Saturday, September 15, 2012

Conservative or Liberal? Hmmm...

Liberal or Conservative

In this election year we tend to look at others as being liberal or conservative.  If someone would ask me which am I, my response will always be, "I am ultra-conservative."  But this very statement got me thinking.  Are not we all just a mixture of both?

The answer is yes!  Most definitely.

I am liberal in the sense that I get bored with common.  I never follow the crowd or assume anything.  My analytical mind forces me to assess all possible views or options.  I look for ways to be unusual, creative, different, and unique.

I am conservative in the fact that I live by a specific set of standards, values, and virtues.  I  hold to logic and reason.

Do these two opposites collide?  No, never.  There are endless ways to express my individualism and ideas all within the bounds of my core beliefs and philosophy.  True happiness can only be attained by living in a way that honors our own personal philosophy. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bacon Egg Breakfast Cups

After a few weeks on juicing, I was ready for the pleasure of creating something special in kitchen. I love to cook and love to bake. I was grateful for the opportunity to bring these wonderful little bacon egg cups to a breakfast meeting this morning. Everyone loved them. I received many compliments as they disappeared quickly. They were so very simple to make.

Bacon Egg Breakfast Cups

6 slices Bacon
1/4 cup chopped Green Pepper
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 tube Crescent Rolls
1/2 cup shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Chives
4 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk

Cook bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towel, cool, and crumble.
Saute green pepper in butter until tender.
Cut crescent roll dough in to 24 squares. Line each cup of 24 cup mini muffin pan with dough, shaping dough to fit inside cup. 
Sprinkle each cup evenly with cheese, green pepper, bacon, and chives.
Whisk together eggs and milk. Spoon egg mixture evenly into cups.
Bake 350 degrees 10-12 minutes.
They are delicious warm from the oven or at room temperature.

These can be assembled the night before, refrigerated, and baked the next morning.
Or they can be baked ahead of time and refrigerated (1-2 days) or frozen until needed. Simply wrap in foil and heat in the oven until warm.

Total time it took this morning to make these wonderful little tidbits was about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The most time consuming part is lining each muffin cup with the dough.

Enjoy. Yum!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dr. Schulze Incurables Program

Next week I am beginning Dr. Schulze Incurables Program. I am really tired of being ill. Chronic diseases have a way of wearing a person down. The weakness and struggle each day can sometimes be too much to handle. On those days all I want to do is go to bed. But life must go on. I have responsibilities. I have things I must do and be involved in to keep my emotional and spiritual sanity. I hope this program will bring relief from my many ailments, especially my debilitating conditions: Pericardial Effusion, Peripheral Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, and Narcolepsy. I need to heal my heart, my nervous system, and my digestive system.

Experiencing this program firsthand will help me learn more about whole body healing. Being an Herbalist and an Iridologist is not enough. Herbs and eyes are only part of what I need to learn. Whole Body Healing is the area I need to concentrate on most to help myself and others. It encompasses diet, herbs, exercise, hydrotherapy, reflexology, massage, sun/air therapy, and more.

Some areas of the Incurables program are better administered by someone else. But since I will be going through this program alone, I will do the best I can with hydrotherapy, reflexology, and massage. I do believe something is always better than nothing. What I can do will be well worth it. If I do nothing, my health will continue to decline.

I am excited about becoming well. I have been doing a few of the things in the program already, but I will jump in full force next week. I still have a few days of planning and shopping before I begin.

This program could be a bit rough at times, therefore I intend to remain calm by grounding myself in prayer and study. Chronicling my journey through this program will help keep me focused on healing and learning.

Dr. Schulze Incurables Program takes determination and dedication. I am ready.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Transition from Spring Garden Beds to Summer Garden Beds

I love this time of year!  Yummy things coming out of the garden making room for all the yummy new things going into the garden.  The spring vegetables are almost finished growing, while the summer vegetables are impatiently waiting for their spot in the garden.

This transition time seems to be the busiest for me.  I enjoy bringing the harvest in and putting it up to dry or in the freezer. I enjoy fluffing my raised beds and adding new soil. It is such a pretty picture to see a raised bed all cleaned out and ready to accept new plants. Unfortunately that does not last long for there is always new seedlings on the back deck waiting to go into that bed, like the lima beans and yard long beans that quickly filled the place that used to house the potatoes.

