyed peas.  Added 1 can of sliced black olives and 1 jar of sliced green olives along with 1 bunch of sliced green onions, 1 cup cubed Provolone cheese and 1/4 pound of sliced salami.

 I made a dressing using 1/2 C. olive oil, 2 T. honey, 3 T. red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, S&P to taste and 1/3 C. Parmesan cheese.

 I processed this in my food processor to combine.

 I used Provolone but you could use mozzarella or both.

 Boil and drain 1 pound of pasta.

 Mix to combine then pour the dressing over it and mix until coated.

 Serve it chilled with some good crusty bread.

 Then I made 40+ quarts of my Asian Noodle Salad.  The shelter is holding their annual picnic tomorrow and this was the recipe the guys most requested.  It delighted me to pieces because there are so many fresh vegetables in it.

It delighted me until I had to mix this.  This was made with 10 pounds of linguine, 7 heads of cabbage and tons of onions, peppers and cucumbers.  I could hardly lift it. Then I had to dive in the shower, I was afraid I was going to attract flies!  I was up to my shoulders in soy sauce and sesame oil!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Garden Bistro Table

 Can you see my bistro table off to the back right corner of the raised bed?  Pretty hard to see, right?  It has been driving me crazy.  I wanted to paint it but I just could not decide what color I wanted to use.  I knew if I did not pick the right color, it would bother me every time I looked at it.  I was tempted to just paint it black again but as you can see, the moment it fades a bit, it disappears into the background.

 So I studied my gardens for inspiration.

 I used a wire brush to take off old flaking paint and dirt.

 I had a can of oregano colored spray paint which I tried out.  Way too bland and it blended in with the surroundings too much.

 I looked again to the garden to see which colors caught my eye. I thought about red for a while but when I pushed myself to picture the bistro set in red, it just seemed far too bold for my taste.

 I considered lavender, but again, it seemed too strong.  I did not want a color that would jump out at me.  I wanted a color that would get my attention but be harmonious with the surrounding plants.

 When you look at your gardens with color in mind, you see what a wide variation you have.

 The gold on the rocks inspired me a bit.

 As did the color of the chow chow way up at the top of the creek. (click for a closer look) But I ruled both of these colors out.

 I ended up choosing this color.  Spring sprout.  It is the color of the new growth on all the green plants.  It is the color that most often drew my eye.  When you think about it, it is the first color we see in the spring.  Fresh green sprouts working their way through the ground, looking for the sun.

 Subtle difference but very different effect.  Brighter VS dull.

The first coat is on and drying.  I'll show the set when it is finished and in place.  I won't know for sure that it will work for me until I see it in place.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Witch Collection

Though I have been downsizing the last couple years, every once in a while I still pick up a witch piece if I can find it for a good price. 
 I have been collecting these brass witch cork screws for years.  I snagged one the other day for a great price and now she has joined the other girls.  I am never getting rid of these things.

 I am keeping these too.  These are brass witch bookends.

 They are very detailed and heavy.

 And I am keeping this tambourine.  I have never come across another like it.

 These ladies are not going anywhere either.  The boot scrapes will eventually be used in an alternative way.  I just need to figure that out.  I guess you can tell that I am excited that Halloween is only 154 days away!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


My lavender seems to grow inches each day.  These photos are from yesterday.  It is raining today!!!  We have had such a dry spring and this rain is more than welcome.  I cooked for the shelter all weekend.  I made coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni salad, peanut butter sheet cake and a coconut, pineapple refrigerator cake.  Then we bought them sodas and chips and pretzels and ice cream treats.  They were very happy guys.  No one ever donates treats like that because they don't spoil.  I wanted them to have a Memorial Day celebration like they had when they were kids.  We even bought a bunch of red licorice which really made them happy.  They gathered around us when we took the food in and were as happy as little kids. This morning I made 100 pieces of olive/cheese bread and a huge cinn-a-bun bread pudding.  They gave me lots of stale bread that someone donated to them.

 Teddy likes the smell of the lavender.

 The Baptisia is blooming.  This has replanted itself all over my gardens.

I have lots of green tomatoes now.  We are in for a huge heatwave so I expect to see lots of growth in the garden.

I removed the covers from the plants yesterday.  Everything made it through the cold and the tomatillas actually grew out of their cover in just two days.

Part of my strawberry and blackberry patch.

The blackberries are just about to bloom.

My trusty pup waiting for me to come back up to the main house.  She waits in exactly the same spot each day.

Cherry tomatoes!  They are almost ready to pick.  This is a new type and though they are loaded with tomatoes, the plants themselves do not look great.  Back to cooking for me and enjoying the rain while it lasts!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

 I went down to the lower gardens this morning to see how my plants were doing and to feed the fish. They are hungry little buggers.

 On the way back up, I stopped to look at the lily pads in the top pond. Their blooms are one of my favorite flowers.

 Suddenly, a beast appeared in the bushes.

 A big grunting, snorting beast.

 Teddy galloping up the steps.

 She was moving fast.

 Be careful on that stepping stone little girl.

 She managed it very well.

 Once up top she checks her yard.

 Yes, I am blogging about you again my pup.

 Belladonna is growing everywhere this year.

 Teddy checks all the 'bad kitty' hiding places.

Sorry pup, no bad kitties today.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Late Spring Frost

 Last night I tucked my gardens in before I went to bed.  It went down to 33 degrees and I was not taking any chances.  I've planted 30 tomato plants and it just was not worth the risk.

 First thing this morning, I headed down to see how the lower garden fared. The Mock Oranges opened a bit overnight.

 Time to clean and decorate the outdoor dining room. I put one of my garden totems on the table.  Click for a closer look.

 I covered the lower garden with newspaper.  I am leaving it like this until tomorrow.  There is another chance of a frost tonight.

 More roses opened too.

 The 'New Dawns' on the shed will bloom pink and it is always beautiful how they look mixed in with the reds.

 Everything came through last night in good shape.

I'll check it again tomorrow and maybe the Mock Oranges will be wide open by then.