A few weeks ago we had a very cold night. My potatoes and grapes did not survive. So when I harvested my potatoes the other day, I only got a few pounds of small, round, yet very beautiful red and gold potatoes. I will get several meals from these, but no where near the amount the harvest should have been. That is part of gardening, sometimes there will be a crop failure. We learn and our garden continues.

On to a brighter note, I harvested a good amount of turnips and green onions. And lots of turnip greens for the bunnies!  The green peas only ripen a few at a time as the vines continue to climb higher and higher. From my ten feet of peas I only get a couple servings each time I harvest. But they are definitely worth the wait. I do love peas. Other than zucchini, peas are my favorite thing from the garden. Peas do give the smallest return for the space and time they require, but I try to grow them anyhow.

The chives have a couple buds and the parsleys are a beautiful round domes again, so in a week or so they will both be harvested for the second time.  But for the roses, no.  We have had too much wind to keep any petals on the blossoms.  I have to wait for the flowers to completely open before harvesting. By that time this strong wind has blown them off the plants. Hopefully this wind will calm and I will be able to get some rose petals soon. I have many red knock-out roses, a beautiful pastel pink tea rose with huge blossoms, and some wild deep red small blossom roses.  I will make rose water and other skin formulas from them becuase roses are very good for the skin.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Preserving the First Harvests of Chives, Parsley, and Roses

Oh I really do need a camera.

I have been preserving a few things from my garden recently.

I love chives. So in my freezer are a few small bags of sliced chives. But the best part about chives are the flowers. They are yum! I harvest my chives when just a few pretty purple flowers begin to bloom. I think the best flavor of the chives is before they bloom. But if I harvest them then, I do not get any of these delicious flowers. So I wait for just a few blossoms and then I cut everything all the way back to the ground. Simply put the chive blossoms in a mess bag and hang to dry. The great thing about chives is the more often you harvest them the better quality your chives will be.

Also I had my first cutting of parsley last week. I have nine beautiful bunches of parsley hanging up to dry. I also cut these all the way back to the ground, except I left the tough outside circle of stems on the plant.

This morning I harvested my first petals from my knock out roses. Knock out roses are perfect for a continuous supply of fresh rose petals from spring through fall. Cut the nicest blossoms that are fully open to dry. Around here in my little wannabe homestead I make due with what I have on hand. There is always another purpose for every item. This being the case with old or unused window screens. I simply pulled the petals from the rose blossom centers and spread the petals out on a screen. Set a second screen on top and bind the two screens together. Perfect. My petals are secured and will not blow away or move around. They should dry very nicely.

Harvesting rose blossoms was the perfect way to begin my day. Their loveliness will remain with me make me smile.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Special Luncheon

I planned a special luncheon meeting yesterday for the sisters at church. The food was delicious and the program very enjoyable.

Grilled Chicken Salad
Seasoned Roasted Potatoes
Fruit Platter
Mini Croissants and Garlic Bread Sticks

I prepared the chicken tenders the night before. Simply marinade tenders in Lawry's marinade for 1 hour. I made three different flavors, Hawaiian, Mesquite, Herb and Garlic. I chose to broil the tenders instead of grill. Broil for a total of 14 minutes, turning twice. They came out beautiful. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To plate these salads start with about 1-1/2 cups of lettuce on each plate. Next place the four add-ons separately on four different sides of plate. Sprinkle with cheese. Slice two chicken tenders and lay on top. Finally sprinkle crunch item over everything. Serve dressing on the side.

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Salad
Lettuce    Butterhead
Add        Red/Green Pepper Strips
        Sweet Onion Rings
        Pineapple Rings
        Dried Banana Chips
Cheese    Mozzarella
Crunch    Macadamia Nuts
Dressing    Hawaiian

Hawaiian Dressing
    1/2 cup Lawry's Hawaiian Marinade
    2 Tablespoon oil
    2 Tablespoon honey
Combine marinade, oil, and honey, mix well.
Makes about 3/4 cup

Grilled Mesquite Chicken Salad
Lettuce    Mix with Carrots and Cabbage
Add        Cherry Tomatoes
        Red/Green Pepper Strips
        Sweet Onion Rings
Cheese    Colby Jack
Crunch    Red, White, and Blue Tortilla Strips
Dressing    Ranch

Grilled Herb and Garlic Chicken Salad
Lettuce    Mix with Carrots and Cabbage
Add        Cherry Tomatoes
        Sweet Onion Rings
        Cucumber Slices
Cheese    Medium Cheddar
Crunch    Herb Seasoned Croutons
Dressing    Creamy Herb

Creamy Herb Dressing - very delicious, fresh taste, and light texture.
        2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
        2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
        2 tablespoon mayonnaise
        1/2 cup sour cream
        2 tablespoon milk
Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, dill, and chives in a small bowl.
makes about 1 cup.

I made an equal number of each salad, but the Hawaiian Salad was by far everyone's favorite. It was gone before any had even taken an Herb and Garlic Salad. It must have been the dressing. Everyone loved the Hawaiian Dressing and wanted the recipe. Lesson learned.... make more Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Salad!

Springtime Punch
        2 cups sugar
        2-1/2 cups water
        1 cup lemon juice
        1 cup orange juice
        6 ounce can pineapple juice concentrate
        2 liters ginger ale
In a saucepan, boil sugar and water lightly until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in juices. Refrigerate.
To serve, pour juice mixture into punch bowl, stir in ginger ale. Float lemon and orange slices.

I hope you try these salads for your next lunch or special luncheon. I received many compliments on them.

First Radish Harvest Yum!

Today I harvested about half of my Champion Radishes and French Breakfast Radishes. The Sparkler Radishes are still quite small. I will harvest those in a few days. The Champions are mild with a good flavor. The French Breakfast are spicy hot. I do not think I will grow French Breakfast again. Everything else in the garden is doing very well.

Last week I added to my orchard with a Red Delicious Apple tree and a Bartlett Pear tree. This weekend I plan on putting in a strawberry patch.

The garden is so pleasant. I do so enjoy watching things grow.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fruit Trees

It appears the orchard is finally going to happen. I have wanted an orchard for years. Last week I purchased three grape vines, and this afternoon I purchased four fruit trees.

Canadice Seedless Grape
Flame Seedless Grape
Thompson Seedless Grape
Santa Rosa Plum
Moonglow Pear
Hale Haven Peach
Redskin Peach

This is just the beginning of my orchard. I still need to get other varieties as pollinators.Years ago I planted an Arkansas Black apple tree and an unknown variety of plum. They have bloomed each spring, but have never produced fruit because they had no pollinator. Each spring and fall I would like to add more varieties. Eventually I would like a full range of fruit like apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, kiwi, grapes, muscadines, berries, and more.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day Old Bread - Okay Really, Three Day Old Bread

What do you do with bread that did not turn out good enough?

Make bread crumbs, of course!

A few days ago I tried a new recipe for sandwich buns. I was quite disappointed. The bread was still edible but not what I was looking for. Now three days later there are still some left. If these buns were really good, they would have been gone by now.

This evening I made Garlic Scalloped Potatoes for dinner. I do love bread crumbs on top. So I cubed one old sandwich bun and whirled it in my food processor. Out came the most beautiful looking crumbs. I tossed some fresh chives from my garden in my newly created bread crumbs, poured on some melted butter and had perfect bread crumbs. My potatoes came out delicious with these homemade bread crumbs on top.

While dinner was baking I processed the rest of the day old bread into crumbs and put it in the freezer. Now my mind is wandering.... What can I make with my wonderful bread crumbs?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cole Slaw

Since I had fish the other day, I have been craving a simple fish sandwich. So that is my dinner tonight, fish sandwich with cole slaw.

I do so enjoy making my own bread and cooking from scratch as much as possible. I tried with a new recipe for sandwich buns this afternoon. They turned out good, but not good enough. So the quest continues for a nice bun recipe. I will keep trying.

Melody Cole Slaw
½ cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons buttermilk powder
½ Tablespoon lemon juice
½ Tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

1 bag cole slaw mix
Whisk all ingredients except slaw mix together in large bowl.
Stir in slaw mix.
For best flavor refrigerate several hours or over night.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tartar Sauce

Yes, Tartar Sauce. Something as simple and basic as tartar sauce.

I am not much of a meat eater. But I do love fish, almost any kind of fish. I like my fish fried, as any southern woman would. And I like it with tartar sauce. I have always made my own tarter sauce. What you can buy in the grocery store is so tasteless.

Melody Tartar Sauce

1/4 cup Miracle Whip
1 Tablespoon Sweet Relish
1 Tablespoon  Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder

Mix everything together in a small bowl. Chill. Yum!

Yes, my Yankee roots cause me to prefer Miracle Whip over other brands. I really want to master making my own mayonnaise, but so far, all attempts have been complete oily failures.
If you have a tried and true, dependable technique that works every time I would love to know.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What Is It About the Garden?

What makes you go out in the garden each and everyday? What is it that draws you to put your hands down into the soil?

I absolutely love my time in the garden. It is simply a perfect way to begin my day. It is still cool here, so I can wait until late morning or early afternoon to enjoy my playtime in the garden. When the weather warms, I will be out earlier and earlier.

There is a grounding effect. It calms me. It makes me smile.

This morning I planted the almost empty raised bed one. I filled it with lettuce. Yum! I love lettuce picked fresh from the garden.

Black Seeded Simpson Loose-leaf Lettuce
7-10 Days to Germination
45 Days to Harvest - about April 12

Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce
7-10 Days to Germination
68 Days to Harvest - about May 5

Great Lakes #118 Head Lettuce
7-10 Days to Germination
82 Days to Harvest - about May 19

It seems I planted a lot of lettuce today. But they will not all mature at the same time. It is nice to have an early, mid, and late variety of the same vegetable to create a long harvest time. I am hoping that when the warmer days of May finally arrive I will have some beans, peppers, or tomatoes planted in there to provide some much need shade.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Spring Raised Bed Layout

My home sits on top of a hill. I have used all my flat area out back for raised beds. I like stepping off my back porch and stepping right into my garden.

Years ago I had in ground gardens at the bottom of the hill between my backyard and the pasture.While I had larger gardens in that area, I got tired very quickly of having to lug supplies and vegetables up and down the steep hill. How I envy people with FLAT land. But here in northeast Georgia there is not three feet of flat ground anywhere.

My front yard is not much better. It is two acres that gently slope down to the road. Eventually I will fill this area with fruit trees.

I have seven raised beds out back. They are different sizes and different depths. At one time I thought larger beds were better, but not now. I find the smaller beds much easier to work. When the time comes to build more beds I will make them no larger then 3x5. Four feet wide is too difficult for me to work. My favorite raised bed is my little 2x6 bed. It is small and easily manageable.

Most of the beds have been planted with spring vegetables. But two beds are almost empty. Bed one has only three parsley plants that survived through the winter and are growing strong. Lettuce will probably fill the remainder of bed one. The trough will be planted with carrots and shallots soon.

Here is my spring layout as of February 15. Notice the beds create a curve from the right side to the bottom. That is where my hill drops off. Ack!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sunny Afternoon in the Garden

What a wonderful day of planting in my garden.

I am trying an experiment this year. I saved some of my potatoes from last year's crop for seed potatoes this year. I hope they will grow just fine. I dislike having to purchase new seed potatoes each year. I am sure my grandmother saved potatoes to plant the next year. I hope this little experiment works. I want to try to get into more and more heirlooms each year.

What I planted today-

Sweet Onion
the remainder of the bag from Monday's planting

French Breakfast Radish
4-6 Days to Germination
24 Days to Harvest - about March 16

Sparkler Radish
4-7 Days to Germination
25 Days to Harvest - about March 18

Champion Radish
4-7 Days to Germination
28 Days to Harvest - about March 21

Purple Top White Globe Turnip
7-10 Days to Germination
55 Days to Harvest- about April 20

Yukon Gold Potato (saved from last year's harvest)
80 Days to Harvest - about May 5

Red Pontiac Potato (saved from last year's harvest)
80 Days to Harvest - about May 5

Danvers #126 Carrot
8-12 Days to Germination
75 Days to Harvest - about May 12

I hope everything does well.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Garden Beds Prepared - Sweet Onions

With the help of two young men I was able to finally complete the preparation of my raised beds. They are weeded and filled and ready to be planted with yummy goodies.
The only thing I planted today was onion sets. This is the first time I have planted onions from sets. I hope these do well. I have tried onion seeds and onion plants before with little success from either. Isn't this was gardening is all about? Finding what works best for you in your area.

These are Sweet Onion bulbs I found at Walmart this morning.
They should be ready for harvest in about 3-4 months.
Around the end of May I will be watching for the top growth to fall over.

Carrots are a good companion plant with onions. I think tomorrow I will seed some carrots in between the rows of onion.

Pea Update:
These little fellows have sprouted and are breaking through the ground. Yea!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Macaroni Salad Yum!

It is a day for making my favorites. I just love creamy non-lettuce salads - macaroni salad, potato salad, and cole slaw.

Melody Macaroni Salad

2 cups dry spiral pasta
2/3 cup salad dressing
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
1 Tablespoon pickle juice
1 Tablespoon sweet relish
2 boiled eggs

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool.
Mix together salad dressing, milk, sugar, and relish. Add pasta, stir well. Fold in chopped egg.

Recipe Favorites - Creamed Peas

Planting my peas last week got me craving one of my favorite side dishes. Creamed Peas.

This is such a simple and delicious recipe I think I could eat it everyday. At the end of April I will be having this often. Too bad I eat up all my peas right away and never have enough to freeze or can.

Today I am making my creamed peas with commercially canned peas.

Melody Creamed Peas

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 15ounce can peas

Melt butter in small sauce pan. Stir in flour. Cook flour and butter about one minute over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Add milk, sugar, and salt. Cook about 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy, stirring constantly.
Add peas and heat through, stirring often.
This is my lunch today with some homemade bread.
Simple food, simple living. I am one happy girl.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day Two in the Garden - Peas

Yesterday and today I have enjoyed being outside in my garden. There are many days of bed preparation ahead of me. It is good for my body and soul to be playing in the garden. I am looking forward to a wonderful garden year.
After removing last years weeds, amending the soil, and pounding in the pea trellis, my little 2'x6' raised bed was ready for lots of little pretty green pea seeds. Finally a bed is ready to plant. Yea! There is something very satisfying about getting the hose for that initial watering in.

One bed planted. Seven more to go.

Alaska Peas (Wilt Resistant)
Early Maturing
8-12 Days to Germination
58 Days to Harvest - about April 21

Finally! Time to relax and get back to a normal pace.

My I am tired. These last six months have been super busy. One of my goals last year was to join the local YMCA. When that happened it seemed everything else in my life stopped. I became so busy socially that I pushed most of my other goals aside. I will not let that happen again.

2011 Goal Update.
Personal Learning and Development
1. Stay busy and focus on doing good and helping others
-Yes. I remained actively involved in my church callings and as a master gardener in my community.
2. Learn to play every song in the LDS hymnal, all 341 of them
-Incomplete. I learned 224 of the 341 songs.
3. Learn alto part to every song in LDS hymnal
-No. I only learned a few more than I already knew.
4. Learn to preserve by dehydration and bottling
-Yes. Dehydrated green peppers, onions, chives, and herbs. Also learned to make jelly.
5. Learn to propagate a variety of plants
-No. All attempts were failures.
6. Join YMCA for exercise and social interaction
-Yes. Big mistake.
Keep house clean Everyday - quit skipping days (this is the most difficult for me physically)
-No. I still struggle.
Increase food and water storage
-Yes. Increased my food and nonfood storage tremendously.

Remove cedar and bradford pear trees along driveway
-Incomplete. Removed most of the bradford pears, but the cedars still remain.
Prepare fence row (8'x250') for perennials and shrubs
Prepare perennial wildflower triangle at fence/road/pole
Plant climbing vines at both power poles - I hate vines, but this is the only option here
Prepare Orchard area, up to half acre
Built 5 more Raised Beds for vegetables
Build Perennial Herb Raised Bed
Have something edible growing in my garden every day
-No. Borrowed one and decided I did not want an electric dehydrator.
Canning/Bottling supplies

Some goals were met and some were incomplete and some were not at all, but each year I learn and I grow.
Isn't that the real purpose of goals?